Research Award Winners 2015

Senior Researcher

Senior Researcher Dr. Kurkalova   Dr. Lyubov Kurkalova

   Department of Economics,

   School of Business and Economics
   Kurkalova, an economist specializing in environmental and natural resource    economics, applied econometrics and conservation policies in agriculture. Her research reflects the dual nature of her appointment in both economics and the interdisciplinary department of energy and environmental systems. Her    work focuses on bioenergy production and policy and their connection to land use and environmental problems such as water pollution, loss of soil carbon and climate change. As an economist conducting applied research on contemporary, policy related problems, Kurkalova has published widely in outlets ranging from academic economics and interdisciplinary journals to others oriented toward practitioners and professionals in interested in agriculture, conservation and bioenergy issues. She is the principal investigator or co-PI on 15 research grants with a total value of $8.6 million.

Outstanding Young Investigators

Jha    Dr. Manoj K. Jha

    Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering,

    College of Engineering

   Jha, a civil engineer, conducts research in a variety of fields in environmental and    water resources engineering, including hydrology, surface and subsurface water  quality, watershed modeling, water resources engineering, global climate change, land cover and land-use change impact analysis, GIS-supported spatial analyses and model applications, erosion and sedimentation, groundwater modeling and development. He has conducted research in the Gulf of Mexico and a variety of locations in Africa, including Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania.                 

Aravamudan    Dr.Shyam Aravamudhan

    Department of Nanoengineering,

    Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering

   Aravamudhan’s interests lie at the intersection of micro/ nanotechnology and life    sciences, with an overarching goal to question and better understand how    biological  systems function.The hypothesis is that by using unique phenomena at the micro and nano-length scales and by shrinking devices to a scale comparable to typical biological system, fundamental biological questions can be addressed. His research interests include nanobioelectronics, microsystems and nanotechnology tools for disease diagnostics and regenerative medicine, and structure-property relationship in nanostructures.

Rookie of the Year 

Research Award winner Ali

    Dr. Ali Karimoddini

    Department of Nanoengineering

    Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering

   Karimoddini’s research focuses on control engineering and its application to    robotic systems, modeling of biological systems and reliability and safety of cyber-physical systems such as smart power grids and traffic control systems. A particular interest is cooperative control of teams of autonomous systems. He played a key role in developing the recently funded $5 million proposal to create a Center of Excellence in Autonomy.  

Intellectual Property Award

Award winner Dr. Fini   Dr. Ellie H. Fini

   Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

   College of Engineering

   Fini invented an adhesive derived from swine manure and established a spin-off    company that is the university’s exclusive licensee of the technology. Her team competed in several national and international business plan competitions, winning the ACC Clean Energy Challenge, the U.S. Department of Energy MegaWatt competition, the International Mass Challenge Competition and Charlotte Venture. Fini is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award and has received $1.7 million in sponsored funding to support her research.

Award Winner Dr. Yu

   Dr. Jianmei Yu

   Department of Family and Consumer Sciences,

   School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

   Yu developed a technology for producing the world’s first commercially available    allergen-reduced peanuts. The technology is patented and was licensed in 2014.    Another research interest is value-added utilization of agricultural byproducts, including bioactive compounds, including grape pomace, peanut skins and oat/corn bran. Yu has authored or co-authored 15 grant proposals, 12 of which have been funded at a total of $3.9 million.