Message from University Leadership

U-M startups develop innovative technology while serving the public good

Dear Alumni and Friends,President Santa J. Ono standing headshot with arms crossed

We’ve begun a new academic year at the University of Michigan, full of anticipation and excitement for the future. I had the pleasure of experiencing that future in person earlier this month when I attended Celebrate Invention, an event honoring our university’s inventors and the growing impact of our innovations. The technologies on display were a reminder of the breadth of talent and expertise on our campus, as well as of our mission as a public research university to serve the people of Michigan and the world.

Consider HistoSonics, a healthcare technology startup based on the notion that “minimally invasive isn’t minimal enough.” The startup is developing a non-invasive therapy platform that uses sound waves to break down diseased tissue. The science of histotripsy ­– the term coined for this new technique – was developed by leading ultrasound scientists at U-M.

Then there was TRAILS, or Transforming Research into Action to Improve the Lives of Students, a novel clinical mental-health training program for school professionals. U-M’s Youth Policy Lab will evaluate the TRAILS program’s impact on student mental health and academic outcomes as the program is rolled out in Detroit’s public schools, 56 Michigan intermediate school districts across the state and three Colorado school districts.

The startup iGYM, made up of an interdisciplinary team of U-M designers, engineers, and human-computer interaction researchers, is developing an augmented reality game system that provides an inclusive and accessible play environment for children. The technology allows people with motor disabilities and their non-disabled peers to play and exercise together.

These impressive examples were just a few among so many others. In 2022, U-M ranked among the top 10 universities in the country for utility patents granted, according to the National Academy of Inventors. Our output in high-quality published research placed us fourth in the nation in the Nature Index 2023 rankings – behind only Harvard, Stanford and MIT. U-M ranked 10th in the world in the NTU Rankings, which evaluate research universities’ achievements in scientific research, and ranked fourth in the social sciences field.

The Innovation Partnerships unit, which was established to serve as the primary gateway for researchers seeking to increase the impact of their work through commercialization, recently closed a record-breaking year. In the fiscal year that ended in June, the university saw 580 invention disclosures and 25 new startups launched.

The true value of these efforts goes beyond creating new knowledge or developing new products, important as they are – it’s about opening opportunities, lifting communities, and transforming lives. It’s about honoring our mission, for people of Michigan and the world. And, I cannot wait to share even more as we continue to promote economic development in our region and state. The best is yet to come.


Santa J. Ono
University of Michigan President

View the September 2023 Michigan Impact newsletter


Record number of U-M inventions reported in fiscal year 2023
Research led by U-M generated a record 580 new inventions last year and launched 25 startup companies, positively impacting communities throughout Michigan and beyond.

Leadership Q&A: Advancing diversity, equity & inclusion
U-M Chief Diversity Officer Tabbye Chavous describes how U-M’s DEI efforts are creating long-term, institutional transformation and providing valuable resources for the community.

U-M researchers urge new guiding principles needed for Great Lakes
The policies to reduce threats to the Great Lakes over the past century are ill-equipped to handle today’s complex challenges, according to 12 U-M researchers who say Great Lakes management is at a crossroads.

Program creates entrepreneurial experience for technical students
The Perot Jain TechLab, supported with $2M over two years from venture capital firm Perot Jain, Ford and the MEDC, connects engineering, computer science and data analytics students with startups to explore new technology applications.

U-M delegation meets with U.S. State Department
Students, faculty and staff from U-M attended meetings with members of the State Department through the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation to discuss how the U-M community works together to impact changes in innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development.

West Michigan 4 year old receives rare treatment at Michigan Medicine
Four-year-old Payton Patterson and her family travel from west Michigan to Ann Arbor in their camper van biweekly for Payton to receive a unique treatment for a rare genetic disease called CLN2, a type of Batten disease, which is a childhood neurogenerative condition.

Inspiring future architects
The ArcPrep Program is a collaboration between the U-M Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and Detroit Public Schools Community District, and funded by the Michigan-Mellon Project, that expands opportunities for high school juniors who want to learn about opportunities in the architecture field.

Michigan in the News