Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Research Showcased at TechConnect 2018 Conference and Expo

William H. Jones

July 31, 2018

men discussing projects around research commercialization booth

Texas Tech was able to showcase five technologies at the conference, each representing the following: TTU College of Engineering, TTU College of Arts and Sciences, and TTU Health Sciences Center El Paso.

Texas Tech scientists, students, and Office of Research and Commercialization staff were given the opportunity to showcase several promising inventions at the 20th Annual TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo in Anaheim, California over the summer. TechConnect connects top applied research and early-stage innovations from universities, labs and startups with industry end-users and prospectors. TechConnect also provides opportunities for attendees to engage directly with funding agencies such as the NSF, NIH and USDA to obtain valuable feedback and improve their applications for SBIR/STTR grants. In the weeks since, Texas Tech technologies and startups have already greatly benefitted.

Texas Tech was able to showcase five technologies at the conference, each representing the following: TTU College of Engineering, TTU College of Arts and Sciences, and TTU Health Sciences Center El Paso. In addition, technologies from the Global Laboratory for Energy Asset Management and Manufacturing (GLEAMM) were showcased.

The following Texas Tech technologies were showcased at the conference:

  • Nemalife was developed by Dr. Siva Vanapalli and Dr. Mizanur Rahman from the TTU College of Engineering, Dr. Rahman and student Taslim Anupom were able to attend. Nemalife's multifaceted nematode analysis technology was created at Texas Tech and licensed by the inventors to form a startup. The company made waves at the conference and garnered significant attention at the booth through their engaging demo. Nemalife won a TechConnect Innovation Award and was selected to be a featured speaker, pitching their technology to a room full of potential industry partners. Nemalife also received feedback and encouragement from funding agencies for future SBIR/STTR applications. Since then, Nemalife has joined the TTU Innovation Hub accelerator cohort and received $25,000 in funding.
  • Moonlight Therapeutics is another startup created with TTU technology from Dr. Harvinder Gill, also from the College of Engineering. Moonlight's technology centers on microneedle patches to combat food allergies. The company was able to meet with several relevant funding agencies like the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to bolster any future SBIR/STTR applications. In attendance was Dr. Vladimir Zarnitsyn, co-founder and COO of Moonlight.
  • Dr. David Weindorf from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resouces (CASNR) and OR&I Research Faculty Fellow was able to attend and demonstrate his soil and water analysis technology to many interested companies and collaborators at the TTU booth. Dr. Weindorf was able to meet with funding agencies such as the NSF and NASA about SBIR/STTR opportunities for the technology's future.
  • Dr. Mingtao Zeng from TTUHSC El Paso showcased his technology at the conference, with the Office of Research Commercialization presenting the technology at the conference on Dr. Zeng's behalf. Dr. Zeng's technology utilizes microRNAs to enable strong but safe immune response using live attenuated vaccines.
  • BaoNano, a startup company formed by Dr. Zhaoyang Fan around his supercapacitor technology, received a great deal of interest and meeting requests before the conference even began. Dr. Fan is a professor of electrical engineering at Texas Tech, and attended the conference to represent BaoNano. He was also invited to present his technology at one of the showcase sessions and received a TechConnect Innovation Award at this year's conference. His technology had previously received GLEAMM SPARK funding. BaoNano was able to get its technology in front of industry partners and meet with funding agencies like the NSF to better its chances of SBIR/STTR funding. Excitingly, not a month after the conference an STTR phase I grant from the NSF was awarded to Dr. Fan and BaoNano to further develop and commercialize this groundbreaking technology.