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Inspiring Tomorrow through Innovation and Excellence

Highlights of Georgetown’s 2024 Innovation Awards Ceremony 

Georgetown’s Office of Technology Commercialization proudly hosted the 2024 Innovation Awards Ceremony, a testament to the university’s commitment to groundbreaking research and technology commercialization. The event, which took place on March 13th, 2024, showcased remarkable inventions stemming from Georgetown’s research endeavors. 
Dr. Tatiana Litvin-Vechnyak, Vice President for Technology Commercialization, opened the ceremony, followed by inspiring words from Dr. Spiros Dimolitsas and Dr. Ed Healton. One of the event’s highlights was the keynote address by Ms. Vaishali Udupa, Commissioner for Patents at the USPTO.

Tatiana Litvin-Vechnyak, Vice President for Technology Commercialization

Vaishali Udupa, the Commissioner for Patents of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

Honoring innovators was central to the ceremony, with crystal awards recognizing outstanding contributions. Dr. Jill P. Smith received the Innovator of the Year Award for her pioneering work in pancreatic cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.  

Academic translational research is very important, yet it can be quite challenging. In order to advance our discoveries from the bench to the bedside, it is critical that MDs work together with PhDs and that academic institutions develop collaborations with industry. The Office of Technology Commercialization at Georgetown University has been instrumental in helping researchers advance their discoveries to the clinic.  Despite the obstacles that arise along the journey to drug development, the reward of observing the long-term benefit to patient care is priceless.

Jill P. Smith, MD, Professor of Medicine Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University 

Another notable recipient was the team of Dr. Jeffrey K. Huang and Dr. Maryna Baydyuk, honored with the Partnerships Award for their collaborative efforts in multiple sclerosis drug development. 

We thank the OTC for this recognition. Our work began with an interest to understand the basic mechanism of brain repair following injury. This research led to the identification of an unsuspected signaling pathway in brain repair, and a promising drug for tackling neuroinflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). With the support of OTC, we were able to conduct sponsored research and establish a strong partnership with a pharmaceutical company, aiming to advance the drug towards clinical trials. We are grateful to OTC for working with us every step of the way and supporting our interest to translate our research to the clinic.

Jeffrey K. Huang, PhD Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor Department of Biology Georgetown University 
Maryna Baydyuk, Ph.D. Assistant Research Professor Department of Biology Georgetown University 

A special moment came with the posthumous presentation of the Alumni Award to Bill Baker, a distinguished Georgetown alumnus whose vision and generosity shaped the university’s technology transfer landscape. 

The ceremony also celebrated Georgetown faculty inventors named on U.S. patents, underscoring the university’s ongoing commitment to fostering and supporting innovation.  Innovators who recently submitted new invention disclosures were also acknowledged.  The complete list of awardees and innovators, as well as, the corresponding patent descriptions are available on the complete program through this link

Sally Allain, Head Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS @ Washington, DC

Keynote speaker Sally Allain from Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS @ Washington, DC, added further insight into the importance of innovation and collaboration in today’s world.

The success of the event was made possible by the generous sponsorship of our partner law firms, whose support ensured its realization.  
Georgetown’s 2024 Innovation Awards Ceremony was a resounding success, reaffirming the university’s remarkable role in research and technology advancement. 

Photos from the event are available through this link.

Crystal Awards
Innovation Awards