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Wayne State University names Joan C. Dunbar as interim associate vice president of technology commercialization

April 12, 2012

DETROIT — Wayne State University announces the appointment of Joan C. Dunbar, Ph.D. of Bloomfield, Mich., as interim associate vice president of technology commercialization in the Division of Research. Dunbar begins on Monday, April 16, 2012.

Dunbar’s most recent post was director of biotechnology development and biomedical innovation in Wayne State University’s School of Medicine. She has extensive experience promoting and facilitating commercial translation of academic research including assessing market opportunities and developing commercialization strategies for biomedical technologies, acting as mentor on STTR and SBIR proposals for technology development, and securing more than $350,000 from Michigan-based programs to support proof-of-concept studies for faculty inventions. Dunbar has been key in launching a number of WSU start-up companies and is a member of the university’s patent advisory committee.

In addition, she has created educational opportunities in biotechnology entrepreneurship that aim to educate graduate students and faculty on clinical and commercial translation. She has worked with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) on numerous economic development programs that have aided in building academic relationships with the MEDC. Recently, Dunbar was instrumental in securing a grant from the New Economy Initiative aimed at establishing a new technology development incubator at WSU that will rapidly identify and mature technologies with significant commercial potential, increase licensing staff and enhance marketing tools to create awareness of the availability of WSU intellectual property assets to industry and the venture capital community.

“Innovation is the fuel for economic growth, and Dr. Joan Dunbar will build on Wayne State’s great momentum we have created in commercializing technology in the past year,” said Hilary Ratner, Ph.D., vice president for research at WSU. “She will spearhead Wayne State’s goals of bringing our most promising innovations to the marketplace to generate new jobs, products, services and more that will benefit Detroit, the state of Michigan and beyond.”

Dunbar earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Sydney, Australia, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen, Denmark and in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of California, Irvine. In her previous academic role she had more than 25 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and was a funded investigator on multiple National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health grants.

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Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research institutions in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.