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The Square Room was packed Tuesday for Technov865 as attendees had the opportunity to hear from six University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) inventors presenting unique solutions to challenges within a variety of disciplines.

Technov865 was part of Innov865 Week, a weeklong celebration of Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit that brings together startups, entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders, students and the East Tennessee community for educational panels, pitch competitions, investor roundtables, and social events.

The six UTRF inventors presented their ‘power pitch’ to the audience explaining their technology, designated markets, competition, and value to their industries.

The presenters included:

  • Dayakar Penumadu, UTK, Tickle College of Engineering/ Joint Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (JIAM). Dr. Penumadu presented Smart Joint, an innovative product that can determine state of strain/stress in adhesive joints.
  • Shigetoshi Eda, UTIA, Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries/AgResearch.  Dr. Eda shared a novel point-of-care pathogen sensing diagnostic tool that is rapid, affordable and user-friendly.
  • Sheila Taylor, UTK, College of Nursing/Health Innovation Technology & Simulation Laboratory (HITS).  Dr. Taylor shared an exciting new instruction app that simulates real-time fetal monitoring to help train healthcare professionals on when to take corrective actions.
  • Jonaaron Jones, UTK, Tickle College of Engineering. Jonaaron Jones is the CEO of Volunteer Aerospace, a local business that uses metal powder bed additive manufacturing to produce hardware and fully functional prototypes for the aerospace and defense industries.
  • Ky Pohler, UTIA, Animal Science/AgResearch. Dr. Pohler explained the importance and industry impact of determining male fertility through genetics. His technology works to identify the genes in bulls that can predict the fertility of future cattle pregnancies.
  • Daniel Costinett, UTK, Tickle College of Engineering. Dr. Costinett developed a high-precision, multifunctional electrosurgical generator that has the ability to save time, money and valuable operating room space.

(complete list of presenters)

The event also featured a Keynote delivered by Jetta Wong, Senior Advisor of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. Jetta has over 14 years of experience developing programs and policies that support energy and environment technologies. Prior to joining LACI, Jetta Wong established the Office of Technology Transitions for the United States Department of Energy and served as its first Director. In that capacity, she assisted the private sector, state and local governments, universities, laboratories and other stakeholders and engaged with the Department on the commercialization of new technology.

Showcased with the inventors, leaders from UTRF, TVA and ORNL spoke about the exciting innovation and technology happening at the organizations. Speakers included Stacey Patterson, UTRF; Joe Hoagland, TVA; Tom Rogers, ORNL; and Mike Paulus, ORNL.

Three Roots Capital CEO, Grady Vanderhoofven, also gave a presentation discussing the URTF Checkerboard Portfolio Program. The Checkerboard Portfolio Program provides University of Tennessee affiliated startups with business development support and mentoring opportunities. The program primarily works with entrepreneurs who are looking to commercialize UTRF technology and need guidance to take their business to the next level.

Innov865 Week is presented by the Innov865 Alliance. The Innov865 Alliance develops, supports and promotes the Knoxville region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. It’s a collaborative effort to celebrate and showcase Knoxville as a great place for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses and increase access to capital. Founding members include the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Lab, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Tennessee Valley Authority, Three Roots Capital, Launch Tennessee and Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. For more information and to stay updated on events, visit: