USC Stevens announces recipients of Technology Advancement Grants

USC Stevens Center for Innovation is pleased to announce the first round of recipients of the Technology Advancement Grant (TAG) Program. Launched by USC Stevens Center for Innovation earlier this year, the TAG Program supports early stage technologies invented at USC through validation or proof-of-concept development that will add value to unlicensed USC owned technology, thereby increasing the probability of licensing and supporting the commercialization of discoveries created here at USC. TAG Awards provide funding up to $50,000 for a project duration of no more than one year.

TAG applications submitted to USC Stevens were very competitive and reflected the diversity of innovation at USC such as prototype development, software optimization, biological target validation and screening, preclinical studies, and other advanced pre-commercial research. USC Stevens received 21 applications and six finalists were chosen to submit full proposals and present their projects to a panel of venture capitalists and business leaders. Of those six, four proposals were chosen to receive funding.

Congratulations to the following TAG award recipients who received $50,000 per project:

  • Denis Evseenko, Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Keck School of Medicine of USC
    Project Title: “Small Molecules for the Induction of Chondrogenesis.” The TAG award will fund an animal model of cartilage injury and repair.
  • Qifa Zhou, Research Professor of Biomedical Engineering, USC Viterbi School of Engineering
    Mark Humayun; Professor, joint appointments at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering
    Project Title: “Novel Noninvasive Ultrasound Enabled Drug Delivery to the Posterior Segment of the Eye.” The TAG award will fund a validation study of drug delivery across ultrasonic created scleral windows.
  • Wei Wu, Associate Professor, USC Viterbi School of Engineering
    Yong Chen, Associate Professor, USC Viterbi School of Engineering
    Project Title: “3D Printing with Variable Voxel Sizes.” The TAG award will fund development of a prototype and the creation of 3D printed demonstration objects.
  • Yang Chai, Professor and Associate Dean, Research and Director, Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC
    Yong Chen, Associate Professor, USC Viterbi School of Engineering
    Project Title: “Dental Crown Printing.” The TAG will award validation of the technology with FDA approved materials.

The TAG Program has a competitive two-step application process comprising an initial review by USC Stevens’ staff and USC Stevens’s Faculty Advisory Committee followed by a final review and recommendation from an external advisory board comprised of industry experts. USC Stevens would like to acknowledge the support received from the Office of Research and thank our TAG External Review Committee comprised of representatives from Allied Minds, Deerfield Management, Larta Institute, Osage Partners, and Salem Partners LLC.

The Request for Proposals for the second round of the TAG program will be announced early 2017.

Further Information and Program Contact:
Questions about the TAG award or the application submission process can be directed to: Michael Arciero, Director of Technology Licensing & New Ventures,, (213) 821-0942 or visit