RIT honors 14 researchers added to prestigious PI Millionaires group
RIT faculty members, who led research initiatives as principal investigators, were honored at a reception on March 21 to celebrate the individuals who helped the university reach record awards surpassing $92 million and place among the top private research universities in the country.
This year’s honorees include a group of 14 distinguished faculty members inducted as the newest cohort of PI Millionaires—those receiving $1 million or more in funding over the fiscal year. They were among the 53 active research projects with funding in excess of $1 million.
“These are impressive accomplishments for RIT and the researchers gathered here,” said Ryne Raffaelle, vice president for Research and associate provost. “We had a very good year overall, setting an institutional record for the number of proposals submitted. And already, we are on track for one of our best years in history. It bodes well for our future.”
This year’s 14 PI Millionaire honorees from across the university acquired funding for top-trending areas such as biomedical devices, cybersecurity, and semiconductor technologies. They are:
- Vinay Abhyankar, assistant professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering
- Travis Desell, associate professor, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
- Gabriel Diaz, associate professor, College of Science
- Clyde Eirikur Hull, professor, Saunders College of Business
- Stephen Jacobs, professor, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
- Karin Wuertz-Kozak, professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering
- Dina Newman, professor, College of Science
- Kai Ni, assistant professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering
- Richard O’Shaughnessy, associate professor, College of Science
- Thomastine Sarchet, assistant professor, National Technical Institute for the Deaf
- Joha Shamsujjoha, senior materials scientist, Golisano Institute for Sustainability
- Mark Smith, director of leadership programs, Kate Gleason College of Engineering
- Mark Walluk, assistant director, Golisano Institute for Sustainability
- Leslie Kate Wright, interim school head, College of Science
Since 2001, RIT has recognized its accomplished faculty-researchers through the annual PI Reception. There are currently 341 principal investigators and researchers with active projects— individual and multi-disciplinary proposal—from developing novel, cutting-edge technologies to contributing to economic growth regionally and nationally.
RIT’s key areas include nanotechnology, optics and imaging science, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. Many of these awards were funded by national agencies such as National Science Foundation ($13.5 million), the Department of Defense ($8.6 million), National Institutes of Health ($6.7 million), and both NASA and the Department of Energy ($2.5 million each). Since 2014, 16 faculty members have received CAREER awards, including the two newest honorees this spring: Kai Ni for research to develop advanced computer memory and devices and Hanif Rahbari for research to enhance connected vehicle security.
Over the past several years, the in-person PI celebration was postponed or conducted online due to the pandemic. Also recognized at this event were PI Millionaires from 2019–2021.