2017 Research Award Winners

Senior Researcher
Dr. Bililign

Dr. Solomon Bililign

Professor, Dept. of Physics 
College of Science and Technology

Dr. Bililign has formerly served as chair of the Department of Physics, and while sustaining basic research in chemical physics, he created national and international collaborations through numerous grants. He built a seismic station at N.C. A&T, provided international research opportunities in Europe and Africa for students, and developed a $12.5 million center funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to conduct research to understand climate and environmental change. He has made long-term, significant contributions to the development of new research capacity and degree programs in atmospheric sciences, attracting funds from numerous sources. Since his arrival to N.C. A&T, Dr. Bililign has had 16 research proposals funded, totaling over $19 million.

Outstanding Young Investigator
Dr. Mahour Mellat-Parast

Dr. Mahour Mellat-Parast

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Applied Engineering Technology
College of Science and Technology

Dr. Mellat-Parast’s research and scholarship spans both supply chain risk management and innovation and technology management. He develops statistical models for theory development in supply chain and technology management as well as assisting other researchers with their research design. He has worked as a PI/Co-PI on 13 externally-funded projects totaling $3.5M, including nine from the National Science Foundation, two from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, two from VentureWell, and an international project jointly-funded by the U.S. and the European Union. He is currently the lead investigator of over $2 million of externally-funded research projects. Since joining the university he has authored/co-authored 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, and presented 30 conference papers with over 600 citations.

Rookie of the Year
Dr. Ofori-Boadu

Dr. Andrea Ofori-Boadu

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Built Environment
College of Science and Technology

Dr. Ofori-Boadu’s overarching research mission is to contribute to the innovation of materials, practices and policies that enhance the development and maintenance of sustainable built environments. Her achievements have been a result of her focus in three thematic areas: Swine-waste biochar modified cement pastes, quality management of sustainable buildings, and STEM education. Her work has resulted in multiple grants and poster-sessions, one manuscript submission under journal review, one manuscript under co-authors’ review, three proposal submissions, one national presentation and her service as a grant reviewer for the National Science Foundation.

Intellectual Property Award
Dr. Shengmin Sang

Dr. Shengmin Sang

Associate Professor, Center for Excellence in Post Harvest Technologies
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Dr. Sang’s research involves bioactive components from functional foods and herbal medicines to prevent chronic diseases, such as cancer, obesity and diabetic complications. His research identifies bioactive components from functional foods; studies how processing, storage, fermentation, and packaging affect their efficacy; determines the biotransformation and bioavailability of the components in cell cultures, rodents and humans; and studies the in vivo efficacy and the underlying molecular mechanism of the components focusing on prevention of cancer, obesity and diabetic complications. He is working with Sarisa Therapeutics, LLC to commercialize the novel aspirin derivatives developed in his lab as drug candidates to treat pain, inflammation, colorectal cancer, and heart disease.

Interdisciplinary Team Award
Interdisciplinary Team Awards Winners

Drs. Ram Mohan, Sameer Hamoush, Ajit Kelkar, Miguel Piconell-Darder


“Partnership in Research Transition (PIRT): Nano to Continuum Multi-Scale Modeling of Cementitious Materials”

Team Project Title


The United States Army has extremely high expectations and requires unique performance characteristics for cementitious materials. These include survivability of buildings and shelters to myriad of threats; cement-based construction materials that harden quickly without compromising strength are vital for ensuring agility for war fighters. Although cement has been a regularly-used material in civil engineering over centuries, this common civil construction material is highly-complex due to its evolving characteristics and features at various length scales. How cement paste performs in military applications around the world is critical to the U.S. Army’s success, and is the subject of this year’s Interdisciplinary Research Team Award.


The Project is led by Professor Ram Mohan from Department of Nanoengineering at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN), North Carolina A&T State University (NCAT) along with an Integrated university-government group of researchers from University of Mississippi at Oxford, MS (UMISS); Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) at Vicksburg, MS, and Army Research Laboratory (ARL) at APG, MD. 


At NCAT, in addition to Dr. Mohan, we recognize NC-MS PIRT faculty project investigators, Dr. Ajit Kelkar from Department of Nanoengineering at JSNN; Drs. Sameer Hamoush and Miguel Picornell from Department of Civil Engineering at College of Engineering. NC-MS PIRT interdisciplinary team leadership recognized from UMISS is Dr. A. Rajendran, Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Wayne Hodo from ERDC. NC-MS PIRT team consisting of graduate students and researchers in nanoengineering, computational science and engineering, and civil engineering at NCAT; mechanical and civil engineering at UMISS; ERDC and ARL researchers brought together a multi-disciplinary approach that involved expertise and knowledge of nanoscale material chemistry, microstructure and evolution, mechanics, construction materials and advanced computational modeling techniques. NC-MS PIRT contributions (2011 – 2017) are now providing the required modeling method for Army scientists to adapt and understand the influence of material chemistry changes on its engineering scale properties towards development of high performance cement formulations to meet Army and field service needs.