Big changes in biosciences: Innovators celebrated

Patents filed through Technology Transfer and Business Development

Collaborating across laboratories and with other institutions and industry makes for big biomedical breakthroughs.

A biochemist discovers a chemical compound that lights up nerve endings so surgeons can avoid them during operations. A biomedical engineer develops a way to prevent cavities around dental implants. A director of technology services designs a radical new data center.

How do innovations find their way to the surgical suite, the dentist’s chair or the grounds of OHSU’s West Campus? Technology Transfer and Business Development connects experts, provides OHSU innovators legal and business expertise and stewards their innovations to market. Each year they recognize OHSU innovators whose ideas they help make real.

Looking for lasting solutions in restorative dentistry

Ferracane’s collaborative research is making stronger dental implants.

Business Partnership Award: Jack Ferracane, Ph.D., professor of restorative dentistry, School of Dentistry

Jack Ferracane’s research focuses on developing and testing dental materials for durability and longevity. His accomplishments, which include co-developing a new composite material with twice the “fracture toughness” as standard fillings, have been made possible by collaborations with other labs in the dental school and across campus, and relationships with private industry. Technology Transfer and Business Development has helped Ferracane make connections, negotiate contracts, file patents and develop an entrepreneurial culture.

Not splashy, but transformational

During the last year, Ferracane conducted research and development through five partnerships funded by industry — more than any other independent investigator at OHSU.  He also engaged in the most industry-funded partnerships over the course of the last five years. These are not splashy partnerships that make front-page news, but Ferracane’s industry-sponsored research has brought significant changes in clinical care.

Building a commercialization culture

Ferracane has been a key contributor and supporter of the School of Dentistry’s research culture. Last year, 2018 Innovation Awards keynote speaker School of Dentistry Dean Philip Marucha, D.D.S., said that the school will be growing this culture. In addition to his own commercialization collaborations, Ferracane serves as a mentor to younger faculty exploring partnership models and collaborations.

Turn on the lights

Summer Gibbs
Gibbs is developing novel reagents to improve cancer imaging applications.

New Inventor of the Year Award: Summer L. Gibbs, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering, School of Medicine

In just over 12 months, Summer Gibbs was a contributor on seven technology disclosures submitted to Technology Transfer and Business Development.

Gibbs’ lab focuses on developing novel imaging reagents to improve macroscopic and microscopic cancer imaging applications. To visualize structures to be avoided or repaired during surgery, she is designing, synthesizing and testing nerve-specific fluorophores and application methods that can be used. That’s just one of several ongoing projects.

Building a library and taking it to the clinic

Gibbs has developed two libraries of novel, small-molecule, near-infrared, nerve-specific fluorophores for diagnostic use in fluorescence-guided surgery. Now, using the Phase 0 exploratory Investigational New Drug trial, she is taking steps to move the most optimal of the nerve-specific fluorophores from the first library to the clinic.

Gibbs is a consummate collaborator. She works other OHSU labs and with OHSU University Shared Resources, including the Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine. Gibbs also collaborates with industry and institutions around the country, including Oregon State University, Dartmouth College and the Illinois Institute of Technology. In addition to being extremely prolific with her own research, Gibbs actively mentors students and postdocs.

No cooling required

Gliessman’s data center design passively cools and requires no mechanical air conditioning.

Technology Transfer Achievement Award: Perry Gliessman, former OHSU Technology Services director and data center designer

The big data generated by biomedical science requires lots of server space, which generates lots of heat and needs a lot of air conditioning. That was before Perry Gliessman designed a data center that has three times the power density of a conventional data center but requires no mechanical air conditioning – or the attending maintenance.

The crowning glory to 20 years of design and innovation

Gliessman developed a range of technologies during his tenure at the Oregon National Primate Research Center — from patient monitoring systems and surgical instruments — but the Data Dome on West Campus is where he really left his mark.

The Data Dome is a high-performance Tier 3+ data center in a geodesic dome with passive cooling, which is how it achieves top-class power efficiency. It cost significantly less to build than most data centers of its quality and can run unmanned via remote monitoring.

The Data Dome remains OHSU’s largest technology prototype.

The design was licensed to OHSU startup company Server Dome. Gliessman worked closely with Technology Transfer and Business Development to ensure the patent protection, copyright protection and confidentiality of aspects of the design.

2019 Innovation Awards

Technology Transfer and Business Development recognized a community of extraordinary innovators for their contributions to creating a healthier world. Jack Ferracane, Summer Gibbs and Perry Gliessman were three of more than 50 awardees.

Top Industry Sponsored Research
Paul Kievit, Ph.D., Jack L. Ferracane, Ph.D., Anna A. Bar, M.D., Marc Freeman, Ph.D., Matthew Taylor, M.D.

Top Copyright License
The Tinnitus Functional Index (OHSU 1740)

Mary Meikle, Ph.D.
Oregon Hearing Research Center

Also recognized for their contributions to the Tinnitus Functional Index:
James Henry, Ph.D., Bob Folmer, Ph.D., Susan Griest, M.P.H., William Martin, Ph.D., Fred Nuttall, Ph.D., Barbara Stewart, Ph.D., Jack Vernon, Ph.D., Harvey Abrams, Ph.D., Paula Myers, Ph.D., Craig Newman, Ph.D., Sharon Sandridge, Ph.D., Dennis Turk, Ph.D., Erick Frederick, Au.D., John House, M.D., Gary Jacobson, Ph.D., Sam Kinney, Stephen Nagler, M.D., Gloria Reich, Ph.D., Grant Searchfield, Ph.D., Robert Sweetow, Ph.D.

Top Patent License
Generation of a CMV vector with unconventional MHCII restricted CD8+ Responses (OHSU 2121); CMV vectors eliciting T cells restricted by MHC E Molecules (OHSU 2345)

Klaus Frueh, Ph.D., Meaghan Hancock, Ph.D., Scott Hansen, Ph.D., Daniel Malouli, Ph.D., Jay Nelson, Ph.D., Louis Picker, M.D., Jonah B. Sacha, Ph.D., James T. Rosenbaum, M.D., Jonah B. Sacha, Ph.D., Thomas S. Scanlan, Ph.D., Ou Tan, Ph.D.

Top Biological Material License
ImmortaMAITs: immortalized Mucosal Associated Invariant T (MAIT) cells as new human cell line reagents for human immunobiology research (OHSU 2274)

David Lewinsohn, M.D., Ph.D., Marielle Gold, Ph.D., Erin Meermeier, Ph.D., Irina Kurtz

United States Patents
Tapasree Banerji, Ph.D., Rita M. Braziel, M.D., Mark Chapman, Skylar J. Ferrara, Ph.D., Klaus Frueh, Ph.D., Summer Gibbs, Ph.D., Scott Hansen, Ph.D., David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., Yali Jia, Ph.D., John A. Kaufman, M.D., Yan Li, Ph.D., Daniel Malouli, Ph.D., Xiaolin Nan, Ph.D., Louis Picker, M.D.

New Companies based on OHSU Technology
CBDS Health, Inc.
CytoImage Dx LLC
Llama Therapeutics, Inc.
NervGen Pharma Corporation
OmnEcoil Instruments, Inc.
The Spoonbill Foundation



Jack Ferracane and collaborators develop new model to study S. mutans behavior at protein level

Summer Gibbs to work on innovative research involving triple-negative breast cancer

TTBD Innovator Spotlight: Perry Gliessman

Bringing your inventions to market: How your tech transfer office can help