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UW System Regent Scholars honored for research, innovation, entrepreneurship

February 11, 2015

Five recipients of the new Regent Scholar awards were honored by the Research, Economic Development, and Innovation (REDI) committee at the UW Board of Regents’ Feb. 5 meeting in Madison, Wisconsin.

The UW System Regent Scholar program was introduced last fall to recognize and reward innovative faculty-student research and to provide support for collaborative UW project initiatives with Wisconsin business and industry.

“These grants recognize and honor outside-the-box thinking by UW faculty and undergraduates across Wisconsin. The awards provide recognition at the highest level for work done by our dedicated and talented faculty to prepare a high-quality workforce for the 21st-century economy and ultimately to accelerate business and community development statewide,” said UW System President Ray Cross.

Regent Tim Higgins, chair of the REDI committee, said: “The Regent Scholar program was developed and designed to encourage cutting-edge undergraduate research projects that have the potential to lead to job creation and foster entrepreneurship. These first recipients are shining examples of the innovative and exciting work that is being done on our UW campuses.”

Key objectives of the new Regent Scholar program include providing summer funding support for faculty to engage in research and other scholarly activities while stimulating innovation and industry outreach at UW System campuses across a wide spectrum of academic pursuits.

UW System Regent Scholar recipients for 2015 include the following: Jennifer Dahl, UW-Eau Claire; Heather Schenck, UW-La Crosse; Junhong Chen, UW-Milwaukee; Christopher Harteb, UW-Stevens Point; and Tim Lyden, UW-River Falls.

Lyden received a $50,000 grant for the development and testing of a new miniature bioreactor system prototype as an enabling technology for the “living biopsy” approach to cancer research and diagnosis.

The project couples scientific insights from 3D artificial tissue generation research done with undergraduate researchers at the UWRF Tissue and Cellular Innovation Center with an existing technology from industrial partner Microscopy Innovations, LLC of Marshfield, Wisconsin. This technology will facilitate screening and testing of therapeutic approaches to cancerous tumors. The initiative additionally supports biotechnology start-up company Artificial Tissue Systems, LLC, in western Wisconsin.

Grants were awarded competitively based on recommendations by a selection committee made up of both public and private sector experts.