2017 Innovation Awards showcase outstanding achievements in innovation

Faculty, staff, postdocs, students and members of the entrepreneurial community celebrated the spirit of innovation at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center during the seventh annual Innovation Awards ceremony held Nov. 28, 2017, at the University Conference Center.

The event recognized individuals who had innovative ideas move forward through the execution of a license agreement, received a patent or formed a startup company based on Penn State technology from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

Launched in 2011, the annual Innovation Awards ceremony highlights the groundbreaking innovative research and commercialization efforts taking place in and around the Penn State Health campus in Hershey.

Leslie Parent, MD, vice dean of research and graduate education, Kevin Harter, director of the Center for Medical Innovation at Penn State College of Medicine, and Erika Swift, associate director of the Center for Medical Innovation, recognized the following individuals who received an issued patent or had a technology licensed during the 2016-17 fiscal year:

  • Joyce Tombran-Tink, PhD, and Colin Barnstable, DPhil, Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences
  • Janette McAllister, PhD, Neil Christensen, PhD, and Keith Cheng, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology
  • Peter Dillon, MD, Randy Haluck, MD, and Donald Mackay, MD, DDS, Department of Surgery
  • Andrew Patterson, PhD, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at University Park and Penn State Cancer Institute
  • Barry Fell, MS, TPC Innovation and Design
Penn State College of Medicine's 2017 Innovator of the Year award recipient is James Connor, PhD, center. Connor is pictured with, from left, A. Craig Hillemeier, MD, dean of the College and CEO of Penn State Health and Leslie Parent, MD, vice dean for research and graduate studies for the College. The three are pictured wearing professional dress clothing and standing in front of a blue photo background.

Penn State College of Medicine’s 2017 Innovator of the Year award recipient is James Connor, PhD, center. Connor is pictured with, from left, A. Craig Hillemeier, MD, dean of the College and CEO of Penn State Health and Leslie Parent, MD, vice dean for research and graduate studies for the College.

The culmination of the Innovation Awards ceremony was the presentation of three major awards for outstanding achievements in innovation:

  • Innovator of the Year Award: James Connor, PhD, distinguished professor of Neurosurgery, Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Pediatrics
  • Investigator to Watch Award: Elias Rizk, MD, assistant professor of Neurosurgery
  • Student Award for Excellence in Innovation: Oliver Mrowczynski, MD/PhD Neurosurgery student
Penn State College of Medicine's 2017 Investigator to Watch award recipient is Elias Rizk, MD. Rizk was unable to attend the ceremony so accepting the award on his behalf was his father, Paul Rizk, right, shown with Kevin Harter, Director of the Center for Medical Innovation at Penn State College of Medicine. The two men are pictured standing in a large conference room with a podium in the back right of the photo.

Penn State College of Medicine’s 2017 Investigator to Watch award recipient is Elias Rizk, MD. Rizk was unable to attend the ceremony so accepting the award on his behalf was his father, Paul Rizk, right, shown with Kevin Harter, Director of the Center for Medical Innovation at Penn State College of Medicine.

The other nominees for the three major awards were also recognized:

  • Nicholas Buchkovich, PhD, assistant professor of Microbiology and Immunology
  • Janette McAllister, PhD, professor of Pathology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Cellular and Molecular Physiology
  • Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH, MSEd, professor of Epidemiology, Department of Public Health Sciences
  • Dan Shapiro, PhD, vice dean of Faculty and Administrative Affairs and professor of Psychiatry, professor and former chair, Department of Humanities
  • Steven Hicks, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Pediatrics
  • Gillian Naro, MD student

The evening began with an opening reception, accompanied by live jazz music from local music icon Steve Rudolph. Craig Hillemeier, MD, dean of Penn State College of Medicine, CEO of Penn State Health and senior VP of health affairs for Penn State, provided the welcome remarks and introduced Kevin Harter as the director of the new Center for Medical Innovation at Penn State College of Medicine.

After dinner, Lori Gavrin, PhD, director of business development for the Platform and Technology Sciences Division at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), delivered the keynote address.

Dr. Gavrin introduced attendees to GSK’s breadth of range as a science-led global healthcare company, highlighted its external engagement initiatives, and defined the value-added benefits of pharma-academia partnerships.

Penn State College of Medicine's 2017 Student Award for Excellence in Innovation award recipient is Oliver Mrowczynski, middle. Mrowczynski is pictured with, from left, A. Craig Hillemeier, MD, dean of the College and CEO of Penn State Health and Leslie Parent, MD, vice dean for research and graduate studies for the College. The three are pictured wearing professional dress clothes in front of a blue photo background.

Penn State College of Medicine’s 2017 Student Award for Excellence in Innovation award recipient is Oliver Mrowczynski, middle. Mrowczynski is pictured with, from left, A. Craig Hillemeier, MD, dean of the College and CEO of Penn State Health and Leslie Parent, MD, vice dean for research and graduate studies for the College.

December 1, 2017 Penn State College of Medicine News

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