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The Center for Technology Licensing (CTL) at Cornell University is proud to announce the selection of six talented individuals for the second cohort of the Ignite Fellow for New Ventures program. These fellows, chosen for their entrepreneurial outlooks, technical expertise, and new venture proposal, will work with faculty inventors to establish companies based on Cornell’s technologies. The program aims to foster innovation and support the translation of research into real-world applications that can make a significant impact.

The program provides the Ignite Fellows with the necessary resources to demonstrate proof of concept and focus on expanding their technology and business strategies. Financial support is allocated toward the fellow’s compensation and basic experiment expenses.

“The six selected Fellows have applied to the program together with a faculty inventor,” said Alice Li, executive director at CTL. “The Fellows will embark on a transformative journey to translate the technologies coming out of the faculty’s labs to develop viable startups that have the potential to shape the future.” 

The selected venture projects encompass a diverse range of academic disciplines, demonstrating the breadth and depth of technologies emerging from Cornell University. “This approach not only fosters collaboration between fellows and faculty inventors but also unlocks the potential for transformative innovations that can address pressing challenges in various sectors,” said Li.

The selected fellows and their venture projects are:

Technology: Ultrasound-assisted Reproductive Technology

  • Fellow: Amir Mokhtare, Ph.D.
  • Faculty Inventor: Alireza Abbaspourrad, Ph.D., Yongkeun Joh Associate Professor of Food Chemistry and Ingredient Technology, Food Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Venture project: Amir will work to commercialize tools related to artificial reproductive technology (ART). The invention enables a non-contact solution for both male and female gametes generation as part of a platform that offers greater affordability for patients undergoing in vitro fertilization.

Technology: Augmented Reality Face Tracking

  • Fellow: Devansh Agarwal, MS
  • Faculty Inventor: Cheng Zhang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Cornell Bowers CIS
  • Venture project: Devansh will apply machine learning-based motion-tracking technology to capture and interpret inaudible pressure waves allowing the digital modeling of human body motion and facial expressions for a wide range of augmented reality devices.

Technology: Gallium Oxide Vertical Transistors

  • Fellow: Jonathan McCandless, Ph.D.
  • Faculty Inventor: Debdeep Jena, Ph.D., David E. Burr Professor of Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Venture project: Jonathan is working to commercialize gallium oxide vertical transistors. The team has developed novel fabrication methods that enable the use of Gallium Oxide transistors in high-voltage applications. Potential startup could apply the technology to power electronic devices, a large and growing market critical to advanced electrical transmission infrastructure.

Technology: Lubricin for Osteoarthritis Applications

  • Fellow: Marshall Colville, Ph.D.
  • Faculty Inventor: Matthew Paszek, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Venture project: The technology offers a new way to produce lubricin, a naturally occurring biomolecule that forms the low-friction barrier on cartilage. Potential applications include the treatment of Osteoarthritis, a disease affecting millions of people worldwide.

Technology: Tunable Wireless Radio

  • Fellow: Olalekan (Lekan) Afuye, Ph.D.
  • Faculty Inventor: Alyssa Apsel, Ph.D., IBM Professor of Engineering and Director, Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Venture project: The technology enables a reconfigurable wireless transceiver that can be used in a wide variety of wireless data transmission frequencies. Lekan will advance potential applications in software-defined radio chips, a large and growing global market.

Technology: Urban Design Software

  • Fellow: Yang Yang, Ph.D. candidate
  • Faculty Inventor: Timur Dogan, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, Cornell Architecture, Art, and Planning
  • Venture project: Professor Timur and Yang have developed a software-based mobility simulation and analysis tool for urban design. During the Fellowship, Yang will be  leading the effort for a startup for urban planners to make better design decisions that can lead to healthier, more sustainable, and more livable cities.

“Throughout the program, which consists of two phases, the Ignite fellows will receive comprehensive entrepreneurial training at the beginning of the program and continued learning opportunities organized by CTL, and mentorship by the incubator directors to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the complex landscape of entrepreneurship successfully,” said Lynda Inseque, director of Technology and Venture Initiatives & Engagement at CTL.

The Ignite Fellow for New Ventures Program continues to showcase Cornell University’s commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship, and collaboration. By nurturing the brightest minds and providing them with the resources and mentorship needed to succeed, the program aims to empower its fellows to make a lasting impact on society through technology-driven ventures.

Applications for the Fellow for New Ventures 2024 cohort open on November 13, 2023. Learn more about the program and application process here

The Ignite Fellow for New Ventures program is one of the signature programs of Ignite Cornell Research Lab to Market gap funding series. For more information, visit the official program website at

CTL Ignite Contact
Lynda Inséqué
Director, Technology and Venture Initiatives & Engagement

Aaron Delahanty
Venture Fellow

Media Contact
Veronica Buezo Talavera
Manager, Digital Media & Marketing