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2014 List of Distinguished Professors Includes Innovation Fellow and University Inventors

Albuquerque, NM – July 3, 2014 The UNM Provost’s office recently announced its selection of UNM professors who have received the rank of Distinguished Professor, a prestigious title given to a small group of faculty who have made outstanding contributions to their fields. Four of the eight recipients are also UNM inventors and outstanding innovators. Among those receiving the distinguished professor title, are 2014 STC.UNM Innovation Fellow Dr. Plamen Atanassov, STC board member and inventor Dr. Mansoor Sheik-Bahae, and inventors Dr. Edl Schamiloglu and Dr. Scott Burchiel. To read more about their achievements, see Karen Wentworth’s July 1 article, “Provost Announces UNM Distinguished Professors,” from UNM Newsroom, reprinted below.

Provost announces UNM distinguished professors

Faculty members make exceptional contributions in their fields and to UNM

Provost Chaouki Abdallah has announced the list of 2014 UNM Distinguished Professors. The rank of Distinguished Professor is the highest faculty title that UNM bestows, and it is awarded to only a few of the most prominent faculty.

Plamen Atanassov, Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, School of Engineering

Plamen Atanassov may be the most cited and recognized bio-electrochemist working in the field of enzymatic biofuel cells, according to his citation from the UNM Office of the Provost. His major contributions are in the development of a new generation of non-platinum electrocatalysts for fuel cells. Atanassov’s research is currently funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Department of Energy’s Division for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology and by the Department of Energy’s EPSCoR State of New Mexico Implementation Award. Atanassov’s research is also funded by Daihatsu Motor Company (Japan) which has introduced the first Platinum Metal Free Liquid Fuel Cell Vehicle.

Scott Burchiel, Pharmaceutical Studies, College of Pharmacy

Scott Burchiel is the DeSantis Chair of Pharmacogenomics and the senior associate dean at the UNM College of Pharmacy. He directs the New Mexico Center for Isotopes in Medicine. He is an expert in immunotoxicology and environmental carcinogenesis. His laboratory has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than 25 years and he has authored more than 120 scientific manuscripts. He currently examines the immunotoxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and arsenic, and newly funded studies with Columbia University are examining a cohort of individuals exposed to these agents in Bangladesh. He is an active NIH reviewer and the Editor-In-Chief of “Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.” Burchiel’s laboratory is active in the use of toxicogenomics and pharmacogenomics for the evaluation of gene-environment interactions and mechanisms of action of xenobiotics. His studies examine the effects of environmental agents on signal transduction pathways in lymphocytes and human breast epithelial cells.

Kathryn Foucar, Pathology, School of Medicine

Dr. Kathryn Foucar has been a faculty member in the UNM School of Medicine since 1984. During her 30 years at UNM she has served in various administrative roles including chief of staff, head of the practice plan, medical director of TriCore Reference Laboratories, and vice chair for clinical affairs in the Department of Pathology. She has also served as president of the Greater Albuquerque Medical Association. She is the author/co-author/editor of 11 textbooks/atlases in hematopathology and more than 100 peer review publications. The focus of her pathology career has been in clinical diagnostic hematopathology and education.

Lani Gunawardena, Organization, Information, and Learning Sciences, College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences

Charlotte Nirmalani “Lani” Gunawardena’s citation from the Office of the Provost says she is one of the worlds’ most sought after researchers and developers of online education. She currently researches the sociocultural context of digital learning environments and social presence theory, and employs interaction analysis to examine social construction of knowledge in online learning communities. She has directed evaluations for the U.S. Department of Education, and the Native American Research Center for Health funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Indian Health Service, conducted research as a Fulbright Regional Scholar in Morocco and her native country Sri Lanka, and consulted for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, U.S. corporations, and international higher education institutions. In 2010, she was appointed by the United States Secretary of Defense to serve on the Army Education Advisory Committee – Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Board of Visitors Subcommittee.

Gabriel Melendez, American Studies, College of Arts & Sciences

Gabriel Melendez was a groundbreaking contributor to the recovery of Hispanic literary traditions in the Southwest and he has continued to build on that passion over his career to forge national and international research collaborations that build UNM’s presence as a recognized space for doing cutting edge research in critical regional studies. His first book, “So All is Not Lost: The Poetics of Print in Nuevomexicano Communities, 1836-1958” (UNM, 1997) has recently been reprinted by the University of Arizona under the title, “Spanish-Language Newspapers in New Mexico, 1836-1958” (2005). In addition, he is co-editor of “The Multicultural Southwest: A Reader” (Arizona, 2001) and “Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage: Volume VI” (2006). His other works include “Reflexiones del Corazón” (1993) [a portfolio of images and texts produced with Miguel Gandert and María Baca for the Tamarind Institute] and “The Biography of Casimiro Barela” (UNM, 2003). The author of several articles and chapter-length studies, Melèndez is currently engaged in new work on ethnic film representations and readying a new manuscript, “Film Dramas in New Mexico: Cultural Encounters On and Off the Screen” for publication. Melèndez is on the board of directors of the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project, serves on the editorial board of the journal Confluence, is a general editor for the “Pasó por aquí Series” on New Mexican Hispanic Letters at UNM Press.

William Rayburn, Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine

Dr. William Rayburn, associate dean of Continuing Medical Education, was the chair of the Department of Ob-Gyn at UNM for 15 years. During his tenure as chair, the department had a major growth in both clinical service lines and educational programs. He has worked closely with the AAMC and ACOG on the topic of workforce issues in medical care and has a number of publications on this topic. His focus was in the changing landscape of academic departments of obstetrics and gynecology with emphasis on the generational and gender shifts and impacts. He also has published and presented numerous articles on the methods and effectiveness of labor induction and implications of maternal medication use and impact on the fetal central nervous system.

Edl Schamiloglu, Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering

Edl Schamiloglu has had substantial impact in his field of high power microwaves and related topics, leading what some reviewers regard as the top program in the world in the area. He has received research contracts and grants totaling more than $17 million. Schamiloglu’s research is supported by the Ktech Corporation, which is funding study of frequency-tunable relativistic backward-wave oscillators. He has an STTR with Sienna Technologies to develop novel high dielectric constant polymers for pulsed power applications. Three of his grant awards have been the very prestigious Multi-disciplinary University Research (MURI) awards from the Department of Energy.

Mansoor Sheik-Bahae, Physics and Astronomy, College of Arts & Sciences

Mansoor Sheik-Bahae has achieved worldwide fame in his most recent work in laser-assisted cooling, where he has held the world record for the lowest temperature reached in the solid state in a laboratory. His previous work in the Z-scan technique, now a standard tool in most nonlinear optics laboratories around the world, has been equally seminal. He has published in the areas of laser cooling in solids, ultrafast nonlinear optics, and nonlinear optics.

For a complete list, visit: UNM Distinguished Professors.

Source: UNM Newsroom

For more information, contact:

Karen Wentworth