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Gathered in an auditorium, 25 seventh-grade students are shown a series of X-rays, CT scans and MRIs of injuries and charged with the task of identifying the abnormality in the scan.

The students’ engagement intensifies as Clifford Howard, MD, an interventional radiologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, follows up each diagnostic image with a photo of the actual injury. Howard explains that his presentation has a “Where’s Waldo effect,’’ and is quite successful at engaging audiences.

This particular audience is a group of middle-school students participating in the 2014 SciTech Summer Technology Institute. The two-week summer program gets students excited about careers in the STEM fields—Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—through exposure to unique and hands-on learning experiences. SciTech is a collaboration between Winston-Salem State University, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

This summer about 140 sixth- through ninth-grade students, most from the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system, participated in SciTech. This is the eighth year the enrichment program has been offered.

“We offer a wide variety of STEM experiences,” said Denise Johnson, EdD, the Winston Salem State professor who directs the SciTech program. “[Students] have an opportunity to see how STEM works in so many careers. No matter what their aspirations are, they can really leave with an appreciation for learning advanced math and science.’’

Howard takes a forensic approach to his instruction, and the students pepper him with questions. Interpersonal connection is one of the main objectives of SciTech.

For Kiran Solingapuram, PhD, also a radiologist at Wake Forest Baptist, the focus is on diagnostic and therapeutic uses of radiology as he shows students how a MRI-PET scan works. Solingapuram decided to enter the field of medicine after the death of a close family member due to cancer.

“Finding a cure was my reason for getting into this field. I’m happy to see if I can motivate students to pursue a career in the field of medical research to bring about change.’’

Howard and Solingapuram are only two examples of the many STEM professionals the students interact with over the two weeks, but their stories and approaches are all targeted at the same goal, as stated by Howard:

“I hope that it [SciTech] sparks an interest in medicine in these young students or at the least furthering their education.’’

Learn more about the SciTech Summer Technology Institute.

Robot Run Group 2 2013

Any event bringing together teams in competition involving LEGOs® and robots is bound to bring smiles.

You just don’t often think of adults being the ones in a LEGO competition.

That’s exactly what will happen on Friday, June 27 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the atrium of Wake Forest Biotech Place at the 2014 Robot Fun Run Community Challenge, a role-reversed world where middle-school aged students provide the teaching expertise to adults.

The event will feature up to a dozen teams of adults, coached by Winston-Salem/Forsyth County middle school students, competing for a chance at LEGO glory.

The competition requires teams to program a LEGO robot, in just a few hours, to do tasks such as picking up objects or crossing a LEGO bridge. The more tasks completed in the 2 ½ minute competition period, the more points a team accumulates, with the winners receiving their own LEGO trophy.

“You see the surprise on adults’ faces and joy when they get engaged. To me, that’s what is great about the Robot Fun Run,’’ says Eric Tomlinson, president of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and chief innovation officer for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “It is an enormously creative event, requiring a high degree of teamwork and engagement.’’

Tie-in With County Event in Fall

The Robot Fun Run is co-sponsored by Cook Medical, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and has ties to the Forsyth County Robot Run in the fall. The fall event features teams from 17 middle schools in the local system against each other in building and programming LEGO MINDSTORMS® robots to compete.

The aim of the Robot Fun Run is to increase awareness of the yearly Winston-Salem robotics program which is designed to get middle-school aged students excited about STEM related employment and life skills.

“And if those businesses decide to bring their participation and volunteerism to the Forsyth County Robot Run after participating in the Robot Fun Run, we consider it a great success,” says Lindsey Yarborough, manager of public activities for Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. “It’s such a fun way for our community to come together and show support of local STEM programs in the hub of innovation, the Innovation Quarter”

The inaugural Robot Fun Run crown was captured last year by Small Footprint, a software development services company based in Winston-Salem, with the Wake Forest School of Medicine, Biomedical Engineering and Sciences team finishing a close second.

Yarborough says it was an intense event, with the top teams especially competitive. Both of those teams are coming back for this year’s event, as are many of the other competitors. Once again, each of the adult teams will be assigned a student mentor with experience from successful teams in the Forsyth County Robot Run.

Up to 10 teams are expected for the event, which is open to the public.

“The majority of the competitors had no idea what they were getting into last year,’’ Yarborough says. “It’s fun to watch the roles being flipped and the student becoming the teacher.’’

Promoting STEM to Children

The broad goal of the Robot Fun Run is to show students how creative and innovative careers can be in the STEM fields.

“The particular age, middle school, is an impressionable time period to really get kids excited about science, technology, engineering and math,’’ Yarborough says.

With Innovation Quarter attracting new businesses in the biotechnology, information technology and materials sciences, Tomlinson says programs such as the Robot Fun Run hold promise for retaining bright minds.

“One of the goals is to set students on a path toward training that could lead to a job here or even create a company one day,’’ Tomlinson says. “It’s all part of that continuum of engaging the community and promoting creativity that is so important.”

525@vine is officially open.

The 234,000-square foot mixed-use laboratory and office building is the latest addition to Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, the burgeoning urban-based research park in downtown Winston-Salem.
The former tobacco factory was redeveloped and renovated into a world-class research facility by its new owner, Wexford Science & Technology, a BioMed Realty company, at a cost of approximately $75 million.

“Wexford focuses on partnering with universities and creating hubs of innovation, and we are proud to include 525@vine as an example of this strategy. We are confident that this project will be a driver of new research and a boost to the Winston-Salem economy,” said Dan Cramer, Wexford’s senior vice president of development. “525@vine is not only the latest in a series of wonderful new facilities here in the Innovation Quarter, it’s amongst the best.”

At its official opening today, 525@vine is 74 percent leased. Current tenants include; Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Division of Public Health Sciences and Department of Physician Assistant Studies, the Innovation Quarter YMCA of Northwest North Carolina and Flywheel, a co-working innovation space. They soon will be joined by Forsyth Tech at Innovation Quarter and the headquarters of Clinical Ink, a provider of electronic data-capturing technology for clinical research.

“In addition to being a sterling example of the wonderful things that can be done with old buildings, 525@vine has a tenant roll call that represents the larger community being created here in the Innovation Quarter,” said Eric Tomlinson, Wake Forest Baptist’s chief innovation officer and president of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. “We fully anticipate that the spirit and energy these enterprises possess will create new sparks that lead to fascinating collaborations.”

For Wake Forest Baptist, the relocation of two of its nationally recognized components is a significant step to accomplishing this goal.

“Having Public Health Sciences and Physician Assistant Studies in this new facility downtown is a major part of our overall strategy to create synergies between our world-class research and education programs and our commitment to public-private partnerships to advance the economic development of the region,” said John D. McConnell, M.D., the Medical’s Center CEO.

The 525@vine building was constructed in 1926 by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and used as a blending and processing plant. In restoring and renovating the building, Wexford employed both state and federal tax credits that are available to qualified developers of income-producing spaces in historic industrial structures.

Wexford has invested approximately $250 million in three Innovation Quarter projects – Wake Forest Biotech Place, Inmar’s Team Support Center & Headquarters and 525@vine.

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The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County is partnering with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Wexford Science & Technology, a BioMed Realty company, to bring a family-friendly food and entertainment event to Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. The free event, “b/eats on the street,” will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, in the parking lot at the corner of North Patterson Avenue and Fifth Street in downtown Winston-Salem.

Co-sponsors of the event are Art Nouveau of Winston-Salem, a group of art enthusiasts under age 40, and the local chapter of Arts for Life, an organization that provides educational art programs to people with serious illnesses and disabilities.

“b/eats on the street” will feature live musical performances, local food vendors, a family art and activity zone, face painting and “Chalk for Life,” a sidewalk art contest put on by Arts for Life to raise money for critically ill children at Wake Forest Baptist’s Brenner Children’s Hospital.

“Downtown Winston-Salem is developing several complementary districts including the Theatre District, Restaurant Row, the Arts District and the Innovation Quarter. We are just beginning to understand the potential of these areas and to take advantage of opportunities for public events in each of them,” said Jim Sparrow, president and CEO of The Arts Council. “The vibrancy that we have seen in the city center is moving east with the development – both commercial and residential – that is under way in the Innovation Quarter.

“We are particularly glad that Arts for Life is involved in this event,” Sparrow added. “They do great work in using the arts to promote wellness and healing that is both inspirational and pace-setting.”

Additional local nonprofit organizations – including the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Old Salem Museums and Gardens, Winston-Salem Symphony, Sawtooth School for Visual Art and Authoring Action – will provide the children’s activities at the event and offer information about summer arts programs and camps for young people.

Winston-Salem’s robust arts community accounts in large part for the recognition the area continues to receive as a great place to live.

“Winston-Salem is known as the City of Arts & Innovation,” said John D. McConnell, M.D., chief executive officer at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “Through this partnership, we look forward to generating awareness of the arts in Innovation Quarter.”

The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, the first locally established arts council in the United States, enriches the lives of area residents every day. It raises funds and advocates for the arts, sponsors events in conjunction with other arts organizations, promotes and funds arts education, creates cultural opportunities, develops social capital and aids economic development. In 2013, The Arts Council made Organizational Support Grants to 19 Funded Partners totaling $1,675,000, and other grants brought the total awarded to $1,905,000.

Clinical Ink, a provider of data-capturing technology for clinical research, will move its headquarters to Wake Forest Innovation Quarter this summer.

Clinical Link has signed a lease for 7,676 square feet of space on the first floor of the 525@Vine building, a former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco facility that has been renovated and revitalized by its owner, Wexford Science & Technology, a BioMed Realty company.

Clinical Ink expects to complete the move from its current offices on North Cherry Street in downtown Winston-Salem in July. Between 25 and 30 employees will be based at the Innovation Quarter site.

“The Innovation Quarter is an ideal location for us,” said Doug Pierce, Clinical Ink’s president and co-founder. “We’re looking forward to being surrounded by like-minded, innovative companies in the area that’s helping to transform Winston-Salem.”

Clinical Ink’s lead product is SureSource, a proprietary electronic platform that provides users with a paperless system for the fast and accurate recording of data, comments, explanations and other information required in clinical trials. The company, founded in Winston-Salem in 2007, also has an office in Horsham, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Clinical Ink to 525@Vine,” said Eric Tomlinson, D.Sc., Ph.D., president of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. “Its pioneering work at the crossroads of information technology and clinical research fits perfectly into the community of discovery and development that’s evolving here.”

By the end of 2014, Clinical Ink will be sharing 525@Vine with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Division of Public Health Sciences and Physician Assistant Program, Forsyth Technical Community College’s Center for Emerging Technologies, the Innovation Quarter branch of the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina and Flywheel, a co-working innovations space.


A co-working innovation space is coming to Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

Flywheel, a new venture formed by three locally owned companies, has signed a lease with Wexford Science & Technology to occupy approximately 11,585 square feet in the 525@Vine building in the Innovation Quarter.

Flywheel will offer independent professionals, entrepreneurs and innovators flexible short- and long-term memberships that will give them access to a casual, contemporary environment featuring open and enclosed work spaces, conference rooms, support services and other amenities. Scheduled to launch in June, Flywheel will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Co-working is a national trend that’s taking hold, especially in urban markets,” said Peter Marsh, vice president of Workplace Strategies Inc., a Flywheel partner firm along with Storr Office Environments Inc. and Wildfire, LLC. “We are excited to bring this concept to life in Winston-Salem. We are creating a knowledge-sharing environment driven by innovation, not just a place for people to work.”

By the end of this year, Flywheel will be sharing 525@Vine with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Division of Public Health Sciences and Physician Assistant Program, Forsyth Technical Community College’s Center for Emerging Technologies and an express branch of the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina. The building, a former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. facility, has been renovated and revitalized by its owner, Wexford Science & Technology, a BioMed Realty company.

“Flywheel represents an ideal addition to the Innovation Quarter,” said Eric Tomlinson, president of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. “It’s an imaginative concept, and I’m confident that its members will enjoy both the space and interacting with the wide range of people who work, learn, live and play here.”


Winston-Salem-based Inmar today hosted a Grand Opening celebration at its new Team Support Center and Headquarters in downtown Winston-Salem. During the celebration, which included an appearance by the Winston-Salem State University band, Inmar Chairman and CEO David Mounts and leaders from the Innovation Quarter announced a collaborative effort with neighboring Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Division of Public Health Sciences (PHS). The effort stands to deliver exactly the type of innovation those who established the Innovation Quarter foresaw more than 20 years ago. PHS, which identifies strategies to enhance public health and prevent disease, will move into the Innovation Quarter next month.

In January and February, Inmar relocated approximately 900 associates to renovated RJR Tobacco Company buildings formerly known as 90-1 and 90-3. The buildings were transformed to a LEED-certified Platinum facility that accommodates Inmar’s technology-centered product and service offerings and its highly skilled technologists, data scientists and retail experts.

David Mounts shared that the “Innovation Quarter and Winston-Salem are the perfect setting for Inmar and we are committed to collaborating with our neighboring companies to create a knowledge-based economy right here in our town.” He added that, “We have the opportunity not only to grow businesses, but also to deliver innovation through technology that improves the lives of people in our community and across the globe. This collaborative environment is already bearing fruit after just a few weeks and we could not be more pleased.”

Eric Tomlinson DSc, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and President, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, shared that the first meeting between Inmar and PHS generated an idea that could deliver more efficient mechanisms for clinical trial recruitment. The result has the potential to reduce significantly the time-to-market for life-changing treatments for patients and generate revenue for the businesses involved.

“Tenants of the Innovation Quarter such as Inmar and the Division of Public Health Sciences are collaborating to accelerate innovation and bring valuable, sought-after products and services to market faster and more effectively,” Tomlinson said.

“The Division of Public Health Sciences and Inmar collaboration is focused on efficiently improving the recruitment of patients into clinical trials,” said Gregory L. Burke, MD, MSc, Professor and Chair, Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine. “Importantly, these improvements would speed up the time needed to complete clinical trials and hence would allow for promising new treatments to move more rapidly into clinical practice.”

During the Grand Opening Ceremony, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines; Gayle Anderson,President and CEO, Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce; and John D. McConnell, MD, CEO, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, also spoke to the significance of Inmar and the Innovation Quarter for the area. Dr. McConnell commented that the vision that began more than 20 years ago is becoming a reality.

Inmar also hosted the Winston-Salem State University band at the Grand Opening. The band led Inmar associates and special guests along a route through the Innovation Quarter. Children from an area school and those from neighboring businesses also enjoyed the music and elaborate balloons.

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The City of Arts & Innovation will soon have a new urban park, giving the community a new place to play, Bailey Park at East End.

Located on the corner of Fourth Street and Patterson Avenue in downtown Winston-Salem, construction on the park will start the week of March 17. The park is expected to open in the early fall of this year.

The new 1.6-acre park, which will be available for the public, will add to the creative work and play spaces that are part of the essence of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. Plans for the community-based park include movie nights and other cultural and music events.

Three local companies, Stimmel Associates, P.A. STITCH Design + Development and LMI Builders, will work together to create a harmonious setting for the park that is designed to encourage community interaction.

Building materials will reference the history of the area, while their application and detailing will look to the future. Against the backdrop of a former industrial complex, Bailey Park solidifies the Innovation Quarter as just one more reason to come to work, live, learn and play.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Dec. 10, 2013 – Two of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s preeminent School of Medicine programs will move to Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in the spring of next year.

The Medical Center today announced that its nationally recognized Division of Public Health Sciences (PHS) and its nationally rated Physician Assistant (PA) program will relocate approximately 450 staff, faculty and students to state-of-the-art education and high-tech research space in the newly developed 525@Vine building, located across Vine Street from Wake Forest Biotech Place. The move is expected to begin in March 2014.

“The move of Public Health Sciences and the Department of PA Studies to our downtown campus is part of our overall strategy to create synergies between our world-class research and education programs embodied in the School of Medicine and our commitment to public-private partnerships to advance the economic development of the region,” said John D. McConnell, M.D., chief executive officer, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

“Our PHS researchers are involved in meaningful studies to improve specific aspects of public health; its faculty and staff are dedicated to determining the cause of chronic diseases and ways to prevent them. In addition, our scientists, biostatisticians, logistics personnel and project managers – nationally known for coordinating multi-center clinical trials across the United States – are right here in Winston-Salem,” said Edward Abraham, M.D., dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine. “Our nationally recognized PA program is preparing the next generation of physician assistants for positions that are key to providing quality health care to wider populations than ever before. These are just some of the strengths that our School of Medicine programs bring to companies and institutions that locate here.”

Gregory L. Burke, M.D., director, Public Health Sciences added, “We’re excited to seek synergistic relationships with our new neighbors, including Inmar, the Emerging Technologies Center of Forsyth Tech and the numerous startup companies located in and around the Innovation Quarter,” he said.

The Division of Public Health Sciences received more than $74 million in fiscal year 2013 in external research funding. Historically, the division has been ranked among the top two of similar groups nationally in National Institutes of Health funding. More than 260 of the division’s staff, faculty and students currently based in the Wells Fargo Building in downtown Winston-Salem will relocate to the third, fourth and fifth floors of 525@Vine.

Wake Forest Baptist’s Physician Assistant Studies program, which is rated by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s top physician assistant programs, will move 24 faculty and staff and its 128 students from its present location at Victoria Hall to the fifth floor of 525@Vine.

“This new space will allow us to scale up our program, support new curriculum advancements as well as create a high-tech home base for community-based interventions throughout the region,” said Reamer Bushardt, Pharm.D., P.A.-C, chair, Department of Physician Assistant Studies.

In September, Wake Forest’s physician assistant program was approved by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant to expand its program with a new distant campus at Appalachian State University beginning in July 2014. This initiative, which is partially funded by a three-year, $375,000 grant from The Duke Endowment, seeks to help address the need for physician assistants in underserved communities.

Graduates of the PA program complete a 24-month course of study and are awarded the Master of Medical Science (MMS) degree. One class of 64 students is enrolled on the Winston-Salem campus in early June each year. Beginning in June 2014, one additional class of 24 students will be enrolled each year on the Boone, N.C. campus.

Combined, the PHS and PA programs will occupy 120,000 square feet of space in the newly developed 525@Vine building, bringing new synergy to Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and an expanded workforce to downtown Winston-Salem.

“The addition of the Public Health Sciences and Physician Assistant programs to the Innovation Quarter will be a huge boost to this expanding downtown area,” said Eric Tomlinson, D.Sc., Ph.D., chief innovation officer, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and president, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. “Together with the impending move of more than 800 Inmar employees beginning in February 2014, the opening in late 2014 of Forsyth Technical Community College’s Emerging Technologies Center, which is expected to train more than 1,200 students annually, and the opening by the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina of a new express branch, the Innovation Quarter continues to be one of the fastest growing urban-based research parks in the United States. We fully anticipate that the energy these students, staff and faculty will bring to the area will create new sparks for growth and lead to fascinating collaborations.”

Wexford Science & Technology, a BioMed Realty company, is currently renovating this former “90 series” R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company building using private investment and the application of federal and state tax credits. When the renovations are completed in late 2014, Wexford’s investment in the Innovation Quarter and Winston-Salem will total more than $250 million.

Media Relations Contacts:
Mac Ingraham:, 336-716-3487
Shannon Putnam:, 336-713-8261

Scott Betz has been appointed as the Interim Director of the Center for Design Innovation (CDI). He is also Co-chair of the committee conducting the search for CDI’s new permanent director, the vacancy of which was created by the former director’s career move to another state.

Learn more about Betz and the Center for Design Innovation.