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October 13, 2016

Innovation showcase kicks off Science 2016

The University’s Innovation Institute will kick off the Science 2016 — Game Changers symposium on Oct. 19 with an Innovation Showcase and opening reception.

The showcase, set for 5-7 p.m. in the Connolly Ballroom in Alumni Hall, will feature dozens of technologies by Pitt innovators in fields including engineering, medicine, psychiatry, rehabilitation science and business. Some innovations are available for licensing; others have spun out into startups.

Among the innovations:

• M-POD, a soda-can-sized portable oxygen device for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The innovation is the basis for Aeronics Inc.

Developed by a team of students from the Swanson School of Engineering and the School of Education, it won the grand prize in the 2016 Randall Family Big Idea Competition and received additional funding in the recent Pitt Innovation Challenge.

• Esophocclude, a device to prevent aspiration, a potentially fatal complication for patients requiring emergency intubation. Philip Carullo, a resident in anesthesiology, and YoungJae Chun, faculty in mechanical engineering, designed the swallowable device, which prevents stomach contents from flowing into the lungs during intubation procedures.

• Aquapore, a prosthetic liner that removes perspiration moisture that can build up inside prosthetic limbs, invented by David Brienza, faculty in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and SHRS graduate student Esteban Ruiz.

• Working for Kids: Building Skills, an educational platform to teach professionals in child advocacy organizations within impoverished communities how to boost children’s cognitive and social emotional skills. Lead innovator is Judy Cameron, faculty member in psychiatry.


The Innovation Institute also will sponsor the Michael G. Wells Entrepreneurial Scholars Lecture at 4 p.m. Oct. 19 in the Science Lecture Hall on the third floor of Alumni Hall.

This year’s Wells lecture features a panel of entrepreneurs and investors who will discuss funding and commercialization of health care innovations. Innovation Institute director Marc Malandro,  vice chancellor for technology management and commercialization, will moderate. Panelists are Nick Pliam, venture partner, Bay City Capital; Mike Powell, general partner, Soffinova Ventures; Jane Holmes Hollingsworth, founding managing partner, Militia Hill Ventures; and Michael Wells, managing director, Princeton Biopharma Capital Partners.

The winners of the Michael G. Wells Student Health Care Competition and Kuzneski Innovation Cup will be announced during the event. A total of $35,000 will be awarded in the Wells competition, for students who are developing health care innovations; $18,000 will go to the winners of the new Kuzneski cup, for students who are developing innovations in fields outside health care.


Pitt’s annual science symposium, which runs through Oct. 21, brings together noted researchers and scholars from across the University and around the world for a series of lectures, panel discussions and poster sessions.

Featured lecturers are:

Jennifer Doudna, University of California-Berkeley

Jennifer Doudna

• Jennifer Doudna of the University of California-Berkeley, who will deliver the Dickson Prize in Medicine Lecture, “CRISPR Systems and the Future of Genome Engineering” at 11 a.m. Oct. 20.

Mahlon DeLong

Mahlon DeLong

• Mahlon DeLong of Emory University School of Medicine, who will deliver the Klaus Hofmann Lecture, “Circuits and Circuit Disorders: Approaches to Neuromodulation,” at 4 p.m. Oct. 20.

Jo Handelsman

Jo Handelsman

• Jo Handelsman, associate director for science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, who will deliver the Provost Lecture, “Making Science Policy at the White House,” at 11 a.m. Oct. 21.

Howard Y. Chang

Howard Y. Chang

• Howard Y. Chang of Stanford University School of Medicine, who will deliver the Mellon Lecture, “Genome Regulation by Long Noncoding RNAs,” at 4 p.m. Oct. 21.

The four plenary session lectures will be presented in Alumni Hall’s 7th floor auditorium.


The symposium’s Science as Art display, coordinated by cell biology faculty member Donna Beer Stolz, this year will feature microscopy images.


Registration ends tomorrow, Oct. 14, for the Innovation Showcase and the Wells lecture. RSVP at

To register for Science 2016, visit The Science 2016 schedule is on the last page of this issue.

—Kimberly K. Barlow 

Filed under: Feature,Volume 49 Issue 4

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