2023 OHSU Innovation Awardees named; celebration on March 22

The OHSU Innovation Awards honor pioneering scientists who work with the OHSU Innovates network to disclose new technologies and collaborate with external partners to advance innovative healthcare solutions. To celebrate the awards recipients and the innovation community, OHSU Innovates will host a celebration and networking event on March 22 at 4 p.m.

OHSU Innovation Awards
March 22, 4-7 p.m.
Robertson Life Sciences Bldg.
2730 South Moody Ave.
Register for the free event

“The scientists being celebrated are at different points in their careers and their work reflects the diversity of research being conducted at OHSU — from developing new research tools to studying neurons to advancing clinical diagnostics for ophthalmology,” said Travis Cook, M.S., M.B.A., senior director of Technology Transfer. “What they share is a dedicated drive to advance innovative science programs in collaboration with OHSU Innovates network partners.”

OHSU Innovates is a collaborative network that supports the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems at OHSU and the region. Collaborators include OHSU Technology Transfer, OHSU Collaborations and Entrepreneurship, the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI) and Strategic Alliances for the OHSU School of Medicine and Knight Cancer Institute.

The shared goal of these award recipients is to advance OHSU research, innovation and entrepreneurship for the benefit of society.

“The recipients of the 2023 Innovates Awards are each engaged in fostering an environment — at OHSU and across the region — that supports innovation and helps drive technology development through beneficial collaborations,” said Aditi Martin, Ph.D., senior director of Collaborations and Entrepreneurship. “We’re excited to be able to gather in person to celebrate their work and the accomplishments of the OHSU innovation ecosystem.

Awardee Profiles

Matthew Rames, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral research fellow, Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center (CEDAR), Knight Cancer Institute, School of Medicine

Matthew Rames, Ph.D.
Matthew Rames, Ph.D., named 2023 Early Career Innovator by OHSU Innovates.

Rames has been named 2023 Early Career Innovator for his commitment to innovation and developing technologies to solve real-world problems.

Scientists at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research (CEDAR) center research new methods to detect and eliminate lethal cancers early. Rames is working with a team being co-led by Kai Tao, Ph.D., on a new way to conjugate probes to antibodies for multiplex imaging.

With further development, this technology has the potential to overcome current limitations and significantly shorten sample preparation time versus current comparable products on the market.

Following the research team’s technology disclosure, Rames and team have worked closely with Technology Transfer, including conducting additional experiments with the technology to improve its patentability.

The team’s level of engagement is foundational to a strong project and commercialization team. They express an eagerness to developing a unique, fast, highly efficient bioconjugation strategy poised to improve antibody multiplex labeling with broad utility and applicability to clinical and research settings.

Yali Jia, Ph.D.
Jennie P. Weeks Professor of Ophthalmology, professor of biomedical engineering, School of Medicine

Yali Jia, Ph.D., received the 2023 Career Innovation Excellence Award.

Jia has received the OHSU Innovates 2023 Career Innovation Excellence Award in recognition of her prolific spirit of innovation in the field of vision research and commitment to translating her discoveries into solutions for real-world problems.

The National Academy of Inventors elected Jia as a Senior Member in 2022, recognizing her significant contributions as an inventor of new diagnostic techniques in the field of ophthalmology. Jia is a leading pioneer in the field of optical coherence tomography (OCT), a highly efficient, non-invasive eye imaging technology that has been used to diagnose and track age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic eye diseases — the three leading causes of blindness. Inventions from Jia and colleagues have helped pave the way for broader application of OCT angiography in clinical care, potentially improving disease early diagnosis and monitoring for patients with numerous ophthalmic diseases.

Jia has published more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles with over 12,000 citations. She is also an inventor on 15 issued patents and 10 pending patent applications, eight of which have been licensed to industry. In 2022, Jia received funding from the Biomedical Innovation Program, supported by the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute and OHSU Innovates, to develop new OCT methods for diabetic retinopathy.

Timur Tsintsadze, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral fellow, Stephen Smith Laboratory, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, School of Medicine

Timur Tsintsadze, Ph.D., named 2023 New Innovator of the Year.

Tsintsadze has been named 2023 New Innovator of the Year, an award presented to an individual relatively new to the innovation development process at OHSU and who demonstrates a passion for advancing technology development, as well as successfully collaborating with various innovator ecosystems within and outside of OHSU.

He is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Stephen Smith, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., which investigates rapid neuronal signaling in the mammalian brain and how this changes in disease states. Tsintsadze has worked to develop a novel device for neuroscience research. As a first-time inventor, Tsintsadze’s device was, impressively, disclosed to OHSU Technology Transfer as a fully functional prototype that addresses a practical need for scientists studying the electrical properties of neurons.

To increase its commercial potential, Tsintsadze continued to work on this prototype after disclosure, so that it would be compatible with existing amplifiers. The device will be further developed for commercialization and patent applications with an Early Stage Technology Award granted to the Smith lab in 2022.

Beth Habecker, Ph.D.
Professor of chemical physiology and biochemistry, OHSU School of Medicine

Beth Habecker, Pd.D., received the 2023 Partnership Award

Habecker has received the OHSU Innovates 2023 Partnership Award for her sustained entrepreneurial spirit and works closely with the OHSU Innovates commercialization network to foster and encourage collaborations.

Habecker is the co-director of the Pacific Northwest Biomedical Innovation Co-laboratory, or PMedIC, a long-standing and successful collaboration between OHSU and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Launched in 2018, this partnership has led to several collaborative grants and the establishment of the large joint National Institutes of Health Pacific Northwest Cryo-EM center.

Habecker has worked closely with the OHSU School of Medicine Strategic Alliances office on the PMedIC partnership to guide mutual interest and milestones for the partnership. Research from Habecker’s lab has also led to disclosures to OHSU Technology Transfer and subsequent patent applications around new therapeutics for nerve regeneration, one of which formed the initial basis for the OHSU startup company NervGen.

Erik Tucker, Ph.D.
Adjunct research assistant professor of biomedical engineering, School of Medicine; CEO and Co-founder of OHSU startup company Aronora

Erik Tucker, Ph.D., elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

Tucker was elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, or NAI, in recognition of his significant contributions toward developing anti-thrombotic therapeutics. Tucker’s graduate work at OHSU led to scientific discoveries around coagulation factors, which formed the foundation for new blood thinners that could revolutionize the treatment of blood clotting diseases. This work led to the development of the OHSU startup company Aronora, for which Tucker is the co-founder and Chief Executive officer.

Tucker has demonstrated a commitment to innovation and is an inventor on fourteen issued U.S. patents. Three of these patented drug candidates are in late-stage clinical development, including at Aronora, to improve outcomes for patients with blood diseases.

Additional recognitions

Visit the OHSU Innovates website for more information about the 2023 OHSU Innovates Award recipients, as well as a full lists of creators of licensed technology, principal investigators of non-clinical industry sponsored research, and inventors of issued U.S. patents.