U of M Board of Regents to recognize new McKnight Land-Grant Professors

Contacts: John Merritt, Office of the Vice President for Research, merri205@umn.edu, (612) 624-2609
Patty Mattern, University News Service, mattern@umn.edu, (612) 624-2801

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (03/11/2010) —Ten junior faculty members who have been named McKnight Land-Grant Professors for 2010-12 will be recognized by the Board of Regents at their March 12 meeting. The award aims to advance the careers of the university’s most promising junior faculty at a critical point in their professional lives.

“These faculty members are in the early stage of their careers and have already proven themselves to be national and international leaders among their peers,” said Tim Mulcahy, vice president for research. “Recognizing their potential and supporting their research and scholarship is critical for advancing knowledge. This award is an indication of our strong desire to keep their talent at the University of Minnesota.”

Typically, recipients go on to win increasingly prestigious awards, both inside and outside the university, and pursue productive careers.

The winners are chosen for their potential to make important contributions to their fields. Their research and scholarship must be significant, and their achievements and ideas must be original, imaginative and innovative. They also must show potential for attracting outstanding students. With their own doctorates from many of the world’s top universities, they play a key role in attracting graduate student talent to Minnesota.

The awards are determined through a university-wide competition administered by the Office of the Vice President for Research. Each award includes a research grant for two consecutive years, summer support and a research leave in the second year. The 2010-12 recipients and their areas of research are:

  • Vladas Griskevicius, marketing and logistics management: Evolutionary roots of modern consumer behavior
  • Ibrahim Volkan Isler, computer science and engineering: Googling the planet—robotic sensor networks for environmental monitoring
  • Alex Jassen, classical and Near Eastern studies: Religion, violence, and the Dead Sea scrolls
  • Daniel Kaplan, dermatology: Skin immunity—distinguishing beneficial micro-organisms from potentially dangerous pathogens
  • Kenneth Kozak, fisheries, wildlife, and conservation biology, and Bell Museum of Natural History: What can salamanders tell us about the origin and fate of the world's biodiversity hotspots?
  • Vuk Mandic, physics and astronomy: Searching for gravitational echoes of the Big Bang
  • Jennifer Jane Marshall, art history: American sculpture in the age of mechanical reproduction
  • Dylan Millet, soil, water, and climate: Atmospheric chemistry—linking land-atmosphere exchange to air quality and climate
  • Yoichiro Mori, mathematics: Three-dimensional model of electrical activity in cells to advance understanding of heart and brain physiology
  • John Ohlfest, pediatrics and neurosurgery: Harnessing the precision of the immune system to treat brain tumors

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