Black Bear alumni, faculty, staff, and students are among Maine’s most productive innovators and entrepreneurs. This month’s edition of our “Innovators of UMaine” series showcases Neuright, a Maine-based biotech company co-founded by Kristy Townsend ‘02 Ph.D. (above right), and Magdalena Blaszkiewicz ‘19G, Ph.D. (center). The company is developing a medical device that will aid in the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy, specifically the small-fiber neuropathy that can manifest through sensations such as pins-and-needles, numbness, and tingling. Peripheral neuropathy is common in patients with diabetes and those who are undergoing chemotherapy treatments, but the condition also occurs without obvious cause, and is stubbornly difficult to diagnose, Townsend and Blaszkiewicz say. The pair, working with collaborators at UMaine including Rosemary Smith, professor of electrical and chemical engineering (above left); Leonard Kass, associate professor of biological sciences; Nuri Emanetoglu, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Ali Abedi,  professor of electrical and computer engineering, have developed a microneedle electrode array that’s designed to record nerve activity. The goal is to create a functional diagnostic tool for aging and diabetes-related small fiber neuropathy. Read more