Barron presents Invent Penn State success stories to Board of Trustees

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — University President Eric Barron shared some Invent Penn State success stories with the Board of Trustees at its meeting Friday (Nov. 4), held at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus.

The University launched Invent Penn State last year with a goal to drive job creation, spur economic development and student career success. When President Barron announced the new initiative he said, "At Penn State, we recognize that great minds need support.” At today’s meeting he highlighted how some of that support has helped those great minds succeed, and has quickly turned their ideas into reality.

Jeffrey Catchmark, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, originally was researching a replacement for Styrofoam, but the bio-absorbable medical foam he created instead could save lives. It absorbs blood and bodily fluids and expands to put pressure on wounds. With the help of an Invent Penn State grant, he is taking that product to market.

Invent Penn State is also helping Nina Jenkins, a research associate in entomology, eradicate bed bugs. Jenkins has spent 20 years researching and developing biopesticides, and was part of the recent Invent Penn State Venture & IP Conference. Jenkins plans to start selling the bed bug-beating biopesticide next year.

The president also told the board about Mary Elizabeth McCulloch, a 2016 Schreyer Honors College graduate who is helping to give a voice to the voiceless. Happy Valley LaunchBox provided her group with free rent space for a year as part of the Invent Penn State initiative. Now she is in the user-testing phase of Project Vive, which allows those who cannot speak to do so by operating a handheld or foot-pedal device.

Barron told the board that Invent Penn State has made great strides, but still has more to do. He challenged the Penn State community to improve the University’s ranking for tech transfer, continue to build capital, improve pairings of entrepreneurs with investors, and focus on increasing interest in innovation among undergraduates. 

Last Updated November 06, 2016