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Honors & Other Things
May 25, 2010, Volume 56, No. 34

2010 PennVention Prize Winners

PennVention is the annual student inventors’ competition at Penn that takes students through the processes of bringing an idea from conceptualization to commercialization. Weiss Tech House provides the tools and resources necessary to help students create, develop and commercialize innovative products or services. This year’s winners are:

$5,000 Grand Prize: PD Solutions

$2,500 Second Prize: U + Capital

$1,000 Third Prize: Flipables

Bresslergroup Best Product Concept Award: eCheck

QVC Consumer Innovation Award: Pocket Grill

Paramount Additive Manufacturing Award: Essential Shelter

Lowenstein Sandler PC Legal Mentor Award: U + Capital

RJMetrics Business Software Award: CampusYap

Tapper Innovation Connect Award: Flipables

Audience Choice Award: eCheck

Social Innovation Prize: Lumin Biosensors

Winning Team Descriptions:

PD Solutions—Geoffrey Chu, GEng’11 (non Penn team members: Vincent Bernard, Polina Belyantseva, Joelle Sohn: Johns Hopkins University). A novel treatment for the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease that lasts longer and is less invasive than current treatments.

Essential Shelter—P. Tribe, GEng’11. The Essential Shelter is a simple device meant to aid in constructing temporary to transitional shelters during disaster relief efforts.

Flipables—Lee H. Bienstock, WG’11. Innovative and low cost footwear designs for spas, gyms, and resorts.

U + Capital—Jesse Beyroutey, Prateek Bhide, Vyas Ramanan: W/EAS’11. U + Capital (U+C) allows students to fund their college education by taking out loans with equity-like repayment schedules. In these vehicles, called Personal Equity Issuances (PEIs), U+C funds a student in exchange for a percentage of the student’s income for a fixed time after graduation. U+C will invest in PEIs through PEI Funds which will be capitalized by socially conscious investors.

Pocket Grill—Karthik Murali, GEng’10; Yulia Barnakova, GEng’10. The Pocket Grill is targeted at food enthusiasts on the go—campers, tailgaters, etc. It is a full size camping grill that can fold into the size of a smartphone for storage and transport.

eCheck—Geoff Johnson, EAS’11. eCheck is the first electronic point-of-sale device designed around consumer interactions. The device synchronizes with the restaurant’s billing system and allows a party to simply, pick what they ordered, pay with their card and pass the device to the next person until all the items are accounted for.

CampusYap—Ashish Sharma W/EAS’10; Sudhanshu Aggarwal, EAS’10. CampusYap aims to improve communication within groups/organizations/clubs/friend circles across college campuses. This is done by providing users with the ability to manage all their extra-curricular activities on one portal and by allowing them to choose the way they receive communications.

Lumin Biosensors—Matthew Owens, EAS’10. The Lumin Biosensor team is leveraging recent advances in synthetic biology to create a new class of affordable and reliable water quality tests which can be operated by minimally trained users in the field.

Finalist Team Descriptions:

SmartSense—Chiara Zuniga, GEng’11; Matteo Rinaldi, GEng’10; Chris Nakutis, WG’11; Artem Mariychin, W’11. SmartSense’s mission is to bring to market highly differentiated sensor solutions based on Aluminum Nitride Contour-Mode MEMS technology. Their proprietary technology provides solutions for gas detection in homeland security applications as well as alternative, fast and inexpensive solutions for proteomics analysis.

UTurn—Ronald Wilson Pulling III, W/EAS’11; Anirudha Majumdar, EAS’11; Edward Eckels, EAS’11. Page turning is a major inconvenience for all musicians. UTurn is a page turner that imitates a human assistant. It allows musicians to use their existing printed-page music scores without pre-loading them page-by-page, and supports forward and backwards turning.

Excellence in Genomics Undergraduate Award

The Penn Genome Frontiers Institute congratulates its newest Excellence in Genomics Undergraduate Award winners. For 2010, three awards were given to graduating seniors who have demonstrated commendable commitment to and success in genomics during their undergraduate tenures at Penn. Nominations were made by faculty in the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering and Applied Science.  The awardees receive $750 in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments.

Matthew Canver, BSE/bioengineering

Select Genomics activities and accomplishments: Independent research with Dr. Jean Bennett, on gene therapy treatments for Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD), PGFI 2008 Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Research Program Intern, Blair Fellowship in Bioengineering/Biomedical Science Research.

Publications: Canver, MC. (2009). “Evaluation of the Clinical Success of Ex Vivo and In Vivo Gene Therapy.” Journal of Young Investigators, 19(7): 1-10.

Canver, MC. (2008). “Gene Therapy Prospects for Treatment of Early Onset Blindness.” PennScience Journal of Undergraduate Research, 7(1): 19-22.

Important mentors: Dr. Jean Bennett, Dr. Daniel Chung

Plans after graduation: Mr. Canver will pursue a medical degree in the New Pathway Program at Harvard Medical School.

Jonathan Toung, BA/biochemistry, economics and MS/chemistry, minor in mathematics

Select Genomics activities and accomplishments: MS thesis entitled “Mapping and Quantifying the Human Transcriptome by RNA-Sequencing.”

Important mentors:  Dr. Vivian Cheung, Dr. Ponzy Lu

Plans after graduation:  Mr. Toung will explore opportunities at biotech startups in the Bay Area.

Evan Daugharthy, BA/biology, minor: mathematics, biophyics, science, technology & society (STSC)

Select Genomics activities and accomplishments:  Research on two projects:  1) Antisense transcription exhibits widespread conservation in closely related species of yeast and 2) Color vision variation in diverse African populations.

Important mentors: Dr. Junhyong Kim, Dr. Sarah Tishkoff, Dr. Marisa Bartolomei

Plans after graduation:  Mr. Daugharthy will work in Dr. Tishkoff’s lab for a year while applying to graduate (PhD or MD/PhD) programs, doing comparative population genomics in diverse African populations. For this work he will do next-generation sequencing and travel to Africa to collect samples. He will also complete his research on antisense transcription in yeast.

FactCheck.org: Webby Award

FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, was voted best political website in the 2010 Webby Award competition, for the fourth year in a row. FactCheck.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in US politics. Awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

Wharton Business Plan Competition

Managed by Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs, the Wharton Business Plan Competition is open to all Penn students. The 2010 winners:

Michelson Grand Prize: $20,000 to Cortical Concepts (device for osteoporosis patients’ long term bone screw surgery success)

Second Prize: $10,000 to NanoLab (calculator-sized device that can perform accurate diagnostic tests at point of care)

Third Prize: $5,000 to R2R Therapeutics (cationic steroid antibiotic to treat infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria)

Gloeckner Undergraduate Award: $5,000 for the highest-ranking Wharton undergraduate team to PowerFlower Solar (design and manufacture of solar devices to allow farmers to “grow” electricity).

People’s Choice Award: $3,000 to Kembrel.com (private sales clubs for students offering discounted brand name products)

Committee Prize/Social category: Ecoclutch (sustainable bags)

Committee Prize/Global category: Hector (nutrient rich “PowerWater” drink in innovative pouch for emerging markets)

Committee Prize/Committee’s Choice category: PowerFlower Solar

Penn Recognized as Healthy Workplace

Penn was selected by the Philadelphia Business Journal and presenting sponsor UnitedHealthcare as one of 36 inaugural recipients of the Healthy Workplace Award—an award created to honor employers in the Delaware Valley region that encourage health and wellness in the workplace.

Winners were chosen based on a variety of criteria that focus on how well they incorporate creative wellness programs and fitness ideas in the workplace.

Penn supports a culture of health in the workplace through a number of wellness resources for faculty and staff, ranging from the Penn Walking Program and Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Weight Maintenance Program to annual flu shot and health fair programs as well as numerous health and wellness workshops and communications offered year-round.

The Healthy Workplace Award will be presented to the University at a ceremony on June 2 at the Sheraton Philadelphia City Center Hotel. Specific rankings of all 36 winners will also be revealed at that time. For more information, visit the Human Resources website at www.hr.upenn.edu/Jobs/BestEmployer.aspx.

Morrocan Medal of Honor: Dr. Allen


Dr. Roger Allen, the Sascha Jane Patterson Harvie Professor of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics and professor of Arabic and comparative literature in the department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, was awarded a Medal of Honor by the Kingdom of Morocco. The medal is one of the highest honors Morocco confers for contribution in the field of arts and sciences. Dr. Allen is now Commander of the Moroccan Order of National Merit.

Doctor Honoris Causa: Dr. Delivoria-Papadopoulos

Dr.Maria Delivoria-Papadopoulos, professor emerita of pediatrics and physiology, was selected to receive a Doctor Honoris Causa award from the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, her alma mater.

A recognized international leader in the fields of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Dr. Delivoria-Papadopoulos’ work includes studying the mechanisms of brain damage in infants and finding therapeutic interventions for extremely ill premature infants.

Travel & Research Grant: Mr. Eisenberg

Ned Eisenberg, C’11, has won the Terry B. Heled Travel & Research Grant at the Kelly Writers House. Mr. Eisenberg is majoring in English. He has written for Kedma, and he has been featured in 34th Street Magazine.

Mr. Eisenberg will travel to Japan to research and write about how “Island Culture” and technology have managed to coexist in hip contemporary Tokyo life. He will present his writing next fall at the Writers House.

Pharmacia-ASPET Award: Dr. FitzGerald

Dr. Garret FitzGerald, director of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, is the recipient of the 2010 Pharmacia-ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics. The award is given annually to recognize and stimulate outstanding research in pharmacology and experimental therapeutics—basic laboratory or clinical research that has had, or potentially will have, a major impact on the pharmacological treatment of disease.

Large Endowment Manager of the Year: Ms. Gilbertson


Institutional Investor magazine named Kristin Gilbertson, chief investment officer for the University, Large Endowment Manager of the Year.

She was noted for helping to increase the University’s endowment when those of other Ivy League Schools decreased and for making wise financial decisions that resulted in Penn offering grants rather than loans to students from families with annual income of $100,000 or less.

Ivy Champs: Lacrosse & Golf

The women’s lacrosse team won its fourth Ivy League championship in a row, defeating Brown University, 19-5. This win makes them the fourth group in Penn history to put together four consecutive outright Ivy championships.

The women’s golf team won its first Ivy League championship finishing the tournament at 929. Also, Penn placed three women among the top six golfers in the competition.

Benjamin E. Mays Award: President Gutmann

Amy Gutmann, President of the University of Pennsylvania

President Amy Gutmann accepted the Benjamin E. Mays Award from A Better Chance in New York earlier this month in recognition of Penn’s no-loan financial-aid program and commitment to diversity and access, and for Dr. Gutmann’s scholarship on democratic education.

A Better Chance, is committed to increasing the number of young people of color who attend highly selective universities and go on to assume leadership positions in American society. Penn has graduated more ABC alumni than any other college or university in the country.

American Historian Award: Dr. Brown

Dr. Kathleen M. Brown, professor of history, has been selected by the Organization of American Historians (OAH) to receive the 2010 Lawrence W. Levine Award, which is given annually for the best book in American cultural history. The award was presented last month during the 103rd Annual Meeting of the Organization.

Her book, Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America, is a history of the human body as both a physical entity and a cultural construct. The committee found this a most innovative work that is likely to have a field-shaping impact.

Book Award: Dr. Kraidy

Reality Television and Arab Politics: Contention in Public Life by Dr. Marwan M. Kraidy, associate professor of communication in the Annenberg School, has won the Best Book Award from the International Communication Association’s Division of Global Communication and Social Change.

Based on a wealth of primary data collected over five years, Reality Television and Arab Politics analyzes how reality television stirred an explosive mix of religion, politics, and sexuality, fuelling heated polemics over cultural authenticity, gender relations, and political participation in the Arab world.

McNeil Professor of Molecular Medicine and Translational Research: Dr. Lieberman

The Wistar Institute and University of the Sciences in Philadelphia named Wistar Institute principal investigator Paul M. Lieberman, the McNeil Professor of Molecular Medicine and Translational Research. In this role, Dr. Lieberman will provide leadership of the Center for Chemical Biology and Translational Medicine (CCBTM) at The Wistar Institute and University of the Sciences.

Top 10 Autism Research: Dr. Pinto-Martin

Dr. Jennifer Pinto-Martin, professor of nursing and director of the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology, co-authored a journal article that was named one of the top 10 research publications of 2009 by Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization.

The article, “Timing of identification among children with an autism spectrum disorder,” was published in the May 2009 Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

PAL Award: Ms. Rush

Maureen Rush, vice president for public safety, was honored by the Philadelphia’s Police Athletic League (PAL) at its 2010 PAL Award Dinner and Silent Auction for making significant contributions to the organization for nearly a decade.

Ms. Rush joined PAL’s Board of Directors in 2002 and now serves as its secretary. In 2008, she served as chairperson of the Award Dinner, the first to reach the $1 million fundraising mark.

Associate Editor: Dr. Stringer


Associate Professor of Women’s Health Nursing Marilyn Stringer, has been named the new associate editor of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, the internationally-ranked scientific and technical journal of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

Beinecke Scholarship: Ms. Tsygankova

English major Valeria Tsygankova, C’11 won the Beinecke Scholarship this year. A Benjamin Franklin Scholar, Ms. Tsygankova has worked in the Penn Library’s Rare Book and Manuscripts Library for over a year and is involved with several research projects.

The Beinecke Scholarship is for students planning to obtain a PhD in the humanities, social sciences, or the arts. Each scholar receives $2,000 upon completion of their undergraduate studies, and a stipend of $15,000 for each of two years of graduate school.

Pennsylvania College Bowl Winners

Representing Penn Nursing at the annual Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetist’s Spring Symposium, four nurse anesthetist students won the 2010 “college bowl,” a Jeopardy-like contest in which students enrolled in the 13 anesthesia programs in the state answer questions related to anesthesia practice.

The team consisted of first-year students Angela DiDonato, Matt Fox, Brian Vells, and Mike Villanueva, who were awarded an oxygen cylinder trophy. 

Scientific Award: Dr. Sanger

Dr. Joseph Sanger, professor emeritus of cell and developmental biology in the School of Medicine, is the recipient of the 2010 Henry Gray/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Scientific Achievement Award given by the American Association of Anatomists. The award recognizes unique and meritorius contributions to and achievements in anatomical sciences. Dr. Sanger is now at SUNY Upstate Medical University, but he is honored for work he conducted at Penn.



Almanac - May 25, 2010, Volume 56, No. 34