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Two NMSU scientists patent valuable research thanks to Arrowhead Center

Two scientists at New Mexico State University have secured patents for their revolutionary research thanks to the guidance offered at NMSU?s Arrowhead Center.



NMSU chemical engineering doctoral student Nasser Khazeni speaks about his research on metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and Co2 capture during a Scholarly Excellence Rally event at the Fulton Center (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

NMSU horticulture professor Rolston St. Hilaire speaks during a Scholarly Excellence Rally event at the Stan Fulton Center. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

NMSU chemical engineering doctoral candidate Nasser Khazeni and interim Plant and Environmental Sciences Department head Rolston St. Hilaire spoke about their research and collaboration with Arrowhead at a recent Scholarly Excellence Rally at the Stan Fulton Center Third Floor Bistro.

Khazeni, with the help of NMSU faculty members Abbas Ghassemi, Reza Foudazi and Jalal Rastegary, has developed a special material that can capture carbon dioxide with greater capacity than any technology currently in use. Carbon dioxide capture has the potential to significantly cut carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.

?Global warming is something that is not just discussed at a conference. It?s something that all people are now sensing,? Khazeni said. ?All the consequences like drought and floods are the things that have motivated me to do something to maybe help mitigate this global warming problem and its consequences.?

Khazeni later realized that if another researcher learned about his Co2 capture technology they could patent it. His advisor, Ghassemi, introduced Khazeni to Arrowhead Center, and Khazeni began working with Arrowhead staff on how to protect his technology.

?We got to a point where we understood we had something that might have some commercial impact, and he (Ghassemi) introduced us to Arrowhead to follow their route to protect our idea,? Khazeni said. ?We were very worried, especially when we understood that being published in a journal, it?s not enough to protect it, especially if somebody else comes and gathers all the information and patents it. Then he?s the one who owns that idea.?

Arrowhead helped Khazeni obtain publicity about his Co2 technology to help establish his research, and worked with Khazeni and his research team to obtain a patent. Also with the help of Arrowhead, Khazeni was recently approved for funding through the National Science Foundation I-Corps program.

St. Hilaire?s research also has an environmental impact. He and his research team have developed a hardy, drought-resistant cultivar of the Bigtooth Maple tree that boasts beautiful crimson-colored foliage in the fall. St. Hilaire started his research in 1998 at Iowa State University, where he studied Black and Sugar maple trees.

?My research with the Bigtooth Maple looks at how best to select plants from different areas in select locations, and try to select those for use in commercial or managed landscapes. To do so, we bring in plant materials from those diverse origins and try to test them and see if there?s some possibility that some of the genotypes might work in a commercial setting or in a regular back yard,? St. Hilaire said.

But while working with J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. Wholesale Tree Growers in Oregon, St. Hilaire discovered that in order to work with commercial growers, he needed to decipher the technical wording contained in licensing agreements.

?At that point I thought I needed a little more help, and that?s when I contacted Arrowhead to help me sort through that licensing agreement. They helped me through the patenting process, which was something that I had no idea was so involved,? St. Hilaire said. ?They provided the resources, the attorneys and the guidance.

?Being a scientist, sometimes you huddle behind your desk and you?re not thinking of the commercial or applied aspects of your work. I think Arrowhead has done a fantastic job in helping us move our research from the bench, from the scientific literature into the commercial and into the local and regional and hopefully national market.?

Arrowhead Center has several programs in place to help faculty and students commercialize their research.

?Arrowhead is excited to be working with these scientists and helping to move NMSU innovation from the laboratory to the market and consumers,? said Kathy Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center.