Ralph J. Hexter, Acting Chancellor at the University of California, Davis, announced the recipients of a new series of innovation awards at a ceremony on June 28 in Davis. The UC Davis Chancellor’s Innovation Awards recognize faculty, community partners, and industry leaders for their work, dedication and success in achieving societal impact either through innovations in technology or social engagement.
“These new awards reflect the growing importance of UC Davis as a vital incubator and promoter of innovation in the Sacramento region and beyond,” Hexter said. “Each of our inaugural winners is a model innovator who successfully nurtured to reality a novel idea that can improve the quality of our lives.”
Dushyant Pathak, Associate Vice Chancellor of Research and Executive Director, Venture Catalyst adds, “UC Davis has a strong history of enabling societal benefit from our research, faculty service and community partnerships. The Chancellor’s Innovation Awards represent a visible new way in which we can recognize campus innovators and members of our community for their contributions to society.”
Innovator of the Year Award
The Innovator of the Year Award recognizes individual faculty or staff, or teams (which may also include students) whose inventive, innovative or entrepreneurial activities have had a measurable societal impact or have a very strong potential to do so. Each recipient receives a $10,000 award that can be applied to his or her research or social engagement program.
Two recipients received the award this year, Harry Cheng and Cristina Davis, both professors in the College of Engineering.
Harry Cheng, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Harry Cheng is the developer and leader of the UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM). C-STEM uses innovative computing and robotics technologies to increase student interest and transform computing and STEM education in both formal and informal K-12 programs. More than 200 schools in California have officially adopted the C-STEM curriculum, which directly benefits more than 10,000 students. Cheng has worked at UC Davis for 24 years and has dedicated the past 10 years to transforming K-12 math education through computing and robotics. Using Cheng’s approach, students learn how to integrate computer programming as well as logical and critical thinking skills. The results have shown significant potential in closing the math achievement gap for student subgroups that have historically underperformed.
Cristina Davis, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Cristina Davis has a long history of creating novel solutions to problems in the fields of medicine, defense, agriculture and veterinary medicine. She holds seven patents that have been licensed and developed into product lines. She is the co-founder of two UC Davis affiliated startups, SensIT Ventures, Inc., and XTB Laboratories, Inc. Her most recent innovation is a miniature handheld device that can measure chemical biomarkers in human breath, which can be used to both diagnose and monitor medical conditions. In addition to portability, Davis’s device also has the potential to integrate with cell phones or other personal mobile devices, creating the possibility for near real-time diagnostics and monitoring on-demand. This innovation has the potential to have a life-altering impact in pediatric populations.
Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovation
The Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovation recognizes an acknowledged innovator whose career accomplishments include innovations that have led to a long-term positive impact on the lives of others and who is an inspiring influence for other innovators. Wayne Thiebaud, emeritus professor of art, was conferred the award this year.
Thiebaud, a painter whose innovative work defined an era, is best known for his renderings of the everyday, including food displays, pinball machines, lipsticks and Californian landscapes and cityscapes using a singular illustrative style. His contributions to creative expression, popular culture and artistic form through his groundbreaking approaches to art, color and content have made him one of the most important painters of our time. Thiebaud joined the UC Davis Department of Art as an assistant professor in 1960, where he continued his career until retiring in 1991. After retirement, Thiebaud continued to teach classes at UC Davis, and has been an active volunteer adviser to the university. He is widely regarded as an inspirational figure by students, aspiring artists and those who admire his considerable body of creative work.
Innovative Community Partner Award
The Innovative Community Partner Award recognizes a leader or organization in the community that has contributed significantly to driving regional economic impact through innovation, entrepreneurship or support for growing the startup ecosystem in collaboration with UC Davis. HM.CLAUSE, a subsidiary of Limagrain, was recognized with the award this year.
HM.CLAUSE is a leader in agricultural innovation specializing in the breeding, production and sales of vegetable seeds. The company has a long history of productive and innovative engagement with UC Davis including the departments of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, the World Food Center, the Graduate School of Management and Venture Catalyst, within the UC Davis Office of Research. HM.CLAUSE is a key sponsor of the Seed Biotechnology Center’s Kent J. Bradford Endowed Chair in Seed Science, and in 2015 partnered to launch the UC Davis-HM.CLAUSE Life Science Innovation Center, the first startup incubator of its kind in the region.
- Center for Integrated Computing and STEM (C-STEM)
- UC Davis ‘Computer Science For All’ Now Available for Schools
- UC Davis’ Free C-STEM Studio Teaches K-12 Robotics and Computing
- Professor Cristina Davis
- What happens when you give a Breathalyzer test to a dolphin?
- UC Davis lab works on cutting ‘bio’ edge
- The Art of Wayne’s World: His works have sold for millions and he rates with Warhol, but Wayne Thiebaud remains dedicated to teaching at 84
- Thiebaud selected for California Hall of Fame
- UC Davis and HM.CLAUSE Partner to Open Life Science Innovation Center
- How UC Davis Supports Agtech Startups
Nominees for the Innovator of the Year Award
|Name||Title||Department||Description of Innovation|
|Paul Knoepfler||Associate Professor||Cell Biology & Human Anatomy||Using both social and conventional media to convey accurate information about stem cells to the non-scientific public.|
|Cristina Davis||Professor||Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering||A robust miniature/hand-held devices that measure trace chemicals in human breath.|
|David Horsley||Professor||Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering||Ultrasonic sensors based on micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS).|
|Xiaoguang Liu||Assistant Professor||Electrical & Computer Engineering||Autonomous UXO Identification Platform, which will be composed of a high resolution millimeter wave ground penetrating radar integrated on a high performance drone.|
|James Do||Student||Electrical & Computer Engineering||Autonomous UXO Identification Platform, which will be composed of a high resolution millimeter wave ground penetrating radar integrated on a high performance drone.|
|Ruihong Zhang||Professor||Biological & Agricultural Engineering||Bioconversion technologies for converting organic solid waste, such as food and agricultural waste, into renewable bioenergy and biofertilizers.|
|Peter Belafsky||Professor||Otolaryngology||A medical device that can manually control the upper esophageal sphincter, and is evaluating the use of muscle cells for difficulty in swallowing rehabilitation.|
|Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola||Director||Clinical and Translational Science Center||California Reducing Health Disparities Project and RECAB will bring about change to the access and utilization of mental health services and resources and education to communities of color in the Sacramento and Solano County.|
|Robert McCarron||Associate Professor||Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine||The Train New Trainers Primary Care Psychiatry Fellowship educates primary care providers in the basics of psychiatry, while providing mentorship and guidance to learners on how best to take this information and teach medical colleagues in underserved areas.|
|Shannon Suo||Co-Director||Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences||The Train New Trainers Primary Care Psychiatry Fellowship educates primary care providers in the basics of psychiatry, while providing mentorship and guidance to learners on how best to take this information and teach medical colleagues in underserved areas.|
|Angela Courtney||UC Davis Alumni||Integrative Pathology and Adrastia Biotechnology||A urine test for breast cancer based on a proteomic and multi-genomic pattern.|
|Andrew Hargadon||Professor and Faculty Director||Graduate School of Management and Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship||The foundational curriculum taught in Entrepreneurship Academies and Big Bang workshops is designed to help researchers think like entrepreneurs.|
|Amir Kol||Assistant Professor||School of Vetinerary Medicine||Innovative stem cell therapies to treat complex naturally occurring diseases in companion animals.|
|Boaz Arzi||Assistant Professor||School of Vetinerary Medicine||Innovative stem cell therapies to treat complex naturally occurring diseases in companion animals.|
|Dori Borjesson||Professor and Chair||School of Vetinerary Medicine||Innovative stem cell therapies to treat complex naturally occurring diseases in companion animals.|
|Frank Verstraete||Professor||School of Vetinerary Medicine||Innovative stem cell therapies to treat complex naturally occurring diseases in companion animals.|
|Kate Hurley||Director||Center for Companion Animal Health||A new field of veterinary medicine (Shelter Medicine) specific to the study and care of homeless animals in shelters.|
|Xiangdong Zhu||Professor||Physics||An optical sensing technology for simultaneous detection in real time of over 12,000 wet biochemical reactions.|
|Benjamin Keller||Surgery Resident||Surgery||A low cost, high fidelity, pulsatile Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) simulator.|
|Stephen Howell||Adjunct Professor||Biomedical Engineering||A new method termed kinematic alignment for surgically aligning implants used in replacing worn out knees with artificial knees and the invention of two new surgical techniques for achieving the desired alignment.|
|Maury Hull||Professor Emeritus||Biomedical Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering||A new method termed kinematic alignment for surgically aligning implants used in replacing worn out knees with artificial knees and the invention of two new surgical techniques for achieving the desired alignment.|
|Katherine Kim||Assistant Professor||Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing||Tools for effective care collaboration between patients, their caregivers, and the healthcare team, including both health technology and training.|
|Elisa Tong||Associate Professor||Internal Medicine||California’s first electronic referral (“eReferral”) to the California Smokers’ Helpline, which provides free evidence-based cessation services.|
|Lester Lusher||Student||Economics||CollegeBetter.com motivates students to commit to their academic goals by letting students place monetary wagers on their outcomes.|
|Scott Carrell||Professor||Economics||CollegeBetter.com motivates students to commit to their academic goals by letting students place monetary wagers on their outcomes.|
|Serena Williams||Lecturer||Linguistics||This project is a model for how to effectively evaluate, while maintaining human context, specifically experiences expressed in language objectively.|
|Soneet Dhillon||Student||Linguistics||This project is a model for how to effectively evaluate, while maintaining human context, specifically experiences expressed in language objectively.|
|Harold Leverenz||Lecturer and Project Scientist||Civil & Environmental Engineering||Development of a compact process for the recovery of sustainable nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizers from concentrated waste streams.|
|Judy Van de Water||Professor/Director||Internal Medicine||A biomarker test to determine risk of having a child with autism.|
|Andy Haden||Student||Computer Science||Discourse is a website that helps UC Davis undergraduates understand their degree progress and intelligently schedule classes.|
|Minu Palaniappan||Student||Computer Science||Discourse is a website that helps UC Davis undergraduates understand their degree progress and intelligently schedule classes.|
|Delmar Larsen||Associate Professor||Chemistry||The UC Davis StemWiki is an online STEM Science textbook in a Wikipedia-like format where experts in STEM fields contribute individual chapters on levels from undergraduate to garduate teaching.|
|James Marcin||Professor||Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine||Utilized telehealth technologies in innovative ways creating a variety of new models of care that help address disparities in access and quality of care provided to children in rural and underserved communities.|
|Sanjay Joshi||Associate Professor||Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering||Development of robotic assistance for people who have lost partial function due to accident, amputation, or disease.|
|Bruce Hammock||Distinguished Professor||Entomology and Nematology||Developed inhibitors of the sEH enzyme which degrades natural mediators reducing hypertension, inflammation and pain.|
|Richard Levenson||Professor and Vice Chair||Medical Pathology & Laboratory Medicine||A novel, simple and non-destructive microscopy technique that uses the UV light excites to create histological images.|
|Harry Cheng||Professor||Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering||An innovative educational computing and robotics technologies and related curriculum for K-12 hands-on math education.|
|Bruce German||Professor||Food Science & Technology||A highly collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to understanding in mechanistic detail how milk guides the health of the infant gut.|
|Carlito LeBrilla||Professor||Chemistry||A highly collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to understanding in mechanistic detail how milk guides the health of the infant gut.|
|Daniela Barile||Associate Professor||Food Science & Technology||A highly collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to understanding in mechanistic detail how milk guides the health of the infant gut.|
|David Mills||Professor||Food Science & Technology|
|Peter Yellowlees||Professor and Vice Chair||Psychiatry||Development, validation and implementation of indirect (asynchronous) video consultations in psychiatry incorporating automated language translation – a completely new way of consulting with patients in any language that could be used worldwide.|
|Erica Goude (On behalf of Neuromuscular Research Center)||Research Coordinator||Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation||Neuromuscular Research Center’s clinical trial program includes 1) development and validation of clinical and person-reported outcome measure tools for use in multicenter studies; 2) establishment of uniform guidelines for design and interpretation of clinical trials; and 3) conduct of investigations of promising new therapies.|