From the left: Therese Canares, M.D., Bill King, and Ali Tehrani, M.D.

Three teams founded by Johns Hopkins University faculty members or students have each received $50,000 in Microsoft Innovation Acceleration Awards, which support digital technologies.

The awardees’ work will address strep throat detection, using wearables to help clinical trials increase engagement and accuracy, and using machine learning software to detect changes in vision resulting from strokes, dizziness, macular degeneration and other events.

The awards are an extension of a collaboration established in 2020 between Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV) and Microsoft to help startups launch, scale and commercialize. More than a dozen joined the Microsoft for Startups program during the last two years and received access to enterprise technology including Azure, Microsoft 365 and GitHub, as well as Microsoft commercialization support. JHTV also has facilitated almost 100 office hour sessions for Johns Hopkins innovators to meet with Microsoft advisors. For 2023, a year of free coworking space at FastForward, JHTV’s startup incubator, has been added to the award.

During this cycle of the Microsoft awards, JHTV received a record 24 applications from a mix of faculty members, undergraduate and graduate students, and licensed startups, according to Mark VanderZyl, associate director of startup advancement at FastForward.

“We continue to see software and digital solutions across industries,” says VanderZyl, who manages the relationship between JHTV and Microsoft. “But this year, our three awardees have a real alignment with solutions offered by Microsoft, and we’re all quite excited about their potential.

CurieDx, Therese Canares, M.D.
This software platform screens for disease for use with telehealth to detect strep throat and urinary tract infections (UTI) with a selfie. The software system integrates machine learning predictions of strep throat and UTIs from a smartphone image. The predictive models (StrepAI, UTI-AI) will be integrated into telehealth software.

inHealthBlocks, Bill King
This Johns Hopkins University initiative focuses on development and commercialization of an Azure-based enterprise analytic software that incorporates the use of wearables in clinical trials at scale for use by academic medical centers and contract research organizations. Taking advantage of the latest Microsoft AI Cloud tools, inHealthBlocks simplifies onboarding engagement and manages clinical trial participants, and incorporates wearable technology into a robust data management and analysis platform.

Johns Hopkins based faculty team, Led by Ali Tehrani, M.D.
Until now, the way to diagnose reduced fields of vision has been limited. But Microsoft HoloLens 2 (HL2) augmented reality goggles now enable development of portable and time-sensitive visual field testing. The team has developed an algorithm optimized by machine learning for the HL2 goggles for quantitative visual field assessment in less than five minutes and made a front-end interface that works with HL2 and connects the results to a Microsoft Azure, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act secure structured query language database. The eyePhone is a smartphone application that detects and measures eye movements and can be used to classify patients who are dizzy as high risk (possible stroke) or low risk (benign causes of dizziness).