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INNOVATE Award Winners

The Innovate Awards were established to inspire and encourage new research, creative works, and innovation. The Vice Provost Research Council reviews all Innovate submissions and selects the awardees. Since 2012, the Awards have supported 75 individual and interdisciplinary projects in diverse areas across UAA, including engineering , science, business, health and biomedical sciences, theatre and dance, English, psychology, and education.

Some significant Innovate Award accomplishments:

  • A better than 6-to-1 return on research investment through externally funded grants;
  • A proposal award success rate of 49%, which is more than twice above the national average for similar agencies;
  • Of the 52 UAA patent filings since 2011, 38% are a direct result of inventors receiving Innovate Award funding to develop their invention;
  • Of the 13 patents issued, 40% were a direct result of inventors receiving Innovate Award funding to develop their invention;
  • Innovate Award research formed the foundation for the first four UAA startup companies; one received national recognition for “Best University StartUp.” Another received $300,000 in external investment from the Alaska Accelerator Fund.
  • More than 20 publications have been accepted in peer review journals, and faculty work has received noted recognition—the Smithsonian Folklife and Cultural Heritage Center will archive Dr. Jill Crosby’s Secrets Under the Skin.

To recognize UAA’s innovators:

Those who have been issued a patent receive a plaque with a summary of the patent, and a replica is placed on the Patent Wall of Fame, which resides in UAA’s Administration Building. Congratulations to all the winners for their great work!  

Dr. George Kamberov
Interim Vice Provost for Research



  • Dr. Thep Ayudhya, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
    "Bioengineering: an Interferon Bioassay For Cancer Therapy"
  • Dr. Herminia Din, Professor of Art 
    "Sea Monsters Threaten the Beaches: An interactive pop-up book"
  • Dr. Gennady Gienko, Professor of Geomatics with Dr. Rob LangProfessor of Civil Engineering and Thomas Folan, Student
    "Snow Cover in Alaska: Exploratory cluster analysis"
  • Dr. Mark McCoy, Term Assistant Professor of Chemistry with Dr. Patrick Tomco, Term Assistant Professor of Chemistry
    "Creation of an immunoassay to picolinic acid herbicides"
  • Dr. Paul Schuette, Research Assistant Professor, Alaska Center for Conservation Science
    "Evaluating dietary patterns of a threatened small mammal species and an indicator species through a novel genetic approach"
  • Dr. Erin Shea, Assistant Professor of Geology with Dr. Jeff Benowitz, Research Assistant Professor, UAF Geological Institute
    "Timing and rate of exhumation along the Ross Lake fault zone, North Cascades, WA"
  • Dr. Raghu Srinivasan, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering with Dr. Matthew Cullin, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
    "Understanding the corrosion behavior of magnesium alloy inside the crevices"
  • Dr. Lin Li, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering with Dr. Joey Yang, Professor of Civil Engineering
    "Innovative soil frost-heave characterization system"
  • Dr. Angie Zheng, Assistant Professor of Economics & Public Policy with Dr. Jonathan Alevy, Assistant Professor of Economics & Public Policy, Dr. Bogdan Hoanca, Professor of Management Info System, and Dr. Zhifeng Gao, Assistant Professor of Marketing, University of Florida
    "Consumer Choice & Preference for "Alaska Grown" Foods:  Elicitation, information, learning & valuation"
  • Dr. Caixia Wang, Assistant Professor of Geomatics
    "High-resolution water depth modeling using remotely sensed imagery"

    Faculty & Student patents issued to date:

  •  "Surgical Cutting Device and Methods of Using Same"
    Mr. Samuel Werner, Student, Alaska WWAMI School of Medical Education, U.S. Patent 9,636,134 B2

  • "Vehicle Accessory Engagement Tracking"
    Mr. Timothy Menard, UAA Student, Electrical Engineering, U.S. Patent 9,421,596 B2
    Dr. Jeffrey Miller, Associate Professor of Computer Science
    Dr. John Lund, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering

  • "Systems and Methods for Heating Concrete Structures"
    Dr. Joey Yang, Professor of Civil Engineering, U.S. Patent 9,829,202
    Ms. Ting Yang, University of Alaska Anchorage Graduate Student
    Mr. Mithun Singla, University of Houston Graduate Student
    Dr. Gangbing Song, University of Houston Professor of Engineering
    Dr. Christiana Chang, University of Houston Professor of Engineering

  • "Self-Heated Enclosure with Carbon Fiber"
    Dr. Joey Yang, Professor of Civil Engineering, U.S. Patent 9,829,203
    Mr. Benjamin Still, University of Alaska Doctoral Engineering Student

2017 INNOVATE Awards


  • Dr. Vivian M. Gonzalez, Associate Professor of Psychology and Dr. Monica Skewes
    Does the Firewater Myth Contribute to the Limit Violation Effect? A Daily Diary Study"
  • Dr. Mychal Machado, Associate Professor of Psychology and Dr. Gloria Eldridge, Professor of Psychology 
    Treating the Destructive Behaviors of Children Diagnosed with Autism using a Novel Approach"
  • Dr. Rebecca Volino Robinson, Professor of Psychology, Dr. Jordan Lewis, Associate Professor WWAMI School of Medical Education and Chris Cavanaugh
    "Exploring Pathways to Recovery from Comorbid Homelessness"
  • Dr. Scott Hamel, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
    "Seismic Hold-down Connectors for Polyurethane-based Structural Insulated Panels"
  • Dr. Khrys Duddleston, Professor of Biological Sciences, Dr. Patrick Tomco, Term Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Dr. Aaron Dotson, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
    "Biodegradation of Crude Oil in Arctic Waters and Development of Dynamic Bioremediation Responses"
  • Dr. Nathaniel Hicks, Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Dr. Jens Munk, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Dr. Max KullbergAssociate Professor WWAMI School of Medical Education and Dr. Brandon Briggs, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
    "A Helicon Source for Interdisciplinary Plasma Science and Engineering at UAA"
  • Dr. Anthony Paris, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Getu Hailu, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Jens Munk, Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Dr. John Lund, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, Western Washington University
    "Research and Development of an Innovative New Device to Measure a Bicyclist's Power"

2016 INNOVATE Awards

For details on the 5th Annual Innovate Awards, please review the PowerPoint presentation which includes abstracts of award-winning proposals.


  • Dr. Eric Bortz, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
    "Bioengineering: an Interferon Bioassay For Cancer Therapy"
  • Dr. Brandon Briggs, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
    "Enhancing Biological Production of Ethylene and Isobutene"
  • Dr. Erin K. S. Hicks, Assistant Professor of Astronomy
    "The KONA Survey: Forming Galaxies through Supermassive Black Holes Feeding and Feedback"
  • Dr. Jonathan Stecyk, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
    "Cardio-physciology of a Unique and Enigmatic Alaskan Species, the Alaska Blackfish"
  • Daniel J. Anteau, Chair and Professor of Theatre &Dance, Dr. Rebecca Volino Robinson, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Dr. Claudia Lampman, Director and Professor of Psychology, Dr. Brian Cook, Assistant Professor of Theatre, Dr. Jill Flanders Crosby, Professor and Coordinator of the Dance Program, and Dr. Herminia Din, Professor of Art Education
    "Stalking the Boogeyman Project"
  • Dr. Jennifer Stone, Associate Professor of English, Dr. Kenrick Mock, Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Professor of Computer Science, Dr. Patricia Grega, Professor of Developmental Education, Dr. Sharon Emmerichs, Assistant Professor of English, Dr. Daniel Kline, Director and Professor of English, Dr. David Dannenberg, Director of Academic Innovations and eLearning and Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology, Claudia Pearson, Program Assistant, and John Thomas Cripps Jr., Marketing and Creative Design Coordinator
    "Spirit Quest: Gamifying Student Success"
  • Dr. Z. Joey Yang, Professor of Civil Engineering
    "Prototype Development for the Conversion of Conventional Passive Cooling System of Solar-Powered Active Cooling System"

2016 Patent Wall of Fame Inductee

  • "Bending Instruments and Methods of Using the Same"
    Dr. Anthony Paris, Associate Professor of Engineering, U.S. Patent 9,003,859 B2

2015 INNOVATE Awards

For details on the 4th Annual Innovate Awards, please review the PowerPoint presentation which includes abstracts of award-winning proposals.


  • Dr. Max Kullberg, WWAMI School of Medical Education, and Ms. Hui-Ching Kuo, Biological Sciences
    "Reprogramming Immunosuppressive Cells in Tumors by Targeted Delivery of All-Trans Retinoic Acid"
  • Dr. Birgit Hagedorn, Environment and Natural Resources Institute, and Dr. Fred Rainey, Biological Sciences
    "Microbiogeochemical Cycling of Mercury in Subglacial Environments"
  • Dr. Shannon Donovan, Geography and Environmental Studies
    "Sowing Seeds and Harvesting Community: Increasing Food Security in Anchorage by Expanding Community Gardens"
  • Dr. Cathy Coulter, Elementary Education, and Dr. Irasema Ortega, Elementary Education
    "Language Revitalization and Culturally Sustaining Practices in Education through Writers' Workshop"
  • Dr. Philippe Amstislavski, Health Sciences, and Dr. Joey Yang, Civil Engineering
    "A Biomimetic Alternative to High-End Fabricated Polymeric Foams: Feasibility Study of Native White-Rot Fungi-Based Insulation Material for Geoengineering Applications"
  • Dr. Gwen Lupfer, Psychology, and Dr. Khrys Duddleston, Biological Sciences
    "Dissociating the roles of intestinal bacteria and learned anticipatory responses to sweet tastes in producing harmful effects of artificial sweeteners"
  • Dr. Clare Dannenberg, Anthropology and English, and Dr. David Bowie, English
    "Talking Anchorage: An Investigation of Local Identity in Urban Alaska"
  • Dr. Zeynep Kilic, Sociology
    "Tables of Istanbul"
  • Dr. Herminia Din, Art
    "UAA Winter Design Know How Book
  • Dr. Angie Zheng, Economics and Public Policy, Dr. Yonggang Lu, Information Systems and Decision Sciences, and Dr. Holly Wang, Agricultural Economics, Purdue University
    "Consumer Preference and Market Potentials for Alaska Salmon in China"

Patent Plaque Presentation:

  • Fish Carcass Disposal System
    Ms. Alexandra West, U.S. Patent 8,833,682 B2:



  • Dr. Nathaniel Hicks, Physics & Astronomy “PCAGE: A New Plasma Confinement Technique”
  • Dr. Aaron Dotson, Civil Engineering, and Dr. Eric Dickenson, Southern Nevada Water Authority, “Coupling UV Advanced Oxidation and Ceramic Membranes to Treat Challenging Waters”
  • Dr. Jonathan Stecyk, Biological Sciences, and Dr. Khrystyne Duddleston, Biological Sciences, “Influence of Temperature and Prolonged Oxygen Deprivation on the Composition and Diversity of the Turtle Gut Microbiota: A Novel Model for Understanding the Role of Gut Microbiota in Normal Physiology and Disease”
  • Dr. Erin Hicks, Physics & Astronomy, “A Step toward Understanding the Role of Supermassive Black Holes in Galaxy Formation and Evolution”
  • Dr. Ganhua Lu, Mechanical Engineering,“Vertical Graphene-Nanoparticle Hybrids for High-Performance Supercapacitors”
  • Dr. Joshua Swift, Psychology, “Client and Therapist Moment-to-Moment Ratings of Significant Events in Psychotherapy”
  • Dr. Sarah Gerken, Biological Sciences, “Diastylidae of New Zealand”
  • Dr. Lee Ann Munk, Geological Sciences, and Dr. Berry Lyons, Ohio State University, “Assessing the Effects of Silicate Weathering on Atmospheric CO? in the Aleutian Volcanic Arc”
  • Dr. John Kennish, Chemistry, “Determination of the rose fragrance, salidroside, rosavin and rosarin in the Arctic root Rhodiola rosea”
  • Dr. Kirk Scott, Computer Science & Engineering, “Android Apps for Computer Science Learning in Schools”
  • Dr. Jocelyn McGee, Dr. Rebecca Robinson, & Dr. Gloria Eldridge, Psychology, Dr. Thomas Nighswander, Alaska Native Medical Center, and Dr. Donald Thomas, “Malawi Resilience Project”
  • Dr. Ghulam Bham, Civil Engineering, and Co-PI Dr. Kenrick Mock, Computer Science & Engineering, “Development of a Fixed-Base Driving Simulator at UAA”



  • Dr. Colin McGill, Chemistry and Co-PI Dr. Eric Murphy, Psychology, "Malate Supplementation: A Dietary Intervention to Improve Spatial Memory in Aged Rats."
  • Dr. Aaron Dotson, Civil Engineering and Co-PI Dr. LeeAnn Munk, Geology, "Source Identification and Complexation of Copper in an Urban Environment."
  • Dr. Jeffrey Callahan, Construction Management, Justin McVaney, Construction & Design Technology, and Co-PI Dr. Kenrick Mock, Computer Science and Engineering, "Augmented Reality, BIM and GIS for Mobile Platforms in Architecture, Engineering and Construction."
  • Dr. Khrystyne Duddleston, Biological Sciences and Co-PI Dr. Paddy Sullivan, Environmental and Natural Resources Institute, "Importance of the Microbial Community as a Driver of Tree Performance and Treeline Position in Northwest Alaska."
  • Dr. Mark McCoy, Chemistry, "Development of a Point of Care Assay for Vitamin D."
  • Dr. Jonathan Alevy, Economics, and Co-PI Dr. Michael Young, Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology, "Seasonality and Economic Behavior."
  • Dr. Jill Flanders Crosby, Theatre and Dance, and Co-PI Brian Jeffery, Theatre and Dance, "Secrets Under the Skin Art Installation."
  • Dr. John Lund, Electrical Engineering, "Wireless Sensor Nodes with Advanced Signal Analysis Capabilities for Expanded Sensor Network Applications."
  • Dr. Scott Hamel, Civil Engineering, "Design and Evaluation of Thin-shell Latex-modified Concrete Barrel Roof Units."
  • Dr. Kenrick Mock, Computer Science and Engineering and Co-PIs Dr. Bogdan Hoanca, Computer Information Systems, Dr. Stephanie Bauer and Dr. Raymond Anthony, Philosophy, and Dr. Yasuhiro Ozuru, Psychology, "Revealing Human Moral Decision Making Through Eye Tracking."
  • Dr. Joey Yang, Civil Engineering "Carbon Fiber Tape-Based Anti-Icing Technology for Wind Turbine Blades."
  • Dr. Andrew Puckett, Physics and Astronomy, and Co-PI Dr. Travis Rector, Physics and Astronomy, "Seed Funding for the Production of the Definitive Aurora Borealis Planetarium Show."
  • Dr. Jonathan Stecyk, Biological Sciences, "The Turtle Heart: A non-traditional model to understand and potentially treat human cardiovascular disease."
  • Dr. Jennifer Stone, English, "Language, Literature, and Technology in Alaska."
  • Dr. Patrick Tomco, Chemistry and Co-PIs Dr. Mark McCoy, Chemistry, and Steven Seefeldt, UAF Cooperative Extension Service, "Characterization of Aminopryralid Degradation in Alaska Soils."
  • Dr. Liliya Vugmeyster, Chemistry, and Co-PI Dr. Dmitry Ostrovsky, Mathematical Sciences, "Computational Modeling of Protein Flexibility via Bridging Polymer and Protein Sciences."



  • Dr. Jason Burkhead (Biology) for "Development of a Copper-deficient Mouse Model of Non-alcoholic FattyLiver Disease.
  • Dr. Don Spalinger (Biology) and Co-PIs Dr. John Lund and Dr. Herb Schroeder, for "The Trophic Dynamics of Nutrient Cycling in Western Alaska Tundra Ecosystems."
  • Dr. Khrys Duddleston and Co-PIs Dr. Fred Rainey and Dr. Loren Buck, for "Host-Gut-Microbiome Interactions in the Arctic Ground Squirrel: Investigations in an Extreme Hibernator."
  • Dr. Cindy Knall (WWAMI Medical School of Education)for "Assessing NFkB Targets in Oral Epithelial Cells Exposed to Iqmik."
  • Dr. John Lund (Electrical Engineering) and Co-PI Dr. Todd Peterson, for "Ultra-Long Lifespan Wireless Sensor Devices for Asset Management."
  • Dr. Anthony Paris (Mechanical Engineering) and Co-PIs Dr. Jennifer Brock and Dr. John Lund, for "Evaluation of Instrumentation to Assess Accelerations of the Head Due to Soccer Ball Heading."
  • Dr. Scott Hamel (Civil Engineering) for "Performance of Wood-Plastic Composites in Cold Regions."
  • Dr. Frank Moore (Computer Science/Mathematics) for "Improving the Science Value of CCSDS Lossy Compressed Images via Evolutionary Computation."?
  • Dr. John Kennish (Chemistry) and Co-PI Dr. Patty Zwolla, for "Development of an Integrated Cellular-Chemical Approach for Quantifying Effects of Marine Phthalates on the Function of Trout Immune Cells."
  • Dr. Colin McGill (Chemistry) for "Inhibition of TNFa-mediated nsMase Activation by Citrate and Malate in a Human Neuroblastoma Model."
  • Dr. Karen Ward (Center for Human Development) for "Teen Friendships & Dating Program."
  • Dr. Vivian Gonzalez (Psychology/Center for Behavioral Research and Services) and Co-PI Dr. Monica Skewes, for "Social Validity of Alcohol Treatments for Alaska Native College Students."
  • Professor Don Rearden (College Preparatory and Developmental Studies) for "Heart of a Whale."