New Business Based on UTEP Chemistry Professor’s Research

A pair of Utah entrepreneurs recently signed an agreement with The University of Texas at El Paso to develop technology created at UTEP for health care applications. 

Scientist Douglas Steel, Ph.D., and businessman Fred Jaeger, owners of Photokinetics, Inc., agreed in December to start clinical trials in El Paso based on patented and patent-pending research done by UTEP’s Carl Dirk, Ph.D., professor of chemistry.

“I am extremely excited about this partnership and pleased that something that I have helped create may be used to help people improve their lives,” Dirk said. He added that he looked forward to assisting the company in its biomedical application of his research.

The company is ready to make prototypes in the region for clinical trials, said Gary Williams, director of UTEP’s Center for Research Entrepreneurship and Innovative Enterprises (CREIE). 

Williams said the general hope is that the new business will succeed and lead to new jobs for local residents and graduates of the University, which owns some equity in the company.

Dirk’s research, which he conducted along with former UTEP student Monica Delgado, Ph.D., has made headlines in the art world the past few years because of their creation of special light filters that preserve paintings that use light-sensitive pigments to include watercolor works by well-known American artist Georgia O’Keeffe.