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Interviews with IdeaConnection's Top Problem Solvers
Aug-06-13. By Paul Arnold
Former Pfizer chemist Ilie Saracovan runs a mobile drug testing business, Eastern Testing Services that among other duties conducts random testing of workers operating heavy machinery.
Jul-01-13. By Paul Arnold
Reuben Oder is an open innovation thought leader, who enjoyed a long and successful career at Procter and Gamble. He now runs Reuben Oder Innovations, LLC, a consulting firm that guides companies as they discover how to customize and successfully deploy proven OI approaches.
Jun-17-13. By Paul Arnold
Environmental scientist Judi Krzyzanowski is the owner and principle investigator of Krzyzanowski Consulting. The Canada-based firm specializes in air quality and cumulative effects, including climate change.
Jun-11-13. By Paul Arnold
Problem solver and engineer Graham Lea works for Effrey Group, a company that conceives, produces, and markets technical and functional products. He is currently involved with biofunctional textiles and fabrics and came across IdeaConnection’s website during some Internet research.
Jun-06-13. By Paul Arnold
Alfonso Hidalgo is the co-founder and managing director of Infinitec-Activos, a Barcelona-based cosmetics company. His firm lives and breathes open innovation which is contributing to the success of its products.
Apr-01-13. By Paul Arnold
Charles John Bhaskar is Managing Director of GeoMarine Biotechnologies (P) Ltd, a biotechnology research company. He is also a prolific problem solver and facilitator with IdeaConnection. Charles has participated in no fewer than 30 challenges, and enjoys a high success rate.
Mar-25-13. By Paul Arnold
Tasha Lewis is a multitalented writer, motivational speaker, and innovation consultant. As president of International Connections Consulting she helps clients successfully navigate the business jungle.
Mar-18-13. By Paul Arnold
Kurt Garrett is a prolific inventor with more than 40 patents to his name. His first undergraduate degree was in studio art, but in his own words he saw himself as a Jonny Quest character (the resourceful problem-solving cartoon hero) so he went back to school to get a chemistry degree.
Mar-11-13. By Paul Arnold
Ahilan Raman is the Director of Clean Energy and Water Technologies in Australia. He has more than 35 years industrial and business experience, and holds national and international patents on seawater desalination. He also has his own blog where he writes about clean energy.
Mar-04-13. By Paul Arnold
Thomas Hodge worked in infectious diseases for more than 20 years, primarily at CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). His lab was one of the first in the world to do PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and he was one of the first scientists to make use of high throughput sequencing technology that determines genomic sequences quickly.
Feb-04-13. By Paul Arnold
T Grant Belgard is a postdoctoral fellow in the Geschwind Lab at UCLA. His research focuses on functional patterning and evolution of gene expression in the brain, and its disruption in neurodevelopmental disorders.
Oct-30-12. By Paul Arnold
Stephen Boyle is an emeritus professor at Virginia Tech whose research interests focus on the application of recombinant DNA technology to vaccine development, particularly for vaccines against the bacterium Brucella that causes diseases in animals and humans.
Oct-02-12. By Paul Arnold
Irina Catrina is a bioorganic chemist at Hunter College, New York where her research activities are currently focused on the study of live Drosophila melanogaster oocytes. Here she talks about her work, and the success she achieved with her first IdeaConnection challenge.
Sep-02-12. By Jane Mundy
Harrys Jacob was skeptical about the IdeaRally™ at first, but it sounded so fascinating that on a hunch, he decided to “give it a shot.” And that hunch paid off – to the tune of $11,000!
Liebmer Trauschein is a mechanical engineer who works as a product developer and project manager for a Switzerland-based company as well as running his own firm which is focused on product development for small businesses.
Prashanth Bagali is a scientist and entrepreneur who specializes in human genetics, human diseases and medical microbiology.
Engineering designer Angus Campbell works in the aerospace industry for a leading global company.
John Newport came to the US when he was 25 and fresh out of Manchester University with a PhD. He was recruited from his native England and his original intention was to stay for a couple of years – 45 years later and he’s still there today.
Budhi Sagar Tiwari earned his PhD at one of India’s premier higher education institutions, Banaras Hindu University. His work investigated the ability of cyanobacterium to survive extreme desiccation.
Dan Piestun is currently a biotech consultant at AG in Uruguay and was formerly president of the country’s National Institute of Agricultural Research. He was appointed to the position by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the President of the Republic of Uruguay, and served for two years.
Prior to taking up a role in business development with IdeaConnection, Sue Adams was a Facilitator on a large number of challenges. With a business background that stretches from banking to public administration she was ideally suited for the rigours of guiding teams of innovative individuals and enjoyed an impressive track record of success.
Molecular biologist Karthik Krishnan is a post doctoral fellow at the University of Cincinnati whose work investigates the functioning or organelles and pathways in bacterial and fungal cells and how they might contribute to the pathogenesis of diseases in humans.
Chris Cullis is the Frances Hobart Herrick Professor of Biology and Chairman, Department of Biology at Case Western Reserve University. An eminent and widely published scientist, his main work focuses on the regulation of the variation of the plant genome in relation to the interaction between the genome and stress environments.
Angela Hartsock is a post-doc research associate at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An environmental microbiologist, her work involves looking for ways to treat and reuse water associated with oil and gas drilling.
Jianli Xue is a research scientist at the State Food and Drugs Administration, Nanjing branch. Her PhD is in microbiology and her principal field is translational research of microbial pathogenesis.
Dr. Elizabeth Bent’s work focuses on terrestrial microbial ecology, which she hopes to use to help boost the productivity and health of agricultural, forest, or polluted soils.
Tina Morgan Ross is a chemist and inventor with a large number of patents and publications to her name. Her work involves the design of drug candidates to improve the quality of life for people.
Martin Gollery is a bioinformaticist who runs Tahoe Informatics, a consulting company that works with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies all around the world.
Gustavo Figueira de Paula has a bachelor’s and master’s in Materials Engineering with emphasis on polymeric materials, and a PhD on Materials Science and Engineering with emphasis in technology development.
Channapatna Prakash is a professor of plant genetics, biotechnology and genomics at Tuskegee University in Alabama. He’s currently working on the genome of peanuts and important crops in the south and in many developing countries.
Perrin Beatty’s background is in microbiology and molecular biology in bacteria, but in the last five or so years, she has transferred over to working with plants, in particular monocot crop plants. As a problem solver with IdeaConnection she received an award while participating in the crop yield Idea Rally.
Pat Naylor has been a facilitator for about ten years. She runs a company called Future Plan Consulting with her husband that provides facilitation and training for a wide range of businesses, and public and private corporations. One of their biggest clients was the UK government’s Department of Business Innovation and Skills.
Problem solver Daniel Sprockett is an evolutionary developmental genetics researcher in the Kent State’s Anthropology Department. His areas of expertise include gene and genome evolution, the microbrium of the human body, and evolutionary development in fungi and metazoans.
Ashish Patil came across IdeaConnection when he was searching the Internet for opportunities to use his creativity in different ways, and has so far worked on a few Technology Scouting challenges.
Clark Dale is the President and CEO of Bio-Process Innovation, a bio-tech R&D company that develops and licenses technologies for the industrial processing of biological materials in the production of high value bio-based fuels, products, chemicals, & commodities.
Walid Fakhouri is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University who has so far worked on two IdeaConnection R&D challenges.
Raj Shankarappa is originally from India and came to the United States for his PhD. For more than 15 years he worked on HIV, and more recently has embarked on a number of challenges for IdeaConnection.
Emeritus professor Mark Schell has two patents to his name and a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology. Here he talks about being involved in an R&D problem solving challenge, working on contingency, and why he is recommending the experience to others.
Indonesia-based Tomy Rudyanto works as a government expert on agribusiness. He’s a fisheries graduate who likes creating and innovating and answering research challenges that have not been solved. Recently, he successfully completed a technology scouting challenge and received $10,000 for his efforts...
Biologist Helena Soares is a Senior Graduate Student who will graduate this year in Microbial Evolution. She has been working on IdeaConnection challenges since October 2011 and has received an award for one, while others are still being evaluated.
Tony Contento has a PhD in Molecular Biology and during the past 12 months has worked on a number of challenges for IdeaConnection as both a problem Solver and a Facilitator. He has met with success in both roles.
Now working in industry, Lucy Qin was based at the University of Illinois when she took up a challenge from IdeaConnection. The microbiologist has a PhD in plant pathology and worked at the university for 14 years. Her research focused on plant promoter regulation which matched well with the challenge that she took on; identifying regulatory components of promoter regions of plants.
Jan-29-12. By Jane Mundy
Teresa Michelsen didn't expect a lot when she signed up to facilitate an Idea Rally® with IdeaConnection, which made the outcome a pleasant surprise, to say the least. "Idea Rally® is probably the most inclusive discussion I have ever participated in, which is why it was so exciting," says Michelsen.
Jan-20-12. By Jane Mundy
Trust is a pre-requisite on the journey from wacky ideas to a prize-winning solution. "You've got to be able to trust each other and trust the system in which you are working," says David Gleiser, one of IdeaConnection's facilitators.
Jan-19-12. By Jane Mundy
It took some convincing before Peter Lloyd accepted his first challenge as one of IdeaConnection's facilitators. At first, the idea of working on contingency didn't appeal to him but Scott Wurtele, IdeaConnection's founder, convinced Lloyd to give try it. And he liked it; so much so that he just completed his fifth challenge.
Jan-12-12. By Jane Mundy
After signing up as an IdeaConnection facilitator, it took Lisa Singh, from Dayton, Ohio, several months to accept two challenges. "Working on a challenge sounded too good to be true, it sounded too easy – even though it meant working on contingency," says Singh, "but after my first successful challenge I was hooked! I could hardly wait until the next challenge."
Harrys K.C. Jacob is a graduate student in a joint PhD program with the Institute of Bioinformatics in Bangalore and Manipal University, Manipal investigating cell signaling pathways in lung adenocarcinoma especially in resistant cell lines using high throughput quantitative proteomic strategies.
Dr. Vijay Dalal has research experience in three institutes that spans over ten years after he received his MTech (Applied Botany) degree, which includes research work performed during his PhD.
Dr. Saminathan Thangasamy has a BS in Agriculture, MS in Plant Breeding and Genetics and PhD in Biotechnology (Rice Functional Genomics).
Dr. Ryan Fink: My background is relatively broad, I started my scientific career working towards my bachelor degree in natural population genetics of Norway spruce. I received my Ph.D. in 2000 from the University of Milan, Italy, on a research focused on the genetics and molecular biology of eukaryotic systems (plants), including the development of molecular markers, and gene mapping.
Dr. T. Charles John Bhaskar has a varied background which he feels is helpful in solving varied problems. His undergraduate degree was in biochemistry, postgraduate degree in Mariculture and doctorate work was in molecular biology and biophysics.
James Threadgill is a Polymer Chemist and has worked on various scientific problems in the Tampa Bay Area for about twenty-five years, including the Space Shuttle at Honeywell.
TJ Cradick majored in Biology as an undergraduate at MIT, and completed all the coursework in Mechanical Engineering plus graduate and a med school class. He received a Masters in Immunology from UC San Francisco and a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Iowa. In addition, TJ has worked in a number of biotech and consulting settings.
Sanjay Parmar has completed his M.S. (Pharm) in Pharmacology & Toxicology from National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education & Research, India. He is currently working as a JRF on 'biomarkers/genetic markers in angioplasty patients' project at L. M. College of Pharmacy, India. This project is also a part of his PhD work.
Shane Mayack has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences, Program in Immunology, from the University of Massachusetts Medical Center where she studied the role for the kinase Jak3 in effector CD4+ T lymphocyte function. After receiving her Ph.D., she was a postdoctoral fellow for 5 years at Harvard Medical School. During her postdoc, she studied blood forming (hematopoietic) stem cells and how environmental queues regulated stem cell function.
Dr. Sandip Bharate has a PhD in Natural Products Chemistry from India with a postdoctoral experience in Medicinal Chemistry from USA. He is a pharmacist by profession and is interested in natural products and medicinal chemistry.
Ivan Delgado has a Bachelor's degree and a PhD in genetics, and an MBA. He has been solving problems in both academic and industrial settings, including as a contractor, before working on problems for IdeaConnection.
Julia Skripka-Serry has a Master's degree in Drug Discovery and a Bachelor's in Biotechnology. This is the second challenge she has worked on.
Sekhar Konjeti was trained in organic chemistry initially and obtained his Ph.D. in organic/medicinal chemistry. He is now a Research Professor in Vanderbilt University working on drug development for cancer. He has gained experience in biology, molecular biology and cell signaling over the years through his research. He has successfully solved 6 Innocentive challenges and two team challenges through IdeaConnection.
Prasun Pradhan did his postdoctoral research in synthetic organic chemistry and catalysis, and is presently working as a scientist at TCGLS.
Paul Comet's academic background is in Geology (MS) from London University (UK). He also has a doctorate from Bristol University (UK) in organic geochemistry (biomarkers or "chemical fossils").
Keith Everett is a system and hardware designer working currently in the Biotech/Pharma business. He is a biologist by education with extensive experience in Biotech and analysis related automation, process design and hardware design for plant-based production systems.
Stefano Biondi graduated from the University of Bologna with a degree in chemistry, and worked as a medicinal and pharmaceutical chemist for more than 20 years in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, where he held senior positions in research and development.
Stuart Levy, PhD, is a Principal Consultant at SGL Chemistry Consulting, focused on the advancement of small molecules from discovery into clinical trials, since May 2010. Dr. Levy has broad and significant experience in troubleshooting and solving problems in the pharmaceutical industry related to chemical and pharmaceutical development.
Raico Ernesto Laria Lamela completed his Bachelor degree in Biochemistry at the University of Havana, graduated with Honors in 1998. Four years later while working for the Centre of Fisheries Research in Havana city he got his Master Degree in Marine Biology and Aquaculture.
David Neslony teaches vocals, including proper diction for speaking and singing. He has also taught and played most stringed musical instruments. He is a "natural born" solution catalyst, seeing multiple paths to a solution where none seem to exist.
Rowan Oloman was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and has a master’s degree in environmental resource management from the University of New South Wales, Australia. In the fall of 2010 she’s embarking on an MBA in sustainable business at Bainbridge Graduate Institute.
May-02-10. By Jane Mundy
Francis Cho received a PhD in mechanical engineering from The University of Texas, and is the CEO and co-founder of VoRo Technology LLC.
Charles John Bhaskar is Managing Director of GeoMarine Biotechnologies (P) Ltd, a biotechnology research company with a focus on research, education and training, especially in marine biotechnology. He is one of the three innovation specialists in India and the first person in his country to commercialize indigenous probiotics in Aquaculture.
Doug Kenfield’s background is primarily a combination of three things; biology, medicine and chemistry and to combine all those three interests he spent much of his career focusing on plants. His PhD is in plant pathology and 30 years ago he was working in biomimicry long before the field was considered cool.
Sandy Ping has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in innovation, which started with Procter and Gamble in 1980. He worked his way up through the company and became a senior engineer in the innovation section.
Graham Hallson’s background is in molecular biology and he’s currently working on his PhD at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. A huge fan of problem solving he completed a successful challenge on his very first attempt and spoke to IdeaConnection about his experience.
John Pisciotta obtained his PhD from Johns Hopkins University in 2007 in the department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. At the time he was studying Plasmodium falciparum, the disease-causing agent responsible for malaria. His objective was to figure out how the malaria parasite ingests hemoglobin after invading the red blood cell, and then degrades it for its own nutrients.
Peter McCoppin is an internationally renowned conductor, broadcaster and a gifted communicator. As an executive coach, his leadership, team-building and communication skills are the foundation of the training programs he has developed for corporate and government executives.
Joseph Hawumba carried out the first study in Uganda on the characterization of thermophile bacteria from Ugandan hot springs. The research was for his Master’s degree in Biochemistry which he completed in 1997. Two years later he was off to the University of Pretoria in South Africa where he worked on his PhD.
Gary Vardon has a BS from Metro State College in Denver and a Master's degree from Louisiana State University and over 26 years of professional experience with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). He is also the author of Do It Right and Consulting for Profit published by PublishAmerica.
Andrew Kyle trained as a mechanical engineer, and since leaving university has been involved in a lot of technology start-ups and alternative energy companies. For the last few years he has used his experience to branch out into consulting, and he has one patent to his name.
Jason Reed was born and educated in the UK. Following university he worked as a systems developer for Littlewoods Home Shopping and then ran his own IT solutions company for 10 years. Currently he's a consultant and a coach focusing on online collaboration. So he is a ideally suited to be a facilitator.
Prashant Agrawal was born in India and studied for his bachelors and masters degrees in chemistry in his native country. In 2002 he moved to the Netherlands to do his PhD in biophysical chemistry. He is now working on the European project, MediTrans: targeted delivery of nanomedicine using molecular imaging.
Rick Jezzi, a chemical engineer, has acted as a facilitator on a number of open innovation challenges posted by IdeaConnection. He is currently on his forth challenge, having made three previous submissions. One has already received a cash reward while the other two are still pending.
Born and raised in Colombia, David Gleiser, a team facilitator, studied psychology at university and became a professional psychologist. He also achieved a master's degree in economics and worked on a PhD in experimental psychology which he didn't finish.
David Leithauser, a solver from the United States majored in physics for two years before switching to marine engineering and then finally to electrical engineering. He has a broad background in science and engineering and devours scientific literature.
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