Make us your home page

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

  1. Kidpreneurs — and adults — capitalize on gooey, squishy Slime craze


    First it was Play-Doh. Then Gak. There have been dozens of variations for sale of the oozy, gooey, squishable, stretchable kids' toy through the generations.

    Aletheia Venator and Berlyn Perdomo demonstrate the stretchiness of their slime. - Berlyn Perdomo and her friend, Aletheia Venator, both 13, make and sell slime which can be seen on their instagram site @the.real.slimeshadyy [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  2. The last farmer of Florida's prized Zellwood corn is thinking of packing it in


    MOUNT DORA — Hank Scott steps out of his pickup between the long rows and snaps off an ear that grows about bellybutton-high on the forehead-high stalks.

    Hank Scott, co-owner of Long and Scott Farms, shucks an ear of corn on the farm in Mount Dora, Fla., on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The farm specializes in Scott's Zellwood Triple-Sweet Gourmet Corn. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Law firm's Russia ties prove nothing about Trump


    The statement

    "Law firm @POTUS used to show he has no ties to Russia was named Russia Law Firm of the Year for their extensive ties to Russia. Unreal."

    Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., stands during a media availability on Capitol Hill, Monday, June 20, 2016 in Washington. A divided Senate blocked rival election-year plans to curb guns on Monday, eight days after the horror of Orlando's mass shooting intensified pressure on lawmakers to act but knotted them in gridlock anyway — even over restricting firearms for terrorists. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  4. Pasco county lawyer disbarred for taking woman's money

    Real Estate

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred Pasco County attorney and former congressional candidate Constantine Kalogianis.

    The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred Pasco County attorney and former congressional candidate Constantine Kalogianis. 
[2016 booking photo via Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Rick Scott signs package of tax breaks

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott signed a tax cut package Thursday that — while vastly scaled back from what he wanted — eliminates the so-called "tampon tax" and offers tax holidays for back-to-school shoppers and Floridians preparing for hurricane season.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a tax cut package that will cost state coffers $91.6 million during the upcoming year. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images]