Jenny Barker and Caroline Karbowski named 2021 Next Generation Innovators of the Year

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As Ohio State continues to expand its role in the commercialization of research, it is important to create an environment that facilitates and rewards research creativity and entrepreneurship. To support and stimulate entrepreneurial activity among Ohio State researchers, three university-wide innovator awards are presented as part of the Research and Innovation Showcase hosted by the Office of Research and Corporate Engagement Office. Join us in congratulating the 2021 Next Generation Innovators of the Year.


image of Jenny BarkerJenny Barker

Watch a video explaining Jenny’s work and discovery.

Jenny Barker is a graduate of MIT and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Scientist Training Program. She is presently pursuing clinical training in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Ohio State University and postdoctoral research in tissue engineering in the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  Barker’s long-term research goals center around the development of technologies at the bench that will ultimately benefit plastic and reconstructive surgery patients in the operating room, particularly by modulating the interface between host and biomaterials to improve patient outcomes. For her postdoctoral work, Barker is a prior recipient of the Ohio State University President’s Postdoctoral Scholar award, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital 2020 Postdoc of the Year award, and NIH T32AI106704 and NIH F32HL144120 training awards.


image of Caroline KarbowskiCaroline Karbowski

Watch a video explaining Caroline’s work and discovery.

Caroline Karbowski is a third year undergraduate student pursuing a BS in biology and minors in chemistry and American Sign Language. Karbowski’s career goal is to make science accessible for people with disabilities. After receiving a fourth award in Plant Sciences at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, she realized more needed to be done to make science accessible for people with disabilities. She created See3D, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which has organized the printing and distribution of over 1,400 3D printed models for people who are blind. She has given a TEDx talk, published in the Journal of Science Education for Students with Disabilities, been featured in numerous podcasts, radio shows, and conferences, and is training to be a Literary Braille Transcriber. Karbowski is the President of The Deaf-Hearing Club at Ohio State and is a member of DanceSport and Women’s Glee Club.


The Next Generation Innovator of the Year award is open to postdocs along with undergraduate and graduate students. The award recognizes innovation and entrepreneurship that has contributed to the development or commercialization of a new technology. It may also recognize a trainee-initiated start-up company whose success is a result of entrepreneurial talent, creativity and energy.