News & Media

WiSys names UW-River Falls' Sylvia Kehoe 2022 Innovator of the Year

UW-River Falls' Sylvia Kehoe accepts the Innovator of the Year award from WiSys President Arjun Sanga at a special banquet at the WiSys SPARK Symposium. (Photo: Sashi Popke, UW-La Crosse)

LA CROSSE—WiSys named UW-River Falls’ Dr. Sylvia Kehoe as a Carl E. Gulbrandsen Innovator of the Year at the nonprofit’s WiSys SPARK Symposium on Aug. 1.

The award is bestowed upon UW System faculty, staff, students or community members who make exemplary contributions as a WiSys innovator. The award is named for the former managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation who supported WiSys throughout his tenure.

“Dr. Kehoe embodies the ideals of a WiSys innovator,” said WiSys President Arjun Sanga. “She is a dedicated inventor, scholar and educator.”

WiSys worked with Kehoe, a professor of animal and food science, to develop her idea to improve the process for dehorning calves.

Kehoe realized the need for a better method of applying dehorning paste to improve animal welfare and safety for handlers. She worked collaboratively with UW-Platteville’s Dr. John Obielodan, associate professor of mechanical engineering, to develop an adhesive patch for safe and effective application.

WiSys helped facilitate the connection between Kehoe and Obielodan, who manages UW-Platteville’s Prototyping Center, and also filed a patent for the patch that was developed.

Kehoe’s work was funded through an Ignite Grant and the Dairy Innovation Hub.

The Ignite Grant Program is funded by the UW System, in collaboration with WiSys, to fund applied research for UW System faculty and academic staff to develop advanced human potential and the knowledge economy that employs that potential.

The Dairy Innovation Hub, funded by the state of Wisconsin, harnesses research and development at the UW-Madison, UW-Platteville and UW-River Falls campuses to help Wisconsin’s dairy community produce nutritious dairy products in an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable manner.

Kehoe received the award at a special Innovation Awards Banquet during the WiSys SPARK Symposium, the organization’s annual celebration of the best and brightest researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs working in or with the UW System’s 11 regional universities.

WiSys is a nonprofit organization that works with faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the UW System to facilitate cutting-edge research programs, develop and commercialize discoveries, and foster a spirit of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking across the state.