Faculty Highlights: Recent Awards and Grants

The text "Faculty Highlights" on top of a photo of faculty in regalia.

Professors across Drexel University continued to advance scholarly research and make significant academic and professional contributions. This update offers a snapshot of activity from the last term, courtesy of the Office of the Provost.

Sponsored Research

Christopher MacLellan, PhD, assistant professor in the College of Computing & Informatics, received two research grants from the Army Research Laboratory as part of the Army Strengthening Teamwork for Robust Operations in Novel Groups program. MacLellan and Drexel will serve as PI for the project “Human-Guided ML for Futuristic Human-Machine Teaming” ($1.4 million from February 2022 to January 2025), in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His second funded project, titled “The Co-evolution of Human-AI Adaptation,” will be conducted in collaboration with University of California San Diego (PI) and the University of Colorado Boulder.

Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, dean and Distinguished University Professor, and Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, senior associate dean for research and professor of nursing, from the College of Nursing and Health Professions, received $84,000 from Temple University for “Vascular Contributions to Mechanisms and Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Joke Bradt, PhD, professor of creative arts therapies in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, received $95,000 from the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for Advancement of Military Media for “Group Music Therapy for Chronic Pain Management in Service Members with Co-Morbid Chronic Pain and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.”

Ebony White, PhD, assistant clinical professor of counseling and family therapy in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, received $2,400 from the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision for “Implementing Social Justice Strategies Across Core Curriculum in CACREP Programs.”

Justine Sefcik, PhD, assistant professor of graduate nursing in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, received $154,000 from the National Institutes of Health for “A Person-Centered Environmental and Sensory Intervention for Nursing Home Residents with Dementia who Exhibit Persistent Vocalizations.” 

Ezra Wood, PhD, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, received a $174,000 grant from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration to study and characterize ozone formation in New York City.

College of Arts and Sciences’ Naomi Goldstein, PhD, professor of psychological and brain sciences; Amanda NeMoyer, JD, PhD, assistant research professor of psychological and brain sciences; and Zoe Zhang, PhD, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences, received a grant from the United Way for their evaluation of a new city-wide initiative to expunge criminal records of juveniles and adults. They received $422,674 for year one of what is anticipated to be five-year grant totaling approximately $1.9 million. 

Andréia Mortensen, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and physiology in the College of Medicine, was awarded a one-year, $510,709 grant from the National Institutes of Health for “The Mechanism of Allosteric Modulation of Glutamate Transporters.”

Olimpia Meucci, MD, PhD, professor and chair of pharmacology and physiology in the College of Medicine, received a one-year, $375,506 grant from the National Institutes of Health for “Effects of Opiates on Neurons and their Impact on HIV Neuropathology.”

The Urban Health Collaborative (UHC) at the Dornsife School of Public Health was awarded a $250,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to study the impacts of paid maternity and paternity leave policies on health outcomes in Latin America and their potential for the United States. The project will be led by Ana Ortigoza, MD, PhD, senior research scientist II at the UHC, and Ana V. Diez Roux, MD, PhD, dean of the Dornsife School of Public Health, Dana and David Dornsife Dean and Distinguished University Professor of Epidemiology, and director of the UHC. 

The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design will serve as a research collaborator with PA Humanities on their project to map, network and celebrate the ecosystem of humanities practice in Pennsylvania. This research will culminate with a report and dialogue around the findings to highlight how the humanities are used across multiple sectors to create the building blocks for belonging and civic muscle to foster an equitable, thriving future for PA communities. Westphal will receive $60,000 for this work, which involves Westphal Dean Jason Schupbach; Andrew Zitcer, PhD, associate professor and program director of urban strategy; and Julie Goodman, department head of Arts & Entertainment Enterprise and associate professor of arts administration and museum leadership.

Steven Kurtz, PhD, research professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems and director of the Implant Research Center, received a five-year, $500,000 Stryker Orthopedics contract renewal for the project titled, “Analysis of Retrieved Alternative Bearings for Total Joint Replacement.” He also received a one-year $131,000 NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences-Small Business Technology Transfer (NIGMS-STTR) grant for the project titled, “3D Printed Silicon Nitride Porous PEEK Composite Spinal Cages for Anti-Infection.”

Gail Rosen, PhD, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering, received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant for “Learning Multi-scale Sequence Features for Predicting Gene to Microbiome Function.”

Joshua Lequieu, PhD, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering in the College of Engineering, received a grant from the Charles E. Kauffman Foundation, which supports innovative and interdisciplinary scientific research at Pennsylvania universities.

Major Gifts, Honors & Recognition

Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, received the Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing designation from the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence.

Susan Bell, PhD, professor of sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences, won the 2022 Reeder Award from the American Sociology Association’s Medical Sociology Section. The Reeder Award is given annually for distinguished contributions to medical sociology and recognizes scholarly contributions, especially a body of work displaying an extended trajectory of productivity that has contributed to theory and research in medical sociology; teaching; mentoring; and training, as well as service to the medical sociology community broadly defined.

Asta Zelenkauskaite, PhD, associate professor of communication in the College of Arts and Sciences, was re-elected co-chair of the Audience Section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research and was invited to serve as co-chair of the Communication and Media Division of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies.

Barbara Schindler, MD, vice dean emerita of educational and academic affairs and professor of psychiatry and pediatrics in the College of Medicine, received the 2021 Liaison Committee on Medical Education Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes individuals “whose efforts make the LCME peer review process possible and who have had a direct impact on the excellence of medical education in the United States.”

The Kline School of Law’s Lisa Tucker, JD, associate professor of law, and Anil Kalhan, JD, professor of law, were elected as members of the American Law Institute, which is the leading U.S. organization using scholarly work to clarify, modernize and improve the law.

Wendy Greene, JD, professor of law in the Kline School of Law, won the Association of American Law Schools’ Deborah L. Rhode Award for her work fighting to end discrimination against natural hair and protective hairstyles.

Richard Frankel, associate dean of experiential learning, director of the civil litigation and dispute resolution program and professor of law in the Kline School of Law, won the Pound Civil Justice Institute’s 2022 Civil Justice Scholarship Award for his article, “Corporate Hostility to Arbitration,” published in the Seton Hall Law Review in 2020.

Joseph Martin, PhD, professor emeritus in the College of Engineering, has been selected to receive the 2022 Hall of Fame award from the Delaware Valley Engineers Week Council. This award recognizes his engineering achievements, which have had a long-lasting impact on engineering and the public. Undergraduate civil engineering student Emma Youngs, who is the president of Drexel’s American Society of Civil Engineers, nominated Martin for this honor because of his commitment to shaping the minds of future engineers.

Jörn Venderbos, PhD, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Physics and the College of Engineering’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has received an NSF CAREER award from the Condensed Matter and Materials Theory program in the NSF’s Division of Materials Research. His project titled “CAREER: Advancing the Many-body Band Inversion Paradigm for Correlated Quantum Materials” will allow his group to lay the theoretical groundwork for better understanding the impacts of strong electronic correlations in materials with band inversion. 

Kristine A. Mulhorn, PhD, chair of the Health Administration Department and teaching professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, has been placed on the roster as a Fulbright Specialist. Her interest is to enhance the links between an international university with the Health Administration Department to enhance global health management education and increase competitiveness of Drexel’s various programs.

Mark Schafer, PhD, research professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, was elected to the 2022 Class of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Robert Thayer Sataloff, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology in the College of Medicine, was recognized by the American Academy of Teachers of Singing (AATS) with a 2022 AATS Lifetime Achievement Award “in recognition of the great contributions … made to singers, teachers of singing, and the voice community at large.”

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