Faculty & Staff Accolades April – May 2019

Laura Antonia Balmaceda, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded $292,098 for Understanding the Genesis of Coronal Mass Ejections and Shock Waves via Multi-Viewpoint EUV and Coronagraph Analysis by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Prime Sponsor: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Ancha Baranova, School of Systems Biology, was awarded $50,000 for I-Corps: Virtual Clinical Trials Platform by National Science Foundation.

Martha Buckley, Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, was awarded $103,688 for Changes in the subpolar North Atlantic: from the 1990s salinification to the 2015 cold blob – Year 3 by Cambridge Climate Institute. Prime Sponsor: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Natalie Burls, Atmospheric, Oceanic & Earth Sciences, was awarded $814,219 for a NSF Career Award: Understanding Cloud Feedback and Natural Aerosol Fingerprints to Interpret Past Warm Climate Forcing and Constrain Tropical Climate Sensitivity by the National Science Foundation. She was also a recipient of the 2019 George Mason University Teachers of Distinction Award. The Teachers of Distinction Award recognizes faculty members across campus for their exceptional teaching and their commitment to teaching-related activities.

Rocio Caballero-Gill, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, was featured in a research spotlight in Earth & Space Science News along with Linda Hinnov, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, analyzed ancient sediments for clues about evolution of climate in the past. In her paper with colleagues from Brown University and the U.S. Geological Survey, Caballero-Gill found evidence of a 100,000 year cycle during the Pliocene Epoch, the period of geological history that lasted from about 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago. The cycle they document may be an important component in the pacing between ice ages and interglacials during the Pliocene.

Benjamin Cash, Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, along with Natalie Burls, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, published “Predictable and Unpredictable Aspects of U.S. West Coast Rainfall and El Niño: Understanding the 2015/16 Event” in Journal of Climate. Cash was also invited to join the NOAA SIP Verification and Validation Working Group.

Susan Cheselka, Environmental Science and Policy, received the George Mason University Employee of the Month award for June 2019. 

Andrea Cobb, College of Science, was awarded $6,000 from a private individual as a gift to support the Aspiring Scientist Summer Internship Program (ASSIP) Endowment.

Liping Di, Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems, was awarded $60,000 for George Mason University participation in OGC OWS-15 by Open GIS Consortium, Inc.

Gregory Foster, Chemistry and Biochemistry, was selected as the recipient of the 2019 OSCAR Mentoring Excellence Award. The OSCAR Mentoring Excellence Award recognizes and rewards outstanding Mason community members who mentor undergraduate students on their research and creative activities, and who foster a culture of student scholarship in support at George Mason University.

Harold Geller, Physics and Astronomy, spoke via Skype to a 6th grade class in Georgetown, Texas in April. He fielded questions about astronomy, and addressed what it was like to be an astronomer. Also in April, Geller gave a talk to the Braddock District Council titled “What is a Planet? Mars, Pluto and Exoplanets as Examples,” and spoke at the Woodlands Retirement Community regarding “Forty Years of Exploration of the Surface of Mars.” In May, Geller spoke at a symposium hosted by the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology regarding “Looking for Life in the Universe.”

Nirmal Ghimire, Physics and Astronomy, and Ziaoyan Tan, Chemistry and Biochemistry, received a College of Science Seed Award of $34,000 for Multifunctional Materials: A Marriage of Thermoelectric and Topological Insulators. Ghimire, along with Patrick Vora, Physics and Astronomy, also received  a College of Science Seed Award of $30,000 for Quantum magnets: Synthesis, transport and optical studies.

Geoffrey Gilleaudeau, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, received a College of Science Seed Award of $26,000 for Did ocean oxygenation trigger the Cambrian Explosion of animals?

Igor Griva, Mathematical Sciences, was awarded $115,790 for Development of machine learning methodology for estimating, predicting and informing preparedness of students by the American Institutes for Research. Prime Sponsor: U.S. Department of Education.

Xianjun Hao, Geography and Geoinformation Science, Center for Environmental Science and Technology, was awarded $43,541 for NOAA AMSU-A CDR Products Support by Riverside Technology, Inc. Prime Sponsor: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Robert Hazen, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, presented public lectures on the applications of data-driven discovery in planetary evolution research at The Petroleum Museum in Midland, Texas and at “Balticon” (Science, sci-fi, and fantasy convention) in Baltimore, Maryland. He presented seminars on his recent mineralogical research at Kunshan University (China), Arizona State University (Phoenix), Rutgers University (New Jersey), Tokyo Tech (Japan), and the University of Idaho (Moscow). His new book, “Symphony in C: Carbon and the Evolution of (Almost) Everything” (NY: Norton) was published, as was his Roebling Medal lecture paper on a new “Evolutionary System of Mineralogy” in American Mineralogy, v. 104. In June, Hazen will retire after 30 years of teaching at George Mason University. He will continue as Senior Staff Scientist at the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory. 

Kerin Hilker-Balkissoon, College of Science, was awarded $14,400 from the International Development Institute in support of the Bangladesh cohort of Global STEM Scholars program. She also represented the College of Science at Aspen Institute ASCEND Roundtable: Post-Secondary/Workforce Pathways in May. She also presented at NAFSA 2019 Conference with Padhu Seshaiyer, College of Science, Mathematical Sciences, on the Academic Affairs Global STEM Pathways program model.

Hao Jing and Mikell Paige, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Joseph Dizinno, Forensic Science Program, received a College of Science Seed Award of $20,000 for Rational Design of Smart Probes based on Lanthanide-Doped Upconersion Nanoparticles (UCNPs) for Next Generation Latent Fingerprint Imaging and Encryption.

Fatah Kashanchi, School of Systems Biology, National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, was awarded $68,642 for The Effect of Antiretroviral Drugs on Exosome Release and Associated CNS Dysfunction – Fellowship Catherine Demarino by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

William Kennedy, Computational and Data Sciences, co-published an article entitled “Using Machine Learning to Classify Individuals with Alcohol Use Disorder Based on Treatment Seeking Status” in The Lancet’s EClinical Medicine.

Younsung Kim, Environmental Science and Policy, served as chair for the panel of “Diversity Issus in the Classroom” at the 77th Annual Meeting of Midwest Political Science Association in Chicago.

Barry Klinger, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, had his letter to the editor on carbon emissions in the U.S. and around the globe published by the Washington Post in April. Klinger, along with Jagadish Shukla, gave short talks on climate at “Breaching Waterways: Along the Anacostia River”, a performance piece by a George Mason University performance artist in May.

Kylene Kehn-Hall, School of Systems Biology, National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases and Dmtiri Klimov, School of Systems Biology, received a College of Science Seed Award of $20,000 for Developing capsid-importin alpha inhibitors for the treatment of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus infection.

Chung Kyu Park, Center for Collision Safety and Analysis, was awarded $200,000 for Development of Body Performance Prediction Methodology by Hyundai Motor Company.

Lance Liotta, School of Systems Biology, Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, was awarded $426,265 for Bridging adult to pediatric markers of tuberculosis disease severity by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Rainald Lohner, Physics and Astronomy, Center for Computational Fluid Dynamics, was awarded $41,662 for Feflo Development and Support by the U.S. Department of the Navy.

Thomas Lovejoy, Environmental Science and Policy, published the first official report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in Science Advances, released in May.

Aarthi Narayanan School of Systems Biology, National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, was awarded $72,998 for Novel circulating RNA-based markers as diagnostic biomarkers of infectious diseases by CFD Research Corporation. Prime Sponsor: U.S. Department of Defense/Army.

German Perilla, Environmental Science and Policy, received $36,000 from Hidden Creek Farm to initiate a new Piedmont Honey Bee research project.  He also received $940 for Piedmont Community HBI Research.

Emanuel Petricoin, School of Systems Biology, Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, was awarded $257,447 for Murtha Cancer Center Clinical Proteomics Platform – RPPA Assessment in the APOLLO Program by Henry M. Jackson Foundation. Prime Sponsor: U.S. Department of Defense.

Emily Rancourt, Forensic Science Program, received the George Mason University 2019 Teaching Excellence Award. The Teaching Excellence Award recognizes significant work that faculty members devote to course planning and preparation; curriculum development; and innovative teaching, advising and undergraduate and graduate mentoring.

Rudolf Reichert, Center for Collision Safety and Analysis, was awarded $95,000 for Development of Advanced Simulation and Analysis Tools for Subsystem Crash Evaluations by F.tech R&D North America Inc.

Christine Rosenfeld, Geography and Geoinformation Science, was awarded $6,000 for VIVA Course Redesign Grant: Harnessing the Geography that Surrounds Us by the State Council of Higher Education.

Shobita Satyapal, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded $10,000 for WISE Discovery of the Largest Sample of Obscured Dual AGNs: A NuSTAR Follow-up by Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Prime Sponsor: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Jagadish Shukla and Jim Kinter, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, spoke on Earth Day 2019 at Climate 3.0: The Science, the Politics, and the Policy Agenda. The event, moderated by a Washington Post columnist (and Mason professor), featured talks by President Cabrera and faculty from the Communications Department, the Mercatus Center, and other George Mason University departments.

Jennifer Sklarew, Environmental Science and Policy, received the 2019 George Mason University Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award. The Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award recognizes significant work that adjunct faculty members devote to course planning and preparation; curriculum development; and innovative teaching, advising and undergraduate and graduate mentoring. Sklarew and one of her OSCAR mentees delivered an invited presentation to the Fairfax Federation of Civic Associations:  “Empowering Community Resilience:  Leveraging Storm Water Management for Green Electricity.”

Cristiana Stan and David Straus, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, were recognized by the scholarly journal Reviews of Geophysics. Their article, “Review of Tropical-Extratropical Teleconnections on Intraseasonal Time Scales” was one of the top downloaded papers in the 12 months following publication during the 2017-18 period.  The paper generated immediate impact and visibility and made a significant contribution to the advancement of the field.

Quansong (Daniel) Tong, Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems, was awarded $298,890 for Towards Optimal Configurations of NAQFC Chemistry and Aerosol Representations by National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.

Mark Uhen, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, was one of the featured speakers in a documentary, “When Whales Walked: Journeys in Deep Time,” which aired on the Public Broadcasting System on June 19th.

Iosif Vaisman, School of Systems Biology, received $10,000 from Leidos, Inc. for School of Systems Biology Projects.

Monique Van Hoek, School of Systems Biology, and Barney Bishop, Chemistry and Biochemistry, were awarded $20,000 for Pharmacokinetic study of an antibacterial peptide with potent in vivo activity. Van Hoek also received  $5,000 from a private individual gift for a new Electroporation system.

Andrea Weeks, Biology, was awarded $6,712 for Securing Virginia’s plant biodiversity heritage for the future: A new life for the Lord Fairfax Community College Herbarium by the Virginia Native Plant Society Inclusion.

Chaowei (Phil) Yang, Geography and Geoinformation Science, Center for Intelligent Spatial Computing for Water/Energy Science, was awarded $100,000 for I/UCRC: China Data Institute – Spatiotemporal Innovation Center Membership Agreement for Industry Partners – Harvard by the China Data Institute.