2010 Innovation Week

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Calendar of Events

Monday – October 4th

**       Kick off to Innovation Week

8am – 10am ~ DRC 1 Atrium ~ Meet the UNeMed Staff

                 FREE T-shirts, breakfast snacks & Jo-On-The-Go Espresso Bar

**       Science on Tap ~ “Portraits of Care”

6:00pm – 7:30pm ~ Kaneko Center ~ 1111 Jones Street, Omaha

UNMC Clinical & Research Community

Refreshments & hors d’oeuvres will be sponsored by UNeMed

                   R.S.V.P. required to unemed@unmc.edu

Tuesday – October 5th

**       Dr. David M. Brown of miRNA Therapeutics

Eppley Science Hall Amp ~ 1pm – 2pm

                   “Therapeutic Application of a Tumor Suppressor microRNA”

Thursday – October 7th

 2010 Innovation Awards Ceremony & Reception

4pm ~ Awards Ceremony in the DRC Auditorium

5pm ~ Reception in the DRC 1 Atrium

         Announce iPad drawing winner!  (MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN)

Friday – October 8th

          VA Presentation, “Technology Transfer at the VA”

Joe Runge, Business & Development Manager, UNeMed Corporation

9am – 10am – Education Conference Room

VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, 4101 Woolworth, Omaha

**Register to win an iPad at the Oct. 4th & 5th events or at a UNeMed Office

location nearest you ~ DRC-1 Office Suite 1007 or ANX14 Office Suite 3000

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UNeMed advances the ball on CEE enforcement front

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OMAHA, Neb. (Aug. 6, 2010)—UNeMed Corporation has made progress in its efforts to enforce its intellectual property directed to creatine ethyl ester (CEE) used as a nutritional supplement.  On April 1, 2010, the United States International Trade Commission issued exclusion and cease and desist orders against the four remaining respondents in Certain Products Advertised as Containing Creatine Ethyl Ester, 337-TA-679.  The period of Presidential review of those orders expired on May 31, 2010 with no modifications being made to those orders.  Thus, the respondents are no longer permitted either to import their products falsely advertised as containing creatine ethyl ester, or to sell any such products that have already been imported into the United States.

UNeMed has also concluded a license agreement with Bio-Engineered Supplements & Nutrition, Inc. (BSN) of Boca Raton, Florida for all of UNeMed’s worldwide issued patents directed to creatine ethyl ester.  BSN is a major supplier of nutritional supplements in the United States and around the world.

Finally, UNeMed continues to pursue its remedies in New Zealand for patent infringement against Punch Supplements, an online seller of nutritional supplements in that country.  UNeMed is evaluating its options to pursue similar remedies around the world against other, similar companies.

UNeMed Corporation is the technology transfer leader for the University of Nebraska Medical Center. UNeMed has a diverse technology portfolio that addresses significant medical and clinical needs in areas such as Therapeutics, Diagnostics, Medical Devices, Research Tools and Software.  For further information regarding UNeMed and its patent portfolio, please contact Dr. Michael J. Dixon (mdixon@unmc.edu).

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UNeMed deal with Eli Lilly puts UNMC in PD2 Program

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OMAHA, Neb. (May 5, 2010)—UNMC is now a registered participant for a new Phenotypic Drug Discovery (PD2) program. Eli Lilly and Company, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, has launched the new drug discovery initiative created to identify new molecules that display activity in relevant disease models and that can serve as a foundation for the development of research collaborations between Eli Lilly and external researchers for the development of new therapeutic molecules.

The program allows UNMC researchers to submit potential therapeutic compounds for phenotypic drug screening. Researchers can submit compound structures by completing a New Invention Notification (NIN) through the UNeMed office. NIN forms are available on line at billowy-sleep.flywheelsites.com.  The NIN will then be reviewed, by the UNeMed staff and if approved the researcher will receive an affiliation code to submit the compound(s) on line to Eli Lilly and Company.

If selected by Eli Lilly, the compounds will be screened for activity in five phenotypic assay modules: Alzheimer’s disease, Cancer (cell cycle arrest), Cancer (Anti-Angiogensis), Diabetes, and Bone Formation.  Promising results may lead to a license agreement or collaboration between Eli Lilly and UNMC to further develop the drug molecules.  Any UNMC researchers, who are interested in participating in this program, should contact Licensing Specialist Matt Boehm, Ph.D., mboehm@unmc.edu or 9-2166 in the UNeMed office for further details.

“The PD2 program provides a unique opportunity for UNMC researchers to gain valuable information about their compounds.  This initiative also gives us a potential route to develop collaborations with a major pharmaceutical company,” said Dr. Boehm.

PD2 Website for more detailed information:


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NU research translates into business opportunity

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It’s all academic, but that doesn’t mean it can’t make good business sense.

When Omaha’s Streck Laboratories acquired the assets of Philisa Technology Corp., it was just the latest example of scientific research in the University of Nebraska system translating into real-world business opportunity.

Hendrik Viljoen, a professor in chemical biomolecular engineering with dual appointments at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, was one of the owners of Philisa, along with Joel TerMaat, a doctoral candidate in chemical engineering at UNL, and Scott Whitney, a postdoctoral fellow in chemical engineering at UNL.

Viljoen called the work of UNeMed, the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s “technology commercialization office,” vital in helping his fledgling company succeed. He also credited NUtech Ventures. That organization is designed to raise money, write business plans and provide other help for startups built around NU research.

“When we started up, we basically just had ideas,” Viljoen said.

Michael Dixon, president of UNeMed, said UNMC has about $130 million in research currently being conducted, “and that generates a lot of new discoveries.”

“So … as we work with and develop the intellectual property associated with those discoveries, we try to find people who want to develop them commercially,” he said.

Dixon said UNeMed wants to see university research culminate in results that have real-world application and that produce revenue. “We’re a company trying to increase the economic value of the university.”

“This acquisition is important,” he said of the Streck-Philisa deal, “because we feel the technology will make it into the commercial marketplace and succeed.”

Viljoen said the product that attracted Streck’s attention is called a rapid PCR (polymerase chain reaction) thermocycler, “basically a device that enables you to make copies of certain specific regions of DNA.” It is useful for diagnosing diseases such as tuberculosis, among other applications.

Connie Ryan, president of Streck, said the rapid PCR thermocycler allows the company to continue to build presence in the molecular diagnostics market, which it recently entered with the creation of blood collection tubes for the preservation of cell-free DNA and RNA circulating in plasma.

“It’s new technology, and it gives us a new way to grow our business, and it’s clearly the future of clinical diagnostics,” she said.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed, but a portion of the proceeds went to UNeMed and NUtech Ventures, Viljoen said. That money is reinvested by the university into further research efforts.

“That’s our sole mission,” said David Conrad, executive director of NUtech Ventures.

Viljoen credited the business know-how of TerMaat, who now works at Streck as a project manager, as essential to Philisa’s success. He also said UNeMed and NUtech Ventures are doing a good job helping potential or new entrepreneurs.

Streck Laboratories became aware of Philisa after Ryan was approached by a friend who belonged to the Nebraska Angels, a group that explores early stage investment opportunities and start-up companies with ties to Nebraska.

“We thought it was such a great opportunity, not only because it was an innovative product and these are interesting, intelligent people to work with, but it’s Nebraska technology, developed at UNL and UNMC, and we were going to be able to keep it here,” Ryan said.

Conrad also was excited about keeping Philisa in the state. Viljoen and Whitney will serve as consultants to Streck.

“Not only was it a start-up that came out of the university and was operating in Lincoln but then the acquirer was also a Nebraska company,” Conrad said.

NUtech is emphasizing deals with Nebraska companies, in part so that more local jobs are created.

“There are several start-ups we’re working with in the pipeline that we hope go a similar path,” Conrad said.

Dixon estimated that UNeMed has developed seven to 12 products marketed commercially, with 35 to 40 more currently in development.

There are all sorts of upsides to the Streck acquisition, Dixon said, and not just for the principals and the university.

“It was a local company, and it was acquired by another local company, so it strengthened our local economy,” Dixon said. “We’re able to add jobs locally through the transfer of this technology into the commercial sector.”

He said the university-sponsored ventures need to be innovative and create business that will pull the state out of the economic slump.

That these companies have the potential to be bought and sold for millions of dollars means a lot to the local economy, Dixon said. “We’re very interested in helping to create as many high-growth companies as possible, based on technology.”

Ryan said it was exciting to see such great new technology coming out of UNL and UNMC.

“We’re hoping that it grows into a significant business,” she said.

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UNMC team moves closer to Parkinson’s disease vaccine

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OMAHA, Neb. (March 2, 2010)—UNMC researchers have taken a significant step forward in the development of a vaccine to reverse the neurological damage caused by Parkinson’s disease.

The findings appear in the March 1 issue of the Journal of Immunology.

“This could be a revolutionary means for Parkinson’s disease therapeutics,” said Howard Gendelman, M.D., chairman of the department of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience (PEN), who partnered with R. Lee Mosley, Ph.D., to lead the research. “It has been a long journey representing more than 10 years of hard work by our research team.”

Neurodegeneration occurs when a normal protein called alpha synuclein clumps, changes shape, then accumulates in the brain. This results in the body attacking it through inflammation and causing destruction of dopamine-producing nerve cells.The cause of Parkinson’s disease — which affects more than 4 million people worldwide — is the loss of neurons that produce dopamine, a nerve signaling chemical that controls movement and balance.

UNMC researchers reversed the neurodegenerative effects of alpha synuclein by changing immune responses to it.

In mice with an experimental form of Parkinson’s disease, researchers found that the vaccine enabled T cells to migrate to the damaged area of the brain and triggered a neuroprotective response that reduced disease-linked reactions in the brain.

T cells are white blood cells that are key to immune response. They act like soldiers who search out and destroy the targeted invaders.

Additional work is needed to determine how to safely translate the study results into a therapy for humans, Dr. Gendelman said.

Human studies are being conducted at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and within the next month at UNMC to determine if the immune deficits seen in mice also are present in humans with Parkinson’s disease. For more information on the UNMC portion of this study, call 402-559-6941.

“Early results are encouraging,” said Dr. Mosley, an associate professor in the PEN department, who noted that the research could open new doors for treatment of Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative disorders.

UNMC’s technology transfer company, UNeMed, has filed a patent application on the vaccine and soon will talk to commercial partners about bringing the vaccine to the clinical setting.

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$10,000 research award offered again in 2010

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UNeMed once again will award $10,000 in unrestricted research funds to the inventor or group of inventors who submit the most promising invention.

To apply

To be considered for the funding, submit a completed New Invention Notification (NIN) form, which can be found on the UNeMed Web site.

The $10,000 research award will be announced and presented at the Innovation Awards in October 2010.

All fully completed New Invention Notifications (NIN) submitted to UNeMed will be evaluated and considered for the grant.

NINs with potential benefits to the public good as well as the patent and market potentials will all be considered. All UNMC faculty, students and staff are eligible.

The award was introduced in 2008 to promote the disclosure of new inventions to UNeMed.

“There are many good ideas floating around campus and it’s our goal to help faculty, students and staff develop those ideas into products that reach the marketplace,” said Michael Dixon, Ph.D., president of UNemed.

The following researchers have received awards:

  • Janina Baranowska-Kortylewicz, Ph.D., professor of radiation oncology (2008)
  • Guangshun Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Eppley Institute (2008)
  • Paul Dunman, Ph.D., assistant professor in pathology and microbiology (2009)

Each received $10,000 in research funds.

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INNOVATION WEEK 2009 ~ Photo Gallery

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Innovation Week 2009

UNeMed would like to thank all who participated in Innovation Week 2009.  Below is a look back at the week’s events.

Awards Ceremony Video  Click Here

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Honor Roll – Complete List of Innovation Awards Honorees

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“Compositions and Methods for Increasing Protein Production”, Alexander
Kabanov, Valery Alakhov, US Patent No. 7,422,875, issued September 9, 2008.
“Compositions and Methods for Detecting Human Herpesviruses”, Ronald Rubocki, Catherine Gebhart, US Patent No. 7,442,505, issued October 28, 2008.
“Halogenated Aminoquinolines and Oligonucleotides Containing the Same”, Barry Gold, US Patent No. 7,449,571, issued November 11, 2008.
“Digital X-ray Camera for Quality Evaluation Three Dimensional Topographic
Reconstruction of Single Crystals of Biological Macromolecules”, Gloria Borgstahl, Jeff Lovelace, Edward Snell, Henry Bellamy, US Patent No. 7,466,798, issued
December 16, 2008.
“Antimicrobial Peptides and Methods of Identifying the Same”, Guangshun Wang, US Patent No. 7,465,784, issued December 16, 2008.
“Fabricated Wall System”, Mike Faber and Chuck Niemeyer, US Patent No. 7,469,512, issued December 30, 2008.
“Robot for Surgical Applications”, Dmitry Oleynikov, Shane Farritor,
Adnan Hadzialic, Stephen Platt, US Patent No. 7,492,116, issued February 17, 2009.
“Nucleic Acid Encoding a Brain Derived Tau Kinase Polypeptide and Methods of Use Thereof”, Tsuneya Ikezu, US Patent No. 7,521,230, issued April 21, 2009.
Technology Licensed
“Intubation Stylet”
Ben Boedeker, D.V.M., M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., C.P.E.
“Enunciator System”
Rodney Markin, M.D., Ph.D.
“A-Wrist-A-Trac System”
Kathleen Healey, Ph.D.
Jill Skrabal, R.D.
Terry Munsinger, B.S.N.
Dorthy Norgard, L.P.N.
Lora Frecks, M.P.A.
Tara Scrogin, J.D.
Audrey Poole
“Educational Posters”
Maurice Godfrey, Ph.D.
Roxanna Jokela, M.H.A.
Liliana Bronner, B.H.S.E.
Kim Soper
Tracy Arobba
Eric Haas, Ph.D.
“Tau-Tubulin Kinase”
Tsuneya Ikezu, M.D., Ph.D.
“Panc02-MUC1 Cell Lines”
Tony Hollingsworth, Ph.D.
Patrick L. Iversen, Ph.D.
William H. Gmeiner, Ph.D.
“Anti-Desmoglein Antibody”
James Wahl, Ph.D.
“OTK-18 Antibody”
Tsuneya Ikezu, M.D., Ph.D.
Howard E. Gendelman, M.D.
Kimberly Carlson, Ph.D.
Gary Leisman, Ph.D.
“NR6R Cells”
Angie Rizzino, Ph.D.
“VA-13 Cells”
Dahn L. Clemens, Ph.D.
New Invention Notification Contributors
Iqbal Ahmad
Zbigniew P. Kortylewicz *
Virginia A. Aita Kim Laursen
Janina Baranowska-Kortylewicz * Sheila Likness
O. Andres Barrera Miao Liu
Surinder Kumar Batra Xiang-de (Martin) Liu
Elliott Bedows Yutong Liu
Ben H. Boedeker * William M. Lydiatt
Michael D. Boska James C. McClay
Margaret Boyce Thomas L. McDonald
Kathleen Brandert Nikola Miljkovic *
Liliana Bronner * David J. Miller *
Lynne M. Buchanan John D. Miller
David B. Bylund Patricia Moffatt
John Callahan * Daniel T. Monaghan
Ron Carson Terry Munsinger *
Subhankar Chakraborty Dorthy Norgard *
Anathbandhu Chaudhuri Dmitry Oleynikov *
Chad Chiesa * Babu J. Padanilam
Song Ci Steven V. Pera
Suzanne Clabaugh Audrey Poole *
Sarah C. Clayton Victoria Rabiola-Thomas
Blaise Mathias Costa Thomas P. Reardon
Janet Cuddigan Stephen I. Rennard
Sarena Dacus Sam D. Sanderson *
Prithviraj Dasgupta Tadashi Sato
Alan Didier Karen Saxton
Shi-Jian Ding * Georgia Seevers
Chandrasekar Durairaj Nathan Schulte *
Ellen G. Duysen Tara Scrogin *
Dana El-Hajjar Patrick Simpson
Michael C. Faber Joseph Ka-Chun Siu
Shane Farritor Jill Skrabal *
Anne A. Faylor Deandra R. Smith
Edward V. Fehringer Kim Soper *
Zachary D. Fowler Tina Spencer
Lora Frecks * Nicholas Stergiou
Alison G. Freifeld * R. Brian Stevens
Lori Fuller Sneha Sundaram
Mark Allen Gilbert James E. Talmadge
Maurice Godfrey * Joel TerMaat
Gregory I. Gordon Brenda Thompson
Timothy C. Greiner Myron L. Toews
Hani Haider Steven M. Tracy
Kathleen Healey * Mariano G. Uberti
George P. Hemstreet III Hendrik J. Viljoen *
Thomas E. Heuke Abigail Q. Visty
Patricia S. Hoffman Dong Wang
Joel Hovdenes Gus Wang
Jennifer Lynne Huberty * Annika Weber
Lisa Janousek Scott Whitney
Roxanna Jokela * Lucile E. Wrenshall
Alexander V. Kabanov * Xiang Yi
Michael G. Kane Corey Zetterman
Sukhwinder Kaur Lingyun Zhu
Deepak Khazanchi Irving Zucker
Richard F. Kmiecik
Uday B. Kompella *Multiple NIN’s Sumitted
Researcher Technology  Commercialization Certifications
Nathan Bills
Matt Boehm
Agnes Constantino
Libin Cui
Tess Eidem
Edward Ezell
Radha Golla
Toni Harris
David Holtzclaw
Diana Hutchison
Ethan Mann
Coronda Moore
Claudia Pinto
Martha Pinto
Audrey Poole
Christopher Shaffer
Chun-Hong Shao
Gus Wang
Alvin Wee
Nicholas Whitney
Zigang Yang
Ibrahim Younos
Qingjie Zhao
Lifetime Achievement Award – Rodney S. Markin, M.D., Ph.D.
Most Promising NIN – Paul Dunman, Ph.D., Patrick Olson

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Inventors honored during Innovation Week awards ceremony

Comments (1) Innovation Week, News

OMAHA, Neb. (Oct. 13, 2009)—Many UNMC researchers were honored for their innovations during UNeMed Corporation’s recent 2009 Innovation Awards ceremony in the Durham Research Center Auditorium.

UNeMed — UNMC’s marketing and licensing arm — honored 25 inventors of technology that resulted in 11 separate commercial licenses, and 14 inventors who have transformed eight different inventions into issued patents. This past year, UNeMed helped 112 inventors disclose 64 new invention notifications.

“UNeMed is linked to the research mission of UNMC,” said James Linder, M.D., chief executive officer of UNeMed. “Outstanding science creates the opportunity to improve health care, expand research and bring economic benefit to the inventors, UNMC and to Nebraska.”

Dr. Linder, Michael Dixon, Ph.D., president of UNeMed, and UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., presented awards.

Paul Dunman, Ph.D. assistant professor in the department of pathology and microbiology, received the Most Promising New Invention award for novel antibiotic compounds he developed with UNL biology student Patrick Olson.

The award comes with a $10,000 unrestricted research grant from UNeMed.

Dr. Dunman’s work focuses on the identification and characterization of novel antimicrobial compounds.

The lifetime achievement award, presented every other year, went to Rodney Markin, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology and microbiology, the David T. Purtilo Distinguished professor of pathology and microbiology, senior associate dean for clinical affairs, College of Medicine, and chairman and president of UNMC Physicians.

“I am honored and flattered by this award,” said Dr. Markin, one of UNMC’s most prolific inventors. “It’s been a great experience and I’ve had wonderful support from UNMC all these years.”

Certificates of completion were presented to 22 people who participated in an 11-week Researcher Technology Commercialization webinar course earlier this year. The course, hosted by the National Council of Entrepreneurial Technology Transfer, focused on the successful commercialization of research and practical steps required to protect and market intellectual property.

Dr. Maurer congratulated awardees, talked about the growth of UNeMed and the impact of research inventions in building a world-class academic health science center.

“UNeMed is critical in helping innovators move intellectual property to a product that may have value for the community and for patients,” he said. “You are doing important work.”

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Two receive iPods from UNeMed drawing

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OMAHA, Neb. (Oct. 6, 2009)—During Innovation Week 2009, UNeMed Corporation once again awarded two event participants iPod Nanos.

The winners were:

Rajesh Wakaskar, graduate research assistant in the department of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience; and
Christelle Roux, Ph.D., a post doctoral research associate in pathology/microbiology.

As a thank you for participating in Innovation Week events, attendees were given opportunities to enter the contest. The more events attended the better the chances of winning.

“We were very pleased with the attendance at this year’s events,” said Michael Dixon, Ph.D., president of UNeMed. Innovation Week, which ran Sept. 28-Oct. 2, featured events such as:

A meet and greet with the UNeMed staff;

Christelle Roux, Ph.D., and Rajesh Wakashar with the iPod Nanos they won for participating in UNeMed’s Innovation Week activities.

A “Science on Tap” event at at the Crescent Moon with special guest Mellissa Helligso, medical technologist for The Nebraska Medical Center;
A panel discussion on lab funding with Paula Turpen, Ph.D., Mark Bowen and Mark Carlson, M.D.; and
A seminar by Paul Dunman, Ph.D., about the importance of accurate laboratory notebooks.

Christelle Roux, Ph.D.

Rajesh Wakashar

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Dr. Markin honored for innovative solutions

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OMAHA, Neb. (Oct. 2, 2009)—It fit perfectly with the family philosophy: We don’t buy it; we build it. Even as a child, Rod Markin, M.D., Ph.D., loved to problem-solve.

Together, he and his younger brother spent hours building walkie-talkies, oscilloscopes, furniture, car engines — even a garage.

Later, he took that innovative streak into the clinical laboratory, where he problem solved to automate processes to reduce turnaround time of medical testing and fill gaps created by workforce shortages.

Dr. Markin honored for innovative spirit

On Thursday, Dr. Markin — one of the most prolific inventors at UNMC — received the Lifetime Achievement Award from UNeMed Corporation for his innovations that have transformed the clinical laboratory.

“Dr. Markin adds a fourth leg to the proverbial triad of teaching, research and service,” said James Linder, M.D., chief executive officer of UNeMed Corporation. “He has shown tremendous leadership as an academic entrepreneur. This is an important role that our faculty can play in economic development for Nebraska.”

Major companies buy into Dr. Markin’s inventions

Dr. Markin’s patents are licensed to major corporations, including Abbott Laboratories, and they form the basis of modern clinical laboratory automation, Dr. Linder said.

As chairman and president of UNMC Physicians, Dr. Markin thrives on tackling difficult problems.

“If you can define the problem, there are 100 smart people who can find the solution,” he said. “Finding and framing the appropriate problem is often the hardest part.”

Dr. Markin’s professional and academic research interests have focused on solid organ transplantation, informatics and clinical laboratory automation, which includes:

  • Robotics;
  • Information systems;
  • Medical utilization management; and
  • Outcomes optimization.

During his career, Dr. Markin has:

  • Secured 16 U.S. patents;
  • Written more than 300 publications; and
  • Published nearly 200 abstracts and chapters in books.

Solution for lab problems leads to business endeavor

In 1993, he founded LAB-InterLink, a spinoff of UNMC that provided products for hospital-based laboratory automation systems.

He also developed an automated microbiology platform for U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command for use in the clinical laboratory.

“My goal was simply to solve problems for our clinical laboratory, not to build a product,” he said.

UNeMed assists with the patent process

But with the help of UNeMed officials, he learned how to protect and patent his ideas.

Obtaining a patent “means you’ve solved a problem no one else has solved,” Dr. Markin said. “The time and effort involved is similar to being published in a significant scientific journal.”

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Spotlight on innovation – Meet Kathleen Healey, Ph.D.

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As part of Innovation Week (Sept. 28 – Oct. 2), UNeMed Corporation will spotlight the research of several UNMC inventors. Here, researchers discuss their passion for innovation and share their thoughts on the process.

OMAHA, Neb. (Sept. 17, 2009)—Obesity has been referred to as a national epidemic; nearly 55 percent of all Americans are either overweight or obese.

Obesity leads to several diseases and health issues including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Estimated costs attributed to obesity alone in the United States are approximately $99 billion annually.

Kathleen Healey, Ph.D., said the key to changing these statistics is education and behavioral modifications. Dr. Healey and her team, which includes a dietician, nurses and behavioral experts, developed the A-Wrist-A-Trac system.

The novel invention — a collection of color-coded bracelets — helps modify many types of behaviors, especially dietary intake. The bracelets track behavior and actions as they occur.

The method is simple. The bracelets are moved from one wrist to the other as an action is performed. Each bracelet color designates specific foods groups, as based on the USDA food pyramid.

“The idea of A-Wrist-A-Trac came to me as I reviewed the USDA Food Pyramid,” said Dr. Healey, who is an instructor in neurological sciences and a clinical associate with the College of Nursing.

Working in the field of multiple sclerosis, Dr. Healey sees patients on a daily basis. Prior to this, she worked with life style changes and risk factor modification in cardiovascular disease.

“Overall health influences disease state,” she said.

Dr. Healey’s team continues to study other uses for the A-Wrist-A-Trac system including medication guidance and monitoring of COPD, diabetes or other complex disease management regiments.

“It is important that future applications are scientifically-based,” she said. “There is value in all types of research especially behavioral studies in health care.”

Dr. Healey’s team has received national recognition for their innovation and have submitted their research results for publication.

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Dr. Dixon selected to Leadership Omaha class

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OMAHA, Neb. (Sept. 15, 2009)—Michael Dixon, Ph.D., president of UNeMed, has been named to Leadership Omaha’s 32nd class.

The community leadership-training program, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Chamber Foundation, is designed to motivate individuals to develop a sense of community trusteeship.

The 10-month program, which includes monthly full-day seminars on various topics, encourages participants to assume leadership roles in community affairs and develop awareness of the Omaha community.

Dr. Dixon, who has been UNeMed president since April and served as the corporation’s director of intellectual property, continues UNMC’s representation in the Leadership Omaha program.

Many UNMC employees have participated in the program in the past including:

  • Bob Bartee, vice chancellor for external affairs;
  • Kyle Meyer, Ph.D., associate dean for the School of Allied Health Professions;
  • John Adams, Ph.D., assistant vice chancellor for budget and strategic planning;
  • Keith Swarts, director of business services; and
  • Renee Fry, J.D., director of UNMC Public Relations.

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Spotlight on innovation – Meet Paul Dunman, Ph.D.

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As part of Innovation Week (Sept. 28 – Oct. 2), UNeMed Corporation will spotlight the research of several UNMC inventors. Here researchers discuss their passion for innovation and share their thoughts on the process of invention.

OMAHA, Neb. (Sept. 3, 2009)—Paul Dunman, Ph.D., and his staph team have identified a novel enzyme that may lead to new ways to treat the deadly MRSA bacteria.

Dr. Dunman, assistant professor in the department of pathology and microbiology, found that this enzyme starves the bacteria to death. The discovery paves the way for vaccine development.

Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is one of the most resistant strains of staphylococcus aureus (S.aureus), a common bacteria that lives on skin and in noses of healthy individuals. It also is the leading cause of most common skin infections in the United States.

MRSA has become more prominent in recent years and is responsible for more deaths in the United States each year than HIV/AIDS. In addition, staph is the leading cause of infectious heart disease, the No. 1 cause of nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections and one of four leading causes of food-borne illnesses.

Dr. Dunman has great insight into what it takes to develop a compound that will have a positive impact on public health, said Steve Schreiner, Ph.D., senior licensing specialist for UNeMed.

“His expertise adds a great deal of credibility to the antimicrobial work underway at UNMC,” Dr. Schreiner said.

The staph team has collaborated on the technology with researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

“The work is a phenomenal merger of several cutting-edge technologies, which collectively allow an unprecedented view of the host-pathogen interface,” Dr. Dunman said.

Earlier this year, Dr. Dunman was the recipient of the Gilmore Award for his research into ways to combat MRSA. The annual award recognizes outstanding research contributions by young UNMC faculty members.

To read more about Dr. Dunman’s research go to www.dunmanlab.com.

Since his 2004 arrival at UNMC, Dr. Dunman has secured several grants, including an RO1 award from the National Institutes of Health, published nearly 25 articles and designed his staph-killing antibiotic.

On Oct. 1, Dr. Dunman will join his fellow researchers in the Durham Research Center Auditorium for UNeMed’s 2009 Research Innovation Awards. The 4 p.m. ceremony will recognize inventors for their new inventions, patents and licensed technologies.

When asked how he chose this field, Dr. Dunman describes a time in graduate school when an antibiotic he was working on cured a patient who otherwise would have died.

“It was then I decided antibiotic drug development was what trips my trigger,” he said. “Today we are well on our way to developing a novel class of antibiotics that may be used to treat other related bacteria pathogens.”

Dr. Dunman credits his success to having a good mentor who listens to his ideas, provides suggestions and encourages him to test those ideas.

Dr. Dunman’s ultimate research goal is the advancement of patient care.

“I won’t rest until at least one of my inventions makes it to market and is used in patient care,” he said.

He works closely with the UNeMed team to achieve this goal.

“The folks at UNeMed are among the best that I’ve ever worked with,” Dr. Dunman said. “They are here, in part, to protect your ideas and promote them to others. I anticipate that they’ll be a major component of our future.”

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Spotlight on innovation – Meet Thomas Heuke, D.D.S.

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Leading up to Innovation Week (Sept. 28 – Oct. 2), UNeMed Corporation will spotlight the research of several UNMC inventors. Here, researchers discuss their passion for innovation and share their thoughts on the process of invention.

OMAHA, Neb. (Aug. 27, 2009)—If new ideas never reach the public domain, has anything really been discovered?

Thomas Heuke, D.D.S., clinical associate professor for the UNMC College of Dentistry (COD), asks himself that question everyday.

“Nearly everything I work on at the COD translates into patient care in some way to solve a certain problem,” Dr. Heuke said. “I assume that if I think something could be improved; I’m sure there are other dentists who could benefit from the innovation and improve patient care.”

On Oct. 1, Dr. Heuke will join other UNMC inventors in the Durham Research Center Auditorium for UNeMed’s 2009 Research Innovation Awards. The ceremony, which will recognize inventors for their new inventions, patents and licensed technologies, begins at 4 p.m. A reception will follow in the atrium.

Dr. Heuke has developed a novel tool for dental and oral surgery that could change the standard for dental impressions, an essential step in a variety of procedures. Current systems that aid in dowel pin placement require expensive and complex equipment.

Dr. Heuke’s Impression Orientation Guide (I.O.G.), is a simple, yet extremely useful system that allows dentists and their assistants to accurately place dowel pins into the impressions. The system consumes less time and is easier than other methods.

“Dr. Heuke is living proof that innovation comes from finding new solutions to everyday problems,” said Joe Runge, licensing specialist for UNeMed.

The I.O.G. is a classic example of a simple and elegant solution to a not-so-simple problem, said Bill Hadley, a Crieghton University law student and UNeMed intern who helps evaluate, market and license inventions made at UNMC.

Dr. Heuke knows a great idea doesn’t mean instant commercialization.

“I’m pleased that UNeMed offers assistance to researchers to market their inventions,” he said. “Association with UNeMed gives instant credibility to my idea when companies inquire about it.”

Other projects

In addition to the I.O.G., Dr. Heuke has:

  • Researches systems to confine dental debris;
  • Designed new instruments; and
  • Created hand cream and ointment compounds.

He has even invented gadgets for his other passion: fishing. He has eight patents on tackle alone.

“I know how hard it is to bring a product to market, no matter how great the idea may be. UNeMed has taken my very simple idea to a level closer to marketing reality, much closer that I ever could have on my own.”

Dr. Heuke encouraged fellow researchers to consult with UNeMed on their inventions.

“Anytime you make something you can’t buy or no one else has or uses, that’s innovation,” he said.

The ultimate goal, Dr. Heuke said, is to pass on his inventions and share his knowledge with the dental profession or any field that may benefit.

“I hope to make technological contributions that help future researchers, so they can pick up where I left off,” he said. “I didn’t travel very far in life, but some people say I traveled a lot further than I should have traveled.”

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Spotlight on innovation – Meet Tsuneya Ikezu, M.D., Ph.D.

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As part of Innovation Week (Sept. 28 – Oct. 2), UNeMed Corporation will spotlight the research of several UNMC inventors. Here researchers discuss their passion for innovation and share their thoughts on the process of invention.

OMAHA, Neb. (Aug. 27, 2009)—Tsuneya Ikezu, M.D., Ph.D., knows the sobering statistics: 5.3 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease.Those numbers are expected to quadruple by 2050.

Meanwhile, someone develops Alzheimer’s — the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States — every 70 seconds.

“These numbers are simply too high,” said Dr. Ikezu, professor and vice chairman for research, pharmacology and experimental neuroscience and director for the Center of Neurodegenerative Disorders at UNMC.

Dr. Ikezu’s research focuses on the molecular characterization of brain disorders and the effectiveness of new therapies to treat them.

“I study Alzheimer’s because it is the most common brain disorder among the elderly,” he said. “The disease is inevitable for any aging human.”

It’s also costly. Alzheimer’s and dementia triple health care costs for Americans age 65 and older, he said.

On Oct. 1, Dr. Ikezu will join his fellow researchers in the Durham Research Center auditorium for UNeMed’s 2009 Research Innovation Awards. The 4 p.m. ceremony will recognize inventors for their new inventions, patents and licensed technologies.

Earlier this year, Dr. Ikezu’s discovery of an enzyme with promising implications in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders led to the largest acquisition of venture capital for UNeMed Corporation and UNMC. An Australian venture capital group invested about $2 million in Dr. Ikezu’s research.

The money will further his research through drug discovery over the next four years. Dr. Ikezu remains optimistic that a compound may be identified to begin clinical trials.

“Innovation is one of the most beautiful expressions of human intelligence and creativity — including arts and science,” he said. “Not everything we do results in a patent, but we can enhance the efficiency and productivity of an experimental design, or invent something useful that will benefit research.”

In addition to his studies with Alzheimer’s, Dr. Ikezu’s research may provide greater insight into the brain disorders of patient’s with Parkinson’s disease and AIDS.

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