NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Recognition & Honors

Jim Briggs (Dean’s Office, Biology & Biochemistry) presented at the April Research & Innovation Forum organized by UH Division of Research. His topic was “Keck Center for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences Training — Gulf Coast Consortia.”

Eduardo Cerna (Scholar Enrichment Program) was honored as a UH Cub Camp Namesake for 2022-2023. Each year, there are four Cub Camp groups, and each camp is named after a UH faculty, staff, or alumnus nominated by the UH community for going above and beyond to improve the success of our students. The 2022-2023 honorees are Cerna, Diana de la Rosa-Pohl, Monica Floyd, and Carl Lewis. UH Cub Camp is an experience for first-year students during the week before classes start. The new Coogs spend three days learning about UH, its traditions, and the on-campus community.

Di Chen (Physics, TcSUH) was elected to the Executive Committee of the Accelerator Applications Division of the American Nuclear Society. Chen’s three-year term will begin in June at the conclusion of the Division’s Executive Committee meeting. The Accelerator Applications Division promotes “the advancement of knowledge of the use of particle accelerator technologies for nuclear and other applications. It focuses on production of neutrons and other particles, utilization of these particles for scientific or industrial purposes, such as the production or destruction of radionuclides significant to energy, medicine, defense, or other endeavors, as well as imaging and diagnostics.”

Yunsoo Choi (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) and doctoral student Masoud Ghaharemanloo published a paper documenting the decrease of a potentially dangerous air pollutant during 2020’s COVID-19 stay-at-home period. The findings are published in the journal Atmospheric Environment. The team looked specifically at quantities of the pollutant PM2.5, which presents potential health risks that include heart disease and respiratory problems. All but one of the 11 U.S. cities examined experienced reduced levels of PM2.5. The team also included Yannic Lops, Jia Jung, and Seyedali Mousavinezhad from UH and Davyda Hammond of Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

Zhifeng Ren and Paul Chu (Physics, TcSUH) are making inroads in converting seawater to green hydrogen and published findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team developed a nickel and iron-based electrocatalyst that interacts with copper cobalt to create high-performance seawater electrolysis. They found this multi-metallic electrocatalyst to be one of the best performing among all reported transition-metal-based oxygen evolution reaction electrocatalysts, and suggest it can boost the development of seawater electrolysis technology. The process and technology has the potential to lower hydrogen production to $1 per kilogram in the future, with the expected wider deployment of solar and wind power to drive the electrolysis producing hydrogen from seawater.

Andrew Renshaw (Physics) received a $2.9 million National Science Foundation grant for the Urania Project. He will oversee the Urania Project’s installation and commissioning of its industrial-scale structure in southwest Colorado. Its special purpose will be to mine and process the nearly pure argon to be used by the DarkSide 20k particle detector located in Italy.

Nouhad Rizk (Computer Science) has been named a 2022 Piper Professor by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation. Rizk joins a select group of teachers throughout the state to receive this honor and is the 13th UH faculty member to be named a Piper Professor. She has the additional distinction of being the first UH woman instructional faculty member to be selected as a Piper Professor. Each year, Piper Professors are chosen by the Foundation based on their superior teaching abilities and each receives an award of $5,000.

Arthur Weglein (Physics) will serve as keynote speaker at a post-convention workshop for the Society of Exploration Geophysicists International Meeting for Applied Geoscience and Energy (IMAGE ’22). Entitled “FWM (Full Wavefield Migration) or FWI Imaging: Exploring New Concepts of Seismic Imaging,” the workshop will be held September 1 in Houston. He will provide a comprehensive analysis and perspective on the role of primaries and multiples in seismic data processing. Recent progress, along with open issues and challenges, will be described.