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Innovation Celebration Honors Asmussen, Basso, Reguera

The 2016 Innovation Celebration highlights groundbreaking technology from MSU labs and startup companies from across Michigan State University’s campus. Drones, neural communication, advanced engine systems, improved plant varieties and many more fascinating technologies are showcased, along with new startup companies.  

The MSU Innovation Center recognizes the MSU Innovator of the Year, Innovation or the Year and an award for Technology Transfer Achievement. Commended for their perseverance and creativity at the MSU Innovation Celebration, awardees are presented with plaques and a cash prize.

“The road to creating something new is a long process that requires hard work, dedication and immense creativity. The technologies and companies being created by MSU faculty and students are something that needs to be shared with our community and the World,” said Charles Hasemann, Assistant VP for Innovation & Economic Development at Michigan State University and MSU Innovation Center Executive Director. “These prolific inventors and thinkers are creating technologies that will improve the way people live and create a better quality of life. The Innovation Center is here to provide resources and make it possible for MSU faculty and students to continue on the path of creativity.”

The 2016 Innovation of the Year award goes to Dr. Bruno Basso for his work with crop growth management technology. Basso, a professor in the department of geological sciences, is creating algorithms and software involving advanced crop system models that incorporate plant physiology to predict the impact of weather, soil and management practices on crop yield. Basso is exploring the advances and limitations of different air and space-borne platforms to combine remotely sensed crop data with in-field yield and soil data and process this data to predict yield effects and return-on-investment for changing agricultural management practices. Basso’s approach is to integrate diverse disciplines to understand the overall agricultural systems and to improve decision-making across a broad spectrum of stakeholders, from the smallholder farmer in the developing world to the industrial producer and policy maker at all scales.

The 2016 Innovator of the Year is Dr. Gemma Reguera, associate professor in the department of microbiology and molecular genetics. Reguera has developed a system to extract bioproducts from waste via microbial electrochemical reactors. Geobacter bacteria transfer electrons to external electron accepters in order to gain energy for growth. This process has the potential to assist in remediation of radioactive and toxic metals and in generation of renewable energy. In addition to remediating toxins and generating renewable energy, Reguera and her lab are further developing microbial electrochemical reactors using mixed cultures fermentative organisms with Geobacter to produce the polymer precursor 1,3-propanediol. 1,3-PDO can be used to formulate industrial products such as composites, adhesives, laminates, and polyesters.

The 2016 MSU Technology Transfer Achievement Award goes to Dr. Jes Asmussen, university distinguished professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering. Asmussen holds nearly 50 national and international patents in the field of microwave technology and processing. The Technology Transfer award has being given to Asmussen for his work on microwave plasma machines and processes to produce synthetic diamonds. His work with microwave technology has been critical to the advance of the semiconductor industry. Microwave energy generates unique properties for a variety of gas plasma processes. Conventional microwave plasma reactors are often limited at both high and low pressure extremes due to minimal tuning and control capability, but Dr. Asmussen’s design incorporates proprietary internal tuning and precise control of microwave mode and plasma conditions, which enable operation at the extremes for desired plasma applications.

The MSU Innovation Center also announced the first cohort of startups that will join the Conquer Accelerator this summer.

For more information about the Innovation Celebration, including images and videos of winners, please visit http://innovationcenter.msu.edu/events/2016-msu-innovation-celebration