CURF awards grants to faculty to accelerate commercialization of technologies 

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The Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF) has announced seven researchers will receive Technology Maturation Fund grants to support the last critical step in development. The projects supported by this fund include: prototype and minimal viable product development, bench to scale up activities to generate material samples for application testing, beta field testing, and pre-clinical studies.

“The Technology Maturation Fund is a unique program that affords researchers the opportunity to further develop their technologies through licensing or industry collaboration,” said Chris Gesswein, CURF’s Executive Director, “Since the launch of the program in 2014, CURF has awarded over $870,000 in maturation funds to Clemson researchers. The success of the Fund’s Principle Investigators, which has generated significant follow-on research dollars, and the execution of multiple commercial licenses for the technologies funded through this program are strong indicators of the positive impact this program has had on the Clemson University research enterprise.”

This year’s awards range from $5,000 to $60,000 and were granted to:

  • Kendall Kirk, precision agriculture engineer in the Edisto Research and Education Center: to pursue construction of five pre-production hay yield monitor prototypes to be used in test and evaluation field trials. The monitoring system, which can be retro-fitted to existing hay balers currently in the market, will allow hay growers to generate precision yield data for zones within a specific field.
  • Alexey Vertegel, associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering: to further develop a polymeric coating that can cling to metal implants. The technology can significantly reduce the burden of orthopedic implant pin site infections through the utilization of highly adhesive anti-microbial drug-eluting polymeric coatings.
  • Liang Dong, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering: to create efficient all-solid photonic bandgap fiber lasers based on a three-level laser scheme system. The system, which operates at a 976nm wavelength, will improve scale precision processes in industrial micro-machining.
  • Igor Luzinov, professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering: to further develop a textile dyeing and finishing technology, created in conjunction with the University of Georgia (UGA), for exceptionally efficient and sustainable textile dyeing machinery using nanocellulosic (NC) fibers. The refined technology will decrease the amount of water, salt and alkali used in cotton/blended fabric dyeing processes to mitigate the environmental impact of these by-products.
  • Jiro Nagatomi, professor in the Department of Bioengineering: to work to develop a novel mesh-adhesive system for abdominal hernia repair by combining a bifunctional polyamine hydrogel adhesive with a surface modification technology. This method does not have the drawbacks of traditional processes used to repair abdominal hernias and will be valuable in delivering a patient-specific solution for hernia repair.
  • Dan Simionescu, professor in the Department of Bioengineering: to continue development of vascular grafts that are resistant to diabetes. Numerous surgeons use small diameter synthetic grafts during bypass surgery to salvage failing limbs or hearts in diabetic patients; however, many of these grafts fail dramatically in diabetic patients. This targeted approach solves the unmet need for “off-the-shelf” graft solutions that are resistant to complications associated with diabetes.
  • Christopher Post, professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation: to further develop a commercial color sensor smart-phone application that can be used for automated soil evaluation. Assessment of soil color has traditionally been accomplished visually by matching soil color with printed color ‘chips.’ This innovative color sensor will greatly improve the accuracy and reproducibility of the soil classification process.

Clemson University Research Foundation
The Clemson University Research Foundation manages technology transfer for Clemson’s thriving innovation environment. Established in 1981, CURF is a 501(c)(3) corporation founded exclusively for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. CURF operates for the benefit of, to perform the functions of and to carry out the purposes of Clemson University. CURF is governed by a board of directors who are leaders in the public and private sectors.

CURF will be accepting applications for the fiscal year 2020 Technology Maturation Fund this spring, the RFP release and proposal deadlines to be announced. For more information, visit curf.clemson.eduor contact the CURF office at


CURF welcomes director of business development

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Chase Kasper, the assistant vice president for research, technology transfer, and corporate engagement at the University of Southern Mississippi, has been named Director of Business Development for the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF). He will assume his new role February 1.

As the Director of Business Development, Kasper will play a critical role in implementing CURF’s mission. By collaborating with Clemson University colleges, departments, and the Division of Research, and to continue building upon the University’s vision of supporting and guiding Clemson researchers who seek to mature their technologies, Kasper will be connecting faculty with the right industry commercialization partners.

During his tenure at the University of Southern Mississippi, Kasper helped establish and grow the newly formed Office of Technology Development, which serves as the technology transfer arm for the university. He also managed corporate relations and served as the Facilities Security Officer and Senior Insider Threat Program Officer. Under his leadership, the University of Southern Mississippi substantially increased the number of agreements negotiated and executed annually with the private sector.

Prior to joining the University of Southern Mississippi in 2013, Kasper worked at Mississippi State University for almost 10 years, transitioning from Manager of the MSU Research and Technology Corporation, to the Interim Director of the Office of Technology Commercialization, to the Associate Director of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer. Kasper also worked in industry for nearly 14 years prior to working in university settings. 

Kasper is finishing his last year as Cabinet Chair of the Membership Portfolio for the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), and he is a member of the National Association of Corporate Relations Officers (NACRO) and the Association of University Export Control Officers (AUECO). He has been involved with the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP) and led the effort for the University of Southern Mississippi to join UIDP.

Kasper holds a Bachelor of Business and a Master of Business Administration, both from Mississippi State University, also a land-grant institution.

Rebecca Kasper, his wife, will be joining him in his move to the Upstate.

Clemson University Research Foundation makes strategic shift

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Established in 1981, the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF) is a 501(c)(3) organization exclusively founded for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes. Since its founding, CURF’s main objective has been to encourage, promote, and support research, development, and related activities of Clemson University.  During its 37 years of operation, CURF has supported diverse research initiatives and facilitated technology transfer at Clemson University. In assisting Clemson faculty with moving their technologies out of the laboratory and into the commercial markets, CURF has served as a key connection between University faculty and industry.


Recently, CURF was challenged with an opportunity to strengthen their support of the CU Research Enterprise through a broader service offering and to reshape their brand in a way that will maximize their ability to operate at the convergence of multiple disciplines.  To meet such a challenge, CURF has partnered with The Brand Leader, a full-service branding firm, to clarify the CURF mission, values, and services to their primary stakeholders, increase visibility of their expanded support role, and promote opportunities for future collaborative research engagements between CU faculty and industry.


The power of the CURF brand lies in CURF’s ability to initiate and build research partnerships between Clemson faculty inventors and industry by leveraging its established core competencies in technology transfer, Intellectual Property, and business development. The basis of CURF’s success is relational and not transactional. In the past, the CURF brand has been primarily focused in marketing the technologies produced and disclosed by faculty researchers at Clemson. As CURF takes the steps to realign their brand with the ClemsonForward 2020 plan, the main focus of their brand will be geared towards providing faculty with the resources they need to promote not only their disclosed technologies, but also their research expertise and interests to a broader audience with the intent of contributing to an overall increase in high-impact research activities throughout the entire Research Enterprise.


After being in business for nearly four decades, CURF recognizes that the needs and interests of their diverse internal and external customers has evolved. It is CURF’s goal  to keep pace with the evolution of their customer base and their needs. Revising the CURF brand voice and strategically positioning their message with the ClemsonForward 2020 plan, will allow CURF to promote and guide their stakeholders to successful outcomes, not only in technology transfer, but in sponsored research engagements throughout the Institute.