Date August 7, 2019
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Brown faculty members earn prominent awards, distinctions

In recent months, prestigious national and international organizations recognized Brown faculty for their research, scholarship and leadership.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — This spring and summer, Brown faculty members working in a range of academic disciplines, from American studies to emergency medicine to mathematics, earned prominent recognition from national and international organizations for their distinguished research, teaching and service. Among such distinctions earned in recent months are the following honors:

Dr. Jasjit Ahluwalia, a professor of behavioral and social sciences and medicine, was elected a fellow of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT). And Suzanne Colby, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior and behavioral and social sciences, was elected as the 2019-20 president for SRNT. The society focuses on supporting nicotine research from the molecular level to the societal level. Ahluwalia’s research focuses on smoking cessation in African American smokers. Colby studies smoking cessation treatments for adolescent smokers.

Dr. Christian Arbelaez, an associate professor of emergency medicine, and Dr. Brian Clyne, an associate professor of emergency medicine and medical science, were both recognized by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM). Arbelaez received SAEM’s Marcus L. Martin Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion Award for his work promoting diversity, inclusion and equity in the Emergency Department at the Warren Alpert Medical School. His efforts include recruitment, mentorship, advancement and retention of trainees and faculty. Clyne received SAEM’s Hal Jayne Excellence in Education Award for his work teaching others and improving pedagogy. He served as the interim chair of the Emergency Medicine Department, is involved in the graduate medical education program and assists medical students in choosing areas of specialization for their future careers.

Richard Arenberg, a visiting professor of the practice of political science, won two awards for his book “Congressional Procedure: A Practical Guide to Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress.” The Independent Book Publishers Association gave the book a 2019 Benjamin Franklin Award, naming it the gold winner in the category of political and current events. “Congressional Procedure” also captured a bronze 2019 Independent Publisher Book Award in the Mid-Atlantic non-fiction category; Independent Publisher says its award is meant to recognize “the most heartfelt, unique, outspoken and/or experimental” releases each year.

Iris Bahar, a professor of engineering and computer science, was named the 2019 Marie R. Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Award by the Design Automation Conference. The annual honor recognizes individuals who have significantly helped to advance women in electronic design. The organization cited Bahar’s outstanding contributions in the area of energy efficient and reliable electronic system design as well as her extensive work as an advisor and mentor to aspiring scientists.

Omer Bartov, a professor of European history, won the 2018 National Jewish Book Award in Holocaust Studies for his book “Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz.” Bartov’s book, set in the Eastern European border town of Buczacz during WW-II, examines how genocide can take root at the local level, turning neighbors, friends and even family members against one another. Judges on the award panel wrote, “Bartov’s mono­graph demon­strates the his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of towns and nar­ra­tives that might oth­er­wise be for­got­ten. It also helps us under­stand the com­plex­i­ty of intereth­nic con­flict, which con­tin­ues to trou­ble our world today.”

Engineering professors Yuri Bazilevs and Huajian Gao were named to Clarivate Analytics’ list of Highly Cited Researchers. The list recognizes world-class researchers selected for their exceptional research performance, demonstrated by production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in Web of Science. Bazilevs was also elected to the board of governors of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Engineering Mechanics Institute. Gao was elected a member of Academia Europaea, a Europe-wide group of eminent scholars.

Eric Chason, a professor of engineering, was awarded the John Bardeen Award by the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society. The award is presented yearly for outstanding contributions in the field of electronic materials. Chason was honored for pioneering work in understanding how stresses develop in thin film materials used in modern electronics.

Melody Chan, an assistant professor of mathematics, won the 2019 Association for Women in Mathematics-Microsoft Research Prize. The award is presented annually to highlight exceptional research in algebra by a woman early in her career. Chan’s work in algebraic geometry and combinatorics has also earned her a Sloan Fellowship and an NSF CAREER award.

Ross Cheit, a professor of international and public affairs and political science, was one of seven American professors to receive a 2018 Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Trust Award for inspiring a former student to make a difference in his or her community. The award is given to current or former academic faculty members who have inspired their former students to “create an organization which has demonstrably conferred a benefit on the community at large.” Cheit was nominated for the award by Malika Saar, a Class of 1992 Brown graduate and executive director of Rights4Girls, an organization dedicated to ending gender-based violence against women and girls in the U.S. “Professor Cheit was so wonderful at taking those of us who believed in public service and raising us,” Saar told Brown Alumni Magazine in 2012.

Lorin Crawford, an assistant professor of biostatistics, was selected by Forbes for its 30 Under 30 of Science list. Crawford is building deep learning algorithms able to detect the complex interactions between genes that contribute to diseases, such as cancer. He is also combining information from clinical images — such as an MRI scan of a brain tumor — with the results of genetic tests of cancer-causing mutations.

The European Physical Society awarded the 2019 High Energy and Particle Physics Prize to the D-Zero Experiment, a worldwide science collaboration credited with the discovery of the top quark in 1994. Brown physics professors Dave Cutts, Ulrich Heintz, Greg Landsberg and Meenakshi Narain played key roles in the collaboration, which was based at FermiLab, America's particle physics and accelerator laboratory.

Dr. Penelope Dennehy, a professor and vice chair of pediatrics at the Warren Alpert Medical School, was recognized as the distinguished physician of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. The award recognizes one pediatrician for their extensive and distinguished career in pediatric infectious diseases. Dennehy’s primary research focus is on viral diseases, including viral gastroenteritis, viral respiratory disease and rotavirus disease — a stomach “bug” that is particularly severe in young children.

Dr. Phyllis Dennery, a professor of pediatrics and molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry and chair of pediatrics at the Warren Alpert Medical School, was elected the 2018-19 president of the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine. The society gathers scientists, clinicians and researchers investigating redox biology and the damage oxygen can cause. Dennery studies lung injuries and repair in newborns and the long-term consequences of health disparities and pre-term birth.

Timothy Edgar, a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, won the 2018 Chicago-Kent College of Law/Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize for his book “Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance, and the Struggle to Reform the NSA.” Established in 2007, the Palmer Prize honors exemplary works of scholarship exploring the tension between civil liberties and national security in contemporary American society. In “Beyond Snowden,” Edgar traces the evolution of America’s mass surveillance programs in the 21st century, from the Patriot Act in 2001 to the reforms that followed Edward Snowden’s leaks of classified information in 2013, and explains both why and how we can protect our privacy without sacrificing vital intelligence capabilities.

Pedro Felzenszwalb, a professor of engineering and computer science, won the 2018 Longuet-Higgins Prize for his fundamental contributions to the field of computer vision. This is the second time he’s won the prize, which is awarded by the IEEE Computer Society for research that makes a lasting impact on the field. Felzenszwalb also won in 2010.

Karen Fischer, a professor of Earth, environmental and planetary sciences, was awarded the Harry Fielding Reid Medal by the Seismological Society of America. The award is given annually for outstanding contributions in seismology or earthquake engineering. Fischer was recognized for her pioneering research on Earth’s upper mantle structure.

Dr. Stefan Gravenstein, a professor of medicine and health services, policy and practice, was named one of 89 fellows of the Gerontological Society of America. The society is the largest organization in the field of aging in the U.S. Gravenstein also was elected as a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. He studies how the immune system changes with age, with a recent focus on how flu vaccines can be adjusted to be more effective for older adults and those in nursing homes.

Emilia Huerta-Sanchez, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, was selected for a prestigious Young Investigator Grant by the Human Frontiers Science Program. The program aims to promote intercontinental collaboration and training in cutting-edge life sciences research. Huerta-Sanchez will collaborate with researchers in France and Mexico to study the genetic signatures in ancient DNA from the introduction of new pathogens during European colonization of the Americas.

Diane Lipscombe, a professor of neuroscience and the director of the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science, was selected by Fast Company as one of the 100 most creative people in business. Lipscombe was recognized for guiding the Carney Institute through its relocation to a new collaborative facility, following a $100 million gift from the Carney family. The new location should help the institute and its researchers expedite the discovery of cures for devastating brain-based diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s. Lipscombe, who is also the president of the Society for Neuroscience, studies voltage-gated ion channels and how they are regulated in neurons.

Richard M. Locke, University provost and a professor of political science and international affairs, was awarded the American Political Science Association’s Labor Politics Dorothy Day Award for the study “Does Compliance Pay? Social Standards and Firm-level Trade.” The paper, published in the American Journal of Political Science and co-authored by Greg Distelhorst of MIT / University of Toronto, used new data on retailers and manufacturers to conclude that importers reward exporters for complying with basic labor and environmental standards. Locke and Distelhorst were also named distinguished winners of the Responsible Research in Management Award, co-sponsored by the International Association for Chinese Management Research and the Community for Responsible Research in Business and Management. That award recognized a study published in Management Science titled “Does lean improve labor standards? Management and social performance in the Nike supply chain.”

Education Week included four members of the education faculty at Brown in its 2019 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings: Susanna Loeb, director of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform; Kenneth Wong, chair of the education department; Matthew Kraft, an associate professor of education; and John Papay, an assistant professor of education. The annual ranking lists 200 scholars who were most influential in shaping educational practice and policy in the last year, taking into account scholars’ recent research, book releases, news mentions and web mentions, among other factors.

Brandon Marshall, an associate professor of epidemiology, received an Early Career Public Health Research Award from Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health for his research accomplishments. Marshall studies methods to reduce the harm of substance use, including reducing the risk of an opioid overdose with fentanyl test strips and understanding HIV transmission among people who use drugs.

The Organization of American Historians awarded Monica Muñoz Martinez, an assistant professor of American studies at Brown, its 2019 Lawrence W. Levine Award for her book “The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas.” The award recognizes one outstanding book in American cultural history each year. “The Injustice Never Leaves You” explores the reverberations of early 20th-century violence upon ethnic Mexicans in Texas, weaving stories of specific episodes of violence into a larger context of complicity by state officials, including the Texas Rangers. “Using an impressive array of primary sources,” the award committee wrote, “the book has subtle arguments, compelling reflections on history and memory and sensitively drawn descriptions of the landscapes of mourning and violence.”

Rose McDermott, a professor of international relations, was named an associate editor of the American Journal of Political Science. Beginning in June 2019, she will serve a four-year term on the editorial team. The American Journal of Political Science is committed to significant advances in knowledge and understanding of citizenship, governance and politics, and to the public value of political science research. AJPS is the flagship journal of the Midwest Political Science Association.

Stelios Michalopoulos, an associate professor of economics, received the distinguished scientific award for social sciences as part of the Bodossaki Foundation’s Scientific Prizes for 2019. The biennial awards support the creative work of young Greek scientists working in locations across the world. Michalopoulos and this year’s four other winners attended a ceremony at Zappeion Hall in Athens in June, where the prizes were delivered by Greece’s president, Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

Peter Monti, a professor of behavioral and social sciences and director of the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, received the 10th Annual Jack Mendelson Award from the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). He was selected by NIAAA staff scientists for outstanding clinical research in the area of alcohol and alcohol use disorder. Monti has studied the mechanisms of addictive behavior as well as early intervention and treatment for more than 40 years.

Dr. Eleftherios Mylonakis, a professor of infectious diseases, medicine and molecular microbiology and immunology and assistant dean of emergency medicine, and Dr. Louis Rice, a professor of medicine and molecular microbiology and immunology and the chair of medicine department, were elected members of the Association of American Physicians. Members are elected in recognition of their achievements in the pursuit of medical knowledge, advancement of basic and clinical science and the application of these discoveries to clinical medicine. Mylonakis studies how microbes infect non-human hosts and the hosts’ immune responses, as well as searching for new types of antibiotics. Rice also studies antibiotic resistance, focusing on how resistance spreads among bacteria.

Kurt Pennell, a professor of engineering, was named a Fellow of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors. Pennell’s research in environmental engineering focuses on soil and groundwater remediation, nanomaterial fate and transport, and environmental toxicology. 

Dr. Maureen Phipps, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and epidemiology and chair of obstetrics and gynecology, was elected the president of the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society; her term will begin in September. The Society focuses on advancing women’s health by promoting excellence in research, education and medical practice. Phipps focuses on improving the health of vulnerable women, including adolescent mothers.

Dr. Stephen Salloway, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior and neurology, was one of nine individuals inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 2019. The Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame recognizes the achievements of people who were born in, lived in or worked in Rhode Island. Salloway was honored for his work as a leader in Alzheimer’s prevention research. He had led numerous studies on methods to detect and treat Alzheimer’s disease.

The European Physical Society’s 2019 Giuseppe and Vanna Cocconi Prize was awarded to the WMAP team, a science collaboration that mapped temperature changes in the radiation left over from the Big Bang. Greg Tucker, a professor of physics, was a key member of the WMAP team.

Dr. Allan Tunkel, senior associate dean for medical education and a professor of medicine, received a Clinical Teacher Award from the Infectious Diseases Society of America for his excellence as a clinician and his interest in teaching the next generation of doctors. Tunkel oversees Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education program as well as curriculum planning and evaluation at the Warren Alpert Medical School.

Andries van Dam, a professor of computer science, won the 2019 Distinguished Educator Award from SIGGRAPH, the world’s premier computer graphics conference organization. Van Dam was honored for helping to “define what computer graphics means through his pioneering research contributions and the research contributions of the many students he has mentored.”