Alumni Invention to Help Surgery Patients

Lia Winter (Knoxville ’19) and Preston Dishner (Knoxville ’19) refined their innovative medical device throughout their time in the MS–MBA program, a dual degree offered through the Tickle College of Engineering and the Haslam College of Business. The device, EasyWhip, a patented surgical needle designed to increase the speed and accuracy of whipstitching in orthopedic reconstruction surgeries, received 510(k) premarket clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May. The duo perfected their pitch and entered the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s Vol Court Pitch Competition and the Boyd Venture Challenge, through which they won mentorship, legal advice and a portion of their $150,000 competition-earned capital.

New Composite Bridge in Morgan Country

A short bridge over a creek

A heavily trafficked two-lane bridge in Morgan County, Tennessee, is lightening up with fiber-reinforced polymer composite. Researchers and engineering students in UT Knoxville’s Fibers and Composites Manufacturing Facility embedded smart fiber optic sensors developed by Luna Innovations into the bridge surface during production. The sensors will aid researchers in providing durability data for years to come.

Professor Helps Hurricane Victims Find Closure

A woman wears a helmet and protective gear surrounded by debris near a collapsed house in the aftermath of a hurricane
Jackie Johnson and Crush

Each hurricane season, Jackie Johnson, Tickle College of Engineering professor of mechanical, aerospace and biomedical engineering, and her search dogs, Gizmo and Crush, prepare for the call that will lead them to aid in rescues after catastrophic storms. The trio were called upon in October 2018 to assist the efforts in Mexico Beach, Florida, one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Michael. Both of the dogs that deployed with Johnson are certified by FEMA. Gizmo serves as a live-find disaster dog and Crush as a human remains dog. Johnson is on call every third month to help if the task force is deployed. There are 28 task forces in the U.S., and deployments depend on geography, a national rotation and the rotation within each task force.

New Carousel Theatre to Carry Jenny Boyd’s Name

A group of people stand on a blackened stage
From left, Liz Stowers, UT System President Randy Boyd, Jenny Boyd, UT Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman, Dean Theresa Lee, Calvin Maclean and Bill Miller at the naming of the new Jenny Boyd Carousel Theatre.

UT Knoxville’s Carousel Theatre is set to receive a historic replacement, thanks to a transformational gift from UT System President Randy Boyd and his wife, Jenny Boyd, both 1979 alumni. It will be named after Jenny, who was surprised by her husband with the announcement. The new Jenny Boyd Carousel Theatre will provide state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure and be built in place of the existing theater, which began its legacy during the 1950s.