WPI Professor, Alumnus Share Prestigious Kalenian Award

Physics professor Izabela Stroe and graduate Michael Abramson split $25,000 award

An assistant physics professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and an alumnus who now serves as an intellectual property attorney will share the 2012 Kalenian Award, the university's top prize recognizing commercialization potential for a given invention.
Izabela Stroe, the physics professor, won for an early detection device she is developing for Alzheimer's Disease patients, while Michael T. Abramson (WPI '05) was recognized for a product that will identify odorless, colorless, and tasteless so-called "date-rape drugs" that are surreptitiously slipped in one's drink. The pair will each receive $12,500 to help develop their inventions
The Kalenian Award, established in 2006 by Alba Kalenian in memory of her late husband, inventor Aram Kalenian ('33), is given on a competitive basis and supports innovative ideas or the development of commercial products. The 2012 award was presented by their son, Paul Kalenian, during a recent ceremony at Alden Memorial.

Gina Betti, associate director of the Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at WPI, who manages the Kalenian competition, noted it was a very competitive contest with 26 applicants vying for the prize.
"We had many good candidates who rose to the top this year, making the final decision even more difficult," said Betti. "In the end, the three-judge panel saw significant commercialization value with these winners."

Stroe is in the process of developing technology that is able to detect the proteins responsible for triggering Alzheimer's Disease. Every 68 seconds, she noted, another person in the United States develops Alzheimer's. "I am driven in my research by both scientific curiosity and the desire to contribute to people's lives," said Stroe.
"At the same time, I believe that for us scientists, recognition carries with it a good deal of responsibility due to the trust and the hope that our community places in our work," added Stroe. "I am humbled and honored to be entrusted with such responsibility."

Stroe, who has been on the WPI faculty for four years, received her bachelor's degree from the University of Bucharest in Romania and her PhD from Clark University, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

October 1, 2012

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