Voice of Academia: Part 1 – Driving toward student career paths’ diversity and the launch of UO’s new science campus

Oregon Bio has launched an occasional series called Voice of Academia to spotlight academic partnerships and commercialization opportunities as well as advances in research in the Pacific Northwest’s bioscience and medical technology ecosystem. In this profile, we explore the talented bench at UO’s new science campus and how a company is spinning off to meet global demand for implantable and wireless sensors, electronic devices and magneto-elastic materials.

At the University of Oregon, we recently interviewed a professor and faculty member at the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, Keat Ghee Ong, Ph.D., who started The Ong Lab and has launched Penderia Technologies, Inc. This comes at the time the UO is opening its first building on the Knight Campus, a stunning 160,000-square-foot revolutionary facility connected by a skybridge to its main campus in Eugene.

Dr. Keat Ghee Ong in his lab at the UO’s new scientific campus

Q: What attracted you to the Knight Campus?

A: The unique vision and mission of scientific impact and support for commercialization were the key factors that brought me here, along with the entrepreneurial approach to science, and the opportunity to receive insight and guidance to get my company off the ground.

Q: Can you tell us about your new company?

A: With the help from the Knight Campus and the UO’s Innovation Partnership Services, I have launched Penderia Technologies Inc., headquartered in Eugene. The mission of the company is to develop orthopedic sensors based on my research in radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. The sensors allow doctors to monitor the progress of bone regeneration in patients who have had shoulder surgeries. Doctors can adjust post-surgical therapy based on the sensor data. With his technology, patients who have gone through medical procedures such as rotator cuff repairs are likely to experience a faster and smoother recovery.

Alongside his academic research, teaching and commercialization work, Dr. Ong in his bio on the UO’s Web site, says he’s “enthusiastic about developing diverse student pipelines into engineering training to encourage broad career paths.”

See the next installment to learn more about how the UO supports Dr. Ong’s work toward commercialization.

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