inventor pitch competition Presenters


Helping Patients for Treatment Using Virtual Reality

Ashok Agrawala and Elissa Redmiles (College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences; Department of Computer Science)

Ashok Agrawala joined the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland as a faculty member in 1971. He also holds joint positions with the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. For the past 30 years, he has pursued research activities in the design, implementation and performance of computer systems. He is recognized for his achievements in the areas of transient analysis of queues, distributed algorithms and hard real-time systems design. Much of his research has gained recognition through practical applications. He is the author of seven books and over 200 technical papers. Agrawala has served as consultant to the United Nations Development Program and the Government of India and as a technical expert for legal casework. His research activities have been supported by various federal agencies including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and through support from corporations including IBM, Novell and AT&T. Agrawala has advised more than 30 Ph.D. graduates who hold positions in academia, industrial research labs and high-tech companies. Prior to joining the University of Maryland, Agrawala worked at Honeywell information Systems where he successfully designed an optical character reader. Agrawala received his B.E. and M.E. degrees in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Sciences and his master's and Ph.D. degrees in applied mathematics from Harvard University. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and a member of the Association for Computing Machinery, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Sigma Xi.

Elissa Redmiles is a Ph.D. student and Dean’s Fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland. Her research uses computing and survey methodologies to improve social good, focusing primarily on usability in security and privacy. Elissa was a 2015 Eric and Wendy Schmidt Data Science for Social Good Fellow at the University of Chicago. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., she was a marketing manager and software engineer at IBM, and she completed her B.S. in computer science, cum laude, at the University of Maryland. Elissa is also an editorial board member at Data4America and the founder and president of 501(c)3 non-profit The Baby Blanket Project, which has served over 1,000 families in the U.S. and abroad.


Rotavirus and Norovirus Dual Vaccine

John Patton (College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine)

John Patton received his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech in 1980 for work on parvovirus biology and then moved to University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (1981-83) where he studied the replication of vesicular stomatitis virus as a postdoctoral fellow. He joined the faculty at the University of South Florida in 1983, where he began studies on rotavirus molecular biology. Patton moved to the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1987 and then to the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health in 1996, where he was a senior investigator and chief of the Rotavirus Molecular Biology Section. In 2015, Patton moved to the Department of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, at the University of Maryland. Patton is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of Virology, mBio and Virology. His research group emphasizes studies on the biology of viruses causing acute diarrheal diseases in infants and young children, focusing primarily on rotaviruses and noroviruses.  A primary goal of his group is to develop new generations of rotavirus-norovirus combination vaccines. 


Compositions and Strategies for Hepatitis C Vaccine Development

Brian Pierce (Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research)

Brian Pierce is a structural computational biologist with a particular interest in biomolecular modeling and design of therapeutics. After obtaining his Ph.D. in bioinformatics from Boston University in 2008, he spent two years at Pfizer as a senior scientist in the vaccine research group in San Diego, California, leading efforts in computational vaccine design for cancer and other areas. He returned to academia in 2010 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School as a research faculty member before joining the University of Maryland Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research in 2014. He has created and co-developed a number of protein docking and protein design algorithms, such as ZRANK, M-ZDOCK, ZDOCK, TCRFlexDock, and ZAFFI, and is actively exploring ways to apply these and other tools to model and design better biotherapeutics and vaccines.


Improving Therapeutic Efficacy of Antibodies by Modulating their Glycosylation State

Lai-Xi Wang (College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry) 

Lai-Xi Wang is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of Maryland. He received his Ph.D. from the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences. After postdoctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he joined the faculty of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine as a tenure-track assistant professor in 2000, was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2005 and to professor with tenure in 2009. In 2015, he joined UMD to lead efforts in developing new research programs centered on chemical biology. Wang received the 2014 Melville L. Wolfrom Award and the 2004 Young Investigator Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry, both from the American Chemical Society. He was inducted into the prestigious Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars in 2009 and was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2014. He currently chairs the Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry at the American Chemical Society. Wang’s research interests include bioorganic chemistry, chemical glycobiology and immunology with a focus on chemical biology of protein glycosylation, glycoengineering of therapeutic antibodies and HIV vaccine design. He has published more than 135 peer-reviewed papers and holds seven U.S. patents and has submitted an additional 11 patent applications.