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Entrepreneur of the Year

2019 Award Winner

Robert K. Ernst, PhD
School of Dentistry
Professor and vice chair, Department of Microbial Pathogenesis

“Pathogens, Patents, and Pataigin: Delivering Diagnostic Development"

Robert K. Ernst, PhD, says his laboratory at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) follows the National Institutes of Health’s “bench to bedside” mantra, a phrase used to describe the mission to take the findings of research and develop them into new ways to treat patients.

Ernst, professor and vice chair in UMSOD’s Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, uses this approach to understand the interplay between a bacterial pathogen and the host defense mechanisms. He is clearly getting results in this area and others, earning major research contracts/grants, developing a diagnostic test to more rapidly identify bacteria- and fungi-caused infections, and co-founding a company, Pataigin, aimed at developing a method to quickly and accurately identify disease-producing agents, or pathogens.

Read the full story from University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Previous Awardees


Steven I. Hanish, MD, FACS
Thomas M. Scalea, MD, FACS, MCCM
Deborah M. Stein, MD, MPH, FACS FCCM

School of Medicine
R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center
University of Maryland Medical Center
Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System
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Bartley P. Griffith, MD

School of Medicine
Thomas E. and Alice Marie Hales Distinguished Professor in Transplant Surgery
Founder, Breethe, Inc.
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William Regine, MD, FACR, FACRO

School of Medicine
Executive Director, Maryland Proton Treatment Center
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Christopher Meenan

School of Medicine
Research Associate, Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine
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James Gammie, MD

School of Medicine
Professor and Chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery


Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD

School of Pharmacy
Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science
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William A Blattner, MD and Robert R Redfield, MD

School of Medicine
Institute of Human Virology


Scott E. Strome, MD, FACS

School of Medicine
Chair, Otorhinolaryngology


Cedric Yu, DSc

School of Medicine
Clinical Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology


Myron Levine, MD, DTPH

School of Medicine
Director, Center for Vaccine Development


Marc Simard, MD, PhD

School of Medicine
Professor, Departments of Neurosurgery, Pathology, Physiology


Gary Hack, DDS

School of Dentistry
Associate Professor, Department of Endodontics, Prosthodontics & Operative Dentistry

Leonard Litkowski, DDS, MS

School of Dentistry


Alessio Fasano, MD

School of Medicine
Director, Center for Celiac Research and Director, Mucosal Biology Research Center