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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.)

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.

University of Tennessee Research Corporation (UTRC) founded.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.”

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.

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

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

UTRC renamed University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF).

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.