Research Excellence Awards

Based on the recommendation of the Research Advisory Committee, the winners of the 2018-19 Faculty Research Excellence Awards are: 

Nathan FisherProfessor Nathan Fisher (CS) is a world-renowned expert in the field of real-time systems with a focus on Cyber Physical Systems.  His team pioneered "the development of scheduling algorithms and associated formal design and analysis techniques that guarantee satisfaction of temporal in the presence of changing dynamics, computer memory contention, and economic competition".  In his career at Wayne State, Professor Fisher received almost $2.5M in research funding and coauthored 80 publications (2 book chapters; 18 journal articles; and 60 refereed conference/workshop papers), and was a recipient of the prestigious NSF CAREER Award.  Recently, he is the PI of a $1.25 million multi-disciplinary award from NSF, and his research has been recognized by a 2017 "Most Influential Paper Award" at 25th Anniversary of the International Conference on Real-Time Networks and Systems (RTNS). As Dr. Daniel Mosse, Professor and Chair of Computer Science at the University of Pittsburgh stated, "Nathan is a great researcher with great insights into the field, who is extremely smart and creative. He has not slowed down since his tenure; he has increased his research interests and has continued to produce high-quality research (with amazing funding and publishing levels). I would certainly be proud to have him as an awardee in my own institution and department." Dr. Steve Goddard, John E. Olsson Professor and Chair of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln indicated "Dr. Fisher is a well-respected leader in the international real-time systems research community. He is widely sought after to serve on and to chair program committees of the top conferences. Dr. Fisher has consistently identified significant challenges in his field, formulated and executed a plan to address those challenges, and secured funding to support those efforts."

Helen DurandProfessor Helen Durand (ChE) is a rising star in the field of process systems engineering and has recently received the prestigious Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research on "Optimization-Based Materials Design and Manufacturing."  In a short 2 year time at WSU, she has established a vibrant and independent research program with funding over $700,000 from AFO and NSF as sole PI. She was also named as an outstanding young chemical engineering educator by CACHE Executive Board. Her team focused on innovative process control, process dynamics and operation, and computational modeling and simulation techniques to address issues on control system cybersecurity and economic model predictive control (EMPC). As Dr. Panagiotis D. Christofides, Professor and Department Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UCLA, stated " Helen is one of the strongest emerging leaders in chemical and control engineering of her generation. Helen's background in process systems engineering and control theory is excellent and she has a breadth of knowledge that enables her to see the big picture in her field."

Haipeng LiuProfessor Haipeng Liu (ChE) is a rising star in the field of drug delivery research and recently received a prestigious NSF Career Award on "Molecular Adjuvants For Cancer Vaccines." He has established a new and independent research program primarily focusing on the rational, structure-based design of therapeutics especially adjuvants/vaccines for cancer and autoimmune diseases.  He received over $1M funding from NSF, NIH, and other agencies. Professor Liu has published more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and patents with a Google Scholar Citation of 5904 (h-index 33 and i10-index 43). As Dr. Peter C Demuth, Vice President of Research of Vedantra Pharmaceuticals, stated "Dr. Liu has made important original scientific contributions which have resulted in a significant impact in his fields of expertise. The current research in Dr. Liu's lab is excellent, innovative, and could yield important new approaches for catalyzing the development of next generation of cancer vaccines."

Mohammadreza NasiriavanakiProfessor Mohammadreza Nasiriavanaki (BME) is a rising star in the field of biomedical imaging, with the focus on developing new imaging modalities that can assist diagnosing diseases related to the human brain and skin. He received over $3M in research funding from the NIH and other agencies, including the extremely competitive NIH RO1 award ($2.1M) on a novel TransFontanelle Multispectral Photoacoustic Imaging (TFMPI) method to study pathophysiology.  He collaborates extensively with other research groups at Harvard Medical School, University of Michigan, Case Western University, Sharif University of Technology, Stony Brook University, and Rutgers University. He has published over 40 papers in high impact journals with an h-index of 18, and served as an Associate Editor for Applied Optics Journal. As Dr. Jun Xia, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, University at Buffalo, stated, "Dr. Mohammadreza Nasiriavanaki's work in the field of optical imaging, in particular, photoacoustic imaging is extremely influential and important. He is an example of a great researcher with impactful accomplishments."  

Yongli ZhangProfessor Yongli Zhang (CEE) is a rising star in the field of water-environment-energy sustainability. In her short time at WSU, she has established an interdisciplinary research program with funding over $8.2M (personal share of $1.4M) from NSF, EPA, Great Lakes Protection Fund, and other agencies. Her recent award ($929,000) from Great Lakes Protection Fund on "Smart Management of Microplastic Pollution in the Great Lakes" attracted extensive national and regional media coverage including NPR News, Fox News, NIEHS, MITECHNEWS, and Detroit Business News. Yongli has coauthored 15 journal publications, 24 conference proceedings, and 2 patents. As Dr. Wei Zhang, Associate Professor of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University, stated "Yongli is very much deserving of this award for her research accomplishment regarding significant publications in high impact journals, significant technology breakthrough with patents, acquisition of major research/center grants, as well as significant outreach and impact to broader society."

Zichun ZhongProfessor Zichun Zhong (CS) is a rising star in the field of Computer Modeling and Imaging Visualization and recently received a prestigious NSF Career Award on "A Parallel and Efficient Computational Framework for Unified Volumetric Meshing in Large-Scale 3D/4D Anisotropy." He has established a vibrant research program on computer graphics, geometric modeling (specifically surface and volume mesh generations), medical image processing (specifically deformable image registration, 3D/4D image reconstruction), visualization, virtual reality / augmented reality, and GPU algorithms.  He received over $1M funding from NSF as PI, and has published over 47 peer-reviewed papers (including 24 journal articles and 23 peer-reviewed conference papers) in high impact journals and conferences. As Dr. Hong Qin, Professor of Computer Science at Stony Brook University (SUNY at Stony Brook), stated "Professor Zhong is a rising young star, and he has done a superb job in research, publications, and funding, etc. He is currently Wayne State University's asset, and you must keep him. He deserves your high recognition in the form of your prestigious Research Excellent Award in your college as well as in your university."