Excellence in Research
The 30 University of Florida Research Foundation Professors profiled here have been honored by their colleges for outstanding research in their discipline over a long period of time. They are the best of the best at an institution that is nationally recognized for its contributions to the physical, social, health and agricultural sciences. It is their work and the work of hundreds more like them that garnered UF $280 million in research funding last year.
The research professors were selected by their college deans based on recommendations from their department chairs, a personal statement and an evaluation of their recent research productivity, measured by such things as external funding, publications in books and scholarly journals, and development of intellectual property.
The three-year award includes a $5,000 annual salary supplement and a $3,000 grant. The University of Florida Research Foundation (UFRF) plans to fund a total of up to 90 active professorships at any given time. The professorships are funded from the university's share of royalty and licensing income on UF-generated products.
Since it was founded in 1986 to enhance research at the University of Florida, UFRF has become the primary vehicle for handling research and intellectual property interactions with private companies and foundations. Today, it manages more than 800 grants and some 60 licensed technologies.
Ronald L. Akers, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Virtually every criminology graduate student in the United States and Europe will read Ronald Akers' text, Deviant Behavior: A Social Learning Approach. Every criminology textbook discusses his theoretical and empirical work on social learning theory. His book Drugs, Alcohol and Society has become the mainstay for social science understanding of the interplay between alcohol and drug usage and broader societal issues, and his Criminological Theories: Introduction and Evaluation represents the most complete overview of major criminological theories available today. Widely recognized as one of the top criminologists in the world today, Akers is also a dedicated teacher on both the undergraduate and graduate levels and a consummate scholar dedicated to original research and development of intellectual content that is at the leading edge of his field.
Over the past three decades, he has proposed, developed, revised and tested his social learning theory of crime and deviance in several different research settings. Social learning has become one of the principal explanations of criminal and deviant behavior in the literature, and in recent years has been the first or second most frequently tested theory by criminological researchers and scholars. The major recent product of his work on the theory is the 1998 publication of Social Learning and Social Structure, which reviews the development of social learning theory, critiques of it, and its empirical validity, and also offers a new integrated theoretical model of social structure and social process in crime and deviance. This 420-page treatise has been described as "a capstone book" for his career. His research focus for the next few years will be to refine and test this new integrated theoretical model in both juvenile and adult samples.
Linda Arbuckle, M.F.A.
Associate Professor of Ceramics
College of Fine Arts
She's been described as the "Chopin of ceramics" because she creates a lyricism without sacrificing tough aesthetic principles, and a "potter's potter" because her tactical aesthetics are crucial to all those interested in ceramics as art.
Linda Arbuckle is an associate professor of ceramics in the School of Art and Art History. Arbuckle's artistic focus is on majolica bowls, cups, platters and other utilitarian pieces.
Majolica is a low-fired earthenware ceramic, fired to a "biscuit" or unglazed stage, then coated with an opaque unleaded glaze. Intricate designs are then painted on this glaze with brightly colored metal oxides. A second firing causes the opaque glaze and the metal oxide glazes to interact to create deep, brilliant colors.
Described by a colleague as "one of the most well-known and respected ceramists in the United States," Arbuckle is active in the ceramics field. As former director-at-large for the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, she developed a website and participates in the Clayart Listserv, where she regularly offers advice to thousands of ceramics enthusiasts in more than 30 countries. Arbuckle's work has been exhibited throughout the United States and featured in numerous ceramics books and magazines.
Awards and recognition highlights of the last five years include a National Endowment for the Arts Artists Fellowship, an invitation to present a lecture at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the purchase of one of her works by the Weisman Museum in Minneapolis.
"Working with low fire materials, making useful objects by hand, is truly an opportunity to be an alchemist, turning base materials into gold," Arbuckle says.
Mark A. Atkinson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pathology
College of Medicine
A sincere desire to see that a cure for diabetes is uncovered forms the basis for Mark Atkinson's career. Internationally recognized as one of the outstanding young scientists investigating the pathogenesis of insulin dependent diabetes (IDD), he is equally involved with families of patients with diabetes, in issues of patient advocacy, in updating physicians and other health-care providers on the latest research information, and in fund raising for diabetes research.
The accomplishments of this outstanding young researcher have impacted the direction followed by many other investigators in the pursuit of understanding IDD. Atkinson has made vital observations as to the nature of the pancreatic beta cell self-antigens that are targets of the immune system in the autoimmune destruction that culminates in IDD. His studies identifying an antigen-based immunotherapy that could abrogate beta cell autoimmunity and the mechanisms by which these processes occur have formed the foundation for trials aimed at preventing the disease in humans. More recently, his scientific contributions have led to a plausible hypothesis for the events that are responsible for a chance environmental encounter initiating the sequence of events leading to IDD in individuals genetically predisposed to the disease.
His first peer-reviewed publication, which concerned autoantibodies in predicting diabetes, contained information that today remains at the center of the research community's understanding of these markers. Atkinson also has made a major contribution to understanding the role of diet as a risk factor for IDD.
He is well known for his work on the IDD-associated autoantigen glutamate decarboxylase (GAD). He was the first to report the predictive value of GAD autoantibodies for IDD. He was the first to describe immune activities to the GAD autoantigen in mice and the first to map the cellular immune reactivities to GAD in both mice and humans.
His publication record is outstanding, with more than 70 publications,
including 20 in the top five medical impact journals (The Journal of Clinical
Investigation, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Nature/Nature
Medicine). He serves on the editorial board of Diabetes, the most prestigious
journal of diabetes research. In addition, he serves on the board of directors
for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International, Immunology of Diabetes
Society and the American Diabetes Association.
Rodney J. Bartlett, Ph.D.
Graduate Research Professor of Chemistry and Physics
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Generally acknowledged as one of the top three ab initio quantum chemistry theorists in the world, Rodney Bartlett's scientific papers have generated such a volume of citations that he is among the most-cited chemists in the world, having published or in press 334 refereed papers and book chapters.
Bartlett and his research group pioneered the development of coupled-cluster theory and many-body perturbation theory in quantum chemistry in an effort to provide more accurate solutions for molecular structure, spectra, reaction paths and other properties. His current research is focused on several areas, including addressing excited states, NMR spectra and the solution of the correlation problem for infinite, periodic systems like polymers, surfaces and crystals.
Bartlett has maintained steady funding support for this research, garnering $7.6 million in grants since 1981. He is a most sought-after speaker, having presented in the last five years invited lectures at 42 meetings and 18 lectures at universities and laboratories worldwide. He was named a recipient of the prestigious J.S. Guggenheim Fellowship in 1986 and has been elected to membership in the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences and the American Physical Society.
His research group developed the Advanced Concepts in Electronic Structure (ACES) II program system, which is in use at more than 100 installations worldwide, including duPont, Ford, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Australian National Supercomputer Center and many universities.
William C. Calin, Ph.D.
Graduate Research Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
William Calin is described as a superb teacher, an "indefatigable" mentor and adviser and an "unusually engaged professional citizen within the University of Florida and beyond," with a "consummately distinguished" research record in the field of French medieval and contemporary literatures.
He describes himself as "a comparatist and an historian of cultures, with a special commitment to the evolution of literary forms and mental structures and to the continuity of humanism and the great books."
Calin publishes widely and with distinction, as evidenced by his most recent book, The French Tradition and the Literature of Medieval England, being selected by the American Library Association as a Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 1995 (his second book to be so honored). Since 1993 he has published 15 articles in a variety of refereed academic journals and edited collections and has 10 articles in press. Their subject matter ranges from French chansons de geste to Anglo-Norman hagiography, to Renaissance poetry and contemporary fiction in Occitan and Breton languages of France, to issues of canonicity or tracing the intellectual history of noted medievalists.
Calin lectures frequently throughout the United States and Europe, bringing very positive recognition to the University of Florida in humanities academic circles. Last year Dr. Calin was honored with a senior scholar grant from the American Council of Learned Societies to support his research in France and Scotland on his current book project, Minority Literatures and Modernism: Scots, Breton and Ocitan, 1920-1990, a fascinating study that spans three different non-English languages and illuminates the points of divergence and similarity in these seemingly disparate but related cultures. His next book-length project will be a series of essays on great German, Austrian, Swiss, English and North American scholar-critics. Then, he will embark upon a new major project, a sequel to his 1994 book: The French Tradition and the Literature of Medieval and Renaissance Scotland.
Stanley F. Dermott, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair of Astronomy
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
When Stanley Dermott gazes into the night skies, he might spy Asteroid 3647, also known as Dermott, which was named in his honor by the International Astronomical Union.
"Dermott's unusually broad range of contributions," the IAU said, "includes works on planetary origin, resonance effects of planetary satellites, planetary rings, zodiacal dust bands, tidal interactions, and minor planets, for the last of which he is known for his study on the statistics of spin rates."
But it is his insightful and original work on dust in our solar system for which he is best known. Contrary to long-held scientific belief, he showed there is no single source of the interplanetary dust cloud but several sources and that asteroids, not comets, dominate. This work revolutionized a well-entrenched science with potentially fundamental implications for our understanding of the formation of the solar system and related planetary systems. In 1994 his discoveries that the Earth is embedded in a circumsolar ring of interplanetary dust and that an enormous cloud of dust also forms behind the Earth and trails it in its orbit around the Sun were highlighted by NASA Administrator Dan Goldin as one of the four most significant discoveries of NASA in that year.
His group also has shown that these unique dust disks may make it easier to detect other planets, especially Earth-like planets, around stars. This work is of great interest to NASA and is likely to be strongly pursued over the next two decades. Dermott also is pursuing a possible link between the accretion of extraterrestrial dust by the Earth and the Earth's climate. The importance of such discoveries is evidenced by his publication of 37 papers in the last five years, including five papers in Nature or Science. Two of those papers, including one with the late Carl Sagan, made the cover of Nature. His research has been fully funded by NASA without a break since 1980.
Since 1993, he has devoted much of his energy toward his goal of building the UF Department of Astronomy into one of the leading astronomy departments in the United States. He seems well on his way to this goal. The department houses the world's leading microwave laboratory for studying light scattering by dust particles. Faculty are developing dust particle detectors for missions to Mars and beyond, as well as building infrared cameras that will be used on Gemini, one of the largest and most advanced telescopes in the world and, at $180 million, the biggest astronomical project ever undertaken by the National Science Foundation.
J. Bert Flanegan, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
College of Medicine
J. Bert Flanegan, a professor of molecular genetics and microbiology in the College of Medicine, is recognized as a world-class virologist and a leading authority on the replication of positive-strand RNA viruses. These viruses cause a wide variety of diseases, including polio, hepatitis, meningitis, encephalitis and the common cold.
His pioneering methods, which allow the study of poliovirus reproduction in the test tube, have enabled him to study the molecular biology of poliovirus, the results of which can be extrapolated to other similar viruses. His discoveries simplify research methods that are aiding the development of drugs to inhibit viral infections.
Flanegan is using these tools to attack another major human pathogen, Hepatitis C, which currently infects an estimated 4 million Americans and is one of the world's most costly infectious diseases. One of the companies supporting his research, ViroPharma, sought out his expertise in viral replication for the development of RNA replication assays for Hepatitis C Virus and the related Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus. A second industrial sponsor, Quadrant, is working with him to develop methods to stabilize viral preparations in the dry state. This work will likely have broad public health ramifications in terms of preparing vaccines for developing countries that lack adequate refrigeration for the proper storage of many of the vaccines currently in use.
Flanegan has served the national research community as a permanent member of the NIH Virology Study Section and the NIH Reviewer's Reserve. He currently chairs the RNA Viruses Division of the American Society for Microbiology and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Virology.
"Dr. Flanegan is an accomplished researcher with superb academic credentials who enjoys a national and international scientific reputation," said Richard Moyer, chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.
Donald J. Forrester, Ph.D.
Professor of Pathobiology
College of Veterinary Medicine
Donald Forrester, a renowned wildlife disease specialist at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, has studied the prevalence, distribution, transmission and impact of diseases on free-ranging populations of mammals, birds and reptiles for more than 30 years.
"Don Forrester has been patient in his endeavors, studying long-term die-offs and disease relationships in common loons, wild turkeys, Florida panthers, white-tailed deer and other species," said Ellis Greiner, chair of the college's Department of Pathobiology, in which Forrester is a professor.
Forrester's 1992 book Parasites and Diseases of Wild Mammals in Florida has been called "a monumental reference work specific to Florida mammals" and "a veritable warehouse of information." He has served as president of the Wildlife Disease Association, an international society with representatives from more than 50 countries, and is a past editor of the Journal of Wildlife Diseases.
Forrester also has collaborated with other UF researchers in studying various aspects of wildlife diseases. He has worked with state and federal agencies to solve problems relating to parasites and diseases of both wildlife and domestic animals. His research projects under way address disease problems affecting wading birds, double-crested cormorants, sandhill cranes and Florida black bears. He has been at UF since 1969.
Henry L. Gholz, Ph.D.
Professor of Forest Ecology
School of Forest Resources and Conservation
The main focus of Henry Gholz's research into the relationships between the structure and function of forest ecosystems has been the managed slash pine plantations and associated wetlands of Florida.
Gholz's research on gas and energy exchange between forest canopies and the atmosphere seeks to define fundamental biologic phenomena that control important ecological functions in forests while helping to determine forests' potential role in absorbing carbon released through the burning of fossil fuel and through tropical deforestation.
Gholz's ability to assemble and work as a member of interdisciplinary teams has led to his site being selected as one of 13 in a North American network called AmeriFlux. In AmeriFlux, measurements of carbon dioxide, water vapor and energy fluxes over forests are made on a continuous, long-term basis using state-of-the-art micrometeorological techniques.
While on a recent Science and Engineering Diplomacy Fellowship sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Gholz served as an international forestry adviser to the U.S. Agency for International Development, where he helped define connections between forest management in developing countries and the global carbon cycle.
Robin M. Giblin-Davis, Ph.D.
Professor of Entomology
Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center
Robin M. Giblin-Davis' research focuses on determining the control potential of different cultural, biological and chemical strategies for the management of nematode populations in turfgrasses and ornamental plants.
With support from the United States Golf Association, Giblin-Davis has discovered three new species of bacteria that appear to be effective in controlling nematodes in the golf course environment.
He also has led a UF research group that is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on developing biological controls for weeds that threaten the Florida Everglades, including the Melaleuca tree and the waterhyacinth. As a result of this work, the first biological control for Melaleuca, a weevil from Australia, was released in Florida.
Much of Giblin-Davis' research focuses on understanding pheromones present in some species of weevils that can be used to control nematode transmission and develop safe, effective traps for detecting the movement of the weevils and their associated nematodes from Central and South America into Florida.
Dennis J. Gray, Ph.D.
Professor of Horticulture
Central Florida Research and Education Center
Dennis Gray uses biotechnology to develop more disease-resistant grapes and improved seedless varieties of watermelons. The in vitro regeneration systems he has developed for several species of grapes, as well as watermelon and cantaloupe, were the first step to genetic manipulation of these fruits.
Gray has since used these systems to insert genes for bacterial resistance into the Thompson Seedless variety of grape, which accounts for 40 percent of grape production in the United States.
This and other successes with genetic transformation of grapes has generated long-term funding from the Florida Grape Growers Association and the owner of several major wineries.
"The funding I receive from our very small wine industry in Florida is several times larger than they have ever provided for research and is a sign of their commitment," Gray says.
Gray's research on the development of seedless watermelons aims to reduce the price of seeds for this fruit, which can cost as much as $2,000 per pound.
"Dr. Gray's work with seedless watermelon, which has produced leading cultivars in several years of field trials, has become a model for the integration of in vitro technology for crop improvement," says Norman C. Leppla, director of the Central Florida Research and Education Center. "He also is the central figure in grape research in the state of Florida."
Paul Hargrave, Ph.D.
Francis N. Bullard Professor of Ophthalmology
College of Medicine
Paul Hargrave, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, has a reputation as a leading researcher in the biochemistry of the visual process that serves as a basis for understanding eye disease. Hargrave, who also is a member of the UF Brain Institute, joined the UF faculty in 1984.
He achieved eminence in the field of vision research by characterizing the chemical makeup of rhodopsin, a protein that plays a vital role in vision. Mutations of rhodopsin, located in the eye's outer membrane, have been linked to certain inherited forms of eye disease, including retinitis pigmentosa. Characterizing the protein is the first step toward developing preventive therapies for these problems.
Hargrave is collaborating with researchers in Cambridge, England, to define the three-dimensional structure of rhodopsin and how it interacts with other proteins in the vision process.
"Dr. Hargrave has a reputation as one of the world's leading authorities in the biochemistry of retinal eye disease," said Dr. Mark Sherwood, ophthalmology department chair. "He has developed an incredibly productive program at the University of Florida."
David A. Hodell, Ph.D.
Professor of Geology
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
David Hodell believes climate had a lot to do with the collapse of the Mayan civilization a millenium ago. Hodell says climate, soil and vegetation changes in core samples from lake beds in various parts of Mexico provide strong evidence of a persistent drought throughout much of the Mayan empire between 800 and 1000 A.D., the same period when the Mayan civilization collapsed. His research, much of which has been funded by the National Geographic Society, has forced archaeologists to reassess the role climate change played in the decline of the Maya.
Hodell also examines the Earth's climatic history on a larger scale as an active participant in the Ocean Drilling Project, an international program funded by the National Science Foundation and 18 other countries to conduct basic research into the history of the ocean basins and the overall nature of the crust beneath the ocean floor.
Hodell was the co-chief scientist on a two-month expedition by the research ship JOIDES Resolution from December 1997 to February 1998 that collected sediment cores from the seafloor at six locations in the southern Atlantic Ocean. Hodell is currently analyzing stable isotopes of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and strontium stored in these cores for insight into how events in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica have helped to define the Earth's climate system during the last 6 million years.
Sally Hutchinson, Ph.D.
Professor of Nursing
College of Nursing
In the course of her extensive interviews with Alzheimer's patients, Sally Hutchinson is constantly reminded of how their frustrations might be eased if only their disease could be diagnosed earlier.
"The early stages of Alzheimer's," says Hutchinson, "when people begin to recognize they are losing their memory, are a time of great anxiety and frustration."
Hutchinson's research focuses on developing strategies for helping patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's and their families to deal with their emotions and to take practical steps to plan for when their condition worsens.
"If we can diagnose the condition earlier, the patient can do some planning with their families," Hutchinson says. "They can have more of a say over what their life will be like down the road."
In addition to her research with the elderly, Hutchinson is working with UF sociologist William Marsiglio on a project involving young men. She is interviewing young men on topics like dating, sexuality, fatherhood, abortion and contraception to try to identify "turning points" in their attitudes about procreation.
"For example," she says, "we think going through the experience of an abortion with their partner can lead young men to become more careful about using birth control."
Lonnie O'Neil Ingram, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Cell Science
College of Agriculture
Lonnie Ingram has spent much of his distinguished career trying to make the world less dependent on fossil fuels. During the past decade, Ingram has become one of the most highly regarded and prolific researchers in the field of ethanol development.
"The development of technology for the cost-effective conversion of modern, renewable biomass into a clean-burning automotive fuel has the potential to free the United States and other nations from oil-dependence and to allow a redistribution of wealth based on productivity and ingenuity rather than natural resources," Ingram says.
Ingram's work toward that end led to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granting him the nation's historic five-millionth patent for a genetically engineered form of the E. coli microbe that allows an efficient conversion of plant material into ethanol.
"There are few individuals who can claim to have laid the foundation for an entire industry through basic research," writes one colleague. "Dr. Ingram can justifiably make such a claim. His pioneering work to develop genetically engineered microbes which can ferment in high yield all the sugars in plant material is an essential portion of the embryonic biomass conversion industry."
Kevin S. Jones, Ph.D.
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
College of Engineering
Kevin Jones has spent his career exploring the relationship between the processing of semiconductors and the microstructure/properties of the resulting devices. His work on the role ion implantation plays in the manufacturing of ever-smaller transistors has garnered him international recognition, including a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award.
Doping, or the intentional introduction of impurities, is an essential step in the semiconductor integrated circuit fabrication process, and ion implantation is the most widely used doping technology. The defects that form through ion implantation ultimately dictate how small transistors can be.
Using transmission electron microscopy and secondary ion mass microscopy, Jones' research team has discovered the role different types of ion implantation defects play on final chip performance. Such understanding greatly enhances the ability to process simulation programs to accurately design future computer chips.
By combining their expertise in this area, Jones and UF electrical and computer engineering Professor Mark Law (also a UFRF Professor) have gained a unique understanding of this process. The SoftWare and Analysis of Advanced Material Processing (SWAMP) Center the two established has become one of the world's premier centers for the study of advanced silicon integrated circuit processing. More than 20 graduate students and four post-doctoral fellows conduct research at the center, which is funded by about $1 million per year from the semiconductor industry.
Mark Law, Ph.D.
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
College of Engineering
Mark Law is designing computer simulations that will help industry develop the next generation of microprocessors.
Law says ever-shrinking microprocessors are becoming increasingly vulnerable to impurities introduced during the manufacturing process that can cause the chips to fail. Process modeling software Law has been developing since he was a graduate student at Stanford allows manufacturers to test their systems without having to waste expensive real materials.
The first process modeling program Law developed in graduate school was rewarded in 1992 with one of only 15 National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellowships presented nationwide. FLOOPS, Florida Object Oriented Process Simulator, which Law developed after coming to UF, is now in use at more than 50 research facilities around the world and received the 1993 Semiconductor Research Corporation Technical Excellence Award.
To address the needs of the semiconductor industry, Law and fellow UFRF Professor Kevin S. Jones of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering developed and now serve as co-directors of UF's SoftWare and Analysis of Advanced Material Processing (SWAMP) Center. With the goal of becoming an industry leader in silicon processing, this interdisciplinary center currently is supported by nearly $1 million in funding from such important trade organizations as the Semiconductor Research Corporation and SEMATECH. The center hosts an annual research conference that is well attended by scientists in the field.
M. David Miller, Ph.D.
Professor of Foundations of Education
College of Education
M. David Miller's research focuses on two important areas in modern education - special education and educational assessment. During the past decade, Miller has received more than $1.5 million in funding to study such things as why special education teachers leave teaching, peer mediation for conflict resolution, and the use of curriculum-based assessments as an alternative to traditional standardized tests.
Dr. Ivar A. Mjör, Dr.odont.
Professor of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
Ivar A. Mjör, a world-renowned researcher at the UF College of Dentistry, is investigating how general dental practice has changed over time, with special emphasis on operative dentistry.
Mjör, who is the college's Academy One Hundred Eminent Scholar, seeks to identify problems in general dental practice. He says most of the problems can be solved through basic research.
"Billions of dollars are spent on replacement of dental restorations such as fillings and crowns, which constitute 70 to 75 percent of the work done on adults in general dental practices," says Mjör, who came to UF in 1993 after 20 years at the Scandinavian Institute of Dental Materials. "The most common reason for replacing restorations is recurrent caries/cavities that we know little about."
"Dr. Mjör's studies will have an important impact on the general dentistry practice, especially when it comes to the longevity of restorative materials," says Dr. Gregory Smith, professor and chair of UF's Department of Operative Dentistry. "His research is timely and needed to guide professionals in selecting restorative materials for optimal patient care."
Vasudha Narayanan, Ph.D.
Professor of Religion
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Described by a colleague at Columbia University as "this nation's premier interpreter of the Hindu tradition," Vasudha Narayanan's research ranges from translating ninth-century Indian poetry to "monastery hopping" around the United States exploring the Hindu tradition in America.
Narayanan calls the ninth-century Tamil poem Tiruvaymoli, which she is translating for Harvard University Press, of seminal importance in the Hindu tradition because it is the first such work written in a vernacular that was accessible to commoners.
A prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship supported Narayanan's research into how Tiruvaymoli and other Tamil works are interpreted differently by men and women. Her findings have led to more balanced and gender-inclusive courses on Hinduism across the nation.
Narayanan's research for this translation also led her to explore the harmonious co-existence of Hindus and Muslims in southern India. "My research explores the patterns of adaptation and enrichment that emerge when two religions share the same language and geographic area, and intersecting cultural spaces." The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded her a one-year fellowship to continue this research.
Narayanan also is working on a book titled The Hindu Traditions in America: Temple Space, Domestic Space, and Cyberspace, which will be published by Columbia University Press. Narayanan says invited lectures have allowed her to "monastery hop," visiting many of the more than 350 Hindu temples and religious institutions that have been built in the United States in the last 20 years. The book examines Hinduism in the changing religious landscape of the United States, assessing what is retained in the transition from India, what is transformed and what is jettisoned.
One reviewer said this book
"... will radically change the way we teach all kinds of classes, from the history of early India to modern Hinduism to Asian-American religions in the United States to American religion. Publish it quickly ... it is badly needed."
Panos Pardalos, Ph.D.
Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering
College of Engineering
Panos Pardalos is one of the world's leading experts in the emerging field of global optimization. This field addresses a core set of problems that arise in a wide variety of computer modeling and simulation programs.
Pardalos has developed mathematical algorithms to address these problems in such applications as missile targeting, telecommunications networks and gene sequencing.
Under Pardalos' leadership, UF's Center for Applied Optimization has become an international resource for researchers in this field. Top scientists from Sweden, China, Brazil, Germany and Japan have visited the center in recent years to learn Pardalos' theories.
A prolific scholar, Pardalos has published more than four dozen papers in the last five years and been an invited speaker at 52 universities, conferences and institutes. He is founding editor-in-chief of Global Optimization, the leading journal in the field and editor of the Encyclopedia of Optimization, a 10-volume work that will contain more than 1,200 articles when it is completed.
Juan F. Perea, J.D.
Professor of Law
College of Law
Juan Perea has become an influential voice in the American legal community on the subjects of language policy and history, discrimination law, and immigration and race relations.
Perea's 1997 book Immigrants Out! The New Nativism and the Anti-Immigrant Impulse in the United States was based on an extensive study of the anti-immigration movement and its historical context in the United States.
Much of his current research focuses on the complexity of race relations in the United States, which have historically focused on blacks and white, with little attention paid to other ethnic minorities. Currently, he is completing a new textbook on the topic titled Race and Races: Cases and Resources for a Multiracial America, to be published next year by the prestigious West Publishing Company.
Specifically, Perea has explored why Latinos/as, a large and expanding segment of the U.S. population, still remain relatively powerless and invisible in the discourse about race and racism. He currently is researching another book, tentatively titled Latinos and the Struggle for Civil Rights, which will bring to light much unknown legal history regarding Mexican-Americans and other Latino groups.
Another area of interest for Perea is the national implications of the legislation passed in Florida granting compensation to the victims, and the descendants of the victims, of the Rosewood massacre, in which a white mob burned the predominantly black community of Rosewood, Fla., killed several of its residents and drove the rest from the area.
Perea has lectured on his work throughout the country. He also has testified regarding his research before the United States Senate and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Mohan K. Raizada, Ph.D.
Professor of Physiology and Anesthesiology
College of Medicine
Mohan Raizada, has become well-known for his research in the cellular, molecular and genetic aspects of hypertension.
Raizada, who joined the faculty in 1981, is leading research to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms of catecholamines and angiotensin, naturally occurring hormones that play roles in regulating high blood pressure. His studies have been instrumental in better understanding how these hormones interact with each other in the brain to control blood pressure.
He recently has shown that gene therapy in newborn rats can prevent high blood pressure and its damaging effects to the heart and kidneys. Raizada currently is studying whether high blood pressure and organ damage can be reversed in adult laboratory animals.
"Dr. Raizada has established himself as one of the authorities on signal transduction in neurons and glial cells," says physiology department Chair M. Ian Phillips. "He has recently developed compelling new studies on the application of retrovirus delivery of antisense to angiotensin II receptors to control hypertension in rats."
Suresh Rao, Ph.D.
Graduate Research Professor of Soil and Water Science
and Director of the Center for Natural Resources
College of Agriculture
Suresh Rao's research focuses on innovative technologies for remediation of contaminated soils, sediments and aquifers. Specifically, he has developed and field tested new techniques for enhanced cleanup of soils and groundwater at hazardous waste sites. Locating these source contaminants and predicting their contribution to the groundwater pollution is difficult because the disposal history at many sites is usually unknown and the site hydrogeology is complex. Also, many variables contribute to how these chemicals react in the soil.
By establishing an interdisciplinary hydrologic sciences graduate program at UF, Rao has been able to maximize the university's resources to address this problem. The program has received nearly $4 million in grants during the past four years, and he has worked with several other UF professors to complete major field studies at sites throughout the United States.
This "academic cluster" also has been successful in attracting top graduate students to UF, including two Ph.D. students who won the Soil Science Society of America's annual award for best dissertation research.
Rao has served as an editor or associate editor of several major international journals and has received major awards in soil science in recognition of his research. He has traveled extensively in Europe, Australia and Asia. Rao has been active in promoting the role of science in developing rational environmental policy. He served a three-year term as a member of the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Research Council.
Rao has served on three prestigious National Research Council committees addressing groundwater contamination that have resulted in three important National Academy of Sciences reports on the subject.
"In arenas ranging from pesticide behavior in soils to the uncertainty involved in risk assessment, to remediation of contaminated water, soil and aquifers, Dr. Rao has played a major role in putting the University of Florida on the map," says R. B. Brown, chair of the UF Department of Soil and Water Science.
Neil Rowland, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Neil Rowland studies the brain mechanisms underlying food and fluid intake. Through experiments to either induce or inhibit intake of water and sodium in rats, he has been able to determine the regions of the brain in which a certain class of genes and their protein products, particularly one called Fos, are expressed. This has led to the development of "functional maps" of thirst and sodium pathways in the brain.
Sodium also figures prominently in another research interest for Rowland - the role different levels of salt intake before and shortly after birth play in the development of high blood pressure later in life.
Another line of research for Rowland concerns the signals that turn off feeding - so-called satiety signals - and ways in which these might be used as targets for appetite-suppressant or anti-obesity medications.
Rowland has conducted many years of research with the appetite suppressant dexfenfluramine. Since this drug targets a specific neurotransmitted system (serotonin) in the brain, it is a useful tool for evaluating the role of serotonin pathways in eating behavior.
Dexfenfluramine was taken off the market in 1997 after reports of heart disease in patients who took it with another drug, phentermine, but Rowland continues to research the effectiveness of chemically similar neuropeptides on appetite suppression.
Rosalia C.M. Simmen, Ph.D.
Professor of Animal Science
College of Agriculture
Rosalia Simmen studies pregnancy in large animal models (pigs and cows), but she gets special satisfaction from the impact her research could have on humans.
"One aspect of my research that is particularly satisfying is the potential for significant contribution to women's health, as well as large-animal production," Simmen says. "The opportunity to contribute to research directions that are likely to lead to applications in the areas of human health and agriculture has been a quite challenging, but highly welcomed, responsibility."
At the heart of Simmen's research is understanding why some pregnancies succeed and others fail. Toward that end, her research has focused on the biological processes that occur during the critical early days of pregnancy, when the mother's body must recognize that she is pregnant and prepare her uterus for the embryo. The latter has special significance for Simmen, who is a mother of two.
Simmen's lab was the first to clone several uterine and embryo genes that can be used as markers to determine whether a pregnancy will be successful. She also has identified and examined novel functions for several enzymes and proteins that help determine pregnancy success.
Because of the cross-species implications, Simmen's work has been supported by both the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has been cited in both human and animal journals. In addition, she sits on scientific review panels of both federal granting agencies.
Steven M. Shugan, Ph.D.
Russell Berrie Eminent Scholar and Professor of Marketing
College of Business Administration
Steven Shugan thinks marketing scholars neglect the service sector of the economy and he's out to change that. Despite the fact that most new jobs are in the service sector, most of the growth in the economy is in the service sector and most marketing students take jobs in the service sector, Shugan says most marketing literature is more applicable to packaged goods than services.
For his part, Shugan has embarked on a research agenda that considers problems faced by firms in the service sector, an area of the economy he believes is underrepresented in marketing research.
Shugan estimates about 60 percent of his research focuses on entertainment services. Other areas of interest include advanced ticketing, Internet retailing and the impact of seasonality.
Shugan has been able to test many of his marketing theories on the film industry by employing a database he built of more than 10,000 films.
Recent research shows how to forecast motion picture box office performance by conducting market research of film trailers. He is extending that research to determine the role other basic film components, such as script, cast, director, producer and budget play on a film's success.
Shugan's research examining the relationship between intent to see a film and the actual box office yielded some surprising results.
"It is much more important to have a few moviegoers who love a film (although many may hate it) than to have many moviegoers who like the film (but do not love it)," he says.
William W. Thatcher, Ph.D.
Graduate Research Professor of Dairy and Poultry Sciences
College of Agriculture
William Thatcher is one of the world's leading authorities on bovine reproduction. He has applied his basic research on dairy cattle reproduction to produce breakthrough discoveries in methods for reproductive management of dairy cattle.
By adapting his research to address problems unique to Florida, particularly its sub-tropical environment, Thatcher also has made discoveries that are valuable to many other parts of the world.
Thatcher's research has concentrated primarily on two windows in the reproductive cycle of the cow that are susceptible to disruption and amenable to control. These windows include regulation of ovarian follicular development and maternal-embryonic communication. Thatcher also has developed an understanding of the roles nutrition and heat stress play in pregnancy.
Thatcher's recent work on ovulation control in cattle represents a dramatic advance in the field. His system for ovulation synchronization using a variety of hormones eliminates the need for estrous detection - which is time-consuming and often inefficient. The system also would allow farmers to inseminate all their cows on the same day. It is estimated this system could save dairies $4.6 million the first year it is used in Florida.
Thatcher and his colleagues also are studying how an embryo communicates to its mother that she is pregnant. Somehow, very early in pregnancy, the embryo signals a reduction in the hormone prostaglandin, allowing the hormone progesterone to prepare the uterus for implantation. If this signal is too weak, the pregnancy fails.
Deborah Treise, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Advertising
College of Journalism and Communications
Debbie Treise is trying to teach journalism to scientists and science to journalists in an effort to improve how both communicate with the public.
Toward that end, NASA has awarded Treise more than $600,000 to help its Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., communicate science more effectively.
As part of the Marshall project, "Communicating Science Knowledge: A Strategic Research Alliance," Treise surveyed 510 members of the National Association of Science Writers. The respondents cited lack of science literacy and a low overall interest in science among students and the general public as their biggest concerns.
The alliance also has created a science communication workgroup of 12 people across the country who are involved in the sciences and media. The group meets about four times a year to discuss science communication and how to disseminate information to others.
Treise, shown here with the star of PBS' popular "Bill Nye, The Science Guy" program, also is spearheading the development of a new specialization in science and health communications within the UF College of Journalism and Communications' existing master's of communications program. The acceptance of scientists into the program will make it unique among similar programs at other universities. Treise says one focus will be on national and state policy issues surrounding science communication. The program hopes to produce scientists, public affairs officers, public information officers and journalists who are savvy in both science and communications.
Don W. Walker, Ph.D.
Professor of Neuroscience
College of Medicine
Don Walker, a professor of neuroscience in the College of Medicine and director of the Center for Alcohol Research in the UF Brain Institute, is widely known for his research on the neurobiology of alcoholism.
He has shown that moderate blood alcohol levels in laboratory animals can cause damage to an area of the brain that affects memory and learning, called the hippocampus.
Walker and his colleagues are investigating the role of molecules called neurotrophic factors and their production and interaction in preventing cell death caused by alcohol abuse. Walker, who holds a joint appointment as a career research scientist at the Gainesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center, is investigating whether cell death from chronic exposure to alcohol can be prevented, and possibly reversed.
"Dr. Walker is recognized by his peers locally, nationally and internationally for his careful and innovative research, and the consistently high quality of his research program has brought prestige and recognition to the department, the college and the university," said Doug Anderson, chairman of neuroscience.