Investors and scientists converge at Lab tech-transfer event and prize ceremony

Laboratory innovations improve breast cancer detection, tamper-evident containers, clean energy and more

By Tricia Ware | September 20, 2023

The 2023 DisrupTECH award for Best Pitch went to Alessandro Cattaneo’s Additively Manufactured Tamper Evident Container (TEC).

Cutting-edge tech-transfer technologies — including better breast cancer-screening methods, biodegradable plastics and tamper-evident containers — were among nine presentations made by Los Alamos scientists as part of the 2023 DisrupTECH event.

The 2023 DisrupTECH and the subsequent Richard P. Feynman Innovation Prizes ceremony were attended by about 270 entrepreneurs, investors, industry partners, community members, and Laboratory and regional leaders.

DisrupTECH recognizes technologies with tech-transfer potential, while the Feynman Innovation Prizes honor technologies that are commercially ready. Both events were organized by the Lab's Feynman Center for Innovation, which fosters connections between researchers, businesses and entrepreneurial communities.

The 2023 DisrupTECH award for Most Fundable Technology went to Mike Craig’s Ultrasound Imaging for Breast Cancer Detection. This ultrasound technology can detect smaller tumors (2 millimeters) compared to current methods. He is currently completing customer discovery to validate the product-market fit for this technology.

The 2023 DisrupTECH award for Best Pitch went to Alessandro Cattaneo’s Additively Manufactured Tamper Evident Container (TEC). Created with 3D printing technology, the container includes sensors that record the entire security history of the product within. Furthermore, no two containers are exactly alike, making them even more foolproof.

“While this container was developed with a national security laboratory’s mission in mind, it can readily be applied to a variety of situations,” said Cattaneo. “For example, the pharmaceutical industry could use the TEC to quash the supply chain of counterfeit medicine and comply with the federal Drug Supply Chain Security Act.”

Other 2023 DisrupTECH presenters were:

  • Clement Livache, Colloidal Nanomaterials for Integrated Lasers
  • Thom Weber, Pulsed Power Switching
  • Lauren Misurek, High Energy X-Ray Radiography
  • Jenna Kim and Kwan-Soo Lee, Next Generation Plastics
  • Sang-Min Shin, THERMAS: Thermophiles for High-throughput Engineering of Robust Mesophile enzymes with Augmented Stability
  • Vigneshwaran Chandrasekaran, Single Photon Nano-emitters for Unbreakable Quantum Communication
  • Shawn Jones, Exploring Collections by Selecting Exemplars

5 teams win Richard P. Feynman Innovation Prizes

Lab Director Thom Mason spoke about the importance of tech transfer in economic development before presenting the Richard P. Feynman Innovation Prizes, honoring Lab-developed technologies ready for commercialization. The winners were:

  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: Kalpak Dighe for K-modules, modern capacitors to replace 40-year-old technology currently used by industry
  • Next Big Idea: Vlad Henzl, Ann Junghans and Rollin Lakis for BioGoo, a peel-off coating for forensic sampling on fabric or other irregular surfaces
  • Notable New Mexico Start-up: Siddharth Babu, Kui Li, Xiaojing Wang, Rod Borup and Pajarito Powder LLC, creator of fuel cell catalysts
  • Outstanding Partnership: Timothy Coons, Sabrina Hadinoto, Dasari Rao and Kairos Power, producer of advanced nuclear reactors for clean energy
  • Technology Transfer Excellence: Yu Seung Kim, Sandip Maurya, Eun Joo (Sarah) Park, Katie H. Lim, Youngkwang Kim and Advent Technologies Holdings Inc., producer of membrane electrode assembly technology for efficient fuel cells

“These award winners are prime examples of the ways Los Alamos National Laboratory’s technologies can solve our nation’s challenges,” said Mariann Johnston, deputy program director of the Feynman Center for Innovation.