Petit Institute Researchers Score Big

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The Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience scored big this year in Georgia Tech’s annual Faculty and Staff Honors Luncheon, on Friday, April 19. The event honors faculty and staff whose service, activities, and accomplishment have been particularly noteworthy over the previous year.

The 14 Petit Institute researchers who were recognized are: Craig Forest, Joe Lachance, Wilbur Lam, Timothy Lee (grad student in Forest’s lab), Manu Platt, Mark Prausnitz, James Rains, William Ratcliff, Amit Reddi, Chris Rozell, Todd Sulchek, Ray Vito, and Younan Xia, and Peter Yunker.

Meet the honorees:

Rozell, professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, won the Class of 1940 W. Howard Ector Outstanding Teacher Award for senior faculty. One of Georgia Tech’s most prestigious faculty honors, this award recognizes an individual who has displayed teaching excellence, including extraordinary efforts in teaching, inspiration transmitted to students, direct impact and involvement with students, intellectual integrity and scholarship, and impact on post graduate success of students.

Prausnitz, who is the Regents Professor in the School of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, won the Outstanding Faculty Research Author Award, given to faculty who have contributed to highly impactful publications describing the results of research conducted at Georgia Tech and published between January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2018. Prausnitz has been busy the past few years publishing his research on innovative microneedle-patch technology that could profoundly impact the way medicines and vaccines are administered.

Lam, associate professor of pediatrics at Emory School of Medicine and the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, won the Sigma Xi Faculty Best Paper Award. This award is given to faculty authors of an outstanding paper published in the previous calendar year.

Platt, associate professor in the Coulter Department, won the Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Advisor Award. This award recognizes the achievements of a faculty member's doctoral students who completed all degree requirements from January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2018.

Sulchek, associate professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering, won the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor (Senior Faculty) Award, which is given to faculty who have demonstrated sustained outstanding achievement in mentoring undergraduates.

Lachance and Reddi both won CTL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Awards, which recognizes excellence in teaching and educational innovations. LaChance, an assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences, strives to accommodate students’ different learning styles, integrating lectures with other activities, such as discussions of the literature or computer activities. Reddi, associate professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, teaches core curriculum courses in biochemistry, where he has impressed colleagues and students alike with his personalized approach.

Younan Xia, professor of biomedical engineering, Brock Family Chair, GRA Eminent Scholar in Nanomedicine, with joint appointments in chemistry and biochemistry, and chemical and biomolecular engineering, won the Sigma Xi Sustained Research Award. This faculty award recognizes sustained research in a given area. Xia, one of the world’s most cited chemistry and materials science researchers, previously received the Materials Research Society (MRS) Medal. The MRS Medal is awarded for a specific outstanding recent discovery or advancement that has a major impact on the progress of a materials-related field. It is one of the highest recognitions a materials scientist can receive.

Ratcliff and Yunker received the Sigma Xi Faculty Best Paper Award which, as the name implies, recognizes authors of an outstanding research paper. Ratcliff and Yunker collaborated as co-principal authors of “Cellular Packing, mechanical stress and the evolution of multicellularity,”published in Nature Physics 2018. The paper was the first to recognize the role of mechanics in the early evolution of multicellular organisms.

Forest, Lee, and Vito all won CTL Curriculum Innovation Awards. Forest is associate professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and Lee, winner of this year’s Nerem Travel Award, is a graduate student in Forest’s lab. The award recognizes faculty (and in Lee’s case, a grad student) for improving the quality of education at Georgia Tech through pedagogical and curricular innovation. Vito, Professor Emeritus in the School of Mechanical Engineering, is a founding member of the Petit Institute.



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    Jerry Grillo
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