72 Hours of Virtual Reality Fun

Colorado State University

Kenny Gruchalla, Computational Science Center Lead at NREL speaks at the Virtual Reality Symposium, Oct. 21.

Last week, Colorado State University teamed with virtual reality enthusiasts as the Office of the Vice President of Research kicked off a weekend devoted to exploring Virtual and Augmented Reality. On Friday morning, thought leaders from industry, academia and government came together to discuss the scientific, technologic and sociologic opportunities for augmented and virtual reality. Speakers included William Warren, Vice President and Head of Innovation Programs & Networks at Sanofi Pasteur; Kenny Gruchalla , Computational Science Center Lead at NREL; Winifred Newman, Head of Department of Architecture at the University of Arkansan; Paul Martin, Distinguished Technologist for Hewlett-Packard and Adam Russell, Program Manager at DARPA. The diverse audience of 14 to 75 year olds and 25 Poudre School District science and technology teachers enjoyed a panel discussion on key issues and the unveiling of the new CSU Immersive Experience narrated by Tony Frank.

The events rolled on into Friday evening when the Virtual Reality Hackathon was launched with 40 participants and more than 20 volunteers, mentors, and faculty. The event was sponsored by HP, NVIDIA, Mechdyne and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Eight diverse teams of computer scientists, biologists, psychologists, artists, design, engineers and hobbyists competed for cash prizes for best immersive experiences. An art competition ran alongside the teams using a Virtual Art program TiltBrush. Participants were given the latest equipment including HTC-VIVE, Occulus, Hololens and access to a Mechdyne cave. The competition was judged by the symposium speakers with the addition of Sharif Razzaque, Chief Engineer of Imaging at Medtronic; Alan Rudolph, Vice President for Research at Colorado State University and Cyane Tornatzy, Professor of Electronic Art Colorado State University.


Team Human.ly awarded 1st place at the CSU Virtual Reality Hackathon.

Forty eight hours later, after many doughnuts and a lot of coffee, the judges awarded $1000 first prize went to Team Human.ly which produced a mixed reality dynamic anatomical model superimposed over a moving person. Second place went to Team Savage that created a therapeutic immersive experience that helped people overcome crowd phobias by asking them to move through a crowd based on principles in cognitive therapy. Third place went to Team No Name (no joke) that placed you in an immersive dynamic neuronal circuit of the brain. Rachel Stern won the virtual art competition for her work entitled “The Tree”. A complete list of the winners on each team and other pictures and videos can be found on CSU Source.

The weekend highlighted the transformative power of the perceptive revolution that virtual and augmented reality could bring to our society and all aspects of the CSU land grant mission. We had visitors and participants from the VR community, industry representatives, high and middle schoolers, alumni groups, and graduate fellowship programs. Many of the participants had no experience in VR and yet were able to learn about it and in some cases they created powerful experiences with impact across a wide sector space including health, education, art, science, design, and engineering. The hackathon will help propel the next phases of the VR campus activities with the creation of portals around campus made available for further explorations in the virtual and real worlds.



New Leadership for Infectious Disease Research Center


Dr. Raymond Goodrich

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) has selected Raymond Goodrich as the new Infectious Disease Research Center (IDRC) executive director. His appointment begins Oct. 1, 2016.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Goodrich to lead our Infectious Disease Research Center,” said Alan Rudolph, vice president for research. “He brings unique translational research experience from the infectious disease industry – leading discoveries from the bench side to the market place.”

Goodrich will be the primary contact for all external and internal partners in infectious disease research. He will also manage relationships with the external laboratories such as the US Center for Disease Control and the National Wildlife Research Center.

In his new role, Goodrich will be in charge of strategic responsibility for the IDRC and will coordinate development and enhancement of infectious disease research and start-up companies. Part of the enhancement responsibilities of Goodrich will include oversight of infectious disease related startup companies and of BioMARC, an FDA approved bio-manufacturing facility.

“We look forward to Dr. Goodrich’s leadership for our nationally recognized assets including CSU faculty, BioMarc, and start-ups,” said Dr. Rudolph.

Goodrich will also work towards lowering translational barriers for CSU researchers as well as managing the financial aspects, teaching and training for faculty in the IDRC.

About Dr. Raymond Goodrich

Goodrich has held positions in infectious disease research programs for the greater part of his career, specifically in transfusion medicine, translational research and infectious diseases. He is an active member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association of Blood Banks and the International Society of Blood Transfusion.

Most recently, Goodrich has been President of Innovata Bioconsulting, a consulting firm providing services to the medical device and pharmaceutical products sector. He was a founder of CryoPharm Corporation., a company focused on blood preservation and sterilization technologies.  He also formerly served as the Vice President of Clinical and Scientific Affairs and Chief Scientific Officer for the blood bank technologies division of Terumo BCT (previously known as Gambro BCT or CaridianBCT), a global leader in blood component and cellular technologies.

Goodrich has published over 200 peer reviewed scientific research articles and abstracts and is recognized as an international expert in transfusion and infectious disease pathogens. In addition, he has been awarded over 50 patents covering methods and devices for cell separation, biological fluid sterilization and preparation of vaccines.

Goodrich received his PhD in Biophysical Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. He remains as an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at The Ohio State University, while lecturing and teaching for over 20 years.

Navigating the valley of death; Diversity as an Accelerator of Technology Adoption and Impact

I have spent a whole career in this valley. My long journey started, as many do, with deep disciplinary training in an area with translational value – in my case biophysics of colloids and liposomal drug delivery. Some set out in the valley to reap more immediate impact in application or development of an idea into something applied. In both cases, it is a classic journey fraught with risk and high in reward if you make it out. Making it out of the valley of death can take many forms but often the biggest prize for some is surviving the trek in translating ideas into technology development or commercialization. Continue reading

The Muse: Catalysts and Additives


Last academic year the OVPR in partnership with the College leadership (Deans and Research Associate Deans) invested in interdisciplinary teams to pursue big bet areas of research. This new initiative currently engaged campus in an open dialogue and proposal process resulting in over 150 faculty in all 8 colleges and multiple departments pursuing thematic research interests that cover our land grant mission areas and push the envelope of team formation, execution and outputs. While the initiative is in its formative stages, the early progress is very encouraging. Continue reading

The Muse: F(l)at Tires

usa-pro-cycling-challenge201Cruising along on two wheels, at a nice speed, on a gorgeous sunny day in Colorado and “Pshhhht”. Your whole world is changed in an instant. I can’t deny that sometimes my first reaction is a choice four letter word (that often rhymes with Pshhht) at decibels synchronized with the population density nearby. I succumb to the realization that I am well prepared to restore order and pull over to go through frequent ritual that leaves me covered in grease. The sense of satisfaction in returning to the road having made even a minor repair or course correction is always so great.

I am not sure why I draw this experience out other than to reflect on our summer at OVPR and our renewed energy toward an agenda of research success. In the first 18 months since storming the front range the new OVPR launched the catalyst for innovative partnerships initiative for interdisciplinary teaming and created 7 new teams poised to generate future superclusters of impact and engagement, established a new framework for research infrastructure facilities (institutional, foundational, and emerging), new metrics for determining high need high impact research facility renovations, and created a new multidisciplinary teaming award for individuals and groups that cross boundaries and work at interfaces of discipline discovery, just to name a few!

This summer we took the bike into the shop and tuned it up for our next academic year. Like many groups on campus during the summer the OVPR held a retreat to discuss future efforts and prioritize activities. Our renewed energy into the new academic year will sustain our resolve in the new initiatives launched but also allow us to focus on continued service to the research enterprise. Of particular note is our attention to reducing administrative burdens in facilitating our faculty’s hunt for new funding. This year we will roll out substantive new electronic systems for proposal preparation (Kuali Coeus) and a faculty activity reporting system (digital measures). The digitization of research administration is strikingly similar to the effort to promote electronic medical records; everyone knows it’s a good idea but getting it done is very hard. In our own case Kuali Coeus has been talked about for over 6 years and it is only now we are prepared to implement. These efforts will require patience, persistence, resolve (and yes some primal screaming) to get the job done.

So pump up your tires and get out on the road this new academic year. If you pop a tire, don’t fear, there’s a patch awaiting and plenty of air and pavement ahead! We look forward to working with you to sustain and grow our phenomenal research enterprise here at CSU.

CSU Researchers visit Washington D.C. to present on Global Grand Challenges

Last week the Office of the Vice President for Research had a very successful new event at the National Press Club in Washington DC called Global Grand Challenges: CSU Research and Translation and I wanted to share some of the highlights and excitement generated.

The event’s goals were to raise awareness on CSU centered research aligned with global challenges in optimizing key environmental resources, nourishing the future population of the planet, and accelerating global health solutions to pressing problems. We invited alumni in the area, agency officials and program officers who we targeted by their interests and current funding of CSU and its partners.

The event consisted of three components – our president hosted a luncheon where we heard from Sonny Ramaswammy, the director of NIFA who spoke about these global challenges and how he sees the future challenges and opportunities for land-grant universities and their partners in industry and government. The second component was a three panel afternoon seminar on these grand challenges anchored by senior faculty and including 22 faculty from across campus. We ended the afternoon with an alumni and friends reception hosted by the President.

The event attracted 80 attendees (on a 95 degree day in DC) and generated a tremendous amount of positive energy. Our faculty did an outstanding job of succinctly presenting their passions and commitment to the problems while highlighted CSU successes in breaking down collaborative barriers across campus and into an innovation ecosystem.

The presentations were very well done with a pace and level digestible to broad communities. I received many positive comments after the event from alumni, industry attendees, senior agency officials from DoD, NSF, DoE, and USDA.

A special thanks to all those who made this new event a great success. Responses were so positive that there is interest to repeat the event in DC but also include Denver for our local stakeholders. We will be seeking measures of impact of the event and would be interested in your inputs on this. Some immediate return was the numerous meetings the group took in addition to the event across DC and the awareness our faculty continue to gain by cross campus immersive experiences.

It was a very proud day for Ram Research!