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Pictured, left to right: Former WARF Managing Director Carl Gulbrandsen, WiSys Executive Director Arjun Sanga, Innovator of the Year Brant Kedrowski and WiSys Board of Trustees Chair David Ward. Photo provided by WiSys.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh chemistry professor Brant Kedrowski has been chosen this year as the recipient of the Carl E. Gulbrandsen Innovator of the Year Award.

The achievement was awarded for Kedrowski’s active engagement with WiSys programs and long-standing partnership with the organization.

Kedrowski was was selected by WiSys for embodying the ideals of a WiSys Innovator: being a named inventor on two WiSys patents, awardee of several WiSys grants, supporter of student research and successful collaborator with industry resulting in a commercial agreement.

“I am proud to say that Brant is one of countless UW Oshkosh and UW System professor-researcher-innovators who make our comprehensive institutions distinctive national leaders,” UW Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said. “Every day, dedicated faculty members achieve breakthroughs and help derive new products while teaching, leading campus laboratories and serving as mentors to tens of thousands of students. Those students learn from and collaborate with the best and brightest. The educational experience is priceless, inspiring life-long learning and success.”

Over the years, Kedrowski has conducted extensive research with fruit and seed extracts and their many applications, from methods of extracting flours and acids from fruit seeds to identifying the complex compounds found within.

For his current research, Kedrowski has partnered with Wisconsin-based firm Botanic Innovations, a company specializing in processing fruit seeds to create a line of value added products for use as nutritional supplements and for cosmetic and personal care applications. Its core business is cold pressing seeds to obtain seed oils, which are sold to consumers and companies.

Kedrowski has been working with Botanic Innovations to develop technology, and associated intellectual property, to enable the high-value phytochemical components of seed products to be developed into commercial products.

“Brant has been an outstanding collaborator for Botanic Innovations,” Chief Technology Officer and Founder Mark Mueller said. As a result of his work, we have entered into an option agreement with WiSys Technology Foundation for joint patenting of a botanical extract that has very significant worldwide potential market value in skin care products.”

In the coming months Botanic Innovations will be investing in human clinical trials that are intended to determine efficacy of the seed extracts and to further commercialize the technology to benefit both UW Oshkosh and Botanic Innovations.

Kedrowski has been interested in natural products since graduate school, and his curiosity has only grown over time. He explained that carrying out research aimed at generating intellectual property is relatively similar to more traditional academic research where publication is the end goal—both involve the creation of useful new knowledge; the focus is just a bit different.

“We are fortunate to have inventors like Brant across the UW System,” WiSys Executive Director Arjun Sanga said. “He reminds us that ideas with great potential can occur at any of our University of Wisconsin schools and supporting innovation at regional comprehensive campuses has the potential of products and services that enhance our lives.”

About WiSys

WiSys supports the creation and transfer of innovations from the University of Wisconsin System to the marketplace with the aim of building a culture of innovation for a better future. WiSys is a 501 (c)(3) supporting organization of the UW System, supporting 11 four-year universities, 13 freshman-sophomore UW College campuses and statewide UW-Extension.

About the Carl E. Gulbrandsen Innovator of the Year Award

The Carl E. Gulbrandsen Innovator of the Year award was created to honor the former managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) who supported WiSys throughout his 16-year tenure. Since then, his leadership and support have been invaluable to the rapidly growing foundation. Not only has WARF supported WiSys as an affiliate organization over its 17 years of existence, Gulbrandsen has guided the strategic direction of WiSys through his service as Chairman of the board of trustees for the first 14 years and Treasurer for the past three years.

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