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Official Magazine of the Charlotte Research Institute

vol. 2 no. 2 Summer 2012

Soy Good

SoyMeds recognized as one of the best life science companies in the state

building our future 49er Football The 49er football sports complex: a 37,000 square foot football training facility, playing field with press box, with 15,000 permanent seats, concession stands, and two practice fields, are completed and ready for action.

PORTAL The Partnership, Outreach, and Research to Accelerate Learning (PORTAL) building  is coming out of the ground quickly. In January 2014, it will be home to Ventureprise, formerly the Ben Craig Center, and will become the place where individual entrepreneurs, community resources, university researchers, business funding partners, government agencies, business mentors, and education partners will connect to create new business formation and growth.

Chip Yensan Associate Director of Infrastructure Charlotte Research Institute Research & Economic Development 704.687.8283







UNC Charlotte Professors


Recognition Well Deserved

Summertime And Learning

An EPIC Future

When the Name of Your Program is “EPIC” Expectations Are High

Interns Prepare to be Researchers of Tomorrow

Bio Science


vol. 2 no. 2

Are You An Inventor or Just a Pair of Hands

Official Magazine of the Charlotte Research Institute

Editorial Staff

Editorial Director Karen J. Ford

Editorial Assistant Julie M. Fulton

Editorial Assistant Robyne R. Vickers

Close Up

Fall 2012

Congratulations to Undergraduate

Inaugurated at UNC Charlotte



DealCloud 15 Successful 2012 16 Complexity  & Human 27 Experience Conference Patent  33 Corner DealCloud Continues to Win Big


New Research Changes Perpective on BioScience

Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster

Industry Leaders Promote Ways to Keep the Lights On in the Carolinas


SoyMeds is Best in the State

Official Magazine of the Charlotte Research Institute

Other Topics

vol. 2 no. 2 Summer 2012

Soy Good

SoyMeds recognized as one of the best life science companies in the state

New Tech 12 About Grants & Contracts 18 the Cover A Dream Come True 20 Soybeans may always seem Charlotte Informatics 21 not like the most Business Partners 28 exciting story in town, but take Save the Date 34 another look.

Creative/Design Photography SPARK Publications Cress Photography

Copyright 2012 Charlotte Research Institute at UNC Charlotte is the PORTAL for business-university partnerships. UNC Charlotte’s research capabilities represent a vital economic development tool for business attraction and is a geographically distinct part of UNC Charlotte located on the University’s Millennial Campus.




Growth and Initiative well describe the people and projects illustrated in this issue of the Millennial.

EPIC, Bioinformatics, and Big Data are all examples of the large-scale partnerships that UNC Charlotte is successfully building in key research areas. In coming issues you will also hear more about similar efforts in advanced manufacturing. Professor Fodor’s internationally prominent research regarding the Human Microbiome Project is but one example of the talented researchers that are now coming to UNC Charlotte to build next generation programs that shape the future of nutritional, medical, and environmental research.  Many of our most exciting research projects cross over multiple disciplines and organizations. The newest update on SoyMeds, a UNC Charlotte startup company, illustrates the opportunities that come from this approach to interdisciplinary research.  New ideas and talent are an important part of the research community that is growing around the UNC Charlotte campus and the Charlotte Region. Our efforts with undergraduate research are an important part of the pipeline of ideas and people that shape this research culture. Check out the projects that students are working on – several may show up later in our larger research and business startup activities!  This issue also includes key plans for VenturePrise – our new approach to building a regional innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. DealCloud and Parasol are companies that have already benefited from Ventureprise. We look forward to an order of magnitude growth in startup activity as Ventureprise grows and the new PORTAL building comes on line – you’ll hear more about this in coming issues of Millennial. Thanks again for your support of UNC Charlotte and the Charlotte Research Institute. We look forward to many new ideas and partnerships as we work with you.




Recognition Received for UNC Charlotte

The award citation read:


On June 6, 2012, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers presented the S.M. Wu Research Implementation Award to Dr. Scott Smith and Dr. Robert Wilhelm of UNC Charlotte, and Mr. Jerry Halley of Tech Manufacturing from St. Louis, Missouri. According to the SME website,, “The NAMRI/SME S.M. Wu Research Implementation Award, presented by NAMRI/ SME, recognizes outstanding original research presented as a paper at the annual North American Manufacturing Research Conference (NAMRC) and subsequently, upon implementation, had a significant commercial and/or societal impact. The award is in honor of Shien-Ming Wu (1924-92), PhD, FSME, the J. Reid and

Polly Anderson Professor of Manufacturing Technology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. An internationally known researcher in the fields of manufacturing engineering and dynamic systems analysis, Wu created and defined the modern field of manufacturing automation.” Smith, Wilhelm, and Halley received the award for their pioneering work in the development of methods for Machining of Thin-section Monolithic Components for Aircraft Structures.

NAMRI/SME S. M. Wu Research Implementation Award Smith, Halley, and Wilhelm’s research applied high speed machining technology and novel tool path planning approaches to machine solid billets of material to typical sheet metal thicknesses, enabling cost-effective machining of complex monolithic structures with extremely thin walls and unsupported floors. This technology directly led to the widespread replacement of aircraft structural elements previously fabricated by riveting of many complex sheet metal stampings, with lighter, stronger, more robust, and less expensive monolithic components. Kevin Scott Smith, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Jerry Halley, Tech Manufacturing Robert Wilhelm, University of North Carolina at Charlotte NAMRC Paper Citations: Forced Vibration, Chatter, Accuracy, in High Speed Milling, Transactions of NAMRI, Vol. 13 NC Programming for Quality in Milling, Transactions of NAMRI, Vol. 16 Sensor-Based Supervision of CNC Machining, Transactions of NAMRI, Vol. 20

2012 NAMRI/SME S.M. Wu Research Implementation Award winners Scott Smith (left) Robert Wilhelm (right) with Steven Hiyashi (center). Not pictured: Jerry Halley.

Beyond Geometry: Process Planning for High Speed Machining of Monolithic Structures, Transactions of NAMRI, Vol. 34




Summertime at the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) is anything but slow and easy. It’s a dynamic place where researchers continually make new discoveries in the advancement of human health and nutrition. A perfect example is the summer internship programs which provide real-world experiences to aspiring future researchers. These programs offer extraordinary opportunities for young people to acquire knowledge and practical training under the watchful and encouraging eyes of very adept and talented mentors. Dr. Cory Brouwer graciously data produced by today’s genomic opened the doors of his division to technologies. Dr. Brouwer, director a group of young interns, providing of the Bioinformatics Services hands on experience in the work he Division (BiSD) of UNC Charlotte and his team do daily, the analysis and his group provide a wide and interpretation of the volumes of range of services to the NCRC, UNC

Charlotte and other life science companies throughout the country. This summer, he and his experienced team gave their time to train, educate and provide leadership to these future researchers. Benika Hall has returned for her second summer on the North Carolina Research Campus and worked on an exciting project analyzing gene expression patterns in bone cells. Using next generation sequencing technology, Benika identified key genes and pathways that are being activated during early stages of bone formation in various types of bone tissue. Results from this project support the overall goal of growing a stronger, more stable bone matrix for use in human


Left to Right: Greg Linchangco, Edem Dossou and Benika Hall.




classmates. Dr. Ann Loraine is another faculty member from the Bioinformatics and Genomics Department with a lab at the NCRC campus who has also opened her lab to several student interns. Brock Overcash is a rising senior at Salisbury High School who is interested in studying computer science in college. Darius Bost, an undergrad student at North Carolina A&T, is studying the role of the plant hormone cytokinin in regulating plant growth. Kevin Lambirth is a UNC Charlotte, USDA Kannapolis

bone implants and orthopedics. Benika was mentored by Dr. Robert Reid, a research associate in the Bioinformatics Service Division (BSD), which is part of the Department of Bioinformatics and Genomics at UNC Charlotte. This work was performed in collaboration with Dr. Ahmed El-Ghannam (Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science Department) and Dr. Ian Marriott (Department of Biology). Edem Dossou was born and raised in Togo, and became a US citizen through naturalization in 2011. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from

and Learning the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Currently, he is a graduate certificate student in Bioinformatics Technology in the College of Computing and Informatics. Edem is working with Dr. Wei Sha. The internship has given him the opportunity to gain hands-on experiences in single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data analysis by exploring the theoretical as well as the practical aspects. With a mathematical background, his long term interest is to further explore different computational techniques and ultimately develop new ones for the study of biological and behavioral systems. Greg Linchangco is currently pursuing his Masters degree in the Department of Bioinformatics and Genomics at UNC Charlotte. He joined the Bioinformatics Services Division this past May to work on a joint project between the UNC Charlotte Bioinformatics Services Division and a Charlotte-based biotechnology company. Greg is working with Dr. Raad Gharaibeh

on employing next-generation sequencing data in personalized genomics by studying common and unique single nucleotide variations in cancer patients. A fourth intern in the Brouwer lab, Uday Uppal is not your typical bioinformatics intern. Uday is a rising sophomore at Cannon School in Concord, NC, with a knack for math and science, who was looking for a new challenge this summer. During his freshman year of high school, he had already completed Pre-calculus and Conceptual Physics. Working with Dr. Cory Brouwer and Dr. Raad Gharaibeh he took on learning R programming (an open source statistical programming language) and gene expression analysis. In a short time he was writing code in R and has completed several analyses including looking for gene expression differences between normal lung and non-small cell lung carcinoma. Uday will be taking statistics in the fall and will likely has a head start on many of his

Scholar, preparing to start his second year of graduate school in the Biology Department. Kevin is studying transgenic soybeans for vaccines with Dr. Ken Bost as his advisor. By dedicating their summer to research, these interns have gained valuable experience that not only has shown the application of what they have learned in class, but also will be an asset on their CV’s when applying for jobs after graduation. These young researchers have devoted their summer to working alongside experts in addressing biological real world problems using computational techniques. From their commitment of hard work and learning, these interns are better preparing themselves to be the researchers of tomorrow who will provide cutting edge perspectives on health care, nutrition, and innovations for the future. For more information on Dr. Brouwer and his team, visit 2012





When the name of your program is “EPIC,” expectations are high.

For the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at UNC Charlotte, expectations are high in a number of areas including facilities, educational programs, research, and industrial engagement. Now in its fifth year, EPIC is meeting and surpassing these expectations as it moves into a new 200,000 square-foot building; grows enrollment at a record pace in new energy concentrations; develops research programs in Smart Grid, environmental and largecomponent manufacturing; and, with collaboration from regional energy companies, helps establish Charlotte as North America’s energy hub. “EPIC is a university, industry partnership that brings together students, faculty members, researchers and industry to study and evaluate new energy technologies for a sustainable energy future,” said Dr. Johan millennial



Enslin, the director of EPIC. “As a collaborative, multidisciplinary program, EPIC is uniting the academic and research expertise of the university with the great wealth of energy engineering talent in the Charlotte region.”


The collaborative nature of EPIC received a huge boost this summer, when the participants began moving into a new $76-million building on the Charlotte Research Institute campus. As the largest academic building at UNC Charlotte, the new facility provides the classroom, office and laboratory space needed for the program’s growth. “The new building brings together the multidisciplinary aspects of EPIC,” Dr. Enslin said. “You now see electrical, computer, mechanical, environmental, and civil engineers working together solving multidisciplinary problems. You also see students getting involved in real-

The strength of the EPIC program is not just facilities, but also the collaborative environment world projects that are sponsored by industrial partners.” Some of the outstanding laboratory features of the new building include a high-bay structural facility with a threestory strong-wall, a Smart Grid lab with real-time digital-grid simulator, several power systems labs, and a large, state-of-the-art environmental lab.

The new building is essential to the success of EPIC, said Dr. Bob Johnson, dean of the Lee College of Engineering at UNC Charlotte. “To make a research program go, you have to have the right kind of laboratories for students to work in,” Dr. Johnson said, “which means you have to have the right kind of building. This new facility provides these key elements.”

Students working in a cleanroom on solar sunlight test machine for photocell research

In addition to multidisciplinary lab facilities, the building is the new home of the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Civil and Environmental Engineering. Housed under one roof, 2012



undergraduate and graduate students from these disciplines have the opportunity to study and collaborate with each other, and with leaders in the energy field.

Educational Programs

EPIC educational programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels emphasize the application of engineering skills on energy challenges. Educational focus areas include the design, manufacturing, construction and maintenance of power generation, transmission and distribution systems; technical aspects of nuclear and environmental monitoring and maintenance; and sustainable engineering and multidisciplinary project engineering. “Each of the different disciplines

under review. The energy programs are all aimed at allowing these students to be able to hit the ground running in the energy field.” Enrollment in energy concentrations is growing quickly and overall enrollment growth in the college of engineering is following suit with a 25 percent freshman increase for the fall of 2012.


In the area of research, EPIC now has about 50 allied faculty members working in energy related disciplines. Key research thrusts include modernizing the power grid; manufacturing issues associated with large power generation equipment; renewable energy generation including photovoltaics, wind, geothermal and biofuels;

The purpose is to expose students to what it’s like in the business world

Zia Salami and Valentina Cecchi work with a student in one of EPIC’s new state of the art labs.

has an energy concentration at the undergraduate level,” Dr. Johnson said. “This means all of their engineering technical electives are in energy related subjects. Within our graduate programs students can also focus their studies on energy topics, and a new Master’s of Science in Applied Energy and Electro-Mechanical Systems is millennial



and environmental improvement associated with fossil fuels, power generation issues, and transmission and distribution systems. Dr. Valentina Cecchi, an assistant professor of electrical engineering, is working in the area of power delivery systems. She has been an EPIC researcher for two years. “What attracted me to UNC Charlotte was the growth here and the EPIC program being born,” Dr. Cecchi said.

Undergraduate Education Programs Energy concentrations within Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Engineering Technology. • Introduction to Energy for all engineering students. • Expanded co-op and internship programs. • Student participation in the Leadership Academy. • Energy related Senior Design Projects.

Graduate Education Programs • Energy certifications and retraining in all disciplines. • Special certifications such as energy efficiency, nuclear safety, etc. • Master’s of Science in Applied Energy and Electro-Mechanical Systems under review. • Energy certification for nonengineers under development. • Professional energy focused MS / MBA programs for engineers under development. • Accredited short courses for professional engineers.

“It is a very exciting time.” Dr. Cecchi’s research involves improving the accuracy of computer models used to plan power delivery systems. In the new EPIC building, she and her colleagues will be doing research on a real-time digital-grid simulator that was largely sponsored by Duke Energy. “The new Smart Grid lab will allow us to test simulations of whole power systems in real-time, which is very exciting,” she said. The strength of the EPIC program is not just facilities, but also the collaborative environment, Dr. Cecchi said. “We have a fantastic collection of skills and talent in a number of energy areas. We each focus on our own specialties, but

The research is exciting and engaging. then come together to understand the bigger picture of how everything integrates together.” These faculty researchers are organized into the following research clusters: • Power Systems Modernization, the host of the Duke Energy Smart Grid Laboratory with a Real-Time Digital-Grid Simulator and system analysis tools. • Large Energy Component Design and Manufacturing, leading the Siemens Large-Scale Manufacturing Laboratory and hosting the Materials Characterization Laboratory. • Renewables and Energy Efficiency, with clean-rooms focusing on PV cell and LED research as well as off-shore wind, biomass and small-scale hydro technologies. • Power Infrastructure and Environmental Development, with a world-class largestructures laboratory in a highbay facility, partly funded by Westinghouse and AREVA. • Energy Markets and Systems Engineering, with quality assurance, nuclear safety, regulatory and standards for power systems including distributed energy markets and improved supply chain utilization.

Industrial Engagement

With more than 240 regional

energy corporations that include Duke Energy, URS Washington Group, Siemens, AREVA, Westinghouse, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), The Shaw Group, STEAG, Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems, and many others, Charlotte is North American’s energy hub. EPIC was created with the guidance and support of the leaders of these companies, who saw the need for an expansion in energy engineering studies and research. Industry involvement with EPIC is led through a board of directors that oversees the center’s strategy and helps build industry relations. Jim Little, a senior vice president at URS, is an EPIC advisory board member. “Charlotte is in our view the energy capital and has great potential,” Little said. “All the players are here. There is already an existing infrastructure here. There is a large source of talent.” URS is a multinational, global company providing engineering, procurement and construction services to a number of business sectors, including energy and the environment. It employs 47,000 people in 30 countries. URS brought its nuclear business unit to Charlotte four years ago. “One of the nicest surprises we found here was the Energy Production and Infrastructure

Center effort that is underway at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte,” Little said. “We have always felt strongly that success is not just about doing the current business, but you also have to have a source of talent for the future. Investing in energy is a long-term effort, and EPIC is an important component of that investment.” URS has worked with EPIC to establish a summer internship program for students. They brought in a dozen students in both 2011 and 2012. “The purpose is to expose students to what it’s like in the business world,” Little said. “And secondly, we are trying them out. Our goal is to eventually hire these students. We made job offers to all of them last year. We utilize the UNC Charlotte EPIC program as a real employment agency for us.”

The Future

With Charlotte becoming more and more the silicon valley of energy, the future of EPIC will see increased support in educating engineers, collaborating on research and providing advanced laboratory facilities. “We are really just beginning,” Dr. Enslin said. “The new building is open and we will be quickly adding more laboratories and increasing the number of research projects. We have new faculty members coming in. Enrollment in the energy concentrations is growing and we are adding new graduate programs and concentrations. More energy related companies are locating in the Charlotte region and we look forward to their involvement with EPIC. The energy challenges of the future are great, but with the talent and collaboration that is coming together here at EPIC, the future is bright.” It’s going to be EPIC. For more information please visit the EPIC website: 2012



Photo of new PVRL equipment




New Technology

Brings Old Friends Together.

When UNC Charlotte recruited a “star” from Georgia Tech, they also received some new cutting edge equipment that would bring attention to the Charlotte Research Institute Science and Technology Campus. Abasifreke (Aba) Ebong, of UNC Charlotte Electrical & Computer Engineering not only brought noted expertise in research on solar cells, he brought a connection to provide and fabricate high efficiency and low-cost silicon solar cells to the Photovoltaic Research Laboratory (PVRL) at UNC Charlotte. This new equipment is being donated by President and CEO of TP Solar, Mr. Alex Rey, who Aba has more than a twelve year professional relationship which began when Rey was working for RTC in California. In 2005, when RTC was sold, Rey ventured out on his own and established TP Solar, a company based on one of his patents to produce a rapid thermal annealer (RTA). In December of 2005, Rey

contacted Aba to discuss a possible collaboration with Georgia Tech (GT) for technical guidance using single tube and wafer RTA to anneal contacts to silicon solar cells. They met in January 2006 and discussed the features of Rey’s RTA and in September of that same year, Rey built and donated the first TPS annealing furnace to GT. This machine led to the achievements of many record industrial silicon solar cell efficiencies, as well as several publications. Based on the work and publications that resulted from the use of this piece of equipment, many companies sought references from Aba and in some cases asked him to personally test their samples to make sure what was reported was accurate. This brought recognition to Professor Ebong and GT, as well as helped Mr. Rey’s sales of the new machine worldwide. When Aba came to UNC Charlotte, Alex Rey offered to provide his new generation equipment with a lot more capabilities for inline diffusion and contact firing to PVRL. This generous gift will enable UNC Charlotte’s PVRL to carry out cutting edge photovoltaic research, which will lead to creating new higher efficiency solar cell structures as well as affordable plug-and-play photovoltaic systems. It will afford PVRL at UNC Charlotte an opportunity to compete with other research universities in the USA and the world at large. Both undergraduate and

graduate students will benefit immeasurably from this generous industrial equipment gift because they will be exposed to using tools used on the manufacturing floor to carry out their daily research in Photovoltaic. It will greatly enhance the probability of attracting funding from DOE, NSF and the PV industry. Many other PV companies are waiting for the opportunity to collaborate with PVRL at UNC Charlotte once the lab is operational. From this long time relationship, PVRL at Charlotte will stand out from the crowd in winning sponsored research projects, and will have the opportunity to create cutting edge publications and presentations to enable this TPS investment to be worthwhile.

Dr. Ian Ferguson, chair of the Electrical & Computer Engineering Dept. and Dr. Ebong study plans for the location of new equipment in the PVR lab.

Want more information on research in the Photovoltaic Research Laboratory (PVRL) at UNC Charlotte? Contact Professor Abasifreke (Aba) Ebong at 2012



Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster The EPIC Building at UNC Charlotte hosted members of the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster, an organization that supports the economic development of the Carolinas through the nuclear energy industry. More than 100 people involved in nuclear generation, engineering, industrial supply, education, workforce development, and research shared best practices and plans for success in the industry. As major players realized a robust nuclear industry supply chain exists in the Carolinas, the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster was created in 2008. “A cluster is a geographically proximate CNC members and buyers enjoy lunch in EPIC’s high bay facility

Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster

group of companies and associated institutions in a particular field, linked by commonalities and complementarities,” according to Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, the creator of the Industrial Cluster Theory. “The Carolinas are a center of nuclear energy excellence, from fuel fabrication to generation, with the attendant suppliers to make the network robust,” says Scott Carlberg, manager of the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster. An economic impact study shows that the industry has a $2.2 billion annual payroll and 37,000 employees in the Carolinas. “That kind of millennial



Ca Nu Cl

economic impact provides important support for our communities. The industry also provides important support through its well-educated workforce that is active in local civic organizations,” says Carlberg. In an effort to export more products and services multi-nationally to bring more income back to the region The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster’s plans include building its supply chain in the Carolinas. “Our plans also include strengthening the workforce in our industry. We depend on institutions like UNC Charlotte and its excellent engineering education to provide mechanical, electrical and civil engineers who are the backbone of our industry, and who keep the lights on across our states. We encourage students to look into energy as a promising career path.” Building industry clusters can be important to regional economic health. While employees who are in specific industry clusters make up 28% of the workforce nationally, they take home 38% of pay, and account for 97% of patents. “Clearly, industry

Buyers-Suppliers attend supply chain meeting.

clusters can provide a focus for productivity and success. That is a hallmark of the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster thinking,” says Carlberg. The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster is a part of the “New Carolina” nonprofit organization that is based in Columbia, SC, which has various economic development efforts underway through industry cluster theory. The CNC is the organization’s only multi-state cluster. In recent years, the 16 county Charlotte region has built a reputation as a center for energy excellence. With more than 200 energy-oriented organizations and 20,000 employees in the region the energy cluster around Charlotte encompasses a wide variety of disciplines from nuclear, gas, energy management, and smart grid skills. The EPIC organization was motivated in large measure by the energy hub that has developed in the region and its need for talent and research.

Charlotte Venture Challenge IT & Informatics Category Winner


– Continues to Win Big!

Rob Cummings and Ben Harrison founders of Charlotte based start-up DealCloud haven’t slowed down since winning the Charlotte Venture Challenge (CVC) IT & Informatics Category and the People’s Choice Award at the CVC Grand Finale in April. They most recently won an NC IDEA Award in spring 2012. Left to Right (Rob Cummings and Ben Harrison of Deal Cloud)

DealCloud received up to $50,000 from NC Idea to help grow the company quickly. NC Idea is a North Carolina based not-for-profit organization that targets promising technology companies that need help bridging the gap between initial product development and venture capital financing. Since 2006, NC Idea has awarded over $2.5 million to 67 companies in North Carolina on a bi-annual basis. DealCloud joins MailVu the winner of the 2011 CVC and InfoSense the winner of the 2012 CVC New Energy and High Technology category as CVC alumni companies to win the NC Idea award. NC Idea reported that this was the most competitive field to date with 184

applications resulting in five total winners. How was DealCloud able to be one of the five winners? CVC provided help according to Ben Harrison who said, “CVC helped us do the leg work in identifying and explaining the market opportunity. It was also a perfect place to hone the investor pitch.” DealCloud is one of Charlotte’s leading start-ups in what Ben describes as a “relatively small but vibrant technology community in North Carolina. DealCloud is a free, web-based platform that supports the daily workflow and deal execution activity of investment banking and other M&A professionals. The platform combines the proprietary work flow,

confidentiality and process management of an internal database (like with cloud-based networking and collaboration features (like LinkedIn) to bring efficiency and ease to the M&A and capital market raising process. Since its founding in 2010, DealCloud has experienced rapid growth. According to Ben the company will be closing an additional round of growth financing as well as expanding its advisory board, which already includes the former CEO and CFO of Bank of America, Hugh McColl and Marc Oken. For more information visit or contact them at 704-248-5659 2012



Congratulations to a On April 20, 2012 students from all over campus came together to compete for recognition and cash prizes in their respective fields of study. At the 2012 UNCC Undergraduate Research Conference, students presented their work to judges in oral and poster presentations in an effort to win Atkins Library Research Awards and Departmental Awards, but there was more than just cash to be won. Participants were able to gain experiences that will be essential following their undergraduate academic life. “Undergraduate research is an integral part of any healthy university system”, said conference committee chair Missy Eppes, associate professor of Earth Sciences. “Students have the opportunity to take part in the production of knowledge from the initial conception of an idea, to the collection of data or resources, to the final presentation of the new work. Those who participate in such a conference immediately have a step up towards graduate school, employment and more.” The J. Murrey Atkins Library Research Awards was a new category added to the program. Five Atkins Library Research Awards of $1,000 for first prize and $500 for second prize were awarded in each of the following categories: Arts/Architecture/ Humanities, Social Sciences/ Education, Physical Sciences/ Engineering, Biological Sciences/ Health Sciences, Math/Computer millennial



Sciences. Entries were judged by a team of faculty members from UNC Charlotte, including faculty from the colleges and librarians from Atkins Library. Twenty-one $100 Department Awards were presented also. Special thanks goes to the event sponsors: Duke Energy, UNC Charlotte’s Charlotte Research Institute and the J. Murrey Atkins Library. The UNC Charlotte Undergraduate Research Conference is a universitywide showcase of research projects providing students with a great resume item and provides a wonderful experience in communicating all the hard work they have completed. For more information regarding the contest, the winners and their projects, please visit: node/687

ATKINS LIBRARY RESEARCH AWARDS (1st Place = $1,000.00; 2nd Place = $500.00) B   iological Sciences/Health Sciences:  1   st Place:  Ryan Baxter,  Activation of Toxin-Antitoxin Systems in Viable but NonCulturable Bibrio v  ulnificus 2nd Place:  Natascha Moestl,  Coaching a Virus to Kill Cancer: Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Against P   ancreatic Cancer   onorable Mention:  Jonathan H David Dvorak,  Role of Muc1 in Breast Cancer Associated Metastasis with A   rthritis   onorable Mention: Casey H Payne, The Relationship Between Mucin 1 and Neuropilin-1 in Pancreatic C   ancer Physical Sciences Engineering: The Stephen H. Mosier Award, (presented by Stephen Mosier, Professor E   meritus)   st Place:  Richard Hardin, 1 Preparation Characterization and Reactions of Argentates using Rapid Injection   N   MR  2nd Place: Anthony Harris, Pipe Traversing Robot  Arts/Architecture/Humantities: 1st Place: Kerry Weldon, Glendale Montessori:

Rethinking Educational Design 2   nd Place: Z   achary Tarlton,  Arts & Architecture: A collaboration  H   onorable Mention:  Les Gray,  Identities in Social Justice and Social Justice  S   ocial Sciences/Education: 1st Place:  David Gray,  Effects of sleep on Phobic Extinction  2nd Place:  Kyle Weichman, 

B iology: 1st Place: Ryan Baxter, A   ctivation of Toxin-Antitoxin Systems in Viable but Non-Culturable Vibrio V   ulnificus    onorable Mention:  Casey H Rimland,  Localization of Myc Protein to Histone Gene Expression in D   rosophila Melanogaster Honorable Mention:  Claus Ullstad  Effects of Ocean Acidification and

Successful 2012 Undergraduate Research Conference

“Students have the opportunity to take part in the production of knowledge from the initial conception of an idea, to the collection of data or resources, to the final presentation of the new work. Those who participate in such a conference immediately have a step up towards graduate school, employment and more.” Conference committee chair Missy Eppes, associate professor of Earth Sciences. Depression, Quality of Life, and Rehabilitation in Dementia Using Data from t he 2002 National Health Interview Survey  Honorable Mention:  Anna Wells,  A 4th Graders Approach for Solving Math  DEPARTMENT AWARDS (1st Place = $100.00) Africana Studies:  1st Place: Amanda Lee, The impact of Dollarization on Latin American Identity    Anthropology: 1st Place:  Renee Zemlock,  Breaking the Taboo on Race Architecture:  1   st Place: K   erry Weldon, Glendale Montessori: Rethinking Educational Design 

Elevated Temperature on Oxidative S tress in Marine Bivalves Honorable Mention:  Yogin Patel,  Role of APE 2 in DNA Damage Response Chemistry:  1st Place: Jose F Castaneda,  Blinking Dynamics of Single Cadmium Selenide nanocrystals Near Palladium    Nanoparticles 1st Place:  Richard Hardin,  Preparation, Characterization and Reactions of Argentates using Rapid I  njection NMR  2nd Place: Lizeth Hernandez,  Syntehesis and Reactivity of a New Bis(pyridiyl)selone 3rd Place: Joseph Hazel,  Capsular polysaccharide of Vibrio Vulnificus Honorable Mention: Reynolds Ivins,  Synthesis Characterization of Meso-Substituted Tetraphenyl P   orphyrins for Photovolatic Applications

Communications: 1st Place: Jordan Stutts, The Use of Social Media in the Arab Spring  Criminal Justice and Criminology:  1   st Place: Jeremiah Johnson,  Sentencing Guidelines: Myths and Realities  2   nd Place: I  ngrid Portillo, Jennelee Colon, Mayra Garcia, L  atinos Perceptions of the Criminal Justice S   ystem in  Mecklenburg County      D   ance: 1st Place: Danielle Corbin,  DANCENOISE: Challenging Expectations Educational Leadership: 1st Place: Lauren Faw,  Female and Minority Students in Engineering Face Unique Challenges Electrical and Computer Engineering: 1st Place: Anthony Harris,  Concepts of Pipe Traversing Robots 2nd Place: Ruba Kachlan,  General Purpose Measurement Tool Project Geography and Earth Sciences: 1st Place: Lauren Slawsky, Examining the Diurnal Varibility of Wind Energy Resources 2nd Place: Stephen Abernathy/ Shelby Ledford, Variaition in Soil pH in a Piedmond Terrace Kinesiology: 1st Place: Regina Galloway, A   Comparison of Dynamic Stretching and Static Stretching 2nd Place: Evan Drabik, E  ffects of Dual-Tasking on Postural Control on those with Chronic Ankle I  nstability Mathematics and Statistics: 1st Place: Morgan Leith,  Elementary Education Mechanical Engineering: 1st Place: John Troutman,  Deposition and Measurement at the 2012



Nanoscale Coupling Between the Switch II Loop and Src Homology P   hysics & Optical Science: 1st Place: Charles Herring, (  SH1) Helix in Myosin II During the Recovery Stroke Studies by Moleculardy 2nd Place: Uriah Israel, H   eat as a Contrast Agent for Biological Thermal Imaging: Monte Carlo Models of L  ight  Propagation Political Science and Public Administration: 1st Place: Millie Archila, Humanitarian Aid Workers as Targets of Violence   2   nd Place: Shengbao Mike Dong,  Education Production Function: How Much Does Having Good Peers Aid  Students’ Learning? Psychology: 1st Place: Kyle Weichman,  Depression, Quality of Life and Rehabilitation in Dementia Using Data from t  he 2002  National Health Interview Survey Public Health Sciences: 1st Place: Anna Bawtinhimer,  Examining Health Literacy and Weight. Management in Adults with  H   ypertension Sociology: 1   st Place: Brittany D. Woody,  Comparing Resources: State Based Inequality within Vocational Rehabilitation Special Education and Child Development: 1st Place: Anna Wells, A 4th Grader’s Approach for Solving Math Theatre: 1st Place: L  es Gray, Identities in Social Justice and Social Networks





During the 2011-2012 fiscal year, UNC Charlotte received a total of $28,285,480 for 360 grants and contracts distributed among 56 departments and colleges.

Grants Contracts at UNC Charlotte The Tier One chart below shows those departments and colleges with total awards of more than $1,000,000.

Tier One $19,329,919 68.31%

Tier Two $8,277,307 29.25%

Tier Two shows departments and colleges with total awards of less than $1,000,000 but more than $100,000.

Tier Three includes departments with total awards of less than $100,000.

Tier Three $678,254 2.41%




Summer of 2012 was a dream come true experience for 50 UNC Charlotte undergraduate student researchers. Supported by the University’s Division of Academic Affairs and managed through the Graduate School, the Charlotte Research Scholars inaugural (CRS) program was introduced to provide undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct original research projects in order to gain exposure to cutting edge research topics in their discipline. Each scholar received a $4,000 stipend ($500 a week) to participate in this experience. Students interested in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) or social sciences were selected from a pool of over 170 applicants. Associate Professor of Bioinformatics & Genomics, Director of the Bioinformatics & Computational Biology Ph.D. program and the Coordinator of the CRS series, Dr. Dennis R. Livesay planned and worked to bring together faculty and students for the eight-week summer program that began June 4. Those students lucky to be chosen to participate were guided by graduate students and faculty as they worked on new and original research projects in their area of studies. Over 125 UNC Charlotte faculty members requested to become part of the program in assuming the role of mentor to the students. “Doing research is a skill, and can be further developed by participation and mentoring,” says Dr. Srinivas Akella, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science. “By exposing our undergraduates to the fun of doing research, we enhance our ability to recruit trained, top-notch students for our graduate programs. Undergraduate students often do amazing things because they don’t know what cannot be done!” In addition to research activities, scholars participated in weekly





Dream Come True

professional development training in order to build skills critical to professional success. Sessions such as responsible conduct of research, developing a competitive research fellowship application, preparing an academic resume, professional communication tools and an introduction to the graduate school application process including tips and techniques for taking the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) were on their schedule. The program concluded Wednesday, July 25 with a Research Symposia in the Student Union. A total of 150 attendees, including 87 presenters, gathered to learn about the research accomplished during the summer. For many students this was the first time they presented in a professional environment and received feedback. The students represented four research programs, including the Charlotte Research Scholars and Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs in nanoscience, mechanical engineering, and socially relevant computing. Best posters designations were awarded in three broad categories: (1) social sciences, psychology, and math education, (2) natural sciences, and (3) engineering, technology, and computer science. The students were proud of their work and the judges were very impressed with the presenters’ quality of research and the job they did presenting.

Poster Awards:

Category • Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science Title • Testing and Modeling of Unbalanced Transmission Lines Presenter • Jason McCall Major • Electrical Engineering Advisor • Mehdi Miri Category • Natural Sciences Title • Synthesis and Biological Activity of Tin(IV) Bis(pyridine)selone Complexes Presenter • Lizeth Hernandez Major • Chemistry Advisor • Dan Rabinovich Category • Social Sciences, Psychology, and Math Education Title • Family Partner Involvement in Youth and Family Services: Effects of PreEngagement with Families and Child and Family Team Meeting Follow-Up Presenter • Keyara Pierre-Louis Major • Psychology Advisors • Ryan Kilmer and James Cook Honorable Mentions: David Benitez, Advisor • Jordan Poler Joshua Cox, Advisor • Mehdi Miri Vanessa Hernandez, Irene Kwok, and Takayla Sexton, Advisor • Heather Lipford Nancy Kempa, Advisors • Ryan Kilmer and James Cook Katherine Walker, Advisor • Claudia Avellaneda Joshua Wheaton, Advisors • Charles Lee and Mark Clemens

In future summers, the CRS program plans to expand its efforts beyond the STEM and social sciences to include the humanities and other disciplines. The program is yet another catalyst for continuing the University’s tradition of growing research opportunities at UNC Charlotte while encouraging outstanding students to enroll in graduate programs at UNC Charlotte, the urban research university.

‘‘Big Data’’ ‘‘Big Deal & Charlotte 2012 Informatics

Event is a

’’ Big Success

UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing and Informatics, Belk College of Business, Charlotte Research Institute, in partnership with the Charlotte Chamber and other key corporations, has taken the lead role in helping local companies to visualize the future of informatics and business analytics in the region. On May 15, over 300 CEO’s and Senior Business Executives, Informatics Professionals, and those in search of a better understanding of “Big Data” and its application in business, gathered at the Charlotte Ritz Carlton to listen to expert speakers from across the country to learn whether they are well-prepared for the era of Big Data and how to position Charlotte as a leader in this exciting, transformative time. Keynote speaker, Dr. Tom Davenport, Chair of Information Technology and Management at Babson College, and one of the world’s leading business strategy consultants, shared what “Big Data” and analytics can mean to a business or an organization, and how they can better compete in the 21st Century data-driven economy. Noted speakers from IBM, McKinsey & Company, Premier, Inc., Lowe’s Companies, UNC Charlotte, Bank of America, and Carolina’s Healthcare shared experiences on how informatics and business analytics can have a huge impact on business in the Charlotte region. In the Charlotte region, informatics

and business analytics can have a huge impact on businesses. The financial industry has always depended on data and information, and this dependence will become more acute. Health care is becoming a far more data-driven industry, especially with the wide adoption of electronic patient-record systems. The same can be said about retail and distribution, energy, financial services and many other sectors that bolster Charlotte’s economy and job market. The state of change may differ by industry, but the direction is certain. Dean Yi Deng of the College of Computing and Informatics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is leading efforts to develop informatics programs under the umbrella of “Charlotte Informatics Partnership” for a variety of vertical industries including financial services, healthcare and bio sciences.

Forbes tomgroenfeldt/2012/01/21/ big-data-and-data-scientistsits-an-issue-of-degrees/ tomgroenfeldt/2012/05/22/cancharlotte-become-silicon-valleysouth/ tomgroenfeldt/2012/05/31/ charlotte-prepares-students-tomeet-demand-for-data-scientists/ Charlotte Observer http://www.charlotteobserver. com/2012/05/16/3243222/ panel-charlotte-has-future-as. html#storylink=misearch WFAE Media sponsor for the event Charlotte Talks 18_93_0.cfm?do=detail&id=14686 UNC Charlotte YouTube ?v=tm5txEhmRSY&feature=plcp watch?v=1wymBvb1QW4

To read more published media coverage after the Big Data Event, visit the following links: watch?v=ljfvOn80-bI 2012



Soybeans may not always seem like the most exciting story in town, but at UNC Charlotte in the Biotechnology department there is groundbreaking research going on considered by the North Carolina Technology Association to be worthy of winning the NCTA 21 Award in the category of Technology Industry as Life Science Company of the year. Research considered by the judges to be “disruptive” with potential to impact and alter existing approaches for therapeutic treatments was selected for this prestigious award. SoyMeds President and Co-founder Kenneth J. Piller, PhD, accepted the award on November 10 in a ceremony in Raleigh, NC attended by over 850 business and state leaders. The award recognizes a life science company, whether biotech, pharmaceutical, healthcare or medtech, that has “achieved a milestone of innovation or measurable success over the last year.” “We are deeply honored to receive this award,” Piller said. “Building a life science company takes so many types of expertise. We are fortunate to have a strong team and great support from so many in the Charlotte-region and throughout the state. Together, that has enabled us to build a strong company based on solid science.” SoyMeds was selected as the winner over five other finalists in the life science category. “To be recognized as one of the best life science companies in the state over others who are themselves developing groundbreaking technologies is almost beyond belief,” Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder Kenneth L. Bost said. “This recognition validates what we’ve felt all along. We have a winning technology and business plan that will prevent and

treat diseases giving people healthier and longer lives.” SoyMeds, a biotechnology research company is developing and validating soybean seed-derived therapeutics to diagnose, treat and prevent disease. A biodefense vaccine, a potential treatment for Multiple Sclerosis and a diagnostic test for use in ELISA kits (enzymelinked immunosorbent assay) to screen for thyroid disease are products in development. The platform technology developed by Piller and Bost, has the potential to provide safe, low-cost treatments for a number of diseases. Key advantages to SoyMeds’ technology are that the resulting products are stable at ambient temperatures offering extended shelf life, which eliminates the need for a cold chain to preserve the products during delivery and storage. The proprietary technology separates production from downstream purification allowing a soy powder to be stored until purification is needed. This benefit substantially lowers the cost of manufacturing and distributing new therapeutics. SoyMeds’ diagnostics will allow for significant cost reduction of analytes, production of analytes that are not commercially available, increased sensitivity and quantification of diagnostic markers, and the development of novel medical devices based on these analytes. Piller and Bost continue their research progress on two Phase I SBIRs and one Phase II STTR projects. Successes from one of those Phase I grants led to a Phase II NIH application that just received a favorable score! Earlier this year these researchers were contacted by John Hardin at the Office of Science and Technology in Raleigh to participate in a case study that was prepared and presented to the House and Senate in efforts to continue funding for the OST Program as well as the accompanying SBIR/STTR Match program offered to awardees of Phase I proposals. Soymeds was asked to participate based on winning three Phase I match awards between 2007 and 2010. Today there is a high demand to produce safe, stable, and cost effective therapeutics and Soymeds research to produce a soybean seed-derived vaccine is getting well deserved recognition.

SoyMeds recognized as one of the best life science companies in the state

Soy-Good millennial



To learn more about Dr. Piller’s and Dr. Bost’s groundbreakingresearch, you can visit




It is no exaggeration to say that a revolution is currently going on in the life sciences that seems sure to cause radical transformation in the fields of human biology, medical science, and perhaps everything else that is biological, from molecular biology to ecology. The revolution is in our emerging understanding of vast complexity of an unseen and still shockingly unknown microbial world – the “microbiome” – and how intricately it is connected to all other life on the planet. Our new awareness of the scope and importance of microbes to all life in general is really a result of recent rapid advances in genomic technology and bioinformatics, which together give science a powerful new “telescope” into the amazing diversity, astounding complexity and profound impact that microbial communities have.

New Research Changes Perspective on

Photo by Cress Photography

UNC Charlotte Associate Professor of Bioinformatics Anthony Fodor has been in the front lines of this new science, developing experimental techniques for probing vast, benign microbial ecologies inside the human body and understanding their dynamics and potential connection to human diseases, including those previously thought to be unconnected to pathogens, such as cancer. Early this summer, Fodor was part of a national announcement marking a major milestone in this work. In the culmination of a multi-year effort directed by the National Institutes of Health known as the Human Microbiome Project (HMP), some 200 hundred researchers nationwide joined to announce the first genomic compilation of the generalized biome of microbes in the human body that complement the human genome. In a sprawling series of coordinated scientific reports published on June 14 in Nature and several journals in the Public Library of Science (PLoS), HMP researchers from nearly 80 multidisciplinary research institutions reported on five years of research and announced some fundamental, if preliminary findings. Fodor was a co-author on three of millennial



Two graphs from one of the HMP articles in Nature, illustrating the remarkable variation researchers found in the make-up of bacterial populations at different body sites (top graph), and yet the remarkable similarity in biochemical processes (bottom graph) performed by those same combined ecosystems. Each thin vertical line represents a different person who was tested in the study.

these papers. The huge collaborative project’s work, including Fodor’s, had been funded by $153 million from the NIH Common Fund, a trans-NIH initiative that finances high-impact, large-scale research. “Like 15th century explorers describing the outline of a new continent, HMP researchers employed a new technological strategy to comprehensively define, for the first time, the normal microbial makeup of the human body,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “HMP created a remarkable reference database by using genome sequencing techniques to directly detect microbes in healthy volunteers. This lays the foundation for accelerating infectious disease research previously impossible without this community resource.” When Collins at NIH and Craig Venter at Celera Inc. published the first complete draft sequences of the human genome in 2001, many people assumed that the genetic foundation for a new and complete understanding of the human body

and its functions had been achieved. As it turned out this was far from the complete story, since we now know that our bodies are not completely human. The human body contains trillions of microorganisms— outnumbering human cells by 10 to one. Because of their small size, however, microorganisms make up only about one to three percent of the body’s mass, but play a vital role in human health. The HMP team reported that this plethora of microbes contribute more genes responsible for human survival than humans themselves. Where the human genome carries some 22,000 protein-coding genes that carry out metabolic activities, researchers estimate that the microbiome contributes some 8 million unique proteincoding genes or 360-times more bacterial genes than human genes. In addition, the bacterial genomic contribution is critical for human survival. Genes carried by bacteria in the gastro-intestinal track, for

example, allow humans to digest foods and absorb nutrients that otherwise would be unavailable. “Humans don’t have all the enzymes we need to digest our own diet,” said Lita Proctor, Ph.D., HMP program manager. “Microbes in the gut breakdown much of the proteins, lipids and carbohydrates in our diet into nutrients that we can then absorb. Moreover, the microbes produce beneficial compounds, like vitamins and anti-inflammatories (compounds that suppress inflammation in the gut) that our genome cannot produce.” To define the normal human microbiome, HMP researchers sampled 242 healthy U.S. volunteers (129 male, 113 female), collecting tissues from 15 body sites in men and 18 body sites in women (including three vaginal sites). Researchers collected up to three samples from each volunteer at sites such as the mouth, nose, skin (two behind each ear and each inner elbow), and lower intestine (stool). Where doctors had previously isolated only a few hundred 2012



bacterial species from the body, HMP researchers now calculate that more than 10,000 species occupy the human ecosystem. The researchers calculate that they have found between 81 and 99 percent of all the genuses of microorganisms in healthy adults. Defining “a” human biome, however, can be difficult, as Fodor and an HMP research group found immense variation in bacterial communities, both in the diversity of bacterial groups from person to person, and in the relative abundance of specific bacterial groups that many people shared. The variation in bacterial populations was extreme and nearly impossible to characterize, including population differences both between areas in the body and between similar areas in different bodies. As scientists explained in the major NIH announcement, “each body site can be inhabited by organisms as different as those in the Amazon Rainforest and the Sahara Desert”. Further, these sites on different individuals are populated with different assemblages of bacteria, or with some of the same bacteria, but in markedly different proportions. In a paper Fodor co-authored, researchers asked the question of whether there were particular types of bacteria that were common, or “core”, across all the human subjects in the HMP. Defining a core bacteria as one present in 95% of all subjects, an analysis found that the nine sample sites from the mouth had the highest numbers of shared “core” bacteria, with the number of “core” varieties shared between stool samples being somewhat lower and very few core bacteria found at the skin and vagina sample sites. Fodor noted that, while there is a small “core” of commonly shared bacteria at some body sites, the researchers also found that the abundances of “core” bacterial varieties could vary by several orders of magnitude between individual people.




“Consider stool samples,” he said. “There’s one sample where a particular type of bacteria represents about 90% of the sequences that we saw. But then there are other samples where it represents not 90% but .01% -- and there’s everything in between. And this kind of variation is not just true of this type of bacteria but of essentially every type of bacteria within the HMP. ”Since all of the volunteers within the HMP were healthy, this tells us that there do not appear to be particular bacteria that are required

“It remains an open question how individual variation in the types of bacteria within healthy people influences disease development,” Fodor continued. “It will be really interesting to see how this question is resolved as the field continues to mature and we learn more about the contribution of the microbiome to specific diseases such as obesity, cancer, fatty liver and inflammatory bowel disease.” Even while the HMP announcement was breaking, Fodor was hard at

None of us are really individual organisms – we are biomes, cooperative assemblages of many organisms, whose purposes and genes dance with each other in maintaining the general human ecology that we call health. to be present in high numbers to maintain health,” Fodor noted. Interestingly, this high level of variation in bacterial populations does not mean that the combined metabolic functions those populations perform are similarly different. “The microbiome doesn’t work that way,” Fodor said. “You and I can both be perfectly healthy and one group of bacteria can represent 95% of my gut, and be .01% of your gut. Maybe that is explained by the analysis in the Nature paper that shows that even though the types of bacteria are different, the function of genes within the genomes of these different bacteria appear to be very similar.” From these data, it appears that very different communities composed of different bacteria can perform similar ecological functions in the body, according to Fodor. Though the HMP announcement was a milestone in preliminarily defining the microbiome and introducing irrefutable evidence of it playing a major role in human body functions, Fodor notes that work has barely begun in understanding bacterial ecologies and how their interactions specifically relate to specific health issues.

work defining this next stage in the research. In a paper published about a year ago, Fodor and colleagues published results from a clinical trial indicating linkages between various bacteria whose populations vary widely from human to human and a metabolic process that can be critical in causing liver disease. Shortly after the HMP announcement, Fodor published another finding that showed how major changes in bacterial diversity in the gut as well as the invasion of populations of bacteria not common in the intestines appears to have a strong relationship with developing colorectal cancer. Several other significant findings are in the works. Central to all of Fodor’s work is this revolutionary thought: None of us are really individual organisms – we are biomes, cooperative assemblages of many organisms, whose purposes and genes dance with each other in maintaining the general human ecology that we call health. As the popular saying goes, this changes everything.

To learn more about this revolutionary research contact Dr. Anthony Fodor at

May 30, 2012, UNC Charlotte Center City brought together research and social sciences representatives from across many academic disciplines. The Complex Systems Institute and the Center for Advanced Research in the Humanities at UNC Charlotte inaugurated an annual conference series dedicated to complexity with particular application to understanding the intricacies of human experience across all domains. The initial 2012 conference was based on an Institute for Advanced topics in the Digital Humanities (IATDH) and was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the UNC Charlotte Complex Systems Institute.


& Human Experience Conference Inaugurated at UNC Charlotte

With the recent increase in the number of formal institutes and conferences dedicated to complexity theory and its applications, it is evident that complexity science has arrived and is realizing its potential to cut across almost every academic discipline. Research projects centered on complex adaptive systems in the natural (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) and social sciences (economics, political science, anthropology, sociology, psychology, etc.), along with novel applications in engineering, computer science, robotics, and more recently the arts and the humanities (archaeology, art history, history, literature, philosophy, performance art, religion, etc.), have already earned some recognition in the field of complexity science. ( com/site/humancomplexity2012/home) Keynote speakers Joshua Corman, Director of Security Intelligence for Akamai Technologies, and Dylan Savage,

Associate Professor of Piano at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, were presenters at this conference. Joshua Corman most recently served as Research Director for Enterprise Security at the 451 Group following his time as Principal Security Strategist for IBM Internet Security Systems. His research cuts across sectors to the core security challenges plaguing the IT industry, and helps to drive evolutionary strategies toward emerging technologies and shifting economics. His research and educational efforts won him the title of Top Influencer of IT by Network World magazine in 2009. Dylan Savage, a BÜsendorfer Concert Artist, a Capstone Records recording artist, and a first place winner of the Rome Festival Orchestra Competition, has performed throughout the U.S., Virgin Islands, Malta, Austria, and Italy. Dr. Savage’s groundbreaking research using slow-motion video replay to analyze and diagnose inefficient movement at the piano has led to master classes at leading music schools and festivals. Other research includes inter-disciplinary topics such as entrepreneurship for musicians, applying music-based ideas in business and industry, and applying ideas from the music lesson to life. The goal of the series is to provide a trans-disciplinary venue for scholars from the humanities and the social sciences, as well as some aspects of the natural sciences (such as neuroscience, pharmacology, etc.). Since matters of life and death pertain to human experience in profound and important ways, the conference hopes to attract representations from the allied health sciences as well. For more information about Complex Systems Institute and upcoming events at UNC Charlotte, please visit: 2012



University Business Partner

ParaSol Technologies is a new spin-off from the Center for Optoelectronics and Optical Communications at UNC Charlotte. ParaSol is a solar technology that allows for the collection and distribution of light within fabrics which then converts that light into electricity. The platform nature of the technology allows ParaSol to be incorporated into thousands of applications, including clothing, tents, construction materials and automobiles. ParaSol’s electricity producing solar fabric can be used to manufacture military tents and produce enough electricity to meet up to 20% of a Forward Operating Base (FOB) electrical needs. The technology can be used just like current fabric, maintaining the durability, strength and flexibility of existing material. ParaSol can be integrated into hundreds of existing military products that are currently being used in the field, thus creating no need for protocol and/or operational changes in order to generate additional power for communications. The ability to create autonomous electrical products for military, industrial and consumer applications cannot be understated. As society becomes more mobile, the need to power products “off the grid” is essential. In many critical applications the today’s




solar technology is not adaptable to be implemented. For example, for the military mission where soldiers carry a heavy load of batteries, there is no solar technology that could reduce this burden without any footprint of its own. Another example is the energy requirements of a Forward Operating Base, which cannot be easily addressed by current energy technologies without adversely impacting military planning and logistics. ParaSol fabrics are presented with an aesthetically flexible and unobtrusive means of generating electricity from products that look, feel and function exactly like existing products today – jackets, tents and window treatments. It eliminates the need to attach large, bulky and expensive PV panels to devices in order to charge them. For more information you may contact Dr. Faramarz Farahi at 704-287-1997 or

University Business Partner

Steven Casey, Vice President, Statewide Operations of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center (NCBC) recently announced Corinne “Corie” Curtis as the new interim executive director of the Biotechnology Center’s Greater Charlotte Office. Curtis, an experienced business and events manager, is overseeing daily operations of the NC Biotechnology Center office, which is currently located in the Bioinformatics Center on the UNC Charlotte CRI Science and Technology campus. Curtis joined NCBC in 2011 as regional coordinator and worked with Marjorie Benbow, NCBC executive director of the Greater Charlotte Office when it was opened more than six years ago. As regional coordinator, Curtis worked in partnership with Benbow and had already been heavily involved in the logistics and execution of many projects providing her with necessary experience and responsibilities to assume the Interim Director position. “We are delighted that we had someone with Corie’s background and abilities on our team, ready and able to move into this leadership role for the Charlotte area’s life-science community,” said Steve Casey. “The Greater Charlotte region is key to some of the state’s most promising fields of life-science growth, such as bioinformatics and nanotechnology, which bolster its well-known base in nutritional and translational research. Corie’s leadership in Charlotte provides important continuity to the NC Biotechnology Center’s pursuit of these kinds of opportunities.” Before moving to Charlotte, Curtis was executive

North Carolina Biotech Center

Welcomes Corie Curtis as Interim Director

director of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in her hometown of Jamestown, New York. She had also held management positions at several companies in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. After 11 years, in various positions at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, she’d earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising/communications. So you might ask, how did Corie end up in Charlotte; Corie shared, “I moved here to marry my junior high school sweetheart. We reunited 25 years after we first met.” To welcome Corie to the UNC Charlotte Campus you can email her at Corie_Curtis@ncbiotech. org. And, to learn more about the North Carolina Biotechnology Center visit http://




Ventureprise The American economy depends on innovation to be globally competitive and on entrepreneurial start-ups for job creation, factors that are vitally important to the Charlotte region’s future economic growth and diversification. Ventureprise is a new initiative working to build a globally competitive innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Charlotte, NC USA. Ventureprise is built upon the solid foundation of UNC Charlotte’s Ben Craig Center (BCC), the region’s non-profit business incubator. One of the nation’s first university affiliated business incubators when it was incorporated in 1986 as the University Business Incubator Center, BCC has helped over 125 resident companies start and to prosper. Additionally, BCC has engaged many more companies through training, networking, and advisory services. In 2007, the Centralina Economic Development Commission’s strategy report (CEDS) identified a regional priority to “develop a culture that promotes and encourages entrepreneurship” and observed that “entrepreneurial efforts remain somewhat fledgling, somewhat duplicative, and competing for similar resources.” The BCC board and staff responded with a community-based strategic planning effort that defined the need for it to take on a broader role to serve as the region’s catalyst for entrepreneurial innovation. millennial



Additional initiatives, such as Startup Weekend, the PiES incubator in Davidson and Packard Place in Uptown Charlotte, have emerged in recent years. The 2012 Charlotte Venture Challenge, sponsored by UNC Charlotte and the Charlotte Research Institute, attracted a record 117 companies.

“The Charlotte region has many great assets and networks that directly support an entrepreneur’s ability to succeed,” says Paul Wetenhall, president of Ventureprise. “Our joint planning with groups across the region identified a gap in strategy, coordination and communications leveraging these resources. That is what the re-launch of The Ben Craig Center as Ventureprise is meant to do.” It is clear that the Charlotte region is poised for an entrepreneurial transformation.

What Is Ventureprise?

Ventureprise is the result of the natural evolution of the Ben Craig Center into a regional resource. Ventureprise, Inc. is a non-profit organization that collaborates with others to develop and champion

UNC Charlotte’s 25-year commitment to business incubation is the foundation for building a regional innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. a strategy for entrepreneurial and innovative leadership while working to help individual entrepreneurs, innovators, and inventors achieve success.

At the April 2012 Ventureprise announcement, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx observed, “With Ventureprise, Paul Wetenhall and his team are expanding beyond the walls of a traditional incubator and facilitating a collaborative approach to entrepreneurial education, networking and capital formation. This forward looking approach is coming

at the ideal time when our region is working to empower entrepreneurs and accelerate business formation and job creation.” Although Ventureprise’s focus is on innovationbased, entrepreneurial growth companies, it works closely with local entrepreneurs, small businesses, social enterprises and educational resources to support the full range of entrepreneurial activity, Ventureprise partners with multiple organizations to identify promising innovations originated by individuals, corporations, or higher education. For example, Ventureprise collaborates with cluster organizations and university resources to tailor its programs to serve specific needs in advanced manufacturing, energy, informatics, and the life sciences (including health care and medical devices). Dr. Robert Wilhelm, vice chancellor for research and economic development, UNC Charlotte, says “Ventureprise is the university’s primary resource for community engagement with entrepreneurs. In addition to the annual Charlotte Venture Challenge, we have collaborated for research opportunities and faculty and student involvement.” Ventureprise supports innovation based entrepreneurship with programs that: • Identify, expand, and connect the human talent pool, • Increase the flow of innovative ideas, • Infuse customer focus through opportunity obsession methodologies, and • Support the effective launch of high growth ventures. It expects to expand an already strong mentor cadre and deploy them extensively to support emerging innovators and entrepreneurs by working with community partners to build a platform with these components.


Desired Outcome

Inventor and Innovator Talent

Attract, Connect to entrepreneur

Entrepreneurial Talent

Attract, Self-Assess, Develop, Retain

Connections and Access

Strong web of relationships across relevant players

Financing Sources

Attract smart capital; efficient access


Expert industry guidance and global access

New Venture Creation Opportunity Assessment

Identify promising ideas for support; reject weak ideas early to avoid wasted time and money

Business Formation and Launch

Rapid engagement; solid foundation for growth

Business Growth

Identify high potential for support 2012



Ventureprise Leadership

Ventureprise, Inc., is a non-profit organization anchored at UNC Charlotte. Its board of directors has been structured to represent the stakeholders for the expanded regional mission. The fifteen directors represent entrepreneurs, investors, business, government, research, and higher education including two ex-officio UNC Charlotte leaders. Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx serves as an honorary director. The 2012-13 board chairperson, Douglas Dawson, is the first entrepreneur to serve in that capacity. His company, Optinfo, grew and prospered at the Ben Craig Center and was subsequently acquired. Mr. Dawson is also the first UNC Charlotte graduate to serve as the organization’s chairperson. An Advisory Board will be established that includes experienced entrepreneurs, investors, professional advisors, and others with the expertise to serve as mentors and to guide the organization’s Douglas Dawson programs. The Ventureprise staff is led by its president, Paul Wetenhall. He has extensive experience as a corporate manager, software entrepreneur, economic development leader, and entrepreneur educator. Prior to joining the Ben Craig Center in 2008, he served as the president of the non-profit High Tech Rochester Inc.

Ventureprise Involvement

The Ventureprise team will continue to operate the Ben Craig Center business incubator serving startup Paul Wetenhall and growth stage entrepreneurs. The new student incubator will welcome UNC Charlotte students seeking to launch promising businesses. Programs such as Venture Knowledge, Commercialization Knowledge, and the Charlotte Venture Challenge will continue to engage researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Ventureprise will work closely with community partners to communicate public policy through events and digital communication and to define the region’s entrepreneurial strategy. Visit the new Ventureprise website to learn about specific programs and stay current by subscribing to the e-newsletter. Prospective clients, mentors, and sponsors are invited to connect by contacting the Ventureprise team via phone or email. Ventureprise, Inc. Ben Craig Center 8701 Mallard Creek Rd. Charlotte, NC 28262




704 548-9113

Ventureprise 2012 Board of Directors Dr. Charles E. Bamford Professor, Queens University of Charlotte Douglas M. Dawson President, WanderPoint Ronald Elmore Managing Director, Milestone Partners, LLC Louis J. Foreman CEO, Enventys, LLC Elizabeth A. Hardin Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs, UNC Charlotte Leroy Hill, Jr. President & CEO, Yorel Integrated Solutions Rajeev Kulkarni Vice President, Global Engineering, 3D Systems, Inc. Marcus Lee Partner, Moore & Van Allen, PLLC Harrison L. Marshall, Jr. Partner, McGuire Woods, LLP Robert Morgan President, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Patrick T. Mumford Director, City of Charlotte Stephen E. Sellers Managing Director, Sockwell Partners Dr. Robert G. Wilhelm Vice Chancellor for Research & Economic Development UNC Charlotte Honorary Director Anthony Foxx, Mayor, City of Charlotte

n Patent Corner

Are you an

inventor or just a

pair of hands ?

By Senior Associate Bradley C. Fach, Assistant Director Office of Technology Transfer

There is often confusion among researchers about who can be listed as an inventor on a patent for a new invention or discovery. Unlike authorship on a manuscript, there are very strict rules which must be followed when deciding inventorship on a patent. In fact, getting inventorship wrong and purposely misleading the patent office may result in the invalidation of your entire patent and other penalties. To determine proper inventorship, you must first understand what your patent claims will be. Patent claims are a summary of the unique aspects of your invention and will define the legal scope of protection which your patent provides. Once the patent claims are defined, each person who can point to one or more claims and say “that was my idea” should be listed as an inventor. Even if a person can only point to one small feature listed in one claim among a large list of claims that person should still be listed as an inventor. There is no minimum amount of inventorship required to be listed on a patent but an inventor must be more than just a pair of hands. A “pair of hands” is not an inventor. This is a famous saying which patent attorneys and the US court system use to describe the level of contribution needed for inventorship. Simply carrying out steps or instructions issued by an inventor does not rise to the level of inventorship required to be listed on a patent. This concept is often hard for academic researchers to understand because our community rewards and encourages collaboration, especially with students. It is quite possible that one person (i.e. a student) may do 99% of the work on a project but unless they contributed to the original ideas claimed in the patent, they should not be listed as an inventor.

A recent high-profile court case involving Kent State University helps shed some light on what is required to be listed as an inventor. In this case, a post-doctoral researcher was hired to synthesize some organic molecules for use in liquid crystal displays. The researcher figured out a new way to create some of these compounds during his time at the university. After his departure, the researcher learned that the university filed a patent on some new molecules that were made using his unique process and did not list him as an inventor. Although he was not physically involved in making these new compounds (he had left the university), the courts found that he should be listed as an inventor on the patent because his unique methods were used to create the patented molecules and those methods were not yet known in that scientific field. About the author: Bradley Fach is a registered patent agent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and has been filing patents for over 11 years. Mr. Fach has filed over 500 patent applications in a multiple technology areas ranging from biotechnology to consumer products and software and is currently the Senior Associate Director of UNC Charlotte’s Office of Technology Transfer. Mr. Fach can be reached by email at:





Life Sciences 2012 Conference

11th Annual Conference

Where Innovation


The Charlotte Life Sciences Conference Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Charlotte Biotechnology Conference has a new name, a new look and lots of exciting new information. Same great conference, same great location! Barnhardt Student Activity Center on the campus of UNC Charlotte! The Charlotte Life Sciences Conference will continue to feature cutting edge research, technology and emerging life science companies in the Charlotte region. Join us for world-class speakers, reports on the latest industry trends and research topics. Network with industry, research, and innovation leaders as we come together for the region’s most comprehensive life science event. Contact Clare Cook Faggart ( for more information. More information coming soon at




A meeting for science writers, by science writers. October 26-30,

Research Triangle, NC On tuesday, October 30th the conference will wrap up with a day trip to Kannapolis, NC, birthplace of NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt, Cannon Towels and the $500 million North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC). One man’s vision and personal fortune have transformed this former cotton mill town into a biotech hub. Dole Foods owner D avid Murdock i  s investing some of his personal fortune to show how human health and longevity can be greatly improved through advanced nutritional science and world-class technology. North Carolina’s major universities have signed on to take part in this public/private venture to explore new nutritional science using genomic, proteomic and metabolomic tools. Researchers at the NCRC (in collaboration with some major food industry partners) are uncovering the hidden powers of the produce we consume. Other researchers at NCRC are deconstructing human metabolism and its genetics. Health food may be coming back, this time with some real science behind it.

Dr. Robert G. Wilhelm

Robyne R. Vickers

Vice Chancellor Research & Economic Development CRI Executive Director (704) 687-8428

Technical Assistant Charlotte Research Institute Research & Economic Development (704) 687-5690

Chip Yensan


Associate Director of Infrastructure Charlotte Research Institute Research & Economic Development (704) 687-8283

James Hathaway

Research Communications Research & Economic Development (704) 687-5743

Karen Ford

Executive Assistant to the Vice Chancellor Research & Economic Development (704) 687-8428

Julie M. Fulton

Office Manager & Administrative Assistant Charlotte Research Institute Research & Economic Development (704) 687-5690

Business Officer & Manager CRI Millennial Campus Business Office Research & Economic Development (704) 687-8286

Lolita Gonzales

Accounting Technician Assistant Manager CRI Millennial Campus Business Office Research & Economic Development (704) 687-5697

Robert Aldrich

Controller Ventureprise Charlotte Research Institute (704) 548-9113

Carolyn Smith

Administrative Assistant Ventureprise Charlotte Research Institute (704) 548-9113

Holly Dimmitt

Accounting Consultant Ventureprise Charlotte Research Institute (704) 548-9113

CRI AT NCRC Devin Collins

Pearl Brown

Assistant Director, Entrepreneurship and Business Development Charlotte Research Institute Research & Economic Development (704) 250-5753

VENTUREPRISE Paul D. Wetenhall

Clare Cook Faggart

Business Office Specialist CRI Millennial Campus Office Research & Economic Development (704) 687-7733

Executive Director / President Ventureprise Charlotte Research Institute (704) 548-9133

Program Manager Life Sciences Conference Charlotte Research Institute Research & Economic Development (704) 250-5760




Next issue: Your direct connection to PORTAL is here

Millennial Magazine - Summer 2012  

Growth and Initiative well describe the people and projects illustrated in this issue of the Millennial. EPIC, Bioinformatics, and Big Data...