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Honors and Awards

HIV Test, Clean Energy, and Surgical Safety Tool Recognized

Northwestern innovations take three "Up-and-Comer" Chicago Innovation Awards

Three spinoff companies with roots at Northwestern University were honored as “Up-and-Comer” award winners at the 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards held Monday at Chicago’s Harris Theater.

The Northwestern innovations are a new HIV test for infants in developing countries, high-performance materials that store gases and a safety tool that prevents bleeding during surgery.

The Chicago Innovation Awards each year recognizes the most innovative new products or services brought to market or to public service in the Chicago region. Nine “Up-and-Comer” winners were selected from 180 candidates.

The three Northwestern winners and their innovations are:

  • The Northwestern Global Health Foundation was recognized for its new HIV test for babies in developing countries that will deliver a diagnosis in less than an hour. The test could dramatically improve the rates at which infected infants are diagnosed and treated.
  • The foundation is an independent nonprofit biotech company that develops and distributes medical diagnostics for global health applications, based on technologies developed at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. 
  • NuMat Technologies was recognized for software that makes gas storage more efficient by analyzing and quickly suggesting ideal metal-organic-framework (MOF) structures for custom storage applications. MOFs have the potential to transform products such as natural gas vehicles.
  • Spun out of two Northwestern research labs, the NuMat team represents four Northwestern schools: McCormick, the Kellogg School of Management, the School of Law and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
  • BriteSeed was recognized for SafeSnips, technology that can be integrated into surgical tools to detect blood vessels during surgery and prevent unintended bleeding. SafeSnips can alert the surgeon to the vessel’s diameter and orientation, and reveal how fast blood is flowing through the vessel, all in real time.

Students in Northwestern’s NUvention: Medical Innovation course founded the medical device startup.

The teams from the Northwestern Global Health Foundation, NuMat Technologies and BriteSeed will join the other winners of this year’s Chicago Innovation Awards in ringing the NASDAQ bell in New York City Feb. 25, 2013.

“This is one way of carrying the message of Chicago innovation to other parts of the nation,” said Luke Tanen, executive director of the awards.

The winners also will meet separately with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to discuss their innovations and ways to advance innovation in Illinois.

The complete list of this year’s winners can be found at