INVO Newsletter
Winter 2016-2017 
National Recognition of Our Faculty

Sir Fraser Stoddart
( Weinberg, Chemistry) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contribution to miniaturized machines, or "molecules with controllable movements which can perform a task when energy is added." More info

Mercouri Kanatzidis
( Weinberg, Chemistry) won the 2016 Samson-Prime Minister's Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels for Transportation with Gregory Stephanopoulos, a chemical engineer from MIT. Prof. Kanatzidis was recognized for his work in the design of nanostructured thermoelectric materials which convert heat to electricity. This $1M prize is the world's largest monetary prize for alternative fuels. More info  

Monica Olvera de la Cruz
( McCormick, Materials Science) was selected to receive the 2017 Polymer Physics Prize from the American Physical Society for her work on the "theoretical understanding of polymers and the effects of electrostatic interactions on their structure and properties."  More info

Yonggang Huang
( McCormick, Civil & Environmental/Mechanical/Materials Science) was elected to National Academy of Engineering for his contribution to major advancements in stretchable and flexible electronics with biomedical applications. More info

Tom Meade
( Weinberg, Chemistry) was acknowledged by Crain's Chicago as an amazingly inventive professor.  In April, he will be inducted into the National Academy of Inventors.  More info

McCormick Dean Julio Ottino
was awarded the 2017 Bernard M Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education from the National Academy of Engineering, a top national academy prize for innovative education. Dean Ottino coined Whole-Brain Engineering, which merges the analytical and technical components of engineering with creativity, design and divergent thinking, left and right brain, respectively. More info 
NU Innovation Recognition in the Media   

Guillermo Ameer
( McCormick, Biomedical) is developing a potential solution for a problem that ails 15% of 29.1 M diabetic patients. His regenerative bandage for diabetic foot ulcers is more than a protective covering for the ulcer. It also delivers a protein that helps the body's own ability to heal itself. The bandage is composed of a thermos-responsive biocompatible material that is applied as a liquid and solidifies as a gel at body temperature. More info | Scientific Publication

Ramille Shah
( McCormick, Material Science) is developing 3D printed synthetic bone using a custom hyper-elastic bone ink formulation. This technology, which can stimulate new bone growth, would enable physicians to create patient-specific implants on the same day. More info at Inc., Chicago Tonight WTTW| Scientific Paper

Collaborators Cheng Sun ( McCormick, Mechanical) and Guillermo Ameer ( McCormick, Biomedical) have developed 3D printed biodegradable stents for narrow or weak arteries using a process called micro continuous liquid interface production (microCLIP). More infoScientific Paper

Joshua Leonard
( McCormick, Chemical and Biological) is developing a new immunotherapy approach to treat cancer. By genetically rewiring immune cells, Leonard is overriding the ability of cancer cells to suppress an immune response and instead is enabling local immune cells to be activated by proteins emitted by cancer cells. More info at Chicago Tonight | Scientific Paper

Nina Kraus
( Communication) utilizes a novel test that can identify a concussion and its severity with tremendous accuracy. Unlike current tests which are subjective and involve a variety of cognitive and neurological tests, Kraus offers a completely new biomarker-- auditory processing. By applying several sensors on the scalp, electrical signals in the brain are measured and can be compared to a distinct neural signature that the researchers have identified for those who had experienced a concussion. More info at Washington Post | Scientific Paper

Michael Peshkin
( McCormick, Mechanical) and Ed Colgate ( McCormick, Mechanical) were cited in an article on, highlighting their contribution to the development and advantageous use of collaborative robots, or cobots in the manufacturing industry. More info at

Long-time collaborators John Rogers ( McCormick, Material Science) and Yonggang Huang ( McCormick, Civil & Environmental/ Mechanical) have developed and optimized a flexible microfluidic device that biochemically analyzes sweat and wirelessly connects to a smartphone to provide data. More info at CBS News, Rachel Ray Show 

Members of the Rogers lab handed out samples of a sweat-monitoring patch that they was developed in collaboration with the National Kidney Foundation at the 2017 South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX.  More info

Depression and anxiety apps developed by David Mohr (Feinberg, Preventive Medicine) were featured by ABC7 Chicago.

Northwestern student startup, IFM Technologies, is a data analytics company using computer vision and robotics to automate data capture. More info at Tech Crunch 

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About Us

The Innovation and New Ventures Office inspires and nurtures a culture of innovation, bridging Northwestern research with its practical use for public benefit.


1800 Sherman Avenue, Suite 504
Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois 60201
University Recognition
Northwestern University continues to gain recognition for its innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem:

(1) Reuters named Northwestern University 10th in its annual list of The World's Most Innovative Universities in 2016.  The ranking was based on data points related to intellectual property and publications.

(2) Princeton Review named Kellogg School of Management as the 4th best graduate program for entrepreneurship in the country.

(3) Northwestern was selected to host the 2017 Cupid's Cup Entrepreneurship Competition, created by Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank.  On March 30, 2017, five teams will be competing for over $100k in cash prizes.  One of the finalists is Luna Lights, a startup created by Northwestern students.  Luna Lights has developed an automated lighting system that utilizes cloud based data analytics to reduce the risk of falling for older adults.
Faculty Startup Milestones
NuMat Technologies, a Northwestern startup based on technologies developed by Randall Snurr ( McCormick, Chemical and Biological) and Joseph Hupp ( Weinberg, Chemistry), has pioneered the commercialization of metal organic frameworks (MOFs) which are nanoparticles with tremendous gas storage, separation and purification systems. NuMat announced a global partnership with The Linde Group, which is a world leader in gases and engineering. Together, they will synergize their assets to propel gas storage and separation.  More info at Business Wire

Preora Diagnostics developed "a simple, robust and easy to implement" procedure to handle patient specimens in the clinical setting.  Preora is a Northwestern startup based on Vadim Backman's ( McCormick, Biomedical) partial wave spectroscopy (PWS) technology which detects early forms of cancer at the nanoscale level.  In this recent study, they successfully demonstrate the ability to collect and process over 650 buccal samples from the clinic and offer their analysis using their commercial- ready PWS instrument.  Preora continues to move towards translating their Northwestern technology into a commercial launch for improved cancer screening tests.  More info  

Preora Diagnostics
also received the Corporate LiveWire's 2016 Award for "Best in Cancer Diagnostics" in the Americas.

Northwestern's Center for Device Development team, Bold Diagnostics, not only want to develop a blood pressure monitoring system that offers clinicians the ability to manage more accurately but also want to do this with design in mind. They won 1 st place in 2016 Create the Future Design Contest for the medical device category. Over 1,100 products were submitted from 71 countries.

NU startup, Zzyzx Polymers, makes usable recycled plastic pellets from different plastic waste streams using technology developed by John Torkelson ( McCormick, Biological & Chemical). Zzyzx won the Closed Loop Foundation Innovation Grant for solving the challenges of film plastics recycling.

QuesTek Innovations
received the US Small Business Administration 2016 Tibbetts Award which is awarded to small businesses that "demonstrate excellence in leveraging SBIR funding to generate measurable impact through technological innovation, technology transfer, business impact and product commercialization." QuesTek has been awarded over $30M from DOD, DOE, DARPA and NASA. Their technology, based on Greg Olson's research ( McCormick, Material Science), designs and develops new advanced materials, particularly high performance steels and other alloys.

At the end of last year, QuesTek also announced a new partnership with Thermo-Calc Software. Their new venture, QuesTek Europe AB, will enable Ques Tek to expand their alloy services in Europe by offering "Integrated Computational Materials Engineering modelling services and novel materials design and development to the European market."  More info

received a great deal of buzz at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, one of the world's largest technology conference. Wired named Tanvas as one of the most intriguing products at the show. Tanvas is a technology developed by Michael Peshkin (McCormick, Mechanical) and Ed Colgate (McCormick, Mechanical) that uses haptics to alter the screen interaction for the user. Electrostatic fields can create various tactile feeling that simulates textures that are choppy, grainy, fine, and wavy. 

announced a major partnership with sublicensee Purdue Pharma who will lead the development of a psoriasis therapeutic.  This deal is potential worth about $790M.  More info 
NU Startup Fundraising

4C Insights, an NU startup launched by Alok Choudhary ( McCormick, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science), raised $25M with several investors. 4C Insights uses social media content to help large advertising firms to determine where to spend their resources online and measure the effectiveness of their strategy. When it purchased Teletrax in 2015, they used similar data to strategize advertisement focus for television ads. More info

Lilac Solutions, an NU startup commercializing technology originally invented by Christopher Wolverton ( McCormick, Materials Science), won a Department of Energy SBIR Phase I award to help them further develop their sustainable lithium extraction process from brine resources by assessing the performance of one thousand materials using a computational technique developed by founder Dave Snydacker, a former graduate student in Prof. Wolverton's lab.  More info

Narrative Science, was recently listed as being backed by the CIA for its artificial intelligence technology, developed by Kris Hammond (McCormick, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science) and Larry Birnbaum (McCormick, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science). Narrative Science will develop a version of its AI engine for the government to "help enhance understanding, analysis and communication of data." More info
INVO Welcomes
Danny Fisher   

Danny Fisher, MBA joined INVO as Senior Director of Finance and Administration in October 2016. Danny is responsible for all business operations, finance, IT, and HR activities within INVO while also focusing on the strategic planning initiatives for the organization with the Executive Director and leadership team.

Prior to joining INVO, Danny was Executive Director in Northwestern's Department of Chemistry, Management Consultant with Deloitte Consulting's Strategy & Operations Practice, and a U.S. Naval Officer.

Danny holds an S.B. in Computer Science and Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as an MBA with focuses in Strategy and Finance from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management.
Other INVO News... 
The Association of University Technology Manager (AUTM) convened in Hollywood, Florida from March 12-15, 2017.  INVO's Excecutive Director, Alicia Loffler, moderated the panel discussion on "Creating a sustainable culture for entrepreneurship and innovation" in a room with over 60 attendees.  Tech Transfer representatives from MIT, University of Nebraska Medical and Johns Hopkins participated in the panel.  Thanks to INVO
Invention Associate, Gwendolyn Humphreys, for organizing the session.
In collaboration with the AUTM Women Inventors Committee, an INVO's women's inventor initiative hosted a Boardroom Bound webinar.  The panel featured Northwestern-affiliated women leaders in the life sciences and was moderated by OSR's new Senior Contracts Officer Carolyn Brougham.  The panelists conversed on the different types of boards, duties of board members, and their experiences serving on boards.  Insightful and inspirational guidance was given to aspiring board members about how to position oneself for board service.  In addition, the panelists demystified the process of receiving a board appointment and shared helpful tips for finding available board seats.   Thanks to INVO Invention Manager, Dimitra Georganopoulou, for coordinating these efforts.   
N.XT Fund is currently wrapping up diligence on finalists for its second round of investments. Thirty five teams applied for N.XT funding in December 2016.  There are currently six finalists selected for further diligence.  They include teams commercializing medical devices, therapeutics and advanced materials and represent Feinberg, McCormick and Weinberg schools. Final investment decisions will be made in late April. 
2016 N.XT Award

NUseeds Fund is One recipient of the 2016 NUseeds Fund closed its Series A round of funding. Pak'd raised 2.5MM, of which NU/NUseeds was one of the investors.  Our startups are gaining traction with other institutional investors.

NUseeds 2016 Awards
The Graide Network         
Practicum interns gain hands-on experience performing patentability assessments and market analyses and marketing technologies.  We welcomed our 5th cohort of interns in January, and include Anne-Isabelle Henry, PhD (Research Assistant Professor, Chemistry), Bhaskar Chetnani, PhD (Post-Doc, Molecular Biosciences), Yanille Scott, PhD (Post-Doc, Infectious Disease), Zachary Cowden (MS, Biotechnology, McC), Shira Zeng (MS, BME, McC) and Raja Krishnan, MS (MSL, Pritzker).  Two senior interns have decided to stay beyond their 6-month program: Hilary Chase (PhD, Chemistry, Weinberg) and Jose Martinez (PhD, Chemistry, Weinberg).  Some of our interns have moved onto a variety of positions including tech transfer offices at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Rice University, MIT, and the NIH.  Others have taken positions as technical specialists in industry and law firms.  One intern moved onto a tenure track professorship at another university. We are proud of the accomplishments of our INVO Practicum Inters.  Applications for the July 2017 cohort are available online at this link.
Recent Inventive Activity
INVO has processed
invention disclosures

September 1, 2016   
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