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Recognitions, December 2

Please send faculty, staff, and student recognitions to Erin Chapin (erin.chapin@utk.edu).

  • GeoAir, a startup company founded by MBA candidate Alex Adams, won top prize at last week’s fall 2016 Vol Court Pitch Competition. Adams won $1,500, a year of free office space in the UT Research Foundation Business Incubator, consulting services courtesy of PYA, legal advice from Morehous Legal Group, and a yearlong subscription to TurboFunder provided by Funding Sage.

  • Louis Gross, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology as well as mathematics, has been invited to join a National Academies of Sciences committee to set a vision for the emerging discipline of data science in undergraduate education in the United States. Gross is director emeritus of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS).
  • David Smelser, CRA, assistant director of sponsored programs in the Office of Sponsored Programs within the Office of Research and Engagement, has been selected to join the NCURA Professional Development Committee. He will particularly be involved with the Online Programming Subcommittee in addition to his current role with the Publications Subcommittee. His new role entails joining the NCURA national meeting annually in addition to his current participation with the regional meetings.
  • Theresa Lee, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has been elected to serve on the executive board for the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, a national association of colleges of arts and sciences whose purpose is to provide professional development programming to its member deans and sustain the arts and science sas a leading influence in American higher education.
  •  A group of students in Alex Miller (William B. Stokely Chair in Management and director of the Consortium for Social Enterprise Effectiveness in the Haslam College of Business)’s non-profit management class awarded $30,000 among 14 area non-profits. The funds were provided by a $10,000 grant from the Learning by Giving Foundation, matched with additional $10,000 gifts from Jim Haslam and Jim Clayton, respectively. The course is an opportunity for students to learn through service and experience. Of the local organizations, four teams were formed to pursue joint initiatives:
    • The Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Childhelp Children’s Center of East Tennessee
    • The Knoxville Leadership Foundation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of East Tennessee, the Joy of Music School, and Amachi Knoxville
    • Volunteer Ministry Center, Compassion Coalition, the Salvation Army, the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee, and the Benevolence Team of Church Street United Methodist Church
    • Friends of Literacy, the Great Schools Partnership United Way of Greater Knoxville, and the University of Tennessee
  • Yingjie Hu, assistant professor of geography, together with Krysztof Janowicz and Helen Couclelis of the University of California Santa Barbara, developed an algorithm for prioritizing and mapping tasks in order to make the process of enabling volunteers to participate in remote disaster response more effective. The algorithm indicates areas that need mapping first, enabling response teams to respond more efficiently to disaster areas. Their paper was recently published in the journal Geographical Analysis.
  • Jeremy Smith, Governor’s Chair for Molecular Biophysics based in the Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology and director of teh UT-ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics, co-authored a study recently published in ACS Infectious Diseases which has played a key role in discovering a new class of drug candidates that could combat antibiotic resistance. The research was conducted in a collaboration between the University of Tennessee, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Oklahoma, and Saint Louis University. Other UT Researchers include:
    • Jerry Parks
    • Jerome Baudry
    • Adam Green
  • Roberto Frederico-Perez, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Chemistry, has been selected to help coordinate the 2017 International Symposium on Green Chemistry, aiming to change deeply held practices in the field of chemistry by challenging scientists to make chemicals that are safer by design.
  • Four UT researchers have been named to the 2016 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
    • Brian Wirth, joint UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair for Computational Nuclear Engineering in the Tickle College of Engineering
    • Karen Hughes, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in the College of Arts and Sciences
    • George Ostrouchov, joint UT-ORNL faculty member working in both the business analytics and statistics program in the Haslam College of Business and the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences in the Tickle College of Engineering
    • Baohua Gu, professor in environmental sciences in the Institute of Agriculture
  • The Painted Bluff Graffiti Removal and Camouflage Project conducted in partnership between the University of Tennessee, federal and state agencies, Native American tribes, and other stakeholders, which brought together researchers from UT (team led by Jan Simek, interim head and distinguished professor in the Department of Antrhopology), the University of Alabama, the Tennesseee Valley Authority, the Alabama Historical Commission, and fifteen tribes to save a set of centuries-old Native American petroglyphs, pictographs, and historic signatures in Alabama has been honored with the Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Historic Preservation from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
  • Research being conducted by a team of UT and US Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories, entitled “Discovery of true electrochemical reactions for ultrahigh catalyst mass activity in water splitting”, was recently honored in the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences journal, Acclaim. The research allows the design of hydrogen-producing cells that increase the catalyst mass activity 50 times higher than before, potentially helping solve a major stumbling block in widespread adaptation of certain forms of green energy (higher initial cost of converting). The team includes:
    • Feng-Yuan Zhang, associate professor in Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering (MABE) and in NanoHELP
    • Matthew Mench, head of the department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering and joint faculty at ORNL
    • Johney Green, associate laboratory director for Mechanical and Thermal Systems Engineering at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
    • Jingke Mo, student in MABE
    • Zehnye Kang, student in MABE
    • Scott T. Retterer, ORNL
    • David A. Cullen, ORNL
    • Todd J. Toops, ORNL
  • Miranda Gottlieb, who graduated last spring with a bachelor’s degree in honors political science and Hispanic studies, has been named to the second class of Schwarzman Scholars, a highly competitive program offering selected students the opportunity to earn a master’s degree in China. Gottlieb is the first UT student to be accepted to the program.