The UT Research Foundation recently handed out its 2016 Innovation Awards, and the College of Engineering enjoyed a major presence at the ceremony.
Chief among the honors is the Wheeley Award, given annually in memory of B. Otto and Kathleen Wheeley in recognition of UT faculty members who have shown the ability to “excel in the commercialization of university-based research.”
For 2016, the award was shared between Jie Wu, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and associate professor Shigetoshi Eda, of the UT Institute of Agriculture’s Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries.
Eda and Wu worked together to develop a disease detection device that is both low cost and portable, greatly improving techniques for testing a particular class of mammals that Eda has studied.
That work led Meridian Biosciences to enter a commercial licensing program with UT for the technology. The device aims to control Johne’s disease, which afflicts the intestines of ruminants such as cows, sheep, deer, and goats.
In addition to the Wheeley Award, the college was well represented in other categories as well.
There were twenty faculty and student recipients of plaques acknowledging new patents (listed by department):
- Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering: Tse-Wei Wang
- Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering: Dayakar Penumadu, Indraneel Sen, Rohit Uppal
- Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science: J. Doug Birdwell, Roger Horn, David Icove, Fangxing Li, Hairong Qi, Dale Stansberry, Kevin Tomsovic, Fei Wang, Xiaoling Wang, Yao Xu
- Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Scintillation Materials Research Center: Merry Anna Koschan, Charles Melcher, Mariya Zhuravleva
- Department of Nuclear Engineering: Howard Hall, Steven Skutnik, Michael Willis
The college also had eight faculty members and students receive certificates honoring licensing agreements with UTRF (by department):
- Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering: Thomas Zawodzinski
- Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering: Thomas Attard
- Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science: Jie Wu
- Department of Materials Science and Engineering: Gajanan Bhat, Veerle Keppens, David Mandrus
- Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering: Matthew Mench, Stephen Sarles
UTRF also gave special recognition to members of the university community who had start-up ventures this past year.
For the college, Mench, who is head of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering, and Zawodzinski, who serves as the Governor’s Chair for Electrical Energy Conservation and Storage, that recognition came for their work with WattJoule Corporation.
WattJoule, founded in Massachusetts in 2012, sets out to tackle challenges related to energy storage. Mench and Zawodzinski serve as technical advisors and inventors for the corporation.
About the UT Research Foundation
The UT Research Foundation helps inventors at UT turn their ideas and discoveries into products and services that benefit society. In addition to supporting the university research enterprise and commercializing the resulting inventions, UTRF also supports entrepreneurship as well as state and regional economic development efforts. UTRF serves all seven of the UT campuses and institutes across the state.