2011 Innovator of the Year

Rikihisa Lab 

Dr. Yasuko Rikihisa, professor in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences has been named The Ohio State University 2011 Innovator of the Year. Dr. Caroline Whitacre, vice president in the Office of Research, announced the award at the November Research Day event held at the Ohio Union. Dr. Rikihisa has focused her research career on the fundamental understanding of and diagnostic platforms for a number of zoonotic tick-borne diseases that infect farm animals, dogs, cats, and people. Her work has been successfully translated into commercial products and services by Ohio State licensees, touching millions of companion animals’ lives, and her work is poised to impact human lives in the near future. Revenues from licenses of her intellectual property and assets portfolio have made the College of Veterinary Medicine the leading commercialization revenue-producing college for the past five years. 

Innovator of the Year

Her Ohio State patent portfolio stems from 11 reports of invention, is highly relevant to commercial applications and includes 10 U.S. patents, two U.S. patents-pending, four issued foreign patents, and two pending foreign patent applications. Dr. Rikihisa has been awarded of $16.8 million in research funding from the National Institutes of Health and other funding organizations over the past 22 years. She has published 251 peer-reviewed scientific papers and 24 book chapters; and trained 50 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from 11 countries. A sought-after speaker, Dr. Rikihisa is a leader in the field, serving as both president and vice-president of the American Society for Rickettsiology, and as a standing member of multiple NIH Study Sections. She is an Ohio State Distinguished Scholar, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. She received her advanced training at the University of Tokyo and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Gustavo Schuenemann, assistant professor, in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, and Dairy Extension Specialist, was nominated for the Early Career Innovator of the Year award. His focus on translation of research findings to dairy farm applications has resulted in the development of an innovative, state-of-the-art proprietary model to simulate a dairy herd of virtually any size, from small to corporate-scale operations. This simulation was developed in collaboration with three other researchers from two other academic centers. The model fills a critical unmet need: many factors influence the performance of dairy herds and their profitability. Decisions made on one area of the farm will have an impact on other areas of the farm. The model allows individual and herd performance information to be derived and visualized over various time intervals. Information can also be exported from the model for other types of analyses. The simulation model was recently highlighted at the 2011 Joint Annual Meeting of the American Dairy Science Association, where several use-scenarios were presented via conference posters and published abstracts.

Rikihisa Group Photo