New addition to Science Learning Building lobby celebrates innovation

UMSL Innovation wall

A newly installed UMSL Innovation wall in the lobby of the Science Learning Building contains plaques recognizing UMSL inventors on issued U.S. patents. (Photo by August Jennewein)

A tribute to the inventiveness of faculty and staff at the University of Missouri–St. Louis now stands in lobby of the Science Learning Building.

Last month, facilities staff members completed construction of the UMSL Innovation wall, comprised of plaques recognizing UMSL inventors on issued U.S. patents.

There have been 54 awarded in the time that records were kept. Jianli Pan, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science, has added to that number with a patent for his technology using blockchain and smart contracts to help harden security for Internet of Things devices.

“Innovation is incredibly important,” said Tamara Wilgers, the director of the Office of Intellectual Property Management and Commercialization. “Getting these products and discoveries to market where they actually help people – that’s the reason a university patents anything.”

Academic technology transfer – shifting university derived innovation to the commercial sector for further development – adds billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year and helps support hundreds of thousands of jobs. It can also lead to the creation of new businesses and the development of new markets and industries.

Some of the inventions and discoveries with roots in higher education include life-saving vaccines and therapeutics, X-rays, webcams, Honeycrisp apples, neoprene and Google, as a plaque near the wall explains.

Technology transfer also has the added benefit of helping universities retain entrepreneurial faculty and attract quality graduate students while enhancing the institution’s reputation.

The work of UMSL inventors has led to more effective antibiotics to fight resistant superbugs, a medical device to help manage diabetes, an optometric device that detects “lazy eye” in children in time to allow for effective treatment, and improvements in analytical equipment used in water and pharmaceutical purification.

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