S Sikes Feb 2023

Steven Sikes was born in Charlotte, NC on December 20, 1949.  He is the fourth of eleven children.  The family moved several times in the early years and by 1954 lived in Cleveland, Ohio.  Steve attended St. Ann's elementary school, St. Ignatius High School, and John Carroll University in Cleveland, where he received both the B.S. and M.S. degrees.  In 1976, he received the Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Maggie Sikes

In 1968, he met the dark-haired, blue-eyed, Irish beauty, Maggie Danaher at a wedding.  A few years later, they were married.  Maggie is an artist.  She began advanced training in painting/printmaking, then took some time to start a family, and later finished the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, summa cum laude, from the University of South Alabama.  Her work has been exhibited widely in the USA and internationally, where it has been recognized with many accolades and awards.

They have two children.  Their daughter, Hadley Sikes Johnson, is a tenured, full professor of chemical engineering at MIT, beginning there in the Fall of 2009 (MIT Chem Eng).   She was a research fellow at Caltech in the previous year where she studied molecular recognition, including medical diagnostics and cancer therapies.  Before that, she was a research associate at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  More recently, she is leading an international group based in Boston and Singapore that is designing, developing, and manufacturing diagnostics of a variety of medical conditions using direct, 5-minute assays of viral proteins.   She married Joe Johnson in 2007.  Both Hadley and Joe received the Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Stanford University.  Joe's research focused on advanced physics of fluorescence reactions, with emphasis on neurophysiology.  He currently works with biotech companies in the Boston area.


Joe and Hadley Johnson welcomed their first child into the world on September 27, 2009.  On May 14, 2013, their second child was born. Mother, father, and the two stunning girls, Victoria and Violet, were joined on August 8, 2016 by young Reed, a younger brother who is also exhibits the bright intelligence and creativity of his parents and sisters.  


Danny Sikes co-founded Aquero Company while still in school at the University of Oregon.  He married Melita Wickham in 2003.  They also have exceptionally beautiful children, first two daughters, followed by five sons, the youngest born March 10, 2020.  


Danny and Melita both studied music at the U of O where they graduated with high academic honors.  Danny specialized in composition, guitar, and keyboards.  Melita is trained in classical vocal performance.  They perform locally, for example at weddings and other events. 


Danny later took up formal studies in chemistry, and works on business development and special projects at Aquero Company.  He is skilled and thoroughly trained in synthesis, analytical methods, and performance assessment.  He particularly is at home in pilot studies and field trials.


In 2018, he also founded a small construction company directed mainly toward home improvement.


Hadley (Sikes) Johnson

Danny Sikes in Alberta Canada

After receiving the Ph.D., Steve took a position as an NIH research fellow (environmental health sciences) for two years at Duke University.  He next participated in the Fulbright exchange program for one year at the University of the West Indies (Kingston, Jamaica), returned to Duke for one more year, then began an assistant professorship at the University of South Alabama in 1981, where he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1986 and Professor in 1989. 

In 1980, the Bayh-Dole Act (also known as the University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act) gave Universities, small businesses, and non-profits control of their inventions arising from federally funded research.  Prior to this, the property rights resided mainly in the federal government.

Pursuant to this development, attorneys of the Oblon firm, then of Arlington and now located in Alexandria, VA, began visiting Universities mainly in the eastern US and explaining the new landscape for University innovation.  By the mid-80's, the Universities had begun to realize that Bayh-Dole had not only opened a new  potential to bring their useful discoveries to the public benefit, but to generate new University-based resources as well.

By 1982, Norman Oblon and other attorneys at the firm had established a relationship with Steve Sikes, who along with Hap Wheeler of Clemson University, had originated the field of polyaspartates and other biopolymers as water treatment chemicals.  Their first patents were issued in the US in 1985 and 1986 and covered polyamino acids, proteins, and polysaccharides as antiscalants and detergent additives.  Early commercial interactions were with Calgon Corporation, Nalco Chemical, and Monsanto.  Soon afterwards, Donlar Corporation of Chicago, led by Larry Koskan, who had been VP of the Industrial Division at Nalco, began the first focused efforts in the private sector to commercialize polyaspartate. 

In 1986, through the sponsorship of the President's office at the University, the Mineralization Center was started at the University of South Alabama to promote the work on biopolymers, to develop the intellectual property, and to provide a focus for research and licensing agreements.  The Mineralization Center, with Steve as Director, before long was comprised of a group of people working at each of the levels of undergraduate and graduate assistants, postdoctoral associates, assistant professors, and associate professors, as well as visiting professors and scientists of various types.  A peptide laboratory with full capabilities in synthesis of peptides and sequencing of proteins was also part of the The Mineralization Center.  Everyone there participated in teaching, research, and service. 

Steve received numerous awards and various types of recognition over time for teaching, research, and service.  It was a good place to work, but by 1998, the entire administration had changed, including the Board of Directors, the University President, the University Attorney, and virtually all of the Vice Presidents and Deans.  The College of Arts and Sciences was returning to an earlier time with much more emphasis on classroom-based, undergraduate education, almost to the exclusion of research and scholarship.

In addition, within a few years, Hadley and Danny had relocated to the west coast to pursue their educations.  So the elder Sikes couple decided to move on as well.  They resigned the academic position (amicably), sold or gave away almost everything, and drove cross-country to Oregon in October of 2001.

In recent years, Steve's professional writing has been focused entirely on filing and prosecuting patent applications worldwide, an activity he began in 1983.  A sampling of some of the more traditional scholarly papers and books (selected from a list of a little more than 100) over the interval from 1970 to 2000 is shown below.

Some Representative Papers

Sikes, C. Steven, A.P. Wheeler, A. Wierzbicki, A.S. Mount, and R.M. Dillaman.  2000.  Nucleation and growth of calcite on native versus pyrolyzed oyster shell folia.  Biological Bulletin 198: 50-66.

Sikes, C. Steven, A.P. Wheeler, A. Wierzbicki, R.M. Dillaman, and L. DeLuca.  1998.  Oyster shell protein and atomic force microscopy of oyster shell folia.  Biological Bulletin 194: 304-316.

Sikes, C. Steven and A. Wierzbicki.  1997.  Atomic force microscopy and molecular modeling of branched and unbranched polyaspartate bound to calcite and mica.  Corrosion 97, paper 166, 1-17.

Sikes, C. Steven, F. Martin, A. Wierzbicki, and A.P. Wheeler.  1997.  Atomic force microscopy and enzymatic degradation of oyster shell protein and polyaspartate.  Macromolecular Symposium 123, 85-92.

Sikes, C.S. and A. Wierzbicki.  1996.  Polyamino acids as antiscalants, dispersants, antifreezes, and absorbent gelling materials.  In, S. Mann (ed.), Biomimetic Approaches in Materials Science, VCH Publishers, New York, 249-278.

Sikes, C.S., A. Wierzbicki, and V. Fabry.  1994.  From atomic to global scales in

biomineralization.  Bulletin de l'Institut Oceanographique, Monaco, No. 4, 1-49.

Sikes, C.S. and V. Fabry.  1994.  Photosynthesis, calcium carbonate deposition, and the global carbon cycle.  In:  E.N. Tolbert and J. Preiss (eds.), Regulation of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen by Photosynthetic Carbon Metabolism, Oxford Press, New York, pp. 217-233.

Sikes, C. Steven (Organizer).  1993.  U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Biopolymers:  Making Materials Nature's Way - Background Paper, OTA-BP-E-102 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office), 80 p.

Sikes, C. Steven and A.P. Wheeler.  1991.  Surface Reactive Peptides and Polymers: Discovery and Commercialization. ACS Books, Washington, DC, 416 p.

Sikes, C. Steven and A.P. Wheeler.  1988.  Chemical Aspects of Regulation of Mineralization.  Proceedings of an ACS Symposium.  University of South Alabama Publication Services, 60 p.

Sikes, C. Steven and A.P. Wheeler.  1986.  The organic matrix from oyster shell as a regulator of calcification in vivo.  Biological Bulletin  170:494-505.

Sikes, C. Steven and A.P. Wheeler.  1986.  The organic matrix from oyster shell as a regulator of calcification in vivo.  Biological Bulletin  170:494-505.

Sikes, C. Steven.  1983.  Laboratory Manual for Life Science.  Burgess  Publishing Company, Minneapolis.  96 pgs.  Used for 12 years, adopted by several other colleges and universities.

Sikes, C. Steven, R.D. Roer, and Karl M. Wilbur.  1980.  Photosynthesis and coccolith formation: inorganic carbon sources and net inorganic reaction of deposition.  Limnology and Oceanography 25:248-261.

Sikes, C. Steven and M. P. Drain.  1973.  Mercury in Lakes.  Nature 244:529.