UMSL scientist named 2014 Inventor of the Year

UMSL’s Zhi Xu has been named 2014 “Inventor of the Year” by The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis for creating an inexpensive, noninvasive blood glucose monitor. (Photo by August Jennewein)

A University of Missouri–St. Louis researcher, who developed a portable, inexpensive, noninvasive blood glucose monitor for people with diabetes, has been named 2014 “Inventor of the Year” by The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis.

Zhi Xu, associate professor of chemistry at UMSL, is lead researcher on the project, which involves a small monitor that will allow for pain-free, convenient detection of glucose levels in capillaries of the finger with no waste (strips, lancets, etc.) and no need to draw blood.

Xu and St. Louis Medical Devices Inc., which was formed to commercialize his technology, won the “Inventor of the Year” competition in the “Start-ups” category. There were 14 nominees in the startup category. UMSL has licensed patent rights for the device to St. Louis Medical Devices Inc., a company headquartered at UMSL’s own startup company incubator, Innovative Technology Enterprises, to bring the device to market.

Currently, the monitor is undergoing international clinical testing.

“There have been 25 years of attempts to create such a noninvasive glucose monitor. I think we’ve done it,” Xu was quoted as saying in a 2011 article in UMSL Daily.

The noninvasive glucose monitor is based upon multiple inventions from Xu’s lab that are either patented or pending patents in the United States and other countries.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body either does not produce insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or does not properly use insulin (Type 2 diabetes). Blood glucose monitoring plays a critical role in the treatment of diabetes, and frequent measurement has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of negative health outcomes such as damage to the nerves, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and heart.

The BAMSL competition is based on submittals that can come from any member of the entire The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis that has more than 5,600 lawyers, judges, paralegals and legal support professionals.


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