Today marks the opening of the new Doerr Lab and Building at the Chicago Innovation Exchange. The Institute for Molecular Engineering is proud to call the building another home site, as IME occupies one dedicated office and rents additional incubator space in the building.
The new offices at Doerr Lab enable faculty, staff, researchers, and students more direct communication and interaction with CIE staff and the University of Chicago entrepreneurial community. Additionally, the Doerr Lab is the new home of IME’s Innovation and Commercialization Fellows Program (ICFP). A program unique to IME, the student-founded and student-run ICFP was created to connect people within IME to the University of Chicago’s greater innovation ecosystem, including the CIE, and to funnel IME discoveries and inventions into the commercialization pipeline. IC Fellows maintain an active portfolio of Institute discoveries and intellectual property and act as ambassadors to organizations such as the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (through the Booth school), the Chicago Innovation Exchange, and UChicagoTech, the University’s technology transfer office. The ICFP has already attracted interest from Argonne National Laboratory research groups and external investors. The Chicago Innovation Exchange, Polsky Center, and UChicagoTech have shown eager support for the program’s success.
Leading the University’s water resource management program, IME will use the new space to bring together partners from different divisions within the University, as well as from public and private sectors outside the university, to generate ideas and collaborate on projects. The recent Water Conference, held at the CIE Skydeck at the University’s Harper Court building, included a discussion breakout session on intellectual property procurement and the commercialization process led by IME graduate students (and IC Fellows) Yu Kambe, John Barrett, and Kevin Miao, along with Senior Associate Dean Sharon Feng. The discussion inspired active participation and yielded further patent inquiries for 3 projects.
IME is also heavily involved in other CIE sponsored activities. In addition to their roles in the ICFP, graduate students Yu Kambe and John Barrett, and postdoctoral scholar John Colson also serve as Associates at the Innovation Fund, CIE’s $20 million early/seed-stage venture fund. Yu and John also serve as IME representatives to the CIE student advisory committee, providing input and direction for student-focused programming at the CIE.