Faculty success reflects USF’s rising prestige as global research leader
TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 18, 2016) – Ten professors from the University of South Florida received 2016 Outstanding Research Achievement Awards at a ceremony held Oct. 17, 2016, in the Galleria at the USF Research Park in Tampa. The annual awards, which are part of an open competition judged by the USF System Research Council, are given to USF faculty members who have received national and international peer recognition for their research in the previous calendar year.
USF President Judy Genshaft and Paul R. Sanberg, senior vice president for research, innovation and economic development presented the awards, including a check for $2,000 in recognition of each winner’s research accomplishments.
“We are proud to recognize our extraordinary faculty for their achievements,” said Sanberg. “Their research is why USF continues to excel as a global research institution.”
The 2016 award recipients are:
Kathy Black, PhD, Professor, Aging Studies and Social Work, College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, USF Sarasota-Manatee. In 2015, Dr. Kathy Black began leading Age-Friendly Sarasota – Florida’s first global age-friendly community, with support from The Patterson Foundation, and in partnership with the World Health Organization, AARP Florida, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, Sarasota County Government, the USF Florida Policy Exchange Center on Aging, as well as her home institution, USF Sarasota-Manatee. In 2015, she made more than 50 television, radio, newspaper, and magazine appearances to share her work. A highly sought-after speaker, Black has also been invited to present about the work at national, statewide, regional and local venues in 2015. In addition, she received the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Research Award and published three peer reviewed publications in 2015.
Carolyn Ellis, PhD, Distinguished University Professor Communication, College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Carolyn Ellis received the National Communication Association (NCA) Distinguished Scholar Award for a lifetime of scholarly achievement in the study of human communication. This is NCA’s highest career achievement award, and was awarded to only two scholars in 2015 from a membership of over 7,000. She was honored in an NCA session for winning the Woolbert Research Award, given to her chapter, with 3,334 citations, that has “stood the test of time” and has become a stimulus for new conceptualizations of communication research. During 2015, she published a book with Oxford University Press and completed another with Routledge, released March 2016. Both are on autoethnography, an approach for which she has been recognized as founder and developer. At two 2015 national conferences, Ellis screened a film she produced and directed in Poland about the memories of a Holocaust survivor, and also completed a second film and presented ten additional conference papers on autoethnography and compassionate research.
Maureen Groer, RN, PhD, FAAN, Gordon Keller Endowed Professor of Nursing, College of Nursing, USF Health. Dr. Maureen Groer’s research focuses on the interactions of stress, mood, behavior and biology in women and infants. She is an expert in breastfeeding and the infant microbiome. In 2015, Groer was awarded a $2.7 million, five-year, R01 grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) to study preterm infants’ gut microbiome and its effect on their growth and development at two and four years of age. Multiple factors potentially could alter the microbial species and diversity in preterm infants’ guts. Alterations in the infant gut microbiome are likely to affect health, but have not been examined. In this highly innovative and novel project, Groer is one of the first to characterize the microbiome of Very Low Birth Weight (VLBW) infants, to elucidate the succession of the microbiome over the first four years of life, and to determine the microbiome’s importance to early and later health outcomes. Also in 2015, Groer published 12 articles in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals.
David E. Kang, PhD, Associate Professor, Molecular Medicine, Morsani College of Medicine / Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute, USF Health. Dr. David Kang’s research focuses on the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease and related neurodegenerative disorders. In 2015, Kang and his research team discovered how neurotoxic signals from amyloid are transmitted from the neuronal surface to induce damage to the cytoskeleton, mitochondria, and synapses in brain. These findings were recently published in Nature publishing group journals, Cell Death and Differentiation and Cell Death and Disease. Also in 2015, Kang was awarded more than $1 million from the VA Merit Review Award, more than $400,000 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $200,000 from the Ed and Ethel Moore Research Foundation, and received a fundable 5 percentile score on a second $400,000 NIH grant. He also served on the NIH Clinical Neuroscience and Neurodegeneration (CNN) Study Section.
Russell S. Kirby, PhD, MS, FACE, Distinguished University Professor and Marrell Endowed Chair, Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, USF Health. Dr. Russell Kirby is a perinatal/pediatric epidemiologist and human geographer with broad ranging research interests. In 2015, he received two national awards for his research and its application to practice, the Distinguished Scholar Award for research published in Birth Defects Research Part A, and the John A. MacQueen Award and Memorial Lecture from the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs. The latter is one of the two highest honors given annually in the maternal and child health profession. Kirby published 16 peer-reviewed scientific papers as well as several other writings during 2015, serving as senior author or mentor on most of these publications. He continues to successfully seek external funding for the USF Birth Defects Surveillance Program, and was awarded three new grants and contracts during 2015. According to Google Scholar, Kirby had more than 1,500 citations of his published work during calendar year 2015.
Jason Rohr, PhD, Associate Professor, Integrative Biology, College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Jason Rohr’s research investigates interactions among pollution, climate change, and infectious diseases of humans and wildlife. During 2015, he was cited nearly 700 times and had 16 peer-reviewed publications accepted or appear in print, three of which were published in the prestigious Proceeding of The National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). Rohr’s research was also highlighted in Faculty1000 and in the journals Science, PNAS, and Journal of Applied Ecology. He was also awarded five externally funded grants in 2015 totaling more than $5 million, and had six other active grants in 2015 totaling over $3 million. Rohr was Elected President of the Disease Ecology Section of the Ecological Society of America, was part of a team that was invited to present their research at the White House, and was nominated for two national awards and one teaching award, all in 2015
Carla Smith Stover, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mental Health, Law and Policy, College of Behavioral & Community Sciences. In 2015, Dr. Carla Stover published eight journal articles focusing on the development and evaluation of interventions for families impacted by violence and substance abuse. One described her integrated intervention for fathers with co-occurring problems with substance use and intimate partner violence (IPV) that shows promise in reducing violence, substance use, and child maltreatment. She received a $672,000 R34 research grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in September 2015 to further develop her intervention, Fathers for Change, for implementation in residential substance abuse treatment programs. She is also co-investigator on a $2 million grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), awarded in August 2015, to test a co-parenting intervention for at-risk African American parents and to assess its prevention of IPV. Her 2015 paper in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) is the first to examine the spill-over of marital hostility to parenting to child aggression from infancy through the school aged period in a genetically informed design. Additionally, Stover was the keynote speaker at the Nordic Domestic Violence Conference in Oslo, Norway, in November 2015
Shannon Suldo, PhD, Professor, Educational & Psychological Studies, College of Education. In 2015, Dr. Shannon Suldo received a $1.5 million multi-year grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to develop preventative and early interventions for high school students in high-stress college-level courses. These interventions target the malleable factors, such as strategies for coping with academic demands and student engagement that a multi-disciplinary research team in the College of Education identified as predictive of student success. She also completed a trade book for professionals in 2015, entitled, “Promoting Student Happiness: Positive Psychology Interventions in Schools.” This commissioned text is part of the popular “Guilford Practical Intervention in the Schools Series,” developed to translate research to practice for mental health professionals. Additionally, in 2015, Suldo was nominated and elected to member status in the most highly-regarded academy within the field of school psychology – the Society for the Study of School Psychology (SSSP), reflecting her sustained contributions to advance basic and applied scientific research in school psychology.
Jun Tan, MD, PhD, Professor and Silver Endowed Chair, Psychiatry, Morsani College of Medicine, USF Health. In 2015, Dr. Jun Tan received two competitive peer-reviewed awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Florida Department of Health: an R21 grant and an award from the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program. Tan is also the Principal Investigator on two continuing grants focused on aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) – an NIH R01 and a VA Merit award, totaling $722,826 annually. Tan’s group investigates the ability of oral diosmin to reduce memory impairment in AD mice; work that may lead to clinical trials testing this compound in patients at high risk for AD. Also in 2015, Tan published ten papers representing rigorous studies on the complex signaling networks in the brain.
Lilia M. Woods, PhD, Professor, Physics, College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Lilia Woods received a $300,000 Department of Energy (DOE) grant in 2015, entitled, Fluctuation Induced Interactions in Novel Materials. This work will study fundamental interactions in Dirac materials with topologically non-trivial phases, which have many emerging properties and applications. In addition, Woods has a continuing $380,315 National Science Foundation (NSF) award, from 2014 to 2018, to investigate materials for thermoelectric energy conversion. Woods also published four peer-reviewed articles in 2015 as senior author, with another article accepted in 2015 for publication in 2016. Woods gave three invited talks in 2015 – two in Europe and one in the U.S. She was also an author on four contributed conference talks and a poster.
The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 25 research university among public institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving over 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.
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