From the moment you step through the doors of UTD’s Innovation Quarter, you can feel the energy. This newly constructed workplace is home to entrepreneurs launching startups and some top university researchers expanding their research and perspectives. This contemporary open space is ideal for events, and the Inventors Luncheon on January 27th was an excellent example of this. The expansive space lent itself to letting some of the best and the brightest socialize and enjoy a wonderful catered meal.
Research plays a critical role in the innovation process. The University of Texas at Dallas values its faculty and the dynamic results they have achieved. To quote Steve Guengerich, Associate Vice President for Innovation and Commercialization, “One of the modern obligations for a Tier 1 research institution such as UTD is that innovations from the laboratory that are driven by state-of-the-art research become the source of new inventions and ultimately commercial ventures.” The inventors attending this luncheon represent this promise fulfilled. It was created to celebrate their successes.
One of the great success stories at this luncheon was presented by guest speaker Rockford Draper, Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry. Morquio A Syndrome is a rare and progressive inherited disease affecting major body organ systems. Developing treatments for rare diseases is economically challenging. However, many severe conditions affect 6-8% of the world’s population, and they need help. As a result, governments created incentive programs to support treatments for rare diseases. In the US, this is the Orphan Drug Act of 1983. The research here at UT Dallas led to a collaboration with a pharmaceutical company, and there is now a treatment!