CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT today announced it is awarding $550,000 in grants to seven MIT research teams that are currently working on discoveries that could revolutionize drug development and delivery, surgical procedures and trauma care, safety products in sports and water purification processes, among others. Founded three years ago, The Deshpande Center serves as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting leading-edge MIT research and increasing the impact of MIT technologies in the marketplace. Since its inception, the Center has funded 51 projects with over $6M in grants. Nine projects have "rolled out" as independent startups, having collectively raised over $36M in outside financing from top tier VCs. The spring 2006 grant recipients are: Angela Belcher and David Clapham: Fast discovery of ion-channel targeting drugs This nanotechnology-based approach to monitoring key proteins could open up new drug markets worth billions. Rutledge Ellis-Behnke: New compound stops bleeding instantly A new transparent compound that stops bleeding instantly, including during operations, providing the potential to revolutionize surgery and trauma care. Paula Hammond: Implant coatings for sequential drug delivery "Smart" drug coatings that can conform to medical devices of any shape (e.g. stents, bone implants, pills and micro particles) and that allow the release of multiple drugs at varied times could make multiple surgical procedures and drug-doing schedules a thing of the past. Michael Cima: Medicine delivery method for bladder disorders A new device to provide medicine over a period of time that treats bladder disorders from incontinence to interstitial cystitis to cancer. Laurence Young: Improved safety helmets The creation of a new safety helmet to help reduce the number of localized head injuries children and adults receive in sports and industrial-related accidents. Michael Stonebraker: Next-generation data transformation tool A data transformation technology that will allow for various formatted data to be converged into a centralized database. Amy Smith: New method for water purification The creation of a new incubator to test for bacterial contamination in water sources within developing communities. "The real-world implications of MIT research are critical to improving way of life worldwide. The purpose of the Deshpande Center is to bring these innovations out of the lab by bringing the gap often created when discoveries are noted to have potential, but require additional resources to prove their viability," said Charles Cooney, faculty director of the Deshpande Center. "To date, our efforts have successfully begun supplying a badly needed missing ingredient in the innovation ecosystem -- one that must be nurtured and sustained to generate growth in employment and competition in a dynamic economy. We look forward to working with this list of grant recipients to bring their research to fruition." Each spring and fall, the Deshpande Center awards $50,000 Ignition Grants, which funds proof-of-concept explorations, and Innovation Grants ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 to help recipients assess and reduce the technical and market risks associated with their innovations. In addition to financial support, the Deshpande Center's network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academic and legal experts helps recipients assess the commercial potential of their innovations and make decisions that accelerate progress toward the development of a business plan or licensing strategy. All projects are featured at the Center's annual IdeaStream Symposium at MIT which is sponsored by several leading firms including Accenture, Choate Hall & Stewart and Qualcomm, being held this April 13, 2006. About the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation The Deshpande Center is part of the MIT School of Engineering and was established through an initial $20 millions gift from Jaishree Deshpande and Desh Deshpande, the co-founder and chairman of Sycamore Networks. It serves as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting leading-edge research and bridging the gap between the laboratory and marketplace. The Deshpande Center supports a wide range of emerging technologies including biotechnology, medical devices, information technology, new materials, "tiny technologies" and environmental innovation. Additional information on the Deshpande Center's grant program, research portfolio and other entrepreneurial resources can be found at http://web.mit.edu/deshpandecenter/index.html.