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Morgan researcher Division of Research & Economic Development

Morgan State University’s 4th Annual ‘Innovation of the Year’ Awards Honors Accomplishments in Research and Invention

by Morgan State U
March 21, 2022

Display of Faculty, Staff and Student Ingenuity Further Advances University’s Commitment to Innovation and Excellence

BALTIMORE — Morgan State University’s Division of Research & Economic Development, Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) recently announced the winners of the fourth annual “Innovation of the Year” awards. The cohort of Morgan faculty, staff and students were recognized for their transformative research, invention and/or performance for the year 2021. Each year, the University celebrates the culmination of the groundbreaking work and investment exercised in campus research labs, classrooms and in the greater Baltimore community that exemplify one of the institution’s six core values: Innovation.

Held virtually, this year’s Innovation of the Year awards ceremony celebrated 18 members of Morgan’s research community for their significant contribution to their field of study and the successful claim to new inventions and methodologies by way of six newly awarded U.S. Patents. The event also distinguished research achievements during the previous year, including honors bestowed for intellectual property innovation awarded in the categories of Life Science, Physical Science, and Information Science, and community innovation awarded to a select student, instructor, and staffer.

innovation flag

Another highlight of the ceremony was the introduction and awarding of the inaugural David K. Wilson President’s Award for Innovation, which was awarded to Dr. Eric Conway, chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department and director of the MSU Choir, for his innovation in Chorale Instruction and Performing Arts.

The Innovation of the Year Awards was created by the University to celebrate campus-wide innovation and to recognize the contributions of the Morgan community and the progression of the university through innovative advancements. An outside panel of judges reviewed and selected the winners from a pool of Morgan innovators and innovations spanning a wide range of departments throughout the university. Innovations were evaluated based on their potential benefit to society, the improvement over existing technology, and commercial potential. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, Morgan’s commitment to attaining Carnegie’s R1 “Very High” Research classification is showcased in this recognition of ingenuity.

For the categories related to faculty, staff and student honors, a university panel selected the awardees from a group of finalists whose respective innovations had a positive impact on the university ecosystem. Awards were also presented to the Morgan inventors who had been granted patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The 2021 Innovation of the Year award winners include the following:

Intellectual Property Innovation Awards

Life Science Category

Dr. Shiva Mehravaran
Corneal Topographic Diagnostic Indices Based on Fellow-Eye Differences

A set of diagnostic indices has been developed to identify diseases of the cornea based on differences in corneal topographic maps between fellow eyes, enhanced through data mining and machine learning techniques. This invention compares fellow eye data to detect ectasia at its early stages to ensure patients receive proper treatment and avoid undergoing unnecessary surgical procedures.

Physical Science Category

Dr. Arlene Cole-Rhodes, Dr. Peter Taiwo
Mobile Multi-User MIMO Communications for Millimeter-Wave Networks 

The multiple-input, multiple output (MIMO) operation for a multiple transmitter and receiver communications network is simulated in software to explore the use of beam steering for communications between a base-station equipped with a massive MIMO antenna and multiple users who are each equipped with a single antenna or multiple antennas.

Information Science Category

Dr. Kevin Kornegay Dr. Kevin Kornegay, Dr. Hailu Kassa
Smart Antenna System

The Smart Antenna System combines two inventions developed by Dr. Kornegay and Dr. Kassa. One part is based on a system that consists of one serving base station with multiple mobile users forming a multipoint system at the base station. The base station uses both an omnidirectional antenna and smart antenna systems. The algorithms check bases stations’ traffic loading, and those with lesser loads within a target threshold number or the minimum user distance are switched into sleep mode.

Community Innovator of the Year Awardees

Student Innovator of the Year
Samson Gichuki, Biology Doctoral Candidate

Staff Innovator of the Year
Nancy Jackson, National Transportation Center

Instructional Innovator of the Year
Dr. Harold Morales, Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies


U.S. Patent Awardees

These innovation awards are presented to Morgan inventors that have been issued a U.S. Patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Dr. Viji Sitther and Somayeh Fathabad
Patent #10,793,883
Engineered cyanobacteria with enhanced lipid production (U.S. Patent issued: 10/16/2020) – Discovered a solution for generating an alternative source of biofuel from cyanobacteria in saline water, which is otherwise unsuitable for irrigating crops or for any other purpose. Novel recombinant cyanobacteria, F. diplosiphon, having enhanced lipid production and halotolerance is provided.

Dr. Viji Sitther and President David Wilson

Dr. Kevin Kornegay and Dr. Willie Thompson
Patent #10,831,894
Decentralized root-of-trust framework for heterogenous networks (U.S. Patent issued: 11/20/2020) – Engineered systems and methods for providing a trusted computing environment that provides data security in commodity computing systems. Such systems and methods deploy a flexible architecture comprised of distributed TPMs that are configured to establish a root-of-trust within a heterogeneous network environment comprised of non-TPM enabled IoT devices and legacy computing devices.

Dr. Kadir Aslan
Patent #10,894,084
Metal-assisted and microwave-accelerated decrystallization (U.S. Patent issued: 1/19/2021) – Produced a novel methodology that uses Metal-Assisted and Microwave-Accelerated De-crystallization (MAMAD) technology in which sterile metal colloids, preferably gold colloids, harness microwave energy in the removal of gout-inducing uric acid crystals deposited in human tissues and joints. This innovative method of treatment may improve the overall quality of life for millions of Americans suffering from the chronic pain caused by gout and its associated comorbidities and reduce the need for pharmaceutical drugs.

Dr. Alexander Samokhvalov
Patent #10,950,079
Method and apparatus for determining the authenticity of flat objects; bank notes, documents, security labels, and related items (U.S. Patent issued: 3/16/2021) – Developed a method and apparatus for determining authenticity of objects using synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy (SFS), a novel practice authenticating certain flat objects such as currency bills, formal documents, government IDs, product labels, and fabrics in branded apparel, which method and apparatus relies on synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy.

Dr. Michael Spencer, Mvs Chandrashekar, Joshua Letton, Abdulganiyu Ajilore, and Travis Williams
Patent #10,981,836
Laser induced graphitization of boron carbide in air (U.S. Patent issued: 4/20/2021) – Fabricated a process for the localized formation of graphene and diamond like structures on the surface of boron carbide through exposure to high intensity laser illumination; the byproduct of process, the creation of graphene has multiple applications including anti-corrosion coatings and paints, efficient and precise sensors, faster and efficient electronics, flexible displays, efficient solar panels, faster DNA sequencing, drug delivery, and more.

Dr. Arlene Cole-Rhodes and Dr. Peter Taiwo
Patent #11,005,540
Method and system for multiple input, multiple output communications in millimeter wave networks (U.S. Patent issued: 5/11/2021) – Developed new methods and systems for processing signals from multiple users at an antenna array, and to provide beamforming for transmitting to those multiple users, and more particularly for channel estimation and wireless signal recovery in wireless networks carrying transmissions in the millimeter wave frequency bands to enable such beamforming.

Congratulations to all of the Morgan Community Innovation of the Year award winners!


About Morgan

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified high research (R2) institution offering nearly 140 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, and the only university to have its entire campus designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit


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