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Summer 2017

Puzzle heart.


There’s now a fix for aortic valve disease that doesn’t involve replacing the whole valve and leads to better health outcomes. Dr. J. Scott Rankin in the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute has invented a device that reshapes the valve. The HAART 300 Aortic Annuloplasty Device, manufactured by BioStable Science Engineering Inc., is the first commercially available internal annuloplasty device designed for aortic valve repair. Dr. Vinay Badhwar, executive chair of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute ,said of Rankin: “He has created a new class of heart operation that could potentially save thousands of patients who currently are otherwise treated with artificial heart valves.” The device is available in Europe and select American heart centers, including WVU.


What if you could preserve buildings and bridges from the furor of earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes? There’s a new composite system out of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources that can do that. Civil and environmental engineering professor Hota GangaRao and civil engineering PhD student Praveen Majjigapu have developed a system that will increase the strength and endurance of structures and can repair historic or aging structures. The three-piece system consisting of wedge-like parts, reinforcing dowels and composite materials allows buildings and bridges to resist heavier loads and provides a significant amount of shock absorption as well as resistance to moisture and fire.


We’re expecting a new world of self-driving cars, but scientists still need to teach the onboard computers a thing or two. Computers still need to be able to identify one object taken from different viewpoints by onboard cameras as being the same object. It’s a fundamental problem of computer vision. One computer scientist, with funding from the National Science Foundation, is measuring the level of confidence a computer has when it determines that images represent the same object. Computer science assistant professor Victor Fragoso is investigating ways a computer can reason about the objects it detects in order to propose solutions to alert the computer of wrong identifications. If left unchecked, this vision problem could leave the car vulnerable to accidents.


A recent graduate’s work is showing that high fructose corn syrup-55, found in soft drinks, promotes a buildup of fat in the liver, which increases non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Sundus Lateef, BS ’16, Chemistry and Biology, an Honors College graduate, and her advisers found that within eight weeks, mice who only drank high fructose corn syrup-55 developed extensive fat deposits in the liver before becoming obese, with fat being sent to the liver instead of to fat tissues. Lateef was one of 60 undergraduates nationwide selected by the Council on Undergraduate Research to present research to Congress. She worked with professors Janet Tou and Vagner Benedito of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design to produce “High Fructose Corn Syrup-55 Promotes Triglyceride Accumulation and Alters Fat Metabolism in the Liver,” a paper published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.


Engineers are developing a way to create a fuel that can be transported long distances and doesn’t add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. John Hu and Hanjing Tian in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources are developing a way to synthesize ammonia from hydrogen and nitrogen using microwave plasma catalysis for long-term energy storage and long-distance delivery at a production rate that is five times greater than the existing and costly Haber-Bosch process. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

Innovation at Work Archive

Fall 2014

Catch up with sneak peeks and snapshots of some of the creative research, ideas and products incubating 24/7 across WVU.

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Fall 2015

This year international headlines proclaimed the news that a WVU report led to the discovery that Volkswagen had installed defeat devices in potentially millions of diesel vehicles. Catch that developing story and more here.

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Fall 2016

Our people are working on one of the seven Wonders of the World, renewing the nation's dams and creating wireless networks.

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Fall 2017

Sniffing moths and fighting malware make up this edition of Innovation at Work.

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Spring 2015

From securing your selfies, to creating mobile PET scanners, WVU is making inventions that affect your life.

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Summer 2016

Our people are preparing for working on asteroids, predicting how many fish will be in your local stream and designing tomorrow's fuel cell.

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Summer 2017

A doctor created a new way to repair hearts that leads to better health outcomes and engineers came up with a composite system that could prevent damage from earthquakes and hurricanes.

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Summer 2018

One WVU Tech computer science student is developing a way to use mushrooms to combat the global plastic trash glut.

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Five Mountaineers to Watch This Fall

Here are five Mountaineers to keep an eye open for on the gridiron this season.

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Ginny Thrasher

Ginny Thrasher

See what it takes for rifle champion Ginny Thrasher to make the shot for Olympic gold.

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Rolling Out Justice (With or Without Skates)

Mindy Parsley is a clerk at the West Virginia Supreme Court. After work, she transforms into "Minnie Hurl," a blocker for roller derby team the Chemical Valley Roller Girls.

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