This list features a selection of the many WEI investigators, affiliates, and experts who received honors and awards in 2019 for their work.
- James Dumesic, the Ernest Micek Distinguished Chair in chemical and biological engineering, received the 2019 Eni Energy Transition Award, which honors research and technological innovation that promotes the transition toward low-carbon energy systems. Dumesic was selected for his pioneering work on novel catalytic processes for converting plant material into advanced fuels, biodegradable plastics, and more. Read more
- The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Photonics Society selected Mikhail Kats, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and Dugald C. Jackson Faculty Scholar, for its 2020 Young Investigator Award, citing his “contributions in the fields of nanophotonics and optical materials, especially for metasurfaces, optics with phase-transition materials, and thermal-emission engineering.” Read more
- Six researchers from UW–Madison and WEI were named to Clarivate Analytics’ “Highly Cited Researchers” list in 2019: James Dumesic; George Huber, professor of chemical and biological engineering; Song Jin, associate professor of chemistry; Mikhail Kats; John Ralph, professor of biochemistry; and Shannon Stahl, professor of chemistry. Read more
- Ophelia Venturelli, assistant professor of biochemistry, was recently named to a list of 34 young researchers featured in a special issue of the journal Biochemistry. For the issue, Venturelli and her team wrote a perspective piece on the importance of understanding and engineering the interactions of microbial communities. Read more
- Chris Todd Hittinger, associate professor of genetics, was elected to represent the U.S. on the International Commission on Yeasts (ICY). Established in Bratislava in 1966, ICY is a part of the International Union of Microbiological Societies and is composed of prominent specialists in many disciplines of yeast research. Read more
Notable funding awards
- Ophelia Venturelli, in collaboration with Wisconsin Institute for Discovery Director Jo Handelsman, was awarded more than $1 million from the United States Army Research Office as part of a multidisciplinary, multi-university research initiative to better understand communication within microbial communities. Read more
- Brian Pfleger, professor of chemical and biological engineering, and Ophelia Venturelli received a Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further research on how to use human-associated intestinal microbes to combat malnutrition in developing countries. Read more
- Philip Romero, assistant professor of biochemistry, and Ophelia Venturelli were a part of a team that received a 2019 WARF Innovation Award. The team developed a microfluidic tool for mapping how bacteria interact in complex communities such as the digestive tract, with potential applications from personalized medicine to improved food safety.
Professorships and leadership roles
- Two WEI researchers were among the UW–Madison faculty awarded faculty fellowships in 2019 for their contributions to the university mission through research, teaching, and service. Michael Ferris, professor of computer sciences, was named the Jacques-Louis Lions Professor of Computer Science. Chris Hittinger received an H.I. Romnes faculty fellowship. Read more
- Audrey Gasch, professor of genetics, was named interim director of the Center for Genomic Science Innovation, which opened in September 2019. The new campus center, housed within the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, is developing innovative technological and computational genomic approaches to address modern problems in medicine, agriculture, and basic scientific discovery. Read more