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Congratulations Innovation Celebration Winners and Finalists

Article Source: University of Illinois, Office of Technology Management

 The Office of Technology Management would like to congratulate winners and finalists of this year’s Innovation Celebration. The OTM contributes two awards to this ceremony: Innovation Discovery Award and Technology Transfer Award.

The Innovation Discovery Award recognizes an individual or group from the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus who has disclosed to the OTM a groundbreaking discovery with potential for significant societal impact.

The finalists for this award included Brendan Harley, Gabriel Popescu, and Yi Lu.

Brendan Harley has developed new biomaterials for use in tissue engineering applications. His first focus is on new tendon repair technology and aims to address the need for a new biomaterial that mimics the native tendon and can induce regeneration with minimal impact on loss of function. He has received funding from the IGB Proof of Concept fund to further develop this technology. He is working actively with the OTM to protect these new biomaterials.

Gabriel Popescu’s label free, non-contact and non-invasive imaging method (called Quantitative Phase Imaging) is aimed at displacing conventional optical microscopy. This method will enable a wide range of applications including height throughput blood screening, tissue grading in biopsies. It will be a lower cost alternative for remote diagnosis and point of care testing. He has been actively engaged with the OTM since 2008 and has had 17 invention disclosures, 3 patents filed and one issued patent.

A renowned faculty entrepreneur Yi Lu has already had commercialization success with his DNAzymes for detecting heavy metals in environmental water supplies, licensed to ANDalyze, a company he co-founded. His new discovery was in finding that DNA can also be engineered to test for organic compounds such as glucose in blood and other organic markers in biological samples. Yi Lu has actively engaged with the OTM for over 15 years, has had 41 invention disclosures, 25 filed and 14 issued patents.

The winner of the Innovation Discovery Award was Yi Lu.

The Technology Transfer Award recognizes an individual or group from the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus who has engaged with the OTM to successfully commercialize an innovation.

The finalists for this award included Diagnostic Photonics, Inc., Dave Kranz, and Vijay Singh.

Co-founded in 2008 by Stephen Boppart and Scott Carney, Diagnostic Photonics (DxP) is developing an imaging tool to assist in surgical procedures especially for breast cancer resections. Use of the tool will reduce repeat surgeries, improe prognosis, and lower costs. DxP has raised over $1.3M in funding and is working with Carle Foundation Hospital to accelerate the translation of this technology from bench to bedside. The company exclusively licensed 4 technologies and software from the University of Illinois in 2009. Stephen Boppart and Scott Carney have been working with the OTM since 2002 and between them, they have submitted 38 invention disclosures.

As co-founder of both Immuven founded in 2008 and Biodisplay founded in 1999 (which was later sold to Abbott), Dave has demonstrated his entrepreneurial vision and capability. Immuven is currently working on developing new drugs based on the engineering of T Cell Receptors proteins to treat infectious diseases such as strep and staph, as well as cancer. T Cell Receptors have significant advantages over antibodies, as such Immuven has received SBIR grants and funding from the NIH to advance the development of a suite of products that will detect and treat antibiotic resistant organisms. Dave Kranz has worked with the OTM for over 22 years, has 21 invention disclosures and over 20 issued patents.

A leading expert in corn processing, whose work has had impact in the bioprocessing industry, Vijay Singh’s technology has been licensed to one of the largest enzyme manufacturers in the world (MPI). His enzymatic corn wet milling process uses new protease enzymes to replace hazardous sulfite salts in the corn fractionation resulting in reduced environmental impact. Full scale commercial plant trials have occurred throughout the world. Vijay Singh has worked with the OTM since 1998, has submitted 13 invention disclosures and has 10 issued patents.

The winner of the Technology Transfer Award was Dave Kranz.

Below is a list of the other awards and winners from Innovation Celebration:

  • Innovation in Engagement Award-Parkland College: Brian Nudelman
  • Social Entrepreneurship Award: Scott Daigle & Marissa Siebel, IntelliWheels, Inc.
  • Student Startup Award: Serionix, Inc.
  • New Venture Award: Sanjay Patel, Nuvixa, Inc.
  • Entrepreneur Advocacy Award: Liz Kellner
  • Economic Development Impact Award: Shahid Khan
  • Entrepreneurial Excellence in Management Award: Brian Jurczyk, Starfire Industries, Inc.
  • Longevity through Innovation Award: Betty Brennan, Taylor Studios, Inc.