FSU recognizes best and brightest inventors

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Florida State University’s Office of Research honored its top inventors Tuesday for their progress in transforming their work into commercialized products and services that benefit people, such as new drugs to help prevent concussions and new antibodies that can speed up wound healing.

Hosted by FSU Vice President for Research Gary K. Ostrander, the 8th Annual Innovators Reception showcased the university’s talented faculty and the significant impact their work can have on the economy.

“Large research institutions like Florida State are a beehive of research activity, containing an unmatched potential to propel society forward,” Ostrander said. “The Innovators Reception helps us honor the researchers who are making great strides in unlocking that potential for the benefit of people throughout Florida, our nation and the world.”

Faculty members who worked to commercialize their inventive or creative ideas through a license or option deal or who won one of the university’s Grant Assistance Program (GAP) awards during the 2011–2012 fiscal year, were recognized. GAP awards, selected twice a year, are presented to researchers who can most clearly identify the commercial viability of a product, process or license that they believe will result from their collaboration with a corporate partner.

“The work of these dedicated researchers is important as it will enhance the reputation of FSU, demonstrate to people that FSU is engaged in addressing some of society’s most pressing needs and, finally, having an impact on the Florida economy for jobs and create products that can save lives,” said John Fraser, assistant vice president for Research and director of the Office of Intellectual Property Development and Commercialization.

Faculty, staff, students and leaders from the Tallahassee business community attended the Innovators Reception. The following Florida State faculty members received 2012 Innovator Awards for the research projects described below:

License / Option Deals

Kareem Ahmed (Mechanical Engineering)

Ahmed, Alex Wiley and Luiz Lourenco have developed a novel method to visualize images in sharp focus. The Tallahassee-based Integrated Design Tools Inc. entered into an agreement to explore commercial applications for this technology.

Mark Bird (National High Magnetic Field Laboratory)

Bird and others in his research group have licensed their design drawings for a 30-Tesla Bitter Resistive Magnet, which was fabricated at Florida State’s National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, to the Tsukuba Magnet Laboratory (TML) located in Japan. TML hopes to use these drawings to repair and replace parts damaged in a recent earthquake.

Michael Blaber (Biomedical Sciences)

Blaber has developed a family of mutant human and mouse antibodies that could be useful to accelerate wound healing. Florida State has licensed some of these antibodies to KeraFAST to market, sell and distribute on its e-commerce website to academic and industrial research laboratories worldwide.

William Brey (National High Magnetic Field Laboratory)

Brey and others in the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) program have designed and built a number of improved NMR probes. Florida State has licensed one of these improvements to Revolution NRM L.L.C., a Colorado-based company that makes and markets NMR probes for academic and industrial research.

Myra Hurt (Biomedical Sciences)

Hurt and Raed Rizkallah have developed a novel biomarker that identifies a specific cell stage. Florida State licensed these polyclonal antibodies to Millipore Inc. to develop research reagents and kits.

Sanjay Kumar (Biomedical Sciences)

Kumar has developed a novel brain tissue preservation chamber that has been made commercially available by KeraFAST, a company that specializes in marketing small amounts of unique reagents.

Choogon Lee (Biomedical Sciences)

Lee has developed polyclonal antibodies that are important for regulating the circadian clock mechanism. Florida State has licensed these unique antibodies through KeraFAST to other researchers.

Richard Liang (Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, and the High Performance Materials Institute)

Liang and others in the High Performance Materials Institute have developed various processes that will improve the utility and manufacture of buckypaper. Florida State has an option agreement with Florida-based NanoVision, L.L.C., which will permit it to offer buckypaper in the lengths and widths needed for industrial use.

Scott Ortolano (English)

Ortolano and Caitlin Newcomer created “Perspectives on the Short Story,” a literary anthology that Florida State licensed exclusively to publisher Pearson Custom Publishing.

Svetlana Poroseva (Center for Advanced Power Systems)

Poroseva developed “Power System Graph Converter,” software that is designed to work with the CAPS’ testing bed and draw a simplified power system diagram. Florida State granted a license to the University of New Mexico to allow Poroseva to continue to develop the software.

Kenneth Roux (Biological Science)

Roux has created a series of monoclonal antibodies for tree nut proteins that can cause life-threatening allergic responses to pecan, walnut and cashew proteins. Florida State has licensed the antibodies to Tallahassee-based BioFront Technology, which hopes expand its diagnostic product line.

Hengli Tang (Biological Science)

Tang has created a series of monoclonal antibodies useful in identifying types of Hepatitis ‘C’ viruses. Florida State has licensed the antibodies to Tallahassee-based BioFront Technology, which hopes to expand its diagnostic product line. Wei Yang (Chemistry and Biochemistry) Yang has developed software that simulates the occurrence and strength of protein binding events more efficiently than traditional simulation methods. Yang is forming a company to offer the technology as a drug-screening tool for commercial use.

Jim Zheng (Electrical and Computer Engineering)

Zheng has developed a novel, lightweight, high-energy super capacitor, which can improve the amount of energy stored per kilogram of device mass by a factor of four or more. Florida State has licensed the technology to General Capacitor L.L.C., a Tallahassee-based company that hopes to manufacture and sell the units for a variety of high value applications.

2012 GAP Award Winners

Sean Barton and Juan Ordonez (Physics / Mechanical Engineering / Center for Advanced Power Systems)

Inflatable Lightweight Vacuum Chamber

Develop and optimize a system of very lightweight vacuum chambers for ballasting lighter than air vehicles.

Ewa Bienkiewicz (Biomedical Sciences)

Vascular Injury Treatment

Develop and test a novel therapeutic agent that will alleviate and accelerate healing of vascular injuries.

Michael Blaber and Joe Schlenoff (Biomedical Sciences and Chemistry)

Novel Biocompatible Polymer Material Using Engineered Human Fibroblastic Growth Factor-1 for Accelerated Wound Healing Develop a novel wound healing approach by combining Schlenoff’s biocompatible polymer material called saloplastic, with Blaber’s engineered form of fibroblast growth factor (FGF-1).

Alan Lemmon (Scientific Computing)

Accelerating Studies of Genetic Variation Using Anchored Enrichment

Develop an innovative approach that will benefit the large number of researchers who work with species that have not yet been included in genome studies.

Steven Lenhert (Biological Science)

Liposome Nano-arrays for High Throughput Drug Screening on a Chip

Develop and optimize a scalable high-throughput screening system.

Mike Overton and Amy Sang (Chemistry)

Putative Therapeutic Agents to Treat Obesity in Animal Models

Test the efficacy and safety of an advanced method to treat obesity, using animal models.

Theo Siegrist and Jeff Whalen (National High Magnetic Field Laboratory)

Advancing Functional Crystalline Materials

Create unique crystalline materials that don’t occur naturally, such as Europium oxide, and develop production methods to make them available for commercial applications.

Branko Stefanovic (Biomedical Sciences)

Evaluation of the Efficacy of Novel Anti-fibrotic Drugs Targeting Type I Collagen

Screen available drug libraries and validate the ability of selected compounds to prevent formation of Type I collagen in living tissue. Success could lead to major improvements in health for large groups of people who are now likely to suffer from liver cirrhosis, scleroderma and other collagen-related conditions.

Jake VanLandingham (Biomedical Sciences)

Novel Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Test the efficacy and safety of an advanced method to minimize damage from mild concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.

Principal investigators who had patents issued during the 2011–2012 fiscal year were formally recognized with a commemorative plaque. Principal investigators who submitted an invention or work disclosure or had a U.S. patent application filed during the 2011–2012 fiscal year were formally recognized and presented with a laminated honor roll listing their names and achievements.

The co-sponsors for the 8th Annual Innovators Reception are Allen, Dyer, Doppelt, Milbrath & Gilchrist; Armstrong Teasdale; Novak, Druce & Quigg; Pennington, Moore, Wilkinson, Bell and Dunbar; Saliwanchik Lloyd & Eisenschenk; Senniger Powers; Smith & Hopen; Sutherland Asbill & Brennan; Vedder Price; and Woodruff & Black.