Posters and prototypes of new innovations developed by LSU faculty members lined the walls of the packed ballroom in the Lod Cook Alumni Center on Tuesday evening at LSU’s first-ever Innovation & Technology Commercialization Inventorship Showcase.
The event honored the 16 patents received and 57 works published by LSU faculty members in fiscal year 2014, and it also represented the university’s increasing efforts to move research into the marketplace amidst what LSU President F. King Alexander described as a research and development crisis in the U.S.
“This is about supporting the human mind and the human capital in our campus,” Alexander said. “Right now we are at a crossroads of whether we want to invest in what’s going to happen or we want to sit back and watch everybody else do it.”
Of the 16 patents honored, three were licensed to businesses; other faculty are working toward licensing their inventions or innovations. Some have received funding to help develop their products through LSU’s new Leveraging Innovation for Technology Transfer Fund, also known as the LIFT2 Fund.
LSU Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research-Technology Transfer Andy Maas emphasized the amount of work and effort behind each patent, and awarded every patent recipient with a plaque.
Professor of veterinary surgery Mandi Lopez and associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering Todd Monroe were recognized for their patent on a small device called GraftGrab, which is designed to better affix ligament grafts to bone in knee surgeries.
“The GraftGrab allows us to tighten the ligament graft just how we want it so it.” Lopez said. “We are licensed to Tesla Medical, it will have to go through preclinical testing, then as a device it doesn’t have to go through FDA approval, so it could be in knees very quickly.”
Assistant professor of geography and associate director of computing at Southern Regional Climate Center David Sathiaraj, along with professor of computer science Evangelos Triantaphyllou, were also honored for the development of new data mining software. The software allows researchers to pull from a large data set the points closest to boundaries to find the “fence sitters,” as Sathiaraj put it.
“You can think of it like in a consumer data set of what customers are likely to buy a product, you’re trying to find the fence sitters who maybe interested in buying the product if you go ahead and issue a coupon or have a sale,” Sathiaraj said. “In a health care data set, it’s people who are most at risk, if you can identify them earlier then you can provide intervention at much earlier.”
Other patents honored at Tuesday’s event include a patent for the enrichment of stem cells from adult tissues, a synthetic herpes simplex viruses type 1 for the treatment of cancers and a method for DNA break repair for use in DNA sequencing.
LSU Vice Chancellor of Economic Development K.T. Valsaraj said the purpose of all these efforts is to further the transfer of knowledge, and the university intends to engage more with industry to develop greater innovations.
“Mostly universities play their role in basic and applied research, but there is developmental research of about $250 billion that is done by industry, the university doesn’t play a role in it very much,” Valsaraj said. “That’s where we want to be engaging. Everything they’re doing is to make it possible for us to move into that realm.”
Maas says he plans to hold the showcase annually, and wants to honor patents received at other LSU campuses next year.