A qualified Nominee is an inventor who, by a single invention or multiple innovations, has created the greatest impact on technology through his, her or their innovation(s).



The Ohio State University

Thomas D. Schmittgen, Associate Professor and Chair

Dr. Thomas Schmittgen is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Division of Pharmaceutics at The Ohio State University. His research focuses on the role of noncoding RNA towards the early detection, pathogenesis and treatment of cancer. He holds the patent (pending) for the microRNA genetic signature for pancreatic cancer; technology that will be used for the early detection of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Schmittgen has over 50 publications and has received numerous grants from the NCI and other federal agencies. He is the co-author of a paper describing a widely used method of gene quantification. This paper has over 13,000 citations and was the most cited paper across 22 scientific disciplines from 2000-2010 according to Thompson Reuters.



Battelle Memorial Institute

Dr. Herman Benecke, Research Leader

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle is an independent research and development organization and provides innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing needs: Health and Life Sciences; Laboratory Management; National Security; and Energy, Environment and Material Sciences. Dr. Benecke, a career-long innovator at Battelle, has dedicated his talent, experience, and research to successfully develop and commercialize sustainable and green products which compete with well-established petroleum-based products, from both performance and economics standpoints.


Capstone Innovations, LLC

Daniel Wilson, Founder

Capstone Innovations, of Marysville Ohio, is a product design firm that strives to bring innovative products to multiple markets.

Our first innovation is the Fast Lock Pallet, a patent pending adaptable interlocking pallet system that allows the user to build a pallet to any size quickly and easily. The Fast Lock Pallet offers improved adaptability, efficiency, organization and ease of use over existing pallet designs.


Celartia, Ltd.

Emilio Barbera-Guillem, M.D., Ph.D, CSO

This year, Dr. Emilio-Barbera Guillem received his 42nd issued patent; a European Patent based on the groundbreaking Petaka bioreactor, which has previously received two U.S. patents. His 41 U.S. patents granted since 1996 cover areas of cellular biology including cell culture, cancer treatment, fluorescent nanocrystal production, and polynucleotides for inhibiting cancer growth and metastasis.

Because of his scientific expertise and proven experience in founding start-up technologies, he was invited, and recently completed, a two year appointment as Minister for Technology Development for the State of Valencia, Spain, where he worked to encourage new companies and the growth of the entrepreneurial spirit in that region. Dr. Barbera, who is now a U.S. citizen living in Powell, Ohio, has served as the President of the University of the Basque Country in Spain, and his writings have appeared 124 times in peer-reviewed journals and in 9 book chapters.

In the last two years, he has taken his current Columbus company, Celartia Ltd., from 2009 beta-test sales of a revolutionary cell culture bioreactor to world laboratory purchases of over 80,000 units in 2011.

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DNA Concepts

Neal Applefeld, Founder

DNA Concepts is a software solutions company focused on developing innovating products using Augmented Reality technology. Our initial product ideas focused in two product segments: toys and textiles.

Innovative toys will combine a physical product with an augmented reality character that a child can manipulate on screen. When viewed from a smart device, the characters come to life, can interact with one another and can play with toys and games added to the scene with new AR markers.

Our innovative textile products enable characters to come to life off of natural feature tracking augmented reality that is triggered by bedding, slumber bags and pillows.


Duncan Dental Labs and IIT

Gary A. Duncan, Founder

Duncan Dental Lab fabricates dental appliances. For some items, the techniques are over 40 years old compared to more modern day techniques. Duncan Dental Lab has not only thought of better ways , but we have too acquired a patent for our new innovations. Our innovation is a better way to precisely drill and place dental implants into a patient’s jaw bone. We invented a surgical technique measuring the width, depth of a patient’s jaw bone. We created a surgical guide with patented parts that will guide a predrill, in order to drill the exact spot that the implant will be placed without any lateral movement of the drill. After predrilling, our innovation will then guide final drilling at the correct depth. Also, with our technique, in addition to precise drilling we can immediately place the final restoration after surgery.


Nanofiber Solutions

Dr. Jed Johnson, CTO

Nanofiber Solutions manufactures revolutionary three-dimensional nanofiber technologies for cell culture and cancer research, stem cell expansion and tissue engineering solutions. We employ a technology platform that provides researchers with more biologically realistic cell culture leading to more effective biomedical research, earlier breakthroughs, faster and cheaper time to market for drug development, and improved stem cell expansion and differentiation.

Our Synthetic Nanofiber Trachea implant was developed at the request of surgeons from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. This implant was first used in a human in November, 2011 helping to save and extend a terminally ill patient’s life. This surgery was only the second instance of a synthetic trachea replacement in a human. Further human trials are in progress with the surgeons from the Karolinska Institutet. Additionally, we are now using the skills and techniques developed to create a new version of the Synthetic Nanofiber Trachea targeting the small dog market. Working with surgeons and researchers at the Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine we hope to implant this life-saving new product within a few months.


The Ohio State University

Dr. Robert Baiocchi, Assistant Professor of Medicine

The laboratory of Dr Baiocchi at The Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center focuses on discovering novel strategies to prevent and treat cancer. His team is presently developing a vaccine to boost immunity to the Epstein-Barr virus to prevent malignant diseases such as lymphoma as well as benign conditions like infectious mononucleosis. To enhance this vaccine, several immune adjuvant strategies are being developed in parallel. Dr Baiocchi also leads a team of investigators who have discovered a novel class of drug that inhibits the PRMT5 enzyme, a protein that is dysregulated in diseases including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), lung cancer and lymphomas. New small-molecule compounds have shown great promise in blocking PRMT5 activity leading solid and blood cancer cells to restore important regulatory networks, decreased growth, cell death, and production of immune-modulating hormones that can induce anti-tumor immunity. While this new class of drug is currently being tested in preclinical cancer models (brain tumors: GBM, lymphoma), it is Dr Baiocchi’s goal to translate this drug into the clinic to improve treatment options of patients with cancer.


The Ohio State University

John J. Finer, Professor

Research efforts in the Finer Laboratory of The Ohio State University have focused on genetic transformation and transgene expression in crop plants. Although the main emphasis in the laboratory is currently on production and evaluation of transgenic soybean and sunflower, the laboratory has additional experience with wheat, maize, tomato, bentgrass, cotton, white pine, Chinese yam, Christmas cactus and Ohio buckeye. We were the first university laboratory to report consistent recovery of transgenic plants of cotton, soybean and corn. Embryogenic tissues are used for both basic studies on plant growth and development and as targets for transformation. In the area of gene expression, we are developing automated image capture and analysis for promoter evaluation using the green fluorescent protein. Images, collected over time, are both quantitatively analyzed for gene expression and used to generate time-lapse animations of tissue growth and gene expression. The animations reveal unique features of the subject materials, which are clearly not visible from single time point image collections. An automated image collection and analysis system is currently being considered for commercialization with industrial partners.


The Ohio State University

Dr. Hesham El Gamal, Professor

This invention introduces a breakthrough technology for mobile content distribution that combines sophisticated machine learning techniques for user profiling with advanced scheduling algorithms to improve the network efficiency and enhance the user experience. The technology is covered by two recent patent filings and is currently being developed for a variety of mobile platforms and network architectures.


The Ohio State University

Dr. Jianrong Li, Assistant Professor

Nominee for Innovator of the Year Dr. Jianrong Li is an Assistant Professor in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. Dr. Li has focused his innovative work on the development of novel processing technologies, mitigation strategies, vaccines, and anti-viral interventions against food- and water-borne viruses (such as human norovirus) and respiratory viruses (such as human metapneumovirus) with an ultimate goal of improving food safety and public health. Dr. Li has been PI or co-PI of over 20 sponsored projects and has been awarded over $6.0M in funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) since he started at OSU in 2008. His work has led to more than 30 publications in leading virology and microbiology journals. His work on human norovirus and human metapneumovirus has led to five patent applications. These inventions include novel sanitizers in mitigation of norovirus in fresh produce, novel food processing technologies in eliminating norovirus in high risk foods, and new vaccines against human norovirus and human metapneumovirus.


The Ohio State University

Dr. Yebo Li, Assistant Professor & Director

Dr. Yebo Li is an assistant professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University. Dr. Li has developed a successful research and extension program in bioproducts and bioenergy. He has developed a novel technology for the production of polyurethane foam from renewable source to be used in a variety of products including automotive seats, headrests, and bumpers; sealants and thermal insulation systems for refrigerators; insulation boards; and packaging materials. The product, known as biopolylols, is made from crude glycerin, a byproduct of biodiesel production that is considered waste and has little commercial value. When mixed with biomass through a patented process that he developed, the crude glycerin becomes the foundation for making the biopolyols and polyurethane foam. His product is comparable to petroleum-based foam in quality; however, his product is renewable and is less expensive to produce than petroleum-based foams. Dr. Li’s technology has been licensed to Poly-Green Technologies, a start-up company in Mansfield, Ohio, for commercial production.


The Ohio State University

Wolfgang Sadee, Dr.rer.nat., Felts Mercer Professor of Medicine & Chair, Pharmacology

Since joining OSU, Dr. Sadee has developed a Program in Pharmacogenomics, aimed at discovery of genetic variations associated with disease risk and treatment outcomes, now funded by a $9 million NIH grant. Companion diagnostic biomarkers can optimize and individualize drug therapy, a central tenet of the emerging era of personalized medicine. With novel genomics methodologies, we have identified several frequent genetic variants in key candidate genes with strong clinical effects, showing potential as companion diagnostics (patent applications are pending), while clinical applications have already begun. Drug-companion diagnostics (”theranostics”) are still in infancy but considered a main future direction of medicine; indeed, a companion diagnostic may equal the value of a new drug entity. In separate studies, he has developed neutral opioid antagonists for treatment of opioid side effects and abuse liability. Secured by strong patent backing, the first drug candidate has passed through Phase I clinical trials with promising results (supported by AIKO Biotechnology). With ~200 million opioid analgesic prescriptions per year, substantially improved analgesic preparations have enormous clinical utility and market potential.


The Ohio State University

Yi Zhao, Assistant Professor

Dr. Yi Zhao is an assistant professor in Department of Biomedical Engineering at The Ohio State University. He received his PhD degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Boston University, and joined OSU in 2006. He has led the Laboratory for Biomedical Microsystems since then. His research interests include the development of miniaturized devices to address unmet challenges in basic biological studies and point-of-case diagnosis. He is also interested in exploring the mechanical, material and fabrication issues involved in development of micro/nanodevices. He is a recipient of NSF CAREER awards. He is currently on the way to commercializing several technologies spun off from his research, including a wearable sensing system for rehabilitation assessment, and a bio-inspired device for endoscopic imaging.

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The Ohio State University College of Engineering, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Jessica Winter, Associate Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Dr. Jessica Winter is the H.C. “Slip” Slider associate professor in the departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChE) and Biomedical Engineering (BME) at The Ohio State University. She received her PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Innovative Visual Rehabilitation, a collaborative effort between the Boston VA Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Winter joined the faculty at Ohio State University in 2006, where her research has focused on the creation of nanoparticles for medical applications. She has pioneered the development of fluorescent-magnetic nanoparticles for imaging, cell separations, and studies of the role of force in cell function. In addition, she has extended this technology to the development of polymer nanoparticles for drug delivery and non-toxic carbon nanoparticles for in vivo imaging. This work has resulted in 6 invention disclosures, 4 provisional patents, and interest from numerous companies.

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Quanta BioDesign, Ltd.

Paul Davis, Ph.D., President & CEO

Quanta’s offers over 400 discrete (single molecule) compounds, some of which are in current approved commercial diagnostic products and are in numerous preclinical and early clinical trials. Quanta’s revenues have grown regularly at 25-40% annually. Quanta is working with its first customer to get an IND submitted in Q1 of 2012 for a childhood neuroblastoma as a curative cancer vaccine that has been assigned orphan drug status.

The FDA desires characterization and reproducibility of approved diagnostic products and therapeutic drugs. The purity of Quanta’s dPEG compounds for the first time enables manufacturers the ability to produce characterizable and reproducible diagnostic products and therapeutic drugs. Dr. Davis’ invention is to directly manufacture high purity PEG compounds by a process scalable to make up to several metric tons of his dPEG compounds. Dr. Davis’ new dPEG compound production method is platform technology in the diagnostic and therapeutic arenas, specifically, in the development of new cancer diagnostic products and therapeutic drugs. Dr. Davis not only re-invented PEG compounds, but he runs a company that manufactures and sells such re-invented compounds worldwide.


SAVvy Engineering, LLC

Scott A. Vierstra, Principal

A 1981 MIT graduate with BS degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Life Sciences, Scott Vierstra spent 18 years with American Electric Power Service Corporations Steam Generation Section, providing engineering services to the AEP power plants. While at AEP, Scott developed a strong interest in combustion systems and eventually played a significant technical role in the companys NOx emissions compliance for the Clean Air Act (Title IV). In 1999, Scott started SAVvy Engineering LLC, which has focused on providing engineering and consulting services to the utility industry (including power producers and their equipment suppliers), domestic and international. This work has included developing combustion system solutions including fuel specifications, hardware design and development and modifications to existing equipment for improved emissions, operational efficiency and reliability.

Scott has three patents for low NOx burners and three patents pending for two different coal classifier technologies and a coal to chemical reactor for combined power and chemical production. In 2009, SAVvy Engineering assisted and has participated with the startup and development of Ohio Valley Testing which provides regional testing support to power plants.

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