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KNOXVILLE – The UT Research Foundation (UTRF) recognized 88 University of Tennessee researchers for their discoveries and commercialization efforts made within the last two years during the 2016 Innovation Award Ceremony

Honorees, during the Jan. 12 ceremony at The Foundry on The Fair Site, included recipients of patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as well as inventors of technologies that were licensed to outside companies or who had created a start-up company based on their technology. In some cases, researchers received awards in more than one category.

“License agreements stemming from patented technologies generate revenue for the University and can develop into new companies, which contribute to local and regional economic development and impact the quality of life for Tennesseans,”.

Dr. David Millhorn, UTRF President

For the past two years, the University has been ranked among the top 100 universities in the world granted U.S. patents.

Jayne Wu, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science (UTK) and Shigetoshi Eda, professor of forestry, wildlife and fisheries with the UT Institute of Agriculture, winners of the  B. Otto and Kathleen Wheeley Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer , were also recognized during the ceremony.

Wu’s research interests include microfluidics, lab-on-a-chip, Bio-MEMS and electrokinetics. Eda’s research interests include the immunology and diagnosis of an infectious disease in ruminates called Johne’s disease. Wu and Eda are both authors on numerous publications and are the recipients of multiple patents.

About 10 years ago, Eda, with Professor Emeritus C.A. Speer, developed a highly sensitive diagnostic test for Johne’s disease, and in February 2015, a veterinary diagnostic company announced the development of a new kit based on Eda’s invention. In 2014, Meridian Biosciences entered into a commercial license agreement with UTRF for a patent-pending low-cost, portable, point-of-care disease detection device, developed by Wu and Eda.

“I think we owe a large part of our successful licensing to UTRF and Dr. Maha Krishnamurthy. Maha worked diligently and closely with us for two years leading up to the licensing. I have had a very positive experience working with UTRF.”

Dr. Jayne Wu

“I echo what Jayne [Wu] said. UTRF helped us with patent application, advertising the technology, licensing and interactions with private companies. Without the tireless help, the technology could not have been transferred to the licensee for development and commercialization.”

Dr. Shigetoshi Eda

UTRF awards the Wheeley Award to UT faculty who excel in the commercialization of university-based inventions. The B. Otto and Kathleen Wheeley Foundation provides the award stipend of $5,000 through an endowment fund, which was established in 1989.

Complete list of 2016 Multi Campus Office Innovation Award recipients

UTRF 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. For more information, visit https://utrf.tennessee.edu.