inside florida's high tech corridor

May 2011










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May's Quote
"BioTork advocates that the best approach is to custom design microbes that can perform optimally under the conditions of the cheapest industrial process, rather than engineering an expensive process around the limitations of a particular microbe."

Thomas Lyons, Principal Research Scientist at BioTork, in this month's Faces of Technology.

UF Announces Two New Buildings at Innovation Square

Planning is officially underway for Innovation Square, a new research and entrepreneurial center located along Second Avenue between the University of Florida (UF) and downtown Gainesville.

The first building, aptly named the "Infusion Technology Center" will be LEED-certified and feature a fiber optic ethernet network, custom-built laboratories and a high tech research space for student use. The center will house existing science and technology companies in its 120,000-square-foot building. It will also share an atrium with the Florida Innovation Hub, a super incubator scheduled to open this fall.

The second building, a residence hall, will also be LEED-certified and feature living and academic space, a high tech business center and video conference room, and a "garage" where students can exchange ideas and build prototypes. It will also feature a space for visiting venture capitalists and CEOs who will be encouraged to meet with students and share their insight on how to launch and grow a high tech company.

For more information, visit

UCF Student Develops Malaria-Detecting Application for Smartphones

Researchers and medical professionals are increasingly using sophisticated mobile technology to gain instant access to medical records, scientific journals and other information while in the field. A group of students, including a University of Central Florida (UCF) graduate student, has addressed that need by developing a smartphone application that could save lives in areas affected by the malaria parasite.

The group developed the application for Microsoft's 2011 Imagine Cup competition. The application can quickly and effectively diagnose malaria simply by analyzing a digital photo of a patient's blood sample. Answering Microsoft's call to "imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems," the students hope their application will help contain the outbreak of malaria, and eventually other diseases as well.

For more information, visit

USF Brain Stimulation Study Shows Positive Results for Treatment of Essential Tremors

Essential tremors, a hereditary genetic dysfunction that's three times more prevalent than Parkinson's disease, has long been an area of concern for neurologists and others who study movement disorders. For years, the only option to control tremors was a strict daily regimen of prescription medication. However, due to limited effectiveness and intolerable side effects, many patients stop taking their prescriptions and choose to continue suffering with tremors.

Researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) believe they've reached a new frontier in understanding this ailment through deep brain stimulation, a procedure that works to suppress faulty nerve signals. Within one year of the USF study, 77 percent of patients found no need for further medication and continued to live healthy, prescription-free lives.

For more information, visit


This month's "Faces of the Council" Dr. Peter Panousisspotlights a key individual who is regarded as one of the founders of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council: Council Member Emeritus and now Dean Emeritus of the University of Central Florida College of Sciences, Dr. Peter Panousis.

Peter began his career in the microelectronics industry at AT&T Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, where he rose to the position of vice president to oversee Lucent's silicon microchip process technology. When he was appointed CEO of Cirent Semiconductor in 1993, Peter moved to Orlando and was responsible for the billion dollar expansion of the Orlando facility. [It was in 1996 when the Cirent facility was in danger of leaving the area.] That's when UCF President John Hitt reached out to then USF President Betty Castor to create a partnership that would keep the plant in the region. With assistance from Peter, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council was born, and the rest is history.

Peter later joined the faculty of UCF in 2000 and created the HiTech Economics Center in the College of Business Administration now known as the Institute for Economic Competitiveness before becoming dean of the College of Sciences in 2005. As dean and as a council member, Peter has continued the spirit of partnership between local high tech industry and academia, generating numerous successes for the college and the university. After his many years of service to the university, Peter is retiring this year. You can send him off with a congratulatory email at

We recognize Peter for his longstanding partnership and support of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council as an advisor and leader, and we congratulate him on his much-deserved retirement.


Modeling, Simulation & Training
Many people envision interactive entertainment and flight simulation when thinking about the field of modeling, simulation and training (MS&T). However, companies and institutions throughout the Florida High Tech Corridor are working on the development and application of new technologies to expand this field into new areas. With more than 32,000 employees working in MS&T, the Corridor is home to many exciting innovations such as flight and transportation training, virtual experiences for theme parks and interactive entertainment and medical training utilizing patient simulators.

There are many companies throughout the Florida High Tech Corridor such as METI, Engineering & Computer Simulations (ECS) METIand Raydon that are leading the way in this growing field. However, some of the greatest innovations and technological developments are being made by the researchers and students at the Corridor's research universities.

Most recently, researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a new therapy technique that utilizes smells and virtual simulation to help recovering war veterans cope with anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. The $3.5 million study shows promising results and aims to pave the way toward finding better treatments for those who have served and defended our nation.

The University of South Florida (USF) is also contributing to the field of MS&T research as it moves forward on the construction of its Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation.Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation The $30 million center will feature a variety of high tech tools and the latest medical simulation technologies to train future medical professionals. It will also host training courses for licensed professionals to develop their skills in complex tasks such as laparoscopic surgery and other robotic, computer-assisted and image-guided surgeries.

The Corridor continues to gain recognition for its leadership in the field of modeling, simulation and training as the industry continues to develop and grow throughout the region. With the new USF Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation and other university institutions throughout the Florida High Tech Corridor, the possibility for continued innovation and growth in the MS&T field is great.


Thomas Lyons
Principal Research Scientist, BioTork LLC

BioTork LLC in Thomas Lyons, BioTorkGainesville uses experimental evolution to develop microbial strains for the purpose of making biofuels. These strains will improve the economics of biofuel production in such a way that biofuels can finally compete with and begin displacing fossil fuels.

Education: BA in Chemistry, Middlebury College; Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles; post-doctoral training in Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of Missouri, Columbia

First Job: Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, University of Florida

The Future: Industrial-strain development is a central limitation for improving the economics of biofuel production. BioTork advocates that the best approach is to custom design microbes that can perform optimally under the conditions of the cheapest industrial process, rather than engineering an expensive process around the limitations of a particular microbe. BioTork has access to proprietary technology that allows the rapid and efficient development of microbes through experimental evolution.

View Thomas' Faces of Technology video interview at


Amy Evancho, President, Florida Economic Development Council
The more than 25 economic development partners across the Florida High Tech Corridor all have one thing in common: as members of the Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC), they have no doubt benefited from the efforts of FEDC's president and this month's Take A Bow spotlight, Amy Evancho.

Amy Evancho In her role as leader of the statewide network of economic development organizations, Amy educates and shares sound economic development policy with all FEDC members and brings their concerns to our state's elected leaders. As part of the FEDC's Legislative Priorities Agenda, the organization is championing Economic Gardening, the Economic Development Transportation Fund and other initiatives, and Amy is responsible for representing the diverse group of both rural and urban counties and bringing their concerns directly to Florida's lawmakers.

We thank Amy for her work to protect and advocate for the interests of growing companies throughout the state and Florida's High Tech Corridor.


No Cost Summer Help Available for Eligible Companies
Workforce Central Florida (WCF) is offering a unique opportunity through its Summer Job Connection Program. Nonprofit organizations, government agencies and for-profit companies inWorkforce Central Florida the fields of science, technology, engineering, math or one of the agency's top 20 job categories may be eligible for the new program. WCF will pay the wages for an intern in these qualifying fields for up to 12 weeks this summer. The program aims to help young adults receive on-the-job experience needed for a successful career while assisting companies with their growth and development.

For more information or to sign up for the program, visit or call the Summer Job Connection Hotline at (407) 531-1214.

Quick-Med Technologies Bandage Helps Prevent Bacterial Growth
Thanks to a study performed by Quick-Med Technologies and Shands at the University of Florida (UF), researchers are one step closer to solving problems associated with bandages, such Quick-Med Technologies bacterial growth, wound odor and dressing change frequency.

The newly patented BIOGUARD using Nimbus technology showed positive results when tested by UF researchers and could address many of the problems posed by common dressings. Quick-Med's new technology has effectively reduced the frequency of dressing change needs, prevented bacterial growth and eliminated wound odor so well that physicians at Shands have decided to switch to the new technology in exchange for standard gauze products.

For more information, visit

Protecting and Preserving the Gulf of Mexico in the Wake of Environmental Disaster
After the tragedy of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, more than 15,000 plant and animal species suddenly found their homes, habitats and livesMote Marine Laboratory endangered. May 11 through 13, the Mote Marine Laboratory will host a conference dedicated to addressing questions and remembering the environmental disaster.

The conference, titled "Beyond the Horizon," will discuss a potential network of special ocean sites to strengthen the ecology, economy and culture of the Gulf of Mexico. It also aims to develop a more comprehensive approach to restoration management and build a consensus for establishing ecologically significant protections for key Gulf of Mexico sites.

For more information, visit

TRDA Launches I2 Capital Acceleration Program
On September 7, the Technological Research and Development Authority (TRDA), in cooperation with Space Florida, will host its I2 (short for Igniting Innovation) Showcase Event. The event is designed to allow startup companies to interact, share ideas and network with angel investors, venture capitalists and industry leaders. The showcase serves as the marquee event for the Capital Acceleration Program. The program's goal is to support the growth and development of Florida's second-stage science and technology companies specializing in Aerospace/Aviation, Biotech/Life Sciences, Clean Technology and Alternative Energy, Defense/Homeland Security and Information Technology/Telecommunications.

The showcase is now accepting applications for presenting and participating companies. The deadline for submission is 5 p.m., Monday, May 16. For more information or to apply for the program, visit

Rollins Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship Supports Growing Companies
The Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship at Rollins College provides MBA students and entrepreneurs from throughout the community with a variety of practical experiences to assist with their entrepreneurial endeavors. Programs include entrepreneurship-focused workshops and seminars, mentoring, internships, consulting engagements with entrepreneurial companies and an advanced entrepreneur speaker series.

The Florida High Tech Corridor Council has partnered with the Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship to host quarterly CEO Nexus forums, a program that provides second-stage entrepreneurs with the support and social systems for peer-to-peer and informal networking.

The center will soon launch two new initiatives related to family and sustainable enterprise. For more information about these and the center's other programs, visit


Digital Media Professional Joins Florida High Tech Corridor Council
The Daryl Holt, vice president and chief operating officer of EA TiburonFlorida High Tech Corridor Council welcomes its newest Council member: Daryl Holt, vice president and chief operating officer of EA Tiburon. Daryl has a passion for community relations and supporting educational offerings and often works to expand and strengthen partnerships with the Corridor universities and students.

Appointed by University of Central Florida President Dr. John C. Hitt, Holt hopes to use his experience and expertise in the burgeoning high tech field of digital media to advise the Council in its efforts to grow high tech industry and innovation through research, workforce and marketing partnerships. The Council looks forward to working with Daryl and seeing what new ideas his advanced skill set may offer the Corridor.

UCF Engineer Ranked Among World's Best
A University of Central Florida (UCF) professor, Challapalli SuryanarayanaChallapalli Suryanarayana, has been recognized as one of the top researchers of the past decade by Thomas Reuters, formerly the Institute for Scientific Information. Suryanarayana was convinced as a student to switch his major from English literature to engineering, and has since become one of the world's top researchers in materials science. He ranked 40th on the list of the top 100 global researchers and 21st among U.S. scientists.

An accomplished scholar, Suryanarayana has several degrees in engineering, metallurgy, math, physics and chemistry, and has published more 300 academic research papers and 20 technical books. Additionally, he has been invited to teach at many renowned institutions worldwide, including Oxford University, Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, and Helmut-Schmidt University in Hamburg, Germany, among many others. He currently teaches at the University of Central Florida, and sits on several scientific journals' editorial committees.

State College of Florida Receives $187,000 Science Grant
Manatee County's State College of Florida (SCF) has received a coveted National Science Foundation grant worth $187,084 which it plans to use to create a high tech science education program. SCF will use part of the money to train high school science teachers in Manatee and Sarasota counties how to use sophisticated lab tools.

The college will also State College of Florida portable lab kitspurchase portable lab kits equipped with scientific tools and supplies for students' use. Students will learn how to use complex tools such as centrifuges and ultraviolet transiluminators. SCF officials hope this will foster an interest in the fields of science and technology and encourage high school students to pursue careers in high tech fields. Each kit contains more than $14,000 worth of materials, making this a significant investment in Sarasota and Manatee County students' education and careers.

Calendar of Events

The following events are taking place across the Corridor's 23-county region or in the surrounding area:

Shaping a Secure Future: Homeland Security Forum
Presented by: Valencia Community College
Monday, May 9 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Valencia Community College, West Campus, Special Events Center, Building 8, 1800 South Kirkman Road, Orlando
For event information, visit

Beyond the Horizon
Presented by: Mote Marine Laboratory
Wednesday through Friday, May 11-13
Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota
For event information, visit

Celebration of Biotechnology
Presented by: BioFlorida
Thursday, May 26 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Progress Corporate Park, Alachua
For event information, visit

coolTECH Showcase
Presented by: TBTF and MOSI
Friday, June 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E. Fowler Avenue, Tampa
For event information, visit

I2 Capital Acceleration Program Showcase Event
Presented by: Space Florida and Technological Research and Development Authority (TRDA)
Wednesday, September 7
Radisson at Port Canaveral, 8701 Astronaut Boulevard, Cape Canaveral
For event information, visit


Taking a Peek into the UF Innovation Hub
Gainesville Sun
By Nathan Crabbe

Potential tenants of the Florida Innovation Hub got a sneak peak Friday at the business incubator, the first part of the University of Florida's efforts to spin off businesses from its research in the area between campus and downtown Gainesville.

For the full article, click here or visit

Orlando Economy Pushes to Head of Line in Florida
By Barbara Liston

Orlando is leading Florida out of recession and expanding so briskly the city best known for theme parks is poised to push aside Miami as the state's fastest growing metropolis for at least a generation.

For the full article, click here or visit

Students Work in a Career Field While in High School
The Ledger
By Merissa Green

At Ridge Community High School, students are getting the chance to participate on teams in the school's Engineering Technology Career Academy. Instead of the typical math and science classes, students with talent in the field of engineering work within the academy to learn teamwork while working on projects, such as designing a hovercraft.

For the full article, click here or visit



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