Researchers honored at UNeMed banquet

by Charlie Litton, UNeMEd | October 21, 2019

Image with caption: From left, Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., Benson Edagwa, Ph.D., and UNeMed President and CEO Michal Dixon, Ph.D. Dr. Edagwa was named UNeMed's Emerging Inventor of the year at the event.

From left, Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., Benson Edagwa, Ph.D., and UNeMed President and CEO Michal Dixon, Ph.D. Dr. Edagwa was named UNeMed's Emerging Inventor of the year at the event.

The Research Innovation Awards Banquet held last week recognized top UNMC innovators while providing a cap to the activities for the 2019 Innovation Week.

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From left are Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., Corey Hopkins, Ph.D., and UNeMed President and CEO, Michal Dixon, Ph.D. Dr. Hopkins' PDE4B Selective Inhibitors was named UNeMed's 2019 Most Promising New Invention at the event.

UNMC researchers Benson Edagwa, Ph.D., and Corey Hopkins, Ph.D., were presented the top honors and highlighted the 13th installment of UNeMed's awards program. Vascular surgeon and professor Jason Johanning, M.D., was also singled out with a special award.

Sponsored and hosted by UNeMed, the awards program specifically recognizes UNMC and UNO innovators and their work, conferring awards to those who have disclosed a new invention, were issued a United States patent, or had their technology licensed for further commercial development.

The awards ceremony honored a new innovation from Dr. Hopkins as the Most Promising New Invention. Dr. Edagwa was named the Emerging Inventor. Dr. Johanning's FutureAssure was named UNeTech's Startup of the Year.

Dr. Hopkins is developing a novel series of inhibitors that hold promise as treatments for several inflammatory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and inflammatory bowel disease. His inhibitors, which target phosphodiesterase 4 or PDE4, also show promise in central nervous system diseases like schizophrenia, neurodegenerative diseases and even drug addiction.

Dr. Edagwa was recognized for his contributions to innovations in the development of long-acting antiretroviral therapies.

Since he joined UNMC in 2012, Dr. Edagwa has been an inventor on 11 inventions, including three in the last year. He is also a listed inventor on 11 pending patent applications. Most of his work centers on improvements to treating HIV and Hepatitis B, and is a key inventor of LASER ART (long acting slow effective antiretroviral therapy). LASER ART shows great promise as a treatment that could be given to HIV patients once every six months or even just once a year. LASER ART was also a key component in a recent study led by Howard Gendelman, M.D., that appeared to eradicate HIV from mice -- a scientific first.

Dr. Johanning created his startup, FutureAssure, on the foundation of a device he invented that will help measure a patient's risk in surgery. The device gives medical teams objective measures to assess that risk and eventually improve outcomes and surgical safety.

The awards banquet was the culmination of Innovation Week, an annual celebration that promotes and recognizes innovation and research at UNMC and UNO.

Learn more about Innovation Week and UNeMed.

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Jeska I Dalizu
May 23, 2020 at 11:04 AM

Myayi Mlogoli. So proud of you.

Charles Lwanga Lwole
April 29, 2020 at 8:59 PM

Great Kenyan! Charles Lwanga

Paula Turpen
October 22, 2019 at 2:13 PM

Congratulations to all!