UofL cancer researcher Paula Bates named EPIC Innovator of the Year

University of Louisville researchers and innovators love a good challenge. And in 2020 — a year of challenges — they continued pushing forward, creating and commercializing groundbreaking technologies that can improve the way we work and live. They were recognized for those contributions at the presentation of the second annual EPIC Innovation Awards, held January 28. 

“Innovation is absolutely critical to UofL’s mission,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi. “It’s what drives us and inspires us. Our three most important goals as a university are to be a great place to learn, to work and to invest, and the work of these innovators contributes to all three.” 

The second annual event, hosted virtually this year by the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation and its technology transfer arm, the Commercialization EPI-Center, honored UofL innovators who had recently been awarded a patent or whose technology had been licensed to a company for commercialization in fiscal year 2020, which ended June 30, 2020. 

Two large awards were also presented: Paula Bates was given the Innovator of the Year Award, and Theo Edmonds, Brad Shuck and Laura Weingartner all accepted Trailblazer awards on behalf of their teams.

Innovator of the Year, Bates, is a cancer researcher and serial inventor, known for a long track record of developing strong partnerships with industry to commercialize her technologies. In 2020, she partnered with other UofL innovators to develop a potential breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19 that is believed to block the virus from infecting human cells. The technology was licensed to a now publicly-traded biomedical company, which is working with UofL to further develop it for market.

Bates also has a history of helping others innovate, including through the recently launched KYNETIC program, an NIH REACH-hub, which focuses on training, mentorship and funding to help get technologies from lab to market. 

All told, fiscal year 2020 was the best on-record for innovation at UofL, with a total income of $9.4 million driven by a strong year for startups and deals. It also was UofL’s best year on-record for competitive research funding, with total new awards of $170 million.

Please see the full article by Baylee Pullam here.