Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll

TDRR Logo

Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll (TDRR) is a networking event that started in 2010, which was designed to connect scientists and engineers with entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators. The event highlights emerging technologies from Boston University’s research programs in the fields of life sciences, physical sciences, medical technology, new ventures, and student-based ventures, with the additional presence of participating applied and translational research centers.

The Office of Technology Development focuses on the idea of maximizing collisions and minimizing friction. TDRR focuses on the first half of that mission statement, attempting to galvanize our attendees into making connections (collisions) which develop into long lasting collaborations.

Another exciting feature of our unique event is the Innovator of the Year award. This award seeks to highlight translational research at Boston University by recognizing an entrepreneurial faculty member who translates his/her world-class research into inventions and innovations that benefit humankind. Our past winners have been Mark Grinstaff (2010), Avrum Spira (2011), James Collins (2012), Ted Moustakas (2013), Mark Crovella (2014), Dr. David J. Salant (2015), and Ed Damiano (2016).

The event prides itself on finding a great band every year to provide lively music and create a relaxed atmosphere for networking. Each year we choose a unique band that fully encapsulates the Rock n’ Roll aspect of our event. In the past, our headlining musical acts have been Joshua Tree, Lou Pride, Brendan James, Parsonsfield, and Kingsley Flood.

Technology Development is grateful for our many generous sponsors. This year’s sponsors include Nixon Peabody, Sanofi, and Shore Chan DePumpo LLP. If you’re interested in sponsorship, please contact Susan Mulrean at smulrean@bu.edu.

The event promises to be a fun summer evening of networking and building connections, fueled by some rock n’ roll!

Past TDRRs

JAZZ EDITION

On Tuesday, July 12th, the Office of Technology Development hosted the 7th annual Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll networking conference at the Metcalf Ballroom.  TDRR is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people, explore new ventures and celebrate the intersection of the medical, technology and business communities.

Damiano 2016 TDRR

The Innovator of the Year award was presented by the Vice President and Associate Provost for Research of Boston University, Gloria Waters.  This year’s recipient was Edward R. Damiano, founder of Beta Bionics and professor of engineering at BU. 

There were also be representatives from the Boston University research community who displayed their latest advancements and technologies with exhibits and digital posters.

Jazz Band 2016 TDRR

Keeping up with the tradition of a local band performance, this year’s band was the Boston University Jazz Ensemble.  This band, comprised of BU students, is a different style from traditional TDRR bands.  Prepare to hear your favorite rock and pop songs set to jazzy undertones; the perfect backdrop for your networking, and for keeping you entertained between conversations.

Our latest addition to TDRR was a competition we created in partnership with the BUzz Lab.  Student teams from the Start- Up Summer Accelerator Program entered a 1 minute video explaining their start up idea.  To view the winners and other participants please visit:

https://bustudentventure.us.launchpad6.com/entries

Thanks for attending! Stay tuned for more information on next year’s event!


On July 14th, Office of Technology Development hosted the 6th annual Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll networking conference at the Metcalf Ballroom.

The Innovator of the Year Award was presented by the Vice President and Associate Provost for Research of Boston University Gloria Waters. The award winner was Dr. David J Salant, MD, Professor at the School of Medicine and Chief of Nephrology at the Boston Medical Center, for his work in identifying the PLA2R antigen implicated in an autoimmune form of kidney disease called membranous nephropathy

MAPP: Mobile App Contest Participants submitted their ideas for problem solving mobile applications in a 60-second video and audience voting determined the winners. We received 14 submissions and over 2,000 votes, and the ideas encompassed topics such as food, nutrition, medicine, online dating, data security, sexual assault prevention, and education. The winners were:

1st Place $1,500: Study Buddy – 499 Votes

2nd Place $1,000: Scribeat – 437 Votes

3rd Place $500: Campus Food – 315 Votes

Digital poster presentations made a reappearance and showcased the work of key research centers, new venture groups and other departments of Boston University including:

Funder Alley A novel initiative implemented to drive direct interaction between investors and innovators looking for investments. Companies like Pfizer CTI, Sanofi, Boston Biomedical Innovation Center (B-BIC), Mass Medical Angels, Allied Minds, Rockport Capital, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and VentureWell set up shop at the event for attendees to ask questions, get information, or simply connect with industry professionals.

Live Music Continuing its tradition of providing lively music and promoting local artists, TDRR 2015 is proud to feature Kingsley Flood as this year’s band.

TDRR 2015 had over 700 people in attendance that embodied our motto of maximizing collisions and minimizing friction. The event was a massive success and we hope to deliver an even better TDRR 2016!


On July 15th, 2014, the Office of Technology Development at Boston University held its fifth annual networking conference entitled, Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll (TDRR)from 4-8pm at 775 Commonwealth Avenue.

TDRR is a networking event designed to connect scientists and engineers with entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators. The event  showcases emerging technologies from Boston University’s research programs in the fields of life sciences, physical sciences, medical technology, new ventures, and student-based ventures. The event also includes participation from key translational research centers and new venture groups including:

New Ventures launching from Boston University:

Additionally TDRR will be having the first Social Entrepreneurship award. Four projects, which hope to make a difference in the world, will be competing for a prize of $3,000 to further their research. The winner will be decided by the TDRR attendees the day of the event. The projects competing are:

  • China Adherence through Technology Study (CATS), which is a WISE-PILL enabled cellphone reminder for patients to take their medicine
  • Project “911”, this is a mobile phone enabled connection of patient needs with health care resources
  • SEARCH, a smartphone enabled biometric identification that can identify people by imaging their ears
  • Post-Natal HIV Care in Africa, a cellphone card incentive system for new mothers to continue ART

This year the Office of Technology Development is proud to announce that TDRR is going digital with an electronic poster board display. These displays will highlight the latest advancements and technologies in the field of life sciences, physical sciences, medical technology, new ventures, and student-based ventures.

The event prides itself on finding a great band every year to provide lively music and create a relaxed atmosphere for networking. This year, TDRR welcomes the music by of Parsonsfield (formerly Poor Old Shine), an alternative Americana band.

At 5:30pm, the Vice President and Associate Provost for Research of Boston University Gloria Waters will announce the recipient of this year’s Innovator of the Year Award. This award seeks to highlight translational research at Boston University by recognizing an entrepreneurial faculty member who translates his/her world-class research into inventions and innovations that benefit humankind. The past winners have included Mark Grinstaff (2010), Avrum Spira (2011), James Collins (2012), and Ted Moustakas (2013).

The sponsors of this year’s Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll conference are Nixon Peabody, Pfizer, Sanofi, Shore Chan, and Wolf Greenfield.

View images from the event here!


On July 16th, 2013, the Office of Technology Development at Boston University held its fourth annual networking conference entitled, Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll (TDRR), from 4-8pm at 775 Commonwealth Avenue.

TDRR is a networking event designed to connect scientists and engineers with entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators. The event  showcased emerging technologies from Boston University’s research programs in the fields of life sciences, physical sciences, medical technology, new ventures, and student-based ventures. The event also included participation from key translational research centers including the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Photonics Center, Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation, and Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.

The event prides itself on finding a great band every year to provide lively music and create a relaxed atmosphere for networking. This year, TDRR welcomes the musical talents of Brendan James, a singer/songwriter who specializes in folk-based piano music. Brendan recently started a Kickstarter $20,000 campaign to raise money for his new album and has already gained 385 backers totaling over $30,000.

At 6:30pm, Provost of Boston University Jean Morrison announced the recipient of this year’s Innovator of the Year Award. This award seeks to highlight translational research at Boston University by recognizing an entrepreneurial faculty member who translates his/her world-class research into inventions and innovations that benefit humankind. The winner of the 2013 Innovator of the Year award was Ted Moustakas. In addition, the founder of the National Academy of Inventors, Paul Sanberg, was also at the event to launch the BU chapter of the National Academy of Inventors.

The sponsors of this year’s Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll conference were Nixon Peabody, Sanofi, Pfizer, and Wolf Greenfield.

TDRR 2013-01 Moustakas 2013 TDRR TDRR 2013-02 TDRR 2013-03


On July 24th, 2012, the Office of Technology Development at Boston University held its third annual networking conference entitled, Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll (TDRR), from 4-8pm at 775 Commonwealth Avenue.

TDRR is a networking event designed to connect scientists and engineers with entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators. The event  showcased emerging technologies from Boston University’s research programs in the fields of life sciences, physical sciences, medical technology, new ventures, and student-based ventures. The event also included participation from key translational research centers including the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Photonics Center, Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation, and Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.

The event prides itself on finding a great band every year to provide lively music and create a relaxed atmosphere for networking. This year, TDRR welcomed the musical talents of The Void Union, a musical collective brought together by their love of Jamaican music styles. Their years of experience in the Jamaican music scene have earned the VOID Union’s members the credit and respect of many renowned musicians, with their mission being to always keep music and art as their number one priority.

At 6:30pm, Provost of Boston University Jean Morrison announced the recipient of this year’s Innovator of the Year Award. This award seeks to highlight translational research at Boston University by recognizing an entrepreneurial faculty member who translates his/her world-class research into inventions and innovations that benefit humankind. The winner of the 2012 Innovator of the Year award was James Collins.

The sponsors of this year’s Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll conference were Latham & Wakins LLP, Sanofi US, and Nixon Peabody LLP.
TDRR 2012-01 Collins 2012 TDRR TDRR 2012-02


On July 19th, 2011, the Office of Technology Development at Boston University held its second annual networking conference entitled, Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll (TDRR), from 4-8pm at 775 Commonwealth Avenue.

TDRR is a networking event designed to connect scientists and engineers with entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators. The event  showcased emerging technologies from Boston University’s research programs in the fields of life sciences, physical sciences, medical technology, new ventures, and student-based ventures. The event also included participation from key translational research centers.

The event prides itself on finding a great band every year to provide lively music and create a relaxed atmosphere for networking. This year, TDRR welcomed the musical talents led by our own Victor Coelho of the music department and blues legend Lou Pride coming all the way from Chicago.

At 6:30pm, Provost of Boston University Jean Morrison announced the recipient of this year’s Innovator of the Year Award. This award seeks to highlight translational research at Boston University by recognizing an entrepreneurial faculty member who translates his/her world-class research into inventions and innovations that benefit humankind. The winner of the 2011 Innovator of the Year award was Avrum Spira.

Innovator of the Year

The BU Innovator of the Year Award recognizes an individual who translates his/her world-class research into inventions and innovations that benefit humankind.

The BU Innovator of the Year is awarded to one outstanding BU faculty member, who in the past year has:

  1. Conducted peer recognized world-class research; and
  2. Translated this research by developing IP protected product(s) or process(es) of significant value to society that were adopted for practical use or have a high probability of being adopted.

The BU Innovator of the Year Award highlights the critical importance of translational research at Boston University. The award recognizes an entrepreneurial faculty member and the potential for commercialization and wider adoption of his/her inventions.

The Innovator of the Year Award is presented annually at the Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll event – July 12, 2016.


For the first time in its history, the Innovator of the Year Award nomination process is open to faculty and staff across campuses – we’re excited to hear your input!

  • Eligible nominees are full-time faculty on the tenure, research, and clinical tracks who have made substantial progress towards commercializing their innovations.
  • We seek to recognize work developed or completed at BU that has come into existence relatively recently; successful innovations will be currently on sale, close to market, on the path to development.
  • All disciplines and fields, as well as social, business, and teaching model innovations, are welcome.
  • The work submitted for consideration does not need to be disclosed to Technology Development.
  • Closely-collaborating teams may be eligible on a case-by-case basis.
  • Faculty, staff, and students may submit nominations. Self-nominations are allowed.



Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

  • The “BU Story” – was the technology or innovation developed or created while at BU? Preference will be given to technologies or innovations developed from work carried out at BU.
  • Impact – How many people will the technology or innovation affect? To what degree? How do you measure this impact?


Nominations should be thorough but concise. Submissions will be reviewed by a faculty committee of previous Innovators of the Year. Please keep in mind that the reviewers may not be familiar with your area of expertise and descriptions should be written with this consideration in mind. Descriptions should clearly articulate the commercial value of the technology or innovation.

Please use our online form to submit your nominations. The following components are required:

  • List of patents filed, if any;
  • Brief (500 word or 3,000 character) description of work commercialized or currently in the process of commercialization, including:
    • Summary of technology or innovation;
    • Status of product’s dissemination, reach, or market penetration;
    • Impact of product or discovery on society.
  • Stage of commercialization (proof of concept, under license, or currently being sold).

The deadline to submit nominations is May 23, 2016.


The online form will be posted during the nomination period. Please check back.

Past Innovators of the Year


Damiano + Pratt 2016 TDRR

Boston University Professor of Biomedical Engineering and founder of Beta Bionics, Ed Damiano won Boston University’s Innovator of the Year Award. This annual award recognizes a BU faculty member whose cutting- edge research and ideas lead to the formation of companies that benefit society at large.

Damiano has created an artificial, or bionic pancreas that manages blood sugar levels and delivers doses of insulin.  The invention, the iLet, is designed for people with Type 1 diabetes.  His reason for taking on this project was his son, David, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 11 moths old.

BU Vice President and Associate Provost for Research Gloria Waters presented Damiano with this year’s Innovator of the Year award at “Tech, Drugs and Rock & Roll” – BU’s annual networking event for individuals involved in University Technology Transfer in the Boston area.

“Ed’s determination and his systematic and persistent work to achieve this goal has been incredibly impressive,” says Gloria Waters.  “He has worked tirelessly, and his success in raising funds from a wide range of sources, carrying out the science, and developing the technology in a very short period of time has been nothing but remarkable.”


Salant TDRR 2015
David Salant

Boston University Professor of Medicine Dr. David J. Salant, MD won Boston University’s Innovator of the Year Award.  This annual award recognizes a BU faculty member whose cutting- edge research and ideas lead to the formation of companies that benefit society at large.

Over the past 30 years, Dr. Salant has endeavored to understand the pathogenesis of glomerular diseases by careful and in-depth analysis of experimental models, leading to paradigm shifting observations. The primary focus of his laboratory is on the immune basis of glomerular diseases with particular regard to the humoral mechanisms of glomerular cell injury.

BU Vice President and Associate Provost for Research Gloria Waters presented Dr. Salant with this year’s Innovator of the Year award at “Tech, Drugs and Rock & Roll” – BU’s annual networking event for individuals involved in University Technology Transfer in the Boston area.

“Dr. Salant’s research using experimental models of immunological glomerular diseases and autoimmunity have led to a deeper understanding of the immunopathogenetic mechanics of injury,” said Dr. Waters. “His research has yielded ground-breaking results by identifying PLA2R as the target antigen in human membranous nephropathy.”


Crovella 2014 TDRR
Mark Crovella

Boston University Computer Science Professor Mark Crovella won Boston University’s 2014 Innovator of the Year award. The annual award recognizes a BU faculty member whose cutting-edge research and ideas lead to the formation of companies that benefit society at large.

Professor Crovella is Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Boston University, where he has been since 1994. He also currently serves as Chief Scientist of Guavus, Inc., a venture-backed company he co-founded with his graduate student. Professor Crovella was also a co-founder of Commonwealth Networks, now part of Network Appliance.

BU Vice President and Associate Provost for Research of Boston University Gloria Waters presented Crovella with this year’s Innovator of the Year award at “Tech, Drugs and Rock & Roll” — BU’s annual networking event for individuals involved in University Technology Transfer in the Boston area.

“Professor Crovella is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose inventions have been licensed to two start-up companies,” said Waters.  “His accomplishments in the past year include ten peer-reviewed papers published, five patent filings and $30.0 million invested in BU-spinoff Guavus.”

Press Release


Moustakas 2013 TDRR-02
Ted Moustakas

Boston University School of Engineering Professor Theodore (Ted) Moustakas has won the university’s 2013 Innovator of the Year award which recognizes a BU faculty member whose cutting-edge research and ideas lead to the formation of companies that benefit society at large.

Considered the co-inventor of the blue LED, Ted Moustakas’ lab is focused on innovative semiconductors for photonics and other applications. With this technology, Moustakas’ inventions have been widely deployed in LEDs and Moustakas has founded one venture-backed company, RayVio Corp.

BU Provost and Chief Academic Officer Jean Morrison presented this year’s Innovator of the Year award at Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll — BU’s annual networking event for individuals involved in University Technology Transfer in the Boston area.

“Professor Moustakas is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose inventions have been licensed to a number of companies, including major manufacturers of blue LEDs and lasers (Cree and Philips-LumiLeds in United States and Nichia in Japan),” said Morrison.  “His accomplishments in the past year include nine peer-reviewed papers published, five patent filings and $4.0 million invested in BU spinoff RayVio.”

Press Release


Collins 2012 TDRR
James Collins

Boston University School of Engineering Prof. James Collins, co-director of the BU Center for Biodynamics and considered the father of synthetic biology, today was awarded the university’s 2012 Innovator of the Year award which recognizes a faculty member whose cutting-edge research and ideas lead to the formation of companies that benefit society at large.

BU Provost and Chief Academic Officer Jean Morrison presented this year’s Innovator of the Year award at “Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll” event — BU’s annual networking party for Boston area inventors, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, tech-industry professionals and academic scientists involved in technology transfer.

“Professor Collins is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose practical approach to science has led to the formation of Sample6 Technologies, a start-up company intent on using engineered bacteriaphage for detecting harmful bacteria in the food and healthcare industry,” said Morrison. “His accomplishments in the past year include 10 peer-reviewed papers published, four invention disclosures, five patent filings, $2.3 million in research funding and $5.6 million invested in Sample6.”

Press Release


Spira 2011 TDRR
Avrum Spira

Dr. Avrum Spira is Assistant Professor of Medicine, Pathology, and Laboratory Medicine and Adjunct Associate Professor of Bioinformatics at the Boston University School of Medicine.

“Professor Spira is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose practical approach to science has led to the formation of Allegro Diagnostics, a startup company intent on producing beneficial molecular diagnostics for detecting lung cancer,” said Morrison. “His accomplishments in the past year include 14 peer-reviewed papers published, one invention disclosure, two patent filings, over $3.5 million in NIH funding and $8.9 million invested in Allegro Diagnostics.” -Jean Morrison, Provost of Boston University

Avrum Spira serves as Director of the Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Program at the Boston University School of Medicine’s Pulmonary Center. He is an attending physician at the Medical Intensive Care Unit and with the Pulmonary/Critical Care Interventional service at Boston Medical Center. Dr. Spira’s laboratory research interests focus on applying high-throughput genomic and bioinformatic tools to the translational study of lung cancer and emphysema. He is funded as a Principal Investigator through the NIH and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Dr. Spira received his medical degree from McGill University and did his internship and residency at the University of Toronto. He did his fellowship with Boston University. Dr. Spira received a Master’s degree in Bioinformatics from the College of Engineering at Boston University. (Source)


Grinstaff 2010 TDRR
Mark Grinstaff

Mark W. Grinstaff is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry at Boston University and a College of Engineering Distinguished Faculty Fellow.

“Professor Grinstaff is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose practical approach to science has led to the formation of three companies producing beneficial products,” said BU President Robert Brown, who presented the award. “His accomplishments in the past year include 15 peer-reviewed papers published, two invention disclosures, a patent filing, and more than $1 million invested in Flex Biomedical.” -Robert A. Brown, President of Boston University

Mark received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois under the mentorship of Professor Kenneth S. Suslick and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology with Professor Harry B. Gray. Mark’s awards include the ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award, NSF Career Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, and Edward M. Kennedy Award for Health Care Innovation. He has published more than 125 peer-reviewed manuscripts and given more than 200 oral presentations. His students and fellows have presented more than 80 talks and 225 posters. He is co-founder of three companies that are commercializing his ideas and has four medical products being used in the clinic. His current research activities include new macromolecule and amphiphile syntheses, self-assembly chemistry, tissue engineering, and drug delivery. (Source)

Press Release

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