UKTech10 showcases university research



By Eric Neely

UK students and attendees of the Lexington Creative Cities Summit caught a glimpse of the future Thursday evening in downtown Lexington.

UKTech10, a showcase produced by the UK Office for Commercialization and Economic Development, gave UK faculty and student assistants the opportunity to present new technologies developed by their UK research and intellectual property.

“A lot of people understand that UK is a research university but don’t know of any specific technologies,” said Natasha Jones, a commercialization specialist and coordinator of the event.

“This is like an art gallery for the researchers. (UKTech10) will enhance the understanding of the high-caliber research conducted at the University of Kentucky,” Jones said.

The demonstrations included research from UK’s colleges of Agriculture, Engineering, Medicine and Pharmacy, along with colleagues from the UK Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments and the UK Center for Applied Energy Research.

The projects ranged from a wireless milk transportation system to a light scanner which made 3-D models.

“We know UK researches just about everything, just not the specifics,” said mechanical engineering sophomore Evan Schroader.  “This is about staying on the cutting edge of technology.”

Researchers and attendees agreed these innovations help UK move forward toward their goal of becoming a top-20 research university.

“(UKTech10) helps the university become a research university,” said Robert Yokel, a professor and pharmaceutical science researcher who presented a filter which removes aluminum from prenatal feeding solutions.

“This project brings revenue both to us and the university,” Yokel said.

Mark Crocker, a researcher from the Center for Applied Energy, presented research on possible alternatives to gasoline.

Crocker grows algae to capture carbon dioxide and turn it into biofuel and other bioproducts. Crocker said his research directly helps the state of the commonwealth.

“Ninety-three percent of Kentucky energy comes from coal and this is one of the possible solutions,” Crocker said. “Any technological advancements which are connected to the environment will improve the university. It is an important area and UK needs to be in the forefront.”

Eric Antonson, an engineering sophomore and undergraduate assistant to Crocker, said this research is not only what the commonwealth needs, but what they want.

“Everyone is leading toward an environmental friendly everything,” Antonson said. “We are going to run out of gasoline and fossil fuel because of our dependence on it.”

Luke Murray, a second-year medical student, said he was impressed by more than just the research.

“I’m really impressed with the capability of the students to innovate,” Murray said. “It’s a step toward UK being legitimate and actually caring.”