by Charlie Litton, UNeMed
OMAHA, Neb. (Oct. 29, 2013)—Qian Zhang, a post-doctoral fellow and licensing associate at UNeMed Corporation, was recently awarded a competitive scholarship from the Association of University Technology Managers.
Zhang, who received her doctorate in cancer biology in 2011, is one of just five national candidates who are expected to receive a Howard Bremer Scholarship. AUTM has not yet officially announced other scholarship recipients.
Named for a highly regarded advocate for technology transfer operations at the university level, the Howard Bremer Scholarships were created in 2002 “to foster educational opportunities for individuals who are committed to the vision of technology transfer and are novices in the field,” according to the AUTM website.
Zhang said she went to the 2013 annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas, and credited some of her early successes to the large number of valuable contacts and friendships she developed there.
“I felt it was a really good learning opportunity for people new to technology transfer,” she said. “It’s also a great platform that gives an opportunity to university technology transfer people to interact with each other and with business development people from the industry.”
The Howard Bremer Scholarships are specifically aimed at students and professionals new to the technology transfer industry, and pays for travel and registration expenses for the 2014 AUTM Annual Meeting in San Francisco on Feb. 19-22.
A product of Linyi, China, Zhang pursued graduate school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and then briefly considered an academic research career. Soon after earning her doctorate, Zhang joined UNeMed as an intern while weighing her career options. A few months later, UNeMed signed her as licensing associate where she now helps evaluate and bring to market UNMC innovations.
“Technology transfer is still science-related,” she said. “It connects strongly to the research I did, and I enjoy it a lot.”
She has already made significant contributions to UNeMed’s mission, helping to open doors on international markets. Fluent in Chinese, Zhang was instrumental in brokering a licensing deal that could help bring a UNMC invention to the China market.
Zhang, 33, is also midway through the MBA program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and expects to receive her diploma by early 2015.
AUTM points to Howard Bremer as “one of the most important, most influential and most beloved” people in the technology transfer industry. He is often credited as playing a key role in the founding of AUTM in 1974—then called the Society of University Patent Administrators—and, more importantly, he is cited as a central player in the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980.
The Bayh-Dole Act allowed universities to own the intellectual property of technologies developed with federal funding. That revolutionary act essentially created the U.S. technology transfer industry as it exists today, and helped launch countless university research projects beyond the laboratory and into the marketplace.
Bremer died on Oct. 11, 2013, at the age of 90.
UNeMed Corporation is the technology transfer office (TTO) for the University of Nebraska Medical Center, serving researchers, faculty and staff who develop new biomedical technology and inventions. UNeMed strives to help bring those innovations to the marketplace for a healthier and better world.