Two UW-Madison teams chosen 2021 WARF Innovation Award winners

Two UW-Madison teams chosen 2021 WARF Innovation Award winners


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.”

See the other 2021 WARF Innovation Award finalists