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Statehouse Showcase: UC Displays Research Aimed at Helping Ohio’s Economy


State leaders took a hands-on approach to learning about UC research during a Feb. 18 showcase of university projects that have already proven – or hold strong promise for – helping Ohio’s economy.

Date: 2/20/2009 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Colleen Kelley

UC ingot  

The proven and potential economic impact of the University of Cincinnati’s first-rate research took center stage on Feb. 18 during a special event at the Columbus Statehouse.

That’s when remarkable research results earned by UC went on display – in interactive, hands-on exhibits – to Ohio senators and representatives, aides, Ohio Board of Regents representatives, Statehouse staff, UC industry partners, high school students and others.

The event focused on UC research that

  • Has already brought significant savings to Ohio companies.
  • Has already resulted in start-up companies and jobs in the region.
  • Holds the potential for significant economic development in the near future.
    Kathryn Jordan, Matt Doyle, Linda Dunseath
    At left, Kathryn Jordan, Statehouse special events coordinator, discusses UC's Live Well Collaborative with Linda Dunseath, LWC executive director. Behind them, P&G's Matt Doyle discusses the LWC with Zach Waymer, staffer with the Ohio Board of Regents.

This Feb. 18 Statehouse Showcase of UC research – held for the second year in a row – was capped by a roundtable session between state officials, including Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher, and UC researchers and industry partners.

According to Sandra Degen, vice president for research at UC, the event and the projects on display exemplified why UC is designated a ‘very high research activity’ university by the Carnegie Commission and is listed by the National Science Foundation as a top public institution for federal research expenditures.

 

The projects on display during the showcase related to

  • Research by Chong H. Ahn, professor of electrical and computing engineering, which has led to the recent opening of a new manufacturing facility (Siloam Biosciences, Inc.) in Forest Park, Ohio, that employs eight people. By next year, his research-based business venture will employ 12-15 people. The new company produces clinical kits for use at home or in emergency rooms. The kits consist of a smart polymer lab-on-a-chip and a portable analyzer to provide early diagnosis related to heart health issues.
  • Ongoing work and research by Sam Anand, professor of mechanical engineering, who routinely redesigns and optimizes manufacturing processes, methods and products to help Ohio firms save money. For example, his work for Mac Tools of Georgetown, Ohio, and Trinity Industries of Mt. Orab, Ohio, saved these companies substantial amounts in manufacturing and labor costs while increasing productivity.
    Tasos Angelopoulos and Dale Mallory
    UC's Anastasios Angelopoulos, left, discusses his work with Ohio Representative Dale Mallory.

     
  • Research by Anastasios Angelopoulos, assistant professor of chemical and materials engineering, and Jonathan Bernstein, professor of internal medicine, who are working to produce more efficient fuel cells as an alternative to gasoline. They are also developing a hand-held sensor that detects chemical hazards at work sites.
  • Research out of the College of Applied Science that led to a line of first-response robots now being produced and marketed by First-Response Robotics in Amelia, Ohio. The company provides technically oriented jobs and is poised for significant growth.
  • Research by Vadim Guliants, professor of chemical and materials engineering, who recently filed a patent disclosure and founded a start-up firm (Viridant Technologies, Inc.) to commercialize technology that transforms bio-mass (corn cobs and other plant materials) into fuel usable by today’s automobiles.
    UC's John Hancock, right, with Jonathan Morris.
    UC's John Hancock, right, shows his research results to Jonathan Morris, aide to Ohio Representative Jennifer Garrison.

  • Research by John Hancock, professor of architecture, that will encourage tourism connected to Ohio’s ancient Native American mounds (like Serpent Mound in Adams County and Fort Ancient in Warren County). Visitors can explore both lost and extant mounds, routes to find them and places to stay on the Ancient Ohio Trail Web site at www.ancientohiotrail.org
  • Research by Jason Heikenfeld, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, on electrofluidic optics (liquids combined with light) that promise more than $1 billion in economic opportunity for Ohio.
  • Research by Tim Keener, professor and associate dean of engineering, that is seeking to transform algae into biodiesel. Algae could not only fuel all of Ohio’s transportation needs, but an algae industry could create 80,000 direct jobs in Ohio.
  • Research by Jay Lee, Ohio Eminent Scholar and L.W. Scott Alter Chair professor of mechanical engineering, who is currently testing software that promises to dramatically improve machine operations – everything from hydraulic hoses in airplanes to devices to manufacture diapers. His software could also improve the operations of consumer devices, like refrigerators in homes and copiers in offices.
  • Ongoing work by College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning faculty and staff as well as faculty from other UC colleges as part of the Live Well Collaborative. The collaborative is a pioneering business-university model wherein Ohio and national firms turn to UC faculty and students for product/service ideas and research to serve the 50+ market. This model specifically capitalizes on and maximizes UC’s internationally ranked design programs and Center for Design Research and Innovation, as well as top-ranked programs in engineering, business, medicine and more.
    Bob Mecklenborg
    Ohio Representative Bob Mecklenborg, left, discusses a UC project to clean Ohio's coal with researcher Stephen Thiel.

  • Research by Neville Pinto, professor of chemical engineering, and Stephen Thiel, research associate professor of chemical and materials engineering, who recently began a year-long test of new technology to burn Ohio coal “cleanly.” If this test at a U.S. EPA facility in North Carolina is successful, the next step will be a full-plant test, possibly in Ohio.
  • Research by Mary Beth Privitera, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, who has helped develop and test a number of new medical devices, including a multi-purpose stylet used to reduce infections (like pneumonia) among hospitalized patients. The stylet device led to the founding of Radlyn, LLC.
    Mary Beth Privitera, Aaron Webster, Andre Revels
    UC head football coach Brian Kelly and two players visited UC's Statehouse Showcase. Here, researcher Mary Beth Privitera guides players Aaron Webster, center, and Andre Revels in performing an intubation using a new medical device she helped develop.

  • Research by Wim van Ooij, professor emeritus of chemicals and materials engineering, who has approximately 100 invention disclosures and licenses to his credit. These have led to the founding of a firm (ECOSIL Technologies, LLC, in Fairfield, Ohio) with eight employees – and the expectation to grow to 25 employees in the near future. The company produces coatings that prevent corrosion of metals and increase adhesion of paint in a wide variety of products. The coatings are now sold throughout the eastern U.S., Europe and Asia.

 

 

 

 

 

Joining UC researchers at the event were industry partners from throughout central and southern Ohio, including

Mike Cardarelli and Tom Niehaus
At left, Mike Cardarelli, who began a robotics company based on a UC College of Applied Science project, talks with Ohio Senator Tom Niehaus. In the foreground is one of Cardarelli's first-response robots climbing pallets.

  • Mike Cardarelli, president, First-Response Robotics, Amelia, Ohio
  • Matt Doyle, director and senior researcher, Research and Development, Procter &  Gamble’s Health Care Products - Worldwide
  • Susan Fryer, executive director, Greater Licking County Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Doug McClelland, president, Mound Technical Solutions, Miamisburg, Ohio
  • Russ Schwartz, vice president of colors technology, Sun Chemical Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Max Sorenson, CEO, ECOSIL Technologies, Inc., Fairfield, Ohio
  • Ross Youngs, CEO, Univenture Corporation, Marysville, Ohio