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March 18,


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Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

Tech-transfer revenue tops $40 million

Revenue generated by University research has reached an all-time high with more than $40 million coming to the University since July 2001.

Stimulated by business interest in the engineering and biotechnology innovations of local scientists, this year's growth, with four months to go, already exceeds last year's revenue of $29 million, more than doubles the $13 million of 2000, and increases 1999's $3 million by more than 10 times.

Though patents for everything from genetics to photography contributed to the skyrocketing returns, the most lucrative patents include a childhood vaccine and computer technology used in offices around the world everyday.

"I think people might not realize the University has been active in promoting technology transfer for the last decade," says Mark Coburn, director of technology transfer. "Once a university has achieved this level of revenue, companies and venture capitalists begin to recognize that the University is 'licensing- and startup-company friendly.' It creates an exciting, sustainable process of technology transfer and helps to foster and attract resources to cultivate more innovative research."

Benjamin Miller, assistant professor of chemistry, is in the process of patenting a method of detecting bacteria in a bandage, so that people at home could tell immediately if their wound was infected.

"Going through the patent process has been tremendously helpful to my group," says Miller. "The primary benefit has been with respect to getting taken seriously by industry, which is a source of research funding that has become extremely important in today's intensely competitive environment."

Other innovations currently under license include the "Blue Noise Mask," a halftoning technology developed by Kevin Parker, dean of the School of Engineering and Appied Sciences and professor of electrical and computer engineering, and former graduate student Theophano Mitsa, that is widely used in the graphic arts and printing industry; a vaccine that has virtually wiped out one of the chief causes of childhood bacterial infections, including meningitis; and technology developed by scientists at the Center for Visual Science licensed by eye-care giant Bausch and Lomb.

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