Weekly Memo

April 14, 2014

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

    “At 14, Joung Yoon (Felix) Kim traveled over 6,500 miles to Plattsburgh, Clinton County, leaving behind his home in Seoul, South Korea, to become ‘something special,’ in the United States. He did not speak English and knew no one in America.” So begins a recent article in the Rochester Business Journal about Felix, a senior in Optics whose journey to becoming CEO of Ovitz Corp. makes for some compelling reading. Despite obstacles and detours along the way, Felix has persevered in his desire to "build a company that makes medical devices more accessible and more wearable” -- in this case, a hand-held instrument to determine accurate prescriptions for corrective lenses. Click here to read the article. Ovitz, by the way, is one of five finalists in the 2014 Rochester Regional Business Plan Contest. Three winners will be announced May 2 at the 6th Annual Celebration of Entrepreneurship Luncheon, with the first-place winner receiving $25,000. Best of luck, Felix!

      Speaking of competitions, students participating in the eighth annual Mark Ain Business Model Competition need to submit business plans by 4 p.m. Wednesday. First place will win $10,000; second place will receive $2,500; and third place will get $1,000. A team of up to five students may submit one plan and students may submit a business plan that was written for a current or past course. Submissions must be submitted electronically to Susanna Virgilio at the Center for Entrepreneurship. Ten semi-finalist teams will be selected to present their business plans on May 1. The pool will then be whittled down to five finalist teams who will have a chance to win the cash prizes during the competition on May 13. See the submission guidelines.

   And that's not the only competition Hajim School students can apply for. Full-time undergraduate engineering or applied sciences students can also compete in the Charles and Janet Forbes Entrepreneurial Competition by submitting a plan for a technical business. Cash prizes will be awarded to top teams. Send business plans electronically to Susanna Virgilio by 4 p.m. Monday, April 21. For more information, email the Center for Entrepreneurship or call 276-3500.

     Why are searchers having such a hard time locating that missing Malaysian airliner? Duncan Moore, the Rudolf and Hilda Kingslake Professor in Optical Engineering Science, Professor of Optics, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, will explain how such factors as ocean currents and water temperatures can hinder pinpointing signals from the plane's black box. Tune in to the Connections with Evan Dawson program at 1 p.m. tomorrow at WXXI-AM 1370.

    We have lots of good news to report from Biomedical Engineering.

     Echoe Bouta, Jason Inzana, and Amanda Chen have each been awarded a 2014-2015 Whitaker International Program Scholarship grant. Echoe is a Ph.D. candidate from Prof. Edward Schwarz’s lab and will pursue her post-doctoral training at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. Jason, a Ph.D. candidate in Prof. Hani Awad’s lab,  will pursue his post-doctoral research at the AO Research Institute in Davos, Switzerland. Amanda, a senior in Prof. Danielle Benoit’s lab, will pursue a masters degree in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge, working with Prof. Nigel Slater.

      Amanda has also received a prestigious National Science Foundation Research Fellowship, and first year BME graduate student Bentley Hunt received an NSF Honorable Mention. Former BME undergraduate students Greg Fedorchak (now at Cornell University) and Ian Marozas (now at the University of Colorado-Boulder) also were recognized with an NSF fellowship. The fellowship, which is part of a federally sponsored program, provides up to three years of graduate study support for students pursing doctoral or research-based master's degrees.

      BME Assistant Professor Mark Buckley has been awarded a pilot grant from the University of Rochester Core Center for Musculoskeletal Biology and Medicine (URCCMBM) for his research in collaboration with A. Samuel Flemister from the Department of Orthopaedics and Mike Richards from the Department of Surgery. This grant will support their research to improve treatment for insertional Achilles tendinopathy (IAT), a common and painful disease that resists standard forms of non-operative care.

    As always, keep me updated and have a great week.


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean