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Faculty companies advance technology to market
Nebraska faculty are launching startup companies to bring research innovation to the marketplace.
Teams begin by licensing the university’s intellectual property from NUtech Ventures before further developing it for commercial use. The following companies are commercializing technology to improve organic weed control, surface de-icing, pediatric cancer detection and gut health.
Agricultural Flaming Innovations
Agricultural Flaming Innovations is founded by George Gogos, professor of mechanical and materials engineering; Stevan Knezevic, professor of agronomy and horticulture; and Chris Bruening, who received his doctorate in mechanical and materials engineering from Nebraska. The team developed equipment that uses heat for certified organic weed control. When mounted to a tractor, it directs propane-fueled flames at weeds, which wilt and die, leaving crops unaffected. The company currently sells different sizes of equipment for weed control in corn, soybean, sunflower and sorghum crops. Gogos and Knezevic also work with farmers to teach them the right method to use with various crops.
Conductive Concrete Technologies
Conductive Concrete Technologies, LLC, is founded by Christopher Y. Tuan, professor of civil engineering, and his son, Christopher B. Tuan. The team installs a conductive concrete snow-melting system for de-icing, which is based on Tuan’s 2019 patent to ensure electrical safety. The concrete mixture also has applications for electromagnetic pulse shielding and indoor radiant heating. The team has successfully implemented the de-icing technology in multiple boarding platforms along Kansas City bus routes, keeping them clear of snow and ice to improve safety for the general public.
Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals
Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals is founded by Stephen DiMagno, formerly a chemistry professor at Nebraska. The company develops F-18 radiotracers: radioactive labels that are detected by a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, which is commonly used to detect cancer, heart problems and other diseases. The company’s technology has unique applications for detecting pediatric neuropediatric neuroblastoma, a cancer that is found in the nerve tissue of infants and young children.
Synbiotic Health is co-founded by Nebraska’s Bob Hutkins, Andy Benson and Tom Burkey, as well as the University of Alberta’s Jens Walters and CEO Tim Brummels. A synbiotic, the company’s namesake, refers to the mixture of beneficial bacteria and fiber-like fuel that may be more effective at delivering health benefits when paired together. The team formed Synbiotic Health with the goal of commercializing synbiotic combinations as ingredients for food and beverage products.