Accelerate UConn Welcomes 1st Class of Entrepreneurs

The first class of Accelerate UConn entrepreneurs learns about customer discovery at their kickoff session Oct. 2. (Photo provided by Jessica McBride)
The first class of Accelerate UConn entrepreneurs learns about customer discovery at their kickoff session Oct. 2. (Matt Dunn for UConn)

Accelerate UConn, a National Science Foundation (NSF) entrepreneurship program at UConn, has selected 10 faculty-student teams to receive seed grants and business training aimed at more quickly and successfully commercializing early-stage technologies developed at the University.

Accelerate UConn is one of the NSF’s I-Corps sites, which are housed at academic institutions around the country. I-Corps is a key initiative established in 2011 to increase the volume of commercially viable technologies coming out of academic labs. The program provides a framework for entrepreneurial faculty, staff, and students to join with industry mentors and participate in special NSF-endorsed curriculum. Participants learn to assess the market potential of their technologies, and win funds to support early customer contact to validate concepts and market strategies.

“There is a wealth of technologies coming out of UConn labs that could be commercialized with the right set of tools,” says UConn Vice President for Research Jeff Seemann. “Accelerate UConn allows early-stage ideas to move beyond the lab and join the ranks of other successful Connecticut startups.”

Despite being a new initiative, many faculty and students with diverse backgrounds recently applied to be part of the program’s first class in order to improve their chances of success, according to UConn business professor Timothy Folta, director of the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI).

“We are thrilled with the quality of both the applicants and their technologies,” Folta says. “We’re confident that the positive response to Accelerate UConn’s initial application round attests to the program’s value and a desire within the UConn community for additional entrepreneurial support.”

The winning technologies are at varying degrees of development in several different industries. Some of the teams have already formed startup companies based on their technologies, while others may seek to develop licensing opportunities with existing industry. Among the winning teams:

Dr. Robert Kelly, developed the artificial salivary gland that is being commercialized under the Acclerate UConn entrepreneurship program. (Lanny Nagler for UConn Health)
Dr. Robert Kelly of the UConn School of Dental Medicine developed an artificial salivary gland that is being commercialized under the Accelerate UConn entrepreneurship program. (Lanny Nagler for UConn Health)
  • Oral Fluid Dynamics is commercializing an artificial salivary gland that provides a solution for patients suffering from a lack of salivary flow, and was developed by Dr. Robert Kelly, professor of reconstructive sciences at the UConn School of Dental Medicine.
  • 3D Array Technology will leverage the program’s educational component and seed funding to continue to develop a high performance, low cost catalytic converter based on nano-structured materials. This technology was developed in the lab of Puxian Gao, associate professor of materials science and engineering.
  • ParrotMD, a student startup developed through the University’s Innovation Quest competition, is aimed at providing a solution for medication adherence in developing countries.

Other teams are still at the very initial stages of development, including those seeking to explore commercialization of innovations for:

  • composite materials
  • carbon nanotubes
  • scientific slide imaging
  • environmentally friendly flame retardants
  • topical skin treatment
  • surface sanitation

Each has the potential to become a successful startup according to the panel of industry experts who reviewed the applications. The program aims to make the road to successful commercialization a little less bumpy for all of the teams in Accelerate UConn’s first class.

Accelerate UConn launched in May 2015, and is the only NSF I-Corps site in Connecticut. The program serves all of the UConn campuses, including UConn Health, and is jointly operated by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation housed in the School of Business. Accelerate UConn supplements many other initiatives at UConn focused on commercialization, like the Technology Incubation Program, the CCEI Summer Fellowship Program, the construction of the UConn Tech Park at Storrs, and the growing relationship with The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine.

More information about Accelerate UConn is available at

–Jessica McBride

Dentist, Physicians, APRN Seeing Patients at UConn Health

UConn Health continues to grow its volume of practitioners in both Farmington and Storrs Center. Here are some of those who’ve recently started seeing patients.

Dr. Hsung Lin
, a graduate of the UConn School of Dental Medicine, is back with UConn. She practices family dentistry, including pediatric dentistry, in Storrs Center, where she is the director of dental services. One day a week she sees patients in the dental clinics in Farmington. In addition to general dentistry, she offers services including wisdom teeth extractions, root canals and dental implants. Lin completed her general practice residency at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. She is fluent in Chinese.

Dr. Lenora Williams, Ob/gyn (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health)
Dr. Lenora Williams, Ob/gyn (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health)
Dr. Lenora Williams joins UConn Health at Storrs Center after more than 25 years providing comprehensive individualized ob/gyn care to a diverse population of patients at her private practice in Ellington. Williams’s clinical interests include menopause, reproductive needs, pap abnormalities and HPV, adolescent reproductive health, preconception counseling, PMS and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and minimally invasive in-office and outpatient procedures. Williams is a graduate of the UConn School of Medicine and the UConn Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program, and is a fellow of the American College of Ob/Gyn. She is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and is accredited in ob/gyn ultrasound by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.
Dr. Philip Blumenshine, psychiatry (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health)
Dr. Philip Blumenshine, psychiatry


Dr. Philip Blumenshine
is a psychiatrist specialty trained in psychotherapy, including psychodynamic, brief dynamic, and supportive psychotherapy. He sees patients in Farmington, at both the new Mood and Anxiety Clinic in the main building and at Adult Psychiatric Outpatient Services office, 10 Talcott Notch Road. He also is medical director of psychiatry emergency services. Blumenshine’s training includes a psychiatry residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center and an M.D. from Weill Cornell Medical College.

Dr. Janice Oliveri, primary care (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health)
Dr. Janice Oliveri, primary care (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health)

Dr. Janice Oliveri
, a member of the UConn School of Medicine faculty since 2000, is now part of the UConn Health primary care practice, seeing patients in the Outpatient Pavilion. Her clinical interests include preventive care, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and common dermatologic problems, and she offers office-based procedures such as joint injections and skin biopsies. She completed an internal medicine residency at UConn Health after earning her M.D. from the University of North Carolina.

Vivan Huynh
is nurse practitioner, also in the primary care practice in the Outpatient Pavilion. She sees general medicine patients for chronic conditions, sick visits, urgent care, and preventive health. Huynh is an advanced practice registered nurse in adult gerontology primary care and is licensed to prescribe medications. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Fairfield University and a doctorate of nursing practice from Quinnipiac University. She is fluent in Vietnamese.

 Photos by Janine Gelineau/UConn Health


National Honor for UConn Prosthodontics Chair

Dr. Thomas Taylor will receive the American College of Prosthodondics Education Foundation Founders Society Award at the ACP's annual meeting in October. (Lanny Nagler for UConn Health)
Dr. Thomas Taylor will receive the American College of Prosthodondics Education Foundation Founders Society Award at the ACP’s annual meeting in October. (Lanny Nagler for UConn Health)

When the American College of Prosthodontics meets next month in Orlando, it will present UConn Health’s Dr. Thomas Taylor with a medallion for its education foundation’s highest honor.

Taylor, a professor who heads the UConn School of Dental Medicine’s Department of Reconstructive Sciences and chairs the Division of Prosthodontics, is the co-recipient of the 2015 American College of Prosthodontics Education Foundation (ACPEF) Founders Society Award.

The award recognizes those who have made a significant impact on the growth and development of the ACPEF and who “have demonstrated an extraordinary level of commitment” to the advancement of the specialty of prosthodontics, according to the Foundation.

“It is wonderful that external organizations like the ACPEF see in Dr. Taylor what we have recognized here in the School of Dental Medicine for many years,” says Dr. R. L. “Monty” MacNeil, dean of the UConn School of Dental Medicine. “He’s a thought leader, inspiring teacher and a strong advocate for our profession.”

In addition to his academic, clinical and research work at UConn Health, Taylor has published extensively in the prosthodontic literature and is a past editor of the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants.

“Prosthodontics is the most wonderful—and most challenging—specialty to be a part of,” Taylor says. “Our parent organization, the American College of Prosthodontists, has been supportive of me throughout my career. I feel that I couldn’t possibly give back the value of what my chosen specialty has done for me. I’m so very proud to have been able to support the ACPEF in its efforts to further our specialty and the patients we serve. It is truly an honor to be recognized with this award.”

Taylor serves as executive director of the American Board of Prosthodontics and is president of the Greater New York Academy of Prosthodontics. He is a past president of the International College of Prosthodontics and the International Team for Implantology.

“His leadership is the breath and the heartbeat of our vital organization,” says Dr. Lyndon Cooper, ACPEF chair. “The recognition of Dr. Thomas Taylor by the ACPEF is an inspiring testimony to his level of generosity and dedication as a leader, educator, and clinician.”

Taylor also is a past president of the ACP, whose president, Dr. Frank Tuminelli, says, “His passion makes him a trailblazer for our specialty in the 21st century.”

The ACP Annual Session is Oct. 21-24.