Six College of Science faculty receive fellowships from Board of Visitors to support research
September 19, 2019
The awards were approved at the August meeting of the Board of Visitors. Each of the three-year fellowships is dedicated to recognizing faculty for extraordinary research and teaching, and for recruiting scholars with exceptional records of achievement. All recipients were nominated by College of Science Dean Sally C. Morton and the College of Science Honorifics Committee.
“Our nationally renowned faculty are working every day to address problems that challenge our society, and they bring visibility and recognition to Virginia Tech,” said Sally C. Morton, dean of the College of Science. “It’s my privilege to award these fellowships, which wouldn’t be possible without the alumni who support us.”
College of Science Faculty Fellowship
The College of Science Faculty Fellowship was established in 2019 through support from alumni and friends of the college. Recipients are:
Martha Ann Bell is a professor in the Department of Psychology, an adjunct professor in the Virginia Tech School of Neuroscience, and an affiliated faculty member of the Department of Human Development and Family Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Her research focuses on developmental cognitive neuroscience where she studies frontal lobe functioning in typically developing infants and children, and examines individual differences in brain and behavior. Her research informs the basic science literature in developmental psychology, as well as clinical psychology and intervention science.
Her research has brought in more than $6 million from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Her awards include the 2019 Senior Investigator Award from the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology. Bell earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Carson-Newman College in 1978, a master’s degree in child and family studies from the University of Tennessee in 1983, and a Ph.D. in human development from the University of Maryland in 1992.
Xinwei Deng, an associate professor in the Department of Statistics, is a data science researcher working with both design of experiments and machine learning for large scale analysis, learning, and decision-making processes. His research focuses on big data, often streaming in real-time, with a goal of designing decision analytics that are efficient, accurate, fair, and robust. Since joining Virginia Tech in 2011, he has brought in more $500,000 in research funding from such agencies as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, and the Proctor & Gamble Company.
Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Deng was a visiting assistant professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned a bachelor’s in mathematics from China’s Nanjing University in 2003 and a Ph.D. in statistics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2009.
Roger Moore and Mojdeh Khatam-Moore Faculty Fellowship
The Roger Moore and Mojdeh Khatam-Moore Faculty Fellowship was established in 2019 by a donation from its namesakes, Roger Moore ’64 and his wife, Mojdeh Khatam-Moore. Recipients are:
Cayelan Carey, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, studies and forecasts future water quality in a suite of lakes and reservoirs, including those in the Roanoke, Virginia, region. Her work directly connects freshwater ecology and data science, using environmental sensors to collect real-time data. Her research and teaching record have been recognized with substantial funding and awards, including six NSF grants totaling $5.4 million, the 2018 Yentsch-Schindler Award from the Association of the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, and the Department of Biological Science’s Outstanding Faculty Research Award in both 2015 and 2018 and its Outstanding Teaching Award in 2019.
Before coming to Virginia Tech in 2013, Carey was a Fulbright Fellow at the Institute of Limnology of Uppsala University, Sweden, and a postdoctoral research associate at the Center of Limnology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology from Dartmouth College in 2006 and Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University in 2012.
Patrick Huber, a professor in the Department of Physics, focuses on neutrino physics. Since joining Virginia Tech in 2008 Huber has helped to build a world-leading program in neutrino physics, both in basic science and in global and national security. As part of the Center for Neutrino Physics at Virginia Tech, Huber co-authored the Light Sterile Neutrino White Paper, which has since received more than 600 citations and eventually paved the way for the Intermediate Neutrino Program, which led to the PROSPECT experiment. Additionally, the GLoBES software package that he co-developed is the standard for computing the physics sensitivity of many large neutrino experiments.
Huber is the director of the Center for Neutrino Physics and was named director of the Integrated Security Education and Research Center in 2017. His research has received more than $2 million in federal funding. His many awards include the Fermilab Distinguished Scholarship and the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, both in 2016. He earned a bachelor’s degree in general physics in 2000 and a Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics in 2003, both from Technical University Munich.
Patricia Caldwell Faculty Fellowship
The Patricia Caldwell Faculty Fellowship was established in 2019 by a donation from its namesake, Patricia Caldwell ’71. Recipients are:
Amanda Morris, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, focuses on mimicking the chemistry of nature’s photosynthetic system — a complex assembly of light-harvesting arrays, electron transfer relays, and catalytic centers — that converts sunlight into chemical fuels. Her work has advanced how a new class of molecular materials and metal organic frameworks can effectively serve in each required component of photosynthetic activity, major implications for renewable energy production and storage.
Since joining Virginia Tech in 2011, Morris has won numerous awards, including the Inter-American Photochemical Society Young Investigator Award in 2017, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in 2016, and a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2016. Morris earned a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University in 2005 and a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University in 2009.
Shuhai Xiao, a professor and historical geobiologist in the Department of Geosciences, focuses his research on understanding the complex interaction of biological and environmental evolution. His work has touched on the critical transitions in Earth history using fossils and geochemical data, and has appeared in such journals as Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
His awards are numerous, including the 2006 Charles Schuchert Award, the 2010 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2010 Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Excellence in Research, the 2014 Sir Albert Charles Seward Memorial Lecturer, the 2016-17 Phi Beta Kappa visiting scholarship, and the 2017 Virginia Outstanding Scientist Award. He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology from Peking University in 1988 and 1991, and master’s and doctoral degrees in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University in 1996 and 1998, respectively.