MADISON, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin System announces the selection of three 2020 Regent Scholar recipients distinguished for their extraordinary efforts in support of undergraduate research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Prior to the COVID-19 restrictions now in place, faculty scholars from three UW System institutions were to be honored at the April meeting of the UW System Board of Regents.

The Regent Scholar program recognizes individual faculty or campus programs that undertake undergraduate research projects having the potential to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent development. The program, which was introduced in 2014, is designed to stimulate faculty-student collaborative research.

“The UW System recognizes that innovative research within our institutions is critical to improving the human condition and building a promising future for Wisconsinites,” said Regent Robert Atwell, chair of the Board’s Research, Economic Development, and Innovation (REDI) Committee, which administers the Regent Scholar grants.

Eligibility is open to all UW System university faculty with goals of:

  • Providing summer funding for faculty to engage in research and other scholarly activities;
  • Promoting stellar research and internship experiences for students, thus preparing a high-quality workforce;
  • Stimulating innovation across all UW System campuses, ultimately driving regional economic development; and
  • Recognizing superior and undergraduate research in the STEM disciplines and creative arts field at the Board of Regents level.

“Our UW System faculty and students are doing amazing research. It is important to recognize this vital work and celebrate the individuals who spearhead these innovations,” said UW System President Ray Cross.

Arjun Sanga, President of WiSys, along with Jennifer Souter, Director of Patents & Licensing for WiSys, managed the Regent Scholar program again this year. WiSys is an independent, nonprofit supporting organization for the UW System that advances scientific research throughout the state by patenting technologies developed out of the universities and licensing these inventions to companies capable of developing them to benefit Wisconsin and beyond.

The 2020 UW System Regent Scholar grant recipients are:

  • Elizabeth Glogowski, Associate Professor of Materials Science & Engineering, UW-Eau Claire
    New Branched Stimuli Responsive Polymers for Architectural Coating Applications

Project description: Dr. Glogowski’s research is focused on new technologies to improve architectural coatings, particularly materials that will control the viscosity and dispersion of titanium dioxide particulates. Intellectual property protections will also be pursued for these new materials during product development and complement the ongoing work of Dr. Glogowski with WiSys on other stimuli-responsive polymer dispersant structures for architectural coatings.

Award Winner Video:

  • Karyn Frick, Professor of Psychology, UW-Milwaukee
    Potential memory-enhancing effects of the novel estrogen receptor beta agonist EGX358 in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease

Project description: Dr. Frick developed EGX358, an estrogen receptor beta-selective agonist to test the effects on memory formation and brain function in a female mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This innovative project will not only advance research into potential AD therapeutics, but also create new intellectual property and spur job creation and workforce development at UW-Milwaukee, Estrigenix Therapeutics, Inc., and elsewhere in Milwaukee.

Award Winner Video:

  • Prajukti (Juk) Bhattacharyya, Professor of Geography, Geology, and Environmental Science, UW-Whitewater

Developing Prototype Multimodal Sensors and Wireless Network System for Landslide Monitoring and Early Warning

Project description: Dr. Bhattacharyya recognized that there is no uniform system for landslide monitoring, or an instrument to sense multiple factors leading to landslides, perform risk assessment based on the cumulative effects of different risk factors, or provide early warning via electronic communication for evacuation and mitigation purposes. This project aims to design a prototype for such a multimodal sensing mechanism with a built-in algorithm capable of assessing landslide risk and generating early warnings via electronic communication.

Award Winner Video:

These grants are awarded competitively based on recommendations by a selection committee that included entrepreneurs, technical experts, and academic specialists in a variety of fields:

  • Kelly Berry – Adjunct/Associate Lecturer, UW – Eau Claire; Owner of ResourceAbility (Eau Claire, Wis.)
  • Tracy Davidson – Director of STEM and Applied Research Initiatives, UW System (Madison, Wis.)
  • Teresa Esser – Managing Director of Silicon Pastures (Milwaukee, Wis.)
  • Pehr Anderson – Chairman of Silicon Pastures (Milwaukee, Wis.)
  • Aaron Hagar – Vice President of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (Madison, Wis.)
  • Mark Tyler – Past President/CEO, OEM Fabricators; UW System Regent Emeritus and selection committee chair (Woodville, Wis.)
  • Vicki Updike – Owner of New Sage Strategies (Appleton, Wis.)
  • Steve Wilcox – President and Founder of The Resultants (River Falls, Wis.)


The University of Wisconsin System serves approximately 170,000 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, the UW System is Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, putting graduates in position to increase their earning power, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. More than 80 percent of in-state UW System graduates stay in Wisconsin five years after earning a degree. The UW System provides a 23:1 return on state investment. UW System institutions also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy.

Media Contact

Mark Pitsch UW System (608) 265-3419