Innovation Awards showcase outstanding achievements

HERSHEY, Pa. — Faculty, staff, post-docs, students and members of the entrepreneurial community celebrated the spirit of innovation at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center during the seventh annual Innovation Awards ceremony on Nov. 28 at the University Conference Center on the Hershey campus.

The event recognized individuals who have had innovative ideas move forward through the execution of a license agreement, received a patent or formed a startup company based on Penn State technology from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017. Launched in 2011, the annual award ceremony highlights the groundbreaking innovative research and commercialization efforts taking place in and around the Penn State Health campus in Hershey.

Dr. Leslie Parent, vice dean of research and graduate education, Kevin Harter, director of the Center for Medical Innovation at Penn State College of Medicine, and Erika Swift, associate director of the Center for Medical Innovation, recognized the following individuals who received an issued patent or had a technology licensed during the 2016-2017 fiscal year:

  • Joyce Tombran-Tink and Colin Barnstable, Department of Neural and Behavioral Science
  • Janette McAllister, Neil Christensen and Dr. Keith Cheng, Department of Pathology
  • Dr. Peter Dillon, Dr. Randy Haluck and Dr. Donald Mackay, Department of Surgery
  • Andrew Patterson, veterinary and biomedical sciences at University Park and the Penn State Cancer Institute
  • Barry Fell, TPC Innovation & Design

The culmination of the Innovation Awards ceremony was the presentation of three major awards for outstanding achievements in innovation:

  • Innovator of the Year Award – James Connor, distinguished professor of neurosurgery, neural and behavioral sciences, and pediatrics
  • Investigator to Watch Award – Dr. Elias Rizk, assistant professor of neurosurgery
  • Student Award for Excellence in Innovation – Oliver Mrowczynski, MD/PhD neurosurgery student

The nominees for the three major awards were also recognized:

  • Nicholas Buchkovich, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology
  • Janette McAllister, professor of pathology, obstetrics and gynecology, and cellular and molecular physiology
  • Kathryn Schmitz, professor of epidemiology, Department of Public Health Sciences
  • Dan Shapiro, vice dean of faculty and administrative affairs and professor of psychiatry, former chair and professor in the Department of Humanities
  • Dr. Steven Hicks, assistant professor of pediatrics
  • Gillian Naro, MD student

The evening began with an opening reception, accompanied by live jazz music from local music icon Steve Rudolph. Dr. A. Craig Hillemeier, dean of Penn State College of Medicine, CEO of Penn State Health and senior vice president of health affairs for Penn State, provided the welcome remarks and introduced Kevin Harter as the director of the new Center for Medical Innovation at Penn State College of Medicine.

After dinner, Lori Gavrin, director of business development for the Platform and Technology Sciences Division at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), delivered the keynote address. Gavrin introduced attendees to GSK’s breadth of range as a science-led global healthcare company, highlighted its external engagement initiatives, and defined the value-added benefits of pharma-academia partnerships.

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Last Updated December 06, 2017