By Jim Stafford
Copyright © 2018, The Oklahoma Publishing Co.
Serendipity showed up at the recent Oklahoma BioScience Networking luncheon in the person of Daniel Pullin, dean of the Michael F. Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma.
Pullin walked up and introduced himself to Carol Dionne, Ph.D., a professor and director of OU’s Center for Human Performance Measurement on the OU Health Science Center campus, as she chatted with a group of other health science professionals.
The networking luncheon was held at the University of Oklahoma’s Gene Rainbolt Graduate School of Business on the campus of the University Research Park.
Dionne operates a core facility that analyzes human movement and focuses on ways to prevent falls and injuries. She is seeking ways to advance the technology she has developed over decades of research and her work as a physical therapist.
Meanwhile, scores of MBA students who are seeking real-world ventures in which to apply their newly acquired business acumen are enrolled in OU’s graduate program.
“It turns out with our all-new curriculum in the MBA program here, every student is required to have an externship, a consulting project, the opportunity to work with real world, entrepreneurial ventures to craft the value proposition to take it farther, faster,” Pullin said. “So we made the match right there.”
Before the networking event concluded, Pullin had taken the first steps to pair OU students with Dionne.
“I’ve already talked to the head of our MBA program, and we’re already working to find the right student team to work with this great faculty researcher to take this idea forward,” he said.
Organized by the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST), the BioScience event featured 90 minutes of unscripted networking followed by brief presentations from researchers and economic development professionals. Co-sponsors were i2E Inc., the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, the Oklahoma Bioscience Association, the State Chamber, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and OU.
“It’s always great when you can get very introverted people such as myself in a room and start talking to each other, because that’s where the magic happens,” said Elaine Hamm, Ph.D., CEO at Oklahoma City’s Ascend Bioventures. “For us specifically at Ascend, we’re looking for new technologies, and we’re looking for new drugs. So meeting the researchers who are working on macular degeneration or cancer research, like I’ve spoken with today, that’s such an added benefit for us.”
And sometimes serendipity happens. A Daniel Pullin meets a Carol Dionne.
“We had a chat, I gave him a brochure, and he will be sending me MBA students, which is fabulous because that should be part of the model in any developing business or, in my case, a core facility,” said Dionne, whose research is funded in part by an OCAST grant program.
“It was a really interesting moment, because I was in the Rainbolt facility for another meeting,” Pullin said. “But I popped over and said ‘hi,’ because there were about 100 people interacting.”
Chocolate, meet peanut butter.
Jim Stafford writes about Oklahoma innovation and research and development topics on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST).