U Wins Stoel Rives Utah Innovation Award

U Wins Stoel Rives Utah Innovation Award

May 19, 2004 6:00 PM

The University of Utah received a Stoel Rives Utah Innovation Award on Thursday for designing a way to more easily detect disease-causing mutations in DNA.

Carl Wittwer, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology at the U School of Medicine, accepted the award for the U and Idaho Technology Inc., which worked with the School of Medicines Center for Homogenous DNA Analysis to develop High Resolution Mutation Scanning--a novel system for mutation scanning and discovery. The program was funded by the state of Utah Center of Excellence Program.

Wittwer, who co-founded Idaho Technology, accepted the award in the biotechnology category at a luncheon Thursday in conjunction with the Edison Conference, a gathering of entrepreneurs, inventors, and high-tech startups to learn how to commercialize their technologies.

The Utah Innovation Awards were developed by Stoel Rives, a business law firm, and Wasatch Digital iQ magazine, in conjunction with the Utah Engineering Experiment Station, with support from MountainWest Venture Group, Utah Information Technology Association, and Utah Life Science Association. A committee of 35 experts from private industry, government, and higher education selected three finalists in each of six categories--biotechnology; chemicals, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals; medical devices; computer software and Web services; electrical devices; and mechanical devices.

Another U of U School of Medicine faculty member, Dana Carroll, Ph.D., professor and chair of biochemistry at the U of U School of Medicine, also was a finalist in biotechnology. Caroll was nominated for developing, in collaboration with former faculty member Marina Bibikova, a technique called Targeted Gene Manipulation, which allows alteration of genes in many different organisms. Hybrid proteins called zinc finger nucleases stimulate the replacement of a chromosomal gene with a version of that gene modified in the laboratory.

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