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Oklahoma State University

OSU honors faculty for research excellence

Tue, October 16, 2012

Oklahoma State University has selected eight outstanding faculty members as this year’s Regents Distinguished Research Award winners.  These faculty members maintain records of past and continuing excellence in research and are recognized nationally and internationally for achievements in their respective fields of study.  Winners will be honored at the FallConvocation later this year.

The winners are:

Dr. Sam Fuhlendorf, professor of natural resource ecology and management in the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Dr. Fuhlendorf’s research focuses on conservation and management of rangeland landscapes dominated by native plants and animals.  His specific goal is to understand the mechanisms responsible for persistence and dynamics of rangeland ecosystems, which aides in the development of management approaches for sustainable food and fiber production and maintenance of ecosystem services.  He joined the OSU faculty in 1997 after receiving his doctorate from Texas A&M University.  He has produced more than 70 peer-reviewed publications since 1996 and has been PI or co-PI on over $4 million in external grant money since 2009.

Dr. Richard Bunce, professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences

Since joining the OSU faculty in 1983, Dr. Bunce’s research has spanned several areas in the field of organic chemistry.  His group is currently working on a collaborative project to develop new antibiotics against anthrax and multi-resistant staph with Dr. Bill Barrow in the OSU Department of Veterinary Pathobiology.  He and collaborators Dr. K. Darrell Berlin of OSU and Dr. Doris Benbrook of OU’s Health Sciences Center are also directing efforts toward development of an anticancer drug.  The compound is entering phase I clinical trials and shows powerful activity against several types of cancer with no toxicity.  Bunce is also widely respected for his work with students at both the graduate and undergraduate level.  He has mentored nine doctoral and seven master’s students to graduation from OSU.  Throughout his career, he has also enlisted the help of more than 90 undergraduates – more than half of which went on to earn a Ph.D.

Dr. Riley Dunlap, Regents professor of sociology and Dresser Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Dunlap is widely considered one of the founders of environmental sociology.  He and a co-author helped establish the field in the late 1970s through a series of articles that not only defined environmental sociology but also provided an intellectual justification forit.  He joined the OSU faculty in 2006.  His research focuses on several environmental topics, including tracking long-term trends in public opinion on environmental issues, comparing levels of public concern for environmental quality cross-nationally, and analyzing the politics of climate change.  His research is very heavily cited – 38 of his present publications have been cited at least 100 times on Google Scholar.  He has been invited to give 23 keynote addresses at various conferences around the world.  He has also presented 75 invited talks at a wide range of universities nationally and internationally.

Dr. Dursun Delen, William S. Spears Endowed Chair in Business Administration and professor ofmanagement science and information systems in the Spears School of Business

Dr. Delen is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of data mining and analytics.  One of his more popular research projects aims to predict the financial success of Hollywood movies before their theatrical release.  This project and others, including improving student retention and discovering knowledge from healthcare and medical data, use novel techniques based on data mining, text mining and predictive modeling.  Since joining the OSU faculty in 2001, Delen has been PI or co-PI on 17 grant proposals, including one to the Dept. of Defense worth more than $2.5 million. He has authored or co-authored 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and 16 peer-reviewed conference proceeding articles.  He has also authored four textbooks in the last 4 years.  

Dr. Julie Thomas, Frank and Carol Morsani Chair of science education in the College of Education

Over the course of her 17-year academic career, Dr. Thomas has received 19 external grants totaling nearly $2 million, published 68 refereed research papers and authored one book all under the same hypothesis: teachers who do not know much science are reluctant to teach it.  Since joining the OSU faculty in 2007, Thomas has worked to position OSU as a leader in STEM education.  She is the newly named president-elect of the Council of Elementary Science International and director of the OSU College of Education’s Center for Research on STEM Teaching and Learning, which supports initiatives that encourage transformative research on STEM teaching and learning across multiple colleges and programs at OSU.

Dr. Prabhakar Pagilla, Centennial professor of engineering in the College of Engineering,Architecture and Technology

Dr. Pagilla’s research is driven by a strong interest in studying and understanding practical engineering problems.  He focuses his work on the areas of modeling and control of nonlinear and large-scale dynamic systems with applications to robotics, disc drives, web transport systems and autonomous vehicles.  He is one of the world’s leading modeling and control researchers in transport of flexible materials (webs) in roll-to-roll processing systems.  Dr. Pagilla has two published patents and two other patent applications pending, in addition tonumerous journal and conference publications.  He joined the OSU faculty in 1996.

Dr. Edralin Lucas, associate professor of nutrition in the College of Human Sciences

Dr. Lucas’ research focuses on the role of nutrition, particularly phytochemicals, in promoting cardiovascular health and preventing/reducing chronic disease.  She uses cell cultures and animal models to understand if and how bioactive food compounds can reduce chronic conditions and then applies the information learned to develop effective prevention strategies in humans.  She has been PI or co-PI of more than $4.5 million in external funding to support her work.  In addition, she is a co-author of numerous peer-reviewed research articles, 6 book chapters and a co-editor of a book on arachidonic acid.

Dr. Pamela Lloyd, assistant professor of physiological sciences in the College for Veterinary Health Sciences

Dr. Lloyd works in the area of cardiovascular physiology investigating mechanisms regulating blood vessel growth and how those mechanisms are altered in disease.  Funded primarily by the National Institutes of Health, her lab produced the novel finding the PLGF protein levels are increased in vascular cells by reactive oxygen species.  Since joining the OSU faculty in 2006, Dr. Lloyd’s work has generated 10 journal articles and book chapters and 16 published abstracts with poster presentations at national meetings. Dr. Lloyd has also been invited to make five presentations outside of OSU.  Dr. Lloyd has received more than $2 million in external funding to support her work.