*NEWS: Two UCI Student Innovators Recognized

UCI grad student Ning Ma and undergrad student Patrick Dumas

Technology designed to optimize the process of in-vitro fertilization and, as a result, reduce the anxiety and cost associated with it. An accessory to a skateboard to simulate surfing. These two student innovations were recognized and financially rewarded last week by a local IP litigation firm.

UCI grad student Ning Ma and undergrad student Patrick Dumas each received the Maschoff Brennan Innovator Scholarship in its inaugural year. They each got $2,500 that will be applied toward their tuition.

The students were nominated by UCI Applied Innovation – the university’s innovation hub. Both are participants in Applied Innovation’s Wayfinder incubator.

Winners were selected by a panel of OC business leaders. The Irvine office of Maschoff Brennan, an IP litigation firm with HQ in Utah, presented the scholarships during the OCBJ’s Innovator of the Year event on September 20.

Ma’s startup, Emlumination, creates an imaging device to help women undergoing IVF, by facilitating the selection of healthy embryos. The end goal is to reduce anxiety and the cost of this expensive procedure, which women typically have to do multiple times before they get pregnant.

Ma recently placed first in the Foundation of Reproductive Medicine’s Young Investigator Award, where she received $3,000 for her research in assisted reproductive technologies.

Her startup joined the incubator this year and she’s currently participating in the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program through Applied Innovation. I-Corps trains entrepreneurs to broaden the effect of their research projects, providing resources like infrastructure and funding with the end goal of increasing research-based tech commercialization throughout OC. 

Ma is using the incubator to work on market research and test the device using mice. 

“I want to toss out a lot of unnecessary screening…with my product, so it can shorten the time [for conception] and decrease sadness people have,” Ma said in a press release issued by Applied Innovation.

Dumas, the CEO of Waterborne Skateboards, joined the incubator last year.

He created a skateboard truck, known as the “surf adapter.” This fits onto any skateboard deck and allows riders to make tighter turns that produce the motion of surfing.

Dumas raised more than $42,000 within 22 days through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.

He also received funding from Cove fund investors, as well as the Student Startup Fund at Applied Innovation, as well as from several angel investors. The Cove Fund I was a seed fund. Cove Fund II managers are focusing on seed and follow-on investments.  See related story here.

The Student Startup Fund, created earlier this year as a private philanthropic venture, provides micro-grants to UCI students, as well as alumni within 12 months of graduation, who have participated in the campus’ entrepreneurship programs, competitions and centers. These grants help cover specific project-related expenses up to $1,000 (i.e. prototyping materials and project supplies) to further develop their entrepreneurial efforts. 

Dumas is in the process of shipping his adaptive skateboard to customers worldwide.


About The Author

Deirdre Newman is a long-time journalist, who's covered OC startups for a few years.

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