The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


19 for 2019:
Carolina innovations, ingenuity and impact

Reflecting on 2019, we can’t help but feel inspired by the many ways Carolina innovators moved the world forward. It’s impossible to count the many paths faculty, students and alumni traveled over the past 12 months toward human, economic and social progress. Some of their ideas moved on fast tracks. Others unfolded methodically. While others veered from original plans and landed somewhere unexpected. Regardless of their pace, direction or ultimate outcome, the journeys of Carolina innovators all point us toward the same destination – a future where ideas shape our workplaces, communities and lives into something better than today.
Here are 19 Carolina stories from 2019 that caught our attention, captured our imaginations and heightened our anticipation of the year ahead.

Personal drug delivery in 3D

On a mission for innovation and translational science, biomedical engineering professor Rahima Benhabbour is using 3D-printing technology and her startup company AnelleO to create a breakthrough in women’s health.

Clean water for all

Applied physical sciences professor Theo Dingemans and the Sustainable Access to Clean Water Creativity Hub are changing the way water is made safe for populations around the world.

Turning the tables on unhealthy products

UNC public health venture Counter Tools gives communities and policy makers insights to reduce the impact of tobacco and other harmful products.

Entrepreneurial minds over matter

Through the support of alumnus and donor Johnathan Robertson, the Dreamers-Who-Do program helps students reach their innovative potential and launch ideas for social impact.

Reinventing transitional care

Nursing professor Mark Toles discovers his knack for entrepreneurship through his passion for transitional care.

Carolina's innovation cornerstone

Operated by Innovate Carolina, the 1789 hub on Franklin Street is working to develop talent for the workforce of the future by providing a collaborative setting to help Tar Heels hone skills to be entrepreneurs and innovators.

Transforming garbage into fashion

Carolina senior Ana Soule and her team at the Phoenyx Project are giving new life to vinyl billboards that would otherwise end up in the dump.

Reducing food waste in India

Carolina junior Varun Jain is balancing his computer science schoolwork and college life while also running his own company, which is working to improve food distribution networks in India.

A Carolina blue spacecraft

Assistant professor Andrew Mann is building small satellites in campus makerspaces to discover young planets that could one day sustain life.

Combating concussions

There are a thousand ways service members can receive mild traumatic brain injuries, but basic concussion testing protocols haven’t always accounted for the intense activities required of this population. Carolina researchers have worked to change that.

Climate game changers

For thousands of years, the northern Andes Mountains have acted as a carbon sink, preserving organic matter as thick soil. As the planet warms, what will happen to all that carbon? This past summer, Carolina undergraduates traveled to Ecuador to take a closer look.

Bigger than the bottom line

Students in UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School's Entrepreneurship and Business Planning course launched small businesses to help a 7-year-old boy battling brain cancer take a trip to Disney World through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Keeping patients moving

Two Carolina faculty members have created an augmented reality video game designed for pediatric hospital patients called Adventure Squad with the goal of keeping the young patients active during their treatment.

UNC: No. 6 most innovative university

Reuters' annual list identifies and ranks educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies and power new markets and industries.

Of minds and makers

The first annual Carolina Challenge Makeathon convened innovators and makers to turn socially innovative ideas into something tangible.

Sweat equity

The co-founders of Carpe, a UNC-affiliated company that received an investment from the Carolina Angel Network, are on a quest to make stressful situations less sweaty.

Let the ideas flow

The TEDxUNC Conference brought together 12 presenters to explore how past experiences shape our present and future.

Solar that sells

Applied physical sciences professor Jinsong Huang is working to change the renewable power industry with his perovskite solar cell method that will make solar energy more affordable.

Rising to the entrepreneurial challenge

UNC-Chapel Hill students bring bold ideas to the Carolina Challenge Pitch Party, which jumpstarts student entrepreneurs and helps fuel an upswing in new business creation locally and nationally.

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