Florida Gator Magazine

Innovation U

From voting to vaccines, UF inventions improve lives and boost Florida's economy

By Sara Dagen (BS 89, MEd 13) UF Innovate Published June 3, 2019

Welcome to Tech-Ville

When I first started at UF Innovate | Tech Licensing in 2015, I thought “plasma” was what you could give at a blood bank when you were strapped for cash. “Attitude” was what you exhibited – good or bad – in your approach to daily life, and “gene therapy” was dress-down Fridays.

Imagine my surprise when I edited tech summaries that described using plasma (a hot, ionized gas) to sterilize equipment or to power a fan as flat as wallpaper. I learned that “attitude control” refers to the orientation of spacecraft in space. And “gene therapy” is much better than wearing denim. It’s therapy delivered by a virus to correct a genetic disease, such as blindness.

My first months in the office were a virtual vocabulary lesson. I have since learned to expect words and ideas well beyond my scope.

What kind of ideas come through UF Innovate | Tech Licensing? Anything a UF researcher, student or staffer can imagine.

UF Innovate — which includes Tech Licensing, Ventures and two business incubators, The Hub and Sid Martin Biotech — are at the heart of UF’s tradition of translational research, commonly called “bench to bedside” or “lab to market.” This research is driven by a mission to improve lives. UF Innovate provides the entrepreneurial ecosystem to grow these ideas into innovative products or services.

People from all over the university report their more than 300 discoveries a year to UF Innovate. Each is novel or unique in some way, and so the path from lab to market can be quite a puzzle. That’s why UF Innovate entities comprise so many roles and responsibilities.

Since 2015, UF Innovate has licensed about 450 technologies. Not bad for just four years’ work.

On the following pages, we proudly present a tiny sampling of these innovations borne from Gator ingenuity.

Commercial drones

Altavian builds tactical and commercial drones with open architecture modular systems.

EnCor Biotechnology
Antibody reagents

Produces antibodies used to detect the presence of specific proteins for research and commercial uses.

New generation electronic displays

Nanophotonica provides innovative nano-materials and fabrication techniques that enable electronic displays to have high resolution, pure, vivid colors and high efficiency at significantly reduced manufacturing cost using Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diodes (QLEDs). In development with collaboration from Lockheed Martin and Samsung.

Banyan Biomarkers
Blood test to aid in the evaluation of concussions

With support from the U.S. Department of Defense and researcher partners all over the world, Banyan Biomarkers makes a blood test to rule out the need for a computed tomography (CT) scan in adults who have a suspected head injury. In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed for the marketing of the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator®.

Wireless, external fetal monitoring equipment

OBMedical (now part of Philips fetal and maternal monitoring) developed wireless electronic maternal-fetal monitoring systems for use during labor and delivery to measure the status of the mother and unborn baby. The company’s first product, the LaborView Wireless Electrode System, is an external sensor system that measures contractions and heart rates of both mother and baby during labor and delivery.

The Rebirth of UF’s Innovation Community

In 2018, UF united its four commercialization entities under one umbrella, moving research out of the labs and into people’s lives.

UF Innovate: the umbrella organization for UF’s four entities below

  • Tech Licensing: the “patent people” who help innovators protect their intellectual property and find licensees that
    can further develop or use those inventions
  • Sid Martin Biotech and The Hub: UF’s two business
    incubators that nurture startup companies with the
    resources and expertise they need to thrive
  • Ventures: fuels growth in the number and quality of
    UF startup companies.

Air purifier

Uses nanotechnology at the molecular level to eliminate airborne allergens, mold, bacteria, viruses and volatile organic compounds.

Microscopic image analysis

Specializes in extracting insights from microscopic images. Combines computer vision technology with human expertise to provide robust, accurate and customizable image analysis.

Clinical stage gene therapy for genetic eye conditions

This company develops genetic therapies to treat patients with inherited eye conditions. The most advanced therapy programs are designed to restore visual function/sight to patients with rare blinding conditions.

Nerve grafts for nerve regeneration and repair

Listed as AXGN on the stock exchange, this company is focused specifically on the science, development and commercialization of technologies for peripheral nerve regeneration and repair. This company aims to restore peripheral nerve function and quality of life to patients with physical damage or discontinuity to peripheral nerves by providing innovative, clinically proven and economically effective repair solutions for surgeons and health care providers.

Brammer Bio
Viral vector manufacturer supporting gene therapy

Thermo Fisher Scientific recently acquired UF-spinoff Brammer Bio, which produces clinical and commercial viral vectors for gene and cell therapies.


A glucose-free health drink that provides select amino acids and electrolytes. It can manage side effects, such as diarrhea, brought on by treatments for cancer, dehydration, weight maintenance, malaise, fatigue and general GI symptoms.

Florida Insect Control Group
Mosquito and flying insect trap, chips, stickers

Developed with UF’s Urban Entomology Lab, these products control mosquitoes and are in the final phases of the U.S. EPA registration process.

Robotic-arm-assisted knee and hip replacement surgery

UF researchers Scott Banks and B.J. Fregly helped design knee implants, used in combination with MAKO Surgical’s robot-assisted surgical arm, to enable more precise, customized surgery followed by an easier and faster recovery.

Sharkskin-inspired surface texture to inhibit bacterial growth

The world’s first technology to inhibit bacterial growth through surface pattern alone. The plastic surface is comprised of millions of microscopic features arranged in a distinct pattern (above), which inhibits bacteria from attaching, colonizing and forming biofilms. Sharklet contains no toxic additives or chemicals, uses no antibiotics or antimicrobials and is used in catheters, endotrachial tubes and wound dressings.

Assurance Nasal Alar Sensor

This patient-monitoring technology measures blood oxygen levels and other physiological systems through a sensor attached to the nasal ala.


Developed with UF’s Urban Entomology Lab, these products control mosquitoes and are in the final phases of the U.S. EPA registration process.

Shadow Health
Healthcare simulation software allows students to practice on virtual patients

Provides medical educators and students conversation-based learning opportunities with a cast of virtual patients.

Vaccine formulations to prevent or reverse Type 1 diabetes

This company’s formulas incorporate biomaterials and polymers for applications including multicomponent and time-release drug delivery.

Verigo (FreshCloud)
Smart sensor pods that track conditions of produce or other perishables

FreshCloud tech platform uses sensors, internet connectivity, data analytics, genomics and expertise to provide insight into the condition of produce every step of the way from harvest to retail shelves.

Gila Therapeutics
New treatments for obesity and related metabolic diseases

Using a unique and recently discovered direct neural pathway between the tongue and brain, Gila is developing a medicine that — when applied to the tongue prior to meals — directly stimulates the brain’s satiety centers, inducing early fullness.

Semiconductor polishing

This technology smoothes semiconductor surfaces in a rapid, reliable and cost-effective way that ultimately maximizes performance and reduces the cost of devices, such as solar panels, consumer electronics and defense optical systems.


World’s first MRI-Guided radiation therapy system to image and treat cancer patients simultaneously.

Prime III
Accessible electronic voting

A voting syetem that gives people with difficulty seeing, hearing, speaking, reading or other physical disabilities the ability to vote securely, privately and with dignity.

Curtiss Healthcare

This biopharmaceutical company is developing a platform of new vaccines designed to help make our world a safer place through technologies that improve food quality and safety, as well as help treat and prevent serious infections in humans and animals.

By Sara Dagen (BS 89, MEd 13) UF Innovate Published June 3, 2019
Florida Gator This article originally appeared in Florida Gator Magazine, a benefit for members of the UF Alumni Association.