_Ideas with Impact


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This is a scanning electron micrograph taken by Dennis Kunkel of a deer tick common to the United States. This species is known to carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease as well as many other pathogenic bacteria. A Drexel doctoral student is studying all of the bacteria carried by common ticks to help doctors diagnose common co-infections.

Recently, Drexel reached a major milestone when it joined the iconic, top-tier research universities in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

The R1 Doctoral University designation by Carnegie is a coveted distinction. It is reserved for universities with the highest level of research activity, and Drexel was one of just 34 private institutions to receive this designation.

I view this not only as the latest indication of the impact of Drexel’s research, but as recognition of the talent and commitment of our faculty. Drexel researchers are making their mark in so many ways, buoyed by an impressive, 15 percent increase in sponsored research awards last year, to $124 million.

The University also just moved up several spots among the world’s top 100 universities for patents granted in this country in 2018, now tied for 51st place, according to rankings by the National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association.

It’s at times like these that we step back and look at the big picture showing the outpouring of entrepreneurial ideas and inspiration from Drexel researchers. We rightly take note of exceptional achievements, like Sorin Siegler’s work with Kinos Medical on an improved artificial ankle, or the progress made by Yury Gogotsi toward creating a unique type of atoms-thin MXene material that may make possible portable dialysis.

All told, Drexel researchers currently have received more than 600 grants in support of their work, while securing 46 U.S. patents last year. Annually, the University’s research activities regularly result in more than 100 invention disclosures. In support of our research enterprise, we just named the first director of the Human Research Protection Program within the Office of Research, charged with upholding the highest ethical standards in the conduct of research with human subjects.

Drexel’s strong record of success in driving ideas from the research stage to real-world application tells faculty and student innovators, as well as our many partners in industry and at other universities, that the University knows how to deploy our entrepreneurial ecosystem for the benefit of society. For all of us in the Drexel community and our many collaborators here and abroad, I hope national recognition for our research efforts builds upon a sense of mutual accomplishment and pride.

John A. Fry / President