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Buckeye engineers named 2013 Innovators of the Year

The Ohio State University Office of Research recognized two Buckeye engineers as 2013 Innovators of the Year.

Innovator of the Year: Hesham El Gamal

Hesham El GamalHesham El Gamal: 2013 Innovator of the YearThe 2013 Innovator of the Year is Hesham El Gamal, professor of electrical and computer engineering. He is a world-renowned information theorist with key contributions to wireless communications that have been recognized by industry and academia. His research has led to the development of pioneering technology that holds the promise of revolutionizing the mobile video delivery industry.

El Gamal is a prolific inventor. His record includes 12 issued U.S. patents and four pending patent applications. His first commercialization success at Ohio State was the licensing of code design for a multi-antenna mobile system by Webskye, Inc. The designs were adopted as a foundation for the WiMax wireless standards.

El Gamal is co-founder and CEO of inmobly, an Ohio State start-up company. Inmobly, short for “intelligence in mobility,” uses the predictability of human behavior to design efficient resource allocation algorithms for mobile networks. By launching a series of apps, inmobly aims to tackle network congestion to deliver a better user experience.

The high-speed requirements of multimedia content are straining cellular networks, creating congestion and delays. Inmobly’s Predictive Automated User-Centric Loading (PAUL) technology overcomes the bandwidth crunch by preloading videos for on-demand viewing. PAUL identifies music and videos people like and downloads new content from sources such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, CNN and ESPN SportsCenter to their mobile device before the user tries to stream it from the Internet.

Inmobly’s technology, which has already been accessed by more than 400,000 end-users, is being considered by Verizon, Sprint-Virgin Mobile and Kajeet as a platform for their next generation mobile video delivery. Inmobly is also working with the university to build a new experience for Buckeye fans that will deliver personalized in-stadium mobile videos on smart phones.

Inmobly started with two developers and a $50,000 TechColumbus grant. In three years, the company has grown to 20 employees and has raised $650,000 towards future development, including $500,000 from TechColumbus’ Pre-seed funds.

Student Innovator of the Year: Kinshuk Mitra

Kinshuk MitraKinshuk Mitra: Student Innovator of the YearThe 2013 Student Innovator of the Year is Kinshuk Mitra, a fourth-year biomedical engineering major in the College of Engineering. He recognized that as we learn more about the mechanisms for cancer, there is a clear-cut need for a screening technique that is both sensitive and cost-effective. One of the earliest physiological signs of cancer are the cells that shed into the blood stream from primary tumors. Mitra developed a new biotechnology called OncoFilter that can isolate circulating tumor cells from human blood samples.

The technology has reached unprecedented levels of reliability, sensitivity and accuracy in isolating cells present in extremely low concentrations, leading to earlier diagnosis that is currently possible. The filter is cost effective, easy to use, and provides quicker results than other available screening tools. The provisional patent application for the OncoFilter technology was filed in April.

Mitra teamed up with entrepreneurial students from the Fisher College of Business to win the 2013 Ohio State Business Plan Competition. The team went on to earn a State 2 E-Team Program Grant from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, which provides early state funding, professional business training and access to mentor coaching.

Mitra and the OncoFilter team have received funding from the Wright Center for Imaging, the Levinson Foundation at MIT and the Ohio Tech Angels Fund. Next steps for the team: developing prototypes to optimize the filter technology, applying for additional funding, and recruiting talent.

Mitra has become the student voice of innovation on campus. He was instrumental in the creation of INNO, a student innovation initiative that works to link passionate students and innovative research with exciting ventures. And, he is the founder of a course designed to teach students the art of invention and commercialization.

The Innovator of the Year award recognizes Ohio State researchers who are working actively to promote commercialization of university intellectual property, through invention disclosures filed, patents applied for and/or received, technologies licensed, or spin-off companies formed. These activities support economic development in the Central Ohio region, and serve to attract companies that create a base of operations within the state. The creation of separate categories for more established researchers and for early career researchers allows cultivation of an entrepreneurial spirit among all of our investigators.

The Student Innovator of the Year award recognizes innovation and entrepreneurship among our students that has contributed to the development or commercialization of a new technology.

Read about the Early Career Innovator of the Year on the Office of Research website.