University of Florida Innovators Honored at 4th Annual Standing InnOvation Event (UF Innovate)

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Gainesville, FL – On a sunny and fresh fall afternoon, UF Innovate | Tech Licensing hosted its annual event to recognize top innovations stemming out of the University of Florida. More than 150 innovators and entrepreneurs attended the in-person event, and around 40 joined the livestream to celebrate their achievements in fiscal year 2021.

The event started inside UF Innovate | Accelerate @ The Hub, where a new illustration, 42 feet by 10 feet, replaced the mural original to the building. The mural depicts technologies and startups birthed at the University of Florida. (Details on the mural unveiling here.)

After the mural’s unveiling, guests were invited to walk next door to Midpoint Park & Eatery, a food truck park located at the heart of Gainesville’s Innovation District. The modern, outdoor space was the perfect scene to announce the innovator and innovations of the year.

In addition to the Innovator of the Year, Jim O’Connell, assistant vice president of commercialization at UF and director of UF Innovate | Tech Licensing, introduced seven innovations of the year selected by the licensing teams out of 285 inventions disclosed in fiscal year 2021.

“These seven inventions and their innovators will impact the world in 20 years,” said O’Connell, as he began to introduce the awardees.

Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering Department Chair Dr. Juan Gilbert was concerned about people standing in line waiting to vote on the 2020 elections in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. This inspired him to create a technology that could mitigate the situation and make it safer with a ticketing system that would tell an individual when to return to vote instead of waiting in line.

  • Stable Magnetic Cryopreservation Agents and Long Circulating Blood Pool Imaging Agents

Dr. Carlos Rinaldi-Ramos, chair in the chemical engineering department, and Dr. Andreina Chiu-Lam created a technology that could cryopreserve an entire organ. They modified magnetic nanoparticle coatings to improve stability in harsh cryopreservation environments where particle aggregation can prevent penetration deep into the organ for subsequent uniform rewarming.

  • Clear Single-Use Passive Perfusion Enabled 3D Bio-Reactor Well Plate for Cell Culture and Experimentation

Mechanical engineer Dr. Greg Sawyer works with micro tumors created from real cancer material. He invented a 3D culture system that is accessible and easy to use, and it allows researchers to do the work in their own laboratory environments. His team included Drs. Ryan Smolchek, Juan Uruena Vargas, Jack Famiglietti, Duy Nguyen.