Two UA researchers win innovation awards


Dr. Joseph Kennedy (left) and Dr. Mukerrem Cakmak

Dr. Joseph Kennedy, UA distinguished professor of polymer science and chemistry, and Dr. Mukerrem Cakmak, UA professor of polymer engineering, were awarded the 2009 NorTech Innovation Award in the biosciences category for their artificial pancreas technology. The honor was presented on Feb. 18 in Cleveland.

Kennedy and Cakmak collaborated to make a biocompatible, polymer-coated nanofiber tube populated with insulin-producing cells from a pig. This implantable device could become the first long-term cure for diabetes.  

Also from UA, Dr. Steven Chuang, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Dr. Judit Puskas, professor of polymer science, were among the 20 innovators from throughout Northeast Ohio who made the semifinalists list. Chuang was selected for his carbon sequestration, or CO2 capture, which could significantly reduce greenhouse emissions. Puskas was selected for her development of a carbon nanocomposite based on thermoplastic rubber and silica. This biomaterial is targeted to become a safer breast implant material than the present-day silicone shell.

The NorTech Innovation Awards recognize meaningful innovations originating from universities, companies, nonprofit organizations and entrepreneurs throughout the region. Presented by Crain's Cleveland Business, the program grants awards in categories including biosciences, instrumentation controls and electronics, advanced materials, information and communications technologies, and advanced energy, power and propulsion.