The research conducted at Virginia Tech affords opportunities for researchers to patent their inventions, investigative findings, and other intellectual property while bringing their leading-edge research to an audience beyond the university.
In fiscal year 2014, Virginia Tech had 25 patents issued, seven of which came from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences — meaning one-quarter of all patents granted to Virginia Tech originated from the college. Patent holders can add value to research initiatives by forming startup companies to incubate ideas.
As a land-grant university, Virginia Tech is committed to finding answers to society’s most pressing problems, whether they are discovering new energy sources, making a sustainable fiber, or reinventing established scientific boundaries. Patenting intellectual property allows faculty members to promote their own research while serving their constituencies.
Recent new patent holders include:
- Boris Vinatzer, associate professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science, recently patented a genome-based naming sequence.
- Justin Barone, associate professor of biological systems engineering, patented a process that takes agricultural waste products — chicken feathers — and turns them into plastic.
- Associate Professor Percival Zhang, also in biological systems engineering, developed a battery that runs on sugar.
- Thomas Kuhar, professor of entomology, patented a method for deterring one of the commonwealth’s most damaging agricultural pests — the brown marmorated stink bug.