STEM Exemplars

STEM Research Exemplars

The following scholars have been identified as research exemplars in the STEM sector (click on names for more information):

James Albert, PhDJames Albert, PhD

Lafayette Parish Medical Society Endowed Professor of Biology
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Dr. Albert is a leading evolutionary biologist devoted to the diversity, systematics, and evolution of tropical fishes. His work combines disciplines such as geology, ecology, geography, and computer modeling with biology to understand the history of biological life on Earth. For example, Dr. Albert does fieldwork in the Amazon and Andes on fishes and uses computer models to understand how that life functions and has changed over time. He and his international collaborators have named dozens of new species and added significantly to knowledge of the evolutionary history of South American fishes. Dr. Albert is known for actively recruiting graduate students from underrepresented groups and mentoring the largest group of graduate students in his department. His colleagues and mentees describe him as generous, dedicated, and kind. They note Dr. Albert’s uncanny ability to make everyone feel like a member of the team and to realize opportunities for discovery by energizing everyone around him.

Save

Save

Deborah C. Beidel, PhD, ABPPDeborah C. Beidel, PhD, ABPP

Pegasus Professor of Psychology
and Medical Education
University of Central Florida

Dr. Beidel’s academic, research, and clinical interests focus on child and adult anxiety disorders, including their etiology, psychopathology, and behavioral treatment (www.ucfrestores.org). Her research seeks to augment traditional therapy methods, particularly to address issues not well-addressed through traditional therapies. Her recent work funded by the Department of Defense treats combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder using a novel intensive outpatient program. Dr. Beidel serves in numerous leadership roles within her institution and field, and colleagues describe her as widely respected and highly dedicated. In her lab, she is known for insisting that the data reported objectively reflect the findings. She works tirelessly to mentor students and help colleagues achieve success, and students and colleagues regularly seek out her sage advice. In the community, Dr. Beidel’s work and outreach programs among veterans and first responders demonstrate how research can serve society. Dr. Beidel’s colleagues view her as an exemplary clinician, scholar, and community resource.

Save

Save

Stefan Bossmann, PhDStefan Bossmann, PhD

Professor of Organic Chemistry
Kansas State University

Dr. Bossmann’s cutting-edge chemistry research focuses on engineering technologies that permit early cancer detection and cell-based cancer treatments. In pioneering experiments with international collaborators employing a broad spectrum of methods, Dr. Bossmann has made several groundbreaking discoveries leading to patented technologies. For example, he engineered a technology that increased the survival of mouse models with pancreatic tumors by 36%, a record achievement that remains peerless. In clinical cohorts, Dr. Bossmann’s research identified a technology capable of detecting solid breast and lung cancer tumors at Stage 1 in a blood test before the onset of symptoms or detection by existing imaging technology. Through his conscientious, attentive, and supportive nature, Dr. Bossmann has won the admiration of colleagues and mentees alike. Colleagues describe Dr. Bossmann leadership qualities and scientific intellect as ideal for both leading and performing incredibly difficult, elegant research and serving as a role model for future scientists.

Save

Philip Bradford, PhDPhilip Bradford, PhD

Associate Professor of Textiles Engineering, Chemistry and Science
North Carolina State University

Dr. Bradford’s research focuses on creating ultra-high aspect ratio carbon nanotubes (CNTs), a material made of carbon that is extremely strong and allows for the production of textiles. Currently, CNT textiles are being explored for use in composites, sensors, electrodes, and filtration. Furthermore, Dr. Bradford’s work includes using CNTs as energy storage materials. His major research accomplishments have led to several awards, including the 2016 Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award. Dr. Bradford is known for his commitment to mentoring young scientists and engineers, including serving as a mentor for STEM education programs focused on high school students. Dr. Bradford colleagues take pride in calling him a colleague. They view him as a “rare talent”—a highly collaborative, collegial leader, creative mind, and committed mentor. Colleagues state that Dr. Bradford’s important work, along with his remarkable ability to work well with others, positions him to emerge as an “international force.”

Save

Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, PhDKendra Spence Cheruvelil, PhD

Professor of Fisheries and Wildlife
Director, Lyman Briggs College Scholarship of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning Graduate Fellowship Program
Michigan State University

Dr. Cheruvelil is a limnologist who conducts field-based and data-intensive research to understand variation in lake biology and chemistry across time and space (http://www.ksc.fw.msu.edu/). Her work also considers economic and social factors affecting lake management and conservation and has important implications for understanding how global climate change and land use affect lake ecosystems. Dr. Cheruvelil is credited with co-establishing the discipline of landscape limnology and pushing the boundaries of interdisciplinary team science. She is described as a passionate, innovative leader who is skilled at bringing together multidisciplinary collaborators to answer complex scientific questions. Dr. Cheruvelil is also an exceptional mentor who passes team science methods and skills on to the next generation of environmental scientists. Furthermore, her colleagues laud her commitment to open science practices, such as contributing code and data to repositories. Finally, Dr. Cheruvelil is known for her work focused on promoting diversity and inclusion in science.

Save

Save

G. Andres Cisneros, PhDG. Andres Cisneros, PhD

Associate Professor of Chemistry
University of North Texas

Dr. Cisneros’ research extends across the field of computational chemistry. He is a nationally awarded investigator for his contributions to the development of computational simulation methods and their application to the study of chemical and biochemical systems. His research team has used computational tools to uncover novel cancer biomarkers, aid in development of imaging agents for diagnostic purposes, drug development, investigation of condensed-phase systems, among other applications. In 2014, Dr. Cisneros received the OpenEye Scientific Software Outstanding Junior Faculty Award from the computers in chemistry division of the American Chemical Society and the Dell-Intel Young Investigator Award at the international Sanibel Symposium. His faculty colleagues in the Center for Advanced Scientific Computing and Modeling describe Dr. Cisneros as articulate, personable, and approachable, and they commend his ability to communicate his findings across a variety of disciplines. Dr. Cisneros serves as a role model for non-traditional and underrepresented minority students and is regularly sought out by colleagues and students for his guidance on a range of issues.

Save

Save

Patrick M. Flynn, PhDPatrick M. Flynn, PhD

Professor of Psychology
Director, Institute of Behavioral Research
Saul B. Sells Chair of Psychology
Texas Christian University

Dr. Flynn’s research has included studies of national treatment outcomes, intervention trials, treatment costs, organizational functioning, implementation strategies, and HIV medication adherence. He has served the NIH as a member of numerous review groups and as chair for two study sections. He is a Fellow in the American Educational Research Association and several divisions of the American Psychological Association. Prior to his return to full-time research in 1990, Dr. Flynn worked in therapeutic community, methadone, and outpatient drug-free treatment programs in several capacities, and served in upper-level management positions in higher education. He has been continuously funded for more than 25 years by Federal agencies such as the NIH. Colleagues view him as a consummate professional and mentor who leads by example. They describe Dr. Flynn as fair, committed, respected, and skilled at leading productive collaborations, and they admire his impeccable attention to ethical standards guiding research with vulnerable populations.

Save

Bernard Frischer, PhDBernard Frischer, PhD

Professor of Informatics
Indiana University, Bloomington

Dr. Frischer is a renowned virtual archaeologist whose research focuses on archaeoinformatics, virtual heritage, and virtual worlds. His work includes 3D modeling to reconstruct cultural heritage sites and digital restoration of ancient sculptures. Moreover, he utilizes 3D models in educational efforts that permit what is just short of time travel. He received Pioneer Award from the International Society on Virtual Systems and Multimedia in 2005 and the Tartessus Lifetime Achievement Prize from the Spanish Society of Virtual Archaeology in 2009. Dr. Frischer is the Editor-in-Chief of Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, and he founded Studies in Digital Heritage, an open-access journal. Colleagues state that Dr. Frischer is known for his enthusiasm and creativity which allow him to see beyond standard disciplines and methods to invest in new research topics. They also note that he treats all students, staff, and faculty with the utmost respect and is widely valued and respected by everyone.

Save

Save

Gunda I. Georg, PhDGunda I. Georg, PhD

Professor and Head of Medicinal Chemistry
Robert Vince Endowed Chair
McKnight Presidential Chair
University of Minnesota

Dr. Georg has published 220 scientific articles related to the design, semisynthesis, total synthesis, and evaluation of biologically active agents. Her research works toward curing currently intractable diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and infectious diseases, while also improving the current state of contraceptives and anesthesia. Dr. Georg has had an estimated $72 million in funding from agencies such as the NIH and American Heart Association. In addition to being a full Professor and Head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, she is the Director of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development, and serves as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Dr. Georg mentors scientists at all stages of their education or career, yet still dedicates a significant amount of time to each step of the scientific manuscript writing process to make sure it is of high quality and impact. Colleagues describe her as the embodiment of leadership and a role model for all young scientists, particularly female scientists working in synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry.

Save

Thomas GiambellucaThomas Giambelluca

Professor of Geography
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Dr. Giambelluca’s research focuses on hydrology and climatology, particularly the interaction between the atmosphere and the land surface in areas affected by human use. His lab’s field research spans across the globe, with projects on tropical deforestation in the Amazon Basin and northern Thailand. His team installed the first eddy covariance towers in Hawaii and has maintained climate stations in a remote area for over 25 years. Translating research into practical use for the community is exceedingly important to Dr. Giambelluca, which is demonstrated by his user-friendly climate maps allowing users to easily download and obtain climate data for Hawaii. Colleagues admire his seamless ability to collaborate with his team even if they are doing field work in a remote location. He is described as an inspirational and thoughtful mentor who provides guidance at each step. Dr. Giambelluca exemplifies professionalism by providing individualized feedback to students while also running a highly productive lab.

Save

Sarit Golub, PhDSarit Golub, PhD

Professor of Psychology
Hunter College, City University of New York
Basic and Applied Social Psychology PhD Program, CUNY Graduate Center

Dr. Golub investigates the social, cognitive, and emotional factors that influence risk perception and decision-making, using HIV as a case study. Currently, much of her research focuses on implementation of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) programs, policies, and messaging. Dr. Golub’s NIH-funded model for integrating PrEP programs into a community health center in New York City was the first of its kind and became a template for the implementation of these programs by both the city and state health departments. Not only are her recommendations now provided as standard-of-care guidelines within New York, but her model was also adopted by technical assistance and capacity-building providers for dissemination throughout the U.S. Dr. Golub is committed to engaging community-based research partners, developing funding opportunities for and with them, and sustaining these relationships through ongoing technical assistance and program development. Colleagues describe Dr. Golub as a model of composure, professionalism, scientific rigor, and leadership for researchers and students alike.

Save

Save

Craig Grapperhaus, PhDCraig Grapperhaus, PhD

Professor of Chemistry
Chair of the Department of Chemistry
University of Louisville

Dr. Grapperhaus’ research in coordination chemistry, the study of compounds with a metal ion surrounded by neutral or negatively charged donor ligands, has significant implications for renewable energy. His team embraces a ligand-centered approach that features reactivity beyond the metal center. While this remains a largely unexplored approach for small molecule activation, Dr. Grapperhaus and his team have filled this gap by developing two generations of ligand-centered hydrogen evolution catalysts. These findings could yield sustainable catalysts for the production of hydrogen, a renewable energy carrier. Dr. Grapperhaus’ colleagues describe him as the consummate professional who exhibits ethical judgment and is often consulted on issues of ethics and best practices. Colleagues commend his meticulous attention to detail and high standards for data interpretation and management. Dr. Grapperhaus is also admired for his mentoring and is viewed as a role model regarding the best ways to mentor and conduct research responsibly.

Save

Save

Save

Mark Greenberg, PhDMark Greenberg, PhD

Edna Peterson Bennett Endowed Chair in Prevention Research
Professor of Human Development and Psychology
Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Greenberg’s research examines developmental processes in children and families to develop evidence-based interventions promoting emotional well-being and health. His work focuses on key areas of societal need, such as aggression, violence, and stress management. His skilled leadership has lead to many community partnerships to disseminate prevention programs and makes him a sought-after collaborator. He is a creator of the PATHS curriculum which promotes emotion regulation in children and has been implemented around the U.S. and the world. Dr. Greenberg was the founding director of the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at Penn State (http://www.prevention.psu.edu/). He has over 300 publications and has received an estimated $63 million in funding from NIH, the U.S. Department of Education, and other sources. His colleagues describe him as passionate about improving human well-being, highly collaborative, and a supportive leader. They also note that he is a superb, generous mentor of scientists at all career-stages.

Save

Save

Nathan Hammer, PhDNathan Hammer, PhD

Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The University of Mississippi

Dr. Hammer’s research focuses on understanding how the physical and optical properties of molecules change due to interactions with their environment. His internationally recognized laser-based spectroscopy lab has also developed unique capabilities for the characterization of newly synthesized materials. Dr. Hammer’s impressive stream of funding from the National Science Foundation is widely praised among his colleagues. They describe him as an exemplary academic and scientific leader who displays the highest levels of professionalism and integrity, and instills these values in the next generation of scientists. He is a role model to high school students, graduate students, post-docs and junior faculty. Dr. Hammer teaches honesty and respect for the scientific process and responsibility in reporting results. He also has influence among senior faculty in his department and at the institutional level. His laboratory practices have served as a guide at the university as they have developed policies for research programs.

Save

Jesse Jur, PhDJesse Jur, PhD

Associate Professor of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science
North Carolina State University

Dr. Jur leads the Nano-Extended Textiles (NEXT) research group that focuses on materials processing methods in nanotechnology to impart new characteristics to polymer films and fibers. Through this effort, his team studies innovative methods for low cost integration of electronics into textiles for the development of self-powered sensor systems, like a health monitoring shirt that is powered by the human body. Dr. Jur is also on the leadership team in the NSF-funded research center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) located at NC State. Colleagues give glowing reviews of his leadership and describe him as highly collaborative and collegial. He is praised for his ability to create interdisciplinary partnerships that advance his research aims and support the work of colleagues and graduate student trainees. In summary, Dr. Jur is described as a remarkable, creative researcher who is able to connect well with people across his roles of teaching, mentoring, research, and external stakeholder relationship building.

Save

Save

Save

Jamie Brown Kruse, PhDJamie Brown Kruse, PhD

Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Economics
Director, Center for Natural Hazards Research
Senior Scientist, Institute for Coastal Science and Policy
East Carolina University

Dr. Kruse is a national leader in the study of natural hazards and human response to them. Her work in the economics of coastal hazards, a field she helped establish, integrates economics, engineering, geosciences, and social sciences to reduce the negative impact and hasten recovery of communities affected by extreme events. Dr. Kruse is particularly recognized for her research on the economic analysis of decision-making under uncertainty and risk reduction. She also contributed to our understanding of the complex interactions between flood hazards, coastal housing markets, and insurance rates. Dr. Kruse’s colleagues describe her as an intellectual and policy-making trailblazer, an innovator, and an unmatched expert in experimental and behavioral economics. They commend her ability to successfully lead multidisciplinary research and note she is a superb mentor of students and her peers. Colleagues describe consulting with Dr. Kruse for advice, as they know she will help them make the best decision not only as a researcher, but as person.

Save

Krishnaswamy Nandakumar, PhDKrishnaswamy Nandakumar, PhD

Cain Endowed Chair and Professor of Chemical Engineering
Director, Enabling Process Innovation through Computation (EPIC)
Louisiana State University

Dr. Nandakumar’s research focuses on the development of advanced computational models to improve manufacturing operations in the chemical industry. His work provides a fundamental understanding of the process that drives innovation and improvement in operations. He has received numerous awards for his contributions to chemical engineering, including the Albright and Wilson Americas Award and the R.S. Jane Memorial Award, both prestigious distinctions from the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering. Dr. Nandakumar was appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering from 2005-2009 and has been called on by international agencies to act as a panel member to evaluate research proposals. His colleagues respect his objectivity, impartiality, and integrity as an editor, and his commitment to the integrity of data produced by his team. Dr. Nandakumar is described as an extraordinary, multitalented individual and an exceptional teacher and mentor. He is also known for his ability to orchestrate multidisciplinary collaborations and execute complex, important projects.

Save

Laura O’Dell, PhDLaura O’Dell, PhD

Professor of Psychology
University of Texas at El Paso

Dr. O’Dell’s internationally recognized research focuses on the neural mechanisms that mediate addiction to drug abuse. She also investigates the underlying factors that promote tobacco use in vulnerable populations, such as females, adolescents, and individuals with diabetes. She was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers by the National Science and Technology Council in 2008—the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to outstanding scientists beginning their careers. Dr. O’Dell is known for her commitment to mentoring. She helps students be successful in a laboratory setting, and she helps them naviagate various obstacles in order to suceed beyond her laboratory. Dr. O’Dell is highly regarded by those within and beyond her department. Colleagues describe her as a devoted, collegial, trustworthy colleague, and a role model for male, female, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic students and junior faculty. In the view of her colleagues, Dr. O’Dell has combined research success, integrity, and a deep concern for student success in a manner that is rare and exceptional.

Save

William Pelham, PhDWilliam Pelham, PhD

Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry
Director, Center for Children and Families
Florida International University

Dr. Pelham’s research focuses on the treatment, development, and evaluation of ADHD in children and adolescents. His research has revealed critical findings about effective dosing and sequencing in behavioral, pharmacological, and combined interventions. Dr. Pelham created the nationally acclaimed Summer Treatment Program (STP), which is widely recognized as the state-of-the-art in the treatment of children with ADHD and related behavioral, emotional or learning challenges, having helped approximately 3,500 children since its launch in Miami in 2010.

Dr. Pelham has received an estimated $93 million in funding and has published over 400 peer-reviewed journal articles. In addition, he has received awards including the CHADD Hall of Fame Award, the SCCAP Career Achievement Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology (Section 3 of Division 12, APA), and, most recently, the 2017 award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Clinical Psychology from the Society of Clinical Psychology.

Save

Save

Daniel Romo, PhDDaniel Romo, PhD

Schotts Professor of Chemistry
Co-Director, CPRIT Synthesis and Drug Lead Discovery Laboratory
Baylor University
Adjunct Professor of Chemistry
Texas A&M University

Dr. Romo studies the chemistry and biology of naturally-occurring compounds toward developing potential therapeutic applications. His team focuses on marine-derived compounds, leading to the discovery of simplified analogs that may be used in a clinical setting. Over his career, Dr. Romo has developed synthetic strategies for the assembly of >16 natural products. As a world-renowned expert in his field, Dr. Romo is called upon to present invited talks around the globe and serve in advisory roles. For example, he advises on matters of scientific program policy as part of the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Counselors. Dr. Romo is described as a superb collaborator who successfully holds numerous and long-standing collaborations with scientists across the nation. Colleagues describe Dr. Romo’s research as impeccable, and his leadership in his field as inspirational. His novel scientific approaches and outstanding mentorship have earned him the admiration of his peers.

Save

W. Kelley Thomas, PhDW. Kelley Thomas, PhD

Hubbard Endowed Chair and Director, Hubbard Center for Genome Studies
Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences
University of New Hampshire

Dr. Thomas is an internationally recognized geneticist. He investigates the mechanisms, rate, and patterns of molecular evolutionary processes to understand relationships among organisms and between organisms and their environment. A current project focuses on understanding spontaneous mutations within the genomes of more than 50 species. This work provides insights into inherited genetic disorders and acquired genetic disorders such as tumors and cancer. Dr. Thomas is an innovative leader who is commended for his significant contributions to research infrastructure and training at his institution and beyond. His colleagues describe him as having rigorous standards in his research that he also imparts in his teaching and mentoring. He is scrupulous about carefully documenting all methodologies and reproducing results not only within his own group but also in other labs before they are disseminated and published. Colleagues express gratitude for having Dr. Thomas as a colleague and friend, citing not only his achievements but his enthusiasm and altruistic demeanor.

Hans Van Dongen, PhDHans Van Dongen, PhD

Professor of Medicine
Director, Sleep and Performance Research Center
Washington State University

Dr. Van Dongen is an internationally recognized sleep scientist known for his research on sleep deprivation and cognitive performance. His research has shown that differences in cognitive impairment during sleep deprivation can be traced to differences in human phenotypes. Dr. Van Dongen has received over $20 million in funding from agencies such as the Department of Defense and NIH. He has two patents related to alertness monitoring and prediction of performance impairment due to fatigue. He is widely praised for his leadership within his lab, at his institution, and in his field. He served for over a decade as associate or deputy editor of SLEEP, the benchmark journal for sleep and circadian science. Colleagues describe Dr. Van Dongen’s studies as meticulously adhering to the strictest scientific standards. Dr. Van Dongen impresses colleagues by balancing research productivity and outstanding mentorship. They also describe him as a remarkable person who is hardworking, sincere, and fair.

Monique Van Hoek, PhDMonique Van Hoek, PhD

Associate Professor of Systems Biology
George Mason University

Dr. Van Hoek seeks to discover compounds to protect against dangerous and drug-resistant bacteria. Her research has a particular focus on bacterial biofilms, gram-negative bacteria, novel methods for the delivery of therapeutics, and biodefense. Her work has led to the discovery of novel antimicrobial peptides that can be used in wound healing and are active against biothreat and multi-drug resistant bacteria. Colleagues speak of her detailed and creative research process and describe her as among the most hardworking scientists in the field. Dr. van Hoek received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Victoria, and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Virginia. Dr. van Hoek first joined GMU in 2002. In 2009, the Virginia Academy of Science awarded Dr. Van Hoek the J. Shelton Horsley Research Award for outstanding, original research. Given the novelty and potential impact of her work, Dr. Van Hoek’s colleagues note that she is dedicated to generating sound results. She is widely known for replicating findings and cross-checking data to ensure their integrity prior to publication and having a focus on her student’s achievement.

Washington University in St. Louis

Save

Save

Save