This story was adapted from the full announcement published by the Office of the Dean for Research.

Princeton University has announced support for a series of scientific investigations to boost crop yields, expand pharmaceutical shelf-life, and increase the accuracy of AI medical diagnostics through the University’s Intellectual Property (IP) Accelerator Fund.

Each grant, of up to $100,000, is designed to help promising discoveries advance to the point where they can make a meaningful societal impact. “Through these grants, Princeton University helps ensure that these discoveries can become the basis of tomorrow’s life-changing technologies and services,” said John Ritter, executive director of Princeton’s Office of Technology Licensing.

The Fund is one of several seed funding programs administered by the Office of the Dean for Research.

The seven projects awarded in 2024 are:

Long-term breast milk preservation

Bonnie L. Bassler, Squibb Professor in Molecular Biology, chair of the Department of Molecular Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

A powder made of infant-safe ingredients that preserves pumped breast milk for long periods, and test strips to measure nutritional value and shelf life.

Biotechnology to meet global agricultural challenges

Jonathan Conway, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering

A technology to stave off plant disease by harnessing bacteria that enhance the growth and nutrition of widely grown food crops including corn and soybeans.

Sustainable method to create flavors and fragrances

José Avalos, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

A method that uses engineered yeast to produce chemicals used in fragrances, flavors and pharmaceuticals currently extracted from crops that use up land and water resources, or synthesized in chemical factories that create harmful byproducts..

Shelf-stable biomedical therapeutics

Maksim Mezhericher, research scholar in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Howard Stone, Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

A system for dehydrating liquid biological medicines and vaccines to make shelf-stable pharmaceuticals that could eliminate the need for expensive refrigeration during transportation and storage of vital drugs.

Laser-based system to track emissions of planet-warming gas from farm fields

Mark Zondlo, professor of civil and environmental engineering

An affordable and user-friendly sensor that detects the planet-warming gas nitrous oxide to help farmers reduce agricultural contributions to climate change.

Enhancing the reliability of AI-driven medical diagnoses

Niraj Jha, professor of electrical and computer engineering

An artificial intelligence software package to dramatically enhance the reliability of AI for medical diagnosis and applications in business, cybersecurity, law and other areas where accuracy is essential.

Laser-engraved tiles for evaporative cooling of building facades

Reza Moini, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, Forrest Meggers, associate professor of architecture and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and Lara Tomholt, distinguished postdoctoral fellow, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

Tiny channels etched with lasers into building surfaces to draw moisture into thin layers for evaporation. The technique cuts energy costs by allowing buildings to shed heat in a mechanism similar to the human body sweating.


  • Jonathan Conway

  • José Avalos

  • Howard Stone

  • Mark Zondlo

  • Niraj Jha

  • Reza Moini

  • Forrest Meggers


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    Chemical and Biological Engineering

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    Omenn-Darling Bioengineering Institute