May 2014, Volume XIII, Number 11
› 2014 Research & Innovation Week Wrap-Up
Thank you to all who participated in the 2014 Research & Innovation Week at UMSL as attendees and speakers. Discussions ranged from how entrepreneurship within the company is vital to Boeing's success; alternate careers for scientists as patent agents, business consultants, FBI agents and more; how faculty can launch successful ventures while maintaining an academic career; and the story of Schlafly beer; to the impact of the Affordable Care Act from both a marketplace and a policy perspective. The Grand Finale Reception wrapped up the week with the presentation of Investigator of the Year and Inventor of the Year awards and issued patent plaques, the induction of new members into the UMSL Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors, and a presentation by the CEO of St. Louis-based Answers.com on the many entrepreneurial failures that culminated in the Answers success story.
Top: Tim Noonan, Vice President, Ventures (part of Boeing Defense Space & Security) discusses the company's entrepreneurial initiatives. Middle left, from left: Brett Maricque, President, the Biotechnology and Life Science Advising (BALSA) Group, and Dr. Kathleen Chaffee, patent agent, Dentons, discuss alternate careers for scientists as part of a panel for graduate students; a group of students, faculty and community members engage with the alternate careers panel. Second from bottom: Tom Schlafly, Chairman, Schlafly Brewing Company, and Partner, Thompson Coburn LLP, delivers an interesting talk about his experiences starting the first licensed micro-brewery in Missouri. Bottom: David Karandish, CEO, Answers Corporation (which operates the Answers.com website), offers an entertaining keynote address at the Grand Finale Reception about all the entrepreneurial failures that culminated in the outstanding success that is Answers.
In 2012, the Office of Research Administration (ORA) established annual awards to recognize UMSL faculty for research and innovation/entrepreneurship. The Investigator of the Year awards are based primarily on the size of research expenditures; one award goes to a junior and one to a senior faculty member. The Inventor of the Year award is given to a faculty member who has a technology disclosed to the University that carries extraordinary promise in terms of viability and impact. An additional award is available for outstanding innovation by a student. Award recipients receive a trophy and $500 each from the ORA.
UMSL Junior Investigator of the Year: Dr. Mindy Steiniger, Assistant Professor, Biology
Dr. Mindy Steiniger, a St. Louis native, received bachelor's degrees in chemistry and biology from Truman State University in 1997 and completed her Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002. Her doctoral research explored the interactions of a bacterial transposase with its DNA binding partner, furthering the use of the transposase in biotechnological applications. Steiniger's post-doctoral work at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill defined a group of proteins required for proper mRNA 3’ end formation, an essential cellular process. Since joining the UMSL Department of Biology in 2010, Steiniger has continued her work on mRNA 3’ end formation and has expanded her efforts to include processing of other types of cellular RNA. She was recently awarded an R15 AREA grant from the NIH to support her work.
“I am so honored to have received the Junior Investigator of the Year award," Steiniger said. "Obtaining substantial external funds for research is an integral part of creating a successful, enthusiastic research program at UMSL; and I am excited to be a member of progressive junior faculty contributing to the excellence of the UMSL.”
UMSL Senior Investigator of the Year: Dr. Robert Paul, Professor and Director of Behavioral Neuroscience Program, Psychology
Dr. Rob Paul joined UMSL in 2006 after transitioning his research program from Brown Medical School. His research, funded by NIH continuously since 1998, examines brain disorders associated with HIV and ischemic vascular disease. According to Paul, these two medical conditions serve as strong models to study deep sub-cortical brain systems that are not visible on the surface of the brain. His research program uses neuropsychological tests and neuroimaging technology to understand how these sub-cortical brain systems direct cognitive and affective behavior. Paul collaborates with researchers at multiple universities including Brown University, University of California, San Francisco, and Washington University as well as research teams in South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam; and his work has resulted in more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications and several high-impact edited books.
"UMSL has provided an ideal environment to conduct high-level interdisciplinary research," Paul said. "Access to a talented undergraduate and graduate student population, a research-focused administrative culture and integrative links to regional universities and research Institutes and Centers all provide an optimal system for faculty to pursue their research programs."
UMSL Inventor of the Year: Dr. Janet Braddock-Wilking, Associate Professor, Chemistry
(Pictured below from left: Dr. Nasser Arshadi, Vice Provost Research; Dr. Janet Braddock-Wilking, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry; Dr. Christopher Spilling, Professor and Chair, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry)
Dr. Janet Braddock-Wilking investigates synthetic pathways for the preparation of novel luminescent silicon or germanium-containing ring molecules known as metalloles and metallafluorenes. Luminescent molecules can have a number of applications in technology such as organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) used in screen display lighting and as chemical or biological sensors. A major emphasis is the development of robust air stable blue, green, and the more rare red light-emitting molecules. The unique optoelectronic properties exhibited by these molecules that make them desirable for these applications are linked to their structures and these can be modified by incorporating a variety of chemical functional groups within the molecule through chemical synthesis.
Dr. Braddock-Wilking said, “The research oriented atmosphere at UMSL provides the resources necessary to perform cutting-edge research. Key to this project was supportive colleagues and state-of-the-art instrumentation provided by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Center for Nanoscience. I especially benefited from outstanding graduate students who advanced this research project and the strong backing of the Office of Research Administration.”
Please provide your feedback on this year's event and suggestions for topics, speakers and overall improvements for the 2015 Research & Innovation Week at UMSL to email@example.com. Thank you!
› Changing the academic culture: Valuing patents and commercialization toward tenure and career advancement
Should universities recognize faculty research activities that translate into patents, licensing and commercialization of products in faculty tenure and promotion decisions?
A group of university officials from across the nation, including UMSL's vice provost for research, Nasser Arshadi, say "Yes" in the paper “Changing the academic culture: Valuing patents and commercialization toward tenure and career advancement,” which was published April 28 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The paper’s lead author is Paul R. Sanberg, Distinguished University Professor and senior vice president for research and innovation at the University of South Florida and president of the National Academy of Inventors.
Additional authors include Richard B. Marchase, vice president for Research and Economic Development at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Eric Kaler, president of the University of Minnesota, Patrick T. Harker, president of the University of Delaware, Morteza Gharib, vice provost for research at the California Institute of Technology, Timothy D. Sands, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost of Purdue University, and Sudeep Sarkar, associate vice president for research and innovation at the University of South Florida.
› See additional News, Events & Upcoming Deadlines on the ORA web site.
The Office of Research Administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis publishes The UMSL Innovator once each month. The online and e-mail publication is designed to inform the campus community of grants received; highlight the research and commercialization accomplishments of UMSL faculty, graduate students and staff; and provide information on important deadlines and events. Also included is recent news about research and commercialization at the University and elsewhere. Recipients are UMSL faculty, students and staff. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions, comments or suggestions on content.
The Office of Research Administration provides leadership and support in the development, execution and operation of programs in sponsored research, technology transfer and economic development throughout the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
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