A diagnostic test for early detection of pancreatic cancer, a stormwater utility management system, and a method for combating environmental pollution were named as the top technological innovations for 2018 during Morgan State University’s inaugural Innovation of the Year Awards ceremony held on September 25. Awards were distributed in seven separate categories with the aforementioned three, awarded in the Intellectual Property Innovation category. In all, 11 innovation awards were distributed to Morgan faculty, staff and students.
The Innovation of the Year Awards was created by the University’s Division of Research & Economic Development, Office of Technology Transfer as a means to celebrate campus-wide innovation and to recognize the contributions of the Morgan community and the progression of the university through innovative advancements. An outside review panel selected awardees from more than 40 Morgan innovations, representing work from more than 60 inventors spanning a wide range of departments throughout the university. Innovations were evaluated on their potential benefit to society, the improvement over existing technology, and commercial potential.
President David Wilson; Willie E. May, Ph.D., vice president for Research and Economic Development; and Wayne Swann, director of the Office of Technology Transfer were on hand during the ceremony to congratulate inventors on their work and present the awards in the categories of Life Science, Physical Science, and Information Science. For the categories related to faculty, staff and student honors, a university panel selected the awardees from a group of finalists whose respective innovations had a positive impact on the university ecosystem. Awards were also presented to the Morgan inventors who had been granted patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
“This celebration and awards ceremony is a great reflection of the innovation taking place here at Morgan, from groundbreaking research to the establishment of startup companies. Innovation is alive and well at Morgan,” said Dr. May of the evening.
The inaugural Innovation of the Year award winners included the following:
Life Science Awardee
Development of a Novel Diagnostic Test for Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer
Simon Nyaga, Ph.D. developed a novel diagnostic test for early detection of pancreatic cancer. The test is based on recent microarray data demonstrating that pancreatic cancer cells differentially indicate specific genetic biomarkers that are expressed at baseline levels in nonmalignant pancreatic cells. This technology will identify individuals who might be in the initial stages of pancreatic cancer development or on the verge of developing the disease. The proposed test has the potential to save or prolong hundreds of thousands of lives.
Physical Science Awardee
Ultra-Clean Mobile Combustor for Waste Biomass
Seong Lee, Ph.D. developed a combustor technology that has the potential to significantly improve the economics of bio-waste to energy operations by dramatically improving the efficiency of the combustion process while reducing capital and operating costs. This novel system yields a more efficient burn rate and less solid and gaseous waste than conventional systems for agricultural bio-waste disposal. The technology represents a significant value proposition to individual poultry farmers, by ridding them of poultry waste, creating electricity for operations and providing heat for poultry houses.
Information Science Awardee
Stormwater Utility Management System (SUMS)
The Stormwater Utility Management System (or “SUMS”) was developed by James Hunter, Ph.D., Dong Hee Kang, Ph.D., and Instructional Laboratory Associate Hye Jeong Lee to provide municipalities the software and data management tools for municipal stormwater utilities. SUMS comprehensively provides methods to determine an equitable standard for the fees, abatements, and tradable stormwater credits using available parcel database information. SUMS will consider those factors that contribute to both stormwater quantity and quality, so stormwater utility fees are a reflection of the related activity that occurs on the landscape.
Student Innovator(s) of the Year
Xuejun Qian & Raghulkumar Chandrasekaran
Xuejun Qian and Raghulkumar Chandrasekaran were recognized for their contributions in the development of several inventions related to the Cykloburn System for the efficient combustion of biomass to produce useful energy (heat, electricity), under Dr. Seong Lee’s direction. They are listed as co-inventors on the technology which has the potential to significantly improve the economics of biomass to energy operations, by dramatically improving the efficiency of the combustion process while reducing capital and operating costs. These two students have been instrumental in the development of innovations that have been transferred to a new Maryland startup company.
Instructional Innovator of the Year
Richard Damoah, Ph.D.
Dr. Damoah was recognized for his exemplary innovative instruction and improved learning outcomes for students in the Physics department and the greater Morgan community. Dr. Damoah has leveraged his relationships with All Nations University in Ghana, NASA, and other notable organizations to create programs and linkages with Morgan. His teachings and training at Morgan has helped shaped future leaders in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) and continues to secure funding to ensure the sustainability of his initiatives for the future. Dr. Damoah’s involvement in the strategic planning of Morgan’s institutional linkages, redesign of courses, and commitment to students help Morgan remain competitive and relevant to society.
Staff Innovator of the Year
Aisha Odero successfully developed, managed, and piloted an automated mechanism in Banner (university-wide database) to reinstate students who were dropped for nonpayment into their original classes. This enhancement was piloted in the winter of 2018 and fully utilized for the spring 2018 drop and reinstatement process. Odero served as the project manager, guiding cross-functional teams comprised of several offices and departments throughout the university. There were no implementation costs from the university, but the payoff was immeasurable for students, faculty, and staff.
Metal-Assisted and Microwave-Accelerated Evaporative Crystallization
U.S. Patent 9,243,017 – Inventor: Kadir Aslan, Ph.D.
System and Method for Lighting and Building Occupant Tracking
U.S. Patent 9,973,275 – Inventors: Kofi Nyarko, Ph.D., Christian Emiyah, and Samual Mbugua