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Faculty Highlights: Grants and Awards From Spring and Summer 2018

Faculty Highlights

In this section, Drexel Quarterly provides an update on research funding, commercialization activity and faculty honors at Drexel, courtesy of the Office of the Provost. This update offers a snapshot of activity during the past spring and summer term.

Sponsored Research

Kara Spiller, PhD, an assistant professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, received a five-year $500,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program award for the project titled, “CAREER: Biomaterial-mediated Control over Macrophage Activation.”

Wan Shih, PhD, an associate professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, received a one-year $90,000 NIH Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant for the project titled “Molecular, Cancer-specific, Intraoperative Imaging of Breast Surgical Margin Assessment.

Michelle Dolinski, PhD, an associate professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, received a $561,000 grant award from the U.S. Department of Energy for her project “Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay at Drexel.”

Brigita Urbanc, PhD, an associate professor of physics, and Reinhard Schweitzer-Stenner, PhD, a professor of chemistry, both in the College of Arts and Sciences, were awarded a $554,614 NSF grant for their project “Moving Toward an Accurate Molecular Dynamics Force Field for Intrinsically Disordered Proteins.”

Rachel Wenrick, an associate teaching professor of English, and Kirsten Kaschock, PhD, an assistant teaching professor of English, both in the College of Arts and Sciences, received a $30,000 grant from TD Bank to support a series of lectures, writing workshops and a publication related to affordable housing and cooperative living. The events are connected to the community writing initiatives of Drexel Writers Room and will take place this fall.

James Tangorra, PhD, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics in the College of Engineering, received a new award from the Office of Naval Research for $1.4 million over three years. The objective is to uncover sensorimotor principles by which fish control and modulate median fin and axial body movements and to develop a freely swimming vehicle that uses robot learning to adapt biological principles of multi-fin gaits for high-performance swimming and maneuvering. Tangorra’s research is being performed in collaboration with Harvard University and the University of Chicago.

John Rich, MD, a professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health, and Ted Corbin, MD, associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Drexel University College of Medicine, received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Forward Promise Empowering Projects grant for $447,863. This new grant will go toward Drexel’s Healing Hurt People program and will support the training and hiring of new community health worker peers, and expanding the program’s focus on culturally responsive healing practices, including storytelling.

Renee Turchi, MD, an associate professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health’s Department of Community Health and Prevention, was given a grant to study the Transition of Care and Telehealth for CYSHCN at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. The $25,000 grant is to be used through 2019.

David Gefen, PhD, Provost Distinguished Research Professor of Decision Sciences and MIS in the LeBow College of Business, received funding from the Drexel University-Ben Gurion University Interdisciplinary Projects in Health Sciences seed fund.

Sheila Vaidya, PhD, a professor in the School of Education; Mary Jo Grdina, PhD, a clinical professor in the School of Education; Donald McEachron, PhD, a teaching professor and coordinator for academic assessment and quality improvement in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems; and Shari Moskow, PhD, professor and head of the Department of Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences, received a $1,199,762 NSF Noyce Scholarship Grant. The five-year project will fund 24 non-Teacher Education, STEM majors at Drexel to build in the coursework for grades 4-8 mathematics or science teacher certification into their program of study with a focus on understanding the cultural and life experiences of middle school students in high-need, urban schools.

Distinguished University Professor and former dean of the School of Education (SoE) Nancy Songer, PhD, with Associate Dean of Teacher Education & Undergraduate Affairs Sarah Ulrich, EdD, and other SoE faculty, received funding to support the School’s Philadelphia Teacher Residency program including a $710,275 PA Department of Education Teacher Residency Grant and a $85,000 School District of Philadelphia tuition contract to fund a total of 25 recent college graduates and career changers to work as School District as full-time, Teacher Residents in STEM subject areas within high-need schools for the 2018-19 academic year. While serving as Teacher Residents, these graduate students will complete SoE coursework leading to initial teacher certification and the Social, Emotional & Behavioral Wellness Endorsement. Successful program completers are guaranteed employment as a Teacher of Record in Fall 2019-20 academic year.

Distinguished University Professor and former dean of the School of Education (SoE) Nancy Songer, PhD, as Co-PI with SoE’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Graduate Studies Penny Hammrich, PhD, and Mary Jo Grdina, PhD, a clinical professor in the SoE, collaborated on a five-year, US AID-funded STEM Teacher Education and School Strengthening Activity (STESSA) grant. The focus of the grant is to expand Model STEM high schools in Egypt from 7 to 22 schools and to coordinate pre- and in-service teacher trainings to support the new pedagogical approach of intensive critical thinking in STEM in these schools and beyond. The Drexel sub-contract for about $400,000 focuses on STEM teacher training.

Major Gifts, Honors and Recognition

Peter A. Lewin, PhD, Richard B. Beard Professor and director of the Biomedical Ultrasound Research and Education Center in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Philadelphia Section 2018 Benjamin Franklin Key Award.

Hasan Ayaz, PhD, an associate research professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, was elevated to the grade of Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the highest professional grade of the IEEE for which a member may apply. Ayaz also received a courtesy appointment with Drexel’s Department of Psychology.

On May 21, the College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) honored five winning submissions to the 2nd Annual Isaac L. Auerbach Innovation Awards. The competition aims to gather innovative and actionable ideas from faculty, professional staff and students, specifically calling for proposals that are both contemporary and practical in providing solutions to specific challenges at the College. Out of the 33 submissions that were received, five cash awards were given to teams and individuals, with a total value of $25,000. Winning projects (which will all be implemented in the coming academic year) include a mineable cryptocurrency for CCI student-exclusive applications; an application to support CCI’s computer lab, the iCommons; a sophomore retention initiative; and a pre-orientation program for women in computing. The Innovation Awards were made possible through the generous support of Carol and Isaac L. Auerbach.

David Ambrose, PhD, a professor of mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences, was awarded the 2018 T. Brooke Benjamin Prize in Nonlinear Waves by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. The biennial award recognizes a midcareer researcher who has made a significant contribution to the field of nonlinear waves.

Felice Elefant, PhD, an associate professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, was one of 18 fellows selected nationwide for this year’s Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering program at Drexel University. ELATE at Drexel is an elite professional and leadership development program for women in the academic STEM fields.

Richard Y. Chiou, PhD, an associate professor of engineering technology in the College of Engineering, received the David Wells Service Award of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Manufacturing Division in June for his outstanding service recognized by the ASEE Manufacturing Division.

Aaron Fafarman, PhD, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering in the College of Engineering, is the winner of this year’s American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Delaware Valley Section Outstanding Faculty Award. The Outstanding Faculty Award recognizes a faculty member who has contributed to the profession through publications and presentations in his field, has demonstrated commitment to teaching and students and has a strong record of service.

Under the leadership of Vice Provost for International Development Shannon Marquez, PhD, the Office of International Programs Global Health & International Development team was awarded a $4.1 million dollar philanthropic gift from World Vision, Inc. to support capacity building activities on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues focused specifically on addressing WASH issues and action research across 36 World Vision program countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia; and to develop and disseminate relevant information and best practices to enhance World Vision’s efforts to make a significant contribution to achieving goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “Ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” Over the next 5 years, working closely with the Dornsife School of Public Health, the Office of International Programs and Drexel University Online, the project will include offering online courses to increase the technical capacity of World Vision field staff, with the overall goal of improving water, sanitation, and hygiene integration with other sectors – including education, maternal and child health, nutrition, and economic development--which is one of the cornerstones of the World Vision development strategy as the largest NGO provider of clean water in the developing world.

Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, an assistant professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health’s Department of Community Health and Prevention, received the Vision Award for Excellence in Health Policy from the Community Health Planning and Policy Development Section of the American Public Health Association.

Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, a research professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health’s Department of Community Health and Prevention, received the Bar-Or Award for Excellence in Pediatric Obesity Research, awarded by the Pediatric Obesity Section of The Obesity Society.

William Martorano, an adjunct professor in the Goodwin College of Professional Studies, was awarded the 2018 Laura S. Campbell Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Joseph Salomone, an adjunct professor in the Goodwin College of Professional Studies and University Registrar, was awarded the Stanley J. Gwiazda Award for Teaching Excellence.

Robert J. Palisano, an associate dean of research in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, received the John H.P. Maley Lecture Award, the highest honor awarded by the American Physical Therapy Association.

Bobbie Posmontier, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, has been elected to be a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Patti Rager Zuzelo, EdD, a clinical professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, has been selected to be inducted into the prestigious Academy of Nursing Education, the National League for Nursing.

Loretta Jemmott, PhD, the vice president of health and health equity and a professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, received the ABNF Award for Lifetime Achievement in Education and Research at the Association of Black Nursing Faculty, Inc. 31st Annual Meeting and Scientific Conference in London, England.

This story was published in the fall 2018 issue of Drexel Quarterly.

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