The second annual Celebrate U event, a showcase of extraordinary achievements by faculty who have reached a pinnacle of professional success in 2016, was held at the S.J. Quinney College of Law School on April 5, 2017. Celebrate U is hosted by the Marriott Library and by the Office of Vice President for Research. This year’s list of honorees includes 33 researchers, five creative works, 11 authors and two entrepreneurs. Below is a sample of highlighted works. For more visit the Celebrate U page.

Creative Works

Lien Fan Shen, Film & Media Arts, “Seeing Through the Eyes of Crocodiles
Animated short documentary film

“Seeing through the Eyes of Crocodiles” is an animated short documentary. Referencing and rotoscoping video documentation of interviews with T, a sexual identity of lesbian butches in Taiwan, this short explores their sexuality, pleasure, and their views of female masculinity in Taiwan. “Seeing Through the Eyes of Crocodiles” was awarded the College of Fine Arts Creative and Scholarly Award and screened in Bejing Queer Film Festival, Shanghai Pride Film Festival, TWIST Seattle Queer Film Festival and won the Best Editing Award in Shanghai Pride.

Steven Roens, Music, “Specific Gravity: Music of Steven Roens
CD-length recording of original compositions

This creative work is a CD of exclusively musical compositions, produced and distributed by Centaur Records, Inc. When Steven Roens began his career as a composer, it was important and common for composers to have one or more pieces on a mixed CD. Eventually it became important for composers to have a complete CD of their own music. This would be the equivalent of a book for someone in another discipline. Centaur Records is one of the oldest and largest recording companies in the U.S.


Dale Clayton and Sarah Bush, Biology, “Coevolution of Life on Hosts: Integrating Ecology and History
Describes how hosts and their parasites evolve in response to one another

The book introduces coevolution on both ecological (short) and historical (long) time scales. It emphasizes the integration of various approaches for testing coevolutionary hypotheses. Recent work in coevolutionary biology has demonstrated coadaptation between host and parasite species in response to reciprocal selection processes. Fewer studies have studied how coadaptation affects the diversity of species that interact with host-parasite pairs. Clayton and Bush review studies that attempt to fill that gap. The overriding question addressed is “how do ecological interactions influence patterns of codiversification?” Many of the examples in the book involve parasitic lice of birds and mammals. Lice and their hosts are unusually tractable systems for studies that attempt to integrate coevolutionary ecology and history.

Christopher DuVal, Theatre, “Stage Combat Arts: An Integrated Approach to Acting, Voice, and Text Work + Video
Details foundational techniques for stage combat and actor-movement disciplines

The art of armed and unarmed stage combat thrills actors and audiences alike the world over. This book details many of the foundational techniques used by actors studying stage combat and actor-movement disciplines with instructional media recorded using the Marriott Library’s video studio services. A variety of specific training exercises are described that connect the actor’s imagination to a cohesive and meaningful actor-training curriculum — integrating stage combat with the actor’s process of developing a fully embodied awareness of the physical life of the character.

Christopher Wasden, Entrepreneurship & Strategy, “Tension: The Energy of Innovation
Outlines how adults can regain their natural creative genius, lost through the institutional conformity of school and work

The challenge facing today’s business leaders is how to transform the tension between running the businesses of today and innovating to build the businesses of tomorrow — how to change and innovate while dealing with the relentless and rapid changes buffeting us daily. “Tension: The Energy of Innovation” teaches readers how to ride the innovation cycle and lifecycle to discover brilliant ideas and drive those ideas forward through all four phases of innovation development to achieve large scale success.


Carl Wittwer, School of Medicine, “BioFire Diagnostics
Developed a way to return blood test results within hours, not days

The goal of BioFire Diagnostics is to increase the speed of quality medical diagnostics. Focusing first on DNA testing, BioFire can amplify and characterize DNA in less than one minute. Amplification is done by an extreme polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique, where the reaction components are increased in concentration to complete PCR in as little as 15 seconds. This is followed by high-speed melting analysis, where the two strands of DNA are separated by temperature, revealing a melting fingerprint that can be completed in less than 10 seconds. The most important application is in rapid detection of infectious diseases. People and their instruments may be sometimes slow, but biochemistry is fast.

Florian Solzbacher, Electrical & Computer Engineering “Blackrock Microsystems
Developed out-of-the-box systems that process and analyze neurological signals in real-time

Solzbacher has focused on enabling personalized healthcare through the development of implantable and harsh-environment microsystems that can monitor and modulate physiological parameters. These parameters are critical in understanding pathological pathways and development of new treatment options. As an engineer and entrepreneur, Solzbacher is convinced that the real litmus test for any technology or device is whether it has impact in the real world. His devices and technologies as commercialized through Blackrock Microsystems and Blackrock Neuromed are today used in hundreds of laboratories and hospitals. The brain implant devices and products enabling neuroprosthetic control of prosthesis and external devices were featured in the 2015 presidential State of the Union Address and in President Barack Obama’s farewell address in late 2016.


Jorge L. Contreras, College of Law, “Publications on Intersection of Intellectual Property, Antitrust Law, Technology Standardization and Scientific Discovery

Intellectual property can provide the right balance of protection and openness

How much protection should the law give to inventions and scientific discoveries? Minimal protection allows others to easily steal or copy inventions, which may discourage inventors to continue projects. However, too much protection could stop others from improving an existing invention and making scientific progress. Contreras analyzes different industries to determine the right balance of protection that intellectual property can provide. His research focuses on the institutional structures and policy implications of intellectual property, technical standardization and scientific research in fields ranging from telecommunications, biomedical research and green technologies.

Sihem Boudina, College of Health, “Regulation of Fat and Energy Expenditure in Humans and Animals

Formation and expansion of fat cells in response to increased intake of calories and reduction during weight loss

The fight against worldwide obesity could be won through understanding how our bodies shrink fat cells and create more healthy cells. Sihem Boudina’s research analyzes how obesity causes disease and associated cardiovascular complications. Specifically, Boudina’s lab focuses on deciphering the mechanisms underlying adipose tissue expansion in health and disease. The laboratory also studies the process of forming new fat cells (adipogenesis) from precursor cells both in humans and in mice. Because adipose tissue expansion is also regulated by the process of energy expenditure, Boudina’s research involves the study of the molecular mechanisms in the regulation of energy expenditure. One such mechanism is mediated by changing the chemistry of the fat cells.

Shelley D. Minteer, Chemistry, Bioelectrosynthesis of Ammonia from Nitrogen and Hydrogen

Producing ammonia, important for agriculture, via an energy efficient method

Ammonia production is a very inefficient and energy intense process, but necessary for the production of fertilizer for agricultural purposes. Minteer’s research has translated this high temperature and high pressure process to an electrochemical process that operates at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. Rather than consuming energy, this process produces electricity and could lead to decreased consumption of non-renewable natural gas and petroleum products.

Julie Fritz, Health, Optimizing Spinal Manipulative Therapy (SMT) Protocols

Why manipulating or “cracking” the back is beneficial to many who suffer with low back pain

Back pain is the leading cause of disability world wide. Some obtain relief from manipulation of the spine, but the mechanisms underlying the benefit of this common treatment have remained elusive. Fritz’ prior research has identified physiologic effects that appear related to benefits from spinal manipulation treatment, including impacts on stiffness of the spine and activation of trunk muscles. The goal of this research is to examine strategies and use these effects to optimize treatment protocols. The results of this project will provide critical information for future clinical trials related to spinal manipulation.