Recognizing a year of innovation, scholarship and service, the University of Iowa Celebrating Excellence: Discovery and Innovation Awards Ceremony was held April 24.

The annual event honors faculty, staff, post-doctoral fellows, undergraduates and graduate students, and mentors who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in their fields. It also recognizes faculty, staff and student innovators who launch their research findings out into startups, options and/or licenses.

“We come together to celebrate your accomplishments in the areas of discovery and innovation,” said Vice President for Research and Economic Development Dan Reed. “To recognize that all of us stand on the shoulders of giants. And to express gratitude for those of you who work as mentors to ensure that future generations will continue the exciting quest for new knowledge.”

Interim Provost Sue Curry presented the awards. Senior Associate Vice President for Research Richard Hichwa also recognized the 35 US-issued patents and 34 foreign-issued patents awarded by the UI Research Foundation and the 21 license agreements and 14 option agreements executed between Jan. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2016.

“The truth is we do what we do not because it’s our job, but because we have no choice to do otherwise,” said Reed. “We’re driven by a deep and abiding desire to ask why and how again and again and again.”

The winners received a commemorative gift and cash award. Photos of the award winners and presenters can be viewed here.

This year, 19 awards were given, as well as the 2016 Student Startup of the Year Award and the Faculty/Staff Startup Award of the Year Award, listed below:

Faculty Research Awards

Leadership in Research Award: Recognizes distinguished leadership research and scholarly accomplishments over a career

  • Curt D. Sigmund, Ph.D., Chair and Department Executive Officer, Carver Chair in Hypertension Research, Professor of Pharmacology, Professor of Internal Medicine, Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Department of Internal Medicine, Carver College of Medicine

Scholar of the Year Award: Recognizes outstanding research, scholarly and/or creative activities by tenured and/or research/clinical track faculty members

  • Peter S. Thorne, Ph.D., Professor and Head, Occupational & Environmental Health, Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, College of Public Health

Early Career Scholar of the Year Award: Recognizes tenure-track, research-track or clinical-track faculty members within their first seven years post Ph.D. and within five years of service at the University of Iowa and who are currently involved in research, scholarship and/or creative activity and show promise of making a significant contribution to their field

  • Scott D. Baalrud, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Distinguished Achievement in Publicly Engaged Research Award: Recognizes an individual faculty member who has put addressing public needs and direct engagement with the public in the service of improving quality of life through research at the forefront of his or her academic activities

  • Saba Rasheed Ali, Ph.D., Professor, College of Education

Distinguished Achievements in Arts and Humanities Research: Recognizes distinguished achievement in humanities scholarship and work in the creative, visual and performing arts

  • Jennifer Sessions, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Faculty Communicating Ideas Award: Recognizes excellence in communication about research and scholarship in the sciences and humanities and the study of creative, visual and performing arts to a general audience directly or via print and electronic media.

  • Corinne Peek-Asa, Ph.D., Professor/Associate Dean for Research, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, College of Public Health

Staff Awards

Distinguished Research Administrator Award: Recognizes a staff member who supports research by exploring funding opportunities, assisting in grant proposal preparation, submission, post-award administration and operational support.

  • Linda Liu Hand, Director of the Office of Nursing Research and Scholarship, College of Nursing

Distinguished Research Professional Award: Recognizes a staff member who provides support for research by conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing results and performing operational duties associated with a laboratory or research program.

  • Liping Yu, Director, High Field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility, Carver College of Medicine

Postdoctoral Research Scholar/Fellow Research Excellence Award: This award honors postdoctoral scholar/fellow research performance and scholarly activity that is recognized as highly original work and makes a significant contribution to the field.

  • Laura Rogers, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, Carver College of Medicine

Graduate Student Research Excellence Awards

Graduate Research Excellence in fine arts, humanities and social sciences: This award honors students in terminal degree programs conducting research and scholarly activity that is recognized as highly original work and makes a significant contribution to the field.

  • Emily Kroska, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Graduate Research Excellence in biology, life, mathematical and physical sciences: This award honors students in terminal degree programs conducting research and scholarly activity that is recognized as highly original work and makes a significant contribution to the field.

  • Stephanie Alberico, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Neurology, Carver College of Medicine

New Student Innovator Awards

Student Innovator Awards: This award honors undergraduate and/or graduate students conducting research/scholarly innovation or new technology development that is recognized as highly original work and has led to intellectual property.

  • Kevin Urak, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Carver College of Medicine

Undergraduate Research Excellence Awards & Mentor Awards

Excellence in Undergraduate Research: These awards recognize outstanding accomplishments in scholarly investigation, artistic creation, or performance by University of Iowa undergraduates.

  • Lance Heady, Junior, Department of Biochemistry and Neurobiology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Anya Kim, Junior, Department of Biology and Spanish, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Laura Fischer, Junior, Departments of Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Chinese Languages and Literature, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Angela Schab, Junior, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Astrid Montuclard, Junior, Department of Chinese Languages and Literature, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Distinguished Mentor Award

  • E. Dale Abel, M.D., Ph.D., Chair/Department Executive Officer, Department of Internal Medicine, Carver College of Medicine
  • Gordon Buchanan, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, Carver College of Medicine

2016 Student Startup of the Year Awards

  • HealthTech Solutions, Inc. – Eric Pahl, Ph.D. candidate in Health Informatics, BSE, College of Engineering, and Dalton Shaull, BS, Health and Human Physiology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

2016 Faculty/Staff Startup of the Year Award

  • RAMDO Solutions, LLC – Kyung K. Choi, Ph.D., CEO, Professor Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, and Nicholas Gaul, Ph.D., Lead Developer and Chief Operations Officer

Also recognized were 2016 license and option recipients and patent recipients.

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development provides resources and support to researchers and scholars at the University of Iowa and to businesses across Iowa with the goal of forging new frontiers of discovery and innovation and promoting a culture of creativity that benefits the campus, the state, and the world. More at http://research.uiowa.edu, and on Twitter: @DaretoDiscover.