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Student / Faculty Achievements

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APRIL 2015

 

CALDWELL NAMED UA DISTINGUISHED RESEARCH PROFESSOR

Dr. Guy Caldwell, UA professor of biological sciences, has been designated a University Distinguished Research Professor. This title recognizes UA faculty who have achieved international accomplishments in their field and have been given extensive peer recognition for their scholarly contributions and noteworthy academic service. Caldwell is internationally known for his research and expertise on malfunction in basic cellular mechanisms associated with diseases of the nervous system, particularly movement disorders like Parkinson’s and dystonia. He uses the microscopic nematode C. elegans as a model system for discovering gene function as well as therapeutic target development for these disorders. Caldwell is one of only two UA faculty members to presently hold the University’s Distinguished Research Professor title.

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UA’S ALABAMA INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS CLUB RECEIVES AWARDS AT MODEL UN

The Alabama International Relations Club at UA received numerous accolades at the Harvard National Model United Nations – Latin America conference in Lima, Peru. The model United Nations is hosted by Harvard University and La Universidad del Pacìfico. It is recognized as the premier conference in South America. A group of 10 UA students traveled to the week-long event, where they debated international politics and discussed solutions to critical global issues with some 500 students from universities around the world. The club received the Most Outstanding Large Delegation award, which recognizes an institution with ten or more student representatives for its contributions to the discussion of global issues at the conference.

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MAGNETICS SOCIETY HONORED UA MINT DIRECTOR WITH LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

The IEEE Magnetics Society will present Dr. Takao Suzuki, director of UA’s Center for Materials for Information Technology, with the lifetime achievement honor during its International Conference on Magnetics, known as INTERMAG, in Beijing, China in May. This is the highest award of the Society and is given for scientific and technical achievements and service to the Society. Suzuki will receive the award for contributions to the “micro-magnetics of materials with high magnetocrystalline anisotropy and their applications in magnetic recording media.”  The award consists of a diploma with a citation and a cash prize. Suzuki, who also serves as a professor of both electrical and computer engineering and metallurgical and materials engineering, has served as director of UA’s Center for Materials for Information Technology since 2010.

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UA NURSING PROFESSOR SELECTED TO INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP ACADEMY

Dr. JoAnn Oliver, an associate professor in UA’s Capstone College of Nursing, was selected to participate in the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International Experienced Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy. Administered by STTI and the Chamberlain College of Nursing Center for Excellence in Nursing Education, the 12-month highly selective mentored leadership academy is designed to further academic career development and success; promote personal and professional leadership development; develop and begin to implement a personal leadership progression plan; expand the influence of the Leadership Scholar within his or her sponsoring academic institution, the community and the profession in the context of teaching, scholarship or service; and advance nursing education through leadership development projects.

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UA’S LEEPER HONORED BY AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION

Dr. James Leeper, a professor in the department of community and rural medicine in UA’s College of Community Health Sciences, was honored by the American Public Health Association for his contributions and commitment to the organization. Leeper was presented with the APHA’s Intersection Council “Making the Difference” award for his “outstanding contributions toward our goals” and his “loyal dedication and unwavering commitment,” according to the association. Leeper is past chair of the council and has served in leadership roles on its steering committee for the past four years. The Intersection Council brings together representatives of the 31 APHA sections, which serve as the professional units of the association and represent major public health disciplines and programs.

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TWO UA PROFESSORS SELECTED FOR RESEARCH LEADERSHIP ROLES

Drs. John C. Higginbotham and Allen S. Parrish have been named associate vice presidents for research, said Dr. Carl A Pinkert, vice president for research and economic development. In their expanded roles, Higginbotham and Parrish provide leadership in promoting strategic research development at UA and lead the development of activities that bridge the needs of researchers and the institution. They will work with other divisions under the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and across the University to facilitate interdisciplinary and targeted programmatic efforts, to profile UA’s research performance more effectively, and to enlarge the University’s collaborative role across the UA System and with its many academic partners and external stakeholders.

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GRAY NAMED DIRECTOR OF UA’S BREWER-PORCH CHILDREN’S CENTER

Dr. Rick Gray, a health care administrator with more than 20 years of experience in executive positions at health care facilities across the Southeast, has been named executive director of UA’s Brewer-Porch Children’s Center. Part of Gray’s role will involve fostering collaboration between the center and UA in terms of both teaching and research. His most recent positions include regional hospital administrator at the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities in Atlanta, GA; director/administrator of behavioral health services at Horizon Health in Lewisville, TX; and director of behavioral health services at Diamond Healthcare Corporation in Richmond, VA. Brewer-Porch Children’s Center operates six mental health service programs in Tuscaloosa for children and adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral disorders.

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UA PHYSICS PROFESSOR AWARDED NSF CAREER AWARD FOR SPINTRONICS

The National Science Foundation selected Dr. Claudia Mewes, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, for a CAREER Award for her research on spintronics, which aims to use the spin and charge of electrons to develop highly functional and energy-efficient devices. Mewes, a faculty member in UA’s Center for Materials for Information Technology, known as MINT, was awarded $500,000 for her research, which also includes an educational outreach component looking to increase the number of young girls interested in pursuing careers in science. Her five-year study points at a critical gap in spintronics research. As devices have decreased in size, researchers have found that the properties of the materials used to make those devices change, causing them not to function as predicted.

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ACADEMY OF NUTRITION AND DIETETICS RECOGNIZED UA’S GARNER

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognized Margaret P. Garner, UA associate professor and interim executive director of the Student Health center, as a Fellow. The designation honors her commitment to dietetics, her professional accomplishments and her pursuit of life-long learning. A Fellow signifies that a member has lived up to the Academy’s values of customer focus, integrity, innovation and social responsibility. At UA, Garner is the interim executive director of the Student Health Center and director of the department of health promotion and wellness. She served as an assistant dean for health, education and outreach in the College of Community Health Sciences for more than 10 years and as a full-time nutritionist in the department of family medicine for more than 35 years.

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UAB SURGEON PARTNERS WITH PRINCIPAL TO PROMOTE EXCELLENCE AT HISTORIC ALABAMA HIGH SCHOOL

University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Professor Robert Cerfolio, M.D., has formed a partnership with Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery to assist and support students interested in pursuing a career in medicine. As part of this initiative, students at Sidney Lanier will participate in webinars with Cerfolio and other UAB faculty, staff and students to hear the latest research strategies and literature and gain access to mentors and other resources that introduce them to the broad field of medicine.

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UAB’S DONNA DUNN NAMED PRESIDENT OF ALABAMA ACNM

Donna Dunn, PhD, CNM, FNP-BC, instructor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, has been named president-elect of the Alabama Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Dunn, who was elected president in October, previously served the affiliate as vice president. The ACNM works to establish midwifery as the standard of care for women.

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RENOWNED EXPERT NAMED INAUGURAL DIRECTOR OF UAB INFORMATICS INSTITUTE

James J. Cimino, M.D., has been named the inaugural director of the Informatics Institute in the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The institute was established by the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System in June 2014.

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UAB’S MCCARTNEY IS SECRETARY OF NURSING ASSOCIATION FOR WOMEN’S HEALTH

Annie McCartney, instructor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, has been named secretary/treasurer of the Alabama Section of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

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UAB NURSING’S GRAU NAMED ASSOCIATE OF AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY

Grace Grau, instructor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, has been named an associate of the American College of Cardiology. The associate designation, awarded to nurse practitioners, is the equivalent of the fellow designation for physicians.

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BBJ HONORS UAB TRANSPLANT SURGEON JAYME LOCKE AS ONE OF ITS TOP 40 UNDER 40

University of Alabama at Birmingham transplant surgeon Jayme Locke, M.D., has been named to the annual Birmingham Business Journal Top 40 Under 40 list. The award honors the top young professionals in Birmingham, based on their contributions to their company, their impact on the business world and their role in the community. The full class can be viewed online.

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UAB PATHOLOGIST GENE SIEGAL WINS DISTINGUISHED EDUCATOR AWARD

Gene P. Siegal, M.D., Ph.D., endowed professor and executive vice chair of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Pathology and division director of Anatomic Pathology, is the 2015 recipient of the Robbins Distinguished Educator Award from the American Society for Investigative Pathology. The award was given March 30 at the ASIP 2015 Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology in Boston, MA.

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UAB NEUROSCIENCE JUNIOR NAMED FINALIST FOR TRUMAN SCHOLARSHIP

Brian Austin Nykanen, a University of Alabama at Birmingham junior neuroscience major and a Cadet in the Army ROTC at UAB, is a finalist for the Truman Scholarship. Nykanen, has a 3.9 grade-point average in the highly challenging neuroscience program and is a member of the UAB Honors College’s Experiential Learning Scholars Program. This past semester, he was the Reserve Officer Training Corps Battalion Command Sergeant Major, which is awarded to the top cadet.

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UAH THEATRE PROFESSOR PARTNERS WITH TELEVISION PRODUCER AND PLAYWRIGHT MARK ROBERTS

Mr. David Harwell, Associate Professor of Theatre, has partnered with Mark Roberts, creator of the hit television series Mike & Molly, to premier his latest play, New Country, this spring at UAH. Following its premiere, the production will move to New York City for a four-week run, allowing UAH students working on the project real-world experience in the most important theatrical venue in the country.

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UAH ART STUDENT SELECTED FOR DACIA GALLERY ARTIST RESIDENCY

Victoria Duncan, a senior in the UAH Art Department, was selected for the Dacia Gallery Artist Residency. Residency includes painting and drawing, the business of art, as well as guest lectures by New York City artists, and culminates in a group show. Ms. Duncan was one of fifteen students selected per residency cycle.

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UAH PAINTING AND DRAWING PROFESSOR EXHIBITS AT JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY

Ms. Jill Johnson, Associate Professor in the UAH Art Department, had a solo exhibition and presented a visiting artist talk at Jackson State University in Jackson, MS.

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UAH EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE STUDENT WINS THESIS COMPETITION

Graduate of the Earth System Science Master’s degree program, Eric Anderson, was selected as the recipient of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools Thesis Award in the category of Digital Scholarship for his thesis “Analysis of rainfall‐triggered landslide hazards through the dynamic integration of remotely sensed, modeled and in situ environmental factors in El Salvador.”

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UAH PHYSICS PROFESSOR HONORED BY INSTITUTE OF ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS ENGINEERS

Associate Professor of Physics Dr. Lingze Duan was recently promoted to Senior Member of IEEE. IEEE Senior Membership is honor bestowed only to those who have made significant contributions to the profession. It is the highest grade for which IEEE members can apply.

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UAH CHEMISTRY PROFESSOR RECOGNIZED BY AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY

Chemistry Professor and Interim Department Chair Dr. Carmen Scholz was recognized for 20 years of service to the POLY division of the American Chemical Society.

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UAH CHEMISTRY PROFESSOR APPOINTED TO AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY COMMITTEE

Chemistry Professor Dr. James Baird was appointed a 2-year term of service on the American Physical Society’s Committee on Investments.

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UAH CHEMISTRY ASSISTANT PROFESSOR RECEIVES FACULTY AWARD

Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Anusree Mukjerjee, received a new faculty award to conduct research on bio-inspired nickel complexes to protect cell-damages under oxidative stress.

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UAH COLLEGE OF SCIENCE ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR HONORED

Chemistry Associate Professor Dr. Emanuel Waddell received the Dr. Adriel D. Johnson Sr. Power of One award from the UAH Minority Graduate Association.

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UAH GRADUATE STUDIES DEAN REAPPOINTED TO CONFERENCE OF SOUTHERN GRADUATE SCHOOLS

Dr. David Berkowitz, Dean of Graduate Studies, has been asked to renew his appointment to the Executive Committee of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools this spring. His previous appointment provided him with opportunities to shape policy and also be a panelist during the Freshman Deans’ Reflection session of last year’s annual CSGS conference. UAH’s involvement in CSGS has greatly benefited our graduate students, providing them with opportunities to win scholarships and compete in competitions, which brings regional recognition to UAH’s graduate programs.