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Honors and Other Things

December 20, 2011, Volume 58, No. 16

Five Faculty Named American Physical Society Fellows

The American Physical Society (APS) has elected five University of Pennsylvania faculty members to its 2011 APS Fellowship class. They are Mark Devlin, Alan T. “Charlie” Johnson, Joshua Klein, Feng Gai and Howard Hu.

Dr. Devlin, the Reese W. Flower Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, in SAS, was nominated by APS’s Division of Astrophysics for his work in millimeter-wave astronomy, which he conducts through a balloon-based telescope known as BLAST, as well as at the Atacama Cosmology Telescope. These observations have contributed data to understanding the early formation of the universe.

Dr. Johnson, professor of physics, in SAS, was nominated by the Division of Materials Physics for his studies of single-walled carbon nanotubes. Better understanding of the properties of these extremely strong and conductive nanostructures could lead to revolutions in energy, electronics and many other fields. 

Dr. Klein, associate professor of physics, in SAS, was nominated by the Division of Nuclear Physics for his leadership of the data analysis at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, which showed how neutrinos, subatomic particles at the heart of long standing questions in fundamental physics, change en route between the sun and the earth. 

Dr. Gai, professor of chemistry, in SAS, was nominated by the Division of Biological Physics for his work in the field of protein folding. By using infrared spectroscopy to measure how parts of a protein vibrate, Dr. Gai pioneered a method to better observe how proteins change shape when they assume their functional forms.

Dr. Hu, professor of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, was nominated by the Division of Fluid Dynamics. His work involves simulating particle flow in Newtonian fluids, like water, and non-Newtonian fluids, like ketchup or Silly Putty. The viscosity of non-Newtonian fluids can be altered by applying force, which explains how ketchup can be coaxed out of a bottle by tapping the side, and it has implications in many industrial and biological contexts. 

One of the largest scholarly societies and journal publishers in the field of physics, APS annually recognizes a small percentage of its membership for making lasting contributions in their subfields and specialties with this honor.

Grant to Fight Blindness: Dr. Aguirre

Foundation Fighting Blindness has awarded Dr. Gustavo D. Aguirre, professor of medical genetics and ophthalmology in the School of Veterinary Medicine, with a $230,000 grant to continue the Penn Translational and Research Facility.

“The main goal of the Translational and Research Facility is to accelerate the development and the pre-clinical testing of new and effective approaches to treat several forms of retinal degeneration (RD) in humans,” said Dr. Aguirre. This initiative will continue to play a critical role in bridging the basic science research on RD conducted by investigators affiliated with the facility and the testing of new therapies in clinically relevant models.

Outstanding Achievements: Dr. Blair

Blair Dr. Ian Blair, the A.N. Richards Professor of Pharmacology in the Perelman School of Medicine, received the Eastern Analytical Symposium Award for Outstanding Achievements in Mass Spectrometry in September. Dr. Blair’s research expertise includes oxidative stress, carcinogenesis, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disease.

Dental Awards: Dr. Cohen

Dr. D. Walter Cohen, dean emeritus of the School of Dental Medicine, was honored with the Excellence for Leadership Award by the Friends of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) at NIH. The award is presented to an individual whose vision, energy and leadership has championed the growth and continued success of The Friends of NIDCR.

In addition, the American Academy of Periodontology established the D. Walter Cohen Teaching Award, which will support young periodontal faculty.

Dr. Cohen is also the recipient of the Institute of Medicine’s Heritage Medal.

Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Davies

Davies Dr. Helen C. Davies, professor of microbiology in the Perelman School of Medicine, was presented the Post 50th Lifetime Achievement Award by the Brooklyn College Alumni Association in recognition of a distinguished career and outstanding achievements which have contributed to the living history of Brooklyn College. She graduated from Brooklyn College in 1946.

Italian Academy of Sciences: Dr. Franzini-Armstrong

Dr. Clara Franzini-Armstrong, professor emeritus of cell and developmental biology in the Perelman School of Medicine, was named a foreign member of the Accademia dei Lincei, (literally the “Academy of the Lynx-Eyed,” but also known as the Lincean Academy, or the Italian Academy of Sciences). Her laboratory uses high resolution shadowing techniques to study the shape and disposition of macromolecules in striated muscle cells.

International College of Dentists: Dr. Sollecito

Dr. Thomas Sollecito, chairman and professor of oral medicine at Penn Dental Medicine, has been inducted as a Fellow of the International College of Dentists, USA Section. The induction took place in October. The College is an honorary organization that awards fellowships to dental professionals for outstanding and meritorious service to the profession and community. Approximately 300 dentists from the United States were inducted into the College at this year’s ceremony.

Interventional Pulmonology Award: Dr. Sterman

Sterman Dr. Daniel Sterman, director of Interventional Pulmonology and associate professor of medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine, has been honored with the Pasquale Ciaglia Memorial Lecture Award in Interventional Medicine. He received this recognition at the 2011 International Scientific Assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). The award honors physicians well known for his or her work in interventional medicine, including economic impact, research opportunities, and critical care.

Almanac - December 20, 2011, Volume 58, No. 16