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Chancellor Malatras Awards Grants to Fund Projects to Improve PPE

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State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras announced today awards from the SUNY Prepare Innovation and Internship Program as a way to develop state-of-the-art PPE and improve effective safety interventions.

A total of 12 teams of SUNY students and faculty across seven campuses received up to $10,000 each in seed funding to conduct further research on their proposals. The program is designed to provide real life, hands-on applied learning experiences for students, and actively involve them in the creation of pandemic-related solutions.

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SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras with Stony Brook University President McInnis

Stony Brook University’s award will fund ADA-compliant transparent masks and a low-cost surgical mask for people with respiratory problems.

“At the height of the pandemic last spring, Stony Brook students, faculty and staff engineered solutions to support our frontline workers, and conducted research that is helping us better understand the novel coronavirus,” Stony Brook President Maurie McInnis said.

“Now, thanks to this infusion of support from SUNY, students and faculty on our campus will continue to pursue real world solutions to address the challenges presented by the virus that will ultimately help our faculty and clinical staff safely do their jobs in the academic and in the clinical setting,” she said. “We appreciate Chancellor Malatras and SUNY for spearheading this investment and supporting our students through this important initiative.”

“The ADA-compliant transparent masks project will develop a customizable reusable transparent mask that meets an ADA standard that will help deaf and hard of hearing individuals,” lead researcher Taejin Kim said. “The mask includes a removable transparent sheet insert that can be cleaned with soap and water or with a disinfectant wipe and is customizable for different age groups and facilities.“

Lead researcher Maya Endoh said: ”N95 respirators offer high-filtration performance, but are not advisable for people with respiratory problems because of limited airflow. This team will create a low-cost surgical mask using an aerogel solution that has the filtration efficiency of an N95 respirator while maintaining airflow. The team will also seek to find an environmentally safe biodegradable material for these masks that will not sacrifice filtration effectiveness.”

“From day one, SUNY has been leading the effort to combat COVID-19 with providing frontline healthcare workers PPE, like face shields using innovative 3D printing technology, developing world-leading testing and conducting vaccine trials — in other words, SUNY has helped save lives,” Chancellor Malatras said.

“We want to continue to harness the intellectual firepower of SUNY faculty, researchers and students to develop the latest breakthroughs in the fight against COVID-19 or the next infectious disease,” he said. “I applaud today’s 12 award winners for their innovations because they will help slow the spread and make a difference. This is just another example of how the largest system of public higher education is making an important impact.”


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