Gov. Steve Beshear was on UofL’s Belknap Campus March 19 to award the matching grants to 17 Kentucky companies, including Advanced Genomic Technologies (AGT) LLC, Regenerex and NaugaNeedles LLC, all based in Louisville.

AGT’s founder and CEO is Eugenia Wang, the director of UofL’s Gheens Center on Aging. Suzanne Ildstad, founder and chief scientific officer of Regenerex, is director of UofL’s Institute for Cellular Therapeutics. The CEO of NaugaNeedles is Mehdi Yazdanpanah, who holds a PhD from UofL.

All three companies already have received a federal Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer grant. Kentucky’s program matches all or part of the federal dollars with state money. The program also awards grants to out-of-state high tech companies as a way of luring them to Kentucky.

UofL President James Ramsey called the three UofL-related companies “prime examples of the outstanding research our faculty and graduates are doing. They’re key components in UofL’s mandate of becoming a premier, nationally recognized metropolitan research institution.”

Regenerex is working on a way to let kidney transplant patients avoid anti-rejection medications, while NaugaNeedles is developing specialized probes to use in scanning probe microscopy, a technique that forms an image of a specimen by mechanically moving a probe across its surface.

“Without Kentucky’s matching grant (AGT) couldn’t pursue therapeutic research for Alzheimer’s disease,” Wang said.

The companies are “working on amazing new technologies that will improve the lives of people around the world as well as create jobs in Kentucky,” Beshear said at the news conference announcing the awards.

The news conference announcing the grants took place in the auditorium of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering’s Ernst Hall. After the announcement, Beshear and other attendees toured the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research.

Mark Hebert
Following a 28-year career as a radio and television reporter, Mark Hebert joined the University of Louisville as the Director of Media Relations in 2009, serving as the main spokesperson. In 2015, Mark was named Director of Programming and Production. He’s now producing and hosting a radio show about “all things UofL”, overseeing the university’s video and TV productions and promoting UofL’s research operation. Mark is best known for his 22 years as the political and investigative reporter for WHAS-TV in Louisville where he won numerous awards for breaking stories, exposing corruption and objectively covering Kentucky politics. In 2014, Mark was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.