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Faculty Honors 2014
LAS professors bring honor and recognition to the college.
Rachel Whitaker, assistant professor of microbiology, along with her interdisciplinary, multi-institutional team, received a five-year, $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to explore the idea of viruses and their hosts coevolving together in the lab in the model system of hot springs at Yellowstone National Park. Whitaker also plans to study microbial adaptive immunity, where a host is able to recognize infectious particles like viruses and degrade them if they are infected again.
Brendan Harley, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, received the Everitt Award for Teaching Excellence for development of an innovative elective course on tissue engineering. The Everitt Award annually recognizes one engineering faculty member for outstanding undergraduate teaching and is selected by students from the Engineering Council.
Chris Rao, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, received the College of Engineering Dean’s Excellence in Research Award for his research on topics such as infectious disease, bioenergy production, and synthetic biology. The prestigious award is given annually to four assistant professors in the College of Engineering, in recognition of their outstanding research conducted during the previous year.
Prashant Jain, assistant professor of chemistry, is one of three Illinois faculty to receive a 2014 Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Fellows receive $50,000 to pursue their choice of research topics, with flexibility in applying funds toward their research. Jain investigates the unique behavior of electrons, photons, and atoms in nanoscale materials.
Yasemin Yildiz, associate professor of Germanic languages and literatures and gender and women’s studies, received honorable mention for the 2014 Laura Shannon Prize for Contemporary European Studies, for her book Beyond the Mother Tongue: The Postmonolingual Condition.
Renee Baillargeon, professor of psychology, received the 2013 Fyssen Foundation International Prize for contributing so widely to knowledge on the theme “Human Cognitive Development.” Baillargeon’s research focuses on early conceptual development in three core domains: physical reasoning, psychological reasoning, and biological reasoning.