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UNH Celebrates Innovation; Recognizes Commercialization Success of Plant Geneticist Brent Loy

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L to R: Provost John Aber; Jan Nisbet, senior vice provost for research; Maria Emanuel, licensing manager with the Office for Research Partnerships and Commercialization (ORPC); J. Brent Loy, professor of plant biology; and Marc Sedam, executive director of the ORPC, celebrate Loy being recognized as the university's Innovator of the Year. UNH Staff Photographer: Lisa Nugent

The university’s Office for Research Partnerships and Commercialization (ORPC) recently celebrated the success of five faculty and members whose research resulted in 8 patents during the last two years and the recognition of plant biologist J. Brent Loy, who received the university’s inaugural Innovator of the Year award.

“We’re a $150 million research organization that’s ready to engage,” said ORPC Executive Director Marc Sedam. “We want the technology developed at UNH to get used to help keep jobs in the state. The work that is being done here is crucial to the future of the state’s economy and we need the faculty to tell us what they’re doing so we can find companies interested in licensing these ideas.”

Provost John Aber added that the office “is a mechanism for making what we do useful to the rest of the world.”

The goal of the ORPC is to promote and advance the use of UNH’s intellectual assets to improve the university’s academic standing and relevance, attract high quality faculty and students, engage the business community, create local well-paid jobs, and generate revenue. Just last year the office increased royalties by 27 percent and disclosures were up 36 percent.

Loy Named Innovator of the Year

By Erika Mantz, Media Relations

Plant geneticist J. Brent Loy has been awarded the university's inaugural Innovator of the Year Award for his expansive research program and impact on UNH's commercialization efforts. He received the award, and the news that the award would be named after him in future years, at a dinner hosted by the Office for Research Partnerships and Commercialization (ORPC).

Professor Loy is a wonderful individual with a fascinating research career," said ORPC Senior Licensing Manager Maria Emanuel. "He truly epitomizes the exciting potential of university technology transfer and commercialization."

A plant breeder whose work has resulted in more than 50 new varieties of tomato, squash, pumpkins, gourds and melons sold in seed catalogs throughout the world, Loy is responsible for 50 percent of the university's cumulative royalties -- $1.1 million since 1999. His research efforts include the development of cold tolerant early maturing melons, breeding mildew resistance into a number of plant varieties, and developing squash varieties with high carotenoid content to improve food quality and flavor.

Loy has more than 30 license agreements with eight different seed companies. His research efforts directly benefit northern growers, especially those in New England, but are also applicable throughout the world.

Loy is also highly regarded among his peers, receiving a number of awards for his accomplishments. In 2009 he was awarded the Vegetable Award Winner for his "Honey Bear" squash by All American Selections, the premier organization recognizing plant breeding accomplishment, as well as the Breeders' Cup Trophy, which recognizes a breeder who has introduced significantly improved cultivars or varieties that improve the home garden seed industry.

People don't think of plant breeding and genetics as being innovative and inventive," Loy said in accepting the award. He noted that his son worked for him one year in the fields and never thought about what his father did as innovative. "The first thing I'm going to do when I get home is call him about this award."

And Sedam highlighted that it isn’t all about science. For example, the university’s partnership with Bedford St. Martin’s Press to produce a textbook of first-year English student writings that is then used by the following year’s classes yields more than $10,000 a year in royalties with income distributed to the student authors. The university’s Know Your Power Bystander™ Social Marketing Campaign, the first one to engage bystanders, was recently licensed and is now being used by the University of California at Merced. “There is a great work being done at this university and while we might have shared it in the past, why not generate revenue as well based on the hard work?”

“Commercializing UNH’s intellectual capital is a key component driving the relevance of our university in town, region, state, and increasingly the world,” said President Mark W. Huddleston. “The university can and should be the primary engine for sustainable economic growth in the state and region.”

Recognized for working with the office to get patents for their work were Yvon Durant (three patents related to his spinoff company Itaconix), Glen Miller (work on nanotemplates and nanoelement assembly), Stacia Sower (creation of research tools), William Hersman (two patents related to his spinoff company Xemed), and Brian King for his work with UNH’s Space Science Center.

“This is an incredible achievement for the university but we can and must do more,” said Sedam. “Our faculty are capable of generating 50-60 disclosures a year and our FY12 goals include getting to at least 25 disclosures, creating at least two spinoff companies, and supporting and promoting the InterOperability Lab. But the key component in continuing our success is having faculty disclose the results of their research to ORPC.”

In addition, J. Brent Loy was awarded the university’s inaugural Innovator of the Year Award for his research program and impact on UNH’s commercialization efforts. A plant breeder whose work has resulted in more than 50 new varieties of tomato, squash, pumpkins, gourds and melons sold in seed catalogs throughout the world, Loy is responsible for 50 percent of the university’s cumulative royalties -- $1.1 million since 1999. Sedam also announced the award would be named after Professor Loy in future years.

Huddleston stressed that without the faculty’s excellence in research and engagement in the commercialization process UNH will not fulfill its potential. He urged faculty to encourage their colleagues to participate in the commercialization process. “The more visibility UNH can bring to its excellent research efforts, and commercialization of that research is a major component of this visibility, the more effective we all can be at showing the relevance and strength of the university. We are important to our state than ever, and bringing our ideas to market to help solve the technological and economic issues of our state will lead us to a brighter and more vibrant tomorrow.”

FY2010-FY2011 Licensees

Technology
UNH Inventor
Compression Methodologies
Kevin Short* (Mathematics)
Mini-Mojito (dwarf mint variety)
Kelly Vining (Plant Biology)
Hybrid plant varieties
J. Brent Loy (Plant Biology)
Hybrid plant varieties
J. Brent Loy (Plant Biology)
Hybrid plant varieties
J. Brent Loy (Plant Biology)
UNHCEMS®
RCI
NIAMS™ software
RCI
SWGM software
Brian Calder (CCOM)
UNH Data
Kevin Gardner (ERG)
NEPRS software
Lisa Townson, Stephen Judd (Cooperative Extension)
MPAA software
Val Schmidt (CCOM)
Transitions 2010-2011
Selected ENGL 401 authors
The Norton Pocket Book of Writing by Students
Jennifer Dietz, Michael Andrews, Amy Cornell (undergrad. authors)
CoachSmartNH™ curriculum
Karen Collins (Kinesiology)
Mini-Mojito (dwarf mint variety)
Kelly Vining (Plant Biology)
UNHCEMS®
RCI
Geocoder software
Luciano Fonseca (CCOM)
Bringing in the Bystander™ program
Prevention Innovations
IPv6 Protocol
Erica Johnson/ IOL
* Dr. Short is a Professor of Mathematics at UNH, a Founder of Kaonyx Labs, and a Grammy Awardee. And yes. You read that correctly.
FY2010-2011 First Time Disclosers

Discloser/Dept (*denotes PI)
Discloser/Dept (*denotes PI)
Discloser/Dept (*denotes PI)
Discloser/Dept (*denotes PI)
Jennifer Durant/MCBS
Yvon Durant*/Mat. Sci
Jack Mayer/Psych.
Gonghu Li/Chemistry
Mary Collins/SBDC
Michael Palace/CSRC
Jillian Lennartz/CSRC
Ruth Varner/CSRC
Elizabeth Varki/Comp Sci
Tucker Hurton/RCI
Patrick Messer/RCI
Heidi Edwards Dunn/SBDC
Ian Taschner/Chemistry
Charles Zercher*/Chemistry
Cuneyt Yalcin/Mech E
Adam Villa/Comp Sci
Jiayin Tian/ECE
Kuan Zhou*/ECE
Eric Tucker/Chem E
Qing Song/Chem E
Robin Collins*/CE
Val Schmidt/CCOM
Iulia Barbu/ERG
Tom Ballestero*/ERG
Dale Barkey*/Chem E
Xiaowei Teng/Chem E
Ethan Brooke/CE
John Zwerneman/CE
Irvinder Kaur/Chemistry
Glen Miller*/Chemistry
Ashleigh Kreider/Chemistry
Ed Wong*/Chemistry
Paula McWilliam/Nursing
Daniel Brogan/ECE
Kent Chamberlin*/ECE