The Innovative Disclosures and Entrepreneurial Activities, IDEAs, awards recognize entrepreneurial individuals who have developed innovative approaches to research, teaching, and service. The competition, started in 2015, is hosted by the University’s Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization (OIPC). Any innovation developed by University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) or University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) faculty, staff, and students using university resources or as part of a class is eligible for the IDEAs awards. An innovation could be, for example, a new method of doing something, a product, a composition, or software. To be eligible for the IDEAS awards faculty, staff, and students need to have disclosed their technology through UAF’s Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization (OIPC) at https://uaf.edu/oipc/disclosure/. IDEAs awards recognize innovative solutions from submitted disclosures for the academic year under the following categories:
- Commercialization Award: Best overall.
- Nanook Award: All from UAF.
- Spike Award: All from UAS.
- Tomorrow’s Innovator Award: All students and post-doctoral researchers.
- Inspiration Award: All Faculty.
- Creative Award: All Staff.
Winners for the 2019 – 2020 academic year were handed out at the September 16th Innovation and Entrepreneurship event as part of UAF Honors College. All IDEAs winners were recognized for their disclosed innovative approaches to research, teaching, and service. The winners highlighted the diversity of disclosed innovations during the past academic year, 2019 – 2020.
Vertical Comet: A Novel Electrophoresis Assay
Inventors: Andrej Podlusky and Robert Williams
This award represents the best invention disclosure from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and the University of Alaska Southeast for the 2019 – 2020 academic year. It was developed by Dr. Andrej Podlutsky, UAF Institute of Arctic Biology and Department of Biology and Wildlife and Mr. Robert Williams, UAF graduate student. The invention is used for the detection of fragments of DNA due to damage or potentially intentional DNA manipulation. Their solution to the problem of interlab variability of results by eliminating the need for the imaging and analysis phases. Their innovation has been submitted as a U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 63/078,853 : Electrophoresis Array. Research supported by National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.
Personal Protective Equipment Mask: Emission Testing Methodology
Inventors: Orion Lawlor and Dayne Broderson
This award represents the best invention disclosure from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) for the 2019 – 2020 academic year. It was developed by Dr. Orion Lawlor, UAF College of Engineering and Mines, and Mr. Dayne Broderson, UAF Alaska Center for Energy and Power. Their invention is an enhanced PPE testing method to introduce emissions and test fit and fabric. A three-dimensional model developed to mount and tesk masks and quantitativel measure particle emission during respiration. The innovation was developed as part of Immediate Innovation for Coronavirus Project, with funding support from University of Alaska Center for Innovation, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship and Office of Naval Research .
Inventors: Wendy Croskrey, William Howard, Dan LaSota, and Christen Bouffard
This award represents the best Faculty-led disclosure from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) for the 2019 – 2020 academic year. This was developed by Prof. Croskrey, University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) College of Liberal Arts. Locally resourced spruce pitch wax was used to replace the petroleum-based models for use in molding and casting and to build sustainable products. Prof. Croskrey developed the innovation as part of UAF Chancellor’s Innovation in Technology and E-learning (CITE) Program as a 2018 - 2019 Fellow. The invention built recipes for wax casting and filament extrusion to enable students to modify local resources for their working practices.
Inventors: Michelle Wilber, Edward Toal, Alan Mitchell, Dayne Broderson, Ben Loeffler, Erin Whitney, and Chris Pike
This award represents the best Staff-led disclosure from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) for the 2019 – 2020 academic year. This was developed by University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) Research Engineer Michelle Wilber and her team. ORCA is an affordable plug-and-play technology to obtain power generation data from remote powerhouses. The invention will aid communities in the development and effective integration of renewable energy.
Inventors: Jonathan Kamler
This award represents the best UAF and UAS students and post-doctoral researcher-led disclosure for the 2019 – 2020 academic year. This was developed by University of Alaska Fairbanks PhD student Jonathan Kamler. With the invention, waterjet acts as a waveguide to deliver the laser energy. It can detect very low concentrations of contaminants, such as PFAS, in water. The liquid Raman spectroscopy approach is on par with the sensitivity of HPLC or LCMS. The invention reduces cost and improve sample processing speed.
Winners for the 2018 – 2019 academic year were handed out at the April 26th Innovation Day at the BP Design Theater on the 4th floor of the Engineering Learning and Innovation Facility.
Inventors: Tom Marsik, Riley Bickford, and Rorik Peterson
This award represents the best invention disclosure from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and the University of Alaska Southeast. This work was supported by Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC) and Office of Naval Research and through collaborations between CCHRC and UAF College of Engineering and Mines student and faculty. Dr. Marsik is the Research Director for the Cold Climate Housing Research Center and has a joint position with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he serves as an Associate Professor of Sustainable Energy for the UAF Bristol Bay Campus and Alaska Center for Energy and Power. Riley Bickford is undergraduate mechanical engineering student as well as an employee of CCHRC and Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP). Dr. Rorik Peterson is an Associate Professor in UAF’s College of Engineering and Mines (CEM).
Inventors: Robert (Trey) Coker, Robert Wolfe, and Freddy Wolfe (both at Essential Blends)
This invention was developed under a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Small Business Innovative Research grant and consists of a meal replacement that provides free form, vegan-sourced amino acids to protect muscle during weight loss. Its profile overcomes anabolic resistance in the elderly at the molecular transcription and translation sites of muscle protein. Dr. Coker is an Associate Professor of Biology: Clinical Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the Institute of Arctic Biology (IAB) and the Department of Biology and Wildlife in the College of Natural Science and Mathematics (CNSM). Trey is co-owner and managing partner of Essential Blends, LLC with co-founders Dr. Robert and Freddy Wolfe.
Inventors: Matthew R. Pawlus and Shane Bennett
This project was developed as part of a collaboration between Dr. Pawlus and undergraduate Shane Bennett supported through a Biomedical Learning and Student Training (BLaST) grant. Current algal toxin testing methods for shellfish are inefficient, inconvenient, and cost-prohibitive for recreational/subsistence shellfish gatherers. There is a need for a simple, inexpensive, portable, method of detecting toxins in shellfish is necessary for consumer health. “Low-tech” nematode bioassays using C. elegans are an incredibly sensitive and inexpensive way to detect a variety of harmful toxins quickly in shellfish tissue. The team constructed a home-based kit based on C. elegans bioassays can promote the recreational and subsistence use of shellfish and increase food security in remote regions of coastal Alaska. Dr. Pawlus as an Assistant Professor of Science at the Ketchikan Campus of the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) and Shane Bennett is an UAF/UAS undergraduate environmental engineering student.
Inventor: Andrew McDonnell
Dr. McDonnell is an Associate Professor of Chemical Oceanography in the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS). His research focuses on ocean biogeochemical cycles, marine particle dynamics, ocean acidification, oceanographic optics, and Alaska’s blue economy. His invention focused on a modular apparatus for the electrolytic production of hydrogen, oxygen, and alkalinized seawater for use in energy and industrial applications.
Inventor: Sam Jeffries
This was for the best invention disclosure from UAF and UAS staff. The winner was Sam Jeffries, a mechanical engineer at Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI) in the Geophysical Institute (GI), UAF. Sam developed an engineering mount for the Griffon SeaHunter unmanned aircraft system to integrate variety of payloads for scientific data collection and operational missions. This invention eliminates the need to make a new mount for every new payload for the large UAS, SeaHunter.
Inventors: Riley Bickford, Cory Florence, Sam Kendall, and David Woo
This was for the best invention disclosure from UAF and UAS students and post-doctoral researchers. The invention, Avy Pouch, was a collaborative venture with Entrepreneur Ray Huot and UAF students Riley Bickford, Cory Florence, Sam Kendall, and David Woo and was part of the UA Community Challenge. The students, all avid backcountry users and UAF mechanical engineering seniors, developed a new avalanche airbag system, an alternative design to Ray’s. The future of this student-designed Avy Pouch is currently being determined and may help Ray towards his goals. The invention consists of a Universal harness allows for attachment to any backpack, weighs 5.5 lbs. and is Designed to meet the European Avalanche Airbag Standards