Written By: Malissa Carroll, Web Content Specialist

Each fall, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) celebrates the achievements of its faculty, staff, students, alumni, and donors and pays tribute to its 200-plus-year history with a series of Founders Week events. During the 2016 Founders Week Entrepreneur of the Year Lecture on Nov. 1, one of the School of Pharmacy’s own faculty members was honored for capitalizing on his entrepreneurial spirit to improve pharmaceutical research.

Advancing the Field

During the lecture, Jay A. Perman, MD, president of UMB, presented Bruce Yu, PhD, professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) and director of the Bio- and Nano-technology Center at the School, with two awards in recognition of innovative patents that he secured based on work conducted in his lab:

  • Dendrimers and Methods of Preparing Same through Proportionate Branching: Patented in 2015, this discovery outlines a process that Yu and his team developed to make defect-free dendrimers – synthetic polymers with a branching, treelike structure that play an important role in the field of drug delivery.
  • Non-invasive Characterization of Mechanical Properties of Materials and Tissues Using Magnetic Resonance Techniques: Patented in 2016, this invention details a process developed by Yu and his team to use magnetic resonance techniques to non-invasively assess the mechanical properties – including hardness, elasticity, and fluidity – of soft materials engineered to interact with biological systems, such as tissue implants and cell encapsulation scaffolds, for the purposes of diagnosing or treating a known illness.

Though the recognition at the lecture came as a surprise to Yu, he notes that his work is nowhere near complete. In June 2016, he secured his third patent in just nine months. Titled “Electrostatically Controlled Hydrogels,” the patent was based on research that he conducted during his time at the University of Utah. He also has another patent pending with both the United States and European Union based on his work to assess biopharmaceutical aggregation using magnetic resonance relaxometry, and has filed an invention disclosure with UMB related to use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) relaxometry for nanomedicine quality control.

Embracing Entrepreneurism

Yu’s entrepreneurial spirit is just one example of how faculty at the School continue to lead pharmacy education, scientific discovery, patient care, and community engagement across the state of Maryland and beyond. Through their innovative thinking and unrelenting commitment to improve the health of all people, our faculty continue to drive commercial, instructional, research, clinical, and social entrepreneurial endeavors both nationally and internationally. We are tremendously proud of all that Yu has accomplished and are excited to see how his future endeavors build on his current work to advance the field of pharmaceutical sciences.

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