Technology Awards Salute Entrepreneur, Researcher

A technology breakthrough and an emerging company with close connections to UT Dallas have each been honored with one of the Metroplex Technology Business Council’s annual Tech Titan awards.

Researcher Yves Chabal received the Tech Titan Tech Innovator award for work that promises to greatly improve semiconductor devices’ performance in health care and solar power applications. And MicroTransponder, a biotechnology firm sponsored by The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas, won the Tech Titan Emerging Company Award.

Chabal’s work lays the groundwork for attaching virtually any organic molecule to silicon. In addition to enabling biosensors that detect minute quantities of substances such as cancer-marker proteins, the new technology promises a new generation of higher-efficiency solar cells that could incorporate sunlight-sensitive biomolecules, for example, that capture photons and transfer the energy to the electronic substrate.

“This is very exciting to have been able to go beyond what was thought to be possible,” said Chabal, principal investigator in the project, head of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at UT Dallas and holder of the Texas Instruments Distinguished University Chair in Nanoelectronics.

The other winner, MicroTransponder, is developing a wireless neurostimulation device for the treatment of peripheral nerve pain and other nerve-related disorders. It is based on technology created by Dr. Larry Cauller, associate professor in UT Dallas’ School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Will Rosellini, CEO of MicroTransponder and a PhD candidate in neuroscience, previously received an MBA and an MS in accounting from the School of Management. Rosellini said his firm is proud to share a common mission with UT Dallas to develop innovative technology that will improve the lives of others.

“UT Dallas has provided incredible support to MicroTransponder,” he said. “This award is really the recognition of the efforts of a number of world-class UT Dallas researchers and faculty members.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently provided a $1.7 million grant to MicroTransponder and Dr. Michael Kilgard, associate professor in BBS, to investigate whether nerve stimulation offers a long-term cure for tinnitus.  So far, MicroTransponder has received grants from the Texas ETF and the NIH agencies NINDS, NIDCR and NIDCD.

The Metroplex Technology Business Council launched the Tech Titan Awards in 2001. The annual contest spotlights successful individuals and up-and-coming technology companies that make significant contributions to North Texas’ economy and to the technology industry overall.

The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas focuses on facilitating creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial activity through a variety of projects and activities involving the University and the external community.

“MicroTransponder and UT Dallas have had a uniquely collaborative relationship starting with the company’s foundation based on University technology,” said Rafael Martin, associate vice president for research at UT Dallas. “Since that time, both MicroTransponder and UT Dallas have benefited greatly from each other’s unique resources. The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship played a key role in MicroTransponder’s formative stages, helping to refine and enhance the company’s business plan, and MicroTransponder in turn has brought UT Dallas sources of research funding to which the University would not have otherwise had access.  Overall the MicroTransponder, UT Dallas relationship is an exemplar of industry-University collaboration.”

Frank McEachern, chief financial officer of MicroTransponder, accepted the award on Friday.

“We are honored to be partners with a world-class research institution in UT Dallas,” he said.

Dr. Yves Chabal received the award for work that promises to greatly improve semiconductor devices’ performance in health care and solar power applications.

From left: UT Dallas President David E. Daniel and IEE Executive Director Dr. Joseph C. Picken celebrate with Microtransponder CFO Frank McEachern and CEO Will Rosellini.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].