PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Rex Huffman, manager of Transit Services, shows how to use the new transit GPS system on a web-enabled cell phone.
|Students ride on time thanks to new transit technology
University students no longer have an excuse for being late to class
thanks to new technology being utilized by the university's Tiger
Transit bus system.
AU NEWS BRIEFS
Faculty-staff campaign gets record participation
Limestone County alumni give back to AU
Morgan County alumni create scholarships at AU
Madison County alumni create AU scholarships
North Alabama alumni create AU scholarships
State representative contributes to AU fundraising campaign
AU's OcuMedic takes grand prize at 2007 Launchpad competition
University's OcuMedic team took home the grand prize and $100,000 in
the finals of the 2007 Alabama Launchpad business plan competition held
on the AU campus May 21-22. The statewide annual event is a joint
effort of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing
68 of the state's leading companies, and six Alabama universities.
OcuMedic is a drug delivery company led by Mark Byrne, a faculty member
in AU's Department of Chemical Engineering, with proprietary,
patent-pending technology developed within Byrne's lab that creates
therapeutic contact lenses to deliver medications more effectively to
"It is quite an honor to have been selected as the grand prize winner
from such a strong field," said Byrne, who will be a founder and the
chief technology officer of OcuMedic. "I was impressed by the strength
of the plans and presentations as well as the variety and depth of the
technologies showcased in this competition.
"This award gives us the needed boost to form OcuMedic, along with my
team member Paul Byrne, who will be founder and CEO," he said. "It is
the result of the hard work and dedication of a number of graduate and
undergraduate students who performed research in the development of
these novel therapeutic lenses. They are as excited as I am to see our
work move closer to helping people."
The team was one of eight finalists in a field of 61. A second Auburn
team, Distributed Carpet Nylon Recycling led by Paul Swamidass,
professor of management in the AU College of Business, also made it to
the finals. The company has developed a patented chemical process for
recovery and recycling of nylon from waste carpet.
Alabama Launchpad was founded in 2006 to provide seed financing to high
growth businesses on an annual basis; to create a statewide event that
brings together various regional and technology-based interests; and to
market and promote the economic opportunities for technology
development in Alabama. Alabama Launchpad is open to any high-growth
venture as long as one member of the team is affiliated with one of the
five founding universities.
"This competition is a showcase of some of the best research being done
in Alabama," said Glenn Kinstler, director of Alabama Launchpad. "The
range of ideas is remarkable. Not only are we seeing impressive science
and ideas, but also impressive business acumen."
This year's business proposals included novel biotechnology
applications, innovative electronic devices and ideas for new
information technology companies and news services organizations. The
top three teams receive seed financing as well as cash prizes. The
grand prize was $100,000; the prize for first runner-up was $50,000;
and the prize for second runner-up, $25,000. The grand prize winners
also received six months of rent to start their business, as well as
other operational support.
"This was a great opportunity for participants to present their
business ideas to venture capitalists and chief executives," said
Byrne. "There were also opportunities to establish working
relationships with members of the business, academic and investment
Runners up included two teams from the University of Alabama at
Huntsville. Halo Research, in second place, developed a wearable health
monitoring system that uses wireless technology to monitor the health
and lifestyle of the elderly. In third place was IntelCell, developer
of a compact, precision cell-culture system that provides greater
experimental control and reduces human error and costs.
The founding partner universities, Alabama A&M University, Auburn
University, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at
Birmingham and the University of Alabama in Huntsville, were recently
joined by Auburn University at Montgomery. To learn more log on to www.alabamalaunchpad.com.
Solving water resource problems focus of Auburn University conference
industry leaders and government officials will gather in Auburn June 14
and 15 to seek solutions to growing problems with the availability,
quality, protection and utilization of the nation's water supply.
The Auburn University conference, "Bridging the Gap Between Science,
People and Policies," will examine the impact of water resources upon
individual health, food production, homeland security, economic growth
and recreation. It will also serve as a catalyst for developing a model
water distribution system and a comprehensive water management policy
for local and state governments.