UNT announces 2017 Innovator Award winners

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 15:08
From left to right: Narendra Dahotre, Roberto Aguilar Ayala and Ryan Girardot
From left to right: Narendra Dahotre, Roberto Aguilar Ayala and Ryan Girardot

A University of North Texas faculty member, a graduate student and an undergraduate student have been recognized as UNT's 2017 Innovator Award winners.

This is the second year the Office of Research and Innovation has recognized faculty and students for finding creative solutions to today's most pressing issues. The awards include cash awards or scholarships.

"Our university is working to expand its multi-disciplinary research and offer faculty and students opportunities for them to bring innovation to light," UNT President Neal Smatresk said. "Our faculty discoveries help move science and society forward and allow the university to play an even more significant role in economic development for our region and state."

Ranked a Tier One research university by the Carnegie Classification, UNT is a catalyst for creativity fueling progress, innovation and entrepreneurship for the North Texas region and state.

The winners are:

  • Narendra Dahotre, interim associate vice president for research and innovation and a University Distinguished Research Professor in Engineering and a former chairman of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Dahotre demonstrated his leadership in innovation with his technology "Laser-Assisted Machining of Hard Tissues and Bone," which will enable surgeons to use a laser to abate bones and tissues during joint (hip, knee, etc.) and other bone replacements and limb salvation surgeries. The potential use of a laser instead of conventional orthopedic surgery tools such as hammers and chisels offers a drastic reduction in trauma to the patient to allow for less complications, less pain, faster healing times, higher accuracies, and reduced need for additional surgeries or post-operative interventions. Currently licensed to a start-up company, Dahotre spent his sabbatical working with the licensee to help accelerate the development of the core technology into a viable medical technology. Additionally, Dahotre has developed a new technology for cardiovascular stents, which reduces one of the leading issues encountered with complications found in long-term stent recipient patients. His innovative approach to fundamental research allows him to examine problems, develop fundamental research to address those problems, and refine that fundamental research so that industry can use his research results to address those problems. His research has generated funding support in excess of $7.5 million from government and industrial organizations. He is the author of four books, has been issued 16 U.S. patents and has published nearly 300 articles in professional journals, and he is a fellow of nine professional societies, including the National Academy of Inventors.
  • Roberto Aguilar Ayala, a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry and biochemistry. Aguilar Ayala works on nanoparticle deposition technologies in the lab of Guido Verbeck, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and a member of UNT's BioDiscovery Institute. Working across two vastly different fields − criminal forensics and biotechnology, Aguilar Ayala is innovating how UNT graduate students approach their academic studies and how their research can be used in industry through technology transfer. By using advanced design, Aguilar Ayala has approached his research innovatively from ground level concepts to a completed polished system, which allows the technology to be open to multiple commercial applications as it moves from theory to practical solutions. His creative research approach allows for commercial engineering to create a viable product for clinical, research and forensic practitioners.
  • Ryan Girardot, a marketing senior in UNT's top-ranked College of Business. Girardot began his business background by running adult basketball leagues and applying technology to solve the problems he's encountered in that work. He began running adult sports leagues at the age of 13, when he founded a league in his driveway that eventually grew to a statewide scale and a successful exit, followed by his employment at one of the largest adult sports league providers in the nation − Sports Monster. During that time, Girardot discovered the pitfalls of the established way of doing things and came up with the idea for Player's Revolution Sports, where he is now a co-founder and CEO. Player's Revolution Sports, LLC launched its flagship mobile app, EPLAY Basketball in June, after a year of development and gained more than 1,500 users in the Dallas Fort Worth area alone during its first two weeks in app stores.

UNT News Service
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