UTSA Innovation Awards Celebrate Faculty Research Excellence | UTSA today | UTSA

Chiung-Yu Hung, associate professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, was named Innovator of the Year at the 10th Annual UTSA Innovation Awards.

NOVEMBER 16, 2022 — UTSA’s Office of Commercialization and Innovation (OCI) hosted its 10th annual Innovation Awards, recognizing and celebrating milestones in applied research innovations from the campus research community.

Presented in four categories this year, these annual awards are key indicators of UTSA’s marketing success. This year’s event celebrated 22 researchers for their contributions, including the Innovator of the Year.

“UTSA has been focused on growing and diversifying our innovation ecosystem. With the recent $15 million NSF award for the Southwest I-Corps Hub, we are giving our research community additional resources and support systems to create new technologies and products,” said Rod McSherryUTSA Associate Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development.

Part of this growth is the expansion of UTSA faculty members into the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

The keynote speaker for this year’s event was Robert Duncanprofessor of physics at Texas Tech University and member of the NAI and board member, who highlighted the life-changing impacts professors’ inventions have on the world, resulting in trillions of dollars in generated revenue and millions of jobs created.


The Innovator of the Year is Chiung Yu Hung, Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. She is an expert in coccidioides, also known as San Joaquin Valley fever, an infectious fungal disease that affects the respiratory system. Focused on the development of therapeutics, diagnostics and vaccines against these Coccidioides infections, she is currently developing a human vaccine with recombinant antigen and mRNA technologies with recent funding from the National Institutes of Health.

With a five-year, $6.8 million grant from the NIH last year, Hung established a research unit that is developing therapeutics and vaccines for valley fever. It has filed six patents, all related to Coccidioides, including antigens, associated strains and copies for vaccine use (human and veterinary animals) against coccidioidomycosis.

Hung is co-director of the Vaccine Development Center in San Antonio and executive

committee member of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases. She is a member of the American Association of Immunologists, American Society for Microbiology, Medical Mycological Society of the Americas (MMSA), and Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).

With nearly 70 peer-reviewed publications, Hung’s research has been featured in the Mushroom Diary, Frontiers in cellular and infectious microbiology, International Journal of Nanomedicine and the Journal of Immunology.


Recipients of granted patents, trademarks and/or copyrights receive a plaque and certificate commemorating their award.

There were 11 patent recipients with 12 patents granted in 2022, including:

11,129,811 Methods and compositions for preventing or treating bacterial infections; Mr. Neal Guentzel
>> Compounds for the treatment of highly resistant pathogens

11,137,399 Coccidioides tube-precipitin antigen posadasii; Jieh-Juen Yu, Chiung-Yu Hung
>> Composition and methods of detection of coccidioidomycosis

11,182,597 systems and methods for assessing individual, group and crowd engagement and emotional attention; Paul Rad
>> Automatically assess the engagement and listening of people in a group

11 212 018 computer systems, methods and programs for locating wireless local area networks; David Akopi and Nikolaos Gatsis
>> Method for determining location using wireless radios

11,214,591 enzyme compositions, steroid derivatives, enzyme inhibitors and associated manufacturing methods for pharmaceutical applications; Francois Yoshimoto
>> Enzyme inhibitors for the treatment of obesity and cardiovascular diseases

11,260,162 Airway Suction Device; Yusheng Feng
>> A device that helps clear a patient’s airway

11,304,916 Methods and compositions for the treatment of Shiga toxicosis; Stanton McHardy
>> Pharmaceutical compositions for the treatment of Shiga toxicosis

11,105,932 Lightweight distributed signing protocol for mobile computing and IoT devices; Raymond Kim-Kwang Choo
>> An efficient and secure bipartite distributed cryptographic signature protocol

11,377,420 Compositions and methods of making donor-acceptor azetines; Michel Patrick Doyle
>> New methodology for the attachment of chiral peptide units to a variety of amines and alcohols

11,401,243 Quinoline-derived small molecule nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT) inhibitors and uses thereof; Stanton McHardy
>> NNMT inhibitors as therapeutics for treating various diseases/conditions.

11,413,336 Coccidioides antigens and methods of their use; Chiung Yu Hung
>> Methods and compositions for treating or preventing a fungal infection, in particular an infection by a Coccidioides species


Two marks were issued to nine recipients, all from the UTSA Center for Infrastructure Insurance and Security. (CIAS).

6,571,821 ISAO Standardization Organization Gregory White, Larry Sjelin

6,550,120 Cybear; Gregory White, Donovan Medina, Noah Bonaguidi, Larry Sjelin, Garett Fox, Josef Klein, Travis Sjelin, Angel Cruz, Julina Macy


The second category is for innovators whose optional or licensed technology has generated returns for the university. This year, there is a recipient.

interactive augmented reality devices and methods; John Quarles

>> Patient simulation in augmented reality


The third category highlights faculty, staff, students, and team mentors who have participated in the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps™ program. This accelerator takes a mentored research team through the customer discovery process so they can better understand what is needed in the market and what a business will need to do to be successful. To date, UTSA has sent 18 teams to the I-Corps National Cohort, including this year’s teams:

  • The first team was led by Dr. R.Lyle Hood in the same way Zach Fallon and Saketh Ram Periacting as joint venture leaders, and Robert Graham, serving as an industry mentor.
  • The second team was led by Gianluca Zanella in the same way Tony Treser and Emmanuel Oluga act as lead joint venturers, and Thornton Batesserving as an industry mentor.

Part of UTSA’s Office for Research, Economic Development and Knowledge Enterprise, Innovation and Commercialization works with faculty to facilitate technology transfer and commercialization and to assist university-industry partnerships . They manage a portfolio of more than 300 technologies, mainly in cyber, biosciences (including medical devices) and advanced materials. In 2022, the team filed 37 patents and saw 15 patents issued. It has made 35 new invention disclosures and two licenses/options.

In 2022, UTSA contributed 21 patents to the collective efforts of the UT system, doubling its contribution percentage from the previous year. UT System has ranked in the Top 5 of 100 global universities with U.S. utility patents in the past four years, taking third place in 2022.

“This 10th annual Innovation Awards is a milestone celebration that allows us to recognize how far our innovation community has grown,” added Christine Burque, Director of UTSA Marketing and Innovation. Programs supporting entrepreneurship and the success of innovations developed at the university include the Team Mentoring Program, Venture Mentor Service-SA, the New Venture Incubator, a wet lab start-up space for businesses that need to secure their first location, and workshops for the I-Body Accelerator Program.

UTSA is also a member of the NSF I-Corps Hub: Southwest Region, part of the NSF-led National Innovation Network (NIN), accelerating the translation of discoveries into new solutions that benefit society in the region. .

The campus also has a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit for students, with entrepreneurship Bootcamps, an online entrepreneurship academy, several business plan competitions, and support from the Blackstone LaunchPad.

“This year’s awards truly recognize the ingenuity and agility of our research community in meeting the needs of our communities and impacting research. Researchers continue to innovate and contribute to our national and international reputation as an R1 institution,” said Jaclyn ShawActing Vice President for Research, Economic Development and Knowledge Enterprise.

UTSA is a Tier 1 research university and Hispanic service institution specializing in cyber, health, future fundamentals, and socioeconomic transformation. With an emphasis on transdisciplinary collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship, UTSA leverages its research and development capabilities to benefit the San Antonio community and the world beyond.

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