Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Recognizing High Potential Disclosures

Innovation Award Trophy

Each fall the WARF Innovation Awards recognize some of the best inventions at UW-Madison.

WARF receives hundreds of new invention disclosures each year. Of these disclosures, the WARF Innovation Award finalists are considered exceptional in the following criteria:


  • Has potential for high long-term impact
  • Presents an exciting solution to a known important problem
  • Could produce broad benefits for humankind

Each of the two Innovation Award winners receive $10,000, split among UW inventors.

See the 2023 winning teams!

2023 WARF Innovation Award Finalists

Protein Has Potential to Promote Heart Tissue Renewal and Regeneration | Watch Video

  • Ahmed Mahmoud (Cell and Regenerative Biology)
  • Timothy Kamp (Medicine)
  • Youngsook Lee (Cell and Regenerative Biology)

New Therapeutic for Glioblastoma, the Most Lethal Form of Brain Cancer | Watch Video

  • Mahua Dey (Neurological Surgery)
  • Jacques Galipeau (Medicine)

Eavesdropping on Insects to Better Protect Crops from Infestations | Watch Video

  • Emily Bick (Entomology)

Novel Alloy Better Protects Jets at High Speeds, Temperature | Watch Video

  • Dan Thoma (Materials Science and Engineering)
  • Michael Niezgoda (Materials Science and Engineering)

Enhanced Valley Splitting in Silicon-Based Quantum Hardware | Watch Video

  • Benjamin Woods (Physics)
  • Mark Friesen (Physics)
  • Mark Eriksson (Physics)
  • Robert Joynt (Physics)
  • Emily Joseph (Physics)

Synthetic Peptide Could Lead to Powerful New Drug to Treat Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity | Watch Video

  • Samuel Gellman (Chemistry)
  • Kyle Brown (Chemistry)
  • Rylie Morris (Chemistry)

See the 2022 winning teams!

2022 WARF Innovation Award Finalists

Innovative New Diagnostic Test for Sjögren’s Syndrome | Watch Video

  • Sara McCoy (Medicine)
  • Miriam Shelef (Medicine)
  • Michael Newton (Biostatistics & Medical Informatics)
  • Zihao Zheng (Statistics)

Making Telecommunications More Affordable | Watch Video

  • Victor Brar (Physics)
  • Seyoon Kim (Physics)

Testing the Strength of Soft Materials | Watch Video

  • Melih Eriten (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Corinne Henak (Mechanical Engineering)

Supercharging Photosynthesis to Increase Carbon Storage, Aromatics Production | Watch Video

  • Hiroshi Maeda (Botany)
  • Ryo Yokoyama (Botany)
  • Marcos Vinicius Viana de Oliveira (Botany)

New, Lightweight Material to Protect Against Bullets and Other High-Speed Impacts | Watch Video

  • Ramathasan Thevamaran (Engineering Physics)
  • Jizhe Cai (Engineering Physics)

Detecting High Cholesterol in Kids to Prevent Future Cardiac Disease | Watch Video

  • Mei Baker (Pediatrics)
  • Brian Conti (Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene)

See the 2021 winning teams!

2021 WARF Innovation Award Finalists

Terahertz Imaging System for Global Security | Watch Video

  • Jiamian Hu (Materials Science & Engineering)
  • Shihao Zhuang (Materials Science & Engineering)

Making Spectroscopy Accessible to All | Watch Video

  • Mikhail Kats (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
  • Yuzhe Xiao (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
  • Chenghao Wan (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
  • Jad Salman (Electrical & Computer Engineering)

Green Synthesis of Bio-Based Polyurethanes and Polyesters | Watch Video

  • George Huber (Chemical & Biological Engineering)
  • Hochan Chang (Chemical & Biological Engineering)
  • James Dumesic (Chemical & Biological Engineering)

Enhanced Probiotic Delivery to Treat Intestinal Disorder | Watch Video

  • Quanyin Hu (School of Pharmacy)
  • Jun Liu (School of Pharmacy)

Indoor Sound Shaping Based on Broadband Metamaterial Reflector | Watch Video

  • Chu Ma (Electrical & Computer Engineering)

Nanoparticle to Render Tumors More Susceptible to Treatment | Watch Video

  • Shaoqin Gong (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Zachary Morris (Human Oncology)
  • Ying Zhang (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Raghava Sriramaneni (Human Oncology)

See the 2020 winning teams!

View the recorded Innovation Award event

2020 WARF Innovation Award Finalists

Bridging Biology and Electronics for “Hybrid” Biosensing | Watch Video

  • Bhuvana Krishnaswamy (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
  • Megan McClean (Biomedical Engineering)

High-Energy Plasma Generator for Medical Isotope Production, Nuclear Waste Disposal & Power Generation | Watch Video

  • Cary Forest (Physics)
  • Jay Anderson (Physics)
  • John Wallace (Physics)
  • Robert Harvey (CompX)
  • Yuri Petrov (CompX)

Killer Combination: Multicell Conjugates for Activating Antigen-Specific T Cell Responses | Watch Video

  • Jenny Gumperz (Medical Microbiology & Immunology)
  • Dana Baiu (Medical Microbiology & Immunology)

Superior Neural Tissue Models for Disease Modeling, Drug Development and More | Watch Video

  • Randolph Ashton (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Gavin Knight (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Benjamin Knudsen (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Nisha Iyer (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Carlos Marti-Figueroa (Biomedical Engineering)

First Molecular Sleep Test Based on Epigenetic Discovery | Watch Video

  • David Plante (Psychiatry)
  • Reid Alisch (Neurological Surgery)

Carbon Dioxide Capture and Sequestration Using Alkaline Industrial Wastes | Watch Video

  • Bu Wang (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
  • Raghavendra Ragipani (Civil & Environmental Engineering)

Interested in advancing and protecting your work?

WARF is eager to connect.

Visit warf.org/disclose to access our innovation disclosure process or visit our searchable staff directory to start the conversation.

View News Releases on previous finalist and winning technologies

2020 WARF Innovation Awards News Release
2019 WARF Innovation Awards News Release
2018 WARF Innovation Awards News Release