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Students present research, win awards at KU Innovation Fair

Monday, May 05, 2014

LAWRENCE – The inventive research of University of Kansas faculty and students was recognized and celebrated May 1 at the second annual KU Innovation Fair. The program was hosted by KU Innovation and Collaboration, the university’s technology commercialization office.

Cory Berkland, professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, received the Jim Baxendale Commercialization Award.  It recognizes a KU faculty member whose research has resulted in significant advances and commercial opportunities for the university.

Berkland is the co-founder of three companies since coming to KU in 2004: Orbis Biosciences, Savara Pharmaceuticals and Orion BioScience. These companies are focused on therapies for asthma, pain management, autoimmune diseases and other conditions. He also helped initiate and co-directs a unique collaborative innovation program with ConocoPhillips and Schlumberger related to oil and gas recovery.  At KU, Berkland is the recipient of a 2012 University Scholarly Achievement Award and a 2010 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence.

At the two-hour event in the Kansas Union Ballroom, 20 undergraduate and graduate students presented their discoveries on posters. A 10-member panel of judges awarded $4,500 in prizes to the top-six student projects.  Prize recipients, with department and project title, were:

Undergraduate Division

  • First place ($1,000): James Borner, mechanical engineering, industrial design, “FSAE Brake System Research and Design”
  • Second place ($750): Kelly Rodriquez, Ned Howard, Brittany Limones, Kenneth McChesney, electrical engineering and computer science, “Dual-Channel Sense-and-Avoid Radar for Small UAV’s”
  • Third place ($500): Henry Clever, mechanical engineering, “Ultramouse: A Communicative Device Which Allows Those with Disabilities to Operate a Computer Using Head Movement”

Graduate Division

  • First place ($1,000): Christopher Kuehl, pharmaceutical chemistry, “NanoClusters and the Future of Asthma Treatment”
  • Second place ($750): Lei Shi, electrical engineering and computer science, and Robert Knight, aerospace engineering, “Airborne Collision Avoidance Radars”
  • Third place ($500): Connor Dennis, chemical and petroleum engineering, bioengineering, “Enhancing Endochondral Ossification for Bone Defect Regeneration: Converging Native ECM Biomaterials and Self-Assembling Colloidal Gels”

Other students who made presentations at the KU Innovation Fair:

Undergraduate Division

  • Joseph Barforoush, chemical and petroleum engineering, Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis, “Glucaric Acid, Levulinic Acid, and Succinic Acid as Bio-Derived Precursors to Commodity Chemicals”

Graduate Division

  • Eric Bonet, civil, environmental and architectural engineering, “Bridge Repair Utilizing Plastics and Stitches”
  • Dupeng Liu, chemical and petroleum engineering, “Making the Conventional Chemical Process Cheaper and Greener – Hydroformylation of Olefin in Gas-Expanded Liquids”
  • Adam Mellott, bioengineering program, “Non-Viral Reprogramming of Human Wharton’s Jelly Cells Reveals Differences Between Atoh1 Homologues”
  • Qiannan Cui, physics and astronomy, “Transient Absorption Microscopy of Monolayer WSE2”
  • Emily Carlson, pharmacology and toxicology, “Novel Amyloid-ß-Binding Alcohol Dehydrogenase Inhibitor Decreases Cancer Cell Growth Rate”
  • Daniel Jasion, chemistry, “Iron Pyrite-Based Photocapacitors: A Novel Integrated Energy Solution”
  • Omar Ismael, civil, environmental and architectural engineering, “Model Test of Laterally Loaded Piles Under a Scoured Condition”
  • BanuPriya Sridharan, bioengineering program, “Degradation Study of Raw Material Encapsulated Microsphere-Based Scaffolds for Osteochondral Tissue Engineering”
  • Sonia Rawal, physical therapy, KU Medical Center, “Reaggregated 3D Islets for Drug Testing.”

Judges for the KU Innovation Fair competition, in addition to Berkland, were Claudia Bode, Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis; Mark Fisher, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, KU Medical Center; Joe Heppert, Office of Research; Rebecca Peterson and Bob Rummer, KU Innovation and Collaboration; Karthik Ramachandran, Likarda LLC; Joshua Sestak, Orion BioScience; Mike Smithyman, Bioscience & Technology Business Center at KU; and Charlotte Tritch, School of Business.