2018 Innovation Forum Results

First Place: Presenter Michael Hvasta, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering - FlowMeter

The global flowmeter market is projected to grow by 25% over the next four years and become a $9B per year industry by 2022.  Most of this anticipated growth is predicted to occur in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific where companies are moving away from old, wasteful technologies, such as differential pressure meters, and towards non-contact, non-invasive technologies that can be installed external to a piping system.  To address this growing demand, our team has devised a ‘Rotating Lorentz-Force Flowmeter’, that uses a novel low-friction bearing.  Due to the lack of frictional forces in the device, our flowmeter can be used to accurately measure flow rates without any calibration – even if the properties of the fluid are not known prior to measurement.  Furthermore, because of the new bearing our flowmeter is capable of measuring a wider range of flow rates than any other device of this kind. The flowmeter presented today can be produced for less than $600 per unit, so it is poised to become a disruptive technology capable of replacing more expensive equipment in the power-generation, chemical, metallurgical/casting, and pharmaceutical industries.

Second Place: Alex Goglia, Molecular Biology - PhotoPharma

PhotoPharma- Light based control over the spatiotemporal activity of therapeutic and commercial proteins. 

Engineered proteins have a wide range of applications in medicine, cosmetics, manufacturing, and biotechnology.  We have developed an engineering process by which the activity of a traditional protein can be placed under the control of a specific wavelength of visible light.  This innovation allows us to create versions of important bio-molecules with user-defined activity in time (when it's active) and in space (where it's active. As a result, we have engineered proteins with the potential to increase the throughput and yield of biopharmaceutical manufacturing, synergize with and enhance the precision of existing at-home cosmetic products, and ultimately improve both the efficacy and safety of breakthrough pharmaceuticals in cardiology, rheumatology, and oncology.

Third Place: Kurt Ristroph, Chemical and Biological Engineering - Nanoparticles for Eliminating Superbugs

You've probably heard about the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria worldwide - these 'superbugs' are incredibly dangerous, in part because they are immune to traditional small-molecule antibiotics. Modern researches can design and manufacture next generation antibiotics, made of large molecule peptides, to treat the superbugs; potent as they are, though, there peptides are notoriously difficult to administer and require many injections to be effective.  Out innovation, HIP-FNP, is a technology that protects the peptides in the body, making administration significantly easier and reducing both the b=number of injections and amount of drug required for a sure.  Unlike other peptides protection techniques, HIP-FNP is fully scalable, loses almost no drug during processing, and has low overhead.  We have used HIP-FNP to protect eight major antibiotic peptides so far, and are currently implementing an industrial-scale proof-of-concept with a major pharma  manufacturer.  We believe the booming peptide market, estimated to reach $48 billion by 2025, is ripe for our technology, which reduces dosage amounts and improves antibiotic peptides administration; less drug, less often, less money- same cure.