13 Dec WARF announces 2020 WARF Innovation Award winners
Selected from more than 400 innovation disclosures, two University of Wisconsin-Madison teams working at the frontiers of cancer immunotherapy and bioengineering have taken top honors from WARF.
The 2020 WARF Innovation Award winners are: Jenny Gumperz and Dana Baiu (medical microbiology & immunology) for their work, Killer Combination: Multicell Conjugates for Activating Antigen-Specific T Cell Responses. By combining two kinds of cells found in the body, their technology could open up a potentially transformative new approach to treating cancer, one that is faster and more specific than current methods.
The other winning team is Randolph Ashton (biomedical engineering), Gavin Knight, Benjamin Knudsen, Carlos Marti-Figueroa and Nisha Iyer. Their work, Superior Neural Tissue Models for Disease Modeling, Drug Development and More, involves stem cell-derived models of human tissue. This technology provides a critical step toward bioengineering brain and spinal cord organoids (simplified organs) with applications such as toxicology screening.
An independent panel of judges selected the winners from a field of six finalists drawn from more than 400 invention disclosures submitted to WARF over the past 12 months. The winning teams each receive an award of $10,000, with the funds going to the UW–Madison inventors named on the breakthroughs.
Erik Iverson, CEO of WARF, said, “Every disclosure shared with WARF is considered for our annual Innovation Awards. Beyond the six finalists, these awards are truly a celebration of all UW–Madison creators who have shown the world that, despite the disruption and loss caused by COVID-19, our campus continues to seek solutions to the boldest technological challenges of our time, from health to clean energy.”