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Crowds throng the Innovation Day event in search of new engineering business developments.

Automotive Engineers Give Best Tradeshow Pitch at Innovation Day

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Automotive Engineers Give Best Tradeshow Pitch at Innovation Day

March 29, 2010
Hundreds of people, including potential investors, browsed the aisles of Innovation Day at UA’s Innovation Showcase to learn about new business ideas.

Research pushing new discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace was the focus of the 7th Annual Innovation Day at UA held at the Student Union March 23.

About 375 people attended Innovation Day events, including an awards lunch and Innovation Showcase that allowed 28 teams of UA students from the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program and clients of the Arizona Center for Innovation to exhibit their plans for new businesses to potential investors and the public.

"This event allows us to showcase and honor new technologies emerging from the UA," said Jeffrey Goldberg, dean of the UA College of Engineering. Goldberg moderated UA on the Leading Edge, an awards presentation to five top UA projects advancing technology.

Student entrepreneurs exhibiting their business plan looked for ways to address needs in the marketplace.

Wheels of Industry

People pay thousands of dollars to upgrade the wheels on their vehicles without getting exactly what they want, and a team of UA students has developed a way to offer fully customizable wheels to meet the needs of any automotive aficionado.

G-Fabrications' Web site will allow customers to fully design custom wheels to better personalize their vehicles, said Lee Klein, the firm's general manager. "Each rim is one of a kind," he said.

The firm's engineering design team will review the customer's wheel design and run stringent computer simulations to ensure that the wheels will be safe for real world driving, said Josh Klein, company production and operations manager and UA mechanical engineering and engineering management student. The wheels, to be produced by an outside source, will also be carefully inspected before delivery to the customer, he said.

The G-Fabrications student team was awarded the best tradeshow pitch prize for their work at the Innovation Showcase. Other team members are Colleen Quirk, Timothy Relinski, Rory Juneman and Pete Mittleholzer.

From Lab to Market

Innovation Day also honored two researchers for their achievements in moving original ideas from the lab to the marketplace.

Arizona Cancer Center researchers Eugene W. Gerner won the $10,000 Technology Innovation Award and Samantha Kendrick won the $1,000 Student Technology Innovation Award.

Gerner, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer program at the Arizona Cancer Center, professor of cell biology and anatomy and co-founder of UA technology transfer spinoff company Cancer Prevention Therapeutics, was honored for his work in developing therapies to prevent and cure risk factors that cause cancer.

"We're at the interface of prevention and treatment," he said of his treatment called CPP-1X, which is in Phase 3 clinical trials.

Tests have shown the therapy's efficacy in treating colon, prostate and some types of skin cancer, said Gerner, a member of the UA BIO5 Institute. "The bigger picture is the majority of cancers that influence people in our country and worldwide."

The therapeutics could be available to the public in two to three years, pending successful U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, he said.

Kendrick, a UA doctoral candidate in the Cancer Center's Cancer Biology Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, is working on methods to effectively treat cancers that have become resistant to treatments like chemotherapy to cause cell death.