Palmer takes home second place and $50,000 at Invent Penn State Tech Tournament

Dr. Charles Palmer, professor of pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine, earned second place and a $50,000 prize at the Invent Penn State Venture & IP Conference held April 20, 2018. He was honored at Penn State's Tech Tournament for developing a device to assist newborns who have breathing problems. ThoraciCair helps infants breathe without the need for an endotracheal tube or mechanical ventilation.

Tech Tournament is a competition for Penn State’s best intellectual property-based startups.

William Weiss, professor of surgery at the College of Medicine, collaborates with Palmer on ThoraciCair. Erika Swift, associate director of the College of Medicine's Center for Medical Innovation, moderated the tournament.

The two-day conference in State College attracted more than 600 participants, including 80 startup companies and more than 40 venture capitalists and industry advisers — all working together to drive innovation, foster collaboration and enable startup companies to take their businesses to the next level.

Dr. Joseph Sassani, an ophthalmologist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and Patricia McLaughlin, a professor of neural and behavioral sciences, also competed in the Tech Tournament. They presented Naltrexone, a treatment method to accelerate the rate of wound healing for diabetic foot ulcers.

“The Invent Penn State Venture & IP conference is truly a celebration of Penn State's capacity for collaboration, innovation and societal impact,” said Penn State President Eric Barron.

Other College of Medicine faculty and Milton S. Hershey Medical Center providers participated in the conference. Kevin Harter, director of the Penn State Center for Medical Innovation, moderated a panel discussion on “Growing PA’s Capacity for Life Sciences Startup.”

Dr. Randy Haluck, a surgeon at Hershey Medical Center, was one of several SIG Medical members who represented their startup company. Their device, AdvanceRib, which provides minimally invasive repair of broken or fractured ribs, won first place at the inaugural Tech Tournament in 2016.

“The conference is an example of the kind of important and vital work emerging from Penn State's research enterprise and from its students,” said Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey.

Learn more about Penn State’s startups at

Read more about Invent Penn State’s conference in this Penn State News article.

May 14, 2018 Penn State College of Medicine News

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