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INSIDE ILLINOIS, Oct. 21, 2010         [ Email | Share ]



Robert Darmody, a professor of pedology in the department of natural resources and environmental sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, will be recognized by the Soil Science Society of America as one of its 2010 SSSA Fellows at an awards ceremony during the society’s annual meeting Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.

Darmody teaches soils and environmental courses at Illinois and conducts research related to soils, land use and the environment, including impacts of mining and of river sediment dredging. He also studies biofuel crops and associated carbon sequestration in soils.

Mary Kay Munson, formerly a 4-H youth development specialist for UI Extension, was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame Oct. 8, for her lifetime achievements and contributions to 4-H. Honored by the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, Munson was one of 16 people inducted during the ceremony at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.

For more than three decades, Munson contributed to the 4-H youth development movement. Her primary work has been in the areas of citizenship, leadership and volunteerism through developing curricula, mentoring and training educators, creating volunteer delivery systems, partnering with state and national organizations, and championing professional development opportunities. She retired in 2002.

National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees are nominated by their home states based upon their exceptional leadership at the local, state, national, and international level.


A review article by Keith Kelley and Robert Dantzer, professors of animal sciences, was the most-cited paper in Nature Reviews Neuroscience in 2008.

NRN, one of the top-ranked neuroscience journals in the world, celebrated its first 10 years by highlighting the most-cited article of each year and asked the authors to look back on the state of their field of research at the time of publication and the impact their article has had, and to discuss the questions that might be answered in the next 10 years.

 The review described the science linking inflammatory response and depression. Dantzer and Kelley were the first to propose a mechanism that could explain “how a normally adaptive sickness response to a danger signal sensed by the immune system can go awry and lead to psychopathology in the form of a major depressive disorder.”

UI Extension’s National Food MarketMaker Project was one of four groups honored with USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Partnership Award The award, presented at the institute’s annual award ceremony in Washington, D.C., Oct. 6,  is given to recognize exemplary work and outstanding contribution in support of the USDA mission and for the positive impacts on agriculture.

MarketMaker received the award in the category of Multistate Efforts. The online marketing resource gives farmers greater access to regional markets by linking them with processors, retailers, consumers and other food supply chain participants. The UI-led effort involves a partnership of 17 land-grant institutions and more than 30 departments of agriculture and non-governmental organizations.

The national website is located at


C. Renee Romano, vice chancellor for student affairs, has been awarded the Virgil S. Lagomarcino Laureate Award by the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University.

The award, established in 1975, honors graduates who are nationally and internationally recognized for their meritorious service or distinguished achievement in the field of education. She will be honored at an awards ceremony Oct. 29.

Among achievements cited during her time at Illinois: creating an Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations, refocusing and increasing fundraising for Student Affairs and chairing the 10-year NCAA reaccreditation process. She also is on the board of directors for the United Way of Champaign County and is an active member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

One nominator wrote, “Dr. Romano is passionate about creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, and her passion has spread throughout the university.”



Jianjun Cheng and Sheng Zhong, faculty members in the College of Engineering, have been chosen to receive the New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health. The award serves to support exceptionally creative new investigators who propose highly innovative projects that have the potential for unusually high impact.

Cheng, a professor of materials science and engineering, was honored for his proposal, “Developing Clinically Applicable, Cancer-Targeting Polymeric Nanoconjugates,” which aims to “develop a new paradigm of drug delivery nanomedicine with characteristics distinctly different from the current polymeric nanoparticles.”

Zhong, a professor of bioengineering, was honored for his proposal, “Rewirable gene regulatory networks in the pre-implantation embryonic development of three mammalian species,” which reflects his research group’s efforts to model the evolution of gene regulation and animal development. Using gene expression and protein-DNA interaction data, Zhong’s group has identified a series of physical principles and evolutionary rules that control gene regulation in developing embryos and in embryonic stem cells. Zhong believes these principles can be used to develop efficient procedures of making stem cells.


Billie Jean Theide, program leader in metals and the chair of the crafts program, has been named the first James Avery Endowed Chair in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. The Avery Chair, the first collegewide endowed chair in FAA, was established with a $1.5 million gift from alumnus and entrepreneur James Avery.

“Billie Jean Theide is ideally suited for this honor,” said Robert Graves, the dean of FAA. “She is respected as an artist, as a valued member of the university community and as a teacher. She takes her role as an instructor very seriously and is making enduring investments in Illinois students.”

Theide was nominated to be the first holder of the Avery Chair by a college committee and endorsed by the School of Art + Design’s executive committee.



LeAnne Howe, a professor of English and of American Indian studies, will be awarded the Tulsa Library Trust’s American Indian Author Award in a ceremony to take place on March 5. Howe is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

The award, established in 2001, recognizes literary contributions of outstanding American Indian authors and is the first and only award given by a public library to honor an American Indian author. Recipients receive $5,000 and a medallion.


Doug Walker, of the Illinois State Water Survey, has been awarded a Science and Technology Policy Fellowship for 2010-2011 from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Walker will take temporary leave from his position at the survey, where he has conducted research on the water resources of Illinois since 2001, and serve at the U.S. State Department, in the Bureau of South and Central Asia. He will help manage water, energy, mining and agricultural issues of U.S. foreign policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Walker is among more than 200 scientists and engineers who will spend a year working in federal agencies or congressional

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, a division of the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability, has received two awards from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.

The 2010 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention (P2) award went to the center’s Sustainable Electronics Initiative, a consortium addressing the growing national problem of electronic waste. The initiative is dedicated to the development and implementation of a more sustainable system for designing, producing and remanufacturing electronic devices.

Tim Lindsey, associate director of ISTC, was honored as a P2 Champion.  This award celebrates an individual whose work has an outstanding impact on implementing pollution prevention.  Lindsey supervises a staff of engineers and scientists who perform research and assist with implementation of innovative technologies that improve sustainability.



Christopher Prom, assistant university archivist and a professor of library administration, and Scott Schwartz, archivist for music and fine arts and adjunct professor at the UI Library, were inducted as fellows of the Society of American Archivists on Aug. 13. Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by the society and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession.

Founded in 1936, the society is North America’s oldest and largest national archival professional association. Its mission is to serve the educational and informational needs of its members and to provide leadership to ensure the identification, preservation and use of records of historical value.


Jay Rosenstein, a professor of journalism in the College of Media, received two Emmy Awards from the Mid-America Chapter of the National Acadamy of Television Arts and Scientists. He was honored for his recent documentary, “The Lord Is Not on Trial Here Today.” The Emmys were for Best Historical Documentary and for Best Writer of a Program/Program Feature.

The film tells the personal story behind McCollum v. Board of Education, an important First Amendment case in which Vashti McCollum, of Champaign, took her fight against religious education in public schools to the U.S. Supreme Court and won. u



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