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Notable Moments in UT’s History of Research

The University of Tennessee is one of the oldest public universities in the country, having its start in 1794. In 220 years, it has had three names and been forced to close twice – once due to financial issues and again during the Civil War.

To celebrate Founder’s Day, the Office of Research & Engagement thought it appropriate to look back at some of the research milestones in our institution’s history.

(The following list is based largely from patents filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.)

1893
Dr. Marion Dorset discovered the cause of hog cholera and developed an antitoxin for it. For his work combatting livestock diseases, he was inducted into the Tennessee Agricultural Hall of Fame.

1935
University of Tennessee Research Corporation (UTRC) founded.

1936
Margaret McDonald discovered a process to remove the onion flavor from milk.

1943
The University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory begin their partnership.

1945
Fritz Rosenthal developed a phenolic molding composite from cottonseed hulls and meal. This research became a boon to the university, putting it in the forefront of cotton research at a time when this was a leading crop in the state.

1958
Researchers begin to explore the effects of outer space on humans.

1968
UT’s research center is one of only fifteen sites testing L-Dopa to control Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

1972
Alfred P. Kraus, Lorraine M. Kraus, and John L. Wood discover that “the sickling of red blood cells in the blood of humans afflicted with sickle cell anemia is inhibited by the treatment of said blood with carbamyl phosphate.”

1984
UT and ORNL expand their partnership to create the Science Alliance – a Tennessee Center for Excellence intended to enhance science and engineering research programs.

Galeb Mamantov files a patent for a rechargeable battery.

1994
Jeffrey M. Becker and Gary Stacey successfully clone a plant peptide transport gene herbicide and pest resistance to plants.

2000
Mitchell S. Steiner and Sharan Raghow file a patent for the invention of a method of chemoprevention of prostate cancer.

2003
UTRC renamed University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF).

2006
Kenneth H. Gilbert, John Douglas Birdwell, Tse-Wei Wang, Dale V. Stransberry develop a method for allele peak fitting and attribute extraction from DNA samples, which is critical in identifying genetic evidence at crime scenes.

To search patents assigned to the University of Tennessee through the years, click here.