Accolades: UVA Community Well-Represented at Local Innovation Awards Gala

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Several University of Virginia-related people and entities were honored at the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council’s annual CBIC Gala, held May 18 at the Boar’s Head Inn.

The non-profit council, founded in 1997, has as its mission “to educate, celebrate and advocate for Charlottesville’s technology community and to accelerate technology innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.”

Benton Calhoun, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and one of the founders of PsiKick Inc., was named CBIC Innovator of the Year. Calhoun and co-founders Brendan Richardson and David Wentzloff are working to commercialize self-powered wireless sensors.

The Center for Open Science, founded by psychology professor Brian Nosek, was named the CBIC Start-Up of the Year. The center works to increase the openness, integrity and reproducibility of scientific research.

The council recognized the team behind AgroSpheres as the CBIC Student Entrepreneur Team of the Year. The company, founded by seven UVA students and recent graduates and including pharmacology professor Mark Kester, is commercializing inert particles that, among other things, can reverse the effects of pesticides to speed crop harvests.

Alumnus Baron Schwartz, the lead author of “High Performance MySQL” and the founder of VividCortex, which provides database monitoring tools and services, was named CBIC Entrepreneur of the Year. Schwartz earned his B.S. in computer science from the University in 2003.

Katie Murphy, marketing manager for the UVA Foundation and a manager of the UVA Research Park, was named CBIC Volunteer of the Year. Murphy serves on the council’s governing board and has chaired its Marketing Communications Committee for several years. At the UVA Foundation, she also chaired the volunteer planning committee that staged the annual 4 the Wounded 5K.

Attendees at the event also voted to give the council’s first Social Good Award to PureMadi, a UVA-based social enterprise that has brought inexpensive water treatment to 55,000 people in 41 developing countries to date.

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