In 1980, the University and Small Business
Patent Procedures Act gave universities the
right to own inventions resulting from federally funded research. Since then, when a scientific research project leads to a product, when
“pure” science can be “applied” and “
commercialized,” matters get complicated quickly. It’s
enough to make a scientist wish to be married to a lawyer with an MBA.
Anne S. York ’ 91 (PhD) is out to help.
York, associate professor of entrepreneurship,
is director of the newly formed Bioscience
Entrepreneurship Program at Creighton
University in Nebraska. She has created an
educational template for preparing a team of
medical, business and law students for a world
in which start-up com- says about the grant and the
panies take on new chance to set up the entrepreneur-
technologies in a ship program.
responsible, legally For example, during a research
secure way that ensures project on river blindness, a disease
discoveries reach peo- caused by black flies that is preva-
ple who need them at lent in Africa, a biology student
a price they can afford. from the Congo who had been
The program began introduced to the issues of com-
last spring with four Anne York ’ 91 (PhD) teams up Creighton mercialization was working with a
law students, five sci- medical, business and law students to professor who made a discovery in
address issues for start-up companies.
ence students and the lab. The researcher was set to
seven business students, selected for their publish, but the student pointed out the need
interest in working across disciplines. Even the for a provisional patent first; otherwise a com-funding represents a coalition: the National pany could grab the discovery, patent it and
Science Foundation’s Partnerships for control how it went to market.
Innovation, the University of Nebraska Creighton will host BioVentures 2009,
Medical Center, the Kaiser Family with $250,000 awarded to a business plan for
Foundation, the Stinson Morrison Hecker a bioscience venture that will carry it to mar-and the Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin law ket with the support of Creighton’s emerging
firms and Booz Allen Hamilton, a technology interdisciplinary teams. York will be watching
consulting company. to see if any UNC-originated ideas show up.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity,” York — Susan Simone
A Vision for Voices
The voice without an instrument to follow
takes on a risky venture — like a tightrope
walker without a net. There is nothing to
cover for an error. Jonathan Marcus Miller
’ 91 (PhD) knows the situation well as founder
and artistic director of Chicago a cappella.
This year, his talent for marrying risk and
beauty was honored by Chorus America with
the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action
and Entrepreneurial Zeal.
Miller remembers meeting Louis Botto in
1993. As the founder and director of the San
Francisco male vocal ensemble Chanticleer,
Botto set the standard for a cappella singing.
“He was a visionary,” Miller says. “He said that
the reason there wasn’t a bigger audience for
choral music is that the vast part of what was
being performed was mediocre. He told me,
‘Be absolutely relentless in your insistence on
vocal excellence and that will open doors.’
“That’s been the hardest thing Spiritual). To meet the
to do,” Miller says. “For example, demands of this repertoire,
if the ensemble was going to be Miller selects classically
really good, we needed someone trained vocalists but at
who was not singing, so I stopped auditions asks them to per-
singing in the group. Someone form at least one crossover
had to be listening to the instru- piece, “one non-legit song
ment.” that really blows me away.”
Miller puts enormous energy He also continues to
into selecting the vocalists and the research music. “One of the
repertoire. He began with roots Jonathan Marcus Miller ’ 91 (PhD) reasons Chicago a cappella
in Renaissance music. At UNC, pushes his a cappella chorus to take can do what it can is that I
risks across a broad repertoire.
he participated in the early-music can find anything.” Miller
performance ensemble Collegium Musicum. says. “If it’s been written on this planet, I can
He attributes much of his interest and success find it.” He also composes, with more than 50
to an early-music boom in the ’80s, but also choral pieces since 1998.
reaches fearlessly across genres. “Growing up, I Miller plans to commission a new piece for
wanted to be James Taylor and play piano like the 2009-10 season, “something out of the
Elton John. I loved Pentangle from England, box.” He’s not setting many preconditions. “It
Led Zeppelin, even soul and early funk. I am has to be something that will really touch
also very involved in Jewish music.” people, probably something lyrical. I love
The concerts and the six CDs by Chicago Neruda’s sonnets, or maybe [the Babylonian
a cappella range from Shakespeare (Shall I heroic poem] Gilgamesh. Right now, it’s a
Compare Thee) to spirituals (Go Down Moses: blank slate.”
DAN REST/CHICAGO A CAPPELLA
Tracing the Roots of the African-American