One researcher hopes to use human nucleic acid to fight the most prevalent and deadliest of primary malignant brain tumors.

Two are searching for a more efficient and environmentally friendly way to use hydraulic fracturing to draw oil and gas from Earth’s crust.

Four use existing magnetic and oxidizing materials in an effort to revolutionize the refrigeration industry and replace up to 80 percent of the current compressor market.

In all, 20 LSU faculty members across five campuses across the state now share $500,000 in LSU LIFT2 grants that may help them improve our lives and our planet.

“Our faculty are showing that we are primed to be leaders in the technology transfer area,” LSU President F. King Alexander said.

LIFT also is known as Leverage Innovation for Technology Transfer. The grants program was created by the LSU Board of Supervisors in January 2014, and its first $500,000 distribution was announced in July. It is designed to help researchers complete projects that could lead to marketable products.

“In today’s economic climate, investing in these research endeavors is more important than ever before,” Alexander said.

  • Francesca Peruzzi, of the cancer center at the LSU Health Sciences Center-New Orleans, was awarded $32,900 for her efforts to use a form of human nucleic acid to attack brain tumors known as glioblastoma.

“The majority of patients with glioblastoma do not live over a year,” Peruzzi noted. She said 13,000 of those patients die each year in the U.S.

  • Arash Taleghani and Guoqiang Li, of the petroleum and mechanical engineering departments at LSU’s main Baton Rouge campus, were awarded a LIFT grant of $30,268 this month. They are working on development of small particles, called proppants, that could delay the closing of hydraulic fractures used to recover oil and gas from deep beneath the Earth’s surface.

As explained by Taleghani and Li, successful proppants could “reduce the need for refracturing, leading to more efficient and environmentally friendly fracking operations.”

  • A grant of $34,150 went to Shane Stadler, Tapas Samanta, Philip Adams and David Young in the physics and astronomy departments on the main campus. Those researchers are working on a new magnetocaloric material they say is “non-toxic, environmentally friendly, easy to fabricate and composed of affordable materials.”

If correct about the new material, the researchers wrote, it “could replace up to 80 percent of the current compressor market.”

Three other projects at the LSU Health Sciences Center-New Orleans received research grants.

  • Seth Pincus, pediatrics, $47,000, for development of antibodies that possibly could prevent HIV infections.
  • Hong Xin, pediatrics, $47,000, for development of peptide vaccines and antibodies against systemic fungal infections.
  • Charles Hilton and John T. Paige, School of Medicine, $28,151, for development of Bengal Interface software. The software is expected to improve medical education through existing computer-based manikin systems.

Four other grants for research at LSU’s main campus were awarded:

  • Dandina Rao, petroleum engineering, $41,021, for continued work on a gas-assisted process that could double or even triple secondary oil recovery efforts for most oil wells.
  • Wanjun Wang, mechanical and industrial engineering, $31,584, for progress toward “an easier, cheaper, faster, more efficient and portable testing tool” using liquid chromatography in micro-instrumentation. That tool is the size of a CD player and would be welcomed in the environmental monitoring; biological diagnostics; government research; security and defense; energy; pharmaceuticals; food and beverage; and industrial chemicals industries.
  • Mandi Lopez, veterinary clinical sciences, $34,576, for work improving means of tensioning ligament-to-bone graft connections, such as those of the knee’s anterior cruciate ligament. Up to 40 percent of such reconstructions are unsatisfactory because of improper tensioning and post-operative slippage, Lopez noted. If her project proves successful, surgeons easily could reset graft tensions.
  • Edward Shihadeh and Anthony Reed, sociology, $27,918, for development of their software solution for improving student success, retention and risk identification. The technology initially will be used by LSU. If successful, it then will be made available to other Louisiana colleges and universities before it is employed nationally and internationally.

Faculty receiving grants for work at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge are:

  • Thomas W. Gettys, $46,935, for research toward the optimum mix of restricting dietary methionine and eliminating cysteine in order to reduce blood glucose and improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Eric Ravussin, $46,978, for continued work into the possibility that sleeping under an altitude tent can improve the health of diabetic patients who either cannot exercise regularly or do not respond well to medication. LSU officials said Ravussin already has “established that living at high altitudes is associated with a low prevalence of type 2 diabetes.”
  • At the LSU AgCenter in Baton Rouge, Niranjan Baisakh — plant, environment and soil sciences — was granted $28,222 for development of drought- and salt-tolerant corn. If successful, Baisakh’s project would enable corn production in vast areas of the world that are difficult to farm.
  • At the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Gulshan Sunavala-Dossabhoy was awarded $47,000 to optimize delivery of a tumor-fighting protein.