Ashton Receives Prestigious WARF Invention Award, McClean a finalist

Photo of Randy AshtonEach fall the WARF Innovation Awards recognize some of the best inventions at UW-Madison.  From more over 350 innovation disclosures, and six finalists, the WARF 2020 Innovation Awards winners include the team of BTP Faculty Mentor Randolph Ashton, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Gavin Knight, Benjamin Knudsen and Nisha Iyer.  Their work, Superior Neural Tissue Models for Disease Modeling, Drug Development and More, involves stem cell-derived models of human tissue. This technology provides a critical step toward bioengineering brain and spinal cord organoids (simplified organs) with applications such as toxicology screening.

To be selected as a finalist for the WARF Innovation Award the work must:

  • Have potential for high long-term impact
  • Present an exciting solution to a known important problem
  • Have opportunity to produce broad benefits for humankind

The other winning team is Jenny Gumperz and Dana Baiu for their work, Killer Combination: Multicell Conjugates for Activating Antigen-Specific T Cell Responses.

A panel of independent judges selected the winners from 350 plus invention disclosures submitted to WARF during the past 12 months.  The winning teams each receive an award of $10,000, with the funds going to the UW–Madison inventors named on the breakthroughs.

Photo of Megan McCleanOther finalist included BTP Faculty Mentor Megan McClean, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Bhuvana Krishnaswamy for Next-Generation Biosensors.

Randolph Ashton is a BTP faculty mentor and supporter of the BTP and currently is a mentor to BTP trainee, Britney Washington a fourth-year graduate student in biomedical engineering.

Visit the WARF News and Media website to find out more on the six finalists, winners and a video of Professor Ashton describing their work.