Researchers honored by Rochester Institute of Technology

Reception celebrates funding awards, national recognitions and induction of eight new ‘PI Millionaires’




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Rochester Institute of Technology honored 386 researchers who secured funding for fiscal year 2014, serving as either principal or co-principal investigators on active research.

RIT honored its researchers at an April 23 reception, during which it also recognized the 16 recipients of Seed Funding Awards, eight new inductees in RIT’s PI Millionaires, three winners of National Science Foundation Career Awards and four winners of new National Institutes of Health Awards.

“RIT continues to gain momentum as a research university,” said David Bond, director of Sponsored Research Services. “Our researchers are conducting work that is getting noticed, which is remarkable in what has been a constrained economic climate for award sponsors. 2014 was strong and 2015 is also on track to be a good year.” RIT investigators’ efforts led to $52.7 million in research funding last fiscal year, up from $47 million the previous year.

Bond cited examples of many notable research awards from the last year, including three winners of NSF Career Awards, a program that supports junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such activities, the foundation states, build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. The winners are:

  • Mishkat Bhattacharya, assistant professor of physics, who won a five-year grant he will use to examine the continuing demand for better optical sensing of mechanical rotation devices used in fields such as nanoscience, precision measurement, remote sensing and quantum computing.
  • Gabrielle Gaustad, assistant professor in the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, who will use her five year grant to study the implications of material scarcity and criticality on future clean energy technologies.
  • Casey Miller, assistant professor, College of Science, for “Magnetocaloric Effect in Metallic Nanostructures.”

RIT researchers also won a number of new National Institutes of Health Awards, including:

  • David Borkholder, associate professor in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, for “Enabling Microsystem Technologies for Advanced Drug Delivery”;
  • Behnaz Ghoraani, assistant professor in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, for “Catheter Guidance Algorithm for Identification of Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Targets”;
  • Hans Schmitthenner, research scientist in the College of Science, for “Targeted Molecular Agents for Photoacoustic Imaging of Prostate Cancer”;
  • Linwei Wang, assistant professor in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, for “Transmural Electrophysiological Imaging to Guide Catheter Ablation for Arrythmias.”

The event also highlighted “Seed Fund Awards,” $5,000 grants awarded by RIT to researchers who completed its Grant Writer’s Boot Camp last fall. Each participant came with a proposal for seed funding which was reviewed by peers.

The Seed Fund award recipients are:

  • Ronald Aman, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering, Kate Gleason College of Engineering, for “Criterion-Based Part Orientation Determination for Metal 3D Printing”;
  • Martin Anselm, assistant professor, manufacturing and mechanical engineering technology, College of Applied Science and Technology, for “BGA Ball Attach Effect on Second Level Thermo-Mechanical Reliability”;
  • Reza Azarderakhsh, assistant professor of computer engineering in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, for “Efficient Algorithms and Architectures for Elliptic Curve Cryptography in Embedded Systems”;
  • Roger Chen, assistant professor in the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, for “Experiments in Sustainable Strategic Interactions: Coordinated Personalized Signals and Incentives for Reducing Energy Consumption and Carbon Footprints”;
  • Michael Cromer, assistant professor of mathematical sciences in the College of Science, for “ Numerical Simulation of the Flow of Wormlike Micellar Solutions in Complex Geometries”;
  • Owen Gottlieb, assistant professor of interactive games and media in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, for “Pre-alpha Core Mechanic Prototyping for Religious Education Strategic Game”;
  • Peizhao Hu, assistant professor in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, for “Preserving User Privacy with Homomorphic Encryption”;
  • Daryl Johnson, associate professor, B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information and Sciences for “Cyber Security Dojo”;
  • Katie McConky, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, for “Simulation Model Control Logic for Micro-Activity Machine Coordination to Reduce Peak Energy Load”;
  • Mehdi Mirakhorli, assistant professor of software engineering in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, for “SMARTSec: A Holistic Framework to Preserve Security Architectures”;
  • Laura Munoz, assistant professor of mathematical sciences in the College of Science, for “Data Reconstruction Algorithms for Cardiac Action Potential Dynamics”;
  • Mei Nagappan, assistant professor of software engineering in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, for “Quantifying End-User Issues Across Different Mobile App Platforms”;
  • Emily Prud’hommeaux, assistant professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts, for “Automated Language Analysis for Dementia Screening”;
  • Bill Stackpole, associate professor of computing security in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, for “Development of a Penetration Testing Competition”;
  • Julie Thomas, assistant professor of life sciences in the College of Science, for “Dissecting a giant: Analyses of the virion of Salmonella phage SPN3US”; and
  • Jing Zhang, assistant professor of electrical and microelectronic engineering in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, for “White Light Emitting Diodes on Novel Substrates.”

Also recognized was a new group of PI Millionaires, a designation awarded to RIT researchers who have achieved funding of $1 million or more since 2000. Inducted as PI Millionaires were:

  • Lisa Elliot, senior research scientist, National Technical Institute for the Deaf
  • Gabrielle Gaustad, assistant professor, Golisano Institute for Sustainability
  • Andy Harlan, assistant director of operations, Golisano Institute for Sustainability
  • Ron Kelly, professor, National Technical Institute for the Deaf
  • Carlos Lousto, professor, College of Science
  • Darren Narayan, professor, College of Science
  • Nirmala Shenoy, professor, B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
  • Bo Yuan, associate professor, B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.

The event, in RIT’s Student Innovation Hall, was hosted by Sponsored Research Services, which has recognized 97 PI Millionaire researchers since 2001.

For more information on research at RIT, go to https://www.rit.edu/research/.