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Two KU technologies to be featured at entrepreneurship symposium

Tue, 04/02/2013

LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas will be well-represented at one of the nation’s most exclusive venture capital events.

Two KU technologies will be featured at the annual University Research & Entrepreneurship Symposium, a showcase of the most promising university-based inventions for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, which will be Wednesday, April 3, in Cambridge, Mass.

The symposium is designed to introduce a select group of cutting-edge university technologies to investors and entrepreneurs, with the goal of securing funding for new startup companies and converting university technologies into new products and cures.

The URES is highly selective and this year chose only 33 technologies for presentations. KU is one of only seven institutions to earn multiple presentation slots, joining Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mayo Clinic, University of Pittsburgh and University of Wisconsin at Madison.

“Our goal is to transfer KU discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace,” said Julie Goonewardene, associate vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship and president of the KU Center for Technology Commercialization, “and presenting two of our strongest research projects to investors at the URES is a great way to do that. By getting in front of this group, we hope to commercialize KU technologies to benefit people and society.”

The KU researchers and their inventions/research are as follows:

  • Mark Fisher, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology – Fisher is developing new technologies to address protein-folding diseases. Nearly 30-50 percent of all diseases that affect humans at any one time result from protein-folding defects. A subset of these folding diseases includes forms of Parkinson’s disease, cystic fibrosis, some cancers, diabetes and emphysema.
  • Heather Desaire, Department of Chemistry; and Melinda Toumi, entrepreneur – Desaire and Toumi are developing new protein production technologies that are broadly applicable to many areas of biomedical research.

The URES has a strong history of creating partnerships that result in new university startup companies and the commercialization of university inventions. Over the past five years, 13 companies have received nearly $100 million in funding due to presentations at the symposium.

This is the second straight year KU will have a strong showing at the event. Last year, KU had three projects selected for presentations and was one of only four institutions to earn multiple presentation slots in the life science tracks.

There are currently 24 KU startup companies in existence, and the university has 72 active license agreements with companies for the commercial use of KU inventions.

“As the state’s flagship research university, our goal is to do research that produces a return on investment for Kansas and, more importantly, that creates new products and cures for people,” Goonewardene said.



When looking to tackle the issue of obesity in rural America, where should we start? The answer is not what you might think. Empathy, says Christie Befort, an associate professor at KU who has just won a $10 million award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to investigate solutions to rural obesity. Many physicians are embarrassed talking about weight—especially in a small town where everybody knows each other, Befort says. By providing obesity treatment options in rural primary care, she plans to start a conversation, and maybe a revolution, in rural health care. For more details on Befort's efforts, check out the 2015 Chancellor's Report: http://bit.ly/1D5A5MO and her video: http://bit.ly/1C5xYZa Tags: #KUcommunities #Obesity #Health #Rural #Midwest Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute - PCORI

Whistling the night away. #exploreKU shot by saamanthathomas on insta. http://t.co/JFZcj31X8h
Explore KU: Experience a KU Men's Basketball tradition It’s explosive. It’s dramatic. It’s intimidating. It’s a KU tradition (see more at http://bit.ly/KUtraditions) simply known as the Confetti Toss. But it creates a primal eruption of fan enthusiasm at the opening of every KU men’s basketball game at Allen Fieldhouse. It starts as the visiting team is introduced on court. The KU student section is visibly bored and unimpressed. The entire section under the north basket holds up University Daily Kansans — making the point they’d rather read the newspaper than even look at the other team. They shake and rustle the student newspapers. Then the moment they were waiting for arrives — the Jayhawks enter the court. All Rock Chalk breaks loose. Newspapers, confetti and thousands of thundering voices soar into already charged atmosphere of KU’s hallowed basketball arena. The confetti hits its high point, near the banner on the north wall reading “Pay Heed, All Who Enter: Beware of the Phog.” And the confetti rains back into the stands, onto the court and into the memories of all at hand. It’s time to play.


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