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Campus & Community

Faculty Highlights: Recent Grants and Awards

January 16, 2020

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 most recent terms.

Major Gifts, Honors and Recognitions

Olimipia Meucci, PhD, professor and chair of the Pharmacology & Physiology Department in the College of Medicine, and Margaret A. Wheatley, PhD, John M. Reid Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, were awarded fellows of the National Academies of Inventors.

Dean of the College of Engineering and Distinguished Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Sharon L. Walker, PhD, was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society and publisher of leading research through its Science family of journals.

Peter A. Lewin, PhD, Richard B. Beard Distinguished University Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, received the 2019 IEEE Ultrasound, Frequency, and Frequency Control Society Achievement Award. 

The American Society for Engineering Education has awarded the College of Engineering its Bronze ASEE Diversity Recognition Award, the highest level distributed during this, the first year of the ASEE Diversity Recognition Program. The program grew out of a Deans Diversity Pledge established by the society in June of 2018. The award places CoE among the nation’s leaders in inclusive education in recognition of a culture that supports underrepresented groups, a particular mission under the leadership of Sharon L. Walker, PhD, dean of the college. Some 82 universities across the country submitted applications for review that outlined a baseline support program for underrepresented groups; quantified policies, culture, and climate related to underrepresented groups; demonstrated initiatives and programs aimed at strengthening the K-12 pipeline to reduce barriers to engineering education access; and demonstrating an action plan focused on continual improvement. 

Michel Barsoum, PhD, Distinguished Professor, and Yury Gogotsi, PhD, Distinguished University and Charles T. and Ruth M. Bach Professor, both of the College of Engineering, have been jointly awarded the 2020 International Ceramics Prize from the World Academy of Ceramics for their work on MAX phases and their 2D derivatives MXenes discovered at Drexel in 2011. The prize is bestowed only every four years to recognize the highest achievements in ceramics science and technology. Just 20 scientists worldwide have previously received the prize. 

Andrew Magenau, PhD, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering, has been selected as a 2019 PMSE Young Investigator by the Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE) of the American Chemical Society. The award recognizes early stage researchers who have “made significant contributions to their respective fields within Polymer Science and Engineering.” Approximately 15 researchers are selected annually for the honor. 

Suruchi Sood, PhD, an associate professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health, received the K. Everett M. Rogers Award to honor outstanding contributions to advancing the study and/or practice of public health communication at the American Public Health Association 2019 Annual Meeting.

Fengqing (Zoe) Zhang, PhD, an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was elected president of the American Statistical Association’s Philadelphia chapter.

The Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program, directed by Mary Katherine Gonder, PhD, professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, celebrated the official adoption of its Moka Research Center by the government of Equatorial Guinea. The research center — the region’s first scientific field station — now serves as a management center for the Gran Caldera de Luba Scientific Reserve, a 200-square mile protected area with some of the most ecologically dense fauna and primate species in Africa.

Pamela Geller, PhD, associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was named chair of the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s new Women’s Health topic area. 

Kevin Moseby, PhD, assistant teaching professor of sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences, was elected to the Science, Knowledge and Technology Council of the American Sociological Association. 

Anne Converse Willkomm, Goodwin College of Professional Studies Department Head of Graduate Studies and assistant clinical professor, was appointed to the Board of Directors for WePAC (West Philadelphia Alliance for Children) to chair the Development Committee.

Stella Volpe, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, was selected as an honorary member of CELAFISCS (Centro de Estudos do Laboratorio de Aptidao Fiscica de Sao Caetano do Sul) in São Paulo, Brazil.  

Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, professor of nursing and assistant dean for interprofessional and collaborative research in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, was awarded fellow status through the health sciences section of the Gerontological Society of America. 

William Lorman, PhD, assistant clinical professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, will be inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. 

Lori Severino, EdD, assistant professor in the School of Education, was awarded the 2019 Council for Learning Disabilities Floyd G. Hudson award for outstanding service to the learning disabilities community. The award is given annually and honors a professional who works in a role outside the classroom for outstanding performance and commitment to the field of learning disabilities. 

Nancy Songer, PhD, Distinguished University Professor in the School of Education, received a 2019–2020 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to work with the Ministry of Science and Technology in Brasilia, Brazil, and the Science in School Program to promote elementary and secondary students’ problem-based and critical thinking in STEM fields across Brazil. 

The Drexel Postdoctoral Association and Office of Postdoctoral Affairs received a 2019 Elsevier National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW) Award. More information can be found here.

Sponsored Research

Distinguished University Professor and Dean of the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, will co-lead one of eight core groups of a newly funded research incubator comprised of 30 of the top research institutes in the United States. The $54.3 million grant given by the National Institute on Aging; the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University will receive $1.5 million of the grant award.

Evan Forman, PhD, (PI) professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, and co-investigators Meghan Butryn, PhD, associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences; Adrienne Juarascio, PhD, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Stephanie Manasse, PhD, assistant research professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, received a $3.65 million grant from the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for their project “Mindfulness and Acceptance-Based Interventions for Obesity: Using a Factorial Design to Identify the Most Effective Components.” Juarascio, Forman and Manasse also received a $900,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop and commercialize a continuous smartphone-delivered, glucose monitoring-based treatment for eating disorders. 

Yaghoob Farnam, PhD, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering, received a $266,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a scalable lightweight aggregate manufacturing technology from waste coal combustion ash. 

Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, professor of nursing and assistant dean for interprofessional and collaborative research in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, and 23 faculty from nine Drexel and colleges and schools across with an interest in aging research from the cellular level to the society level have been awarded a $250,000 grant from Drexel University’s Drexel Areas of Research Excellence (DARE). The one-year project “Cell2Society Aging Research.net (Cell2Society)” creates a novel ecosystem for the pursuit of use-inspired aging research from which to inform the role of Drexel University in an aging society.

Hualou Liang, PhD, professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems (PI), received a three-year $545,000 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) contract to conduct a study entitled, “Developing Tools based on Text Analysis and Machine Learning to Enhance Product Specific Guidance (PSG) Review Efficiency.” 

Kapil Dandekar, PhD, professor in the College of Engineering, is the primary investigator on the inter-disciplinary project “SCH: INT: Smart and Connected Health for Newborn Ventilation.” The project was recently selected for funding by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, a division of the NIH. The project's co-investigators include Anup Das, PhD, from the College of Engineering; Vineet Bhandari, MD, and Endla Anday, MD, professors from the College of Medicine; and Westphal College of Media Arts & Design professor Genevieve Dion, who is an affiliate faculty member in the College of Engineering and director of the Center for Functional Fabrics; Kelly Joyce, PhD, professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. The project is funded at an anticipated $1.04 million over four years. The goal of the research is “to develop a smart and connected health solution to unobtrusively and non-invasively monitor newborns,” according to the project's abstract.  

Gail Rosen, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Engineering, serves as the primary investigator on the project “MRI: Proteus++: Enabling Data-Intensive Computing at Drexel University,” recently funded by the NSF. The project is funded at $542,740 for three years. The Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) through NSF funds the acquisition of major scientific equipment at universities and STEM research organizations. This project will “massively expand the data-intensive computational capabilities of Proteus, Drexel University’s existing shared high-performance scientific CPU-only cluster,” according to the project summary. This project is a collaborative effort that includes co-investigators Antonios Kontsos, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Engineering; Hasan Ayaz, PhD, an associate professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems; and Brigita Urbanc, PhD, acting associate department head for graduate studies and professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Jane Clougherty, ScD, an associate professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health, was awarded a five-year $2.7 million R01 grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The grant, “Pediatric Health and Extreme Weather – Health Effects of Ambient Temperature (PHEW-HEAT),” will be used to combine spatially and temporally resolved estimates of surface temperature with large statewide administrative clinical datasets. 

Philip Massey, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Community Health and Prevention at the Dornsife School of Public Health, is the lead investigator for a new $1.83 million, R01 grant designed to increase HPV vaccination rates among adolescents by educating parents through social media. 

Maria T. Schultheis, PhD, vice provost of research and professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was awarded a $2.1 million grant from the NIH for her project “Using Virtual Reality Driving Simulation to Predict Driving Outcome after Brain Injury.”

Kelly Joyce, PhD, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, and her Drexel colleagues across six colleges and centers were awarded a $1.038 million NIH grant for the project “SCH: INT: Smart and Connected Health for Newborn Ventilation.” The team will investigate the creation and use of smart textiles to monitor infants’ respiration while they are in emergency transport, such as an ambulance.

Naomi Goldstein, PhD, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, is co-investigator on a $500,000 grant led by the School District of Philadelphia to conduct research on the district’s School Violence Prevention Program Project, funded by the Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services in the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Zsofia Szep, MD, an associate professor of medicine and medical director of the partnership comprehensive care practice in the College of Medicine, was awarded a five-year $2.5 million SAMHSA grant for “Philadelphia Urban Health Collaborative for substance use disorder: Mobile services for prevention, engagement in care and treatment.” 

Dong Wang, PhD, an assistant professor in the College of Medicine, , Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy, was awarded a NIH grant ($1.5 million over four years) for “A Raphe-Hippocampus Pathway for Regulation of Memory Specificity during Consolidation” 

Nancy Songer, PhD, Distinguished University Professor in the School of Education, is the principal investigator on a four-year, $2.975 million grant awarded by the NSF DRK-12. The project is titled “Life Right Here and Everywhere: Case Studies of Next Generation Science Instructional, Assessment and Professional Development Materials Implemented in Two Diverse Middle School Settings.”

Kristy Kelly, PhD, an assistant clinical professor in the School of Education, is part of an international team that is conducting a three-year, longitudinal, mixed methods study of changes in women’s empowerment among ethnic minority women working in agriculture and tourism sectors in Son La and Lao Cai Provinces in Vietnam. The project, titled “Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) Longitudinal Study,” is supported by AusAID Vietnam ($670,476). The research team includes faculty from Drexel, Vietnam National University, Luong Minh Phuong (Hanoi University), and Nga Ngo (Tay Bac University) and the University of Minnesota. 

This story was published in the winter 2020 issue of Drexel Quarterly.