Provost Excellence Award recognizes outstanding faculty research

Posted by Ayleen Barbel Fattal

The Office of the Provost recognized eight FIU centers and institutes with the Provost Excellence Awards during Panther Football home games. The awards were developed as a way to engage the FIU community and recognize faculty with research excellence.

“We want to recognize the outstanding work that our research faculty are doing. They are making a difference in their areas of research while addressing pressing community needs to remind fans that FIU is a research university making a positive impact academically and in the community,” said Provost Kenneth G. Furton. “It reminds fans that we are a research university making a positive differences in the academy and the community and it encourages the faculty to come to the game to support their colleagues and the football team.”

The first year, the Provost Excellence Award recognized the following centers and institutes:

Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging Center Award presented Aug. 30 Under the direction of Angela Laird, researchers at the Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging Center conduct research on brain activity, including language, cognition, emotion, action, sensory perception and mental health. It is dedicated to expanding research with emphasis on improving the health of minority populations and reducing health disparities, in particular epidemics of HIV/AIDS and drug abuse. The center will contribute unique findings to President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative.

STEM Transformation Institute Award presented Sept. 6 The STEM Transformation Institute is a multidisciplinary partnership paving the way for student success in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The institute responds to several key recommendations made by the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology to meet the national imperative for more and diverse scientists and engineers. Under the direction of Laird Kramer, the institute brings together faculty from FIU’s College of Arts & Sciences, College of Education, and College of Engineering and Computing to build a nationally recognized STEM education research group that will capitalize on these efforts and develop effective instructional techniques for the classroom.

Extreme Events Institute Award presented Sept. 13 The Extreme Events Institute encompasses all of the severe weather capabilities of FIU under one umbrella organization and builds on the organizational strengths of existing centers including the International Hurricane Research Center and its Wall of Wind laboratory. Under the direction of Richard Olson, the Extreme Events Institute’s main goal is to achieve research synergy across the social and behavioral sciences, physical sciences, computer science, public health, management and engineering in the multi-hazard study of extreme events and responses to them.

Center for Children and Families Award presented Sept. 20 FIU’s Center for Children and Families is leading the way in research and evidence-based options to treat and manage childhood mental disorders. Focusing on family and school-centered treatment, the center offers year-round services and treatment for children and their families in an interdisciplinary clinic. This center’s signature Summer Treatment Program has treated 867 children since the center was founded in 2010. Center Director William E. Pelham, Jr. has brought together an elite team of researchers to FIU, leveraging both existing faculty members and recruiting other leading researchers from around the country. In the 2013-2014 academic year, CCF served approximately 3,000 children and families. The center also provided consultation and training services for more than 300 teachers from Miami-Dade County Public Schools working with children with behavioral and academic difficulties.

Institute of NeuroImmune Pharmacology Award presented Oct. 2 The Institute of NeuroImmune Pharmacology develops, fosters and sustains a program of translational research (bench to bedside) and training in Immunology, Neuro-Immune pharmacology of Drug abuse, HIV/CNS diseases and cosmetic medicine. It also helps to develop novel drug delivery technologies to treat HIV, drug addiction and various CNS diseases. The institute builds bridges between research and training activities at the graduate, undergraduate and post doctoral levels for PhD,. MD and M.P.H scientists and practicing immunologists. Director, Madhavan Nair‘s research has achieved worldwide recognition for his visionary approach to nanomedicine.

Florida Coastal Everglades Longterm Ecological Research Program Award presented Oct. 18 The research conducted under the Florida Coastal Everglades (FCE) Longterm Ecological Research (LTER) Program focuses on an area where freshwater and estuarine vegetation mix, known as the oligohaline ecotone. FCE researchers are studying how the delivery of freshwater, organic matter and nutrients influence the growth rate and structure of plant communities in marshes, mangroves and seagrass beds of the coastal Everglades. The program has made significant contributions to our understandings of unique nutrient sources, food webs, productivity paradox, productivity gradients in mangroves and communication with policymakers. Evelyn Gaiser, lead principal investigator of FCE LTER accepted the award on behalf of the program.

Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse Award presented Nov. 1 The Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA) at FIU was established in 2003 to address the escalating twin epidemics of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS affecting Latino communities throughout South Florida. This pioneering, nationally and internationally recognized center currently houses grant awards from several of the prestigious institutes within the National Institutes of Health. Center Director Mario De La Rosa, has led center trainees, faculty and staff in applying multidisciplinary and community based research and training approaches to advance our understanding of the underlying individual, family and community factors that influence the spread of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse among Latinos. CRUSADA’s main goal is to help reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse in Latino communities.

Accelerated Bridge Construction University Transportation Center Award presented Nov. 15 The Accelerated Bridge Construction University Transportation Center (ABC-UTC) at FIU is the first federally-funded entity focused on developing technology and methods to improve and accelerate the construction of bridges. The center, led by Atorod Azizinamini, aims to reduce the societal costs of bridge construction by reducing the duration of work zones, focusing special attention on preservation, service life, construction costs, education of the profession and development of a next-generation workforce fully equipped with accelerated bridge construction knowledge. Each recipient received $1,000 from the Division of Research.

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