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Six U. of I. faculty members named University Scholars

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Photo courtesy
College of Business

Finance professor Jeffrey R. Brown is one of six Illinois professors named a University Scholar.

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9/15/2011 | Jeff Unger, News Bureau | 217-333-1085;

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Six Urbana campus faculty members have been recognized as University Scholars. The program recognizes excellence while helping to identify and retain the university’s most talented teachers, scholars and researchers. The faculty members will be honored at a reception from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Sept. 26 in the Lincoln Room at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign.

Begun in 1985, the program provides $10,000 to each scholar for each of three years to use to enhance his or her academic career. The money may be used for travel, equipment, research assistants, books or other purposes.

The recipients (with comments from their nominating papers):

Jeffrey R. Brown, (pictured above) a professor of finance and the director of the Center for Business and Public Policy in the College of Business, is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the finance and economics underpinning public and private pension plans. His research includes work on public and private insurance markets, the government’s tax and social security policy, and important decisions of individuals regarding their investment choices, including market participation, portfolio choice, retirement and annuitization.

Naira Hovakimyan Naira Hovakimyan, a professor of mechanical science and engineering | Photo courtesy College of Engineering
Naira Hovakimyan, a professor of mechanical science and engineering, has made important research contributions to the mathematics of control theory that are having an impact across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, including mechanical, electrical and aerospace engineering. Her pioneering work in adaptive control has set the stage for solving many real world problems, including robotic flight control.

Naira Hovakimyan
Paul J. Kenis, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering | Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

Paul J. Kenis, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is an expert in the field of micro fluidics. His research program is focused on development of novel microfluidic tools for applications in energy and health. Over the past 10 years, he has built a highly productive and internationally well-known research program at Illinois.

Naira Hovakimyan
Benjamin J. McCall, a professor of chemistry | Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Benjamin J. McCall, a professor of chemistry, is active in a rapidly

growing research area, astrochemistry. His research at the interface of astronomy and chemistry broadly includes three major areas: observational molecular astronomy, chemistry of fundamental reactive ion species such as protonated hydrogen, and laboratory detection of molecules important in interstellar chemistry, such as buckyballs or protonated methane. His research in these areas has been nationally and internationally recognized.
Cynthia Oliver
Cynthia Oliver, a professor of dance | Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

The work of Cynthia Oliver, a professor of dance, is immersed in uncovering the complicated ways in which culture is lived and expressed. Her evening-length work, “Rigidigidim De Bamba De: Ruptured Calypso,” examines, in her words, “the geographic, national and aesthetic borders and the force of calypso as a unifying agent of Caribbeanness.” She focuses her lens on the Caribbean in order to understand the complex relationships among gender, race and culture.

Cynthia Oliver
James M. Slauch, a professor of microbiology | Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

James M. Slauch, a professor of microbiology, is internationally recognized for his work on Salmonella virulence, a major cause of food-borne illness. His research focuses on the interplay between the human host and bacterium in disease. His work demonstrated, for example, that an enzyme produced by Salmonella is key to enabling the bacterium to evade the immune system, and to actually live in phagocytes in the body. In a second area of impressive impact, Slauch identified the complex process through which bacteria sense that they are in the phagocyte and should start producing virulence proteins.

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