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RESEARCH LIVE! Past winners

A view of the CIF Atrium

See recordings of all Research Live! finalists in MediaSpace.

2024 Winners

  • Grand Prize: Kyle Timmer, "A Biomimetic Scaffold to Improve Rotator Cuff Shoulder Repair" (Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering)
  • Design Award: Andrew Freeman, "Breaking the Ice: Fast and Reliable Aircraft Wing Deicing" (Electrical Engineering)
  • Impact Award: Satinderpal Kaur, "Flooding, Food Security and Plant-insect Interactions" (Entomology)
  • Visionary Award: Vincent Carlson, "Shatterpoints: An Adaptation Theory" (Theatre)
  • Storyteller Award: Vignesh Srinivasakuma, "AI Teaches AI to Teach" (Computer Science)
  • People's Choice: Dhanush Gandavadi, "Origami for Cancer Therapy" (Bioengineering)


  • Aravind Baby (Materials Science and Engineering)
  • Anwesh Bhattacharya (Computer Science)
  • Byron Juma (Recreation, Sport and Tourism)
  • Alexandra Richmond (Special Education)
  • Julia Stowell (Music)
  • Kshitij Tewari (Recreation, Sport and Tourism)

2023 Winners

  • Grand Prize: Charles Nudelman, "Preventing Vocal Injuries in Teachers Using Voice Acoustic Biomarkers and Immersive Virtual Reality" (Speech and Hearing Science)
  • Design Award: Erick Hernandez Alvarez, "How Much is a Color Worth? Quantum Dots Can Tell You!" (Materials Science and Engineering)
  • Impact Award: Ricky Price, "Why Work Matters" (Special Education)
  • Innovation Award: Yaman Yu, "How do Internet Users from Bangladesh and India Deal with Targeted Ads on Social Media? (Information Science)
  • Storyteller Award: Joe Mirabelli, "How Ecological Perspectives Can Help Address Graduate Student Stress" (Educational Psychology)
  • People's Choice: Abdulgafar Sulaiman, "Be Asphalt, My Friend!" (Civil Engineering)


  • Nicole DelMastro-Jeffrey, "Mapping at the Margins of Environmental Justice and Racial Equity in Education" (Education Policy, Organization and Leadership)
  • Nina Frye, "Why Are You the Way That You Are?: Antiracism in Public School Teachers" (Education Policy, Organization and Leadership)
  • Yash Laxman Kamble, "Color Changing Smart Materials: Rethinking Material Synthesis" (Chemical Engineering)
  • Breanna Metras, "Keeping Kefir Authentic" (Nutritional Sciences)
  • William Nguyen, "The Gut Microbiome: The Invisible Heroes of Your Health" (VMS - Comparative Biosciences)
  • Taiylor Rayford, "'What Did You Expect?': The Importance of Expectations and a Sense of Belonging" (Educational Psychology)

Watch each of the 2023 finalist presentations via the recording of the 2023 Research Live! Finalist Showcase.

2022 Winners

  • 1st Place: Alex Gagliano, "A New Eye on the Exploding Sky" (Astronomy)
  • 2nd Place: Tawni Williams, "Piglet Behavior Analysis" (Animal Sciences)
  • 3rd Place: Ipshita Upadhyay, "Shots Against Cholera" (VMS - Pathobiology)
  • People's Choice: Adam Nelczyk, "Frying Cured Meat Awakens Dormant Breast Cancer Cells" (Molecular and Integrative Physiology)

2022 Finalists

  • Alicia Cabrera-Prado, "Reshaping U.S. Dual language Teacher Training With Study Abroad" (Education Policy, Organization and Leadership)
  • Meghan Connolly, "Does the Immune System Play a Role in Neurodevelopmental Disorders?" (Neuroscience)
  • Apurva Godbole, "Is it a Stem Cell? Developing a New Tool to Phenotype Cells" (Chemical Engineering)
  • Katlin Harris, "Bands and Brands in the Wake of Union Demands" (Musicology)
  • Ian Ludden, "From Sharing Cake to Fairer Voting Districts" (Computer Science)
  • Giavanna McCall, "Examining the Effects of Reading Engagement on Cognition" (Educational Psychology)
  • Azlan Smith,"Voices: Crowd-Sourced Storytelling" (Creative Writing)
  • Kerry Xu, "Your Neurons are Playing the Telephone Game" (Chemistry)
  • Jiadi Zhang, "Heritage Language Maintenance and Bilingual Education" (Curriculum and Instruction)

Watch each of the 2022 finalist presentations via the recording of the 2022 Research Live! Finalist Showcase.

2021 Winners

  • 1st Place: Sherry Yi, "Using Videogames to Spark Interest for Learning" (Educational Psychology)
  • 2nd Place: Shonit Nair Sharma, "Paperometer: A Low-cost Incentive Spirometer" (Medicine)
  • 3rd Place: Joseph Puthussery, "Ambient Particulate Matter Induced Toxicity" (Environmental Engineering in Civil Engineering)
  • People's Choice: Maitreyee Sharma Priyadarshini, "Trying Not to Burnout, Literally!" (Aerospace Engineering)


  • Sara Bell, "Single Cell Chemistry of the Brain" (Chemistry)
  • Caitlin Bloomer, "Mapping the Route to Crayfish Conservation" (Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences)
  • Ragini Chakraborty, "Bodies at the Borders: Exploring Gendered Violence During 1947 Partition" (Comparative Literature)
  • Karen Chiu, "Phthalates: The Everywhere Ingredient" (Nutritional Sciences)
  • Hanna Dahlstrom, "Preserving Videogames in the 21st Century" (Library & Information Science)
  • Travis Dore, "Hydro All the Way Down" (Physics)
  • Taylor Jorgensen, "Circadian Rhythms in Astrocytes" (Neuroscience)
  • Aubrie Powell, "Why Consider Country?" (Musicology)

2019 Winners

  • 1st Place: Rebecca Andrus, "Can We Reinvent the Toilet" (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
  • 2nd Place: Lucas Buccafusca, "The Tragedy of the Wind Turbine" (Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering)
  • 3rd Place: Mary E. Lyons, "In an Era of Academic Rigor, Play in Kindergarten" (Curriculum and Instruction)
  • People's Choice: Sana Saboowala, "Investigating the Biological Effects of Historical Trauma in South Asia" (Integrative Biology)

2019 Finalists

  • Mehmet Yalcin Aydin, "Who is Smarter? Tomopology Optimization of Heat Sinks" (Mechanical Science and Engineering)
  • Mayank Boob, "Two Ways to Fight Pressure" (Biophysics and Quantitative Biology)
  • Abhilasha Gulhane, "Vision of an Eye, Smile on the Face ... Can Telemedicine Help?" (Technology Management)
  • Dong Liu, "So Close Yet So Far: A Tale of Public Transit" (Geography and Geographic Information Science)
  • Srinivasu Mudalagiriyappa, "Toxoplasma Gondii - A Mind-Altering Parasite" (Pathobiology)
  • Gelson Pagan, "Understanding the Brain by Building BRaNEs" (Bioengineering)
  • Pranjali Priyadarshini, "Towards a Greener Chemistry: Direct Synthesis of Hydrogen Peroxide" (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)
  • Swati Rastogi, "Economic Efficacy of Mahila Bazaar (Women Vendors-only Market), Delhi, India" (Urban and Regional Planning)
  • Magen Rooney, "Accessibility of Work-Based Learning Experiences for Students with Severe Disabilities" (Special Education)

2018 Winners

  • 1st Place: Tim Yang, “On the Road to Self-Driving... Drivers?” (Kinesiology)
  • 2nd Place: Gabriel Piqué, “The University of Illinois Saxophone Ensemble: Exploring Old Works in A New Format” (Music)
  • 3rd Place: Dhawal Thakare, “Self-Healing Coatings: The Future of Smart Materials” (Mechanical Science & Engineering)
  • People's Choice: Kelly Clary, “Reducing Drug Use Among Emerging Adult Veterans” (Social Work)

2018 Finalists

  • Parinaz Fathi, “3D-Printed Gastrointestinal Stents” (Bioengineering)
  • Hope Holland, “Everyday Experiences of Street Harassment: Death by Paper Cut, or No Big Deal?” (Psychology)
  • Belinda Pacheco Johnson, “Lasers, Shockwaves, and the Initiation of Explosives” (Chemistry)
  • Collin Kaufman, “Using Cells to Make a Walking Robot” (Neuroscience)
  • Junghwan Kim, “Evaluating Public Transit Systems - From a User’s Perspective” (Geography)
  • Aditya Kumar, “How Soft Materials Break and Heal: Enabling the Development of Next-generation Materials” (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
  • Lee Ann Lyons, “Fighting the Uptick in Tick-Borne Disease” (Pathobiology)
  • Jennifer Leigh Sears Scheier, “From Bells to Headsets: The Untold History of the American Stage Manager” (Theatre)
  • Whitney Sinclair, “Inhale, Exhale” (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)

2017 Winners

  • 1st Place: Laura Adamovicz, "Turtles in Trouble: Applications of Health Assessment for Conservation" (Comparative Biosciences) 
  • 2nd PlaceElizabeth Davis, "Your Brain is Talking Directly to Your Stem Cells" (Neuroscience)
  • 3rd Place: Payel Kundu, "Harnessing Plant Compounds to Promote Healthy Aging" (Neuroscience)
  • People's Choice: Robby Goldman, "Unearthing the Secrets of Volcanic Eruptions" (Geology)

2017 Finalists

  • Adrienne Ertel, "Prehistoric Supernova: Unearthing the Remains of Exploding Stars in Ocean Material" (Astronomy)
  • Kartik Hegde, "Enabling Real-time Video Understanding Based on Deep Neural Networks" (Computer Science)
  • Huancui Hu, "Linking Atmospheric River Hydrological Impacts on the U.S. West Coast to Rossby Wave Breaking" (Atmospheric Sciences)
  • Derek Jung, "On the Shoulders of Giants" (Mathematics)
  • Elizabeth Maxwell, "Killing Cancer with Chemo-Beads" (Veterinary Science)
  • Cassandra Nikolaus, "The Student's Dilemma: Supper, Sleep or Social Life" (Human Nutrition)
  • Sree Kalyan Patiballa, "Auxetics: Materials for the Future (?)" (Systems & Entrepreneurial Engineering)
  • Jennifer Peruski, "Fetishizing the Foot: Mobility and Meaning in Indian Ocean Sandals" (Art History)
  • Sarvagya Sharma, "Diamonds: A Physicist's Best Friends" (Physics)

2016 Winners

  • 1st Place: Ritu Raman, "Bio-Bots: Building Beyond Biology" (Mechanical Engineering)
  • 2nd Place: Janelle Mapes, "What Makes Breast Cancer Cells Grow?" (Molecular & Integrative Physiology)
  • 3rd Place (tie): Christina Bronson-Lowe, "Complexity and oral motor learning: a path to better treatment of swallowing disorders?" (Speech & Hearing Science)
  • 3rd Place (tie): S.K. (Kayleigh) Van Poolen, "Started with a Hurricane Named Katrina" (Library & Information Science)
  • People's Choice: Vaibhav Karve, "Recognizing patterns in New York traffic" (Mathematics)

2016 Finalists

  • Arif Abdullah, "Mimicking Venus Flytrap: Autonomous Structures That Sense and Respond" (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Kamalika Chatterjee, "Studying mechanical deformation of aircraft materials : Have a safe flight!" (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Kyung Yun Choi, "Impact Resistant Prosthetic Hand: The Soft Overcomes The hard" (Aerospace Engineering)
  • William Davies, "Condensation on an Inclination" (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Jessica Hekman, "Domestication comes in on little feet -- like, microscopic ones" (Animal Sciences)
  • Jamie Pearson, "'You Need to Keep Those Kids Quiet': Autism in African American Communities" (Special Education)
  • Widya Aulia Ramadhani, "Please Remove Shoes: The Relation of Shoes Removal Practice, Transitional Space, and Human Health" (Architecture)
  • Jessica Saw, "Urinary Stones: A Product of Dynamic Interactions Between the Microbiome and Mineral Precipitation" (Molecular & Integrative Physiology)
  • Lisa Schlein, "A Novel Therapeutic Strategy for Brain Cancer" (Pathobiology)

2015 Winners

  • 1st Place: Ipek Tasan, “Finding Partners in Crime Causing Colon Cancer” (Biochemistry)
  • 2nd Place (tie): Marc R. Gancayco, “Sublancin: An Antibiotic with a Sweet Side” (Chemical Biology)
  • 2nd Place (tie): Vahid Mirshafiee, “Targeted Delivery of Anticancer Drugs to Tumors” (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)
  • People's Choice: Robin Holland, “Taking Down the Powerhouse” (Vet Med Pathobiology)

2015 Finalists

  • Himel Dev, “’Don’t Just Post and Regret, Ask Me Instead!!!’ – Cassandra” (Computer Science)
  • Ipek Ensari, “Effects of acute exercise on anxiety: Results of a meta-analysis” (Kinesiology)
  • Juan Gerardo, “Humanizing Mathematics Teaching” (Curriculum & Instruction)
  • Boon Chong Goh, “Solving 3D jigsaw puzzle of a young virus” (Physics)
  • Larisa Hussak, “From Wall St. to Planet Wuggy: What 4-year-olds’ Explanations Can Tell Us About Income Inequality in America” (Psychology)
  • Ismaeel Muhamed, “Decoding a cell’s body language” (Biochemistry)
  • Amir Saberi, “Planarians and their Parasitic Cousins” (Cell and Developmental Biology)