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President’s Spotlight

The recent accomplishments of these talented UH faculty members have contributed greatly to the recognition and reputation of the University of Houston. We applaud their success and congratulate them on these notable achievements.

Shuo Chen

Shuo Chen, assistant professor of physics, was recently awarded the Robert A. Welch Professorship in High Temperature Superconductivity and Materials Physics from the Texas Center of Superconductivity at UH. The two-year professorship was created by the Robert A. Welch Foundation to support outstanding faculty, research faculty and visiting scientists. Chen’s research includes synthesis, in situ electron microscopy and device application of materials.

Thomas Colbert

Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture Professor Thomas Colbert was named the 2014 Educator of the Year by the American Institute of Architects Houston (AIAH) Chapter. Colbert focuses much of his research on the Houston/Galveston area, particularly on preserving Texas coastlines and protecting coastal communities from threats such as hurricanes.

Debora Rodrigues

Debora Rodrigues, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, recently received the Emerging Investigator Award from the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization. Rodrigues’ research focuses on using nanomaterials to develop new methods for water purification and treatment. In addition to her research, she was recognized for her work with students and her outreach to other educators.

UH Wins APLU Connections Award

The University of Houston was recognized with the “Connections” award at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ second annual Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Awards in November. UH was recognized for fostering an innovative environment through such measures as its partnerships with university stakeholders and industry experts, its many entrepreneurship and talent development programs, and the development and expansion of the Energy Research Park. The Innovation and Economic Prosperity awards recognize universities that are leaders in spurring and promoting regional economic development.

AAAS Fellows

Dan Graur, John and Rebecca Moores Professor in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, and Mary Ann Ottinger, associate vice president for research at UH and associate vice chancellor for research for the UH system, were recently elected as fellows for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Graur has been at UH since 2003. His research specializes in molecular evolution with a focus on bioinformantics and computational analysis. He was elected to the AAAS section on education for “distinguished contributions toward educating a generation of scientists in the fundamentals of molecular evolution and evolutionary genomics.”

Also a professor in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, Ottinger was elected to the AAAS section on biological sciences. She was honored for her distinguished contributions to the field on neuroendocrinology. Her research focuses on reproductive neuroendocrinology, and she is a frequent collaborator with the National Institute on Aging.

UH Receives IEEE Milestone Award

As the site of the discovery of a material that made high temperature superconductivity practical for real-world applications, the University of Houston was recently awarded the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering’s (IEEE) prestigious Milestone Award. The award is only the second IEEE Milestone to be awarded in the field of superconductivity and the first Milestone for the Houston region.

The superconducting material, yttrium-barium-copper-oxide, or Y-123, was created by physicist Paul Chu and his colleagues in January 1987. Its development has led to several advanced applications of superconductivity in energy, medicine, communications and transportation, including MRI images, electric motors, satellite sensors and high-speed trains.

NSF CAREER Award Recipients

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program awards to Lars Grabow and Bora Gencturk of the Cullen College of Engineering and Yuliya Gorb of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Grabow’s CAREER award will go towards exploring a novel chemical looping process for oxidative coupling of methane, while Gencturk is working to increase resiliency in bridges against aging and environmental hazards such as earthquakes.

Gorb received her CAREER award for her research in describing various phenomena of composite materials and for an educational outreach program she is developing for high school girls. She is the first Department of Mathematics faculty member to receive an NSF CAREER award while at UH.


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