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Faculty Highlights - Winter 2015

In this regular section, DrexelNow provides an update on research funding, commercialization activity and faculty honors at Drexel, courtesy of the Office of Research. This update offers a snapshot of activity during the quarter that ended September 30.

Sponsored Projects and Awards

Several University faculty (Jonathan Spanier, Timothy Kurzweg, Kapil Dandekar, Baris Taskin, Bahram Nabet) from multiple disciplines are members of the winning team for the DoD’s Advanced Photonics Manufacturing Institute. The team is composed of colleges/universities (24), industry (55), nonprofit organizations (17) and three states. A new nonprofit, American Institute for Manufacturing Integrate Photonics (AIM Photonics), based in Rochester, New York, will manage the $610M award. Drexel’s efforts will be lead by the College of Engineering’s Jonathan Spanier. Members of the Drexel team will take positions on the technical working groups. In addition, the group is preparing proposals for submission to AIM Photonics.

  • Craig Newschaffer, director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, was awarded an NIH grant entitled, “Prenatal Antimicrobial Agent Exposure, Fetal Androgens and ASD Risk,” from the NIH. The award is for $274,000.
  • Dan Marenda, associate professor of biology, and Jennifer Stanford, assistant professor of biology, College of Arts & Sciences, are co-PIs on a $498,750 NSF grant, “NRT IGE: Pedagogical Readiness Oversight for Future Educators in STEM Subjects.”
  • J. Douglas Wright, associate professor of mathematics, College of Arts & Sciences, received a $339,681 NSF grant, “Wave Propagation in Heterogeneous Nonlinear Dispersive Systems.”
  • Michael Lowe, professor of psychology, College of Arts & Sciences, was awarded a $220,000 supplement to his current NIMH grant, “Weight History, Brain Activation to Food Cues and Eating Disorder Psychopathology.”
  • Jon Gelhaus, professor in the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science, College of Arts & Sciences, is co-PI on a $457,000 NSF grant, "Hierarchical Functioning of River Macrosystems in Temperate Steppes — From Continental to Hydrogeomorphic Patch Scales."
  • Margaret Wheatley, John M. Reid Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, received a $218,000 NIH National Cancer Institute grant for the project titled, “Oxygen Microbubbles for Overcoming Hypoxic Tumor Resistance to Radiotherapy."
  • Margaret Wheatley, John M. Reid Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, received a $100,000 W.W. Smith Charitable Trust Award for the project titled, “Creating a New Paradigm for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment."
  • Amy Throckmorton, associate professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, and Ellen Bass, professor and head of the Department of Information Science, College of Computing & Informatics, received a $197,000 Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need grant for five doctoral students for 2015–2018: Drexel BIOMED Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Research Enterprise for Healthcare.
  • Kara Spiller, assistant professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, received a $4,000 US-Israel Binational Science Foundation/Professor R. Rahamimoff Travel Grant.
  • Phillip Luck, assistant professor of economics, received $238,000 from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation for “The impact of globalization on U.S. entrepreneurship.”
  • College of Computing & Informatics Assistant Professor Santiago Ontañón (PI) and Professor Bruce Char (Co-PI), School of Education Professor Brian Smith (Co-PI) and Westphal College of Media Arts & Design Assistant Professor Jichen Zhu received a three-year National Science Foundation grant ($549,770) to explore the viability of new kinds of learning technologies in computer science, “EXP: Learning Parallel Programming Concepts Through an Adaptive Game.” College of Computing & Informatics Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Gregory Hislop, PhD, received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation for his project titled, “Open Path — Improving Student Pathways to Computing Professions via Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software,” in collaboration with Western New England University and Nassau Community College ($964,000 total: $347,903 to Drexel).
  • Vice Provost for Community Partnerships Lucy Kerman received from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, West Philadelphia ECE initiative a Community Innovation Zone Grant in the amount of $19,000.
  • James Connell, associate professor and clinical director and research fellow of the A.J. Autism Institute, obtained various contracts: a) Philadelphia Department of Aviation, "Airport Access Program" to provide airport personnel training on autism supports, prepare parents and individuals with autism for the airport experience, and make the Philadelphia airport autism friendly; and b) Elwyn (a Human Services organization serving disabled and disadvantaged individuals), "Autism Evaluation and Screening" in situations where autism is suspected to determine diagnosis and services needed.
  • Jason Silverman, associate professor, program director of the Mathematics Learning and Teaching program and co-director of the DragonsTeach program, received three year funding ($498,848) as co-PI of the NSF Research Traineeship-Innovations in Graduate Education (NRT-IGE) proposal with A. Fontecchio (PI), K. Dandekar (co-PI), J. Stanford and D. Marenda.
  • College of Engineering faculty Christopher Li and Michele Marcolongo have received a National Science Foundation grant for "Biomimetic Mineralization by Combining Block Copolymer Self-Assembly and One Dimensional Crystal Nucleation." The study will help develop a new generation of bone mimics for tissue engineering.
  • Professor Antonios Zavaliangos has received a three-year Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) grant, “GAANN: Engineering for Pharmaceutical Applications” to support PhD students to improve the quality of life of patients with chronic or previously incurable diseases.
  • Professor Jack Zhou received a three-year National Science Foundation grant for “4-D Printing with Photoactive Shape-Changing Polymer” to develop 4-D printing processes using photoactive smart materials.
  • Ivan Bartoli, Matthew McCarthy and Antonios Kontsos received a National Science Foundation grant for “Remote Infrastructure Monitoring Assessment via Multispectral Imaging of Surface Coatings,” supporting fundamental research on monitoring infrastructure.
  • Tein-Min Tan and Jonathan Awerbuch were awarded a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration for “Composite bonded repairs and advanced metallic materials for aircraft structures” to investigate ways to insure the safety of passenger aircraft.
  • The Center for Hospitality and Sport Management was recently awarded a $30,000 grant through the Sodium Reduction in Communities Program at Get Healthy Philly, an initiative led by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.  The grant is being used to spur contextual changes that support healthy eating and active living for individual and communities.
  • Drexel has received Erasmus Plus funding in the amount of $22,000 for Drexel graduate students to study and research at partner institution, Venice IUAV. Drexel will also host graduate students from IUAV who will work on research with Franco Montalto on climate change and urban infrastructure.
  • Jichen Zhu, a Westphal College of Media Arts & Design Digital Media professor, has received a $549,770 National Science Foundation grant in support of the research project “EXP: Learning Parallel Programming Concepts Through an Adaptive Game," which she is conducting with faculty members from the College of Computing & Informatics and the School of Education.
  • Andrew Zitcer, a Westphal Arts Administration professor, was appointed local research evaluator for a three-year, $3.5 million Kresge Foundation creative place-making grant with the Local Initiatives Support Coalition. Dr. Zitcer will evaluate the outcomes and partnerships of LISC projects serving West Philadelphia communities.


  • Jordan Hyatt, assistant professor of criminal justice, College of Arts & Sciences, received the 2015 Outstanding Young Experimental Criminologist award from the Academy of Experimental Criminology.
  • Arthur Nezu, distinguished university professor of psychology was appointed associate editor of the American Psychologist, the flagship journal of the APA. He was also appointed to the APA’s Journal Article Reporting Standards II Task Force.
  • Douglas Porpora, professor of sociology, presented on human trafficking at the Vatican to the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences, the body of international social scientists who advise the Pope on social issues.
  • Gordon Richards, professor of physics, was named a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher for a second consecutive year.
  • Myrna Shure, professor emeritus of psychology, is the co-recipient of the 2015 Society of Counseling Psychology, APA, Lifetime Achievement Award in Prevention.
  • The book “The American Synthetic Organic Chemicals Industry: War and Politics, 1910-1930,” by Kathryn Steen, associate professor of history, was the co-winner of the 2015 Ralph Gomory Prize.
  • Peter A. Lewin, Richard B. Beard Professor of Biomedical and Electrical and Computer Engineering in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, was recognized as an IEEE Life Member.
  • College of Computing & Informatics Professor Denise Agosto received the 2015 Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Thomson Reuters Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award in recognition of her outstanding and unique contributions as a teacher in the field of information science at the 2015 ASIS&T Annual Meeting in St. Louis.
  • The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society recently elected College of Computing & Informatics Professor and Information Science Department Head Ellen Bass as a Fellow in the Society, one of the highest honors bestowed by the Society, which recognizes Bass’ outstanding achievements and many contributions to the discipline and the Society.
  • Marlene Hilkowitz, assistant clinical professor, School of Education, was appointed advisor for the American Association for the Advancement of Science Project 2061’s and Genetic Science Learning Center’s research and development grant on energy. The project is: Building Students’ Understanding of Energy in High School Biology.
  • James Connell, associate professor and clinical director and research fellow of the A.J. Autism Institute, was reappointed to the School Psychology Review Editorial Board, as well as is a guest editor for the Journal of Behavioral Education.
  • Bruce Levine, assistant clinical professor and program director for Global and International Education and the Educational Policy programs, was appointed to the Host Committee for Fund for Education Abroad's annual dinner.
  • Mark Willie, a Westphal College of Media Arts & Design Graphic Design professor, received American In House Design Awards from GDUSA for two posters he designed for the college.
  • David Raizman, a Westphal Art and Art History professor, had his book “History of Modern Design” listed as 8th in Fast Company’s list of “35 Books Every Designer Should Read.”
  • Roberta Waite, professor of nursing, College of Nursing and Health Professions, was named “2015 PSNA Distinguished Nurse of the Year” by the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association.
  • Al Rundio, clinical professor of nursing, was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing’s 2015 class of fellows.
  • Julie Kinzel, clinical assistant professor, Physician Assistant Department, received the “Physician Assistant Educator of the Year Award” from the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants.
  • Stephanie Brooks, Couple and Family Therapy, has been appointed Director of the Minority Fellowship Program, of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.
  • Ana Diez Roux, dean of the Dornsife School of Public Health, has been selected as one of the 2015 Delaware Valley’s Most Influential Latinos award recipients.
  • Dornsife Assistant Professor Amy Carroll-Scott received the 2015 Friend of the Student Assembly Award from the American Public Health Association Student Assembly, awarded annually to an individual or organization that has been very influential in the success of APHA-SA activities, programs or initiatives. This is a decision made by the Student Assembly Board, who felt that Carroll-Scott’s support and dedication to Student Assembly and all of their activities “cannot be overstated.” 
  • Dornsife researchers were awarded the 2015 Abstract of the Year by the American Public Health Association Law Section. Led by Assistant Professor Jonathan Purtle, the abstract “Exploring the impacts of public health laws on syndromic disease surveillance practices in the United States,” was presented at the APHA annual meeting in Chicago.
This list first appeared in the winter issue of Drexel Quarterly, published in January 2016.