Faculty & Staff Accolades

Accolades celebrate the professional achievements of the faculty and staff in the College of Science. The deadline for submissions to be included in the April column is March 25th to cosnews@gmu.edu or tfede@gmu.edu. Submitted accolades will be sent to the University for inclusion in University wide accolades recognition.

Peggy Agouris and John Kwiatkowski, Earth Observing and Space Research, were awarded $1.2 million from NASA and ASRC Federal Space and Defense for their project PPS Data System Development and Support.

Chris Aguilar, Mathematical Sciences, received the Dean’s Award for Distinctive Service.

Alonso Aguirre, Environmental Science and Policy, received the Warner College of Natural Resources Honor Alumni Award, part of the Distinguished Alumni Awards, from the Colorado State University Alumni Association.

Peter Balint, Environmental Science and Policy, was co-author of two papers—“Integrating Micro-Scale Processes into Landscape Forest Management Models Using Logistic and Multilevel Random Effects Regression Analysis,” which was published in Forest Science, and “Prayer Behavior in Rural Kilimanjaro, Tanzania,” in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Dieter Bilitza, School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences,  gave a lecture titled “The Ionosphere—Introduction and Newest Results,” as a visiting professor at the University of Warmia and Mazury, Poland. The lecture was covered by Polish TV stations.

Barney Bishop, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Monique van Hoek, School of Systems Biology and the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Disease, were awarded a grant from the 4-VA Consortium to study bed bugs, which they suspect may have lifesaving properties.

Kirk Borne, School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences, was an invited speaker and panelist at the National Science Foundation workshop “Towards Big Steps Enabled by Big Data Science” in late January 2015. He spoke on “Data Literacy for All: Astrophysics and Beyond.”

Robin Couch, Chemistry and Biochemistry, won a competitive grant from the Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Award Fund administered by the Virginia Center on Aging.

Lorelei Crerar, Biology, and Chris Parsons, Environmental Science and Policy, wrote the paper “Rewriting the History of an Extinction: Was a Population of Stellar’s Sea Cows (Hydrodamalis gigas) at St. Lawrence Island also Driven to Extinction?” which was published by the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

Claudette Davis, Biology, and Padhu Seshaiyer, Mathematical Sciences, received the Mason 4-VA Grant Award for their project Engaging Incoming STEM Majors through Preparatory Camps to Improve Freshmen Academic Performance in STEM. In addition, Davis, Kelly Knight of Forensic Science, and Seshaiyer wrote a book chapter titled “Females of Color in STEM as Change Agents,” which was included in “Girls and Women of Color in STEM: Navigating the Double Bind.”

Liping Di, Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems, was awarded a $1 million award from the National Science Foundation to work on building an EarthCube building block.

Maria Emelianenko, Mathematical Sciences, received a National Science Foundation CAREER grant for her project Developing Mathematical Tools for Modeling Complex Materials Systems.

Donna Fox, Student Affairs, is leading an $8.2 million project from the Department of Defense to work with the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine to prepare selected military personnel for medical education.

Harold Geller, Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences, will continue his role as a Solar System Ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a position he has held since 2012. The public outreach program is designed to communicate the excitement of the lab’s space exploration missions and information about recent discoveries to the public.

Barry Haack, Geography and Geoinformation Science, was the keynote speaker at San Diego State University’s Centennial Celebration.

Ramin Hakami, School of Systems Biology and the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, was awarded $450,000 by the Department of the Army, U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity to support his research project, Phosphoproteomic Profiling and Functional Characterization of Host Response to Pathogens through Intracellular and Intercellular Signaling.

Leila Hamdan, Environmental Science and Policy, is co-author of “Integrated Metagenomic and Metaproteomic Analyses of Marine Biofilm Communities,” which appeared in the journal Biofouling, and “Sulfate Reduction and Methane Oxidation Activity Below the Sulfate-Methane Transition Zone in Alaskan Beaufort Sea Continental Margin Sediments: Implications for Deep Sulfur Cycling” in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

Abul Hussam, Chemistry and Biochemistry, was selected to receive the University of Pittsburgh 225th Anniversary Medallion, which is awarded to University of Pittsburgh alumni whose achievements have brought honor to the university and contributed to its progress.

Bob Jonas, Environmental Science and Policy, and the department hosted a satellite conference event at Mason during the 15th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment: Energy and Climate Change.

Steve Kan and Dhafer Marzougui, Center for Collision Safety and Analysis, won a contract with the U.S. Department of Transportation with a ceiling of $8 million to provide technical crash analysis and transportation engineering research support services to the Federal Highway Administration.

Kylene Kehn-Hall, School of Systems Biology and the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Disease, is working with scientists from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, on a $1.5 million project funded by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The project is looking for ways to treat a debilitating and often fatal mosquito-borne encephalitis virus that targets horses and humans. She was also recently awarded $1.5 million by the Department of Defense’s Defense Threat and Reduction Agency to research Capsid localization.

James Kinter, Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences, and the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, was awarded $4.5 million by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, $2.5 million by NASA-Goddard and $3.5 million by the National Science Foundation to work with his research team on a project titled Predictability and Prediction of Climate from Days to Decades.

James Lawrey, Biology, co-wrote the paper Dictyonema huaorani (Agaricales: Hygrophoraceae), a New Lichenized Basidiomycete from Amazonian Ecuador with Presumed Hallucinogenic Properties, which was published in the BioONE journal.

Sean Lawton, Mathematics, received a grant from the Simons Foundation for the encouragement of collaborative efforts in mathematics.

Lance Liotta, School of Systems Biology and the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, was named a recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Faculty Awards given by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Thomas Lovejoy, Environmental Science and Policy, was the keynote speaker at the Environmental Science and Forestry symposium, where leading environmental scientists and policy experts gathered to discuss a new American environmentalism. He also was interviewed by the Daily Climate as part of its Climate at Your Doorstep feature, and he recently received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service. In addition, Lovejoy and Dann Sklarew, Environmental Science and Policy, were a part of the Global Problem Solving Fellows Program that won a national Simon Award.

Yuri Mishin, School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences, received $330,000 from the U.S. Department of the Army for his project Stability and Strengthening of Nano-Crystalline Immiscible Alloys.

Kim de Mutsert and Joris van der Ham, Environmental Science and Policy, wrote two papers, “Abundance and Size of Gulf Shrimp in Louisiana’s Coastal Estuaries Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill,” which was published in PLoS ONE, and “Stimulating Fish Movement Responses and Potential Salinity Stress to Large-Scale River Diversions,” which was published in Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science.

Aarthi Narayanan, School of Systems Biology and the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Disease, received the Dean’s Award for Early Career Excellence.

Dimitris Papaconstantopoulos, School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences, wrote a book titled “Handbook of the Band Structures of Elemental Solids: From Z=1 to Z=112.”

Chris Parsons, Environmental Science and Policy, was the conference committee chair and a governor of the Society for Conservation Biology. Parsons also was co-author of a number of peer-reviewed papers, including:

  • “Recent Advances in Whale-Watching Research: 2013-14,” which appeared in Tourism in Marine Environments, withLorelei Crerar and others.
  • “Rewriting the History of an Extinction—Was a Population of Steller’s Sea Cows (Hydrodamalis gigas) at St. Lawrence Island Also Driven to Extinction?” which was published in Biology Letters, with Luksenburg.
  • “Attitudes Towards Marine Mammal Conservation Issues Before the Introduction of Whale-Watching: A Case Study in Aruba (Southern Caribbean),” which was published in Aquatic Conservation.
  • “Marine Noise Pollution—More Recognition but Need for More Practical Action,” which appeared in the Journal of Ocean Technology.
  • “Behavioral Assessments Predict Breeding Success of Captive Clouded Leopards (Neofelis nebulosa), in Applied Animal Behavior Science,” with Larry Rockwood, Biology, and others.

Esther Peters, Environmental Science and Policy, co-wrote two papers, “Immunolocalization of Skeletal Matrix Proteins in Tissue and Mineral of the Coral Stylophora Pistillata,” which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and “Disease Dynamics and Potential Mitigation Among Restored and Wild Staghorn Coral, Acropora Cervicornis,” which was published in the journal PeerJ 2.

Emanuel “Chip” Petricoin, School of Systems Biology and the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, has joined with Ceres Nanosciences to develop a new method for detecting Ebola virus in saliva. The work is funded by a $430,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He was also featured by WUSA9 for the cutting-edge research that he and his team are performing in the field of breast cancer.

Vivek Prasad, Environmental Science and Policy, co-wrote a paper, “Livelihood Resilience in the Face of Climate Change,” which was in the journal Nature Climate Change, and wrote a chapter, “Environmentally Sound and Economically Viable Agriculture” for the book “Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives to Reduce the Environmental Footprint of Commercial Agriculture: A Compendium of Case Studies.”

Bob Sachs, Mathematical Sciences, was appointed chair of the special interest group of the Mathematical Association of America on Teaching Advanced High School Mathematics.

Evelyn Sander, Chris Manon and Padhu Seshaiyer, Mathematical Sciences, received a $20,000 4-VA grant to incorporate 3-D printing into Calculus 1 and 3 classrooms.

Karen Sauer, School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences, was awarded $175,000 by NIITEK Inc. to further pursue her research.

Timothy Sauer, Mathematical Sciences, received a National Science Foundation grant for his project Big Data: Dynamical Diffusion Map Methods for High-Dimensional Data.

Padhu Seshaiyer, Mathematical Sciences, received a $1.3 million National Science Foundation grant to help K-12 teachers teach the reasoning behind mathematics through a STEM-C targeted partnership. He was also selected by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, as one of 30 scientists to participate in the upcoming Arab American Frontiers Conference. He was interviewed by the Washington Examiner for part of its SeptSTEMber Series, where he discussed motivating the next generation of STEM students. In addition,

Seshaiyer; Kelly Knight, Forensic Science; and Reid Schwebach, Biology, received recognition from the Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition for the STEM Accelerator as one of Virginia’s 2015 Programs That Work.

Jagadish Shukla, Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences and the Institute of Global Environment and Society, was appointed to the Climate Change and Resiliency Commission by the governor of Virginia.

Wendin Smith, Center for Energy Science and Policy, along with her co-director, Richard Kauzlarich, School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs, re-established the Center for Energy Science and Policy.

Anthony Stefanidis and Arie Croitoru, Geography and Geoinformation Science, and Andrew Crooks, Computational Social Science, were featured in the online media outlet The Conversation, offering their views on How—and Why—Google Is Transforming the Map.

Mike Summers, School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences, is a science team co-investigator who helped plan and propose, and is working on, the Pluto-bound New Horizons Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission.

Lee Talbot, Environmental Science and Policy, gave an invited presentation followed by an extended discussion on the origins and objectives of the Endangered Species Act to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior in January. He also gave an invited presentation, “Incorporating Malaria and Other Health Issues in International Development,” to the president’s Malaria Initiative, U.S. Agency for International Development, Arlington, Va., in February.

Monique van Hoek, School of Systems Biology, recently wrote a paper on the use of cranberries to target antibiotic resistant bacteria, which was published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. She and Barney Bishop, School of Systems Biology and the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, and Joel Schnur,College of Science, recently co-wrote the paper “Bioprospecting the American Alligator Host Defense Peptidome,” which was published in the PLOS One journal.

Amy VanMeter Adams, Jessica Bates, Virginia Espina and Lance Liotta, Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, along with Cara Frankenfeld, College of Health and Human Services, recently wrote an article, “Students Who Demonstrate Strong Talent and Interest in STEM Are Initially Attracted to STEM Through Extracurricular Experiences,” based on the Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Programs in Life Sciences Education journal.

Andrea Weeks, Environmental Science and Policy, spearheaded a Virginia-wide effort to create a database of millions of plant specimens in herbariums through a $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant.

Chi Yang, School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences, received the Dean’s Impact Award.

Erdal Yiğit, School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences, recently wrote a review paper titled “Internal Wave Coupling Processes in Earth’s Atmosphere,” which was published in the Advances in Space Research journal. He also received a certificate of outstanding contribution in reviewing from Elsevier, Advances in Space Research.

Accolades celebrate the professional achievements of the faculty and staff in the College of Science. The deadline for submissions to be included in the April column is March 25th to cosnews@gmu.edu or tfede@gmu.edu. Submitted accolades will be sent to the University for inclusion in University wide accolades recognition.