2020: A Year Unlike Any Other

While Merriam-Webster chose “pandemic” as its word of the year, it could have picked “unprecedented” and been just as topical. At Battelle, we answered these challenging times with science, dedication and philanthropy. Our most publicly notable accomplishment this year was the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination SystemTM that we deployed around the country to help frontline and health care workers extend the use of their N95 masks. But we had many other highlights. Here’s a recap.


*Battelle Fellow Justin Sanchez presented remarkable new neuro technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to rave reviews.

*We announced a new project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a process to make polyurethane foam from coal.  


*At the National Ecological Observatory Network, which we manage for the National Science Foundation, we welcomed a new observatory director to the team. Dr. Paula Mabee had been the University of South Dakota’s Nolop Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biology.

*Battelle Fellow Amy Heintz was featured in Columbus Business First’s Women of Influence podcast.

*At the request of the MIT Technology Review, we ran scenarios through our UltraSEQTM software to help detect if bad actors could indeed create or order a copy of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (it did).

*As the world really began to worry about COVID-19, our researchers were working hard to understand its spread and persistence in our biocontainment facilities.


*NASA officials chose the name for its new Mars rover: Perseverance. Battelle helped administer the national contest for children to come up with the name. Attached to the rover will be a helicopter we helped to name Ingenuity.    

*Our scientists worked collaboratively with commercial, academic and government entities to support the global efforts in understanding, testing and treating the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2.

*We also fielded, in about two weeks, the first decontamination system.


*Battelle Research Leader and test developer Gabe Meister appeared on WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher to describe our new rapid, sensitive COVID-19 test that we developed with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

*A big national story centered on OhioHealth doctor Lori Hommema and her husband Kevin, who works at Battelle. A dinnertime conversation launched the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System into overdrive.

*The Battelle NeuroLife team published a paper renowned journal Cell, showing how we  restored the sense of touch to neurotechnology pioneer Ian Burkhart. WIRED explained what it means.


*As the team of dedicated scientists to which we belong works to destroy the stockpile of chemical weapons in our country, we passed an important milestone.

*Battelle Industrial Designer Russ Kittel and Principal Industrial Designer Andrew Sweeney collaborated for the design for the cover of Cell magazine that represents the complex network linking the brain and hand, making the reader the brain-computer interface.

*Satya Chauhan was named Battelle Inventor of the Year.


*Our scientists began testing wastewater to pinpoint viral pandemic hotspots in specific neighborhoods.

*In a new program funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and OCLC called the REALM Project, our first-phase testing showed that the virus that causes COVID-19 is undetectable on common library materials after three days.

*The National Science Foundation awarded us the Arctic Research Support and Logistics Services contract. The 10-year, $260 million contract calls for infrastructure and logistics support to academic researchers conducting NSF-funded studies in Alaska, Greenland, Canada and other Arctic areas.


*REALM Project: Test 2 results, show that after two days of quarantine in a stacked configuration, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not detectable on archival folders. After four days of quarantine in their stacked configuration, the virus was not detectable on the braille pages, glossy book pages, and board book. The magazine pages showed a trace amount of virus at four days.

*Our cyber team published open source CantorDust plugin for Ghidra to provide binary visualization capabilities to the platform.


*Our researchers began work on three new Environmental Protection Agency projects to determine how long the virus that causes COVID-19 lives on a variety of surfaces and what available disinfecting products are effective.

*We won a new contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory to assist the Department of Defense as it pivots from a Trusted Foundry approach to a Zero Trust architecture in production of critical microelectronic components.

*REALM Project Test 3 results are revealed.

*Neural Implant podcast – Battelle neurotech researcher Patrick Ganzer discussed restoring movement in a person living with quadriplegia.


*We started a new project to research, develop and evaluate geospatial technology platforms.

*We won new a SOCOM contract to build more nonstandard commercial vehicles.  


*We announced work with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to further develop the NeuroLife interface technology for home use.

*FoodChain ID licensed technology from us to fight food fraud.

*Our 90th anniversary website won an award

*We licensed technology that will impact a key material used in the automotive manufacturing industry.


*Battelle’s Activity Assistant™ rehabilitative technology won the Best Overall award from ACRM. It could help tens of thousands of people recovering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) with a revolutionary approach to assessing, monitoring and treating cognitive impairment.

*The Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) used Battelle technology to help identify a missing person in a case from 2013.

*Test 6 results for the REALM Project https://oc.lc/test6-results were revealed.

December 14, 2020
Battelle Insider
Estimated Read Time
4 Mins

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