Larry Sklar, 2011 STC.UNM Innovation Fellow

Larry A. Sklar, Regents' Professor and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Pathology at UNM's School of Medicine, is the 2011 STC.UNM Innovation Fellow. He was honored at the 8th Annual Creative Awards Reception on April 21. 

The reception recognizes UNM inventors who have received patents and copyrights for the year.  In addition to being honored as an Innovation Fellow, he also received three issued patents this year.  The Innovation Fellow is a special award given to a top UNM innovator whose body of technologies has made a significant social and economic impact on society and the marketplace.

The keynote speaker at the Creative Awards, Eugene R. Quinn, Jr. is a U.S. patent attorney and the founder of where he wrote about his visit to the University of New Mexico.

Sklar has disclosed 50 technologies and has received 19 patents and copyrights for inventions in the areas of signal transduction, cell adhesion, leukocyte biology and high throughput technologies for molecular assembly and drug discovery. These interests have led to a total of more than 300 publications. His interest in flow cytometry as a tool for drug discovery led to the development of high-throughput flow cytometry technologies and their applications to drug discovery for a number of diseases.

The technologies formed the basis of STC start-up Intellicyt Corporation, a company that has developed the Sklar's and co-inventor Bruce Edwards's HyperCyt® System sample handling technology that allows flow cytometers to screen samples faster and with greater accuracy and cost efficiency than conventional approaches. 

Using this proprietary autosampler and data-analysis software with standard cytometers, researchers can perform larger experiments with more samples (96- or 384-well microplates) and more replicates; screen compound libraries against cells in suspension, and quickly visualize patterns and make decisions on microplate data as it is being analyzed.  The company is selling its products to pharmaceutical companies biotechnology companies and research institutes around the world.

At the University of New Mexico Center for Molecular Discovery these technologies are used in support of discovery by investigators in conjunction with the NIH Molecular Libraries Initiative, the Cancer Center, and the Clinical and Translational Science Center. As PI and Director of the UNM Center for Molecular Discovery for the NIH Roadmap Molecular Libraries Initiative, Sklar has made an effort to create an environment that supports collaboration and innovation by including faculty, staff, and student colleagues in the development and application of technology for small molecule discovery.

Since 1998, this team of researchers has generated more than $40 million in funding in support of technology development in New Mexico and small molecule discovery collaborations world-wide. The funding will also support building renovation at UNM to allow colocalization of small molecule discovery technologies in 13,000 square feet of contiguous space. These activities have been recently recognized by the New Mexico Technology Council Award for Technology Excellence in 2009 and Sklar's election as Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers in 2011.

For a related story visit: STC.UNM Hosts Creative Awards to Celebrate Researchers and Patent Holders

Story by Denise Bissell