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University of Minnesota award ceremony to recognize inventors

February 10, 2011

The University of Minnesota Office of the Vice President for Research today will host a "University Innovations" event where researchers who have been awarded a patent or had their technology licensed during the past two years will be recognized. A total of 161 inventors representing 10 colleges from across the university will be honored. Their efforts generated 106 patents and 84 license agreements in fiscal years 2009-2010.

The program will include remarks from Clyde Allen, Board of Regents chair; Robert Bruininks, president; Timothy Mulcahy, vice president for research; and Jay Schrankler, executive director of the Office for Technology Commercialization. The speakers will address the importance of research and innovation to the nation's economic vitality, the university's role in Minnesota's economic ecosystem and the growth of the university's research enterprise.

Over the past five years inventions by university researchers have brought nearly $390 million in revenue into the state and helped fund numerous initiatives across the university, including fellowships for graduate students, critical research infrastructure and major equipment needs, development investments for university technologies and funding for additional research.

The event will take place at the McNamara Alumni Center from 4 to 6 p.m., with a program beginning at 5 p.m. Among many others, the following researchers have indicated they will attend the event:

Dr. Erik Cressman, a professor and clinician in the radiology department at the Medical School, discovered a novel treatment for chronic venous insufficiency. His research resulted in the formation of XO Thermix Medical, a medical device startup.

Gary Nelsestuen, a biochemistry professor, discovered modified vitamin K can double as an anti-coagulant or pro-coagulant. These enhanced proteins are being tested for coagulation and anti-coagulation therapies. The technology was licensed in 2008.

Kevin Groenke, a coordinator for the College of Design, designed a desk that would function perfectly for architecture students, who have very specific needs when it comes to a workspace. Groenke has licensed the desk design to three companies since 2009, one of which is based in Minnesota.

Vipin Kumar, head of the Computer Science and Engineering department, developed software that allows researchers to track the growth and degradation of forests worldwide, using new algorithms and satellite data.

Tom Levar, forestry and horticulture specialist at U of M Duluth's Natural Resources Research Institute, developed a way to protect plants from browsing by deer and mice by delivering a natural hot pepper concentrate through the roots of young plants, making them inedible. The technology was licensed to Repellex and the product should reach consumers this spring.

For more information about the honors, visit

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