Researchers who have been awarded a patent or had their technology licensed during the past 2 years were honored at the University Innovations event on Thurs., February 10, at the McNamara Alumni Center. Hosted by the Office of the Vice President for Research, the award ceremony recognized a total of 161 inventors, representing 10 colleges, whose efforts generated 106 patents and 84 licenses in fiscal years 2009-2010, including a contingent of honorees from UMD’s Natural Resources Research Institute (photo top right).
Clyde Allen, Board of Regents chair; Robert H. Bruininks, president; R. Timothy Mulcahy, vice president for research; and Jay Schrankler, executive director of the Office for Technology Commercialization, addressed attendees during a brief program. They discussed the importance of research and innovation to the nation’s economic vitality, the university’s role in Minnesota’s economic ecosystem, and the growth of the university’s research enterprise. This year’s event also featured wine samples based on University of Minnesota grape varieties from Saint Croix Vineyards, owned by 2011 honoree Peter Hemstad (photo top left).
Over the past 5 years inventions by university researchers have brought nearly $390 million in revenue into the state and helped fund numerous initiatives across the university, including fellowships for graduate students, critical research infrastructure and major equipment needs, development investments for university technologies, and funding for additional research, among others.
A full list of the honorees and their colleges can be found here.
Below are a few of the researchers who were being honored at this year’s event:
- Dr. Erik Cressman, a professor and clinician in the radiology department of the University’s medical school, discovered a novel treatment for chronic venous insufficiency. His research resulted in the formation of XO Thermix Medical, a medical device startup.
- Gary Nelsestuen, a biochemistry professor, discovered modified vitamin K can double as an anti-coagulant or pro-coagulant. These enhanced proteins are being tested for coagulation and anti-coagulation therapies. The technology was licensed in 2008.
- Kevin Groenke, a coordinator for the College of Design, designed a desk that would function perfectly for architecture students, who have very specific needs when it comes to a workspace. Groenke has licensed the desk design to three companies since 2009, one of which is based in Minnesota.
- Vipin Kumar, head of the Computer Science & Engineering department, developed software that allows researchers to track the growth and degradation of forests worldwide, using new algorithms and satellite data.
- Tom Levar, forestry and horticulture specialist at U of M Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute, developed a way to protect plants from browsing by deer and mice by delivering a natural hot pepper concentrate through the roots of young plants, making them inedible. The technology was licensed to Repellex and the product should reach consumers this spring.
Photos by Andria Peters