CURFCLEMSON  — The Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF) announced Thursday that it has awarded funding to five Clemson researchers to further develop their Clemson technologies through a newly established program, the CURF Technology Maturation Fund.

“The CURF Technology Maturation Fund is unlike any other source of funding available to Clemson faculty,” said Casey Porto, executive director of CURF. “This funding supports the last critical step that will significantly increase the likelihood of commercialization of Clemson intellectual property.”

Only Clemson faculty members are eligible for the fund while postdoctoral research associates, graduate students and undergraduate students may participate as co-investigators

Winning projects ranged from approximately $20,000 to $36,000 each.

  • Apparao Rao, R.A. Bowen professor of physics and the director of Clemson’s Nanomaterials Research Laboratory, will optimize his roll-to-roll process for carbon nanotube electrode production to make it viable for industrial manufacturing. His team will identify ideal electrolytes, separators and assemble and test prototype devices in collaboration with a commercial partner.
  • Alexey Vertegel, associate professor of bioengineering, has developed a new technology for manufacturing cost-effective natural antioxidants. This patented Clemson technology will be used in a scale-up study to produce two to three tons of antioxidant that can be tested by potential customers to accelerate commercialization.
  • Modi Wetzler, research assistant professor of chemistry, will demonstrate the improved properties of peptides by incorporating his team’s patented pre-PEGylated amino acids and scale-up the synthesis so that there is enough material to distribute to at least 10 collaborators who will, in turn, perform research and publish, thus demonstrating the research market for these new PEGylated amino acids.

The CURF Technology Maturation Fund was established to further enhance the research and innovation culture at Clemson while raising the awareness of Clemson research in the innovation and investment communities. Proposals were solicited through a request for proposals issued by CURF last May. CURF expects to issue another solicitation for proposals next spring.

“We congratulate the Clemson researchers who received funding in the first round of the CURF Technology Maturation Fund,” said CURF board chair Frank Landgraff. “We are excited to support innovation and investment in Clemson research, enabling more Clemson ideas to move from the lab to the marketplace.”


Clemson University Research Foundation
The Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF) is a nonprofit corporation that facilitates the transfer of Clemson University’s intellectual property to the private sector for commercial development and societal benefit. To learn more about CURF services and to view current technologies available for license, visit

Clemson University
Ranked No. 20 among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land-grant, science- and engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching and student success. Clemson is an inclusive, student-centered community characterized by high academic standards, a culture of collaboration, school spirit and a competitive drive to excel.