To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: July Innovation Insights
Date: Thu Jul 31 20:54:34 MDT 2014
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Innovation Insights
Volume 8, Issue 46 July 31, 2014
In This Issue
Save The Date
Utah Global Forum
Cancer Therapeutics
Mercury Monitoring
Code Camp
In The News
The University of Utah plans to build a residence hall that blurs life and work the same way tech giants Facebook and Google do at their headquarters. The new building is part of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the Eccles School of Business...   Read more

USU Researchers want to cure 'range anxiety' in electric cars. The fear of running out of power in an all electric car is called "range anxiety." On June 25, USU received approval to move forward with plans for a new research facility that would include technology for recharging electric vehicles...  Read more
Partner Events
Utah Game Wars Begin
This year's Game Wars will coincide with Salt Lake Comic Con, which will feature winners at their gaming pavilion. Applications will be accepted through Aug. 17. More information and registration  here.

Women Tech Awards 
will host its Seventh Annual Women Tech Awards Luncheon on Sept. 17, honoring 17 women and 5 university students in the technology field. The Tech Awards recognize technology-focused women who are driving innovation, leading technology companies, and are key contributors to the community. More information and registration here. 

PTAC Procurement Symposium
The Utah Procurement Technical Assistance Center will host its 9th annual Procurement Symposium on Thursday, Oct. 23. The symposium includes breakout training sessions, reverse trade show, keynote speaker and PTAC awards. More information and registration here .
Save The Date
A two-day symposium to stimulate innovation, collaboration and
commercialization and build entrepreneurial excitement coming to the U of U campus November 3-4, 2014.

  Utah Global Forum

The fastest team flight around the world was completed in 57 hours and 54 minutes. Utah will do it in twelve. At this September’s Utah Global Forum (UGF), presented by Governor Gary R. Herbert, Utah business owners will learn from top global business executives and get inspired to reach the 95 percent of customers outside of the nation’s borders.

Along with Gov. Herbert, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), World Trade Center Utah (WTCU) and the Salt Lake Chamber are hosting this interactive and cutting-edge event with a rapid-fire presentation format. Speakers are selected to present on topics that will help businesses who want to reach new and promising markets or who want to start exporting their company’s products or services. The event is organized so Utah business owners connect with a diverse domestic and international business audience.

The event focuses on the export markets in Mexico, China, Europe and the Middle East—all geographical areas with a high potential for export success. Experts in the marketplaces of the identified geographical areas will speak on what made their companies successful in these countries. Speakers will also be available to converse with attendees during the day’s events. This is a must-attend event for those who want to expand their export trade, particularly in China, Mexico, Europe and the Middle East.

Registration and more information here.

UT to Lead Cancer Therapeutics Industry
Cancer therapeutics and drug discovery are vital areas of research and are constantly evolving as we seek to find new methods to cure the disease and develop new treatment options. With its world-class research institutions and a history of genetic discovery, Utah is positioned to become a leader in the cancer therapeutics industry. Two Utah companies, Mesagen and TheraTarget, are ahead of the curve in Utah when it comes to the advancement of cancer therapeutics. 

Mesagen is a Salt Lake City-based biological company working on cancer stem cell therapeutics, based in the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) supported by BioInnovations Gateway. The company has acquired a proteomic database from Myriad Pharmaceuticals which contains 35,000 different protein-protein interactions representing over 5,500 different human proteins. The database is used to discover protein ligands that bind to therapeutic targets for cancer stem cell therapy.

Scott Morham, CEO and CSO of Mesagen, said we get cancer every day, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Our immune systems mostly wipe the cancer out, but every now and again an early progenitor cell or multipotent cell becomes transformed, thus forming a cancer stem cell that can differentiate into the various types of tissues needed to form a tumor and promote metastasis. Read more here

Spin-Out Commercializes Mercury Instrument
It’s no surprise that mercury, a neurotoxin, can have adverse effects on human health, and a Utah State University researcher is leading a new commercialization that will improve tracking and evaluation of atmospheric mercury measurements.
Scientists at research institutions and government agencies around the world are currently measuring atmospheric mercury. They do this because mercury pollution is a threat to human health and ecosystems. Humans and wildlife are exposed to toxic levels of mercury primarily by eating mercury-contaminated fish. Most mercury pollution is emitted into the atmosphere and then deposited back into aquatic ecosystems There it undergoes a chemical transformation into methylmercury, a more toxic form of mercury, which then accumulates in fish.

Measurements of atmospheric mercury, and in particular gas-phase oxidized mercury compounds, have been used in development of regulations by EPA and in the development of global treaties regarding mercury use. There are several different mercury compounds that exist in the atmosphere and there are various ways to measure them. However, measuring the oxidized mercury compounds has proven to be a difficult task.

Seth Lyman, a Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR) investigator and director of the Utah State University (USU) Bingham Entrepreneurship and Energy Research Center (BEERC), is commercializing an automated mercury calibration device that will assist people who measure oxidized mercury compounds and help them to understand how mercury moves through the environment. The instrument will provide more accurate compound measurements that will allow regulators and policymakers to understand the measurements when developing regulations or policies to limit mercury use or emissions. Read more here.

Programming the Southern UT Tech Pipeline
The number of unfilled software development positions among St. George tech-based companies is a good indicator that the region is experiencing a shortage of qualified programmers. However, opportunities like Code Camp, a yearly programming, design and entrepreneurship contest, help grow and develop the future pipeline that will satisfy not only local businesses, but make St. George an attractive option for outside tech firms.

Tech builders, from the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR) to the Utah State University (USU) 4-H coders, are building the tech pipeline in southern Utah that will propel the region’s economic growth.Joshua Aikens, chair of Dixie Technical Association, says that more vexing than the shortfall of programmers is the issue that of those precious few, a large portion are unprepared after four years at a university to take even an entry level or internship position for a local company.

“Programming is hard and four years is often not enough time for a student to become proficient,” said Aikens. “What if you started learning English during your first semester of college? Would you be prepared to write a novel upon graduation?”

Jeff Poulton, CEO of Rocketmade and chair of Southern Utah Code Camp said Code Camp is a competition, not an instruction based experience. Learning and instruction for programming is available at Dixie State University, Southern Utah University and Dixie Applied Technology College, or “code schools”. Read more here.


“The development of new therapeutics is multidisciplinary, requiring the identification of new cancer targets with initial identification of molecules active against those targets and then the development of those leads into treatments that can be tested in cancer patients. With the USTAR initiative, we plan to have in place all the components necessary for developing new, more effective treatments.” - Darrell Davis, Chairman of the U of U Department of Medicinal Chemistry
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