Make us your home page
Instagram

MIT spinoff to start recruiting for 165 jobs

The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass., will build Tampa and St. Petersburg labs that will employ 165 people.

Associated Press

The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass., will build Tampa and St. Petersburg labs that will employ 165 people.

Job recruiting will start within weeks for a Massachusetts research and development firm that will build labs in Tampa and St. Petersburg to manufacture tiny biomedical machines.

Gov. Charlie Crist announced Monday that Draper Laboratory will locate to the Tampa Bay area with the help of $30-million in economic incentives.

Draper , a nonprofit spinoff of MIT, expects to employ at least 100 people at a laboratory at the University of South Florida in Tampa and another 65 in St. Petersburg.

Most employees will have master's level or doctorate degrees, and they could begin working within a few months, said Len Polizzotto, Draper's director of strategic development.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Polizzotto said. "I don't want to waste any time."

Word of Draper's interest in Florida surfaced earlier this month when local governments voted to underwrite the venture with $30-million in economic incentives.

The state Innovation Incentive Fund will provide $15-million. USF's Research Foundation, Hillsborough County and Pinellas County also contributed.

St. Petersburg will provide land for a manufacturing plant of multichip modules — complex integrated circuits that can run tiny machines.

Draper specializes in developing technology that can be licensed and put to commercial use. It pioneered navigational systems used in weaponry and space exploration, including the Apollo moon landing.

In recent years, it has branched into "bioMEMS," short for microelectromechanical systems, which are machines as small as the width of a human hair that can sense changes in body chemistry or serve as drug delivery systems.

That's the kind of research that Draper would conduct in an on-campus laboratory provided by the University of South Florida, Polizzotto said.

For example, Draper has developed implants that can detect subtle blood sugar changes or potassium levels, Polizzotto said. Another project would treat macular degeneration by installing a tiny machine behind the eye, which could slowly dispense medicine for 18 months.

The current protocol calls for shots through the pupil every few weeks, he said.

"We solve problems and develop prototype solutions. We focus on security, energy, health care and space," Polizzotto said. "We solve problems in the nation's interests. We've been doing it for 60 years."

The St. Petersburg lab will focus on development of multichip modules, chips that are designed for specific, complex systems. They can dramatically reduce the size of electronic equipment, Crist's news release said.

Draper also will work with Progress Energy Florida to improve the efficiency of its coal-fired power plants by at least 10 percent, Crist's announcement said. Progress Energy will contribute $300,000 to the $30-million incentive package.

"We're excited to be a part of bringing this level of cutting edge research to the Tampa Bay region, said Florida Progress chief executive Jeff Lyash. "The focus of incorporating energy production efficiency into this project will become a key attractor to a wide range of industries."

MIT spinoff to start recruiting for 165 jobs 07/28/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 4:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions in county funding toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  2. Pinellas licensing board loses support for staying independent

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board on Monday lost its strongest supporter for staying independent.

    State Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican running for governor, said Monday that he will no longer support any legislation to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board independent. This photo was taken in August. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Triad Retail Media names Sherry Smith as CEO

    Corporate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg-based digital ads company, said CEO Roger Berdusco is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities" and a member of the executive team, Sherry Smith, is taking over.

    Sherry Smith is taking over as CEO at Triad Retail Media, the company announced Monday. | [Courtesy of Triad Retail Media]
  4. Two new condo projects for same street in downtown St. Pete

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — It lacks the panache and name recognition of Beach Drive, but 4th Avenue N in downtown St. Petersburg is becoming a condo row in its own right.

    Bezu, a condo project planned at 100 4th Ave. N in downtown St. Petersburg, will have 24 units including a three-level penthouse with infinity pool.
[Courtesy of Clear ph Design]
  5. AAA expects gas prices in Tampa Bay will continue to fall

    Autos

    Ticking slowly and steadily, regular gas prices have receded for the last 10 consecutive days. The average unleaded gas price in Florida is $2.67 this morning, a nickel cheaper than a week ago. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas has dropped 7 cents from a week ago to $2.62. The national average for regular …

    Gas prices for regular gas continue to decline. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas is down 7 cents from a week ago at $2.62 a gallon. [Times file photo]