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Proposals Selected for Next Round of SURPASS

Written by on August 30, 2022

Seven proposals from 47 submissions were selected for further consideration under SURPAS​S, the new, multimillion-dollar joint initiative between APL and Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering (WSE). The proposals were chosen based on their potential to transform foundational research into impactful activities. Each proposal is led by two principal investigators (PIs), one from APL and the other from WSE.

SURPASS leverages WSE and APL’s unique technical strengths and research and development communities. It supports cross-divisional teams dedicated to using innovative, multidisciplinary approaches to solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. Organizers say that research conducted under the program’s auspices could one day exceed $100 million in external support.

Congratulations to the continuing teams (listed in alphabetical order by proposal name):

  • ​Between Earth & Space: The next strategic flight regime (BEAST)
    • WSE PI: Kevin Hemker​.
    • APL PI: Melissa Terlaje.
    • WSE contributing faculty: Tamer Zaki, Joseph Katz, Jaafar El-Awady, Jamie Guest.
    • APL contributing staff members: Michael Brupbacher, Morgan Trexler, Dave Van Wie, Steven Storck.
  • Cerebro: Enabling the next step of human evolution
    • ​WSE PI: Amy Foster.
    • APL PI: Nicholas Pavlopoulos.
    • WSE contributing faculty: Mark Foster, Jacob Khurgin.
    • APL contributing staff members: Spencer Langevin, J.J. Wathen, Griffin Milsap.
  • Human+
    • ​WSE PI: Nitish Thakor.
    • APL PI: Francesco Tenore.
    • WSE contributing faculty: Ralph Etienne-Cummings, Kathleen Cullen, Jeremy Brown.
    • APL contributing staff members: Luke Osborn, Kapil Katyal, Bree Christie, Korine Ohiri, Erik C. Johnson.
  • Organoid Intelligence: Synthetic Biological AI
    • WSE PI: Thomas Hartung.
    • APL PI: Erik C. Johnson.
    • WSE contributing faculty: Lena Smirnova, David Gracias, Tim Harris, Brian Caffo, Lomax Boyd.
    • APL contributing staff members: Jeffrey Kahn (Berman Institute of Bioethics), Francesco Tenore, Erin Hahn, Bart Paulhamus, Brock Wester.
  • ​Photoacoustic Retin​al Prosthesis
    • WSE PI: Emad Boctor.
    • APL PI: Seth Billings.
    • WSE contributing faculty: Jeeun Kang, James Spicer, Peter Gehlbach (School of Medicine).
    • APL contributing staff member: Francesco Tenore.
  • QURE: Cure at Quantum Precision
    • ​WSE PI: Yun Chen.
    • APL PI: Leigh Norris.
    • WSE contributing faculty: Leigh Norris and Ishan Barman.
    • APL contributing staff members: Gregory Quiroz and Paraj Titum.
  • ​Reversing Earth’s Carbon History (REaCH)
    • WSE PI: Susanna Thon.
    • APL PI: Jesse Ko.
    • WSE contributing faculty: Sara Thoi, Yayuan Liu, Shoji Hall, Jonah Erlebacher​​.​
    • APL contributing staff: Konstantinos Gerasopoulos, Hadas Elazar-Mittelman, Denise Hoover.

SURPASS reviewers and coordination team members acknowledge the many outstanding submissions that were not selected for further research. They encourage proposal submitters to consider APL research-based funding opportunities such as Project Catalyst.

Next Steps 

The teams behind the seven proposals will participate in innovation coaching, led by the Air Missile and Defense Sector’s Design Thinking Group. The coaching is designed to help the teams foster interdivisional collaboration and develop a business plan while pushing their proposal ideas to go beyond what’s​ possible.

Full proposals will be submitted in September. Each team will pitch its ideas to JHU stakeholders shortly thereafter for funding. A total of $2.5 million in funding will be awarded to a select few, and they will begin executing their SURPASS proposals in January 2023.

Originally published 7/26/22 via APL internal platform “News Wire.” 

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