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Awards presentation celebrates wide range of scholarship

Research awards, 2011; from left, Provost Warren Burggren, President Lane Rawlins, Pamela Harrell, Vish Prasad.Research scientists, scholars, engineers and artists were among those honored at the 2011 Annual Research Reception and Awards presentation Nov. 1.

Fifteen faculty were nominated for their curiosity, commitment, research contributions and creative activity. The Office of Research and Economic Development began the tradition of an awards ceremony in 2009 as a way of acknowledging the many ways faculty research makes a profound difference at UNT, in the community, in Texas and in the global community.

These awards were presented:

2011 Research Awards; President Rawlins, Raj Bannerjee, Vish Prasad.Special Recognition for Sustained Contribution to the Research Enterprise -  Raj Banerjee, Materials Science and Engineering

The Office of Research and Economic Development created this new award to provide recognition and thanks for an individual’s sustained efforts and accomplishments that benefit UNT’s research enterprise over a period of multiple years. Examples of these contributions include:

  • Consistent leadership among groups of investigators
  • Development of collaborations among investigators and partnerships with outside entities
  • Creation of sustainable programs or facilities on campus that facilitate and stimulate research
  • Mentoring young faculty to achieve high levels of research success.

Banerjee, right, with President V. Lane Rawlins and Vish Prasad, vice president for Research and Economic Development, has been the Director of the Center for Advanced Research and Technology, CART, since 2008. His development and implementation of new rules and policies for the center have significantly aided in the expanded use of this state-of-the-art nanoscale synthesis and characterization facility. CART now supports the work of more than 30 faculty members and 180 graduate students from various departments and colleges.

Users also include researchers from numerous U.S. universities and for-profit U.S. companies.  The center also supports collaborations with researchers from 23 foreign universities in at least nine different countries, some of which are among the very top international universities.

Banerjee also played a key role in developing the winning proposal to NSF for more than $1 million for the renovation of CART and its integration into UNT’s Nanofabrication Analysis and Research Facility which is currently under construction.

Competitive Funding Award — Daniel Taylor, Psychology

Daniel Taylor, Vish Prasad, research awards 2011The Competitive Funding Award honors the principal investigator responsible for the highest total amount of newly-awarded competitive research funding during the 2011 fiscal year. Finalists were Lee Hughes, Biological Sciences, and Vish Prasad, Mechanical and Energy Engineering.

Taylor, right with Prasad, is recognized with this award for new awards totaling $1,617,111 in fiscal year 2011. Taylor studies physical and mental health problems associated with insomnia, depression and their interconnectedness.  His work has garnered support from large federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense to smaller groups specific to the field of sleep science. College students, active duty military personnel, veterans, senior citizens and children are among the populations he has studied and who stand to benefit from his work.

Taylor’s articles have appeared in high impact journals including Sleep, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Journal of Sleep Research and Behavior Research and Therapy.  An impressive record of honors and awards, fellowships, and distinguished visiting professor appointments are also testament to his international reputation and far-reaching work in the cognitive-behavioral therapy of insomnia.

Early Career Award for Research and Creativity — Guido Verbeck, Chemistry

Guido Verbeck, research awards, 2011The Early Career Award for Research and Creativity recognizes a faculty member within her/his first 10 years in a tenure-track faculty appointment whose research accomplishments or creative endeavors have been outstanding. Finalists were Brian Ayre, Biological Sciences, and Daniel Taylor, Psychology

Verbeck’s initiative, creativity and intellect demonstrate that he is on his way to being one of the world’s leading researchers in the design and development of new analytical instrumentation and methodologies. The major focus of his research includes forensic science analysis and instrument development to detect dangerous chemicals before human exposure is lethal.

Verbeck, right,  has developed a nanomanipulator instrument and technique to detect and analyze ultratrace residues, such as single particles of drugs (like cocaine) on a single fiber, or explosive residue in a single fingerprint lifted from a computer keyboard.  These devices have the greatest applicability for homeland security, first responders and the military. He also has designed and built portable mass spectrometry instruments that are being used for the space station.

Teacher Scholar Award — Pamela Harrell, Teacher Education and Administration

The Teacher Scholar Award honors the mid-career faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in research or creative productivity while also performing in an extraordinary manner as a teacher.  Finalists were Rebecca Dickstein, Biological Sciences, and Kelly Donahue-Wallace, Art Education and Art History.

Pamela Harrell, research awards, 2011Harrell, right,  has been a faculty member at UNT for 11 years teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in Curriculum and Instruction and Secondary Education. Her scholarship is tied to studying teacher quality and teacher effectiveness with the aim of improving the overall quality of education for students.

Her research demonstrates that student achievement is critically linked to teachers’ abilities both to comprehend and to effectively communicate subject matter. To this end, she has directed ambitious projects and has implemented pioneering teacher certification programs designed to improve teachers’ proficiency, lesson planning, and instruction techniques, especially in science and mathematics.  She is highly regarded in the field for her numerous and significant contributions to pedagogy and curricular innovation.

Harrell’s advocacy to support the professional development of teachers is matched by the excellence and passion she brings to the classroom as a teacher herself. She is consistently among the highest rated teachers in her department. Many letters of appreciation from students have described how she has assisted them in achieving their learning goals.

Creative Impact Award — Jeffrey Bradetich, Music

The Creative Impact Award is designed to honor the faculty member whose work in the literary or creative arts has had the greatest societal impact. Finalists were Jennifer Lane, Vocal Music, and Melinda Levin, Radio, Television, and Film.

President V. Lane Rawlins, Jeff Bradetich, research awards 2011Bradetich, right with Rawlins, is widely recognized as an important expert and authority on the double bass instrument.  His work has inspired an international community of performers and audiences through his 30 years as a professional performer, teacher, and promoter of the instrument.

A master of the double bass instrument, Bradetich has performed some 500 concerts on four continents and has produced both instructional as well as concert recordings of the bass to reach musicians and audiences around the world.

Bradetich established the Bradetich Foundation in 2008 with the purpose of advancing the performing, teaching, and knowledge of the double bass. The Foundation is dedicated to identifying the top performers in the world and helping to develop their careers through major competitions, debut concerts, recordings and concert tours. He established an international convention for bassists in 1982 as a venue for bass players and teachers to gather from around the world to share expertise.  The conventions now draw over 1000 participants from more than 30 countries.

He is author and editor of numerous publications, including the book, Double Bass - The Ultimate Challenge, the most comprehensive source for pedagogy and performance about the bass, published in 2009. His summer master classes, now in their 25th year, are the longest running course of their kind in the United States.

Research Leadership Award — Angela Wilson, Chemistry

Angela Wilson, Vish Prasad, research awards, 2011The Research Leadership Award recognizes the veteran faculty member whose research excellence and leadership has made substantial contributions and has achieved national/international recognition.  Finalists were Samuel Atkinson, Biological Sciences, and Mariusz Urbanski, Mathematics.

Wilson, right with Prasad, is a leading authority in computational chemistry. Her research focuses on quantum mechanics and its applications, which include atmospheric and environmental chemistry, luminescent materials, nanomaterials and the study of molecular species with unusual bonding.

She is known for her work developing mathematical functions to describe molecular orbitals.  Her expertise has been widely recognized by her peers.  Wilson’s publications are heavily cited and she is currently on three editorial advisory boards, including the Journal of Physical Chemistry.

She was the first UNT faculty member to be honored with the prestigious NSF CAREER Award. Wilson has received multiple national and international awards, including the 2010 Promising Young Scientist Prize from the French based CMOA, Center for Applied Wave Mechanics - an international award given to a young scientist for outstanding achievements in theoretical chemistry and physics - and she was recently named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society. She was also designated a National Associate of the National Academies - a lifetime honor for her “extraordinary service to the National Research Council in its role as advisor to the nation in matters of science, engineering, and health.” – submitted by Julie West,  Office of Research and Economic Development

Posted on: Wed 02 November 2011

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