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U Announces Distinguished Innovation and Impact Award

V. Kim Martinez, professor of drawing and painting.

April 24, 2014 – The University of Utah announced the winners of the fourth annual Distinguished Innovation and Impact Award, which recognizes faculty who create products and initiatives with potential to make an impact and improve lives. The winners are Glenn D. Prestwich, a presidential professor of medicinal chemistry, and V. Kim Martinez, a professor of drawing and painting. Both will be honored at commencement, May 1.

“These faculty members and their successes demonstrate the culture of innovation at the University of Utah,” said Tom Parks, vice president for research at the U. “We have a unique environment where faculty members are encouraged to work together and invent new products that will make a difference.”

Prestwich is a chemist, inventor, entrepreneur and the founder of the U’s Entrepreneurial Faculty Scholars program, which mentors academic entrepreneurs. He has taught at the U since 1996 and holds a bachelor’s degree from the California Institute of Technology and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Stanford. His many academic accomplishments include authoring 574 peer-reviewed publications, four books and 59 chapters. He received the Utah Governor’s Medal in Science and Technology in 2006 and the U’s Distinguished Scholarly and Creative Research Award in 2010.

Beyond research, Prestwich is a well-known faculty entrepreneur who has 65 patents or patent applications in areas including pest control, mercury sensing, drug discovery, regenerative medicine and anti-inflammatory therapies. He co-founded eight companies and three are actively selling products – Echelon Biosciences for drug discovery, Glycosan/BioTime for clinical biomaterials for cell therapy, and Sentrx Animal Care for veterinary wound care.

“We are not focused primarily on the money of commercialization; we are interested in commercialization in order to have an impact,” Prestwich said. “Nothing gets to the research lab or to a company or to a patient unless it’s commercialized.”

Martinez is an accomplished artist, professor, mentor and art advocate. She has taught painting and drawing at the U since 2001. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the U and a Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has appeared across the world in exhibits and books. She has lectured broadly, provided many community workshops and received numerous grants and awards for her work and teaching.

Among her many accomplishments, Martinez is known for the mural course she started in 2003 at the U. Through the course, she matches students with community groups to discuss, plan and create murals across Salt Lake City. Partner organizations have included Salt Lake County, the City of South Salt Lake, the State of Utah and Primary Children’s Medical Center.

“I strive to design and implement curricular goals that launch real-life projects to address unexpected practices and connections that enable cultural and artistic entrepreneurship, in an effort to expand innovative visual dialogue between the university and Salt Lake community,” Martinez said.

The Distinguished Innovation and Impact Award is one of the newest faculty awards at the U. The university created the award to promote research that leads to technology and social impacts. The award is managed with support from the U’s Entrepreneurial Faculty Scholars group, a network of faculty members interested in entrepreneurship.

Video profiles of the winners are available at and Find more information about the U’s commencement at and learn about the Entrepreneurial Faculty Scholars at