Researchers, scholars and research administrators were recognized for their contributions at the University of Louisville’s inaugural Research and Scholarship Awards, held March 29.
The event, hosted by the Office of Research and Innovation, honored UofL faculty and staff nominated by their colleagues or self-nominated for outstanding research and scholarship accomplishments in fiscal year 2021.
“I often say that UofL is a true research engine, continuously blazing new trails and seeking answers to important questions,” said Interim President Lori Stewart Gonzalez, speaking at the event. “Our researchers, scholars and research administrators are the very backbone of that work and they deserve this celebration and recognition.”
In addition to the roughly 90 recognized, six major awards were presented to:
- Kenneth Palmer, of the School of Medicine, who won Researcher of the Year, in part, for work to address the global COVID-19 pandemic, securing $8.5 million from the Department of Defense to adapt a novel broad-spectrum antiviral as a coronovirus-fighting nasal spray;
- Hui Wang, of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, who won Emerging Researcher of the Year for work to advance solid ion conductors and electrochemical energy storage;
- Becky Antle, of the Kent School of Social Work, who won Collaborator of the Year for serving as an evaluator on numerous groundbreaking projects with principal investigators across the university;
- Monica Wendel, of the School of Public Health and Information Sciences, who won the Grand Challenger Award in Empowering our Communities in part for work to launch a new Health Equity Innovation Hub at UofL, backed by Humana Inc. and the Humana Foundation;
- Shirish Barve, of the School of Medicine, who won the Grand Challenger Award in Advancing our Health for work to uncover the connections and impacts of alcohol on the body and organ injury and studying the gut/brain axis in HIV and aging; and
- Joshua Spurgeon, of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, who won the Grand Challenger Award in Engineering our Future Economy for work to create clean fuels using just water, carbon dioxide and sunlight, paving the way for more low-carbon power.
In addition to presenting awards, the event also highlighted the Office of Research and Innovation’s recently launched Ascending Star Fellowship program, which provides mentorship, funding and other support to high-performing associate professors. The inaugural class includes Cheri Levinson, Brandon McCormack and Kaila Story, all from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Kevin Gardner, UofL’s Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation, said his office launched this inaugural awards event to recognize faculty and staff for their contributions to UofL’s research and scholarship.
In the past fiscal year, their work helped bring in record $201.5 million to support groundbreaking work that saves and improves lives and shapes our society and culture. And, UofL recently received another consecutive Research-1 designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, placing it among just 4% of schools considered.
“What we celebrate and recognize reflects our values as an organization and as a community of scholars,” Gardner said. “Each researcher, scholar and administrator being celebrated is absolutely critical to our important work here at UofL, and we want you to know your efforts are appreciated.”