Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

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Two UW-Madison teams chosen 2021 WARF Innovation Award winners

Graphic of innovation award

Jeanan Yasiri Moe, Director of Strategic Communications
[email protected] | (608) 960-9892

MADISON, Wis. – A team that created a device for detecting explosives and a cross-disciplinary team working at the frontiers of medicine and nanotechnology have taken top honors from WARF.

The 2021 WARF Innovation Award has been given to University of Wisconsin’s Jiamian Hu, professor of materials science engineering, and graduate student Shihao Zhuang for their work, Terahertz Imaging System for Global Security.

The second winning team includes Shaoqin “Sarah” Gong, professor of biomedical engineering; Zachary Morris, professor of human oncology; biomedical engineering postdoctoral researcher Ying Zhang and human oncology researcher Raghava Sriramaneni for their work, Nanoparticle to Render Tumors More Susceptible to Treatment.

The materials science engineering team’s improved, narrowband terahertz emitter has the potential to safely and non-intrusively detect explosives and other dangerous materials in public places like subway stations and stadiums.

The cross-disciplinary team combined its novel nanoparticle, radiation therapy and a cellular division checkpoint inhibitor in an approach that could expand the number of tumors responsive to immunotherapy.

An independent panel of judges selected the winners from a field of six finalists drawn from several hundred invention disclosures submitted to WARF over the prior 12 months. The winning teams each receive an award of $10,000, with the funds going to the named UW-Madison inventors.

“Each year our Innovation Awards recognize some of the most exciting early-stage solutions to real-world problems,” says Erik Iverson, CEO of WARF. “We’re pleased to celebrate the nominees, and all UW-Madison innovators working to discover and translate research with the power to touch lives. From human health and a greener future to cutting-edge engineering, the passion to make a difference remains strong across campus.”

The other 2021 WARF Innovation Award finalists are:

Making Spectroscopy Accessible to All

  • 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

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

Enhanced Probiotic Delivery to Treat Intestinal Disorder

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

Indoor Sound Shaping Based on Broadband Metamaterial Reflector

  • Chu Ma (Electrical & Computer Engineering)

About WARF

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) helps steward the cycle of research, discovery, commercialization and investment for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Founded in 1925 as an independent, nonprofit foundation, WARF manages more than 2,000 patents and an investment portfolio as it funds university research, obtains patents for campus discoveries and licenses inventions to industry. WARF is home to WARF Accelerator advancing promising university technologies, WARF Therapeutics combining world-renowned research and an industry-focused approach to improve value propositions of drug candidates and WARF Ventures which actively invests in startups with UW-Madison technology over two decades.  For more information, visit warf.org and view WARF’s Cycle of Innovation.