Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Launches Wake Forest Innovations

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has created a new operating division to translate its academic and clinical research and discoveries into marketable products and services that will benefit patients. The new enterprise, Wake Forest Innovations, is being led by Chief Innovation Officer Eric Tomlinson, DSc, and Ph.D., who is also President of the Piedmont Triad Research Park.

The new division provides the institution with several new services:

Product Innovation & Commercialization Services is responsible for supporting the creation of innovative technology and products and commercializing these through licensing to existing and startup companies.

Scientific Business Services is a newly-formed business support group that helps to structure, promote and contract our research assets to external partners.

Park Development Services is focused on the growth of the Piedmont Triad Research Park –home for 10 Wake Forest Baptist departments and 30 companies – as a vibrant, knowledge-based community.  More.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wake Forest's Atala Named to Power List

Anthony Atala, MD, director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, has been named to AARP Magazine’s “Power List – 50 People Who Make Your Life Better.”

Atala is one of 10 people over age 50 recognized for “Moving Us to a Healthier Future” for his team’s work to engineer replacement organs in the lab. AARP is one of the top-circulation magazines in the U.S., with more than 23 million readers.  More.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wake Forest Scientists Develop Alternative to Fluorescent Bulbs

Wake Forest University scientists have developed a flicker-free, shatterproof alternative for large-scale lighting.

The lighting, based on field-induced polymer electroluminescent (FIPEL) technology, also gives off soft, white light – not the yellowish glint from fluorescents or bluish tinge from LEDs.

“People often complain that fluorescent lights bother their eyes, and the hum from the fluorescent tubes irritates anyone sitting at a desk underneath them,” said David Carroll, professor of physics and director of the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials. “The new lights we have created can cure both of those problems and more.” 

The team uses a nano-engineered polymer matrix to convert the charge into light. The technology allows the researchers to create an entirely new light bulb – overcoming one of the major barriers in using plastic lights in commercial buildings and homes.  See more.

Inmar CIO named to list of top 100 IT leaders

Mark Wright, chief information officer at Inmar Inc. in Winston-Salem, has been named to Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders list for 2013.

Computerworld, an IT news magazine, says the 100 leaders on the list display exceptional technology leadership and envision innovative approaches to business solutions. The honorees will be featured in the Feb. 25 issue of the magazine.

Wright joined Inmar in 2010 and has since led the company’s growth as a retailer software and service provider. The company’s client base of 1,700 retailers, manufacturers, health care companies and government agencies utilize Inmar for management of e-commerce networks and cloud-based systems.

Inmar is preparing to relocate its 900 workers to two former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. buildings in Winston-Salem’s Piedmont Triad Research Park by next December, a move that will cost more than $100 million in redevelopment and renovation. Read more.

Wake Forest University, Ameritox Team Up

Wake Forest University and Ameritox Ltd. said Tuesday they have formed a partnership aimed at furthering university chemistry research in developing technologies for medication monitoring and toxicology testing.

Ameritox provides laboratory services and management tools under the RxGuardian brand. The service helps assess whether patients are taking their pain medication consistent with the dosage prescribed by their doctors. It provides individual results by using the patient's height, weight, gender, age and prescribed dosage.

The main focus of the partnership is on the science behind the mapping of the human genome to create a new standard in toxicology testing.

Christa Colyer, chairwoman of the university’s chemistry department, said having access to the Ameritox laboratory “will make it that much easier to collaborate and exchange ideas to realize testing breakthroughs.”  Read more.

Friday, November 30, 2012

WFU Cancer Research Sparks Cover Story

The work of a team of Wake Forest University researchers developing a novel drug for prostate cancer treatment is featured on the cover of the Nov. 26 issue of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

George Kulik, an associate professor of cancer biology, Mark Welker, the William L. Poteat Professor of Chemistry, and Freddie Salsbury, an associate professor of physics, led an interdisciplinary team with expertise in computational physics, synthetic chemistry and cancer biology.

All cells, both normal and diseased, rely on the PI3K cell signaling pathway for growth, so inhibiting the pathway selectively for cancer cells has long been a challenge for scientists in the fight against cancer. While turning PI3K inhibitors loose in the body would prevent the spread of cancer, doing so would also inhibit growth in lots of cells.

To effectively use this strategy in the treatment of cancer, the Wake Forest team had to target these inhibitors to specific kinds of cells. Using prostate cells as the target, they selected a protein that is specifically recognized by prostate cells and attach that protein to a PI3K inhibitor. Read more.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tech Speaker Series Returns! New Technology Resources to Grow Your Business

“New Advanced Technology Resources to Grow Your Business”
Tuesday, December 11
8:30 - 9:30 a.m. (networking & refreshments follow)

Did you know that within Winston-Salem’s Piedmont Triad Research Park some of the most advanced equipment and resources in the Southeast are now being made available to entire community? Our next Tech Speaker Series event on Tuesday, December 11 at 8:30 a.m. in Wake Forest Biotech Place will tell you all about it! Do you quickly need a prototype for a new product? Or access to cutting-edge medical research equipment? Come learn about what is available and how these items can help take your business to the next level.

  • Eric Tomlinson, DSc, PhD; President, Piedmont Triad Research Park and Chief Innovation Officer, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
  • Luke Burnett, PhD; Chief Science Officer, Keranetics
  • Tom Clarkson, Associate Director, Entrepreneurship; Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
  • Carol Strohecker, PhD; Director, Center for Design Innovation
Wake Forest Biotech Place
575 N. Patterson Avenue
Winston-Salem, NC 27101 Map

Hosted by the Tech Council of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.  Free and open to the public though registration is required.  Learn more and register.

Title Sponsor
·               Cook Medical
Series Sponsors:
·               B/E Aerospace
       Kilpatrick Townsend
    Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Food Sponsor  
          Gallins Foods

Hybrid 3-D Printer Used to Create Cartilage Implants at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Scientists at the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine have pioneered an approach to replace damaged cartilage, combining two low-cost techniques.

The team’s breakthrough mixes electrospinning with medical inkjet printing, also called bioprinting. 

The development has potential for the medical field. Injured natural cartilage is slow and difficult to heal, and has almost no ability to regrow itself. Currently, surgeons treat cartilage damage caused from injury or disease with techniques that remove small pieces of torn tissue or create microscopic grafts. But as of yet, they have been unable to fully regenerate the cushioning, lubricating tissue that keeps joints moving freely and bones from wearing against each other. As a result, degenerative cartilage conditions can eventually result in joint replacement surgery.

This new procedure may effectively eradicate these invasive procedures and spell relief for countless people who suffer from cartilage conditions. Read more.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Nanotech conference coming to Winston-Salem

For the first time, the Nanotech Commercialization Conference will be held in Winston-Salem.

The conference, which is in its fifth year, is aimed at spurring more research and business collaboration. It will be held April 9-10 at Wake Forest BioTech Place.

It is expected to attract more than 250 attendees and more than 50 speakers, of which there will be a significant Triad representation.

Nanobiotechnology is the science of developing materials at the atomic and molecular level and then using them to develop products and devices.

Hosting the conference “gives us the opportunity to again spotlight the opportunities in advanced manufacturing, coupled with advanced materials development that our community offers,” said David Carroll, director of the Center for Nanotechnology Molecular Materials at the university.  Read more

Friday, November 16, 2012

New Inmar Analytics unit looking to put data to use

Retailer software and service provider Inmar generates countless digital bytes of information from its clients each day as it redeems paper and electronic coupons, processes returns and generates promotions. The company’s newest division wants to make sure all that information is put to its best use.

John Ross joined Inmar in August as president of Inmar Analytics, which currently has just four of Inmar’s 700-plus total Winston-Salem employees. The company announced earlier this year that it would relocate its headquarters to the Piedmont Triad Research Park by the end of next year and expand to more than 900 workers.

The kind of data that Inmar generates companywide about shopper behavior could give brick-and-mortar retailers a “dot-com-like view of what’s going on in the business,” down to how a recommendation of one product impacts sales of another product, Ross said. That’s the kind of information that and other online retailers rely on routinely but is difficult for physical retailers to replicate, Ross said.  Read more. 

Wake Forest Doctors Working To Heal Wounded Warriors

Almost 50,000 American servicemen and women have been wounded while serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq. Of those, nearly 450 are from North Carolina.

At the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), doctors are researching ways to help these wounded warriors.

"It's a very simple concept, we're trying to repair these massive muscle loss injures."explains Dr. George Christ, WFIRM.

Wake Forest joins 34 universities on a more than $300 million mission to change the way wounded soldiers are treated on the battlefield.

Dr. Christ is the lead researcher for a project on muscle reconstruction. When these muscles are implanted into the body, the chances of healing are much greater, actually 70 to 80% greater, but that's just the beginning.  

"This is something that maybe can be injected into the muscle, provide a water-based source of oxygen." Dr. Christ hopes an oxygen gel they're developing can be applied to open wounds on the battlefield and save limbs, and maybe even lives because it buys the soldier crucial time keeping tissue alive until surgery.  Read more.

Caterpillar playing role in economic remaking of Winston-Salem

The first year of Caterpillar Inc. in Winston-Salem was filled mostly with sunshine.  The $426 million plant officially began a year ago today axle-assembly production for the massive Caterpillar trucks used in the mining industry.

Caterpillar is an important part of the economic remaking of Winston-Salem and the Triad, said Michael Walden, an economics professor at N.C. State University.

The company committed to have 510 total jobs -- 392 full-time and 118 contract workers -- when the 850,000-square-foot plant is at full capacity.  Read more.

Winston-Salem's Targacept names new CEO

Dr. Stephen Hill, a surgeon and the former CEO of both Solvay Pharmaceuticals and ArQule Inc., has been named the new president and chief executive officer of Targacept Inc.

Hill's background includes leading the U.S. arm of the Belgian company Solvay Pharmaceuticals and its 1,200 employees in the period leading up to its acquisition by Abbott Laboratories in 2010.

At the Massachusetts-based ArQule, Hill led the transition from a fee-for-service discovery chemistry model to one with the company's own proprietary pipeline, according to an announcement from Targacept. Read more.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tech Briefing iBook

The Winston-Salem Chamber's Tech Briefing convened designers of airplane seats, clothing, medical devices, solar cells, beet juice, mobile apps, and more. See them on an iBook created by Josh Tan (or choose the .pdf).

Read more and view iBook

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Biotech center will benefit with Doug Edgeton on board

It’s always good to see seasoned professionals land a new position where they can be all the more beneficial. That’s the case with Doug Edgeton, who has landed an executive position with the N.C. Biotechnology Center.

Edgeton, the former president of the Piedmont Triad Research Park, was instrumental in helping to build that park into the biotech foundation it has become. He had been the park’s president since 2007, a time in which he energetically led the park in growth and prestige. Although the park will continue to shine under new leader Eric Tomlinson, we hated to see Edgeton leave.

But we’re glad he’ll now be putting his considerable talents to use at the biotech center.

The center, a nonprofit financed by the legislature, seeks to help create jobs by supporting biotechnology research, business, education and strategic policy statewide. It’s based in Research Triangle Park, but has regional offices in Winston-Salem, Asheville, Greater Charlotte, Greenville and Wilmington.

Edgeton will be the senior vice president for financial planning and development. Norris Tolson, the head of the center, told the Journal’s Richard Craver that Edgeton’s job will include educating legislators about the importance of the economic impact of biotech. Tolson said Edgeton is “tailor-made to do the things we do here.”

Indeed. Edgeton should make the center shine in the same fashion that he made the Piedmont Triad Research Park shine. Edgeton should help ensure that biotech continues to help build our future.  Read more.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Google Search for Drug Discovery

It’s what scholars dream about: getting to work with the latest technology and leading researchers in the industry to develop a scientific breakthrough.

For Jason Gagliano, a biology graduate student at Wake Forest University, it’s a reality.

Gagliano is part of the physics department team at Wake Forest developing a technology called Next-Gen Lab-on-Bead. The tool uses next-generation genetic sequencing to make the drug development process thousands of times faster, much like a Google search.
“I usually just tell people I am trying to find new drugs for cancer,” he said.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded the team a $700,000 grant to bring Next-Gen Lab-on-Bead to market. The NIH awarded the funding through its Small Business Innovation Research program, and Wake Forest will share the funds with partner NanoMedica, a Winston-Salem company that has licensed the patent for Next-Gen Lab-on-Bead. Read More.

Friday, October 19, 2012

PTRP innovation among top priorities for Eric Tomlinson

People may know Eric Tomlinson as the president named this summer to head the Piedmont Triad Research Park, but for him, it’s his second title — chief innovation officer for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center — that’s most important.

“When I was approached for the job, it was president of PTRP, and oh, by the way, chief innovation officer of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center,” Tomlinson said. “But actually the job is chief innovation officer, of which part is to develop the park.”

That change speaks to a shift in focus for the research park, which includes 145 developable acres next to the heart of downtown. The park is expected to support more than 6 million square feet of building space as it’s built out.

Earlier this year saw the opening of Wake Forest Biotech Place, followed by the announcement that Winston-Salem-based Inmar will relocate its 900 workers to the park. Employment in the park is expected to approach 2,000 by the end of 2013, with hundreds of thousands of renovated square feet coming online.  Read more.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

November Frameworks Session
Access Your Readiness To Acquire External Resources

November 1, 2012

Wake Forest Biotech Place
575 N Patterson Ave., Winston-Salem, NC 
 Click Here for directions and parking information.

Anyone interested in entrepreneurship, considering commercializing new ideas, planning a new venture, working in a startup, developing new initiatives at larger companies, interested in exploring the potential of ideas with others, or improving their entrepreneurial and commercialization skills.

A monthly educational and networking series organized by the
Wake Forest University New Venture Incubator. There is no charge to attend Frameworks! seminars. Refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Creative Corridors unveils twin arches theme for Winston-Salem's major interchanges

When the Salem Creek Connector roadway is built in 2016, two overlapping "twin arches" might soar dramatically over the connector's juncture with U.S. 52.

Crosswalks, sidewalks, landscaping and ornamental lighting will make the entire connector more appealing for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians as they find a safer, more direct route to downtown from Winston-Salem State University and Salem College.

That's the vision that was presented Tuesday in designs unveiled at a meeting of the Creative Corridors Coalition. It's a nonprofit that has been tapping community residents for how to influence the look of the roadwork that the N.C. Department of Transportation and the city of Winston-Salem will do in the next several years around downtown.

The work will include the replacement of 11 bridges along a downtown stretch of Business 40.

Read more.

BB&T to Add 1,700 Jobs

BB&T Corporation will lease the former American Express call center in Greensboro to create a new office to handle administrative and back office tasks, a move that could create as many as 1,700 jobs over the next five years.

The Winston-Salem-based bank said it plans to eventually have as many as 2,500 employees working at what will now be called BB&T Triad Corporate Center.

The office should open by the end of the year, with 50 to 100 employees.

The company's headquarters will remain in downtown Winston-Salem. Read more.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Attracting Investors Through Winning Grants
October 25, 2:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Joint School of NanoScience and NanoEngineering

Potential and Confirmed speakers:
John Ujvari, SBIR expert, SBTDC
NC Biotech Center Grant Expert (asked)
Dave Rizzo, NC IDEA, $50k grant and VC fund 
Ashok Mendirrata, Southeast Tech Inventures
Eric Dobson, Angel Capital Group, TN
Andy Dreyfuss, Piedmont Angel Network

Two Optional Seminars and Investor Showcase
(RSVP by email for optional seminars
1 PM, Invite Only Investor Showcase for 6 NC companies 
2 PM, Creation of One Page Grant Proposal Outline
3 PM, John Ujvari walk through of SBIR resources
 Info and registration link (no charge):

Capital Connects!  is coming up and presents a great opportunity to meet with potential investors.   It also provides the opportunity to pitch to potential funders.  The event takes place on Thursday, November 15 from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering in Greensboro.   

If you are interested in pitching, please submit an Executive Summary by October 20 through the Capital Connects iStart platform.  Read more here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Winston-Salem gets big feature in US Airways Magazine

Winston-Salem's attractions and economy will be featured in a 98-page section of the October edition of US Airways Magazine.

It is the second time in less than three years that Winston-Salem has been selected as the magazine's featured destination. The section showcases more than 24 attractions, cultural arts and theater organizations, and educational institutions.

Stephen Mitchem, publisher of Pace Communications Inc., said the feature was expanded to include "all areas of innovation at the request of individuals in the private sector of Winston-Salem."

"This is, by far, the largest destination feature we ever published in the magazine and double the size we anticipated," Mitchem said.

Richard Geiger, president of Visit Winston-Salem, said the "positive feedback we received from the first feature certainly fueled us. These features are powerful and intriguing vehicles that tell millions of travelers why they, too, should experience Winston-Salem." Read more here.  

Join us tomorrow at
Our Annual Community Celebration!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 @ 5:30pm
Wake Forest BioTech Place (575 North Patterson Avenue)

This past year, Creative Corridors has been actively engaging the community and working alongside the City of Winston-Salem and the North Carolina Department of Transportation to collaborate on the design of future roadway projects – most notably, the Salem Creek Connector project.

At this Annual Community Celebration, Creative Corridors and the City of Winston-Salem will unveil the design concepts for Winston-Salem’s newest roadway (construction begins next year). For more information about the Salem Creek Connector project, please visit the NC DOT website.  RSVP

Friday, October 12, 2012

Piedmont Triad Research Park Moving Right Along with New Project

A gift from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. could become an integral part of Winston-Salem’s research park, benefiting the city’s biotech industry and its burgeoning downtown revival.

In 2010, Reynolds gave the Bailey Power Plant, formerly used to generate energy for its downtown facilities, to Piedmont Triad Research Park. In August, the necessary environmental abatement work began in preparation for turning the plant toward its future use. And though that use isn’t fully determined yet, it will most likely involve retail, restaurant or entertainment uses.

“There are plans for retail and restaurants around this part of the district, and this could serve as an anchor to draw in consumers, as well as serve people living in the area,” said Eric Tomlinson, the park’s president. 

The area around BioTech Place — which itself served as various times as a Reynolds tobacco plant, a warehouse and a machine shop — is being transformed. And though it will largely consist of office, retail and lab space, the plan has always been to include residential and entertainment uses. It’s all part of the “work, live, play” concept.  Read more.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Winston-Salem's Small Footprint NCTA21 Award Finalist!

Congratulation to Small Footprint -- the custom software outsourcing company located in Winston-Salem's Piedmont Triad Research Park has been recognized as a Finalist for the NCTA 21 Award in the Small Company Category. NCTA recognizes companies and individuals who have characterized excellence, innovation and leadership in 21 categories.  Read more.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Forsyth Tech Shows Off Transportation Technology Center

Forsyth Technical Community College showed off its new Transportation Technology Center at 4255 N. Patterson Ave. to the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce’s Technology & Innovation Series Tuesday.

Using funds from a $15.7 million Forsyth County bond issue, the school converted the old Pinebrook Shopping Center into a 139,000-square-foot facility with dozens of classrooms and computer laboratories and open bays for teaching all aspects of transportation technology.

The new center will “create jobs for the people in this community,” said Dr. Gary Green, Forsyth Tech president. He said the long-term vision was to provide “all transportation technologies.”

Green listed five programs as currently available:

  • Automotive Systems Technology.
  • Collision Repair and Refinishing Technology including sheet metal and new finishes)
  • Heavy Equipment and Transportation Technology for large trucks and over-the-road tractors.
  • Recreational Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Technology.
  • The Richard Childress Race Car Technology program. This center will feed students into the $6 billion auto racing industry.
Students are on three levels – in certificate programs to meet the specific state certification  requirements of automotive sub-specialties  diploma and two-year associate degrees. The campus also has English and math and other traditional college classes – many of which are transferable to a four-year college degree and various remedial programs such as English as a Second Language.

Graduates will find good jobs at auto dealerships, trucking companies, RV dealerships and other sites. The school has sophisticated computer equipment to check whether auto realignment on repaired cars meet factory specifications or what a car will look like after repainting.  Special painting booths enable state-of-the art repainting of cars, and one instructor said that such auto painters typically make more than $100,000 a year.

Chris Harvey, Technical Training Manager for Southeastern Toyota, a five-state region including the Carolinas, said Toyota is partnering with Forsyth Tech. “We have to start  with good people,” he said, and backing the program at Forsyth Tech will assure a supply of technicians for the 20 Toyota dealerships in the area.

“The students get the necessary skills to get a job,” Harvey said.

He said that Forsyth Tech was one of the only T10 level certified programs in the Southeast. Many of the cars in the shops at the school were Toyotas.

Joseph Sakowski from Snap-On Tools said his company was also a partner with Forsyth Tech, and serves as an East Coast train-the-trainer site for Snap-on.

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-5th) also was present and gave brief remarks.

Time Magazine Touts Wake Forest Helmet Research

Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are Making Football Safer
At Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, researchers are collecting data from youth players wearing helmets equipped with sensors that can record the direction and force of a hit.  This information will be paired with brain scans and cognitive tests of players taken at the beginning of the season and could ultimately be used to build better commercial helmets.  Read more.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

DataChambers expands with purchase of Raleigh building

DataChambers, a Winston-Salem-based technology firm, is expanding into the Triangle with the purchase of a 50,000-square-foot facility in Raleigh.

The building and eight-acre property, formerly home of Qwest Communications, will house a new high-availability data center. A variety of outsourced information technology services will be offered  – from hosted and cloud-based infrastructure solutions to data backup and business recovery services.

“We’ve experienced significant growth in recent years as companies have looked for ways to accomplish more with increasingly limited information technology budgets,” says Nicholas Kottyan, CEO of DataChambers. “We find we are able to offer our clients a level of service and support that would be hard for them to replicate on their own.”

The Raleigh location doubles DataChamber’s footprint. The company operates two data centers in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Deputy Sec. of Labor Seth Harris to visit Forsyth Tech

Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris will visit Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem on Thursday, Sept. 27 to tour the college’s state-of-the-art bioscience labs and observe students and faculty in action.

Forsyth Technical Community College is leading a nationwide consortium of schools that has received nearly $15 million in grants through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College to Career Training initiative. The funding will enable the consortium’s bioscience credentialing program to prepare trade-impacted workers and the long-term unemployed for high-quality, high-wage jobs within the bioscience and health care sectors.  Read more.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Triad SQL BI User Group

What:  Triad SQL BI User Group Monthly Meeting

When: September 25 (6:00 p.m. Pizza; 6:30-7:45 p.m. Meeting)

Where: Inmar (2650 Pilgrim Court, Winston-Salem NC, 27106)

Topic:  Business Intelligence panel discussion

Abstract:  A panel discussion is planned with IT representatives from Triad companies implementing Microsoft BI stack tools.

Panelists:  Colin Sobers, Tanger Outlets; David Elam, Hanesbrands; Jess Dyson, Advanced Homecare.  Moderated by Jon Lester, RDA Corp.

Sponsors: Thanks to our sponsors -- Inmar and DataMasters


11th Tech Briefing Highlights 10 Breakthroughs

Scientists at Camel City Solar have developed a new version of a solar cell using the wonders of nanotechnology to multiply the efficiency of generating energy from the sun.

Researchers at Wake Forest University have found that beet juice can lower blood pressure, increase blood flow in the brain and improve exercise performance, and they’ve now developed a beet juice that actually tastes good. (Samples were available and many attendees agreed that it now tasted good.)

Technology Crops International scientists  have developed a plant they are calling ahiflower that produces enough omega 3 fatty acids that may alleviate critical shortages of those fatty acids in Western human diets.

And a Forsyth Medical Center pediatrician, Dr. Gretchen Hoyle, is leading a company called MD Online Solutions that aims to improve primary care practices by catching diseases early and reducing the need for referral to specialists and expensive admission of patients to the hospital.

These were just four of the ten presenters at the 11th Annual Tech Briefing, part of the Triad Business and Technology Expo at Benton Convention Center.

Bob Summers, CEO of Camel City Solar, said that flat-panel solar cells are just not efficient enough to meet energy needs. The new form of solar cell using nanotechnology will produce 2-3 times more power over the course of a day. The cylindrical surface of the cell, coated with an ink-like nanotechnology surface, can take advantage of multiple peaks in exposure to the sun.

And to those who argue for energy conservation, Summers told several hundred people at the briefing,  “We cannot save our way out to the need” for increased energy production.

On the beet juice, Dr. Daniel B. Kin-Shapiro, director of WFU’s translational science center said the wonders of beet juice were already recognized by elite athletes. “Thousands of gallons of beet juice were consumed in the Olympic Village.”  

Beet juice works because it is a potent source of nitrate.

Andrew Hebard, president and CEO of Technology Crops International, said the omega 3 fatty acids produced from the ahiflower were the same as the omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil. The ahiflower already is being grown and has the potential to produce substantial quantities in three years that is price-competitive with fish oil and can meet the urgent need for more dietary fatty acids.

Dr. Hoyle said MD Online Solutions might help reduce health care costs by focusing on prevention and other primary care efforts. The online solutions deliver results of tests and other measures quickly to the primary care doctors, enabling them to act quickly on results. 

She noted that Affordable Care Act will strengthen primary care and prevention and perhaps reduce the 17 percent of gross domestic product that is now spent on health care. 

Furthermore, it will help primary care doctors cope with what she called the “silver Tsunami” – the aging  baby boomers, most of whom have at least one chronic condition.  Read more

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Don't Miss Winston-Salem's 11th Annual Tech Briefing Sept. 20

During the Olympics this summer, you might have read news stories about athletes drinking beet juice to increase their performance, and maybe even describing it as tasting like “sweet dirt.”  Well before the Olympics, Wake Forest University had commissioned the development of a good-tasting beet juice. Daniel Kim-Shapiro, physicist and director of Wake Forest’s Translational Science Center, will offer beet juice samples for tasting after his talk at the 11th annual Tech Briefing on September 20.

Kim-Shapiro, will share how Wake Forest researchers have shown that drinking beet juice can increase blood flow to the brain in older adults. Such a finding could hold potential for combating the progress of dementia in patients. Plus he has other news about how the main ingredient in beet juice – nitrate – has other good benefits for humans.

“The goal of the Tech Briefing is to inform and excite our community about local companies and institutions that are creating innovative technologies, designs and products here in Winston-Salem,” said Bret Marchant of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce. “The presenters are the entrepreneurs, designers and researchers who are helping to transform our local economy.”

An estimated 300 to 400 people are expected to attend this year’s briefing organized by the Tech Council of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce. Held 8:00 - 9:30 a.m. in the Benton Convention Center, it will open the Chamber’s Business and Innovation Expo. The Briefing is free and open to the public. Read more

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in the News

Dr. Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, is used to hearing his work described as science fiction.  

Way back in 1999, he and his team grew bladders in a lab and successfully implanted them in patients with spina bifida. Then in 2004, his team grew urethras for five boys in Mexico City. Eight years later, the laboratory-grown tissue looks as natural as the boys' own.

Today, scientists are growing more than 30 types of tissues and organs at the Wake Forest Institute in Winston-Salem, N.C. The hard work of growing vital organs "is a major challenge," Atala says. Although his lab has already grown a set of lungs, so far they're only experimental. "It should be only a matter of time before we create solid organs" such as livers and hearts, he says.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers are also testing a spray-on skin that could greatly reduce the way skin grafts are collected for burn patients.  Read more.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chamber Tech Council Hosts Tech & Innovation Series

Let’s Go Racing! – Transportation Technology in Winston-Salem

Tuesday, October 2
8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Forsyth Tech Transportation Technology Center

4255 North Patterson Avenue, WS

Don’t miss this opportunity to visit and tour Forsyth Tech’s new, state-of-the-art Transportation Technology Center. As one of the premier centers of its kind in the country, the facility offers all of the computer labs, simulators and high-tech equipment needed for today’s highly complex, computer-controlled vehicles. A remarkable example of adaptive reuse, this modern LEED-eligible building is on the site of the former Pinebrook Shopping Center. It houses all of the college's Transportation Technology programs, including the Richard Childress Race Car Technology program. Plan to come early or stay afterwards for coffee and conversation. The event is free, but registration is required. Register here

Hosted by: Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce Tech Council
Sponsored by: Cook MedicalB/E AerospaceKilpatrick Townsend and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Forsyth Tech SciTech Lecture Series

featuring Doug Drabble, Director of BioNetwork and Life Science Initiatives

“Career Success in Life Science”

4:00 p.m., September 20, 2012
Ardmore Auditorium
Forsyth Tech Main Campus
2100 Silas Creek Parkway
Winston-Salem, NC 27103

To reserve a seat, contact Mona Cofer
at 336.734.7205 or

All lectures are free and open to the public.

WFU professors, students show how to add computer science to middle school classes

Students headed back to school at Hanes Magnet School in Winston-Salem will find a whole new subject in some of their English, Spanish, social studies and math classes: computer science.

“Fortune Magazine ranks many computer science careers in their top or fastest-growing lists,” Samuel Cho, assistant professor of physics and computer science at Wake Forest University said. “Even though we are in a rough economy, computer science graduates are in high demand.”

Cho and fellow computer science professor Paúl Pauca created a two-day workshop for Hanes Magnet School teachers, along with graduate and undergraduate students. The goal: to demonstrate how computer science could be worked into lesson plans across their curriculum. The workshop was made possible with a $5,000 grant from Google, matched by Wake Forest and recently highlighted as one of the reasons tech website Mashable listed Wake Forest as one of the “top ten campuses for tech.”

“We need to expose young students at the middle school level to computer science,” Cho said. “It’s fundamentally as important as math, English or science.” Read more.

Winston-Salem Chamber Hosts 11th Annual Tech Briefing

Begin your day at the Chamber’s Business Expo on Sept. 20 by attending the 11th Annual Tech Briefing – a fast-moving event that showcases some of the local companies and inventors that are helping to transform our economy.

Each presenter speaks for just five minutes about their innovative technologies, designs, and products – and they will leave you amazed at what is happening right here in Winston‐Salem. The Tech Briefing is free and open to the public, but we just ask that you register in advance. The Tech Briefing and Expo will be held in the Benton Convention Center. Read more and see our list of presenters!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Piedmont Triad Research Park president shares vision

Eric Tomlinson became president of Piedmont Triad Research Park on July 2. A scientist and biopharmaceutical expert, he has assumed the role of guiding the park through its most pivotal growth spurt since its founding in the late 1990s. The park is considered by many to be the leading new-economy engine for the region.

Tomlinson presented a personal introduction, an infrastructure update and his vision for the park during a presentation Tuesday at Wake Forest BioTech Place.

The park's workforce will expand from about 850 now to more than 2,100. It will go from 400,000 square feet of space to 1 million and double in investment from its current $175 million to $350 million.

Tomlinson spoke of having more people living, working and playing in the area, projecting a fifth housing loft development and 130 more downtown residents adjacent to the park's boundaries. By spring 2014, significant work is expected to be completed on the Bailey Green Park and the 26-mile "rails-to-trails" greenway.  Read more.

Let’s Go Racing! – Transportation Technology in Winston-Salem

Technology & Innovation Series

Tuesday, October 2
8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Forsyth Tech Transportation Technology Center

4255 North Patterson Avenue, Winston-Salem

Don’t miss this opportunity to visit and tour Forsyth Tech’s new, state-of-the-art Transportation Technology Center. As one of the premier centers of its kind in the country, the facility offers all of the computer labs, simulators and high-tech equipment needed for today’s highly complex, computer-controlled vehicles. A remarkable example of adaptive reuse, this modern LEED-eligible building is on the site of the former Pinebrook Shopping Center. It houses all of the college's Transportation Technology programs, including the Richard Childress Race Car Technology program. Plan to come early or stay afterwards for coffee and conversation. The event is free, but registration is required.

Register here.

Sponsored by: Cook Medical, B/E Aerospace, Kilpatrick Townsend and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Monday, August 27, 2012

CNN tells story of Wake Forest's new Power Felt

CNN's web site currently features a story about Power Felt, a new material created at Wake Forest University that produces electricity.  Power Felt was developed at Wake Forest's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials. 

The felt uses temperature differences in the fabric to produce electricity.  See more.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Triad Community Colleges to Train Long-Term Unemployed Through Back-to-Work Program

Davidson County Community College, Forsyth Technical Community College and Guilford Technical Community College have been chosen as three of the 10 North Carolina community colleges to receive funding for the North Carolina Back-to-Work program to help the long-term unemployed find employment and new careers.

The $5 million program, a partnership between NC Community Colleges and the NC Department of Commerce, will focus on providing job training and retraining; employability skills, including a Career Readiness Certificate, and third-party, industry-recognized credentials to the long-term unemployed.

As part of this initiative, Winston-Salem's Forsyth Tech will receive $711,682. Read more.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

NCTA Event: Building North Carolina's Data Center Corridor

North Carolina has seen an explosion of data centers. As companies and consumers rely on the cloud for services and content and more people get Internet access, it will spark a building boom for more, larger data centers. What will this mean for the state?

Confirmed Panelists:
Tony Cockerham, Chief Operating Officer – DukeNet Communications
Nick Kottyan, President & CEO – DataChambers
Chris Kopchik, Interim CIO – Womble Carlyle
Dana Watts, Principal – SMMA

8:30 – 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 26
Targacept (200 E. First Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101)

Individual Registration: Members – Free / Nonmembers – $45

Read more and register.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Meet Dr. Eric Tomlinson -- new Piedmont Triad Research Park president

Below is a letter from Dr. Eric Tomlinson, the newly appointed President of the Piedmont Triad Research Park and Chief Innovation Officer at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Dear Colleagues:

I am buoyed by the welcome I have received, thank you! Having met many members of our community I am encouraged by your excitement and entrepreneurial spirit.

Now I am eager to learn more about what services and capabilities you suggest we must provide to help you turn your ideas and inventions into competitive innovative products and services.

So to all in our community interested in innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship in the medical and life sciences, information technology, and in the arts, please join me and my fine colleagues over breakfast at Wake Forest Biotech Place (575 N. Patterson Avenue) on August 28.

Light breakfast will be available from 7:30 am. At 8 am I will provide a brief update on developments at the research park as a lead into a Q&A discussion with you about how we can promote innovation in the Triad. I hope you will linger after our Q&A session to network with your colleagues.

I very much look forward to meeting you and to welcoming you to Biotech Place. Please come with an open mind, pithy questions, and great ideas.


PS: Please register to attend the Q&A session.

Winston-Salem-based Triad Semiconductor named to Inc. 500 list

Two Triad firms have made Inc. magazine's newest list of America's 500 fastest-growing private companies, on newsstands now.

Winston-Salem-based Triad Semiconductor came in at No. 409, with a three-year growth rate of 911 percent. The company, with 35 employees, generated $5.1 million in 2011 revenue. Triad Semiconductor designs and manages customizable semiconductor chips for military and aerospace clients. Read more.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

North Carolina Named State of the Year

North Carolina has been named the 2012 State of the Year by Southern Business & Development, which focuses on economic development. The award is based on North Carolina's economic-development performance during 2011.

It is the third time the state has received the honor, including 2005 and 2006.

The publication ranks states based on each project announced with a minimum of 200 jobs and/or $30 million investment.

In 2011, North Carolina had 89 projects that met or exceeded the publication's threshold, more than any other state. It landed projects in nearly every industry sector, including furniture, data centers, headquarters, financial services, health care, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, biotech and automotive. Read more.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Wake Forest fruit fly research might change diabetes treatment

When you base your research career on something as minuscule as the period at the end of this sentence, you might have to deal with a questioning look or two.

And when you tell people that little period – a fruit fly brain – is wired in the same way as their brain, the reactions can get intense.

Erik Johnson, an associate professor in biology at Wake Forest University who studies fruit flies, says he gets two responses.

“One is complete disbelief, to the point of almost being angered by it. I think that’s unfortunate, because humans could stand to be a little more humble,” he said.

“Others are just sort of like, wow, but with an interest – open to the idea that brains are brains, and they all do similar things. Complexity doesn’t stem from having different genes or special nerve cells. The basic biophysical, biochemical makeup is the same. The difference in complexity is in the number of cells. Why flies are so simple is that they have approximately 100,000 neurons versus the approximately 11 billion in humans.”

Johnson’s latest study appears in the October issue of the Genetics, which is available online now. In it, he and his research team use the fruit fly, Drosophila, to look at an enzyme called AMP-activated kinase and its role in signaling the hormone that elevates the level of sugar in the blood.

Those findings could be key to developing new treatments for diabetes and aiding in all sorts of metabolic research, including weight-loss drugs. Read more.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Winston-Salem-based Targacept reports profit

Winston-Salem-based Targacept brought in net income of $14.5 million in the second quarter, up from a loss of $2.3 million a year earlier.

In its second-quarter earnings report, the company said it is currently in the midst of three Phase 2 trials and is expecting results from a drug targeting attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder next month. Other trials are aimed at schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease, and the company is evaluating a potential trial related to Parkinson's disease.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nominate Your Business for the NCTA 21 Awards!

The NCTA 21 Awards is one of North Carolina's most prestigious statewide technology awards, recognizing companies and individuals who have characterized excellence, innovation and leadership in 21 categories.

We are just three weeks away from the deadline of August 31 for submitting applications. We encourage you to visit the online nomination site,, and nominate companies you feel would be an appropriate finalist. NCTA has a new streamlined, online process – give it a try! Click here to nominate.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bring your technology-related conference or meeting to Winston-Salem

YOU can make an economic impact on Winston-Salem. Do you belong to an organization or association? Each year thousands of conference and convention attendees spend millions of dollars in our city benefitting hotels, restaurants, transportation, shopping and many other businesses in our city.

You can help bring more dollars to town. All you need to do is submit the name of your organization to Visit Winston-Salem. They will do all the work from inviting your association to town, assisting with the planning stages and providing services once the group arrives in town.

We’ve got a great city to showcase. Won’t you help spread the word? Share memorable experiences with your friends and associates here in Winston-Salem! Click here for more information.

Piedmont Triad Research Park -- A Whole New Future

Tipping point. Game changer. Momentum builder. Pivotal anchor.

Those are some of the terms being used in reaction to Inmar Inc.'s decision to move its headquarters into Piedmont Triad Research Park and relocate the bulk of its workforce to downtown Winston-Salem.

Winston-Salem business leaders called the move a major happening in a project that has been touted to be a key driver of the new Forsyth County economy.

Inmar said Tuesday that the company was moving more than 915 present and projected jobs to two vacant former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. processing plants.

When Inmar moves into the renovated buildings in December 2013, it will become by far the park's largest tenant, potentially boosting the park's combined workforce to more than 2,300. Read more.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wake Forest University educators launch firm to sell Verbal Victor app

The Wake Forest University professor who spearheaded the development of a smartphone and iPad app to help his speech-disabled son and others like him has started a company to commercialize the program.

Paúl Pauca, an associate professor of computer science, co-founded Apps for the Greater Good to commercialize the Verbal Victor app and develop new products. Pauca is working with graduate student Scott Graber, who is president of the new firm.

Pauca came up with the idea for Verbal Victor through frustration at the cost and complexity of other tools available to help children like his own son Victor, who suffers from the genetic disease Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, which delayed his ability to communicate through speech.

Verbal Victor allows parents or teachers to associate recordings of their own voices to pictures of common items, which the child can select by pushing an on-screen button. Read more.