Doctors Eda and Wu Receive the 2016 Wheeley Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer

UTRF is honored to present the 2016 Wheeley Award to Shigetoshi Eda, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries (UTIA), and to Jayne Wu, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (UTK).

UTRF awards the The B. Otto and Kathleen Wheeley Award annually to one or more University of Tennessee faculty members who excel in the commercialization of university-based research results. The award recognizes UT faculty who take a direct and active role in the technology commercialization process.

The selection criteria for this award included:

  • The technological and/or scientific significance of the invention
  • The market success of the product or process
  • The degree of active involvement of the nominee in the commercialization process
  • The nominee’s overall contribution to the University’s missions of teaching, research and service

Dr. Eda is a professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries. His research interests include the immunology and diagnosis of an infectious disease called Johne’s disease, which primarily affects the small intestine of ruminating animals. About 10 years ago, Eda, with Professor Emeritus C.A. Speer, developed a highly sensitive diagnostic test for Johne’s disease and since then has worked with UTRF to commercialize the method. In February 2015, a veterinary diagnostic company announced the development of a new diagnostic kit based on Eda’s invention.  Eda has published 53 scientific manuscripts and has been awarded three patents.

Dr. Wu is an associate professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. Her research interests include microfluidics, lab-on-a-chip, Bio-MEMS, and electrokinetics.  Dr. Wu and Dr. Eda recently developed a low-cost, portable, point-of-care disease detection device, and in 2014, Meridian Biosciences entered into a commercial license agreement with UTRF for this technology. Dr. Wu is an author on numerous publications and has been awarded two patents.

Otto Wheeley, a University of Tennessee graduate, was deputy chair of Koppers Company and president of Kopvenco, a venture capital subsidiary of Koppers in the early 1980s.  Eager to promote technological entrepreneurs in Tennessee , he returned to the state and founded Venture First Associations, Inc., and formed a close alliance with his alma mater to promote the commercialization of university-developed research.

Past UTRF Wheeley Award Recipients