|James Petell named associate vice president; department name changed|
James Petell has been named associate vice president for intellectual property commercialization and economic development in the Division of Research. The new title coincides with a new name for the unit he directs, which is now called the Office of Intellectual Property Commercialization and Economic Development.
"This is a new title for Jim, who has played a significant role as part of the Office of Vice President for Research since he came on board in June 2004. Jim was originally hired as our first director of the Office of Technology Transfer and Commercialization, and as such he has done an excellent job in helping us assess our intellectual property. He has served as the leader as we’ve pursued patents and trademarks, and I'm pleased to say there has been a significant increase in this activity in the past three years. This has occurred at the same time that we’ve seen increases in our entire research enterprise, which now sees more than $100 million a year in sponsored programs,” said UND President Charles Kupchella.
The name change recognizes the strong connection that this work has to economic development, not only in terms of increasing patents and trademarks, but also in terms of work Petell has done to make a reality the UND’s Research Enterprise and Commercialization Park and the $14 million Center of Excellence in Life Sciences and Advanced Technology facility within the park, said Gary Johnson, interim vice president for research.
The Center of Excellence in Life Sciences and Advanced Technology, which opens this summer, will house several private companies: Avianax, NovaDigm, Laserlith, Prologic, Alion, Inc., and Ideal Aerosmith, representing four life sciences and advanced technologies clusters. Most of the companies are coming from out of state to work with UND faculty on research projects or develop relationships for student intern programs. The facility will also house about 35,000 square feet of specialized laboratories for UND students and scholars. The setup is intended to provide synergy and natural links between intellectual capital developed by UND scientists and the companies, all of which are active in the field of science and technology.
“The research enterprise at UND has grown tremendously and the climate for continued growth is bright. In recognition of the need for a continuing emphasis on commercialization of the institutions intellectual property and a focus on our University as a driver of economic development, I am pleased to note the heightened visibility we are bringing to these vital research components,” said Johnson.
UND’s research enterprise had a state and regional economic impact of just over $174 million in FY2007, an increase of $11 million over last year, said Johnson. The $174.17 million economic impact figure includes close to $40 million in Grand Forks County and $10 million elsewhere in North Dakota. The remainder of the economic impact is $86 million attributed directly to UND and $38 million to the five-state North Central Region.
The University’s research activity in fiscal year 2007 also funded 1,649 jobs, including 728 at UND and an additional 530 jobs in Grand Forks County, 70 in North Dakota, and 321 elsewhere. All of this UND research-related activity also generated about $33 million in federal, state, and local tax revenue.
Jim Petell is a proteomics expert and registered patent agent with seven U.S. and several foreign patents of his own, as well as a background in corporate and academic biochemistry research, biotech business start-ups, and planning for and protecting intellectual property rights. Petell also has experience drafting U.S. and foreign patents, negotiating licensing agreements, and directing intellectual property strategy.
Petell’s 14 years in corporate research includes co-founding his own company, FemtoLink Biotechnologies; serving as manager of intellectual property and regulatory for ProfiGen; and serving as global R&D leader, among other positions, at Dow AgroServices. Petell also served as research assistant professor and director of the Colucci Memorial Liver Research Facility at Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y.
Originally from Vermont and upstate New York, Petell holds the B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Iowa, the Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California at San Diego, and did a post-doctoral fellowship at Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. He has more than 30 publications in refereed journals and invited book chapters.