At IU Kokomo, it’s never too soon to seek potential innovators, students

Howard County youngsters get their first exposure to a college atmosphere at the “Walk Into My Future” event Sept. 23 at IU Kokomo. (All photos courtesy of IU Kokomo).

When it comes to innovation, inspiration, knowledge and the drive to make our world a better place, it all begins here. In kindergarten. It’s where youngsters gain their first exposure to the wider world beyond their day-to-day existence and begin to dream of what their future lives may be like — but not necessarily how they will get there.

But programs like the “Walk Into My Future” event held Sept. 26 at IU Kokomo seek to change that mindset by inviting more than 1,000 kindergarteners from throughout Howard County to take part in a day full of educational events such learning to count to 10 in Spanish, playing with robots, working with chemicals to make silly putty or taking a simulated airplane tour of Australia.

A kindergartner peers through a telescope at IU Kokomo’s “Walk Into My Future” event Sept. 23.
Youngsters relax in a grassy area on the IU Kokomo campus during its “Walk Into My Future” event Sept. 23

As the kiddos arrived on campus, they were greeted with high-fives by IU Kokomo students, staff and faculty before moving to various work stations. In partnership with United Way of Howard County, the Kokomo Family YMCA and Community foundation of Howard County, IU Kokomo hosted the event with the objective of increasing educational attainment throughout north central Indiana.

“It’s important to plant the seed really early that college is an important option for everyone,” IU Kokomo Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke said. “Many of our children don’t have family who went to college, so nobody is having that conversation at home. This is a wonderful opportunity to see a college, feel what it is like, and then go home and talk to their parents about it.”

Kindergartners swarm the IU Kokomo campus on Sept. 23 for its “Walk Into My Future” event.

Read more about the event here.

Educational startup founded by IUPUI researcher hires VP of Sales, launches into North American market

Ali Jafari
Ali Jafari

CourseNetworking, an Indianapolis-based global learning management system company founded by Ali Jafari of the School of Engineering and Technology, has hired Peter Eliason as vice president of sales. Previously, Eliason was international sales manager for Kurzweil Education.

CourseNetworking offers a global, academic social-networking site with unique, next-generation technology solutions for learning and collaboration. Its product line includes a full learning management system, a plug-in tool called CN Post, a social e-portfolio and perpetual open-source licenses.

The company’s move into the North American market follows the opening of its first office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2014. Since opening the Malaysian office, CourseNetworking has entered into licensing agreements with institutions in Southeast Asia. Among them is Nanyang Technological University, a comprehensive and research-intensive university in Singapore. In the 2016 QS World University Rankings, it was ranked 13th in the world and second in Asia.

More information about CourseNetworking’s hire of Peter Eliason is available here.

IURTC outreach: Marie Kerbeshian to speak on October 28 patents panel

Marie Kerbeshian
Marie Kerbeshian

Marie Kerbeshian, vice president of technology commercialization at Indiana University Research and Technology Corp., will speak on a panel Friday, Oct. 28 to provide tips on working with universities if their products are covered by university-held patents.

“Section 337 is part of the law that allows companies to stop infringers from importing products into the United States if the products are covered by patents,” Kerbeshian said. “So if IURTC licensed patents to a company but another company tried to import products, we would help our licensee stop the illegal products from coming into the nation.”

The Section 337 symposium will hosted by the International Trade Commission Trial Lawyers Association at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, 530 W. New York Street, Indianapolis, from 1-6 p.m. Registration information is available here.

IU inventions are being marketed in the Great White North!

Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. personnel are marketing leading-edge inventions by IU researchers this week in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada!

David Wilhite, Jennifer Finefield and Katherine Moynihan are meeting with business development executives at the Licensing Executives Society’s 2016 Annual Meeting through October 26. Some of those IU-discovered inventions include:

  • Immunotherapy for acute leukemia created by Dr. Sophie Paczesny, IU School of Medicine.
  • Predictive markers for diabetes created by Dr. Raghu G. Mirmira, IU School of Medicine.
  • An RNAi-based larvacide for mosquitoes created by Molly Duman Scheel, IU School of Medicine-South Bend.
  • A therapeutic for polycystic kidney disease created by Bonnie Blazer-Yost, School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Jennifer Finefield
Jennifer Finefield

Finefield, senior technology manager, said IU researchers across all academic disciplines are inventing new products and processes that can impact people’s lives.

“These inventors are doing more than conducting research for the sake of research. They are addressing the needs of people and industry around the world,” she said.

You can read more about IU technologies being marketed at the LES annual meeting here.

McRobbie emphasizes internships, increased support for local and faculty-based startups during visit to IU South Bend campus

(L-R) Indiana University South Bend Chancellor Terry Allison, IU Trustee Melanie Walker, IU President Michael McRobbie and IU Trustee Phil Eskew break ground Wednesday for $4 million in renovations to IUSB’s Riverside Hall. (Photo courtesy of IU South Bend).

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie took to the rooftops of South Bend on Wednesday to spread a message he has carried throughout a statewide tour to IU campuses and their host cities throughout the past year.

From the top of the city’s former Studebaker Corp. assembly building, which along with Union Station Technology Center anchors South Bend’s rising Renaissance District, McRobbie gazed upon an area that currently employs about 35 IU and IU South Bend graduates.

Like educational and business leaders throughout Indiana, McRobbie wants to see such numbers grow as the state seeks to fill a “skills gap” between the number of technically trained college graduates being produced and the growing demand for such workers among key employers.

One way to achieve such objectives is through internships — particularly when it comes to future employee retention, McRobbie said. Such efforts currently are being emphasized at IU South Bend, Chancellor Terry Allison said.

“If they want to get the best talent and make sure that talent stays here, access that talent as early as possible,” McRobbie told the South Bend-Tribune. McRobbie also told the newspaper he plans to ask IU’s chief technology officer and dean of informatics and computing to make a follow-up visit.

“Clearly there are opportunities here to serve our graduates,” McRobbie said, adding that local leaders can help by providing increased guidance and support for local startups — including those sparked by faculty research.

Among other activities at IU South Bend, McRobbie took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the renovation of Riverside Hall. The $4 million project, set for completion in the fall of 2017, will update more than 11,000 square feet of space to house the hub of IU South Bend’s health sciences programs and classes, as well as provide health care for students, faculty, staff and the community.

“Anything that we can do that has an impact in improving public health I think is very, very important,” McRobbie told WBND-TV (ABC57 News). “By bringing together the health and wellness center and the various health sciences programs here, it’s really going to provide a focus and a concentration in one place. Because ultimately they’re all going to be working together, whenever they get to hospitals or clinics or wherever. So it makes sense to start training them together from the outset.”

McRobbie lunched with a half-dozen IU South Bend students and the director of the university’s honor’s program, Neovi Karakatsanis, He also toured a laboratory at IU School of Medicine-South Bend where researchers are studying the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne illness known to cause certain types of birth defects.

IU South Bend marked McRobbie’s last stop on a statewide tour to each of IU’s eight campuses and centers statewide to highlight the university’s connections statewide and further strengthen relations with business, community, government leaders and local media.

Indiana University School of Dentistry: A History of Innovation

Rendering of the new Indiana University School of Dentistry building currently under construction.
Rendering of the new Indiana University School of Dentistry building.

The Indiana University School of Dentistry is one of the oldest dental schools in the United States, starting in 1879 as the Indiana Dental College. Indiana University acquired it in 1925 and built a facility to house the school in 1933.

From its first days, the School of Dentistry has impacted the lives of people around the state and the world. Much of that impact comes from its thousands of living alumni who are pursuing their careers throughout the United States and almost 30 other countries.

The school also has impacted lives through the innovations discovered and developed by its personnel. These innovations are disclosed to the Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation, whose managers work with researchers to determine the best methods to protect the intellectual property and market it to industry.

Joseph C. Muhler, DDS, PhD, of the School of Dentistry presents toothpaste and tooth brushes to two of the 12,000 young volunteers who took part in tests of a stannous flouride toothpaste. The dentifrice became the first to be recognized by the American Dental Association as ‘an effective decay-preventive agent.
Joseph C. Muhler, DDS, PhD, of the School of Dentistry presents toothpaste and tooth brushes to two of the 12,000 young volunteers who took part in tests of a stannous fluoride toothpaste. The dentifrice became the first to be recognized by the American Dental Association as ‘an effective decay-preventive agent.’

Perhaps the best-known innovation developed at the School of Dentistry is the formula that became Crest® toothpaste. In 1950, Dr. Joseph C. Muhler headed a joint research project team formed by Procter & Gamble. When clinical studies of the new toothpaste with fluoride were conducted, they showed a 49 percent reduction in cavities in children ages six to 16. The reduction of tooth decay in adults was almost as high. Crest® was launched into test markets in 1955 and sold nationwide in 1956.

Another invention from the School of Dentistry that has reached the public is a formula to promote better oral care in dogs. Developed by Dr. George K. Stookey in 1991, the formula was licensed to pets products manufacturer Hartz®, which has branded it as DentaShield®. Its active ingredient reduces the formation of tartar by bonding with calcium in the dog’s saliva.

This culture of innovation established at the School of Dentistry remains strong today. Here are highlights from the 2015-2016 fiscal year:

  • IURTC filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on an antibiotic paste. The paste aims to improve the outcomes of root canals by providing adequate anti-microbial protection while not killing stem cells that contribute to healing.
  • IURTC licensed a technology that will enable users to detect certain bacterial infections. When users shine a light in the ultraviolet spectrum, the technology causes the bacteria to glow orange.
  • Travis Bellicchi, a second-year maxillofacial prosthodontics resident, collaborated with Zeb Wood and Cade Jacobs in the School of Informatics and Computing to develop a process to fabricate artificial facial parts using 3-D printing. The first facial prosthesis was made for 68-year-old Shirley Anderson, who was left without a chin after the removal of his Adam’s apple and mandible.
Travis Bellicchi with Shirley Anderson wearing his prosthesis
Travis Bellicchi with Shirley Anderson wearing his prosthesis.

Administrators and researchers in the School of Dentistry have created and cultivated an environment of innovation since it was acquired by Indiana University in 1925. That environment will be strengthened with a 45,000-square-foot, $21.6 million expansion to provide state-of-the-art clinics. New discoveries from the school’s researchers will be protected and marketed to industry. These new products and processes will improve people’s lives and expand the university’s impact throughout the world.

Treating a leading genetic cause of death in infants and toddlers

Research conducted throughout the Indiana University campus system continues to affect lives of people around the globe.

Spotlight Innovation Inc., based in West Des Moines, Iowa, has licensed technology from Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. that could potentially treat Spinal Muscular Atrophy. SMA affects between 1 in 6,000 and 1 in 10,000 newborns. An infant who develops SMA may lose the ability to sit, stand, walk, swallow, and/or breathe.

Dr. Elliot Androphy
Dr. Elliot Androphy

Dr. Elliot Androphy of Indiana University School of Medicine and Professor Kevin Hodgetts, director of the Laboratory for Drug Discovery in Neurodegeneration at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, collaborated to create the treatment, a small molecule called STL-182.

More information about SMA, STL-182 and Spotlight Innovation is available here.

IURTC’s Katherine Moynihan to participate in Oct. 20 webinar about internship programs

Katherine Moynihan
Katherine Moynihan

Katherine Moynihan, technology manager at Indiana University Research and Technology Corp., will speak Oct. 20 during a webinar titled “Running Effective Internship Programs – Clear Expectations.”

The webinar will be noon to 1:30 p.m. ET. Other speakers include Leza Besemann and Carol Grutkoski of the University of Minnesota, and Sara Dagen of the University of Florida. The webinar is offered through the Association of University Technology Managers.

More information about the webinar and how to register is available here.

Using social media to analyze medicine and social behavior

IU GatesThe Complex Adaptive Systems and Computational Intelligence (CASCI) group at Indiana University’s Bloomington campus has partnered with Persistent Systems, a world leader in large-scale software-driven healthcare solutions. Together, they will develop sophisticated algorithms to analyze the connection between medicine and social behavior in health issues, particularly how they are discussed across social media.

Professor Luis Rocha, Director, Complex Networks & Systems Ph.D. Program, CASCI Principal Investigator, said the partnership could be a major game changer.

Luis Rocha
Luis Rocha

“We try to find the commonality between biological, social, and technological networks, and the Internet,” he said. “Previous studies – whether in hospitals or by sociologists – could handle only 20, 30 or 40 patients in a study. Software is now driving our research, so through social media we can plug into millions and millions of people worldwide with very different types of conditions. This helps us tap into the psychological and social elements of healthcare, making this a major game changer.”

A video of Rocha discussing the work is available here.

A news release about the CASCI/Persistent Systems partnership is available here.