Discover 2022: UTRF Annual Report

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Where discovery and opportunity connect.


UTRF DISCOVER 2022 | 3 04 Mission of UTRF 06 Thank You, Team 05 Interim President’s Letter 09 Welcome New Staff 10 Innovation is Everywhere: Feature Stories 18 UTRF by the Numbers 20 Supporting UT Startups 24 2022 Innovation Awards 26 Inventor Spotlights 27 Remembering the Legacy of Dr. Carmen Lozzio 28 UTRF Student Opportunities 30 Education and Outreach 32 Congratulations, Innovators! 34 Featured Innovators 35 UTRF Staff and Board Contents

UTRF promotes the commercialization of UT intellectual property, encourages an entrepreneurial culture, contributes to state and regional economic development, and promotes research and education to benefit the people of Tennessee and beyond.

research growth intellectual property commercialization

economic development entrepreneurial culture




It has been a great honor to assume the role of UTRF interim president as our former president, Stacey Patterson, transitioned to a new and exciting leadership role out of state. I am grateful for Stacey and many others who enabled the thriving tech transfer operation. It’s fueled my passion for identifying new strategies and partnerships to deploy even more University of Tennessee technologies into the marketplace.

At UTRF, we support UT innovators across the state to develop and deploy technology that solves problems and improves our lives. And we have so many wins to celebrate this year.

The UT Space Institute and NearSpace Launch (NSL) were awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I grant by the United States Space Force in its first-ever round of funding. This grant will integrate NSL’s Black Box EyeStar communications systems technology with UTSI’s µSTAMPS Thruster technology. UTRF was also proud to execute its first exclusive license agreement for the first disclosure from the Haslam College of Business for a transportation visibility index. This innovation will help the transportation industry find greener transportation service providers, enable carriers to buy better trucks, and reward sustainable carriers.

UTRF supports community building that enables innovators to thrive, grow businesses, and become employers. Genera, a biomass supply chain solutions company and UTRF startup that spun out of the UT Biofuels Initiative, recently announced a private equity firm committed up to $200 million to support the company’s expansion. As part of this transaction, Genera acquired MxG Fiber to scale its operations further and expand its innovative decarbonization methods.

At a local level, the Innov865 Alliance, a group that develops, supports, and promotes the Knoxville region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, recognized Genera’s progress with the Traction Award at the annual Startup Day celebration on September 20. The Traction Award highlights an entrepreneur who has significantly impacted their industry and community.

Innovation is everywhere at UT, and our team is capturing every opportunity. UTRF spun out five startups, received 185 invention disclosures, and executed 41 technology license agreements. We also filed 101 U.S. patents and issued 33 U.S. patents in FY22, making this a banner year.

UTRF is at the center of bringing new companies and energy into East Tennessee to experience our vast array of assets and talent that will transform the region into a leading innovation hub. As the managing body for Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator, we are proud to have graduated the first cohort and retained two of those companies in the KnoxvilleOak Ridge region. We look forward to welcoming cohort two in 2023!

I am so proud of our team at UTRF. They are constantly thinking outside the box, finding new opportunities for UT researchers, and facilitating the real-world impact of university innovation. Their passion for building our state’s entrepreneurial future is integral to our continued success. It’s our pleasure to serve faculty, staff, and students across UT’s campuses and institutes. We look forward to new partnerships, developments, and wins in 2023.


thank you, team


Stacey Patterson, PhD

In October 2022, UTRF bid farewell to its innovative and beloved leader. After more than a decade and a half at UTRF and the university, Patterson left her joint position to assume the role of vice president for research at Florida State University. UTRF wishes her the best and is grateful for her years of leadership and remarkable influence.

“Stacey has been an invaluable member of my leadership team and has provided great leadership during her 16 years with UT,” UT System President Randy Boyd said. “Under her leadership, UTRF has done an amazing job developing regional research and entrepreneurial growth as well as technology commercialization. Her innovative thinking has brought great partnerships like Techstars to fruition and has been the foundation for countless statewide initiatives.”

In 2006, Patterson arrived at UTRF as a licensing associate, while also working as a research scientist at UTK’s Center for Environmental Biotechnology (CEB). While in this research position at CEB, she helped co-found 490 Biotech, a Knoxville-based startup.

During her tenure, Patterson enjoyed working on large-scale statewide projects. Her endeavors include winning a $24 million grant from the National Science Foundation for research infrastructure, securing a $38 million U.S. Department of Energy award, launching the UT-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute and overseeing the growth of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). She is also proud of helping turn UTRF from a “quiet transfer operation” to the organization it is today.

“Dr. Patterson’s leadership at UTRF has created a legacy of visionary programs that will continue to serve UT and UTRF well into the future,” said Dr. John Hopkins, former CEO of IACMI. “Collectively, this includes more than $500 million of research funding and investment secured, much of it provided through novel collaborations of public and private sources. One prime example is IACMI – The Composites Institute, a national center of excellence for manufacturing innovation, which has served hundreds of industry members since its founding. The region will miss Dr. Patterson as she moves to lead research at FSU.”

“UTRF has grown up in the last 15 years. If I have one accomplishment that I am proud of, it’s the team we’ve been able to recruit into UTRF and the teamwork it has taken to turn it around,” Patterson said. “Today, I think people understand what UTRF does and the importance of that mission for UT and the region. I’m proud of that and the team and all their contributions over the years.”

“During her time as president of the UT Research Foundation, Dr. Patterson has transformed the university’s technology licensing program,” said Mike Paulus, director of Technology Transfer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and chair of the UTRF Board. “Through her leadership, over the last five years UTRF’s deal flow has tripled, with more than 160 private sector partners licensing or optioning technologies developed at the University of Tennessee. She has also been a passionate advocate for entrepreneurship in Tennessee and a valued and trusted partner with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.”

“I first met Stacey Patterson soon after she was hired as a Licensing Associate with UTRF in 2006,” said Tom Ballard, chief alliance officer at PYA. “Over the years, I have watched her professional growth as she was mentored by the late David Millhorn and assumed increasing responsibilities over the years, initially at UTRF and later more broadly across the research and commercialization space. We wish her well.”

Dr. Patterson and the HSC office staff, 2019 Dr. Patterson at the 2022 UTRF Innovation Awards Dr. David Millhorn and Dr. Patterson at the 2017 UTRF Innovation Awards Dr. Patterson presenting an award for the Tennessee Venture Challenge, 2016

In the spring of 2022, after 15 years with UTRF, Vice President Richard Magid accepted a position with the Colorado State University Research Foundation to serve as the organization’s Vice President of Tech Transfer.

Magid arrived at UTRF in 2006 as a licensing associate, right out of a postdoctoral position at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was first introduced to the field of tech transfer. In 2009, Magid assumed his role as Vice President. While the mission of UTRF has stayed the same during his tenure, the organization’s work and the team have expanded significantly. From broadening mentorship support for UTHSC faculty to launching the UTRF Technology Maturation Grant program, he is proud of what the organization has accomplished.

One of the benefits of Magid’s years at UTRF is that he is now beginning to see some of the innovations he worked on years ago come to fruition. For instance, Entac Medical and its product PrevisEA, a small, self-contained, noninvasive device that attaches to a patient’s abdomen after surgery, recently recieved FDA clearance and is expected to hit the market in the near future.

“I am proud to have worked with Richard for many years. While I’m sad for him to move on, I’m happy for him to take this next step in his career,” said Dr. Stacey Patterson, former UTRF president. “UTRF’s success and expansion on the UTHSC campus are, in large part, the result of Richard’s diligence and commitment to the organization’s mission.”

“In my 16 years here, we’ve built something that I am proud of,” said Magid. “I came in as a naive, young postdoc on his first job. UTRF let me do so much and grow professionally. UTRF is in a great position with a great pipeline of deals, inventions and people. Although this was the right time and the right opportunity for me to leave, I will forever be shaped by my experiences at UTRF.”

Lakita Cavin, PhD, JD

Reflecting on her tenure at UTRF, Cavin is proud to have facilitated access to UTHSC technology used in the fight against COVID-19. In the 1990s, Michael Whitt, a UTHSC administrator and researcher, created a reverse genetics system that allows researchers to study highly dangerous viruses – like SARS-CoV-2 – safely. Early in the pandemic, Moderna and other organizations sought out Whitt’s technology to develop and test vaccines.

Cavin recognized the importance and time-sensitive nature of the situation, so she executed a streamlined, hybrid agreement in record time, allowing companies to quickly access Dr. Whitt’s technology and expertise as they continued their work.

Cavin is also proud to have fostered trust on UTHSC’s campus, thereby increasing UTRF’s disclosure numbers. For example, when she arrived at UTRF, the organization did not have any disclosures from the College of Dentistry, so Cavin developed relationships and built rapport with researchers. Now, the College averages around five to seven disclosures a year with UTRF.

“It’s been an honor to work alongside Lakita, and I’ve enjoyed every one of the 15 years I’ve shared with her at UTRF,” said UTRF former Vice President Richard Magid. “She’s a skilled attorney and great co-worker who has done incredible work helping commercialize UT technology and supporting research at UTHSC. She will be missed around the office, and by many more people on campus.”

“I’m so thankful to UTHSC and UTRF for my time here,” said Cavin. “I like to say that this is where I grew up professionally and got my start in my career. I’m proud to have worked for such an amazing organization that is doing incredible work and helping advance innovative technology and research.”

L akita Cavin, UTRF’s former Senior Staff Attorney, accepted a position this year with the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) after fifteen years of outstanding contributions toward advancing UT technology.
Richard Magid, PhD

Welcome New Staff

U TRF has welcomed Todd Ponzio as its new Vice President of the UTRF office located at the UT Health Science Center. Ponzio brings a wealth of experience to the role from his time advancing biomedical and healthcare technologies at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Naval Medical Research Center and, most recently, Wake Forest Innovations.

Originally from California, he graduated with his doctorate in neuroscience from the University of California, Riverside, specializing in physiology and pharmacology. Ponzio grew interested in tech transfer and intellectual property during his time at NIH, where he worked as a postdoc and took a fellowship as a Technology Transfer Specialist. After NIH, Ponzio spent nearly eight years at the Naval Medical Research Center, serving as the Director of the Office of Research and Technology Applications. His office was one of 40 different technology transfer offices, yet it was responsible for around 30% of the Navy’s portfolio.

“One of the things I am most proud of was that we were able to do several deals where we included language ensuring that the government would not pay more than private sector counterparts for similar quantities of the same product,” said Ponzio. “It was important to get products to market that could serve the country and the military, and do so in a way that saved taxpayer money.”

Most recently, he served as the associate vice president of Wake Forest Innovations. The COVID-19 pandemic hit soon after his arrival, but during his tenure, the office tripled its licensing portfolio. “UTRF is thrilled to welcome Dr. Todd Ponzio to the team. He brings years of biomedical technology transfer experience and a unique perspective to our work at the UTRF,” said former UTRF President Stacey Patterson. “Memphis is the medical hub in our state. With his passion for the field and knowledge of regulatory affairs, product development and more, he will be a tremendous asset for the UTHSC researchers looking to commercialize their discoveries.”

“I am looking forward to leveraging the capabilities across UT to promote and support the research enterprise and commercialize as much as possible,” said Ponzio. “I think UTRF already does a fantastic job – I’m standing on the shoulders of giants.”

In January 2022, UTRF welcomed team member Connor Perryman as its newest Assistant Technology Manager, working with innovators from UT, Knoxville. Perryman graduated from UT with his Ph.D. in polymer chemistry in December 2021. His doctoral research focused on additive manufacturing processes.

“When you are working on a Ph.D., it’s like you are essentially digging a hole that is 10 feet deep and two feet wide,” said Perryman, referencing advice he received from UTRF Vice President Maha Krishnamurthy. “When you are utilizing technology transfer, you have to dig very small holes and a wide range of them, even in areas you have never heard of before. I find that fascinating.”

UTRF is proud to welcome Shelby Miller as the Office Manager for the Knoxville office. Miller is a Knoxville native and May 2021 graduate of East Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Since 2018, Miller has worked as a document digitizer for UTRF.

Previous to this new position, Miller worked as the Business Incubator Coordinator, acting as the tenant liaison to ensure that everyone has a smooth, efficient working environment. In her role as the Office Manager, Miller provides administrative support to the UTRF staff and assists faculty in the submission of innovation disclosures.

Connor Shelby Miller Office Manager, MCO Todd

Innovation is Everywhere


The measure of technology transfer is the number of lives impacted.

is proud to support innovators across all colleges and departments to bring their innovations to the marketplace.
We strive to enable every innovation to reach the public.”
Pictured: UTK-UTIA Professor Meg Staton pitching her startup WildType at the Cultivate Appalachia Bootcamp reception.

Read about Knoxville’s new Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator, recent licenses executed, an update on our licensee Veru Inc.’s Phase 3 clinical trial results and more in the following feature stories



Industries of the Future Accelerator

Global investment and innovation platform comes to East Tennessee

In 2021, the University of Tennessee (UT), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) partnered to commission Techstars, a global platform for investment and innovation, to provide a third-party analysis of the Knoxville region’s potential for economic development.

In February 2022, with the support of UT, ORNL, and TVA, the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator welcomed 10 startups from across the globe to their on-site location in downtown Knoxville. These startups conduct research in emerging technology spaces, including artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology, cyber security, clean energy technology, advanced manufacturing and more.

Throughout 2022, UTRF worked closely with Techstars teams and attended their events, including the initial launch of the downtown Accelerator and the Techstars Demo Day at the UT Knoxville Student Union.

One Techstars startup, Fluix, Inc., has now set up its main operations in the Knoxville metropolitan area. Its founder, Abhishek Sastri, was featured as a panelist at Innov865’s Startup Day 2022. The second cohort for the Accelerator begins on April 3, 2023.

Photos courtesy of Big Slate

Genera Energy, Inc. secures $200M investment, recognized at Startup Day 2022

UTRF-affiliated company Genera recognized for significant achievements at Innov865 Startup Day

U TRF is a founding member of the Innov865 Alliance, a group that develops, supports, and promotes the Knoxville, TN region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Innov865 Alliance hosts an annual event called Innov865 Week highlighting entrepreneurship across Knoxville by bringing together business leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, makers and community members for social and educational events. Their signature event, Startup Day, boasted six diverse startup companies, one of which was Windfall, LLC, a UTRF-affiliated startup by Dr. Ryan Ginder. Genera Inc, a UTRF-affiliated company, won this year’s Traction Award, which highlights an entrepreneur who has had significant progress in their industry and community.

Genera, which leases its manufacturing facility from UTRF’s subsidiary TennEra, is a biomass supply chain solutions company bridging the gap between agriculture and sustainable products for consumers. Genera works with farmers to source locally grown switchgrass and other crops to produce its Earthable molded fiber products – durable, compostable, sustainable packaging products for a variety of packaging applications.

Genera CEO Kelly Tiller has worked with the UTRF team for more than 15 years and considers UTRF a valuable resource for her entrepreneurial journey. The company began operations in 2012 with a mission to develop supply chains to source large quantities of agricultural biomass from local farms. Building on their success supplying biomass feedstocks for others, they became their own customer in 2019 when they vertically integrated fiber sourcing and supply with manufacturing ag-based pulp and molded fiber products.

“We have the whole story: It’s a stable and additive source of revenue for the farmers, it brings good and diverse jobs to the rural community, and the products are a better alternative to existing ones on the market,” said Tiller. “We’re focused on the food service and packaging sector and using agricultural fiber to produce pulp and molded fiber products today, but there is no limit to what other value we can derive from that same agricultural fiber. Genera has so much opportunity to grow beyond where we’re at today.”

Earlier this year, Ara Partners, a private equity firm, announced its commitment of up to $200 million to support Genera’s expansion. As part of this transaction, Genera acquired MxG Fiber to scale its operations and expand its innovative decarbonization methods using regenerative, sustainable agriculture.

“It’s been incredible to watch Genera’s trajectory,” said former UTRF President Stacey Patterson. “Like so many other startups, they faced challenges along the way. But thanks to the brilliant leadership of Dr. Kelly Tiller, they were able to persevere and grow into the multi-million-dollar enterprise they are today. They are truly deserving of the Innov865 Alliance’s Traction Award.”

CEO Kelly Tiller receiving the Traction Award at Startup Day

UTK-UTSI, NearSpace Launch secure Space Force STTR Phase I grant

UTRF technology represented in the United States Space Force’s first STTR Phase I round of funding

This year, the United States Space Force awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I grant to the University of Tennessee Knoxville - Space Institute (UTSI) and NearSpace Launch (NSL) during its first-ever round of funding. This award will allow UTSI and NSL to conduct a feasibility study of Black Box-MCAT, an integration of NSL’s Black Box EyeStar communications systems technology with UTSI’s µSTAMPS Thruster technology.

Common notions of space satellites might evoke images of Sputnik, but the future of space exploration might be a little smaller – around one to 10 kilograms. Nanosatellites, or CubeSats, offer a more accessible, affordable way to explore space when compared to traditional satellites. In the last five years, the market has grown over 200%. However, current models do not have propulsion thrusters, an issue that could lead to potential issues like collisions and the creation of space debris.

µSTAMPS, pronounced MicroStamps, is a patent-pending electric micro-propulsion technology developed by UTSI researchers, including Trevor Moeller, graduate programs director and associate professor, and Lino Costa, research assistant professor. Black Box, created by NSL, attaches to CubeSats to provide an independent live feed of diagnostics and telemetry for mission success, risk mitigation and space debris. This project seeks to combine UTSI’s novel propulsion system with NSL’s Black Box technology on CubeSats to allow for precise control, positioning and correction of orbit, and potentially extend mission lifetime. If awarded a Phase II grant, the team would pursue a demonstration flight in orbit.

“To me, the impact of successful demonstration of these systems is opening up the door to a revolution in the way we approach space applications,” said Moeller. “It’s really exciting to have a successful proposal on the first round of Space Force funding. It allows us to show the sponsor that the concept will work and deserves further development that would occur in Phase II.”

“The impact of this work has great potential because CubeSats are having a huge impact on the way we access and use space. When you fuse technologies like what NSL has and UTSI is developing, you can address new issues, whether that is IoT, national security or space debris. The potential applications and impact from merging these two technologies can be very significant,” said Costa. “Trevor and I are thrilled to be part of this proposal with NSL.”

Four years ago, Moeller and Costa began developing their novel microthruster technology. UTRF filed a provisional patent application in December 2020 and a utility patent application in December 2021. UTRF also supported Moeller and Costa’s research by awarding them Maturation Grant funding for 2022.


Through the marketing effort of UTRF, Moeller and Costa were connected with Matt Voss, chief operating officer at NSL. NSL manufactures and produces small satellites and has over 700 systems and subsystems in orbit in partnership with universities, government and industry.

“We’re excited about this partnership. It’s always important to see commercial and research institutions coming together to bring the newest technologies to the forefront,” said Voss. “This partnership is great because institutions working and collaborating with organizations like ours bring the most innovative ideas to groups like Space Force and demonstrate how they can use these technologies to help our nation.”

“UTSI is propelling advances in aerospace and defense technologies and systems, including the future of space travel as we know it,” said James Simonton, associate executive director, UTSI. “We are so proud of Trevor and Lino for securing this grant to take a vital next step in commercializing their technology. We’re excited to work with NSL and advance UTSI innovation.”

(L-R): Drs. Lino Costa and Trevor Moeller, UTSI Image courtesy of NASA

“We are so proud of UTSI researchers Trevor and Lino for securing one of Space Force’s first-ever STTR Phase I grants,” said UT Tickle College of Engineering Dean Matthew Mench, the Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair of the college. “This announcement further highlights the high-quality, valuable research coming out of UTSI and the rest of the Tickle College of Engineering. UT researchers are revolutionizing their chosen fields.”

“We are so excited to have UTRF technology represented in Space Force’s first STTR Phase I round of funding,” said Maha Krishnamurthy, vice president of UTRF. “It has been a pleasure working with Trevor and Lino over the years, helping them advance their technology and develop valuable partnerships with organizations like NSL. We are excited about this project and the next steps for this crucial UTSI technology.”

Veru, Inc.

UTRF licensee undergoes Phase 3 clinical trial for oral therapy

In April 2022, UTRF licensee Veru, Inc. announced that their Phase 3 clinical trial of sabizabulin as an oral therapy for hospitalized severe COVID-19 patients at high risk for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and death showed the drug to be safe and effective. The trial was halted early due to the positive efficacy results, and the company has sought emergency use authorization from the FDA to bring their drug product to market.

The key contributors from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center included Dr. Wei Li, UTHSC Distinguished Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Director of the UTHSC College of Pharmacy Drug Discovery Center; and Dr. Duane D. Miller, Professor Emeritus in the UTHSC Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Both Drs. Li and Miller were involved in the initial design and testing of sabizabulin, working in collaboration with scientists at Ohio State University and GTx Inc. Initial in vitro testing of sabizabulin for this antiviral use was conducted at the UTHSC Regional Biocontainment Lab by Dr. Colleen Jonsson, Professor and Van Vleet Chair of Excellence in Virology and Director of the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (RBL). Demonstration that sabizabulin had anti-inflammatory activity was performed in a septic shock mouse model by the laboratory of the late Professor Arnold Postlethwaite, MD, AB, former Goodman Chair of Excellence Professor of Medicine and director of the Division of Connective Tissue Diseases at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

The Phase 3 trial of sabizabulin as a treatment for high risk severe hospitalized COVID-19 patients was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial performed across six countries. The study evaluated the effects of 9 mg of sabizabulin administered once daily versus placebo in 210 patient cases, including cases of the Delta and Omicron variants. All patients received standard care while participating in the trial. In a prespecified planned interim analysis of 150 patients, the treatment was found to have a statistically significant 55% reduction in deaths of hospitalized severe COVID-19 patients as compared to placebo (p=0.004), which exhibited a 45% mortality rate. The Independent Data Safety Monitoring Committee recommended stopping the Phase trial earlier than anticipated due to its evidence of positive efficacy.

Currently, there are no other therapies proven to be as effective to treat hospitalized severe COVID-19 patients. “This study represents a significant milestone in the global fight against COVID-19 as sabizabulin is the first drug to demonstrate a clinically and statistically meaningful reduction in deaths in hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19,” said Mitchell Steiner, M.D., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Veru. “We strongly believe that sabizabulin, with its dual anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties which demonstrated positive efficacy and safety results in the Phase 3 COVID-19 study, can be that greatly needed oral therapy for hospitalized moderate to severe COVID-19 patients,” Dr. Steiner continued.

(L-R): UTHSC Chancellor Peter Buckley awarding patent plaques to Drs. Duane Miller and Wei Li at the 2022 UTHSC Innovation Awards ceremony

Intellectual Property: More Than Patents

Veterinary Social Work Certificate


from the UTK College of Social Work and UTK-UTIA College of Veterinary Medicine

In 2021, UT Knoxville’s College of Social Work, in collaboration with Large Animal Clinical Sciences at the UTK-UTIA College of Veterinary Medicine, developed and launched the Veterinary Social Work Certificate Program to educate social workers about the importance of animals in the lives of clients.

This program aims to increase the number of social workers who have knowledge about human-animal interaction, increase skills in animal-assisted interaction, direct practice within grief & loss, and increase awareness of the link between interpersonal violence and animal abuse. The certificate in Veterinary Social Work is similar to other certificates in the MSSW certificates, such as school social work.

UTRF selected eight universities to be part of the program for 2022. License royalties are shared with the Certificate Program and the UT departments involved.

Sustainable Transportation Index License from the UTK Haslam School of Business

This year, UTRF executed its first exclusive license agreement for its first disclosure from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business that has immense implications for the future of sustainable transportation. UTK researcher and assistant professor of supply chain management Alex Scott has developed a transportation sustainability index that seeks to curb transportation emissions by rating the sustainability of transportation carriers on the road based on CO2 emissions and other types of pollutants.

“The culmination of this idea came from years of being in the industry and understanding it,” said Scott. “Unfortunately, there is no database that enables a buyer of transportation services to evaluate all carriers on the road and their sustainability levels. We are empowering the decision makers – buyers of transportation – to be able to select carriers based on how sustainable their trucks are.”

Scott’s innovation not only helps buyers of transportation services find greener transportation service providers but also rewards the sustainable carriers themselves. “Let’s say you’re a buyer and you’re willing to pay a little bit more to a company who operates newer, cleaner trucks,” said Scott. “This database provides an incentive for these carriers to buy better trucks.”

UTRF recently executed an exclusive license agreement with a leading digital supply chain visibility provider for Scott’s technology. He is thankful for UTRF’s support because, as he explained, bringing innovations to market is a novel process for many researchers like himself. Looking ahead, Scott plans to work with the licensee to help it launch the product into the marketplace.

“Hopefully we continue to build on that and have more licenses in the future,” said Scott. “UTRF was great about showing us how to commercialize this innovation and come to an agreement with the company. We didn’t have any experience in this area, so it’s a really great partnership.”

“It’s always wonderful to receive disclosures from a department or college we have not worked with before,” said UTRF Vice President Maha Krishnamurthy. “Alex’s technology is greatly needed to curb emissions and improve sustainability in the transportation industry. We look forward to watching his technology become widely adopted in the future and make a difference.”

Assistant Professor Alex Scott

Cultivate Appalachia Bootcamp

In July, two startups created from UT Knoxville’s Institute of Agriculture technologies participated in the AgLaunch Cultivate Appalachia Bootcamp, a workshop co-sponsored by UTRF designed to demonstrate business fundamentals and training on innovations within the agriculture industry. Two UTRF startups, Wild Type and X10D, were selected to participate in the program.

Abdullah Almsaeed, a web developer and research associate, is the Co-Creator of Wild Type (previously called AgricultureApps) with Margaret Staton, UTK-UTIA Associate Professor in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. Wild Type is a custom software development business that specializes in advancing the management and analysis of agricultural data. Its mission is to help scientists, researchers and industry professionals better utilize big data for state-of-the-art research and on-farm management. The startup is developing a crop variety trial tool that allows researchers to upload data and share it with farmers nearly immediately.

Justin Rhinehart, UTK-UT Extension Assistant Dean for Agriculture and Natural Resources and Community Economic Development, co-founded X10D with Les Anderson of the University of Kentucky. X10D is a software as a service (SaaS) mobile-and-web solution with three primary components: a decentralized educational content delivery platform that makes communication between UT Extension and end-users more efficient, community connection for users and content creators and a data-management component. The record-keeping component enables data collection that will improve users’ management decisions and streamline creator-to-user consultations, as well as enable data aggregation that will provide tremendous value to the industry. It is scalable to other agricultural and non-ag sectors.

“We work with our extension agents and farmers in local communities,” said Rhinehart. “We saw the need and lived the need for a lot of years and wanted to innovate something that would address that need more effectively.”

Both Almsaeed and Rhinehart are appreciative of UTRF’s support and encouragement to pursue the Cultivate Appalachia Bootcamp. “I think it’s really amazing to work with a technology transfer office to understand and develop startups. It’s not traditionally been something that university extension services look to or put a lot of emphasis on. I think the marketplace has some opportunities for amazing innovation, and UT Extension is in a unique position to identify and develop those innovations,” said Rhinehart. “I hope more faculty and staff understand how they can work with UTRF and see how their ideas could be beneficial for more people.”

UTRF startups Wild Type and X10D participated in AgLaunch’s summer agriculture workshop Abdullah Almsaeed & Dr. Margaret Staton at the Cultivate Appalachia Bootcamp
UTRF BY THE NUMBERS UTRF provides technology transfer services to faculty, staff & students systemwide. UTRF DISCOVER 2022 | 18 LAST FIVE YEARS: FY18 - FY22 FY22 METRICS $710+ M Total Five Year Impact Active Startup Companies 45 Active Technology Licenses 299 Licenses & Agreements 41 Patents Issued 33 $139M Wholly-Owned Subsidiaries’ Financial Impact to UT $552M Capital Raised by UTRFAffiliated Companies Patents Filed 517 Patents Issued 158 Paid to UT Colleges and Departments $1.3M Research Contracts Due to Licensed IP $10.2M Investments in Patent Protection $3.7M License Revenue $10.7M Licenses/Options 188 Startup Licenses 21 $3.7M Paid to UT Inventors Patents Filed 101
Innovation Disclosures *UTK disclosure numbers encompass data for UTK, UTIA and UTSI 185 41 51 42 30 24 Deal Flow 2022 UT Chattanooga Patent Portfolio Numbers representative of FY22 period 44% Licensed 6% Previously Licensed 27% Never Licensed 8% Provisionals 15% UT Battelle UT Knoxville* UT Martin UT Health Science Center Non-UT 2021 2020 2019 2018 175 201 168 185 $1.5M Licensing Revenue $1.5M $1.5M $1.2M $5.1M 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 19 | UTRF DISCOVER 2022



Seed Vac Solutions, LLC

This year, UTRF executed a license agreement with Seed Vac Solutions, marking UTRF’s first license to a startup based on a joint innovation from UTK-UTIA Extension and Ag Research.

On-farm, large-plot variety strip trials are an important way to evaluate crop production under realistic conditions, benefiting farmers, seed companies and researchers. Staff and faculty at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) work with regional growers and producers to conduct large-plot trials. Whereas on-farm data is essential, these trials take time, leading to a reluctance by some farmers to participate due to equipment downtime.

To help solve this issue, two researchers from UTK-UTIA Ag Research and UTK-UTIA Extension recently licensed intellectual property (IP) that streamlines large-plot trials for farmers in West Tennessee and the rest of the country. Tyson Raper is an Associate Professor and Cotton and Small Grains Specialist with a 75% UTIA Extension and 25% UTIA Research appointment. His research program focuses on cotton variety testing, plant nutrition and site-specific management. Ryan Blair is an Area Crop Production Specialist at the UTIA Extension, where he coordinates the county standardized variety testing program.

In 2018, they co-founded Seed Vac Solutions after creating a strip-trial seed vacuum system, or Seed Vac, that is faster and easier to use than existing options. Their technology brings the equipment necessary for large-plot trials together into a centralized system, complete with vacuum hoses and a centralized tank for seed storage.

Dr. Ryan Blair UTIA Extension Dr. Tyson Raper UTIA Extension, UTIA Research

Seed Vac technology in the field.

“We’ve been doing the same thing for years, so we wanted to modernize the process,” said Blair. “Being able to alleviate some of that workload was a big driver in this. The other part is the speed of it. We can cut our planting time in half by using these units.”

In 2022, UTRF executed a license agreement with Seed Vac Solutions, marking UTRF’s first license to a startup based on an innovation from the UTIA Extension.

After 18 months of supply chain shortages due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Raper and Blair have started fulfilling backorders and improving production processes to meet a growing customer base. They look forward to continuing to work with UTRF to advance their startup and technology.

“Seed Vac Solutions is a perfect example of how IP isn’t just about patents,” said UTRF Assistant Commercialization Manager Robyn Geron. “Know-how and copyright developed by innovators can also be licensed. The team has developed unique IP assets to fit a market need and demonstrated its use with a growing customer base. UTRF is happy to work with co-founders Tyson Raper and Ryan Blair to help them advance their technology and startup.”

Karmic Composites

In February, UTRF executed an exclusive license agreement with startup Karmic Composites, Inc. for Dr. Ryan Ginder’s fiberglass recycling from composites technology

C an the composites industry become more circular? Research Assistant Professor Ryan Ginder of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tickle College of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering is working to answer this question for fiberglass-based composites — which represent over 90 percent of the entire composites industry.

“There is a lot of push on carbon fiber recycling, which makes sense because it’s a very valuable material and is energy intensive to make,” said Ginder. “But to truly have a large impact on the sustainability of the composites industry, you have to figure out how to recycle glass fiber.”

To help tackle this problem, Ginder has developed a novel glass fiber recovery technology for large-scale recycling of wind turbine blades, and other glass fiber reinforced plastics, into new composites. His end goal is to take as much glass fiber composite as possible and divert it out of the landfill such that today’s wind blades can become tomorrow’s lighter-weight, fuel-efficient vehicles. This year, UTRF executed an exclusive license agreement with the startup company Karmic Composites, Inc. for Ginder’s fiberglass recycling from composite materials technology.

UTRF’s Maha Krishnamurthy and Dr. Ryan Ginder signing the license agreement for Karmic Composites

Ginder recently received $1.1 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program and Wind Energy Technologies Office to assist with further development and commercialization of his technology. Among his project partners is Carbon Rivers, a Knoxville startup founded by UT alumni to take advantage of market opportunities in advanced materials that will lead to a more sustainable and technology-driven future.

Ginder’s partnership with UTRF began when he filed the invention disclosure related to this technology in 2018. He has more recently worked with collaborators from BASF and ORNL on a production process for recycled carbon fiber automotive panels, which was disclosed to UTRF in 2019. Ginder received a 2021 UTRF Technology Maturation Grant to support his work.

Dr. Ryan Ginder pitching at 2022 Innov865 Startup Day.



Only one-third of all glass in the United States is recycled annually, and the rest goes to landfills. One reason for this disparity is that glass recycling isn’t economically friendly for many municipalities around the country. Cities that don’t have glass recycling facilities must ship glass off to larger cities to process, resulting in expensive transportation costs and other fees.

Two recent doctoral graduates from the Bredesen Center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Alex Stiles and Dustin Gilmer, are looking to improve outcomes for glass recycling. With the support UTRF, they co-founded Vitriform3D to utilize inorganic waste materials – like glass – as recycled feedstocks for value-added polymeric composite products. The team’s patent-pending binder jet technology enables large-scale 3D printing of a wide range of recycled powders, beginning with pulverized glass.

“Glass is an infinitely recyclable material, so we want to take that waste and upcycle it into new products that give the glass a new life,” said Gilmer. “The real hope is that we’ll be able to help bring back glass recycling to the area and shift the way we think about these recycled materials.”

Stiles and Gilmer are grateful for the support they have recieved from organizations in the community, including UTRF, who helped them execute a research license agreement and walked them through the patent filing process. Recently, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Innovation Crossroads program welcomed Stiles and Vitriform3D into Cohort Six. Over the two-year fellowship, Stiles is looking to develop the startup’s first proof-of-concept 3D printer and continue to run tests in various end markets.

Stiles and Gilmer didn’t want to leave Knoxville after graduation and are thankful to those who have supported them in their entrepreneurial journey. From the connections they made at ORNL to the networking opportunities available to them with other startups, they believe Knoxville is quickly becoming an epicenter for tech innovation.

“With Innovation Crossroads and UTRF, we see a startup culture developing in Knoxville,” said Stiles. “We want to support any efforts that will help further foster that startup culture and grow the community. There are many resources available to us. I think there is considerable opportunity for other tech startups to make Knoxville their home.”

“We are overjoyed to see another UTRF-affiliated startup participate in the Innovation Crossroads program,” said UTRF

President Maha Krishnamurthy. “We’re proud to help another startup using UT-licensed technology stay - and thrive - in Knoxville.”

Monica Jablonski Wins People’s Choice Award at Equalize 2022

UTHSC faculty entrepreneur wins at national pitch competition for her startup, OculoTherapy

U niversity of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) researcher Monica Jablonski, who serves as the Hamilton Professor and Vice Chair and Director of Research at UTHSC’s Hamilton Eye Institute, studies the various causes of blinding disorders to develop better treatments used to limit vision loss. Her startup, OculoTherapy, offers a novel treatment, Calseetra, that addresses failures of current glaucoma medications.

With the encouragement of UTRF, Jablonski participated in Equalize 2022, a virtual mentor program and pitch competition designed to take national action around the disparity of women academic inventors forming university startups. Participating in what was only her second pitch competition, she secured the People’s Choice Award in the therapeutics category.

Vice Doctoral graduates from the UTK Bredesen Center co-found recycling, 3D-printing Dr. Alex Stiles Bredesen Center, UTK Dr. Dustin Gilmer Bredesen Center, UTK Dustin Gilmer in the laboratory

“It was a fun, great experience. We’ve been working on our pitch for a few years, but this is the first time we pitched to someone who wasn’t one of our mentors,” said Jablonski. “I really liked that the program focused on women. Being in an environment where you are surrounded by women is something that builds confidence and offers an opportunity for women to support each other.”

Jablonski, the Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of OculoTherapy, founded the startup around 10 years ago. While the idea of starting a company was daunting, she wanted to develop a tangible product that could help patients with visual disorders. Research indicates that over 40% of patients stop taking their glaucoma medications due to harmful side effects, frequent dosage schedules and loss of efficacy over time. Jablonski developed Calseetra to combat these issues. The once-daily treatment eliminates intraocular pressure (IOP) fluctuations, falls into a new drug class, offers no documented side effects and should increase patient adherence. Since its founding, OculoTherapy has made significant progress in developing Calseetra, receiving considerable amounts of non-dilutive funding.

“Everybody is afraid of losing their vision,” said Jablonski. “We’re not planning on curing anything – curing an ocular disease is a long way off. We are developing treatments to slow vision loss. It’s something we can do rapidly and have a positive impact on patients’ lives.”

UTHSC Pharmacy Students Develop Startup Giid, Inc.

UTHSC College of Pharmacy students found a startup to help consumers monitor and end smoking habits

S moking is one of the most prominent causes of preventable disease each year in the United States. A 2017 study of smokers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 68% of those surveyed wanted to stop smoking, while 55.4% tried to quit during the previous year and only 7.4% were successful.

UTHSC College of Pharmacy students Ryan Meacham, Kevin Darko and Jake Spurlock founded GiiD Inc., a startup focused on advancing technology that may help individualize the smoking cessation journey. Their device, first conceptualized by Meacham and Spurlock, is a smart e-cigarette paired with a mobile app to track and regulate usage. The device aims to help people better understand and manage their smoking patterns.

Their device will operate similarly to other e-cigarettes on the market but will feature a locking mechanism that allows individuals to set limits on the amount of nicotine they use each day or when they can smoke. Their main goal is to help those who wish to stop smoking altogether, but they believe their device can help others who want to set limits or regain control while better understanding of their health and habits.

“It’s about giving people control,” said Darko. “If you look at where healthcare and tech are going, it’s all about metrics and data. We’re trying to enable safeguards and help people moderate their intake to help prevent further addiction.”

“Ryan, Kevin and Jake are passionate about individualizing the smoking cessation process and using their experience, skills and knowledge to help those who wish to smoke less or stop entirely,” said former UTRF Vice President Magid. “UTRF is proud to support student entrepreneurs with ideas that could have lasting impacts on such prevalent healthcare issues.”

S&J Nanochemicals is an agri-tech startup based on technology developed at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). The technology, created by former UTC professor Soubantika Palchoudhury, is a micronutrient-based, sustainable nanoparticle fertilizer applied to seeds during the pre-germination stage. This treatment results in enhanced plant growth of anywhere from 200 to 830%. Palchoudhury and Dr. John Melnyczuk co-founded S&J Nanochemicals in 2020.

Innerva Pharmaceuticals, S.L. is a startup company based in Barcelona, Spain that has licensed intellectual property – topical treatments for ophthalmic pain – from UTHSC College of

Medicine professor Dr. Valeria Vasquez.
Startup Spotlight
Kevin Darko, Ryan Meacham and Jake Spurlock


This spring, UTRF was honored to recognize UT innovators from across the state at UTRF’s annual Innovation Awards. For the first time in two years, UTRF staff and valued partners gathered in Knoxville and Memphis to celebrate the innovations coming from the University.

At the events, hosted at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), UTRF recognized newly licensed technologies, startups created from UT technologies and recently issued patents. In the fiscal year 2021, UTRF reported 51 licenses and agreements in a single year – an alltime UTRF high. Additionally, UTRF had 217 active technology licenses, 113 patents filed and 45 active companies.

“In the last two years, our office has recorded a record number of disclosures, licenses and agreements and patents filed and issued,” said former UTRF President Stacey Patterson. “We are proud to recognize the accomplishments of our outstanding innovators, and we are excited about the trajectory of UTRF and the university’s research facilities that continue to develop inspiring innovations each and every day.”


In Memphis, UTHSC faculty members Drs. Valeria Vasquez and Ramesh Narayanan served as Spotlight Presenters, and Dr. Michael Whitt was featured as the Keynote Speaker.

Valeria Vásquez, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Physiology in the College of Medicine at UTHSC. Her research aims to understand the functional and structural basis of mechanosensitive ion channels responsible for touch, pain, and proprioception. She currently serves as the president of the Society for Latino American Biophysicists, councilor for the Society of General Physiologists and the Biophysical Society, where she works to make scientific fields more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Ramesh Narayanan, Ph.D., MBA, is a Professor in the Department of Medicine, Eric Muirhead Professor of Pathology, and Deputy Director of the UTHSC Center for Cancer Research. His primary research interests include small molecule drug discovery, translational oncology research, and the fundamental mechanisms of action for diseases, therapeutic targets, and new chemical entities. Narayanan currently serves as a consultant to Oncternal Therapeutics, has published 65 peer-reviewed manuscripts and is an inventor in over 100 patent applications.

Dr. Michael Whitt, Ph.D., is the associate dean and chair of the Department of Medical Education in the College of Medicine and professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry at UTHSC. Whitt shared a keynote presentation at the Innovation Awards about his work developing, patenting and commercializing a reverse genetics system that uses vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) that allows researchers to study highly dangerous viruses in safer conditions. Whitt’s vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) platform has played a pivotal role in Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine research efforts. As a result of Whitt’s prolific work, UTRF was spotlighted by AUTM’s Better World Project for Gene Pool Innovations in 2020.

“UTHSC researchers have been doing incredible work these past two years. I am glad we had the chance to recognize their research and technology together once again,” said former UTRF Vice President Richard Magid. “From Vasquez’s work with ion channels to Whitt’s dedication in fighting COVID-19, our office is proud to support and recognize such forward-thinking innovators.”

Legend Award Presentation

In Knoxville, UTRF presented Dr. Peter Tsai, the architect behind the critical technology in N95 respirators and a retired UTK professor, with the 2022 Legend Award for his outstanding contributions in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Tsai has an over 25-year-long partnership with UTRF that includes 12 U.S. patents and over 20 commercial license agreements.

“UT researchers have been pivotal in the fight against COVID-19,” said UTRF Vice President Maha Krishnamurthy. “We are so grateful for the kindness, brilliance and tireless work ethic of Peter Tsai. He came out of retirement to help his community and the world during its time of need, making him incredibly deserving of the 2022 Legend Award.”


inventor spotlight

Each month, UTRF highlights the work of an outstanding UT inventor to encourage and support the faculty members who commercialize their innovations.

Read more about these inventors on our website at

tive domestic and international patents, along with 60 publications. In addition to his daily responsibilities, Kochat works closely with UTRF on drug development projects out of UTHSC.



Anirban Roy,


department head for undergraduate programs and research assistant professor, collaborated with researchers from the UTK-UTSI to develop novel-architecture electrodes that enable more efficient, low-cost hydrogen production via water electrolysis. Roy pitched his technology at the Mid-South Innovation Hub during the Experiment to Enterprise Program. There, he secured a Thesis Commercialization Enhancement grant, which has enabled him to begin exploring the technology’s commercial potential, attend the regional NSF I-Corps programming, market his technology to companies and apply to the National I-Corps Program.

Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Tickle College of Engineering, UTK

This year, UTRF executed its first exclusive license agreement for its first disclosure, submitted by UTK Haslam College of Business assistant professor Alex Scott. Scott has developed a transportation sustainability index that seeks to curb transportation emissions. Scott has spent his career working in and studying supply chain policy, transportation safety and market dynamics. Recently, he began focusing his research on sustainability efforts in the trucking industry.

Kevin Bai’s research focuses on EV-related power electronics, particularly high-power-density and high-efficiency EV battery chargers, DC-DC converters, motor drive inverters and battery management systems. Bai is part of the Center for Ultra-Wide-Area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks, or CURENT, a collaboration between academia, industry, and national laboratories led by UTK.

Associate Professor, Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UTK PhD student Lee Shippy continues to work on a UTRF-Y12 joint invention alongside his longtime mentors, Professor Robert Counce and Adjunct Professor Jack Watson from UTK’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Watson, Counce, and Shippy developed a method and apparatus for the reduced-cost separation of metal ions in aqueous solutions that are otherwise very difficult to separate. This patent-pending technology could lower production costs for rare earth and other metals for industries, such as consumer electronics and battery manufacturing. Director of the Plough Center and Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Science, UTHSC Professor, Dept. of Supply Chain Management, Haslam College of Business, UTK ALEX SCOTT KEVIN BAI HARRY KOCHAT LEE SHIPPY JACK WATSON ROBERT COUNCE Harry Kochat joined UTHSC in 2016 after spending over 30 years in the pharmaceutical sector, where he helped to develop eight oncology drugs and 13 preclinical programs. He has over 250 ac ANIRBAN ROY DOUG AARON Dept. of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering, Tickle College of Engineering, UTK a third-year doctoral student, Doug Aaron, assistant Mina Sartipi is the founding director of the Center for Urban Informatics and Progress (CUIP), a UTC smart city urbanization research center focused on mobil ity, energy, healthcare, and social science research. CUIP has collaborated with local, state, and federal government and municipalities to create, deploy and share smart city insights and solutions.
Director of the Center for Urban Informatics and Progress and Guerry Professor, Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, UTC MINA SARTIPI

remembering the legacy of Dr. Carmen Lozzio

UTRF was privileged to work with the late distinguished geneticist Dr. Carmen B. Lozzio MD, FACMG, who had an extraordinary career in genetics research, including extensive study of the K-562 cell line.

Dr. Lozzio first joined the University of Tennessee in 1965 as a Research Associate at the UT Memorial Research Center in Knoxville. Dr. Lozzio served in many positions during her tenure at the University, most recently as Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Genetics, at the UT Graduate School of Medicine, and as a clinical geneticist at Clinical Genetics and Cytogenetic Services.

“The most important interest that Dr. Lozzio brought to Knoxville was the interest in using this laboratory technique to assist families with hereditary disorders–the nascent field of human genetics,” said Dr. Karla J. Matteson, an adjunct professor at the UT Graduate School of Medicine who worked with Dr. Lozzio for over 30 years. “Before Vanderbilt University or UTHSC had a genetic specialist or a genetic specialty laboratory, the Knoxville Medical Center had Dr. Lozzio.”

UTRF’s interactions with Dr. Lozzio began in 2016, when it was approached for a license to the K-562 cell lines. Dr. Lozzio began working with the K-562 cell line in her laboratory at UT Memorial Research Center in December 1970. The cells, originally isolated from a leukemia patient, were cultured in Dr. Lozzio’s laboratory for several years. Her first published paper on the K-562 cell line was in the journal Blood in 1975.

(R-L) Dr. Carmen Lozzio with UTRF’s Stacey Patterson & Patrick Reynolds at the UTRF Innovation Awards, 2016

Since then, Dr. Lozzio published extensively on the K-562 cell line and shared cells with researchers from around the world. The K-562 cells continue to be extensively researched for their multi-potential properties, including as a treatment component for many types of cancer.

Even upon retiring after 50 years of employment at UT, Dr. Lozzio remained involved with both the Medical Center and Graduate School of Medicine until her passing. In 2016, UTRF began entering into non-exclusive licensing agreements with entities for the rights to use the K-562 cell lines to produce cancer-fighting immunotherapies. Today, these cell lines from Dr. Lozzio’s work have been non-exclusively licensed to several entities.

“Dr. Lozzio’s outstanding contributions to genetics research have had a significant impact on our organization, at the University of Tennessee, and around the world,” said UTRF Vice President Maha Krishnamurthy. “Her legacy will live on in the development of future immunotherapies. We will certainly miss working with one of our most innovative and kind researchers, and we’re thankful to have had a small part in advancing her remarkable work.”

Dr. Carmen Lozzio, 2017 UTRF’s Maha Krishnamurthy & Dr. Carmen Lozzio, 2017

UTRF Student Opportunities

UTRF offers a variety of opportunities for students to learn about the world of technology transfer within their chosen career field. In 2022, in addition to the traditional commercialization analyst internship offered by UTRF, the team introduced three additional opportunities for students: a legal externship, a marketing and communications internship, and an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience.

The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and UTRF partnered to provide legal externships, allowing students to obtain law school credit while learning about practical intellectual property issues.

In the fall, the team introduced a marketing and communications undergraduate internship, offering students an opportunity to gain real-world experience and build a strong portfolio while working with a marketing professional to support the foundation.

UTRF also partnered with the UT Health Science Center’s College of Pharmacy to teach pharmacy students about academic pharmaceutical development at UTHSC. Students learn the process behind drug discovery and approval, and assist with technology transfer at UTRF.

Commercialization Analysts

“UTRF has provided me the opportunity to dive into the forefront of technology and scientific innovation at UT. I have been able to develop valuable legal and professional experience while being introduced to IP and commercialization concepts. This is a fantastic program that opens many doors.”

Marketing and Communications Intern

Malena Pierce Tombras School of Advertising & Public Relations, College of Communication and Information, UTK
“I have really been enjoying the hands-on aspects of the position. Piecing things together in a way that allows me to use my education and simultaneously further my understanding of the marketing process has really opened my eyes to what’s possible for me post-grad.”
-Myles Roth Myles Roth Candidate for Juris Doctor, College of Law, UTK Candidate for Juris Doctor, College of Law, UTK Maddie Rudge Ph.D. Industrial Engineering, Tickle College of Engineering, UTK Beau Groom Computer Science & Electrical Engineering, Tickle College of Engineering, UTK Will Hunter

Salih Placo

Candidate for Juris Doctor, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, University of Memphis

“During my time with UTRF, I was exposed to different aspects of intellectual property practice such as licensing, patent & copyright applications, and most importantly interacting with the brilliant individuals at UTHSC that produce the innovations that give UTRF a purpose. The experience will certainly prove to be a big head start for me as I look to start working after graduation.”

Maxwell Schwam

Candidate for Juris Doctor, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, University of Memphis

“UTRF provided a holistic approach to the multifaceted world of intellectual property and technology transfer. By teaching skills that are ancillary to the legal perspective, I can transition to other legal roles confident that I can contribute from day one. ”

Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience


Jonathon Walker

PharmD Candidate, College of Pharmacy, UTHSC

“Working at UTRF during the month of October has been an eye-opening experience. It has provided insight into another career path for pharmacists and has shown how they can make a difference outside of a community or institutional pharmacy.

I appreciate Dr. Parrett and UTRF for the opportunity!”

Mallory Tapp

PharmD Candidate, College of Pharmacy, UTHSC

“I enjoyed my experience at UTRF as a pharmacy student and learned a substantial amount about inventions & disclosures! This rotation opened my eyes and taught me how pharmacists can play a role in the background of inventions, how to research prior art, and the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes before a disclosure becomes a patent. I am thankful for this research experience and will use what I learned at UTRF in my future career!”

Mary Godsey

PharmD Candidate, College of Pharmacy, UTHSC

“My time at UTRF really opened my eyes to a new world of pharmacy. The knowledge I gained regarding patents and grants will certainly have an impact on my career.”

Ethan Eilo

PharmD Candidate, College of Pharmacy, UTHSC

“This rotation gave me the unique opportunity to work alongside both pharmacists and attorneys at UTRF. Being directly involved with technology transfer, I was able to get a more indepth understanding of the drug discovery and development process at UTHSC as well as learn the basics of patent law.”

Not pictured: PharmD Candidates Imran Khan, Taylor Wisdom, Ryan Meacham, Humna Meer and Philip Knight.
Not pictured: Legal Extern Douglas Carey

1. In May, UTRF began hosting office hours at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s (UTK) Tickle College of Engineering’s Zeanah Engineering Complex.

2. UTRF staff shared presentations on intellectual property and commercialization with researchers and students across UT, including at the UT Graduate School of Medicine, the UT Chattanooga Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, UTK’s Tickle College of Engineering (TCE), UTK’s College of Law and UTK’s Haslam College of Business.

3. Vice President Maha Krishnamurthy attended the dedication of the Eastman Innovation Center at the Business Incubator.

4. Vice President Maha Krishnamurthy shared a presentation on “Developing and Protecting Intellectual Property” at the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp at UTK, hosted by the UT Research Park at Cherokee Farms.

5. UTRF helped host the Innov865 Alliance’s signature event, Startup Day, at the Mill and Mine in downtown Knoxville. Startup Day boasted six diverse startup companies, one of which was Windfall, LLC, a UTRF-affiliated startup by Dr. Ryan Ginder. Genera Inc, a UTRF-affiliated company, won this year’s Traction Award.

6. Associate Commercialization Manager Robyn Geron attended UTK’s New Faculty Meet-and-Greet, where a presentation included the topic “Protect Your Ideas.”

1b 2a 2b 2c 1a 3a 3b 2d 5b 5a 5c 4 OUTREACH education & OUTREACH UTRF DISCOVER 2022 | 30

7. Several UTRF team members attended the 2022 AUTM Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. Former UTRF President Stacey Patterson served as a panelist at the conference.

8. Staff Attorney Dr. James Parrett participated in the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law career day, discussing opportunities with students to intern with UTRF.

9. UTRF staff attended the Zeanah Engineering Complex dedication at the UTK’s Tickle College of Engineering.

10. Former UTRF Vice President Richard Magid served as a panelist for LSTCON Academic Spotlight, hosted by Life Science Tennessee.

11. UTRF hosted two Tech Talks: “Enhancing Healthcare with Artificial Intelligence: The Wild West of Data, Analytics and Value” by Dr. Jim Stefansic, director of Raiven Healthcare, and “An Inventor, an Author, or Both?” by Dr. Keisha Hylton-Rodic, Ph.D., J.D. of Hylton-Rodic Law, PLLC.

12. UTRF hosted an innovation & entrepreneurship panel of alumni and current graduate students with UTK’s Haslam College of Business and UTK’s Graduate School. The session had over 40 participants. Panelists included: Alex Weber of D3D, an MBA student at the UTK Haslam College of Business; Dr. Hicham Ghossein of Endeavor Composites, alumnus of UTK TCE; and Dr. Trey Fisher of Orion Therapeutics, alumnus of UTK College of Arts and Sciences.

13. Vice President Maha Krishnamurthy attended the SEC Machining Competition hosted at UTK.

14. UTRF filmed a feature video to recognize N95-technology inventor Dr. Peter Tsai at the 2022 UTRF Innovation Awards.

15. UTRF staff attended the BioTN Foundation Scipreneur Virtual IP Parade, where several UTRF-affiliated inventors gave presentations about their innovation.

16. UTRF supported the NSF I-Corps workshop hosted at UTK.

7b 6 7a 9 10 11a 11b 12 13 15 16 14 31 | UTRF DISCOVER 2022
Our annual Maturation Grant Funding program aims to assist researchers
to market by
in direct costs
L. Darryl Quarles, Zhousheng Xiao, Jeremy Smith & Jiawang Li Novel Small Molecules to Antagonize FGF-23 Signaling Mojdeh Dehghan, Hassan Almoazen & Daranee Versluis Manufacturing Samples of Neutramel Matcha Lozenges and Lollipops Hassan Almoazen, Mojdeh Dehghan & Daranee Versluis Saliva Substitute in a Novel Oral Thermal Gel for Xerostomia Wenjing Zhang & George Huang Personalized 3D-Bioprinting Technology for De Novo PDL Regeneration Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, Scott Strome, Stephen Kania, Kumar Santosh, Sophie Strome & Casey Warter Pilot Studies on Use of Immunoglobulin Therapy for Treatment of Disease States Lino Costa & Trevor Moeller Electrospray Thrusters for Cubesats Chad Duty Ultra-Violet Curing Binders for Binder Jet Additive Manufacturing Tarek Hewezi Experimental Validation of New Sources of Genetic Resistance to Root-Knot Nematode
Functionalized Styrene Maleic Acid Copolymers for Enhanced Bioactivity with Membranes, Proteins and Lipids
The Development of Regionally-Adapted Hardy Hibiscus UTRF DISCOVER 2022 | 32
in advancing new technologies
the path
awarding up to $15,000
to the highest-ranking proposals.
program is open to
and students across the University of Tennessee System.
Brian Long
Andrew Pulte


Mixed Halide Scintillators Radiation Detection

11,069,370 Tampering Detection and Location Identification of Digital Audio Recordings 11,084,811 Compounds for Treatment of Cancer 11,090,283 Solid Forms of Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators

11,124,490 Autotaxin Inhibitors 11,159,020 Hybrid Dynamic Demand Control for Power System Frequency Regulation

11,141,473 Staphylococcus Pseudintermedius Virulence Factor Compositions 11,141,931

Smart Joint for Similar and Dissimilar Materials Including Polymers, Fiber Reinforced Composites, Metals, Concrete, Wood Based Products, and other Structural Materials

D934,507 Face Shield 11,195,644 Iron Nitride Magnetic Material Including Coated Nanoparticles 11,199,517 Self-Sensing of Printed Polymer Structure 11,209,469

Timestamp Inconsistency and Shift Detection for Synchrophasor Data Based on Correlation Between Relative Phase Angle and Frequency

11,202,850 Compositions and Methods for Inhibiting Inflammation


Distractive and Mobility-Enabling Lumbar Spinal Orthosis Devices, Systems, and Methods for Treating Mechanical Low Back Pain

11,235,193 Resistance System and Methods Thereof 11,266,127 Method and Apparatus for a Supplemental Spring Loaded Feeder

11,268,254 Cast In Place Geopolymer Concrete Pile with Heating Unit

11,271,398 Voltage Stability Assessment, Control and Probabilistic Power Flow Based on MultiDimensional Holomorphic Embedding Techniques

11,273,147 Selective Androgen Receptor Degrader (SARD) Ligands and Methods of use thereof 11,279,805 Plasticized Terephthalate-Based Polyester Blends Containing Fatty Acids or Esters Thereof 11,293,925 Identifying Amyloidogenic Proteins & Amyloidogenic Risk 11,320,893 Systems and Methods for Solar EnergyBased Computation

D950,857 Face Shield 11,325,991 All-Acrylic Multigraft Copolymer Superelastomers 11,339,326 TL+-Based and Mixed Halide A3B2X9-Type Scintillators

11,340,271 Forced Oscillation Source Location Determination Based on Oscillation Mode Angle Analysis Using Synchrophasor Data 11,342,740 Drain Current Sensing and Fault Protection Circuit based on Gate Voltage for Gate Current Driven Field Effect Transistors 11,365,463 Production of Castable Light Rare Earth Rich Light Metal Compositions From Direct Reduction Processes


Selective Androgen Receptor Degrader (SARD) Ligands and Methods of Use Thereof 11,230,531

Selective Androgen Receptor Degrader (SARD) Ligands and Methods of Use Thereof 11,230,667 Garnet Scintillator Co-Doped with Monovalent Ion

11,370,988 Metal Nanoparticles as Lubricant Additives 11,371,943 Coated Fiber Optic Chemical and Radiation Sensors 11,372,038 Magnetic Field Based Wireless GMD/EMP-E3 Impact Monitoring Device

PATENTS ISSUED 7/01/2021-6/30/2022
William Alberding
Barrera Olivares
Shelton Clark
Ely, Jr.
Foster Conner Fulford
Faradji Elizabeth Fitzpatrick Neal Gaffin Arash Ghasemi Brad Greenfield David Giles Welsey Giles Dustin Gilbert Dustin Gilmer Ryan Ginder Amber LeeAnn Hope Gray Weikuan Gu Maria Gomes-Solecki Karine Guerrier Fatma Gunturkun Syeda Bushra Haider David Harper Austin P. Harris Kelli Hartman Ahad Hasab Karen Hasty Blake Hawley Neil Hayes Jason Hayward Elizabeth Heon Adrien Hespel Chuan He Yang Qiang He Yali He Tarek Hewezi Baoshan Huang George Huang Yang Huang Brennan Huber Da Hu Dong-Jin Hwang Hamdy Ibrahim Young In Kwon Jianxiong Jiang Daniel James Ed Johnson Juan Luis Jurat-Fuentes Niu Jia Farah Kandah Stephen Kania Erkan Kaplanoglu Modar Kassan David Keffer Willie Kemp
Kobi Danquah
(Angel) Kodituwakku
Kong Ying Kong Santosh Kumar Michio Kurosu Eric Lass Matthew Layne Andrea Lear Scott Lenaghan Bingrui Li Hanxuan Li Kui Li Fangxing (Fran) Li Mi Li Min Li Shuai Li Wei Li Zhuohang Li Francesca-Fang Liao Jie Lie Michael Liesenfelt Jun Lin Jian Liu Jiawang Liu Brian Long Jinchao Lou Eric Lukosi Yuetan Ma Jillian McCarthy Maeder Nawajes Mandal Misagh Mansouri Boroujeni Daniel Mathew Frye Mattingly Tammy McCray Sri Naga Sai Abhijith Medury Charles Melcher Matthew Mench Duane Miller
Miller Abhi Mistry Katsuhiko
Placidi De Bortoli
Pourmotabbed Terry Price Robert Jordan Pyron Liang Qiao Ruiyang Qin Margaret Quinn Melissa Ann Quirin L. Darryl Quarles Philip Rack Marko Radic Tyson Raper Daniel Rasmussen Lawrence Reiter Lauren Riley Orlando Rios Michael Roberts Stian Romberg Luis Romero Garcia Garrett Rose Caleb Rucker Charles Mark Russell Godfred Sabbih Amal Sahyoun Mina Sartipi Tony Schmitz Jen Schuster Benjamin Schwartz Frank Scott Godfried Sabbiah Arash Shaban-Nejad Mahdieh Shabanian Mohamed Shafter Paul Shanahan
She Anthony Skjellum Jeremy Smith Micholas Smith Warren James Smith Laura Sood Ryan Spencer Kevin Staton Meg Staton Luis Stand Stracuzzi Neal Stewart Alex Stiles Scott E. Strome Haoyuan Sun Yue Sun Zhongjie Sun Virginia Sykes Jindong Tan Alexander Terekhov Himanshu Thapliyal Leon Tolbert Riley Toll John Toman Zoi Traga-Philippakos Robert Trigiano Cong Trinh Landon Tyler Uday Vaidya Jose Lino Vasconcelos da Costa Daranee Versluis Brynn Voy Jon Wall Jim Wan Fred Wang Jiaxing Wang Rui Wang Weitian Wang Yinan Wang Jinning Wang Xianfei Wen Ryan Weiss Robert Williams Dylan Windsor Cameron Workman Jayne Wu Tao Wu Zhongzi Wu Yi Wu Zhousheng Xiao Zhiqiang Xie Haixuan Xu Ching-Hsiang Yang Gaoqiang Yang Sungwoo Yang Wu Yang Jason Yaun Yujie Ye Pritesh Yeole Shule Yu Anne Zachry Nagwan Zahry Sicheng Zang Ximin Zeng Feng-Yuan Zhang Qiwei Zhang Wenjing Zhang Xiapeng Zhao Xiaopeng Zhao Hongyu (Nick) Zhou Mariya Zhuravleva Steven Zinkle INNOVATORSfeatured UT RESEARCHERS WHO SUBMITTED INNOVATION DISCLOSURES 7/01/2021- 6/30/2022 UTRF DISCOVER 2022 | 34
Oguz Akbilgic Amani Altarawneh Abdullah
Almasaeed James
Daiane Santana
Ryan Blair Soheil
Charlotte Brothers Michael Broud Barry
Brian Canfield Michael
Julio Cordero-Morales Daniel
Mitachi Ahmed Arabi Tawpic Mohamed Megan Mulligan John Munafo Kaustubh Mungale Undral Munkhsaikhan Janice Musfeldt Maria Namwanje Marwa Nagib Ramesh Narayanan Max Neveau Tyler Newton Cody Pack Michael Pagan Saurav Parajuli Dhrupadkumar Parikh Dayakar

UTRF Staff

Maha Krishnamurthy, PhD, MBA Interim President Gregory Sechrist, JD Associate Technology Manager Samantha Jeffers, CPA Budget Director Robyn Geron, MBA Asst. Commercialization Manager Teresa Cooper, CAP Accounting Assistant Kayleen Darrow, CAP Accounting Assistant Tinieka Thrailkill, MPS Senior Administrative Coordinator Shelby Miller Office Manager Caitlin Brooks Marketing Coordinator KellyRose Mohindroo Patent Coordinator James Parrett, JD, PharmD Staff Attorney Todd Ponzio, PhD Vice President, UTHSC Office
of Directors Mike Paulus, PhD Bradford Box, Esq. Brendan Boyd, PhD Ted Townsend Deborah
Board Chair, UT-Battelle Representative UT Board of Trustees Representative External Representative, Kingsport External Representative, Memphis UTK, Vice Chancellor for Research UTHSC, Vice Chancellor for Research External Representative, Knoxville
Connor Perryman, PhD Assistant Technology Manager
Crawford, PhD
Goodman, PhD

UTRF is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes the commercialization of UT intellectual property, encourages an entrepreneurial culture, contributes to state and regional economic development, and promotes research and education to benefit the people of Tennessee and beyond.

Health Science Center Office 910 Madison Avenue, Suite 827 Memphis, TN 38163 (901) 448-7827

Multi-Campus Office 400 W. Summit Hill Drive • UT Tower 961A Knoxville, TN 37902 (865) 974-1882

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