IPS Quarterly Update: Winter 2018

Innovation News from SPS Annual Report

NemaMetrix, a UO biotechnology start-up company, was the winner in the “Most Innovative Health Company” category at CB Insights’ Demo Day. From a pool of more than 2,000 applicants, 40 of the most ground-breaking early-stage startups were selected to present their ideas and products to the judges as the kick-off to the A-ha! conference on December 12, 2017. Located in San Francisco, CB Insights is one of the premier venture capital analytics companies.

NemaMetrix was founded in 2011 based on the research of UO professors Shawn Lockery and Janis Weeks. NemaMetrix has developed and sells a platform for using the nematode worm C. elegans as a model organism for directly studying the neurophysiology of a whole organism in real time. Using C. elegans offers researchers a more affordable and rapid system that supplements the traditional mouse model to better study and understand human diseases. NemaMetrix’s ScreenChip System holds the nematode in place, doses it with the drug of interest and collects the electrophysiological data – how the living nematode responds to the drug.

Read more in the Portland Business Journal.

New Industry-University Cooperative Research Center

The University of Oregon is set to embark on the first phase of a new Industry–University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) for the Center for Big Learning (CBL). Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the CBL has a mission to advance research on Deep Learning (DL) technology and real-world applications by pooling the resources of multiple academic sites with a large number of industry stakeholders. IUCRC is the NSF-directed model of academic, government, and industry partnership.
Deep Learning models and algorithms in the field of computer and information science comprise the latest breakthrough in machine intelligence. DL promises the efficient and large-scale proliferation of the complex artificial neural networks inspired by the structure and function of the brain. While DL holds great potential in both academia and industry, much of the research is currently conducted on a small scale, often hindering real world application and progress. The CBL will consist of four founding sites across the nation: University of Oregon, University of Florida, Carnegie Mellon University, and University of Missouri at Kansas City, and will also include more than 60 multidisciplinary faculty members and over 40 industry partners spanning healthcare information technology to education technology companies. The expertise of each site and its participants represents the full spectrum of academia, ranging from computing and modality in industries such as business and healthcare. By joining the CBL, each member is able to contribute its own unique knowledge and specialties and provide particular enhancements to its products and services as a result of pooling resources through the CBL. Industry participation helps university researchers align technologies they are developing for broad market applicability.  
Those involved say the UO is an ideal site to enable research for DL technology. Eugene is a city consisting of strong large-scale distribution systems and applications in a number of industries including business, healthcare and social networks. UO is also well-equipped with high-performing computing (HPC) and big data facilities, including Talapas, a new supercomputer capable of 250 trillion calculations per second. Recently, UO also invested $2 million in the Allen Hall Data Center, a research core facility to support research grants and collaboration across innovators and institutions. Further investment in infrastructure is evident in the Lewis Integrative Science Building, a $65 million venture that houses a number of training labs and facilities.

The UO research team led by Professor Dejing Dou from the Computer and Information Science Department (CIS) will focus on deep learning algorithm design and big data/systems, and their applications in healthcare, the Internet of things and business. Professor Dou is the director of the UO site of the CBL. UO professor Allen Malony (also from CIS) is the co-director for the UO site. UO professor Joe Sventek, department head of CIS, chairs the University Policy Committee at UO for the center. There are 16 professors on the CBL team, including five collaborative faculty members from Boston University, NJIT, University of Arkansas and Tsinghua University (China). Detailed information about the team and projects can be found at nsfcbl.cs.uoregon.eduChuck Williams, director of Innovation Partnership Services, will serve on the University Policy Committee at UO, which will help develop the infrastructure for CBL.

“I am excited to help our faculty build out UO’s first IUCRC site and look forward to working with more UO IUCRC sites in the future," Williams said 

Williams says CBL research has the potential to further the vision of an intelligence-driven society with the promise of opportunity and cutting-edge products and services. The work done by UO and all of the other CBL members will help lead the next generation of DL innovation and advancement and enhance countless industries and fields across the world.


Innovation Partnership Services
Innovation Partnership Services works with UO innovators, the public, and industry to accelerate the adoption of innovations derived from UO research and education.

Phone: (541) 346-3176          E-mail: techtran@uoregon.edu