Faculty & Staff Accolades: Summer 2015

Accolades celebrate the professional achievements of the faculty and staff in the College of Science. The deadline for submissions to be included in the October column is September 27th to tfede@gmu.edu. Submitted accolades will be sent to the University for inclusion in University-wide accolades recognition.

Ernest Barreto along with Paul So, Physics and Astronomy, was an invited speaker at the International Workshop “Dynamics of Coupled Oscillators: 40 Years of the Kuramoto Model” in Dresden, Germany, July 2015.

Kevin Curtin, College of Science, co-published, along with other Mason colleagues and students, several journal articles which include: “A New Model for a Carpool Matching Service” in PLOS ONE, “Geocrowdsourcing and Accessibility for Dynamic Environments” in GeoJournal, (with S. Fuhrmann and M.T. Rice) and “Quantifying Urban Diversity: Multiple Spatial Measures of Physical, Social, and Economic Characteristics” in Computational Approaches for Urban Environments.

Matthew Holzer, Mathematical Sciences, was awarded $117,000 from the National Science Foundation for his research project NSF/Pattern Forming Invasion Fronts.

Deborah Hutton, Geography and Geoinformation Science, was recognized as the July 2015 Employee of the Month.

Robert Jonas, Environmental Science and Policy, was awarded $10,000 from the George Mason University Foundation for his research project GMUF/Microbiology/Halophile.

Youngson Kim, Environmental Science and Policy, presented several papers which include: “Public and Private Partnerships for Rural Electrification: The Solar Rooftop Project in Gujarat, India” at the Public Management Research Association Conference on June 13, 2015, and “Adapting Climate Change in Coastal Communities: A Lesson from StormSmart Coasts Program” at the Midwest Political Science Association on April, 18, 2015. Her article “Business as a Collaborative Policy Partner: Understanding Firms’ Socio-Political Support for Policy Formation” was also accepted for publication by Public Administration Review.

Jim Kinter, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, was reappointed for another term on the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Scientific Programs Evaluation Committee (SPEC), which evaluates the quality of UCAR and NCAR programs. At the invitation of the National Science Foundation, SPEC members may participate as observers in the NSF reviews of UCAR and NCAR. Kinter was also reappointed for another term on the Community Earth System Model (CESM) Advisory Board, which advises the Scientific Steering Committee of CESM on scientific and strategic issues.

Alessandra Luchini, School of Systems Biology, Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, was awarded $5,500.00 from Ceres Nanosciences, Inc for her research project Ceres/Nano Trap Capture FY15.

Rainald Lohner, Physics and Astronomy, was an invited speaker at the 23rd UK Conference of the Association for Computational Mechanics in Engineering and presented a talk about “Recent CFD/FSI-Based Discoveries Relevant to Civil Engineering.”

Claudius Mueller, Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, was awarded $112,000 from the US Department of the Army for his research project USAMRAA/Tumor Communication Vivo.

E. Chris Parsons, Environmental Science and Policy, was the co-chair in May 2015 of the Environmental Concerns Sub-Committee during the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee meeting held in San Diego, California. He was also a Fellow of the newly chartered Royal Society for Biology. In August 2015, Parsons was a member of the Executive Committee, Organizing Committee and Scientific Committee of the 27th International Congress for Conservation Biology and 4Th European Congress for Conservation Biology (2-7 August 2015, Montpellier, France) – the largest academic conference on conservation science ever held. In addition, he co-published the book Human-Wildlife Conflict: Complexity in the Marine Environment by Oxford University Press. Parsons also co-published “Increased knowledge about sharks increases public concern about their conservation” Marine Policy and “Key research questions of global importance for cetacean conservation” Endangered Species Research.

Kathleen Pegion, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Science, Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, was awarded $70,000 from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration for her research project NOAA/Seasonal Prediction Skill.

Esther Peters, Environmental Science and Policy, co-published the paper “Pathological effects of cyanobacteria on sea fans in southeast Florida” in the peer-reviewed Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. She also gave several presentations which included: “Caribbean Acroporid Tissue Loss: Toward a New Paradigm of Coral Disease,” at the 37th Scientific Meeting of the Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean, Curacao, May 18-22, and “Can Caribbean Staghorn and Elkhorn Coral Populations Be Restored?” for the Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire and CIEE Research Station, Bonaire, May 26.

Emanuel Petricoin, School of Systems Biology, Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, was awarded $164,000 from Side Out Foundation for his research project Side-Out Fdn/I-SPY2 Trial.

Serguei Popov, School of Systems Biology, National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, was awarded $418,000 from the United States Department of Health and Human Services for his research project NIH/Immune Cell Trafficking.

John Jianhe Qu, Global Environment and Natural Resources Institute, was awarded $40,000 from the US Department of Agriculture for his research project USDA/Detection of Fire Impacts.

Philip Richards, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded $408,000 from NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center for his research project NASA/Electron Density Variations.

Philip Ruben, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded $450,000 from the National Science Foundation for his research project NSK/Kaon Decay Exps as CERN.

Jagadish Shukla, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, was appointed as a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change (PMCCC) in India. The PMCCC will advise the Prime Minister on India’s Climate Science and Policy and, in particular, contributions to the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP21) Climate Conference being held in Paris this fall.

Michael Summers, Physics and Astronomy, a key member of the New Horizons Science Team, was offered congratulations on the July 15, 2015 New Horizons Encounter from President Obama, Presidential Science Advisor, John Holdren, NASA Administrator Charles Boldren, the U.S. Congress, and Stephen Hawkins as well as 42,000 messages from the public. New Horizons was front page news on over 450 newspapers world-wide.
Summers published his article “A team member’s view of all the work on Earth it took to get New Horizons to Pluto” on The Conversation, and presented two major discoveries on Pluto’s atmosphere at a NASA press briefing. He was quoted in over 150 news outlets to include BBC, PBS, NY Times, Astronomy Now, Discovery, Nature, C-Span, NBC, ABC, CBS, Science News, Scientific America, as well as being interviewed on NPR, and other stations.
Summers also delivered the keynote address at the annual Mars International Conference this summer.

Mark Uhen, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, was awarded $202,700.00 from the National Science Foundation for his research project NSF/ “Big Data” Paleobiology Database.

Monique Van Hoek, School of Systems Biology, co- published, along with other Mason colleagues and students Acyl carrier protein is a bacterial cytoplasmic target of cationic antimicrobial peptide LL-37” in the Biochemical Journal, (M.C. Chung), “Screen of FDA-approved drug library identifies maprotiline, an antibiofilm and antivirulence compound with QseC sensor-kinase dependent activity in Francisella novicida” in the journal Virulence, and “Snake cathelicidin NA-CATH and smaller helical antimicrobial peptides are effective against Burkholderia thailandensis” in the journal Plos Neglected Tropical Disease in July 2015. (S.M. Barksdale)

Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers, Environmental Science and Policy, published the article “Integrative environmental governance: enhancing governance in the era of synergies” in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainabiliy. She also co-published the paper “Tourism-conservation enterprises for community livelihoods and biodiversity conservation in Kenya” Development Southern Africa.

Patrick Vora, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded $330,000 from the U.S. Department of the Navy for his research project ONR/Resistive Switching in NanoWire.

Andrea Weeks, Biology, was awarded $16,500.00 from the National Science Foundation for her research project NSF/Dissertation Res/M. Tsuchiya.

Chaowei Yang, Geography and Geoinformation Science, was awarded $60,000 from Science Systems and Applications, Inc for his research project SSAI/NASA/EOS GIS Comm/TDN K-002 and $523,000 from NASA/AIST for his research project Mining & Utilizing Dataset. Yang also received a major equipment donation from NASA, a 512-node computer cluster, which is now located at the Mason Data Center.

Yang also hosted two conferences this summer at George Mason University. The 1st International Symposium on Spatiotemporal Computing (ISSC) was held July 13th to 15th, 2015, hosted by his NSF Spatiotemporal Innovation Center. The conference explored the possibilities of spatiotemporal computing in addressing societal challenges from global to local regions by bringing together people with different backgrounds and expertise. Yang’s Center of Intelligent Spatial Computing for Water/Energy Science also hosted a US-SINO Training Program for executives and engineers from China’s National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and GeoInformation. George Mason faculty, experts from Harvard University, government agencies and industry delivered lectures related to WebGIS technology and the trend of geospatial studies in the U.S.

Chi Yang, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded $75,000 from the Stevens Institute of Technology for her research project SIT/ONR/Studies on SWACH Vessels. Yang also received the CH Kim Award, in recognition of her outstanding technical achievements in and exceptional contribution to floating-body dynamics from the International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers at its Twenty-fifth (2015) International Ocean and Polar Engineering Conference held in Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, from June 21-26, 2015.

Erdal Yigit, Physics and Astronomy, co-published a research paper “Cooling of the Martian thermosphere by CO2 radiation and gravity waves: An intercomparison study with two general circulation models” in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Yigit also was awarded $227,000 from the National Science Foundation for his research project NSF/CEDAR: Vertical Coupling.

Peter Young, College of Science was awarded $20,000 from the Catholic Universities Libraries for his research project CUA/NASA/Operation IRIS Mission.

Department of Physics and Astronomy: Last month the Max Planck Society and its collaborators in Switzerland and Spain, released the results of their big data; data mining of research institutions with collaborators around the world. In the disciplines of physics and astronomy and earth and planetary science this department was ranked among 698 research institutions. The metric used requires that a certain percentage of the published papers from the department rank among the top 10% most cited papers in the discipline. The infographics tool from the Max Planck Society allows for each ranked institution to display a world map of collaborators. As seen in the graphics for George Mason, the Physics and Astronomy Department truly has a worldwide reach and is the second highest ranked in Virginia.