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Qun Huo has been named one of sixteen finalists for the 2012 Cade Museum Prize. Open to all Florida residents, the Cade Museum Prize is designed to encourage innovation and invention by providing an incentive for early-stage companies to move ideas and products closer to marketplace viability.

Huo’s entry is titled “Nanoparticle-Enabled Bioanalytical Technology.” She is the founder and president of Nano Discovery as well an associate professor at UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center. Her company develops new technology and products for biomedical research and diagnosis using gold nanotechnology.

This year’s finalists include an entry from Melbourne that enables MRI-guided drug delivery for brain tumors; a pacifier-activated music system from St. Johns that that encourages pre-term infants to feed; “digital patient” software from Gainesville that simulates a physical examination for nurses and medical students; and filtration devices from Pensacola that quickly detect waterborne pathogens. The 16 remaining entries were drawn from 120 entries submitted from across Florida.

In the next round, now underway, the 16 finalists will submit a business plan to a new panel of judges who will choose the final four. These four finalists will each make a live pitch to a new panel of judges, and the winner will be announced at a gala event in Gainesville on Friday, May 11.

The winner will receive a $50,000 cash prize, made possible by a grant from the Gainesville Community Foundation, as well as $10,000 of legal services provided by Edwards, Wildman, Palmer LLP in West Palm Beach. The three runners-up each will receive $2,500 of legal services from EWP.