Kauffman Foundation and National Postdoctoral Association Awards Recognize Entrepreneurship as a Valued Career Path for New Scientists

Media contacts
Lacey Graverson, 816-932-1116, lgraverson@kauffman.org, Kauffman Foundation
Cathee Johnson Phillips, cjphillips@nationalpostdoc.org, National Postdoctoral Association

WASHINGTON (Oct. 24, 2011) — The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the National Postdoctoral Association have announced the call for applications for the 2012 Kauffman Foundation Outstanding Postdoctoral Entrepreneur and Emerging Postdoctoral Entrepreneur awards, which recognize exceptional postdocs who are working to commercialize research.

"Postdoctoral research has the potential to change society and individual lives," said Sandra Miller, Kauffman Foundation, director of Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation. "The Postdoctoral awards foster entrepreneurship in the scientific community by recognizing scholars who are taking steps to bring their innovations to market. That's important because commercialization is the key to ensuring that research realizes the good it is meant to achieve."

The awards will be presented at the NPA's 10th Annual Meeting, slated for March 15-18, 2012, in San Francisco, Calif. The Outstanding Postdoctoral Entrepreneur recipient will receive a $10,000 honorarium. The Emerging Postdoctoral Entrepreneur Award, given to a promising postdoctoral entrepreneur, provides a $2,500 honorarium.

"We're very pleased to once again partner with the Kauffman Foundation in this award program, which builds entrepreneurial awareness by providing researchers with role models who are experiencing success," said NPA Executive Director Cathee Johnson Phillips.

To qualify for the Outstanding Postdoctoral Entrepreneur award, in addition to other criteria, an individual must hold a doctorate degree, have completed postdoctoral training in the United States, and be the founder or co-founder of a U.S. company that is commercializing or has commercialized the intellectual property of the nominee or other intellectual property in which the nominee has been significantly involved. A nominee for the Emerging Postdoctoral Entrepreneur award must hold a postdoctoral position or have completed postdoctoral training and be seeking to commercialize intellectual property, among other criteria.

Application information and complete eligibility criteria for each award are available at www.nationalpostdoc.org/entrepreneur. The deadline for application is Nov. 28, 2011, at 11:59 p.m. EST.

About the 2011 Award Recipients

Noah Weisleder, the 2011 Kauffman Foundation Outstanding Postdoctoral Entrepreneur, received his B.S. in biotechnology and molecular biology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in cell biology from Baylor College of Medicine. He conducted his postdoctoral studies at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School where he is now an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. During this time, he has published dozens of peer-reviewed publications or book chapters in the fields of muscle physiology, cardiovascular disease, cytoskeletal dynamics, membrane repair and cellular calcium homeostasis in normal physiology and disease states. He is an inventor of six published U.S. patent applications and numerous international patent applications. These inventions became the basis for formation of TRIM-edicine, a biotechnology company developing protein therapeutics targeting regenerative medicine applications, where he is a co-founder and chief scientific officer. At TRIM-edicine, located in North Brunswick, N.J., he oversees all developmental programs and manages partnerships with established pharmaceutical companies. He has received a fellowship from the American Heart Association and a Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institutes of Health.

Jason K. Holt, the 2011 Kauffman Foundation Emerging Postdoctoral Entrepreneur, is a co-founder and chief technology officer of NanOasis Technologies, Richmond, Calif., a San Francisco Bay Area startup focusing on the development of next-generation, low-energy membranes for seawater desalination. He has a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of California at Irvine and an M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. His doctorate work focused on methods for developing low-cost, thin-film silicon solar cells. After completing his Ph.D. studies, he joined Intel Corporation as a senior process engineer. Eager to rejoin the research community, he left Intel to join Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) as a postdoctoral fellow in 2003 and was later promoted to staff scientist in 2006. His research at LLNL focused on nanostructured composite materials for applications in nanofluidics and filtration. This research culminated in an article in Science in 2006 and demonstrated the promise of carbon nanotube materials for high throughput filtration. To explore the commercial applications of this research, he entered the Siemens Technology Entrepreneurship Challenge in 2007 and won first place for his business plan entitled "Carbon Nanotube Membranes for Desalination". This award attracted interest from the venture capital community and led to the founding of NanOasis in the summer of 2008. He is passionate about the development of technologies to solve global issues such as water scarcity and energy independence.