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Home News Showcasing Innovation at 2nd “Invented at Duke” Celebration

Showcasing Innovation at 2nd “Invented at Duke” Celebration

From Antiperspirant Lotion To Waste Treatment To Targeted Radiotherapy – Duke Made Yet Another Exhibition Of Ingenious Innovations That Span Numerous Fields And Applications.

Riding on the success of the first “Invented at Duke” event last October, companies such as Carpe Lotion, Cereius, and 374Water show how Duke is not only leading the way in transferring innovations to society but is also providing valuable contributions to the economic vitality of the surrounding community. 

The event, co-hosted by Duke’s Office of Translation and Commercialization (OTC) and Duke’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative (I&E) brought together students, faculty, alumni, investors, and members of the local community to see how Duke is translating research and collaboration into impactful innovations that can have lasting effects on the global community. It was also a great opportunity for new startups to connect with investors to help grow their businesses.   

“At this event, you really got a sense of how broad Duke’s innovation community is,” said Jon Fjeld, Director for the I&E Initative, “Invented at Duke brought together hundreds of people including students, researchers, industry members, investors, alumni, patent lawyers, and Durham community partners. The energy in the air was just electric. Lots of networking, introduction-making, and partnership development happened in that space, that are just the first spark to help move ideas and innovations forward.”

This year, OTC broke previous records for startup formation helping to create 16 new startups in addition to 329 invention disclosures, 114 agreements, 25 exclusive agreements, and earning $51 million in revenue. 103 US patents were issued this year as well.

On top of Duke innovation successes, Invented at Duke also showcased the highly successful Mentors-in-Residence (MIRs) and New Venture Fellow Program (NVF).  MIRs are entrepreneurs who have successfully raised capital for, built, sold, or invested in start-up companies. The NVF program pairs experienced MIRs with MBA students for a hands-on opportunity to work with various startups with the possibility of being offered a paid position after the program.  

“Last night’s event not only showed how much excitement there is around innovation and entrepreneurship on campus but also how Duke is transforming today’s ideas into tomorrow’s new companies, products, and services,” said Robin Rasor, Executive Director of OTC.  “Duke’s continuing success in technology commercialization is not just a measure of the inventiveness and ingenuity of our faculty, students, and staff, but also of our ability to create strong relationships with industry and the local entrepreneurial community.”

Here Was This Year’s Lineup Of Featured Innovators:  

Kobe Nagar, 374Water
Kobe Nagar, 374Water

374Water utilizes supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) to convert organic waste into clean water in a fraction of the time that other waste treatment methods would take. By heating the waste to above water’s critical point (374°C), complex organic compounds are separated into carbon dioxide, water, and non-leachable inorganic salts. Developed by Marc Deshusses, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Pratt School of Engineering, 374Water looks to revolutionize sewage treatment by offering a cheaper, cleaner, and faster solution that has the potential to greatly reduce the prevalence of sewage-borne diseases in the developing world. 

Carpe Lotion
Kasper Kubica, Co-founder Carpe Lotion

Carpe Lotion is an antiperspirant lotion created by David Spratte and Kasper Kubica as a simpler solution to sweaty hands and feet, the result of various activities such as gaming, golf, and even writing. Since its’ inception in 2014, Carpe Lotion has become an Amazon bestseller and is sold nationwide through CVS.  


TAMS, or Teaching Assignment Management System, is an innovative data-driven software application that can suggest optimal teaching assignments to universities. TAMS can also be used to oversee master schedules for instructors and balance both the needs of students and faculty. Their software has been licensed at higher-education institutions such as George Washington University and the University of Illinois. 

Zephyr Mobility
Zephyr Mobility

Zephyr Mobility, founded by engineering grad Sam Fox, offers a mechanical solution to reposition patients in hospital beds while minimizing the potential strain on nurses who have traditionally carried out this task. 75% of patients needed to be turned from one side to the other every two hours, and Zephyr Mobility can do this with the press of a button. With this new technology, it is likely that hospital productivity will increase alongside less strain on nurses and better patient outcomes. 

Dan Sorin
Dan Sorin, founder of Realtime Robotics

Realtime Robotics created a processor that generates collision-free motion plans nearly instantaneously – within milliseconds. This technology allows robots to quickly respond to changes in their surroundings and act accordingly. Founded in 2016 by Pratt School of Engineering professors Dan Sorin and George Konidaris, Realtime Robotics seeks to vastly improve the adaptability and speed of robotic systems for a vast array of applications. 

Eric Benner, Tellas Therapeutics
Eric Benner, Tellas Therapeutics

Tellus Therapeutics is a life sciences company that uses the work of Duke neonatologist Eric Benner to treat brain damage in newborns. Tellus is working on using maternal breast milk to derive small molecules proven to repair brain damage in animal models that can hopefully be used for human newborns. 

Wolfgang Liedkte, TRPblue
Wolfgang Liedkte, TRPblue

TRPBlueis a therapeutics company started by Duke neurologist and pain medicine specialist Wolfgang Liedtke working on addressing the problem of severe dermatitis and chemotherapy-induced painful polyneuropathy (CIPN) . They are developing a dual-acting inhibitor cream that targets the receptors channels TRPV4 and TRPA1 at the source. TRPBlue’s inhibitors have displayed anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic activity.


Ed Field, CEO, Cereius

Cereius is developing solutions to solid tumor brain metastasis through highly specific, targeted radiotherapy to selectively target only cancerous cells. Using “next-generation radiolabeling chemistries,” Cereius, whose innovation was created by radiologists Mike Zalutsky and Ganesan Vaidyanathan, aims to vastly increase the uptake of radionuclides in tumors “up to 5-fold” while also decreasing the uptake in healthy tissue. 

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