Wayne McDaniel’s Legacy at MU
Mizzou lost one of its own Jan. 10 when longtime employee Wayne McDaniel, 64, died during a student biodiversity and conservation trip to Thailand sponsored by the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. McDaniel was associate director of the Technology Advancement Office (TAO) and an adjunct faculty member for the College of Engineering. He also mentored numerous students and staff members while at MU.
TAO is part of MU's Office of Research and Economic Development. Professionals in the office partner with faculty, companies, entrepreneurs and investors to bring MU innovations to market. McDaniel, who joined TAO in 2001, specialized in helping inventors from engineering and the physical sciences leverage the commercial potential of their research. He also worked with School of Medicine faculty during his tenure in TAO.
“Wayne lived life to the fullest; he had many interests and pursued them all with passion,” said Lisa Lorenzen, assistant vice chancellor for technology management. “At work, his accomplishments included transferring technologies to the marketplace and assisting faculty startups become successful businesses. But he would say his greatest accomplishment was mentoring and training office personnel. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.”
In addition, McDaniel performed research in cardiac electrical stimulation for more than 30 years and studied Tasers and other Electronic Control Devices before they were released to the public. He was an investigator on more than $1 million in research funding and is an inventor on U.S. Patent 6,738,664 (atrial and ventricular defibrillation apparatus) and U.S. Patent 9,173,693 (sternal closure apparatus).
“I worked with Wayne for the last 15 years,” said Hongbin (Bill) Ma, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and president and cofounder of ThermAvant Technologies. “He did an excellent job helping faculty like myself protect and transform technologies into commercial products. He had many connections that significantly helped ThermAvant’s growth.”
McDaniel worked with Ma and others to set the foundation for ThermAvant, a startup company that uses Ma’s heat transfer innovations in satellites, density radars and other Department of Defense platforms and in consumer products like the Burnout temperature-regulating travel mug.
Examples of other faculty companies that benefitted from McDaniel’s expertise include OBERD, the world’s largest orthopedic outcomes database; ImpeDx Diagnotics, rapid bacteria detection; Tiger Enzyme Solutions for manufacturing processes; NanoElectromagnetics high voltage components; and Equinosis for veterinarians measuring lameness in horses.
McDaniel excelled as a mentor of students and employees new to tech transfer. He recruited Brett Maland, now a senior licensing and business development associate at TAO, after the two became friends during morning basketball games.
“Wayne had a reasonable and practical approach to problem solving,” Maland said. “He was also a really great person who cared about those around him. He did everything he could to set me up for success in this career. His sense of humor and insightful wisdom will be missed by me and countless others.”
McDaniel earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree and doctorate in electrical engineering with a biomedical focus — all from Mizzou. He is survived by his wife, three children and a granddaughter.
Last Updated: January 27, 2020