Inventor Recognition Program

The UC Santa Cruz Office of Research has created the Inventor Recognition Program (IRP) to acknowledge researchers on a quarterly basis for their U.S. patent awards and to showcase the groundbreaking research that is conducted on the UCSC campus every day. Launched in December 2016, the IRP is meant to recognize the hard work of UCSC faculty, students, and staff and to help them realize the value of their inventions by commercializing their inventions and discoveries.

October to December 2023 IRP Award Winners


Patent Number: US 11,773,143

Current UCSC Inventor:
Rebecca DuBois, Professor – Baskin School of Engineering

Inventor Previously at UCSC:
Stas Fedechkin
Rebecca Dubois

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a virus that causes respiratory tract infections. Vulnerable populations, such as older adults and infants, are particularly at risk of developing infections. RSV can circulate at the same time as COVID and the flu, creating what many have termed a “tripledemic.” In light of severe public health concerns, it is crucial to develop RSV vaccines. 

Evidence suggests that the RSV G protein is an important immunogen to consider for vaccine development. The RSV G protein is found on the surface of the virus and promotes infection and pathogenesis. This patent, in collaboration with a researcher at Trellis Bioscience, includes recombinant RSV G protein fragments. These recombinant RSV G protein fragments can be used to elicit immunoreactive antibodies, thus contributing to developing RSV treatments.



Patent Number: US 11,814,420 

Inventor previously at UCSC:
Nikolaos G. Sgourakis

Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules are proteins found on the surface of cells. MHC molecules play a crucial role in the immune system, helping to tackle pathogens. MHC class I (MHC-I) molecules are found on nearly all cells. MHC-I molecules form complexes with peptide fragments from pathogens and tumor antigens. These complexes display on the surfaces of cells, allowing for recognition by cytotoxic T-cells and natural killer cells. 

Recombinant MHC-I molecules that are synthesized in the lab are used to identify particular immune cell populations that are reactive against a particular MHC-I:peptide combination that signifies a disease. MHC-I reagents are generally combined into multimers to increase their affinity for a cell. 

Due to problems of protein stability, it is quite difficult to produce an “empty” MHC-I reagent that lacks a peptide. However, such empty MHC-I reagents are most useful because they can be loaded with any peptide of interest to the researcher.  This patent describes an important new method of making peptide-receptive MHC-I complexes in bacteria using a placeholder peptide and the chaperone TAPBPR. Use of this method results in both higher yields of MHC-I multimers produced and more efficient peptide exchange while also being technically simpler, faster, and cheaper.


Patent Number: US 11,814,646

Current UCSC inventor:
Bill Sullivan

Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) are commonly used in genetics studies. The conventional method of maintaining fly lines requires manual transfer of adult flies into new containers on a regular basis. This is a time-consuming process, and robotic systems for transferring are expensive and impractical.

This patent includes a system of caps and tubes than can be set up in a series. The caps include channels that allow larvae to move through the bottom of one tube to the bottom of another tube and adults to move from the top of one tube to the top of another tube. This system allows fly lines to be maintained for several months without manual intervention, and automatically separates distinct generations of flies from each other.


Honorable Mentions

Patent(s) Issued as Continuation of Patent Previously Recognized


Patent Number: US 11,788,113

Current UCSC Inventors: Manel Camps, Jennifer Allen


Patent Number: US 11,856,596

Current UCSC Inventor: Luca de Alfaro

Inventors previously at UCSC: J.J. Garcia-Luna-Aceves, Molly Zhang

See all IRP award winners

The IRP is managed by Jeff Jackson, Director of Innovation Transfer in the office of Industry Alliances and Technology Commercialization (IATC). 

For more information about the IRP, the honorees, their patents, other campus inventions and discoveries, or IP portfolio management services, please contact the IATC.

Would you like to be an IRP award winner?

If you are doing research and you invent something new and useful, that other people need, you likely can be an IRP award winner. Start by using UCSC IATC's new Invention Disclosure Form (described here). Once you have submitted that, IATC's IP Management team will work with you to determine if your invention is suitable for protection with a patent. Inventors who have patents issue receive the award at the time the patent grants. 

Check out the list of technologies available from the University of California.

University of California, Santa Cruz
Industry Alliances & Technology Commercialization
Kerr Hall — Room 413
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Tel: 831.459.5415