Faculty News and Notes

Ayres Hall

Ayres Hall

Wanda Costen, associate professor in Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management, has been awarded a Fulbright grant for the 2013-2014 academic year. She will study gender inequality, specifically the social closure barriers that prevent women’s upward career mobility, in the resort industry in Jamaica. In addition to her research, Costen will teach in the Department of Management Studies within the Mona School of Business and Management at the University of West Indies-Mona. Upon her return, Costen plans to write a book explaining how the barriers to women’s career progression are socially-constructed.

Nick Dexter, a mathematics graduate student, won the student poster session at the annual 2013 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Southeastern Atlantic Sectional SEAS meeting held in March. His poster is entitled “Stochastic collocation techniques applied to reactor criticality problems” and is a joint work with Clayton Webster and Miro Stoyanov at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Sally Ellingson, a graduate student in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, has been awarded the American Chemical Society’s Chemical Computing Group award by the Computers in Chemistry division of the ACS. The prestigious and very competitive international award is given to no more than ten graduate students every year to recognize the quality and significance of their research in the general field of computational chemistry. Ellingson’s work deals with enabling very massive drug discovery programs to run on the supercomputer Jaguar/Titan.

Kevin Foley, MD, presented a lecture at the Lumbar Spine Research Society Annual Meeting in April in Chicago. The lecture, entitled ”Initial In Vivo Efficacy of a Novel, Injectable Cellular Therapy for Degenerative Disc Disease,” featured data supporting the safety and efficacy of a new therapy under development called Injectable Discogenic Cell Therapy in an animal model of degenerative disc disease. Foley is a professor of neurosurgery at the UT Health Science Center and holds academic appointments at the UT Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Uniformed Services University for the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

A paper by Sergey Gavrilets, joint professor of math and ecology and evolutionary biology and NIMBioS’s associate director for scientific activities, has received a top number of downloads in The Quarterly Review of Biology. The article, “Homosexuality as a Consequence of Epigenetically Canalized Sexual Development” has been downloaded 29,788 times. Published in December 2012, the article details a study in which the researchers used mathematical modeling that found the transmission of sex-specific epi-marks may signal homosexuality.

Joseph Majdalani, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the H. H. Arnold Chair of Excellence in Advanced Propulsion at the UT Space Institute, has been honored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Tennessee Section with its special award for mentoring and developing students capable of producing highly regarded scientific papers in very difficult areas of fluid mechanics. Majdalani is internationally known for his scientific and academic productivity in aeronautical and applied mathematical sciences.

Dan Simberloff, Gore Hunger Professor of Environmental Science in Ecology, was inducted in to the National Academy of Science in Washington, DC, during a ceremony in April in which President Obama spoke to the inductees and guests. Members are elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. There are only eight other National Academy of Sciences members in Tennessee.

Karen Sowers, dean of the College of Social Work, has been appointed to a three-year term as a member of the Council on Social Work Education Commission on Research. She will serve from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2016. The commission promotes the development of curriculum tools that improve the teaching of research and best practices at all levels of social work education. It also advocates for resources that can advance the profession’s research agenda within social work, government agencies, and higher education.

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