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WARF draws top inventors, entrepreneurs for fall discussion series

October 6, 2015

To cap its 90th anniversary celebration, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is hosting a four-part discussion series exploring the cycle of innovation.

WARF is the nonprofit foundation that patents and commercializes campus inventions. Established in 1925, it advances groundbreaking research and graduate education through regular financial, intellectual and legal support to UW–Madison researchers.

The lectures will focus on the four pillars of innovation: research leading to discovery, invention, commercialization and investment. Speakers include Kevin Conroy, president and CEO of Exact Sciences, vitamin D pioneer Hector DeLuca, award-winning biochemist Laura Kiessling; startup founder Dan Ludois, and paleoanthropologist John Hawks.

“Some of the university’s leading innovators have never met,” says Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of WARF. “We’re going to bring many of them together over four sessions that celebrate the great partnership shared between the UW campus and WARF.”

“WARF has planned a series that promises great insights for campus and the community,” says Marsha Mailick, vice chancellor for research and graduate education. “It is an opportunity for us to learn as we honor WARF’s legacy of support for UW–Madison.”

The lectures are free and open to campus and the public. All events will take place in the H.F. DeLuca Forum of the Discovery Building and will include a reception that follows the discussion. Attendees are encouraged to register in advance.

  • The Rationale for Basic Research, Oct. 14 from 4-5 p.m. Nicole Nelson will moderate UW faculty and research panelists Judith Kimble, Wesley Smith, John Hawks and Richard Davidson.
  • Invention: Serendipity, Necessity and Ah-Ha, Oct. 22 from 4-5 p.m. John Wiley, inventor and former UW–Madison chancellor, will moderate inventors and UW faculty panelists Guri Sohi, Laura Kiessling, Dan Ludois and Hector DeLuca.
  • From Bench to Benefit: The Anatomy of a Productive Interrelationship between Academia and Industry, Nov. 2 from 4-5 p.m. Kevin Conroy, president and CEO of Exact Sciences, will moderate a discussion with GE Healthcare’s Eric Stahre, Winslow Sargeant, chief counsel for advocacy for the Small Business Administration, and other panelists.
  • Investing in Research, Making a Difference, Nov. 18 from 4-5 p.m. Brad Schwartz, CEO of the Morgridge Institute for Research, will moderate a discussion between Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of WARF, and Marsha Mailick, UW–Madison vice chancellor for research and graduate education.

 —Sally Younger