The News Gazette: Tue, 03/20/2012 – 10:00am, Don Dodson
CHAMPAIGN — A medical information company will open a research-and-development office in the University of Illinois Research Park, with plans to hire seven to 15 student interns this spring.
Intelligent Medical Objects, based in Northbrook, will take space in Suite 208 of the iCyt building, 2100 S. Oak St., C.
Blake Giles, the company’s manager of research park operations in Champaign, said IMO has already hired two interns and interviewed other prospective candidates.
“The core group we’re looking to (are) those from engineering programs and computer scientists,” he said. “But we’re also hoping to look at students from the business college and the College of Medicine, for sure.”
Intelligent Medical Objects provides software applications for health care providers. More than 1,500 hospitals and 200,000 physicians use IMO’s content and tools.
The company’s products help doctors identify the correct medical terms for cases, which in turn helps them find the correct billing codes.
IMO hopes to benefit from the UI’s expertise in data sciences, informatics and data mining, and the student interns are expected to help with product development.
The company was formed in 1994 and its core team has been together for 16 years, according to IMO’s website. Frank Naeymi-Rad is the firm’s chief executive officer and cofounder.
Giles said student interns will work between 10 and 15 hours a week during academic semesters and 40 hours a week during summers.
Two interns are working from home at this point, but most of the new interns are likely to begin their internships May 21, he added.
At the outset, IMO will hire and train juniors, seniors and graduate students as interns, Giles said.
But eventually, IMO hopes to bring in younger students, with the idea of them doing research on technologies or ideas the first semester and using their findings to develop a prototype the second semester, he said.
Giles, a 2008 UI graduate, served a summer internship with Caterpillar in Peoria his sophomore year, then spent nearly two years as an intern with State Farm in the UI Research Park. While there, he worked on State Farm’s strategy for using mobile devices.
After graduating, Giles took a full-time job with State Farm at its corporate headquarters in Bloomington. He said he plans to move to Champaign in April.
IMO has had research ties with other universities including Stanford, Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley, but this will be the first time the company has had a satellite research and development office, Giles said.
The company plans to hold an open house in the research park on April 10.
A statement from UI Vice President for Research Lawrence Schook said IMO’s decision to open an office in the research park “underscores the importance” of academic-corporate relations. He said such partnerships are often “critical to ground-breaking discoveries” that benefit broader society.