2018 Award Nominees

HElios Award

Lawrence “Larry” Sanger will receive the 2018 Helios Award. Sanger is credited with creating and enforcing many of the policies and strategies that made Wikipedia possible during its formative years. For more information Click Here.


Health and Medical


Amir H. Kashani, MD, PhD: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Amir holds a fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery, Associated Retinal Consultants.

Principal investigator for a clinical trial to test a novel stem cell therapy for severe vision loss from advanced dry age-related macular degeneration.

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Matthew L. Becker, PhD: Associate Dean for Reasearch, W. Gerald Austen Professor of Polymer Science and Biomedical Engineering, Goodyear Polymer Center, University of Akron.
Nominated by: Yutan Getzler, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Kenyon College

Nominated for his design of an amino acid based poly(ester urea)s for regenerative medicine.

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Alasdair McDowall, Ph.D.: Professor Emeritus of Science, University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia and Research Scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Caltech

Nominated for his discovery of Vitrification for Cryo-Electron Microscopy.

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Dr. Chad A. Mirkin : Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Chemical and biological Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Professor Medicine at Northwestern University.
Nominated by: Mercouri Kanatzidis, Professor at Northwestern University

Nominated for his discovery and development of spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) and SNA-based bio-detection which allows doctors to accurately forecast cancer recurrence and guides radiation therapy by monitoring dose responses that ordinarily could not be tracked. Dr. Mirkin’s fundamental chemical discovery introduced a paradigm shift, with the promise of SNAs as vaccines for cancers and other diseases and the possibility to track and isolate live circulating tumor cells.

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Dr. Diane Cullinane, MD: Co-Founder and Executive Director of Professional Child Associates (PCDA), a non-profit agency in Pasadena, California. Dr. Cullinane is a leading advocate, trainer and practitioner of DIR (developmental, individual, relationship-based intervention for children with developmental challenges.
Nominated by: Judith Wilson

Nominated for her therapeutic techniques for developmentally challenged children.

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Professor Pablo Moscato: Professor of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Newcastle, Australia; Founding Co-Leader of the INFORMATION-BASED MEDICINE PROGRAM of the Hunter Medical Research Institute
Nominated by: Scott Carder MD PhD

Nominated for his application and development of state-of-the-art mathematical models and computer algorithms for the most challenging problems in biology and biotechnology research with emphasis on uncovering the molecular basis of different cellular phenotypes and diseases.

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Sumner Norman, PhD: Postdoctoral Scholar - Neural Engineering
Nominated by: Dr. Jeremy Emken

Nominated for his brain-computer interface design for robotic movement therapy: a brain-computer interface which enables people to power prosthetic devices with their mind.

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Katherine Wilemon: Founder and CEO of FH Foundation
Nominated by: Kymberly Pietsch

Nominated for her founding of the FH Foundation a leading research and advocacy non-profit organization focused on reducing heart disease by driving scientific understanding and evidence-based care of familiar hypercholesterolemia (FH).

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Dr. John Paul Finn: Professor of Radiological Sciences, Medicine, and Biomedical Physics at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He currently serves at the Vice-chair of Imaging Technology, Director of Magnetic Resonance Research and Chief of the Diagnostic Cardiovascular Imaging Section of UCLA Health System.
Nominated by: Kim-Lien Nguyen

Nominated for his contributions to the area of cardiovascular MRIs. He has developed a non-contrast magnetic resonance angiography, a contrast enhanced magnetic resonance angiography, and developed a cardiac MRI for both adults and pediatric patients.

Environmental Improvement

Dr. Mihri Ozkan : Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of California-Riverside, designated “Climate Action Champion" and “Change Maker Professor,Frontier Fellow of National Academy of Engineering
Nominated by: Michael Pazzani, Vice chancellor at the University of California, Riverside

New battery technology: Developing batteries for electric vehicles using organic matter and inexpensive, abundant renewable resources.

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Skip Palenik: Founder and CEO Microtrace LLC
Nominated by: Glenn R. Carroll, President and CEO of Forensic Innovations Inc.

Nominated for his applications of chemical and forensic microscopy.

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Isaac Brown: Doctoral Candidate at UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability
Nominated by: Li Luan, Associate Principal, Buildings + Places, LA Metro for AECOM Los Angeles

Nominated for his sustainable urban ecological planning and management.

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Matt Powers: Founder and Author of “The Permaculture Student”
Nominated by: Pierre Mainguy

Nominated for his online curriculum personally developed in conjunction with specialists from all over the world about Permaculture, a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.

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David Hertz and Laura Doss-Hertz: Co-Founders of Sky Source/Skywater Alliance
Nominated by: Jim Osterling

Nominated for developing a self-contained energy-water generator that condenses moisture in the air, making fresh drinking water.

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Improved sharing of Knowledge

Katherine A. Roberts, Ph.D. : Professor of Forensic Science at Cal State LA where she served as Director of the Criminalistics graduate program since 2001.
Nominated by: Katherine Tellis, Associate Professor and Director
 School of Criminal Justice & Criminalistics
 California State University, Los Angeles Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center

Nominated for her knowledge sharing in the field of Criminalistics.

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Jerry R. Schubel, PhD: President and CEO at the Aquarium of the Pacific since 2002.
Nominated by: William Patzert Ph.D., Research Scientist in Oceanography at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Nominated for his bold and innovated approach to ocean education through the Aquarium of the Pacific.

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Mrs. Aulikki Flagan: Biology, Environmental Science, and Engineering Teacher at Ramona Secondary School and Pasadena City College
Nominated by: Angie Gomez, California Representative Sister Cities International Honorary Board

Nominated for her engineering and robotics education at the high school and junior college level.

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Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal: Professor of Mechanical Engineering at California State Polytechnic University Pomona.
Nominated by: Jesus Godinez, Senior Engineering at CRAIC Technologies

Nominated for his innovative and engaging teaching pedagogy, a hands-on, guided discovery approach to learning with creative project experiences.

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James (Jim) Marggraff: Founder and Co-Founder of six companies with over 40 patents
Nominated by: Claire Roberts

Nominated for his lifelong learning and development, improving the human condition through Virtual and Augmented Reality. Dr. Marggraff has developed technology addressing the issue of human isolation in seniors and others. As well as technologies that transforms intent into action through the eyes, allowing people with neurological disabilities, such as ALS, access to knowledge and communications otherwise unavailable to them.

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Chess Stetson, PhD: Obtained his PhD and postdoc at Caltech in Computation and Neural Systems.

Nominated for his development of artifical intelligence with machine learning to process complex data sets. This project has application sin medicine, finance, computational chemistry and more.

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Dr. Melanie Rieback: CEO and Co-Founder of Radically Open Security, the world’s first non-profit computer security consultancy company.
Nominated by: Steven Djohan

Nominated for creating Radically Open Security (ROS) the world’s first not-for-profit computer security consultancy company using an innovative new business model.

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Disaster Relief and Recovery


Dr. Tim McMahon: Director of the Department of Defense DNA Operations, Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) and Armed Forces Repository of Specimen Samples for the Identification of Remains (AFRSSIR)
Nominated by: Lucy Davis

Nominated for his innovation in the field of human remains identification with his development of a non-chemical treatment of specimens that has a 90% success rate of generating mitochondrial DNA sequencing and over a 50% success rate for generating autosomal STR and male specific Y STR results.

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Dr. John Butler: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Department of Commerce, Special Assistant to NIST Director
Nominated by: Bruce McCord

Nominated for his DNA database and techniques for identifying victims of disasters or crimes.

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Katherine Trujillo: Libraries without Boarders, Deputy Director
Nominated by: Jeffrey Porter

Nominated for her re-imagining of recovery and rebuilding on how libraries can build resilient communities.

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Maria Velasco: Entrepreneur and PhD candidate in Psychology, Co-Founder of HiveCube
Nominated by: Katherine Trujillo

Nominated for her creation of HiveCube a modular housing company dedicated to the fostering of a safe, secure and sustainable Puerto Rican community. With her company she partnered with Libraries without Borders to create the frist completely hurricane-resistant and solar-powered pop-up library and makerspace in the world.

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