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Annual awards celebrate research, creativity

Research Awards_Wes Borden

Fifteen faculty members were honored Nov. 2 at the annual Research Reception and Awards Ceremony. Five received top awards for research and creative activity.

The annual event is hosted by Vish Prasad, vice president for research and economic development, and the Office of Research and Economic Development, and recognizes research scientists, scholars, engineers and artists who show exceptional accomplishment. Awards include a cash prize and commemorative plaque. Above, Provost Warren Burggren, award winner Wes Borden and Prasad.

Faculty were nominated and evaluated for awards in five categories:

  • Competitive Funding Award
  • Early Career Award for Research and Creativity
  • Teacher Scholar Award
  • Creative Impact Award
  • Research Leadership Award

Competitive Funding Award - Jeffry Kelber, Regents Professor of chemistry

This is given to the principal investigator responsible for the highest total amount of newly awarded competitive research funding during the previous fiscal year. Finalists were Yunfei Du, assistant professor of library and information sciences, and Su Gao, professor of mathematics.

Kelber’s awarded funding totaled $1.6 million. His research is in the field of semiconductor research and in atomic level chemistry and surface science. He was selected recently by the Semiconductor Research Corporation, the world’s leading university research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies, to establish and direct the Center for Electronic Materials Processing and Integration. The center includes international experts who study plasma processes and insulators used in manufacturing state-of-the-art semiconductor chips. 

Early Career Award for Research and CreativityPamela Padilla, associate professor of biology 

This recognizes a faculty member within the first 10 years of a tenure-track appointment whose research accomplishments or creative endeavors have been outstanding. Finalists were Cheng Yu, assistant professor of engineering technology, and Srinivasan Srivilliputhur, assistant professor of materials science and engineering.

Padilla’s research in oxygen deprivation has made important contributions to human health related issues, including cardiovascular dysfunction, blood loss due to trauma, pulmonary dysfunction and solid tumor progression. Padilla previously received an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health and a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. She received the 2010 Outstanding Mentor award for her work with Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science students.

Teacher Scholar AwardDee Ray, assistant professor of counseling and director of the Child and Family Resource Clinic

The award honors a mid-career faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in research or creative productivity and teaching. Finalists were Rebecca Dickstein, professor of biological sciences, and David McEntire, associate professor of emergency administration and planning.

Ray is a leading scholar in the field of child-centered play therapy, adult-child relationships and counselor education. She has helped develop the counseling doctoral program and facilitated dissertations and professional experience.

Creative Impact Award - Bruce Bond, Regents Professor of English

This rewards a faculty member in literary or creative arts has had the greatest societal impact. Finalist was Jon Nelson, associate dean for operations-composition.

Bond’s poems, essays, articles and books are published by some of the most respected names in literary publishing, including Sewanee Review, Paris Review, The American Literary Review, Yale Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, Etruscan Press and Louisiana State University Press. His seven poetry books have garnered international recognition, and he has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, the Pushcart and National Book Award in Poetry, the highest creative writing awards.  

Research Leadership AwardWes Borden, Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry, above, at the ceremony

This recognizes a veteran faculty member whose research excellence and leadership has made substantial contributions and has achieved national/international recognition. Finalists were Samuel Atkinson, Regents Professor of biological sciences, and Mohammad Omary, professor of chemistry.

Borden is recognized by international peers as being one of the world’s leading experts in computational organic chemistry and molecular orbital theory. He was named a Cope Scholar by the American Chemical Society, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the inaugural class of fellows of the American Chemical Society. He is this year’s recipient of the prestigious American Chemical Society James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry. He was a Fulbright Scholar and is the recipient of a Sloan Foundation Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Japan Society for Promotion of Science Fellowship and a Humboldt Senior Scientist Research Award. Since 1999, he has served as associate editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, one of the world's most respected science journals.

Special Recognition for Technology DevelopmentKent Chapman, Regents Professor of biological sciences. This recognizes research discoveries that spawn technological developments of value to society and UNT through the sale or licensing of patent rights. Chapman has multiple patents issued or pending for enhancing the quality of cotton, increasing the production of useful plant fibers, genetically controlling lipid accumulation in plants and extending the freshness of cut flowers and ornamental trees. 

From left, Padilla, Chapman, Bond, Kelber, Ray and Borden.

Pam Padilla

Kent Chapman

Bruce Bond

Jeffry KelberDee RayWes Borden 





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