The Innovator’s Quarterly: Advice from Experts for Aspiring Academic Innovators

April 2022 | News from BU Industry Engagement and Technology Development


Photonics Pioneer Named BU Innovator of the Year
Professor Selim Ünlü, Electrical & Computer Engineering (ENG), has pioneered devices and technologies that find security flaws in the construction of computer chips and detect viral pathogens in medical samples. Ünlü holds 18 patents and has helped launch three companies, all focused on using light to make precise measurements. Read more

Ünlü’s Golden Advice for Aspiring Innovators? Start by Listening
BU Innovator of the Year Selim Ünlü reflects back on two decades of entrepreneurship, the first steps he took to broaden the impact of his ideas beyond the lab, and how learning to listen set him up for success. Read more

BU Scientist Teams Up with Industry to Answer Critical Research Questions Other Funders Won’t Take On
Professor Maria A. Kukuruzinska, Translational Dental Medicine (SDM), has worked with industry to collect new information about Sjogren’s Syndrome, including unique gene expression signatures predictive of early disease. In this Q&A, she offers tips for other faculty interested in advancing their research via industry support. Read more

Expert Advice

Build your innovation toolkit with information and resources from BU and industry experts, as well as researchers who’ve successfully navigated the path to impact.

The Power of Molecules to Change Lives

This month’s blog post from Rana K. Gupta, Director of Faculty Entrepreneurship, features research and reflections from Professor Ji-Xin Cheng, Biomedical Engineering (ENG), on the importance of working with a team and identifying a customer for the inventions that emerge from academic research.


  • A self-guided tutorial on market sizing
  • A case study on why one spin-out shuttered after 20 years and $100M invested
  • A panel on increasing diversity in the upper leadership of STEM-based companies

Take Action

We offer programs to help you actively advance your idea in the marketplace. Browse highlights below, and the full list on our Learning Paths & Programs page.

Guide Program: Connect with an Industry Expert to Advance Your Idea
Technology Development’s Guide Program is designed to provide one-on-one guidance to PIs who have an interest in solving a problem or advancing an idea. Reach out to be connected with a professional knowledgeable about industry and the problem you’re trying to solve. Learn more

Quarterly Impact Report

Industry Funded Research Rewards

Industry research awards for the first half of FY22 are on par with FY21. Strong industry research awards growth from Q1 to Q2 led by MED, ENG, and SPH made up for a slow start to the fiscal year. Download the full report (Kerberos log-in required).

Technology Development Activity

It’s been a quarter of milestones for BU spin-outs. A spin-out from Associate Professor Wilson Wong, Biomedical Engineering (ENG), based around synthetic biology technology that aims to reprogram cells to respond to their cellular environments, went public via a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company). And a BU spin-out from former Professor Jim Collins, Biomedical Engineering (ENG), a late-clinical stage rare disease company, went public on the Swiss stock exchange through a reverse merger and is now traded under the name Spexis.

Visit the Research Support website to download full reports.

    Meet Our Team

    Learn about this quarter’s highlighted team members below, or view our full staff listing for Technology Development and Industry Engagement.

        Vivek Pandit
        Team: Industry Engagement
        Title: Director, Computing & Data Sciences
        What I do: I facilitate industry collaboration by helping faculty identify and nurture partnerships to their full potential.
        Ask me about: Typography and finding industry gems eager to engage with your research.

        Frances Forrester
        Team: Technology Development
        Title: Business Development Director, MedTech
        What I do: I help faculty commercialize their inventions by providing patentability assessments, negotiating licenses, and coordinating agreements.
        Ask me about: Hockey and assistance moving your inventions forward.

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