Campus News

2015 Creative Research Awards

Jerry Johnson

Creative Research Awards are given in the sciences, the arts and humanities and the social and behavioral sciences to recognize outstanding bodies of work that have gained broad recognition.

Inventor’s Award
for a unique and innovative discovery that has made an impact on the community

Jerry Johnson, a professor of crop and soil sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, has developed or co-developed a total of 44 new small grain crop varieties, including several wheat and barley cultivars. His research particularly focuses on the development of plant seeds or tissues that resist common diseases and pests, such as leaf rust, powdery mildew and Hessian fly.

Johnson continues to release approximately two new wheat varieties each year. The total gross license revenue received by the UGA Research Foundation from the commercialization of his varieties totals nearly $3 million. With other land-grant universities, he was also instrumental in establishing the Sungrains Cooperative Breeding Group, a small grain breeding and marketing effort that gives private industry a valuable source for elite new plant varieties. The discoveries made in Johnson’s lab continue to benefit farmers throughout the Southeast, who are constantly searching for new crop varieties that promise to increase yields.


Academic Entrepreneur of the Year Award
for a faculty member who has started a company within the past four years based on research originated at UGA

Steven Stice, D.W. Brooks Distinguished Professor, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and director of the Regenerative Bioscience Center, has led industry and academic research teams in the area of pluripotent stem cells for over 20 years. Prior to joining the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UGA, Stice worked for a Fortune 500 company and was co-founder, CSO and CEO of Advanced Cell Technology, the only U.S. company currently in human clinical trials using human pluripotent stem cells.

Stice’s entrepreneurial spirit continues at UGA, where he co-founded four startup companies: Prolinia, Cytogenesis, which later merged with what is now ViaCyte, ArunA Biomedical and SciStem. ArunA was the first company to commercialize a product derived from human pluripotent stem cells, and the company has developed stem cells that were used to facilitate approval of Pfizer’s current cognitive enhancing pharmaceuticals.


Albert Christ-Janer Award
for distinguished achievements in the arts and humanities

Sunkoo Yuh, a professor of art in Franklin College’s Lamar Dodd School of Art, is a renowned artist and sculptor whose works have been featured in galleries throughout the world. Calling on the rich cultural and artistic heritage of his native Korea, Yuh draws images intuitively and spontaneously with ink and brush.

After studying his drawings carefully, he transforms those he cherishes most into three-dimensional ceramic sculptures that express his relationships, life experiences and memories. Featuring tight groupings of various forms, including plants, animals, fish and human figures, his work is driven by implied narratives that often suggest socio-political critiques.

In the last decade, Yuh has been invited to participate in 72 group exhibitions, and he is represented by four galleries in Florida, Massachusetts, New York and Philadelphia. Yuh’s work also is included in 20 permanent museum collections, including the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Art in Houston.


Lamar Dodd Award
for distinguished achievements in the sciences

Geert-Jan Boons, Distinguished Professor in Biochemical Sciences, is a world leader in glycoscience and synthetic chemistry. His discoveries have provided new insights into a variety of infectious and immunological processes, and many of the compounds developed in his laboratory are entering clinical evaluation.

A faculty member in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Boons is best known for co-developing a vaccine that trains the immune system to recognize and attack tumors. In a mouse model that mimics human breast and pancreatic cancer, this vaccine shrunk tumor size by an average of 80 percent.

He also is recognized widely for developing one of the first methods to synthesize asymmetrical N-glycans, which are complex structures that are essential for normal cell function. This discovery will allow the scientific community to develop a better understanding of how complex carbohydrates function and how to fight against the diseases some of them cause.


William A. Owens Award
for distinguished achievements in the social and behavioral sciences

W. Keith Campbell, department head and a professor of psychology in Franklin College, is a nationally recognized expert on narcissism, society and generational change.

Narcissism-an inflated and grandiose sense of self-is associated with a range of social problems. Campbell’s research focuses on the role of narcissism in close relationships, organizations, cultural trends and broader sociological and economic issues. He has demonstrated that narcissists devalue and destabilize their close relationships with friends and loved ones, and his work also shows that narcissistic leaders can be both charismatic and cause significant problems in organizations. Campbell has examined narcissistic behavior on social media like Facebook, and he currently is examining the phenomena of geek culture and selfies.

In addition to his numerous research articles, Campbell is author of the books When You Love a Man Who Loves Himself and The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement and co-editor of The Handbook of Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.