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Upstate Medical University team awarded funding in SUNY startup summer school

By Eric Reinhardt


SUNY Chancellor James Malatras holds a $10,000 check for Taurus Diagnostics, a startup from Upstate Medical University that includes Gennady Bratslavsky and Thomas Sanford. They secured the funding during the virtual SUNY Startup Summer School Class of 2021 Demo Day. PHOTO CREDIT: SUNY

SYRACUSE — Taurus Diagnostics, a startup company at Upstate Medical University, secured funding during the SUNY Startup Summer School (S4) Class of 2021 Demo Day virtual event.

Taurus Diagnostics includes Dr. Gennady Bratslavsky and Dr. Thomas Sanford of Upstate Medical University, per an Aug. 11 SUNY news release. A student from Stony Brook University on Long Island was the other grant recipient. 

Both Bratslavsky and Sanford are members of Upstate Medical’s urology faculty, and they plan to use their grant funding to pursue new imaging technology to aid in the detection of prostate cancer, per a news release on the Upstate Medical website.

In addition to each team earning a $10,000 S4 technology-accelerator-fund catalyst investment, SUNY will also provide each winning team follow-on support to identify and write proposals for grant funding. That funding will allow the teams to continue commercializing their technology, SUNY said. 

In addition, the Venture Advisors — successful entrepreneurs and seasoned executives — will continue to serve as mentors and coaches to the most promising teams from the S4 Class of 2021. They’ll be providing additional business development and commercialization support in the coming months.

Demo Day is designed to showcase grant proposals and research of 153 SUNY students and faculty in the “emerging technologies” fields. Recent studies show small businesses employ nearly 50 percent of American workers, and about 43 percent of American businesses were at least temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with employment falling by about 40 percent.

Dr. Thomas Sanford (left) and Dr. Gennady Bratslavsky, the principals behind Taurus Diagnostics, a startup at Upstate Medical University, secured $10,000 in funding during the virtual SUNY Startup Summer School Class of 2021 Demo Day. PHOTO CREDIT: UPSTATE MEDICAL UNIVERSITY WEBSITE

“Being an entrepreneur takes a strong team working together collaboratively, and that’s especially the case with breakthrough research,” SUNY Chancellor James Malatras said. “Programs like the SUNY Startup Summer School help to give our students, faculty, and staff opportunities where they wouldn’t have them otherwise. Our SUNY participants are helping spur innovation crucial to society. I’m excited by what we’re doing — and we need to do more. This is where we give students — no matter their background —opportunities to succeed. My congratulations to this year’s winners from Stony Brook University and Upstate Medical, as well as all the participants that made this year’s competition a success.”

This year’s competition had a 20 percent increase in participation from the previous year. In all, 153 faculty, students, and staff and 22 SUNY campuses were involved in this year’s program, SUNY said.

S4 provides faculty, students, and staff with the knowledge and networks that will enable them to commercialize breakthrough technology and offers virtual accelerated entrepreneurial education and training for participants to help them secure the initial funding needed to get their technology to market. 

“SUNY’s innovative and research power can be found throughout our system in labs, fieldwork, the classroom, and the S4 competition has brought together the best and brightest minds who are looking to use their talents to better support entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout New York state as we work to rebuild after the pandemic. Over the span of nearly three months, faculty, students, and staff worked tirelessly at their proposals and fine-tuning their pitches, while receiving assistance from experts and connecting with industry leaders,” Courtney Burke, a member of the SUNY board of trustees, said.        

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