Penn Center for Innovation

Celebrating Penn Innovators, Inventors, and Partners

Posted on December 4, 2019 — Jessica Jones Gupta

On Tuesday, December 3 at the beautiful Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts in the Van Pelt Library, more than 150 Penn inventors and partners came together to celebrate Penn’s innovation achievements during fiscal year 2019.

The fourth annual Celebration of Innovation highlighted the best of the University’s innovators from medical devices to startups.



The keynote speaker for the event was Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce For Intellectual Property and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director. He discussed the history of innovation at Penn, and the importance of inclusion and diversity.  “We must make sure that more women and minorities are involved in the innovation ecosystem. Right now, only 12% of our patent awardees are women.”

In contrast, during Fiscal Year 19 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019), 26% of Penn patent recipients were women, and at the event, Dr. Susan Volk of the Veterinary School was named the Emerging Inventor of the Year.


Andrei Iancu


Dr. Susan Volk receiving the Emerging Inventor of the Year Award from Andrei Iancu and Jennifer Langenberger of the Penn Center for Innovation

Special Award Recipients

The faculty, partners, and startup companies who received special awards were:

  • Emerging Inventor of the Year: Dr. Susan Volk of Penn Vet, for “A novel method of suppressing the breast cancer metastasis”
  • Biomedical Device of the Year: Dr. Mark Yim of Penn Engineering for “Steerable needle for non-invasive internal medical procedures”
  • Inventors of the Year: Drs. William Beltran and Gus Aguirre of the Penn Vet School
  • Startup of the Year: Verix Health
  • Partner of the Year: Kairos Ventures
  • Deal of the Year: Linnaeus Therapeutics


Linneaus receiving the award for Deal of the Year Award from Michael Poisel of the PCI Ventures


Three of the award winners were from the Penn Vet School


As part of the event, PCI highlighted 10 of its recent I-Corps teams in a Showcase where they could interact with attendees.


Trefo, an I-Corp program graduate, talking with a Celebration of Innovation attendee


Attendees of the Celebration of Innovation


Swiing founders talking with a Celebration of Innovation attendees. Swiing is an I-Corps program graduate.

Category: events, innovation, news, pci