Some students can only dream of having their research leave the lab and land commercially on store shelves nationwide, but one USF alumna is making a name for herself through research she began while working on her dissertation in 2007.
Now, Kerriann Greenhalgh, who graduated from USF in 2007 with a PhD in organic chemistry, has products readily available in local stores and online, with plans to expand distribution out of Florida and develop more products.
“Seeing something I created in a lab in actual packaging, and then see it on the shelf in the store was just tremendous for me,” she said.
Greenhalgh founded KeriCure after developing an innovative skin protectant, which is based on USF-patented technology. Unlike other similar products, such as liquid Band-Aids, Greenhalgh’s product is water based and acts almost like a spray-on layer of skin.
“The other liquid bandages and products out there are really just a blend of ingredients,” she said. “We’re actually a technology-based product designed to mimic the natural properties of your skin.”
KeriCure co-founder and chemistry professor Edward Turos said the KeriCure product is different from other products.
“It closes the wound and immediately begins to repair the skin,” he said. “There isn’t anything else out there on the market that we are aware of.”
The skin protectant is unique in two ways, Turos said. Because it is water-based, it doesn’t sting like many alcohol-based disinfectants. The spray-on application can also help patients who have sensitive wounds, such as burn victims who experience pain with even soft gauze bandages.
Turos said he believes there are “unlimited horizons” for his former student, who he said is “full of ideas and ambition.” After seeing Greenhalgh embrace what he called an emerging commercial environment at USF, Turos said more commercial research will be coming from USF research.
“I’m very happy to get a student who thinks of commercializing something and making it useful beyond the laboratory. … I think we are going to see a lot more of this,” Turos said. “USF students will become more successful, coming into the research lab and nontraditionally going off and doing creative new things that, 10 years ago, no one would have thought possible for a student to do.”
Turos said he worked closely with Greenhalgh, but his role was minor compared to the energy Greenhalgh put in and the passion she has in her research and development.
“What Kerriann is doing is taking it leaps and bounds from where I ever dreamed it to go,” he said. “I’m really happy for her — this is her own creation.”
Her creation started with the founding of the company in January 2011, and last month, products began to fill shelves of nearby pharmacies.
“Anybody who has children, or who get cuts and burns … there are potentially seven billion people on the planet who would potentially have an interest this,” Turos said.
Greenhalgh said she has plans for her company to grow. Now, Publix will sell KeriCure and is researching advanced versions of its medicinal products to market to private physicians. As of next week, Greenhalgh said her products will be on shelves at Kroeger stores around the country now that her company has shipped products throughout Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina.
She said her proudest moment was when she first saw her product on the shelf of the Sweetbay Pharmacy in the Carol and Frank Morsani Center.
“It’s just the cultivation of so much effort and work and learning over the last few years,” she said. It’s all coming together at once.”