Nineteen University of Tennessee Health Science Center researchers were recognized for their innovations at the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) Innovation Awards Thursday. Those honored at the event had, in the last year, received a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, developed a technology that was licensed to an outside company, received a UTRF Maturation Fund Grant, or in some cases, a combination of those things.

“The Innovation Awards ceremony is important because it publicly honors the faculty who have successfully embraced both basic research and the commercialization of new discoveries. By putting our discoveries on the path to becoming new products and services, we ensure that the public benefits from its investment in medical research,” said Richard Magid, vice president of UTRF.

In the last year 14 patents were issued to UTHSC faculty members for technologies ranging from medical instruments to novel compounds and treatment methods. In addition, five technologies were licensed to outside companies for further development and commercialization.

UTRF also presented the B. Otto and Kathleen Wheeley Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer. The award is a cash prize given to a member of the UT faculty who has had a major impact on the tech transfer success of the University. This year’s UTHSC recipient is Dr. Edward Chaum, Plough Foundation Professor of Retinal Diseases.

Dr. Chaum has been at the UT Health Science Center since July 2000. He has received four issued patents with several others pending, authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications and directed $8 million – $9 million in sponsored research projects at UTHSC. Additionally, in 2007 he founded Hubble Telemedical, a company that enables screening and diagnosis of retinal diseases in non-specialty settings through their proprietary, award-winning Telemedical Retinal Image Analysis and Diagnosis (TRIAD™) technology. Hubble Telemedical began as a research collaboration between Chaum and Ken Tobin at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2004. Once initial camera deployments showed clinical success, Chaum and Tobin licensed the technology from UTRF and formed a start-up company, Hubble Telemedical. Chaum is also the founder of Nanophthalmics, a medical device company developing nano-engineered surgical instruments for ophthalmic surgery, and Infusense, a medical device company developing an automated infusion platform for the anesthetic agent propofol.

“Dr. Chaum is the type of faculty member with which technology transfer offices dream to work,” said Magid. Ed’s successful track record in basic and translational research speaks for itself, the three companies he’s founded in the past five years demonstrate that he is also a skilled entrepreneur. He exemplifies the characteristics that Otto and Kathleen Wheeley sought to recognize when they endowed the Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer at the University of Tennessee.”

Inventors recognized for receiving patents:

  • Timothy Fabian
  • Lisa Jennings
  • James T. Dalton
  • Duane D. Miller
  • Bob Moore
  • Steven Gurley
  • Suni Mustafa
  • John Buolamwini
  • Shivaputra Patil
  • Edward Chaum
  • Tayebeh Pourmotabbed