Innovators of the Month: April 2016

soc-inn-nwi-logoNWI Innovators of the Month highlights Kathleen Gibson, CEO/Founder of Adjunct Professor Link, Valparaiso. This new Member launched the first digital platform to help higher education institutions “recruit, manage, onboard and certify” part-time and full-time faculty. Also featured is the latest about IVDiagnostics, the innovative team that received the Chanute Prize in 2011 for developing cutting edge cancer diagnostic treatments in Crown Point. This issue is for the media serving Jasper, Lake, La Porte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski and Starke Counties. Each edition features inspiring stories of innovators who are Members of The Society of Innovators. The Society is part of Ivy Tech’s Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center. For information, contact O’Merrial Butchee, Director, Lamkin I & E Center at (219) 981-4942, or John Davies, Managing Director, The Society of Innovators of NWI at (219) 981-1111, Ext. 2292.

APL Adjunct Professor Link Matches Faculty with Classrooms


Recognizing a need to match a first rate faculty with colleges and universities, Kathleen Gibson launched the first digital platform for recruiting, managing, “on-boarding” and certifying adjunct and full-time faculty. “My passion is to match the most accomplished faculty with universities and colleges so that students receive the very best education possible,” Gibson said, who was in higher education for 14 years at Valparaiso University.

Named Adjunct Professor Link or APL, this start-up with 13 employees, has enjoyed resounding success since launched nine months ago, and is now used by 22 colleges and universities in 17 states, ranging in size from 200,000 to 2,000 students. Although 70% of college and university courses are taught by adjunct professors, there was no digital platform to connect experts with department chairs and program directors who hire them as adjunct faculty. Gibson saw the opportunity to introduce a digital solution in an industry where colleges and universities typically place advertisements to seek candidates.

Now using, participating institutions have a faster, better and even less expensive approach to finding faculty, Gibson said. APL allows experts and educators to post free profiles to market themselves with “education-specific search criteria.” APL staff then review the profiles and match them to client colleges and universities. Department chairs and program directors only pay for profiles that meet their education–specific search criteria. “APL gives higher education a consistent, efficient and cost-effective solution to find great faculty,” Gibson said.

IVDiagnostics’s Quest for Solutions to Metastatic Cancers

IVDiagnosticsA Northwest Indiana biomedical company is leading the way in developing breakthrough innovative solutions to diagnose metastatic cancers faster, better and less costly to save patient lives. Based at the Purdue Technology Center, IVDiagnostics Inc., provides oncologists and pathologists with better tools for measuring and monitoring circulating tumor cells (CTCs) starting with breast cancer, said Frank Szczepanski, president, CEO, and co-founder. He and his brother Tom Szczepanski, marketing director and also co-founder, helped launch the company in 2008. Members of the team also include scientists Chris Clemens and Ramona Vladea, Ph.D. (far right), and also Joe Firca, Ph.D., COO.

New IVDx products include Velox, a “world class” cancer assay test which significantly reduces the time to complete a conventional blood sample test. Magno-Praxix is a new treatment to eradicate blood-born cancer cells. Another is Admonitrix, which uses an innovative platform that permits monitoring of CTCs “in vivo,” or within the body.

IV Diagnostics has been building on this breakthrough technology when it first introduced the IVDxTx platform that monitored CTCs within the body. Indeed, this “revolutionary” therapy got IVDiagnostics the Chanute Prize in 2011. Today, the company has developed new and improved technologies for tracking CTCs both within the body and through conventional blood samples. “We want our young people to know that important research is being done here as part of a larger biomedical community. We encourage them to become part of this exciting frontier,” he said.