More than 200 innovators participated in a live-stream event and virtual happy hour to celebrate their achievements in fiscal year 2020. The limitations of social gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic prompted UF Innovate | Tech Licensing to find new ways to honor University of Florida innovators. Instead of an in-person Standing InnOvation, Tech Licensing honored inventors in a live-stream event Tuesday, followed by a virtual happy hour.
“Despite the challenges we’re all facing UF Innovate had an incredible year,” said Jim O’Connell, director of UF Innovate, as he opened the live-stream event. “We had record numbers of invention disclosures, record numbers of deals, and we have the No. 1 incubator in the world.”
Dr. David Norton, vice president for UF Research, and O’Connell emceed the event that started at 4:30 p.m. on Youtube Live. They introduced 6 inventions of the year chosen from the record-number 393 inventions disclosed in fiscal year 2020. The event culminated in the announcement of UF’s Innovator of the Year, Dr. Richard Snyder, a former UF researcher and founder of UF spinoff Florida Biologix.
“The 2020 Innovator of the Year has changed the face of biotech here and around the world,” said Norton. “The company and the innovation … began as a state-funded center here with the leadership of this individual, who took a state-funded center and made it into a company that eventually became acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific.”
A UF professor investigating virus biology, vector development, viral vector-mediated gene transfer, and manufacturing for 15 years, Snyder is now the vice president of science and technology, pharm services and viral vector services at Thermo Fisher Scientific. In 2019, Thermo Fisher acquired the company that began as Florida Biologix.
In addition to the Innovator of the Year award, O’Connell and Norton introduced six inventions of the year. Each of the six licensing teams who manage different types of technologies chose one technology in their portfolio disclosed in FY20.
“I’d like everyone to watch for the incredible range and diversity UF has in both its people and its technologies,” said O’Connell, as he and Norton began to introduce the awardees.
1. Immunotherapy by Direct Reprogramming of Cancer Cells into Immune Cells
College of Medicine researchers Drs. David Tran and Son Le developed an approach of using fate determinants to reprogram glioblastoma multiforme (cancer) cells into immune cells to be used as an in situ vaccination approach.
2. AI-based Software to Analyze and Visualize UAV Collected Data
3. PanVent®: Ventilator for COVID-19
Anesthesiology researchers Dr. Samsun Lampotang and David Lizdas made a ventilator out of common household items such as air-tight PVC water pipes and lawn-sprinkler valves and made the plans available as a way to help avert a threatened ventilator shortage during the pandemic.
4. Formulation for Targeting Acute Respiratory Distress
5. Efficient Photocatalysts for Water Oxidation – Novel TiO2/Gold or Cu or Silver/Catechol photocatalysts.
Chemistry researcher Dr. Wei David Wei integrated metal nanoparticles, semiconductors, and molecular redox mediators to effectively separate charge carriers and harvest solar energy for driving photochemical reactions. This innovation makes processes for creating chemicals we need in everyday life faster, better, and less expensive.
6. Nimbus Software Security Modules
Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering researcher Dr. Mark Tehranipoor leads a group at UF that is a world leader in hardware cybersecurity. His technology comprises digital presentations the Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research created on cybersecurity topics for both federal agencies and corporations. They are provided on the Nimbus closed-access website.
At the close of the live-stream event sponsored by Wolf Greenfield Intellectual Property Attorneys, O’Connell emphasized how research and moving that research out of the lab into the marketplace for the global good is a “team sport.”
“If we play this impactful long game,” he said, “we’ll continue to grow the reputation of UF and the state of Florida.”
About Standing InnOvation:
Standing InnOvation is an annual event to honor University of Florida innovators who have disclosed, licensed, or optioned a technology in the fiscal year just ended. The name of the event intentionally hints at giving a “standing ovation” to UF “innovators” for the work they have done. The event is also a reminder of the “standing invitation” inventors have to work with UF Innovate | Tech Licensing, which protects and licenses research discoveries.
About UF Innovate | Tech Licensing:
UF Innovate | Tech Licensing works with innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and industry partners to maximize the potential of University of Florida innovations through commercialization for the global good. In fiscal year 2020, Tech Licensing received 393 invention disclosures, executed 132 commercial transactions and launched 16 companies. In 2017, the Milken Institute ranked the University of Florida third in the nation for its tech commercialization efforts. In 2020, the George W. Bush Institute and the Opus Faveo Innovation Development consulting firm, named UF the most productive large university in the country at leveraging its research funding into new companies, new jobs and new ideas.
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