Clemson University researchers received 15 patents in 2017

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Among the 15 patents issued to Clemson University researchers in 2017 were technologies for monitoring and controlling electric power systems, Cartesian robotic printers, lockable knee implants and composite membranes for hydrogen separation.

Inventors, entrepreneurs and university representatives gathered recently to honor Clemson University’s top inventors and patent recipients during the annual Patent Award Ceremony hosted by the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF), which facilitates and manages technology transfer for Clemson faculty.

In addition to recognizing faculty members who received patents in 2017, CURF presented the first Inventor’s Club Awards, a new honor for inventors whose innovations have taken steps toward commercialization.

The event promoted the spirit of innovation at Clemson University through showcasing the 15 patents issued for the calendar year of 2017, adding to CURF’s growing portfolio of more than 150 Clemson University technologies available for licensing. The awards program recognized researcher contributions to a variety of fields, including advanced materials, biomedical science and electrical and computer engineering.

“This networking event allows Clemson’s most innovative minds to convene in one place and be recognized for their contributions to the research community,” said Chris Gesswein, Executive Director of CURF.  “It’s a privilege to honor these inventors and celebrate how research at Clemson impacts the world. Congratulations to all the inventors for their hard work and dedication.”

Guest speaker Jack Ellenberg, Associate Vice President for the Office of Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives, gave a presentation titled “Clemson External Affairs: Reenergizing Strategic Corporate Engagement.”

CURF works alongside the university’s Division of Research to provide support to Clemson-affiliated inventors and entrepreneurs though patent protection, marketing, education, material transfer and license negotiation services. This awards event was held in conjunction with the university’s annual Research Symposium, “Moving ClemsonForward through Research.”

For a complete list of patents received in 2017, click here.

For a list of Inventor’s Club Award recipients, click here.

CURF names Executive Director

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A seasoned business executive and product-development professional has been tapped to lead the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF).


As CURF executive director, Chris Gesswein is charged with commercializing innovative Clemson technology and intellectual property and nurturing private-sector partnerships that will advance scientific discovery at Clemson and support economic growth. Gesswein, who joined CURF in 2014 as director of licensing for technology transfer, has served as interim director since 2017.

“CURF serves as the intersection of university research and the economy. Chris’ business savvy and understanding of research and development will benefit Clemson faculty, industry and the South Carolina economy,” said Tanju Karanfil, vice president for research.

Prior to joining CURF, Gesswein was vice president of business development at Ultradian Diagnostics, a startup he helped nurture to a clinical-stage medical device company while overseeing fundraising, regulatory compliance and research grants management. He has more than 20 years of experience bringing various technologies from concept to market working as a new product development and technology transfer specialist for early-stage startups as well as large multinational companies. Gesswein also operated a consulting business to assist mid-market life sciences companies and has been a co-author on approximately 21 federal SBIR/STTR and state technology-development grants.

Gesswein received his master’s degree in biotechnology and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University and his bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University. He has an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and is a member of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, the Association of University Technology Managers and the Licensing Executive Society.

“With a deep understanding of business, product development and research, Chris is well-positioned to lead a great team at CURF and was an easy, unanimous choice by the board to move the organization forward,” said CURF board Chairman George Acker.

The Clemson University Research Foundation is a 501(c)(3) corporation organized exclusively for charitable, educational or scientific purposes to promote the research enterprise at Clemson University.

Through an agency agreement with the university, the foundation is commercializing intellectual property through technology transfer; licensing agreements and new venture formations; and assisting with research development through a foundation-sponsored technology maturation program and participation in early-stage research grants and sponsored research activities.

*This article was originally published on the Clemson Newsstand. Read the full article here.*

CURF welcomes Technology Commercialization Officer

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The Clemson University Research Foundation is pleased to introduce Dr. Alan Alfano, the newest member of the CURF team.  Dr. Alfano will be working as a Technology Commercialization Officer (TCO) with Clemson inventors on biomedical, bioengineering, and life sciences technologies, among others.

Alan completed a dual BS degree from Towson University (Molecular Biology/Chemistry) in 2009, and subsequently earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, School of Medicine (Molecular Medicine) in 2015. His thesis work focused on drug resistance and metastatic spread of aggressive prostate cancer. During his time as a Ph.D. student at UMSOM, Alan also completed a technology development internship with UMVentures (UMB Technology Transfer Office), where he assisted senior staff in conducting commercial analysis and targeted marketing of selected technologies.

Following completion of his Ph.D. work at UMSOM, Alan completed a post-doctoral Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) Fellowship at the National Cancer Institute Technology Transfer Center (NCI-TTC). As a fellow at NCI TTC, Alan worked to perform a variety of invention development activities for clinicians and researchers at the NIH/NCI Center for Cancer Research. His primary subject areas of invention management/expertise include: oncology (general), experimental transplants, immunology and immunotherapeutics (e.g. novel antibodies, CARs, ADCs, RITs, etc.), vaccine development, radiation oncology, molecular diagnostics, genetics, and software/digital solutions.

Through his work in disease research, and his biotech business experience at UMB and NCI, Dr. Alfano has developed skills that will enable him to learn and adapt quickly in his new role as a Technology Commercialization Officer (TCO) with CURF.