GRADUATE SCHOLAR AWARD Recognizes a graduate student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership through academic achievement and/or academic research.
Haixiang Yu is a change-maker with a breakthrough discovery in biochemical research that has yielded a U.S. patent, been featured in the Miami Herald and published in scientific journals such as Nucleic Acids Research, Applied Materials and Interface and Analytical Chemistry. Yu found a rapid, specific and ultra-sensitive fluorescent detection of small molecules such as biomarkers, toxins and controlled substances with excellent accuracy. This has resulted in a user-friendly field-test kit that costs less than $1 per kit. This discovery will revolutionize the ability to quickly detect even the smallest amount of cocaine and has the potential to save lives as the number of cocaine-induced seizures and overdoses has increased since 2014 and 2015 to the highest rates in the United States since 2007. Yu has achieved this all while maintaining an exceptional GPA, mentoring undergraduate students, training fellow graduate students and demonstrating a collaborative leadership style.