How do you help a laboratory thrive? Professor Robin Felder knows.

Felder, director of UVA's Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology program, was honored in April as the Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year. The author of more than 120 peer-reviewed publications, he has founded nine companies and seen his name placed on 12 approved patents. He has an additional seven U.S. and international patents pending.

His work simplifies—and improves—the processes of scientific study and examination.

Robin Felder in his laboratory Dan Addison
His Home Guardian project, later renamed WellAWARE, refined health monitors and helped move them from hospital settings to the homes of elderly men and women. His Global Cell Solutions group worked with Hamilton Company on the BioLevitator, a "3-D cell culture solution" that simplifies the cell incubation process for scientists working on a molecular level—technology that advances regenerative medicine, drug discovery, cancer research and other efforts.

While Felder works at UVA, his best innovations thrive and grow well beyond the bounds of his own laboratory. "[W]e have a translational component of our research that has resulted in eight 'spin-out' companies, which have provided private-sector opportunities for students post-graduation," he writes.

A self-described "serial entrepreneur," Felder offers these words of wisdom: "Don't try to do it all by yourself. Get good advice, and don't be afraid to fail fast and then rebound with an even better opportunity."