Rutgers Office for Research was well-represented at the New Jersey Equity in Commercialization Collective (NJECC) annual conference at NJIT’s Campus Center in Newark, NJ.

Senior Vice President for Research Michael E. Zwick, PhD, gave one of the two keynote addresses with a presentation titled Using Partnerships, Data, and Policy to Advance New Strategic Initiatives to Diversify Research, Innovation, and Commercialization at Rutgers University.

Zwick discussed the ways in which Rutgers and its Office for Research are focused on increasing democratized access to opportunities for diverse populations historically underrepresented in research, innovation, and entrepreneurship using partnerships, data, and policies. See his speech here.

“I was honored to be asked to deliver one of the keynote addresses at the NJECC annual conference,” said Zwick. “Diversity, equity and inclusion are important areas that need to be addressed, and it was my pleasure to discuss how the Office for Research is focusing on using partnerships, data, and policies in order to expand and enhance DEI our innovation ecosystem.”

Associate Vice President of Innovation Ventures (now Tehcnology Transfer) Tatiana Litvin-Vechnyak, PhD, participated in one of the three panels on the day: Commercialization Curious? How to Get Started (Early Pathways) Panel Discussion.

Litvin-Vechnyak shared her background working in innovation and technology transfer as well as best practices to start the commercialization process along with Princeton University Assistant Director of Innovation and the Lead Instructor of the Northeast I-Corps Hub at Princeton University Christina Pellicane, and Vice President of Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC Mike Wiley. The panel was moderated by Columbia University Professor of Biomedical Engineering Treena Arinzeh and can be seen here.

“Many researchers are unsure about the steps they should take on their commercialization path,” said Litvin-Vechnyak. “I appreciated the opportunity to share with other members of the New Jersey innovation ecosystem the ways in which Rutgers Office for Research and Innovation Ventures (now Technology Transfer) support and assist researchers every step of the way towards research, development and entrepreneurship.”

Rutgers was also represented during the Technology Showcase portion of the event, as Maxine Strickland, DMD, Associate Professor at the School of Dental Medicine, presented her innovation: a hand-held Max Vac powered toothbrush with evacuation technology

“Events like this are important for the opportunities they give to connect and be inspired,” said Strickland. “I enjoy being able to meet new entrepreneurs and also learn about the opportunities that exist that can help inventors advance their technologies.” 

The portable and hand-held device, the first of its kind, has a built-in pump and waste container that removes plaque and foreign material from the oral cavity while the vacuum safely and simultaneously evacuates excess saliva, debris, and fluids during brushing.

Both keynote presenters had ties to Rutgers; the second speaker, Dearfield Discovery and Development COO Jana Jensen, PhD received her MBA from Rutgers-Newark.

The NJECC Annual Conference, Innovation for Impact: Commercializing Academic Discovery, was a statewide commercialization conference that aimed to create sustainable connections between various innovation ecosystem participants, targeting female inventors and commercialization gatekeepers: investors, service providers, and tech transfer & venture development staff.