Iliana Buams, professor of biology, has been selected as a recipient of the 2020 Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Life Sciences. Additionally, Baums and her research team were recognized as one of the top 15 coral reef research contributors by the coral reef community in a survey performed by the Environment Coastal & Offshore (ECO) Magazine. Her coral reef research has bridged the gap between basic population genomics and more applied aspects of coral restoration for coral reefs in decline due to climate change.
Carina Curto, professor of mathematics, has been selected as a recipient of the 2020 Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Physical Sciences. Curto uses applied math to help explain neural network theory and coding and has made several advances helping to understand how the brain communicates with the outside world.
Rebekah Dawson, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics, has been selected to receive the 2020 Harold C. Urey Prize for outstanding achievement in planetary research by an early career scientist from the American Astronomical Society. Dawson combines simulations and theory with analysis of observed planets to understand the origins of planetary systems.
Hedong Li, associate research professor of biology, has been awarded $1.8 million from the National Institutes of Health to study how microRNAs—small segments of genetic material—could be used in treatments for spinal cord injury. The five-year grant builds upon previous work by Li and colleagues to convert glial cells, support cells that surround neurons, into functioning neurons.
A research team including Jason Wright, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, has been awarded a grant from NASA to look for detectable signs of technology used by past or present extraterrestrial civilizations. The grant is also the first to support work at the new Penn State Extraterrestrial Intelligence (PSETI) Center, which is dedicated to advancing the search for these technosignatures.