CSU honors faculty inventors at halftime
12 science and engineering faculty inventors recognized at Vikings-Milwaukee game
March 3, 2011
CSU suffered a loss last Thursday when the Vikings fell to Milwaukee, but the Wolstein Center also saw a win for the university as 12 faculty inventors were honored during halftime for their newly minted patents.
Faculty members from the various departments in the colleges of science and engineering took to the court as their names were announced amid cheers from the crowd.
The 12 CSU faculty members honored for their inventions included Mekki Bayachou, associate professor of Chemistry; Baochuan Guo, professor of Chemistry; Michael Kalafatis, professor of Chemistry and Bin Su, assistant professor of Chemistry.
Inventors from the engineering department included Zhiqiang Gao, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Mounir Ibrahim, professor of Mechanical Engineering; Majid Rashidi, professor of Mechanical Engineering; Orhan Talu, professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering; Taysir Nayfeh, professor of Mechanical Engineering; Richard Martin, NASA and professor of Mechanical Engineering; Joanne Belovich, professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and Sui-Tung Yau, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The halftime ceremony was the first large-scale event held on behalf of the Office of Technology Transfer, which opened its doors last semester in Parker Hannifin Hall.
The office, which is operated by director Leonard Young, assists faculty in patenting their research and inventions.
“This seemed like a good venue,” Young said explaining why he chose the third to last game of the season to honor the inventors. “There are a lot of people here in the middle of the basketball championship, a lot of the inventors’ colleagues are in the audience and President Berkman’s here.”
CSU is working with faculty to get patents for their inventions and taking their ideas from the labs to the industry and the market.
“This event is really just honoring our faculty, celebrating the fact that they work hard and their research has become patentable,” said Young. “We’re now looking for companies to license the patents in order to bring revenue both to the university and to the inventors.”
The push for faculty patents gives CSU a competitive edge against other research-based Ohio universities like the University of Akron and the University of Toledo, which each average approximately 45 patents a year.
Already contracted and set in motion are plans to install a wind turbine based on a prototype developed by Dr. Rashidi on top of Progressive Field to tap into wind energy and supply power to the stadium.
“It’s very exciting for us,” said Young.
The other patents honored included a nitric oxide sensor, energy conversation technologies, advances in cancer research that inhibit cancerous cell growth, a device that removes ammonia from gas waste and a biosensor that detects chemical threats, among other research.
Maria Baker, a graduate engineering student, said CSU’s faculty research is its “best-kept secret” and that she was happy to see members of her college recognized for their work.
Dr. Ibrahim from the Fenn College of Engineering was honored for two patents, both of which are for energy-efficient thermoform burners. Thermoform burners are used to mold and trim plastics into usable products like cups, containers, lids and other products used in food and medical services as well as in the general population.
Thermoform burners are expensive initially, but Ibrahim said that in the long run his technologies, which took five years and a $700,000 grant to develop, would cut the cost of energy usage considerably.
“Once the price difference becomes good enough, our patent will come to the market and take over,” he said.
Many of the science faculty’s patents were for cancer research technology.
Dr. Guo, professor of chemistry, said his advances in cancer research took two years to reach the patent stage. His developments have made for early detection of colon cancer through the analysis of patients’ stool samples.
Guo said he is now in the process of commercializing his technology, adding that working with the Office of Technology Transfer has developed into a “good relationship.”
Members from the business, legal and financial communities were also in attendance at the inventor’s halftime ceremony. Chris McKenna of Carleton, McKenna & Company LLC is one part of a five-member advisory board that measures the commercial value of a patent and assists in taking the invention to interested companies.
“Our role is to make the process more easily understood by the faculty, and with the support from Cleveland State, help commercialize great ideas,” said McKenna. “We’re just a step along the way as facilitators, advisors and to hopefully make connections and introductions.”
McKenna said his board, which also includes representatives from KeyCorp, Hilite International, Inc., Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP and the BioEnterprise Corporation, gives an outside perspective on the future success and market potential of the patents.
“It’s a new group and we’ve only had a few meetings, but so far it’s been terrific,” said McKenna.