New Startups Built From UC Davis Innovations Drive Solutions in Food, Health and Agriculture

During the 2021-22 fiscal year, 13 startup companies executed agreements to access foundational intellectual property and commercialize new technologies developed at the University of California, Davis.

“The bold pursuit of novel solutions through research at UC Davis often results in new technologies and services aligned with a commercial pathway for impact,” said Prasant Mohapatra, vice chancellor for research at UC Davis. “In most cases those innovations are licensed to existing companies, but many also become the foundation for emerging startups. We are thrilled to see the success of this pathway continue at UC Davis.”

The process for connecting innovations from the university to commercial impact is managed by the Innovation and Technology Commercialization division, which is part of the Office of Research. During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the division processed 132 new records of invention and executed 48 license agreements.

The division’s Venture Catalyst unit focuses on advancing potential technologies with proof-of-concept funding and facilitating startup formation.

The University of California system of campuses ranks first in the world for the number of U.S. utility patents according to a recent report from the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association.

“Venture Catalyst, which was launched in 2013, provides resources to help campus innovators advance technologies and launch new companies,” said Janine Elliott, interim director Venture Catalyst. “It is exciting to see the results of these efforts and the broad range of solutions being advanced.”

Meeting needs in food, health and ag

In the last 10 years Venture Catalyst assisted 130 startups with foundational intellectual property. The 13 emerging startups over the past year are focused on developing technology to meet needs in food, health and agriculture.

One of the startups, Eunicera is developing novel therapeutics to treat and cure advanced drug-resistant prostate cancer. Co-founded by Allen Gao, a professor in the Department of Urology, the company’s proprietary, orally bioavailable small molecules targeting both AKR1C3 and androgen receptor variants either work alone or in combination with current therapies to overcome and prevent treatment resistance.

Another company, Optimized Foods is propelled by innovations in the food technology and cultivated meat sectors. By using a novel approach in mycelium technology, the team is creating nutritious, sustainable foods, starting with cultured caviar. Minami Ogawa, a graduate student in the Department of Food Science, discovered how the innovation could be harnessed as an ideal proprietary scaffold for cell cultivation. In parallel, Ruihong Zhang, a professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and her lab had been developing foundational elements of the platform for food applications. The company’s platform is focused on making the dream of cultivated meat a reality, and improving human, animal and planetary health.

Peak B is commercializing natural alternatives to synthetic food colorants with superior color qualities, stability and potency. The UC Davis-led startup has discovered a cyan blue color, solving one of the biggest challenges in the food industry’s search to source natural food colorants. The researchers examined anthocyanin, a water-soluble pigment that’s found in many familiar fruits and vegetables, giving them their vibrant red, purple, pink and blue hues. A specific anthocyanin was discovered in red cabbage that displayed the desired blue properties. Since the amount of anthocyanin is small in red cabbage, they used an enzyme-based process to turn its other anthocyanins into blue. Co-founded by Justin Siegel, an associate professor in  chemistry, biochemistry and molecular medicine, the company’s patented enzyme-based process now turns extracts from natural sources into blue and green colorants that can be used in a variety of food applications.

Additional companies that executed agreements to access the foundational intellectual property from UC Davis during the 2021-22 fiscal year are highlighted below. Three companies have chosen to remain in “stealth mode” for competitive reasons and are not listed.

  • AIVision aims to reduce toxic chemical use and food loss through early insect detection. The company is co-founded by Zhongli Pan, an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering.
  • Artisyn Laboratories is developing sustainable wellness products for the commercial market. The company is co-founded by Mark Mascal, a professor in the Department of Chemistry.
  • Hope Medical is focused on developing a medical device that helps patients with difficulties swallowing. The company is co-founded by Peter Belafsky, a professor in the Department of Otolaryngology.
  • Kobin is developing precision agriculture utilizing aerial data analytics. The company is co-founded by Alireza Pourreza, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering.
  • Mirnova Therapeutics is developing small molecules and microRNA drugs for the treatment of traumatic brain injury and other neurological disorders. The company is co-founded by Da Zhi Liu, an adjunct professor in the Department of Neurology.
  • Prism Bio is pioneering the use of biotechnology to produce natural protein-pigment based colors based on natural light-sensing pigment systems from plants and algae to deliver all colors in the visible spectrum. These sustainable natural colors can be used in food, industrial and personal care products, and health applications. Their technology will have a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Co-founders include John Clark Lagarias, a distinguished professor emeritus in the College of Biological Sciences, and Justin Siegel, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry.
  • VGN Bio Inc. is developing unique cancer drug candidates from viral protein sequences that have evolved over millions of years of co-evolution. The company is co-founded by Yoshihiro Izumiya, an assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology.

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Organizational Updates for ITC

From Vice Chancellor for Research Prasant Mohapatra

We have several changes within the ITC organization that we would like to bring to your attention. First, Bill Tucker, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Technology Commercialization returned to full retirement on July 31, 2022. We sure appreciate Bill stepping back in to help us since his initial entry into retirement. Bill provided exemplary leadership for technology transfer across the UC—in roles at UCOP and UC Davis. We are grateful for all his contributions.

During this transition, I appointed Denise Ehlen to serve as Interim AVC for ITC in addition to her existing role as AVC for Research Administration and Central Services. Since this appointment, Denise launched a strategic planning process with the ITC team to develop a roadmap to continue to provide best in class service to the research community. While much of that work continues, we are happy to report the following interim leadership appointments.

  • Eugene Sisman will serve as the Interim Director of InnovationAccess. Eugene is a seasoned and talented technology transfer professional with expertise in IP strategy. He will be instrumental in guiding the team through the leadership transition. Eugene and Denise will share responsibility for the InnovationAccess team.
  • Janine Elliott will serve as Interim Director of Venture Catalyst. Under her guidance, the team will continue to provide critical services and support to our innovators. Janine brings a strong entrepreneurial spirit, non-profit leadership acumen and operations expertise to the role.
  • Dianna Francis will serve as the Interim Contracts Team Leader bringing extensive MTA/DTA expertise and her experience as an IP Officer to this important position. The Office of Research has also engaged external consultants to support the Contracts Team in order to rebalance the equilibrium between workload and available resources.

Michael Carriere will continue to lead the Plant Variety Team.  Michael’s strong UCOP, UC Davis, and scientific expertise ensures continuity of services and a focus on meeting the needs of UC Davis innovators and the agricultural community.

Please contact Denise Ehlen if you have questions related to these changes or current needs.

Team Research Forum: The 17-Year Research Gap Problem

Despite acceleration in the pace of new discoveries and therapies, the delay between scientific evidence and clinical practice – a frequently-stated “17-year gap” – is of growing concern.  Shortening this 17-year gap between research and practice requires an increased understanding of what it takes to implement new research such that professional guidelines and clinical practice reflect the best and latest research.

Join the Office of Research and the UC Davis School of Medicine Friday, September 23rd at 10:30am for a conversation with UC Davis experts on how we can work toward reducing this gap by engaging in multidisciplinary and team research approaches at our institution and beyond.

Register for this event


Dr. Ulfat Shaikhulfat shaikh portrait

Dr. Ulfat Shaikh is the Director for Healthcare Quality at the University of California Davis School of Medicine and the Co-Director of the CTSC Healthcare Delivery Science Program. She is a board-certified pediatrician at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital. Dr. Shaikh’s expertise is in measuring performance in healthcare and supporting clinicians in designing, implementing and evaluating quality improvement initiatives. She has led training and coaching programs in health care quality improvement methods for public, private, and academic organizations.


Dr. Ted Wunted wun portrait

Ted Wun M.D., FACP, is the Associate Dean for Research for the School of Medicine, the director and principal investigator of the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC), and chief of hematology and oncology for UC Davis Health. He also serves as co-principal investigator of the California Cancer Reporting and Epidemiologic Surveillance (CalCARES) program, which manages the California Cancer Registry.

As Associate Dean for Research, Wun has broad oversight and responsibility for the research enterprise at the School of Medicine. The CTSC is charged with building the research teams of the future to improve human health, and is committed to enhancing the rigor of, and growing the breadth and depth of, research at UC Davis.


aubyn stahmer portraitDr. Aubyn Stahmer

Dr. Stahmer is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Director of the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the MIND Institute. She is an expert in the translation of evidence-based autism research to community-based practice and delivery.

The main goals of her research include developing ways to help community providers, such as teachers and therapists, help autistic children and their families by providing high quality care. She is an internationally respected expert in the use of naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions which are validated treatments for autism.


janice bell portraitDr. Janice Bell

Janice Bell is a Professor and Associate Dean for Research in the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. She also directs the School’s Family Caregiving Institute and the PhD program in Nursing Science and Healthcare Leadership. Dr. Bell’s work focuses on serious illness care models with a focus on family caregivers. She leads the evaluation of the Alameda County Care Alliance (ACCA) Advanced Illness Care Program, a lay “Care Navigator” intervention innovated by a consortium of San Francisco Bay Area African American churches to address advanced illness care disparities among persons with serious illness and their caregivers. Bell is also co-PI on project to evaluate the California state-funded expansion of services in the statewide Caregiver Resource Centers. This includes the roll-out of a new technology application called CareNavTM, a user-friendly tool designed to help families navigate the complexities of the caregiving journey by providing access to information, care consultation, resources and referrals.

2022 Chancellor’s Innovation Awards Honor Contributions to Society

June 28, 2022

By Neelanjana Gautam

The University of California, Davis, announced the recipients of the 2022 Chancellor’s Innovation Awards at an in-person event on June 16. The awards recognize faculty, community partners and industry leaders developing innovative solutions to improve the lives of others and address important needs in our global society.

“Innovation is at the heart of our mission at UC Davis,” said Chancellor Gary S. May. “We are driven to take action by creating new inventions beyond the boundaries of our campus. These award winners are groundbreakers who improve society as their innovations move out of the lab and into the world.”

The awards include Innovator of the Year, Innovative Community Partner and Lifetime Achievement in Innovation. The program is managed by the Office of Research.

“I would like to congratulate the recipients of this year’s awards and applaud their commitment to bringing forth solutions to important challenges,” said Prasant Mohapatra, vice chancellor for research. “These honorees represent the bold and creative spirit common to UC Davis — to search beyond the expected and seek opportunities to make the world a better place.”

Innovators of the Year

The Innovator of the Year award recognizes faculty, staff, or teams whose innovative or entrepreneurial activities have had a measurable societal impact in the last year, or those whose activities or achievements in the last year have a very strong potential to make a significant impact in the future. Recipients receive $10,000, to advance their research or engage in community efforts.

Ermias Kebreab, professor in the Department of Animal Science, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Ermias Kebreab and colleagues have found an ingenious solution to reduce methane — a type of greenhouse gas — emissions from dairy cows. Research has shown that cow burps represent more than four percent of global annual greenhouse gas emissions. Each year, one cow can belch 220 pounds of methane, contributing to climate change.

In 2018, the Kebreab lab started testing at the UC Davis Dairy barn to see if feeding seaweed to 12 Holstein cows would reduce methane emissions. The preliminary findings showed substantial reductions in methane, leading Kebreab to expand the testing with additional cattle in summer 2020. In that project, Kebreab and his team experimented with 21 beef cattle by adding a scant amount of seaweed to their daily diet. Through this work, they were able to prove that cattle which consumed doses of 80 grams (three ounces) of seaweed per day emitted up to 82 percent less methane in addition to a better weight gain compared to their herd mates. The findings published in the journal PLOS ONE have shown the importance of combining modeling and experimental research.

Kebreab’s innovative work on alternative cattle nutrition has been gaining worldwide attention for its climate friendly attributes as summarized in his TED talk. The impact of this discovery has huge implications on the livestock sector, the potential use of seaweed to curb methane emission from the ruminant industry, and the ways in which it can impact climate change globally.


Delmar Larsen, professor in the Department of Chemistry, College of Letters and Science

Delmar Larsen has developed an innovative solution to eliminate the barrier of high-cost textbooks on education and increase accessibility to students around the world. His work developing LibreTexts –– an internet library of free and open-source educational resources for K-12 and college courses –– has been recognized as an all-inclusive hub for student learning across the world.

Back in 2008, when Larsen learned that nearly one quarter of the students in his chemistry class could not afford to buy the textbook for his course, he created ChemWiki, now known as LibreTexts, for students of chemistry so they could access course materials for free through their web browser. Since then, the project has expanded with a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. As external funding scaled up, Larsen engaged a team of undergraduate students and faculty to contribute and grow this resource, saving UC Davis students alone more than one million a year. Today, LibreTexts includes 15 libraries including chemistry, biology, business, history, statistics, Spanish and more, along with the new Ukrainian library while registering 850 million page views with 6.6 millennia of confirmed student reading. The site allows instructors to customize and quickly change material to meet specific needs of students and reflect current events. Importantly, anyone can contribute to the project including faculty, students and experts.

Its global impact was noticeable during the pandemic when the site proved to be a personalized resource for its 223 million student base and saw an especially rapid growth in traffic for its biology, physics and mathematics sections. The site has delivered 100K English-language pageviews to Ukraine and is scaling up operations to meet the educational needs of displaced students in Ukraine from the current war.

The online distribution aspect of ​​LibreTexts has saved students an estimated $50 million in textbook costs. Larsen hopes to see the platform adapted into a statewide infrastructure. In 2020, the project received a $1 million innovation grant, from the state of California’s Learning Lab, to build the free ADAPT homework system to accompany the textbooks. LibreTexts’ ability to democratize access to expensive STEM textbooks is especially important for diversity, equity and inclusion of first-generation college students, low-income students and minority-serving institutions in the sciences.

Lifetime Achievement Awards in Innovation

The Lifetime Achievement Awards in Innovation recognize researchers whose career accomplishments include innovations leading to a long-term positive impact on the lives of others and who are an inspiring influence for other innovators.

Jan Nolta, professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy and Internal Medicine, School of Medicine

Jan Nolta serves as the director of the Stem Cell Program and the UC Davis Gene Therapy Center in the Institute for Regenerative Cures at UC Davis Health in Sacramento. Nolta has gained reputation as a prolific scientist with over three decades of experience in human stem cells, gene therapy, and clinical trial development. She has been a tireless contributor to the field of regenerative medicine-related cures for a spectrum of diseases and injuries. She started her career helping to develop stem cell gene therapy treatments for “bubble baby disease.”

Over the past few years, Nolta has been collaborating with an interdisciplinary team including UC Davis Health professors Mehrdad AbediJoseph Tuscano, and Gerhard Bauer to pioneer the California CAR-T program for cancer patients. To advance this innovation, Nolta’s group is cultivating potent cancer killers to currently treat leukemia and lymphoma in relapsed patients, and which may tackle kidney, ovarian and bladder cancers down the line. The team is helping to facilitate change that would drive the cost of CAR-T therapies down while increasing accessibility so that life-saving, cutting edge therapies can be provided to all patients in an equitable manner.

Nolta’s current research is focused on developing therapies that will use mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to deliver factors for treating Huntington’s disease and other disorders and injuries. She is the scientific director of the Good Manufacturing Practice clean room facility at UC Davis, where stem cells of different types are being isolated or expanded for clinical trials.

Nolta has received multiple awards from the beginning of her career. Early awards include New Investigator Award in 1999; Research Career and Development Award, 1996; and an NIH award in 1997. More awards followed later including Huntington’s Disease Society of America Distinguished Leadership Award, 2008, California State University, Sacramento Distinguished Service Award, 2009, Excellence in Mentoring, and many more. She has published over 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts in the stem cell field and has been Editor-in-Chief for the Journal “Stem Cells” since 2013.

Nolta’s desire to serve the community and to make an impact in the lives of people has been one of the major driving forces for many of her career accomplishments. Her group focuses on “bench to the bedside” research, and she has been involved in numerous clinical trials of gene and cell therapy. As a first- generation faculty member, Nolta has been an advocate of a diverse science and healthcare workforce of the future and is currently leading or assisting with numerous training programs. Her passion is in training other first-generation students, and those from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences.

Innovative Community Partner Award


Although startup incubators and office co-working spaces are not novel ideas, when AgStart was founded in 2012 through collaboration between the University of California Davis and a regional non-profit, the AgStart program was one of the first in the country focused exclusively on supporting innovators in Agriculture and Food technology. For much of its first decade, AgStart existed as a ’virtual’ incubator supporting entrepreneurs with mentorship, education, community, and connections to resources in our California Ag-&-Food ecosystem.

In May 2021 the program blossomed to include The Lab@AgStart, the largest wet-lab incubator for startup companies in California’s Central Valley region, which gives innovators and startup entrepreneurs access to sophisticated wet-lab and food lab facilities and equipment, along with office and co-working space.  The lab is a member of the UC Davis (DRIVE™) Network of Venture Catalyst, and it’s managed by Michael Clayton, a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of domestic and international experience in the social venture space.

The Lab@AgStart is now fully-occupied with startup company researchers and currently houses several UC Davis spinouts, including PheronymMyFloraDNAPrism BioBCD Bioscience and Astrid Pharma, among others. These and other startups at AgStart employ UC Davis Ph.D. graduates as well as providing employment experiences for undergraduate interns. The speed with which startup companies filled the Lab@AgStart facility demonstrates the pent-up demand for ag-tech and food/biotech related infrastructure in the region. In its first year of operation, startup companies residing at the incubator created over 24 new full-time professional jobs and brought over $45 million in private capital investment to the region.

About the awards program

The UC Davis Chancellor’s Innovation Awards program was established in 2016 to celebrate the university’s innovative contributions to the regional and global community. The program is run by Venture Catalyst, a unit within the Innovation and Technology Commercialization division of the Office of Research.

The call for nominations for this year’s award was issued in March 2022.

Nominations were reviewed by a selection committee consisting of past recipients, representatives from the Office of Research, external partners and delegates named by the deans of various UC Davis schools and colleges. Committee members rated each nomination based on a predetermined protocol evaluating the uniqueness of the innovation(s) and their potential societal impact. Recommendations from the committee were then submitted to the chancellor and provost and executive vice chancellor, and vice chancellor of research for final approval.

Media contact(s)

AJ Cheline, UC Davis Office of Research, 530-752-1101, [email protected]

2022 Chancellor’s Innovation Awards Nominees

  1. Soheil Ghiasi

Fetal Pulse Oximetry Device

  1. Jan Nolta

California CAR-T cells program

  1. Gang Sun

Reusable, biodegradable cold storage technology

  1. Delmar Larsen

LibreTexts project as a collaborative platform for the creation and broad dissemination of high-quality educational resources

  1. Keith Watenpaugh

UC Davis Backpack, human-digital ecosystem that protects and sharing critical educational documentation, creative work, and research for young people fleeing war, civil dislocation, natural disaster, or facing uncertainties in immigration and residency

  1. Samuel King

Anti-fraud software

  1. Antoinette Banks

Expert IEP – equitable and inclusive learning experiences

  1. Amir Zeki

Using inhaled statins to treat the severe respiratory disease known as COVID-19

  1. Peter Havel

UC Davis Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus (UCD-T2DM) Rat model

  1. Ermias Kebreab

Seaweed supplementation to reduce methane emissions in cattle

  1. Michele Barbato

Wildfire resilient earthen construction

  1. Diana Farmer

Stem Cell treatment for Spina bifida

  1. Elizabeth Foraker

SEED Scholars improve employment opportunities and develop independence in students with intellectual disabilities

UC Davis Enabled Startup Developing Technology to Combat Degenerative Diseases

June 7, 2022

By Neelanjana Gautam

In 2020, an estimated 5.8 million Americans aged 65 years or older had Alzheimer’s disease. This number may well hover around 14 million by 2060, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Years of research led by UC Davis Professor John Voss may play an important role in treating Alzheimer’s and other protein misfolding diseases that occur in the brain.

Voss, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, is developing a unique approach to treating such protein misfolding diseases by using paramagnetic molecules to diagnose and monitor the disease conditions. His contributions in this field led to the launch of ParaMag Biosciences, a company which recently executed license agreements to access foundational intellectual property and commercialize new technologies developed at the UC Davis.

Voss has been working in the area of structural biology, specializing in protein dynamics and assembly, since he joined UC Davis in 1998. In 2017, Voss received the Science Translation and Innovative Research (STAIRTM) Grant offered by Venture Catalyst – within the Innovation and Technology Commercialization division of the UC Davis Office of Research. The award afforded Voss and his team the opportunity to demonstrate early proof-of-concept and gain access entrepreneurial and technology commercialization support resources to advance the innovation.

Understanding Protein Misfolding

When proteins lose the native structure either by mutation or environmental effects, they are typically identified and cleared by the cell.  However, elevated levels of misfolded proteins —accumulating either by increased production or decreased clearance — can lead to disease. In the disease pathway, oxidative stress and associated inflammation in response to aggregates of misfolded proteins act as critical mediators of cell death. Protein misfolding can lead to not only Alzheimer’s, but several disorders, including neurodegenerative and skeletal muscle diseases such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.

Voss’ research has been primarily focused on protein structure and dynamics. He studies molecular switching in proteins, as well as protein folding and assembly. Voss explains that intrinsically disordered or misfolded proteins don’t necessarily retain a single well-defined architecture or structure. “Instead, they move around a lot and tend to aggregate or misfold, and therefore are much harder to pin down,” he said.

Voss has been particularly interested in these types of proteins to understand how they work with their high levels of intrinsic disorder. “We can get a lot of information by looking at how things move and how much order disorder they have,” said Voss.

Novel Approach to Treating Alzheimer’s Disease

The goal was then to design a mechanism that can enter cells and prevent the toxic event of protein misfolding. To carry out this work, Voss and his team have developed a tool called Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, which introduces “spin probes” –– unique paramagnetic molecules with unpaired electrons –– that can bind on to these misfolded proteins and report on their dynamics and degree of aggregation.

Collaborative studies with Lee-way Jin of the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center led to the observation that these spin probes carry some unique properties, such as, they can deliver potent antioxidant activity in a catalytic manner. Based on this observation, Voss embarked on designing spin probe agents that can assemble around the neurotoxic proteins and reduce their toxicity in cells.

Another key property of the innovation results from the ability of the agents to generate contrast in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which then can be used as a diagnostic tool and understand the course of treatment. “We use this approach to address problems in several biological systems, including those related to cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases,” said Voss. “Unlike available imaging methods, the MRI contrast does not involve metals, eliminates radiation exposure to the patient, and is less expensive — enabling greater patient access,” said Voss.

Voss used the STAIR grant to get access to imaging instrumentation, collected specimens from animals as well as from patients in the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center, and used them to validate the hypothesis that these paramagnetic molecules can be used in a diagnostic manner.

They performed in vivo tests to synthesize and demonstrate the effectiveness of nine novel small molecules, co-invented by Ruiwu Liu, a research professor in the School of Medicine. They also conducted lead optimization studies of therapeutic activities and used imaging instrumentation to better correlate the contrast signal with identifiable brain structures.

Voss’ laboratory has engineered a series of proprietary spin-labeled agents that preferentially bind to aggregates of misfolded proteins and provide neuronal protection from toxic effects of amyloid-beta. These molecules have been termed paramagnetic amyloid ligands (PALs) as they are not only neuroprotective but also can be visualized in the brain with MRI. Voss’s efforts with the Davis-based ParaMag Biosciences are aiming to bring the UC-licensed PAL technology to patients.

Media Contact

AJ Cheline, UC Davis Office of Research, 530-752-1101, [email protected]

Validate Your Startup Idea and Technology through the Customer Discovery method at the Spring 2021 UC Davis I-Corps Virtual Immersive Short Course

UC Davis Venture Catalyst is collaborating with the Bay Area Node for the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps program to host the Immersive Short Course training for teams with a university connection and technology innovation based on discoveries in fundamental science and engineering.

2:00- 5:00 pm, Monday, April 25, Wednesday, April 27, and Wednesday May 4, 2022


Teams of 2-4 members comprised of university-affiliated students, staff and/or faculty working on a science or engineering innovation who want to learn more about taking a product from idea to being used out in the world.

What is it?

The Immersive Short Course training is focused on helping early-stage teams who have a fundamental technology, engineering, or business model innovation learn how search for a scalable business model through the Customer Discovery methodology.  The three online sessions will teach teams to identify and refine their Value Propositions and Customer Segments, which are essential to de-risking ideas and achieving product-market fit.  Outside of class, teams are expected to conduct at least 15 interviews with potential customers as part of the Customer Discovery process.  Participants can expect to spend 20-30 hours outside of class on interviews.

Why participate?

In addition to benefitting from the initial Customer Discover process to vet your ideas, applicable teams that complete the Immersive Short Course with instructor endorsement may qualify for the National Innovation Corps Teams program, which includes a $50k grant for customer discovery and supplemental training.  Many teams that complete the national program have a much higher funding rate, including investment and National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, which provide up to $256k in seed capital to conduct research and development.

Next steps:

Applications for the Immersive Short Course are open through April 11, 2022.  Selected applicants will be contacted about 10 days before the first day of class to schedule a team interview call with the I-Corps instructor. Learn more about requirements & apply here!


Please contact Janine Elliott, Associate Director for New Venture Resources, UCD Venture Catalyst:  [email protected]

2022 Annual Research Expo

About the Event

The annual UC Davis Research Expo is a one-day event that showcases the latest research-related insight, resources, opportunities and tools to help you advance your research. The event includes exhibits, presentations, workshops and opportunities to network with potential collaborators. We welcome you to enjoy the full event or attend portions that are of particular interest.

New this year, will be partnering with Seed Central to offer an extended afternoon session devoted to ag innovation, where we will bring experts from various specialties together with industry partners. This additional section will include a workshop, presentation and networking event. The Research Expo is an anchor event in the weeklong celebration of Davis Discovery Days.

Who should attend: Faculty, post-docs, staff, research administrators, students and industry partners involved in research.

Cost: Free

When: Wednesday, May 11, 2022, from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Mondavi Center & UC Davis Conference Center

COVID-19 Related Information: We will be following all Campus Event Guidelines. Events will be held in person, but options to stream online will be made available upon request.

Register Today or Learn More >