Research Communications

Konneker Medals awarded to OHIO alumni innovators in biotechnology, computer technology 

Konneker_Medal
The Konneker Medal for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship.

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 26, 2015)—Two Ohio University alumni who have distinguished themselves in the fields of biotechnology commercialization and computer chip technology innovation are the 2014 recipients of the university's Konneker Medal for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship.

Rick Hawkins (BS '74) and Hua-Thye Chua (BSEE '59) will be recognized for their outstanding achievements at the 3rd annual Innovation Awards, to be held March 31 at Ohio University.

The Ohio University Foundation established the Konneker Medal to recognize current and former faculty members or students who have demonstrated excellence in innovation, invention, commercialization and entrepreneurship. The award is named for Wilfred Konneker (BS '43, MS '47, LLD '80), an Ohio University alumnus renowned for his contributions to these fields.

"Rick Hawkins and Hua-Thye Chua have dedicated their careers to advancing innovative strategies to solve complex problems in medicine and technology. Their spirit of entrepreneurship has allowed them to successfully move ideas from the lab to the marketplace, for the benefit of society," said Joseph Shields, vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the Graduate College at Ohio University. 

Hawkins is the CEO of Lumos Pharma, which is developing a disease-modifying therapeutic for Creatine Transporter Deficiency, an inborn error of metabolism in patients that results in a severe form of autism. He has founded and/or led several biotechnology startup companies, including Pharmaco, id2, Covance Biotechnology Services and LabNow, and is a director in two publicly traded biopharma companies, SciCione Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Cytori Therapeutics. He is an elected member of the National Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame. Hawkins previously has been awarded Ohio University's Distinguished Business Achievement Award and was inducted into the Hall of Honor at the University of Texas at Austin, College of Natural Sciences.

Through the establishment of the drug development company Sensus, Hawkins worked with Ohio University scientist John Kopchick to turn the discovery of a growth hormone antagonist into a pharmaceutical treatment for acromegaly, a form of gigantism. The drug benefits patients across the globe and has yielded substantial royalty income to Ohio University.

Chua and fellow Ohio University alumnus Richard Bohn designed Intel Corporation's first commercial product, the i3101 64-bit RAM chip, which appeared on the market in 1969. Together with Bohn and Robert Noyce, Intel's co-founder, he published a paper outlining the use of Schottky diodes to enhance the speed of transistor-transistor logic (TTl). The technology is now commonplace in the semiconductor industry.

After leaving Intel, in the 1970s Chua joined Monolithic Memories, where he invented Programmable Array Logic (PAL) technology with John Birkner. The technology is the predecessor of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), which are common in electronic prototyping and applications in the space, aerospace and defense sectors. Chua later co-founded the company QuickLogic, which provides ultra-low power semiconductor solutions for electronic products. He was inducted into Electronic Design's Engineering Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Russ College Academy of Distinguished Graduates in 2004.

The Konneker Medals will be presented at the Innovation Awards gala, which will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tues., March 31 at the Ohio University Baker Center Ballroom. The event also features the announcement of the recipients of the 2014 Innovation Awards, which celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation in Southeast Ohio.

Registration for the Innovation Awards gala, which includes dinner and a networking event, is open to the public. Tickets are $35 for individuals and $280 for a table of eight. More information is available at www.gala.ohio.edu.

Contact: Andrea Gibson, director of research communications, (740) 597-2166, gibsona@ohio.edu.