NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Recognition & Honors

Sixty-six faculty members were recognized at the NSM Faculty Recognition Luncheon on November 11 at the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion. The event honored significant faculty achievements from September 1, 2019, to September 1, 2022. Award categories included Grants over $1 Million, NSM Faculty Awards, NSF CAREER Awards, State, National, and International Awards, and UH Teaching and Research Excellence Awards. See list of award recipients.

Greg Chu and Stacy Smeal (Dean’s Office/Office of Research) presented “Perspectives on Communicating within the Pre- and Post-award Partnership” at the Society of Research Administrators International conference in Las Vegas. Their co-presenters were from Huron Consulting Group and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Qi Fu (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to support the acquisition of an isotope ratio mass spectrometer. Co-principal investigators on the grant are EAS faculty members Ny “Voary” Voarintsoa, Emily Beverly, and Julia Wellner. Isotopic measurements are used as a diagnostic tool to understand geological processes. The new instrument will be at tremendous asset to departmental research and will stimulate interdisciplinary collaborations within and outside of UH. The projects that the four investigators currently have cover a wide range of areas in Earth Sciences, including organic geochemistry, soil science, paleoclimatology, and marine and glacial geology.

Frank McKeon (Biology & Biochemistry, Somatic Stem Cell Center at UH) received a five-year, $4.7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. He is leading a team to understand the cell-of-origin of esophageal adenocarcinoma and intestinal gastric cancer. Wa Xian (Biology & Biochemistry) is part of the team that also includes Dr. Jaffer Ajani from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. In a surprising finding, the team reports the two cancers, which arise from anatomically distinct regions of the gastrointestinal tract, have identical precursor stem cells.

Martin Nuñez (Biology & Biochemistry) received the Excellence in Restoration Research Award from the Texas Society for Ecological Restoration. Nuñez has had global impact on biodiversity policy and restoration science. In addition to having a strong impact on restoration science, he uses his platform to promote equity in science – “Making ecology really global.” The award was presented during the TXSER 25th Annual Conference, “Restoration for All!”

Tristan Sims (Dean’s Office/Academic Affairs) received a Cougar Cudos award from UH Staff Council for November. These awards recognize staff for exceptional service to UH. In particular, Sims was recognized for “going above and beyond to impart knowledge so that a new NSM program can be successful.”

Stacy Smeal (Dean’s Office/Office of Research) presented “Proposal Components: Why do they Matter?” at the Society of Research Administrators International conference in Las Vegas. She co-presented this topic with representatives from Houston Methodist, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and Huron Consulting.