“All of you have one thing in common: You have set high standards of excellence. Your work enhances the prestige and respect of our university. You have distinguished yourselves among your colleagues and your personal dedication to excellence is an inspiration to all of us,” Willihnganz told them.

Here are the honorees by category.

President’s Awards for Excellence
in Outstanding Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity

  • Yousef Abu Kwaik, School of Medicine, basic and applied sciences
  • Tony Arnold, Brandeis School of Law, social sciences
  • Brett Shuster, School of Music, creative and performing arts
  • Roberto Bolli, School of Medicine, career achievement

Yousef Abu Kwaik holds the Bumgardner Endowed Chair in Molecular Pathogenesis of Microbial Infections. The National Institutes of Health have funded his research continually throughout his career. In November, Science published his research that, for the first time, shows how the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease manipulates human cells to generate the amino acids it needs to grow and cause infection and inflammation in the lungs. Abu Kwaik has mentored 12 doctoral students and 15 postdoctoral fellows and is the founder and editor-in-chief of the journal Frontiers in Cellular and Inefection Microbiology. He has been senior author on more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in high-profile journals.

Tony Arnold holds the Boehl Chair in Property and Land Use. He studies the interconnectedness of legal, policy, social and ecological systems, basing his research on concepts of panarchy, complex adaptive systems, multi-scalar analysis and institutional evolution. His ideas have broad interdisciplinary, national and international impact on scholarship, law and public policy regarding land use, water resources, property rights, environamental justice and environmental conservation. Arnold has published 25 scholarly articles, seven book chapters and seven books. Other scholars have cited his works more than 1,300 times. He is co-writing the environmental sustainability law and policy textbook.

Brett Shuster is an associate professor of trombone. He has performed alto, tenor and bass trombone with the Louisville Orchestra in hundreds of concerts, and is a regular member of the Louisville Brass faculty quintet, which plays nationally and internationally. Shuster won a Grammy Award in 2000 with the Chestnut Brass Company for his recording “Hornsmoke.” He recently performed as a soloist at the International Trombone Festival and International Trumpet Conference.

Roberto Bolli is chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, director of the Institute of Molecular Cardiology and executive vice chair of the Department of Medicine. He has built an internationally acclaimed research program that is regarded as one of the top programs in the world. Since 1995, his team has received more than $150 million in NIH grants. In November, he published in The Lancet the first in-human study of using a person’s own cardiac stem cells to treat him for heart failure. The results are more promising than the team expected and this new treatment could revolutionize cardiology. Bolli has published 337 papers and has made many fundamental contributions to both the understanding of cardioprotection and the use of adult stem cells for cardiac repair.

President’s Awards for Excellence in Service

  • Robert Amchin, School of Music, service to the profession
  • Rhonda Buchanan, College of Arts & Sciences, service to the community, commonwealth, and region
  • Thomas Byers, College of Arts & Sciences, service to UofL
  • David Adamkin, School of Medicine, career of service

Robert Amchin is the head of the Division of Music Education and Music Therapy. He specializes in Orff-Schulwerk – an internationally recognized and interdisciplinary approach to teaching music and movement to children of all ages. Amchin’s service has reached the local, regional, national and international communities through clinics and presentations. He is the artist-in-residence for several local schools and serves as the collegiate liason to the Kentucky Orff-Schulwerk Association. Amchin has presented clinics extensively in Europe and Asia. He did considerable work in China after a recent earthquake and plans to return to that country in the coming year. This is Amchin’s second DFA. He received one in 2007 for teaching.

Rhonda Buchanan is a professor of Spanish and director of Latin American and Latino Studies. She has established more than 20 internship sites where Latin American and Latino Studies students may serve the local Latino community. She has collaborated with the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Craft’s Annual Day of the Dead Celebrations, which attracts more than 2,000 people on the first Friday in November. She also has assisted several other local museums with their celebrations. Buchanan has collaborated with several area businesses and government agencies in their efforts to reach out to the Latino community. For example, she helped Brown-Forman with its annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration, and the Louisville Fire Department establish Spanish language training.

Tom Byers is a professor of English, director of the Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society, director of the minor in film and digital media, and chair of the Arts and Sciences Faculty Assembly. He has helped organize more than a half-dozen series of public events, and served on some two dozen different committees. He served on the vast majority of them for several years. Byers has directed 10 U.S. Department of State summer Institutes for faculty members from universities worldwide. These institutes have brought participants from 84 countries and federal grant funds of nearly $2.5 million to UofL. This is his second DFA. His first was a teaching award.

David Adamkin is a professor of pediatrics and director of the Division of Neonatal Medicine. He was the director of Neonatal Fellowship Training Program for 22 years. During this time, 48 neonatologists graduated. Adamkin has written more than 80 scientific publications, 37 book chapters and solo-authored three books. He founded the Kentucky Perinatal Association, an organization whose purpose is to educate health care providers to promote maternal and infant health and advocate for mothers and children. Over the course of 18 years he has educated several Polish perinatal health care providers as part of a service grant through the Department of Pediatrics and UofL. He has made more than 600 scientific and educational presentations throughout the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia.

President’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching

  • Amy Holthouser, School of Medicine, distinguished teaching professor
  • Kandi Walker, College of Arts & Sciences, distinguished teaching professor
  • Judith Heitzman, Kent School of Social Work, part-time teaching professor

Amy Holthouser is an assistant professor with appointments in the Office of Medical Education and in the departments of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. She joined the faculty immediately upon completion of her residency, and has developed an extraordinary track record in teaching, mentorship, educational leadership and research. Of her approach to teaching, she said: “I show students that the innate curiosity they came into medical school with is an essential learning tool feeding their spirit and how to keep it alive. I provide students with the mentoring and purposeful context to transform medical education from a passive trial of endurance into an adventure they can enjoy as it nourishes them from the inside out.”

Kandi Walker is an associate professor in the Department of Communication. In her 11-year tenure at UofL, she has taught more than 20 different course preparations and more than 85 classes. Walker has the highest student evaluation ratings in her department, and her nomimation contained several letters from students. She summarized her teaching philosophy this way: “I strive to be enthusiastic, approachable and responsive. I employ a variety of teaching methods to give students opportunities to see communication as I do – an intrinsically rewarding and dynamic area of study. I challenge students to become teachers with the knowledge they learn, solve problems and use their education to make a positive difference wherever life takes them.” She said she sees her students re-enact her own medical education daily and wants to help them “understand earlier, more completely and with less stress and fatigue.”

Judith Heitzman has been an assistant professor in the Kent School for more than a decade. She also is a clinical social worker with more than 15 years’ experience working with children, adolescents, adults and families. She teaches a range of courses in the Kent School and has been the field liaison faculty member for the Kent in New Orleans program since 2008. Several of Heitzman’s former students, who now are in practice, credit her dynamic courses with providing them the skills and perspectives they use daily in their own practice. Teaching, she said, is a learning experience for both the teacher and the student: “I appreciate the continued opportunity to share my understanding of social work materials, and continue to learn in the process.”

President’s Exemplary Multicultural Teaching Award

Nicole Seymour, College of Arts & Sciences, is a visiting assistant professor in English where she teaches courses in American literature, theory and cultural studies. Her main areas of research are environmental cultural studies and gender and sexuality studies. One nominator described her as “a friendly person, always motivated and positive, who gives students constructive advice in order to improve their skills and writing.” Another said she is a “self-reflective instructor who consciously seeks to make her classroom inclusive for all of her students.”

Paul Weber Departmental Excellence in Teaching Awards

  • $25,000: Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine
  • $15,000 Trover Campus, School of Medicine
  • $10,000 Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, College of Business

The Simulation for Pediatric Assessment, Resuscitation and Communication Program in the Department of Pediatrics is an interdisciplinary educational program that uses high-fidelity mannequins and standardized patients to teach pediatrics residents, nurses, respiratory therapists and pharmacists the skills they need to deal with difficult clinical situations. All simulated interactions occur in the actual locations where the complementary real-life situation would occur. Foci of the program include crisis resource management, physiology and doctor-family communication. The program uses extensive debriefing with both verbal and written feedback to reinforce learning points. This program helps residents bridge the gap between medical knowledge and clinical practice while forging interdisciplinary relationships. Their award was for $25,000. Read the proposal (PDF).

The ultimate purpose of the School of Medicine Trover Campus in Madisonville, Ky., is to place more graduating medical students in practice in small Kentucky towns. Bill Crump, professor of family medicine and ULTC associate dean, has designed, and over the last 10 years taught, in the Trover Campus Rural Pathways, a series of programs that develop and support a cadre of pre-medical students from rural western Kentucky to be successful and choose medicine as a career. Crump’s community-based team has achieved remarkable success, with 64 percent of rural ULTC graduates now practicing in rural Kentucky. Read the proposal (PDF)

The College of Business created its entrepreneurship minor in 2007. It requires four undergraduate, 3-credit-hour courses. From its inception, the strategy and tactics for the entrepreneurship minor have been student-centered education and collaboration with community entrepreneurs and other entities. The entrepreneurship minor serves to prepare students to maximize their potentials by exercising their entrepreneurial skills within companies (“intra”preneur) as well as starting and running their own businesses (entrepreneur). Read the proposal (PDF)

New Endowed Faculty

UofL had 54 endowed faculty posts a decade ago. Now it has 148. This growth comes from private support and from the highly successful Research Challenge Trust Fund — otherwise known as “Bucks for Brains,” which the Commonwealth of Kentucky supports.

  • Jason Abbott, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Charles Barr, School of Medicine
  • Aruni Bhatnagar, School of Medicine
  • Maxwell Boakye, School of Medicine
  • Mostafa Fraig, School of Medicine
  • Ed Hamilton, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Gerald Hammond, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Shiping Hua, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Karen Kayser, Kent School of Social Work
  • Richard Lamont, School of Dentistry
  • Sharmila Makhija, School of Medicine
  • Robert Martin, School of Medicine
  • Kelly McMasters, School of Medicine
  • Craig Roberts, School of Medicine
  • Allan Tasman, School of Medicine
  • Huang-Ge Zhang, School of Medicine

Jason Abbott holds the Aung San Suu Kyi Endowed Chair in Asian Democracy. He is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and the director of the Center for Asian Democracy. Abbott is the author and editor of five books and more than 20 journal articles and book chapters. He writes a topical blog on Asia and democracy that is syndicated online by a Dutch development news agency.

Charles Barr holds the Drs. Arthur and Virginia Keeney Chair of Resident Education and Ethics in Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. He is a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Barr has more than 100 scientific publications and numerous National Institutes of Health research grants. He is president of the Retina Society and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind. Barr has received numerous teaching awards from his department and school.

Aruni Bhatnagar holds the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine. He is a professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine. Bhatanagar also is the director of the Diabetes and Obesity Center where he leads an interdisciplinary team of investigators in studying how diabetes and obesity affect cardiovascular health and disease. Several NIH grants support his research. Bhatnagar has published 140 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 25 book chapters and reviews and more than 200 abstracts. He is a past recipient of the President’s Distinguished Faculty Award for Research in the Basic and Applied Sciences.

Maxwell Boakye holds the Ole A., Mabel Wise and Wilma Wise Nelson Chair in Clinical Geriatrics Research. He is an associate professor of neurosurgery. At UofL’s Center for Advanced Neurosurgery, he is the director of spinal neurosurgery; the director of the spinal cord and brain injury labs; and director of the neurosurgical outcomes and translational research lab. He has published 41 peer-reviewed chapters, 50 abstracts and eight book chapters and is editor of a major textbook of spinal cord injury due out in 2012.

Mostafa Fraig holds the William M. Christopherson Endowed Chair in Oncologic Pathology. He is a professor of pathology and pulmonary medicine. He is vice chair for clinal services and director of anatomic pathology. Fraig also is the director of the Cytopathology Fellowship Program. Fraig’s research interests are in pulmonary pathology and cytopathology. He has extensively published and taught on these subjects at local, national and international levels.

This past spring, Ed Hamilton was the Frederic Lindley Morgan Visiting Chair of Architectural Design in the Department of Fine Arts. He is known nationally for several installations, including the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C., and Abraham Lincoln in Waterfront Park.

Gerald Hammond holds the Endowed Chair in Organic Chemistry. In 2004, he came to UofL as a professor of chemistry and a university scholar. From 2007-2009 he was program director in the Chemistry Division at the National Science Foundation. Hammond has received numerous awards and has been a visiting professor at several universities around the world. He has written 125 publications and has received almost $7 million in grants and awards.

Shiping Hua is the Calvin and Helen Lang Distinguished Chair in Asian Studies. Hua’s research interests include comparative politics and international history and politics. He served as president of the Association of Chinese Political Studies Association from 2004-2006, and he was council chairman of the United Societies of China Studies from 2006-2009. He has received several awards and honors, including the “Outstanding Research and Publication Award” from the Association of Chinese Professors in the Social Sciences this past year.

Karen Kayser holds the Dr. Renato LaRocca Endowed Chair in Oncology Social Work. The LaRocca chair is the first and only endowed chair in oncology and social work in the nation. Her research focuses on the study of interpersonal and cultural factors that influence and promote optimal adjustment to cancer. She has conducted extensive research on health-related stress for individuals, couples and families both in the United States and internationally, including the countries of India, China, Switzerland, Italy and Australia. Kayser has written and co-written several books. Among her numerous awards is a 2008 Fullbright Scholar Research Award.

Richard Lamont holds the Delta Dental Endowed Professorship in Oral Health and Systemic Disease. He is director of the Oral Health and Systemic Disease Research Group. Lamont is the author of more than 150 research papers, review articles and book chapters. He has edited and written two standard textbooks in oral microbiology and immunology, is a founding co-editor of the journal Molecular Oral Microbiology and is an editor of Microbes and Infection. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has funded Lamont for more than 20 years, and he recently received a prestigious MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health.

Sharmila Makhija holds the Donald E. Baxter Endowed Chair. She is professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health. Makhija has published and lectured extensively on gene therapy for the treatment of cancer and the use of monoclonal antibody therapy for the treatment of ovarian cancer. She is the recipient of NIH funding, including serving as a Women’s Reproductive Health Research Scholar as a junior faculty member. She has served on the editorial board of several journals, including the Journal of Oncology Practice, and has also been a reviewer for several journals.

Robert Martin holds the Samuel D. and Lolita S. Weakley Chair in Surgical Oncology. He is the director of the Division of Surgical Oncology, a faculty member at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and a professor in the Department of Surgery. His clinical interests focus on the multi-disciplinary care and surgical management of patients with upper gastrointestinal malignancies. His research focus is surgical quality of care, metastic colon cancer management and genetic predispositions to upper GI malignancies. Martin has written more than 200 first- or senior-author peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Kelly McMasters is the Ben A. Reid, Sr. Professor of Surgery. He is professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery. He also is director of the Multidisciplinary Melanoma Clinic at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Craig Roberts holds the K. Armand Fischer Professorship in Orthopedic Surgery. He is chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the team physician of the UofL field hockey team. Roberts has co-written the textbook, “External Fixation in Orthopaedic Traumatology” that will be released Dec 28. He has more than 100 scientific writings and made more than 200 national & international scientific presentations. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma and he serves as the deputy editor for upper extremity for Injury.

Allan Tasman holds the John J. and Ruby B. Schwab Chair in Social, Community and Family Psychiatry. He is professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Tasman has spearheaded development of an award-winning integrated regional psychiatric crisis intervention system, public education programs to reduce misperceptions about psychiatric illnesses and their treatments, and the UofL Depression Center. Among his academic accomplishments, he has been president of five national or international psychiatric organizations, founded two journals and is senior editor of all three editions of a highly regarded comprehensive textbook of psychiatry.

Huang-Ge Zhang holds the Founders Chair in Cancer Research at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. He is a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and a senior scientist at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. Zhang has 71 peer-reviewed publications. NIH and Susan G. Komen for the Cure grants support his research. Among his prestigious honors and awards are the 2007 Basic, Clinical and Translational Research Award from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

University Scholars

The University Scholar and Distinguished Scholar program exists to recruit new faculty scholars and to retain faculty members who demonstrate superior creativity and scholarship in their fields.

Igor Lukashevich, School of Medicine, is a professor of pharmacology and toxicology. His recent research focuses on vaccine development. He designed several promising vaccine platforms and co-invented infectious DNA immunization technology which potentially can revolutionize live-attenuated vaccine production and applications. Six NIH awards support this program, and he has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and chapters.

Faculty whose creative work has resulted
in U.S. patents, licenses and options

UofL faculty innovations are helping the rapid development of industry, promoting a clean environment, providing better health care for patients and enhancing quality of life in other ways. These faculty members have received patents, licenses and options over the past year.


A patent is a grant made by a government that confers upon the creator of an invention the sole right to make, use, and sell that invention for a set period of time. It protects the “concept” or “idea” behind the invention described.

Suraj Alexander, J.B. Speed School of Engineering
Security Monitoring System for a Bulk Foodstuff Transport Container: This is a wireless system and method for enhancing the secure delivery of milk from a farm to a processor. Researchers at UofL, the University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University jointly developed the technology under a project sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security.

Kyung Kang, J.B. Speed School of Engineering
Enhancement of Sensitivity of Fluorophore Mediated Biosensing and Bioimaging: The two patents under this title help detect biomarkers in blood plasma. Quantification of biomarkers is a sometimes difficult task that is important for disease detection and diagnosis, but many biomarkers are difficult to detect.

Christopher Isert, Douglas Jackson and John Naber, J.B. Speed School of Engineering
Frequency Counter Based Analog-to-Digital Converter: This is an analog-to-digital converter that operates on minimal power and can be used to obtaining digital readings from a sensor attached to a radio frequency identification tag or other wireless device. It has possible application in biomedical devices.

Gamini Sumanasekera, College of Arts & Sciences
Methods and Systems for Fabrication of Graphene Nanoribbons: A novel technique for fabricating long, narrow graphene nanoribbons with smooth edges without using chemical treatments. The technique allows for the control of nanoribbon width and transfer of fabricated nanoribbons onto a desired substrate, which is important in constructing graphene-based semiconductors.

Gamini Sumanasekera, College of Arts & Sciences, and Robert Cohn, J.B. Speed School of Engineering
Method for Electrostatic Deposition of Graphene on a Substrate: This is a novel and straightforward technique for depositing monolayer graphene on a suitable substrate at a selected location, which is important both for studying the fundamental properties of graphene and for developing graphene-based devices.

Chengliang Lu and Fred Roisen, School of Medicine
Adult Human Olfactory Stem Cells: The technology describes the isolation and culture of olfactory stem cells for the treatment of neurological disorders. Called rhino-epithelial stem cells or “rhinocytes,” they can be used in research, diagnosis, treatment, transplantation and drug development.

Haval Shirwan, School of Medicine
Immune Modulation with Death Receptor-Induced Apoptosis: This describes a specific chimeric protein used to modulate immune response. It is targeted to help patients with such conditions as asthma or allergies, or those undergoing transplantation with allogeneic or xenogeneic tissue.

Mahendra Sunkara, J.B. Speed School of Engineering
Bulk Synthesis of Metal and Metal-Based Dielectric Nanowires: A method for growing freestanding metal and metal nitride nanowires without the use of templates. The technology can be used to manufacture semiconductor nanowires with potential applications in advanced composites, high power electronics and opto-electronic devices.

Growth of Textured Gallium Nitride Thin Films on Polycrystalline Substances: A novel synthesis route for growing textured thin films of gallium nitride on polycrystalline substrates. The process can be used to manufacture semiconductor materials with potential applications in light-emitting and laser diodes, high temperature field effect transistors and UV optical devices.

Henry Kaplan, School of Medicine
Inhibition of Wet Type Age Related Macular Degeneration by Adiponectin or ACRP 30: The invention provides new ways to treat the wet type of age-related macular degeneration by administering adiponectin. The research leading to this issued patent application was the first to demonstrate the inhibitory effect of adiponectin on the growth of blood vessels within the eye.


A license is the agreement that allows an outside party to move forward to develop, distribute and sell an innovation in the commercial market.

Julia Aebersold, Suraj Alexander, Scott Cambron, Mark Crain, Douglas Jackson, Robert Keynton, Michael Martin, John Naber, Thomas Roussel, Kevin Walsh
A four-part exclusive license with Ultra Trace Detection LLC: Trace sampling technologies for enhanced detection of explosives, chemical agents and other hazardous substances.

Moises Carreon, J.B. Speed School of Engineering
Exclusive license with AliphaJet, Inc.: A three-step process, developed at UofL’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research that converts bio-derived raw materials (such as oils, fats, fatty acids, algae, and jatropha oils) into jet fuels.

Richard Goldstein, School of Medicine
Exclusive license with Edumedics, LLC: Edumedics, LLC delivers care management services to employer groups.

Jay Hoying, Laxminarayanan “Laxmi” Krishnan and Stuart Williams, School of Medicine
Exclusive license with Tissue Genesis, Inc. for a process for improving the acceptance of a transplanted tissue by promoting blood vessel growth prior to transplantation.

Michael Voor, School of Medicine
Two licenses with Vivorte, LLC. The first is an orthopedic medical device for strengthening the hip and preventing fractures. The second is for a bone replacement material for treating fractures, defects and deterioration.


An option is an agreement whereby UofL allows another party (usually a business alliance) limited access to a technology for a limited time in exchange for compensation. The business uses this time to determine if it would like to enter into a full-license for the intellectual property.

Roland Valdes and Mark Linder, School of Medicine
With PGXL Laboratories, LLC, for PerMIT, a personalized medicine software program that helps physicians determine the appropriate dose of a variety of medications using a patient’s genetic information.

Cicek Gercel-Taylor and Douglas Taylor, School of Medicine
With NX PharmaGen for access to several oncology and pre-term birth-related diagnostic technologies that focus on protein biomarkers that are shed into the blood specifically from tumor cells within protected exosomes.

Saeed Jortani and Roland Valdes, School of Medicine
With PGXL Technologies, LLC for a urinary protein screening test to detect obstructive sleep apnea.

Ayman El-Baz and Aly Farag, J.B. Speed School of Engineering
With PulmoCAD, LLC, for a computer-aided diagnostic method and software for early detection of lung cancer.

John Naber, Kevin Walsh and Douglas Jackson
Two options with Simon Sounds, LLC and Tech Bridges International, Inc. for a wireless body temperature monitor that allows for continuous monitoring by transmitting temperature data to a remote monitor.