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Released May 3, 2005

SOUTHERN MISS NAMES WINNERS OF
“INVENT YOUR FUTURE!” CONTEST

HATTIESBURG The University of Southern Mississippi announced Tuesday the winners in its “Invent Your Future!” contest sponsored by the College of Science and Technology.

The contest, held April 27 in Hattiesburg, featured designs and inventions created by students and staff of Southern Miss. The top three competitors will share $10,000 in prize money and will get the chance to develop their ideas from innovation to marketplace.

“We’re making a broad-based effort at Southern Miss to incorporate economic development and entrepreneurship into all aspects of the educational process,” said Dr. Cecil Burge, vice president for research and economic development. “This contest allows for participatory learning by our students in the competitive innovation process.”

Stacy Trey, Alicyn Rhoades and David Weldon placed first in the competition, sponsored by Noetic Technologies Inc., the Southern Miss Research Foundation and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

The group’s project, titled “NuBone: Hip Replacement Stem,” focused on a modified hip stem that could reduce or eliminate infections, surgeries and pain endured by some patients who undergo a total-hip replacement.

“We are very excited about winning,” said Rhoades whose team was awarded $5,000. “We are glad to have the money so that we can move forward and prove our concept.”

Vijayaraj Nagarajan and Venkata Thodima finished in second place with “Improved MCC: An Efficient Method for Clustering Gene Expression Data.” The duo believes lumping together genes with similar behaviors could lead to a potential tool in discovering candidate drug targets for deadly diseases like breast cancer.

Third-place honors went to Southern Miss staff member John Anderson, whose “Race Ramp” creation was inspired by his son Hayden. The Race Ramp is a toy made for small cars like Hot Wheels. It has four lanes, a starting block and a slope for cars to race down. Thinking like a true parent, Anderson made a toy that could also fold up to hold several cars to make it for storage and travel.

While only three groups could be rewarded for their efforts, many contestants managed to walk away a winner as they got a chance to learn from and network with prominent business leaders and venture capitalists during the competition.

Dr. Les Goff, president and CEO of Noetic Technologies Inc. said, “The ‘Invent Your Future!’ competition is a continuation in building the entrepreneurial atmosphere at Southern Miss. Noetic is proud to support opportunities like these, and we look forward to next year’s competition.”

For more information, please contact Leslie Butler at (601) 266-6133 or by e-mail at leslie.butler@usm.edu.

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July 20, 2005 4:00 PM