Spirit of innovation alive at OHSU awards event

The introductions, awards presentations and conversations throughout the packed room left no doubt — OHSU has a solid community of innovators. OHSU Innovates hosted its Innovation Awards on Wednesday, March 22, which was held in-person for the first time since the pandemic began.

“Faculty at OHSU contribute to the three missions of health care, research and education,” said Peter Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D., Chief Research Officer. “But there’s a very special breed of faculty who go beyond these missions — they are the faculty who take their creative ideas and discoveries and turn them into products that can change health care and more. I think it’s critical that we recognize those who have been successful along this path.”      

OHSU Innovates which is a collective network that advances research, innovation, and entrepreneurship for the benefit of society, provides an infrastructure to support this “very special breed” across the institution, whether they’re developing drugs to prevent hearing loss in children with cancer and tackle ovarian, breast and prostate cancers, or taking on a rare childhood disease and triple-negative breast cancer and characterizing nanobodies that supported much of the SARS-CoV-2 research at OHSU.


See details on awardees and their work.

The 2023 Early Career Innovator Award went to Matthew Rames, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow, Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center (CEDAR), Knight Cancer Institute, School of Medicine.

Yali Jia, Ph.D., Jennie P. Weeks Professor of Ophthalmology, professor of biomedical engineering, School of Medicine, was recognized with the 2023 Career Innovation Excellence Award.

Timur Tsintsadze, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, Stephen Smith Laboratory, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, School of Medicine, received the 2023 New Innovator of the Year.

Beth Habecker, Ph.D., professor of chemical physiology and biochemistry, OHSU School of Medicine, and the co-director of the Pacific Northwest Biomedical Innovation Co-laboratory, was recognized with the 2023 Partnership Excellence Award.

Additional recognitions

See all the accolades and recognitions.

In addition to the individual recipients of awards, four new companies based on OHSU technology were recognized: Advanced Molecular Targeting Science, RyboDyn, Life Analytics, and Tilikum Therapeutics.

Travis Cook, M.B.A., senior director of OHSU Technology Transfer, highlighted the National Academy of Inventors, or NAI, OHSU chapter, which was founded in 2020. Cook inducted Ou Tan, Ph.D., research associate professor of ophthalmology, School of Medicine, as a new member, and recognized the election of Erik Tucker, Ph.D., adjunct research assistant professor of biomedical engineering, School of Medicine; CEO and co-founder of OHSU startup company Aronora, as a fellow.

About 100 members of the innovation community gathered for the event. In attendance from the OHSU Innovates community were Cook, Aditi Martin, Ph.D., from OHSU Collaborations and Entrepreneurship, along with David Ellison, M.D., from the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute, and Laura Erker, Ph.D., from the School of Medicine Strategic Alliances.