Four Kent State Teams Accepted Into Summer 2019 I-Corps Program

Kent State University will represent a full third of the 12 teams accepted to the I-Corps @ Akron Summer 2019 Cohort. The University of Akron Research Foundation announced the selections on May 29.

I-Corps @ Akron is a public-private partnership program, developed by the University of Akron Research Foundation and funded by the National Science Foundation, which teaches faculty innovators to identify and leverage commercialization opportunities for technologies developed from academic research, and offers entrepreneurship training to student participants. The Summer Cohort is a new idea from UA, and squeezes the normal seven-week program into four weeks during June and early July.

“We really appreciate the University of Akron Research Foundation developing a compressed schedule for the very valuable I-Corps program,” said Stephen Roberts, Kent State’s Director of Technology Commercialization. “This schedule works well for our faculty and students, and of course we are pleased that we had four strong teams apply.”

The four Kent State teams are:

  1. Toxic Gas Detector Team- Torel, LLC. Elda Hegmann and Torsten Hegmann, Academic Leads; Marianne Prévôt, Entrepreneurial Lead; Nikki DiFilippo, Entrepreneurial Mentor.
  2. Liquid Crystal Fabric, Diabetic Sock Team. Jill Kawalec, College of Podiatric Medicine (CPM), Academic Lead; Jim Griggy, Entrepreneurial Mentor.
  3. Male Fertility Kit Team. Antal Jakli, Academic Lead; Haumed Rahmani, Entrepreneurial Lead; and Stephen Roberts, Entrepreneurial Mentor.
  4. Human Cell Team. Oleg Lavrentovich, Academic Lead; Taras Turiv, Entrepreneurial Lead; and Bahman Taheri, Entrepreneurial Mentor.

The four teams follow two others from Kent State that successfully completed the Spring I-Corps @ Akron program — the Shear Force Mat Team (Vincent Hetherington, CPM; Peter Palffy-Muhoray and Hiroshi Yokoyama, Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute [AMLCI]; Tianyi Guo and Misha Pevnyi) and Fast Optical Switch Team (Antal Jakli, AMLCI; Jenieve Cumberland and Stephen Roberts). The Shear Force Mat team used valuable information from potential customers to win the 2019 LaunchTown Experience™ competition held at Baldwin Wallace University in late April and the $7,000 cash first prize.

            Roberts said the timing of Kent State’s successes in the program is fortunate, given the University’s other recent initiatives to drive innovation and tech commercialization in the region.

“The I-Corps program is excellent preparation for the upcoming Round Two of the TeCK Fund, our joint technology validation and startup partnership with Cleveland State University and the Ohio Third Frontier Fund,” he said. “Teams which explore customer discovery through the I-Corps process have a real advantage when applying for TeCK Fund prototyping and market validation funding.”

Further information about the I-Corps @ Akron program can be found at:

Media Contact: Dan Pompili, 330-672-0731,

POSTED: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 11:16am
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 11:47am
Technology Commercialization