2023 Research Achievement Awards

2023 Research Achievement Award winners
Amy Bouton receives Research Mentor Award 2023
Amy Bouton receives Research Mentor Award 2023

The University of Virginia honored faculty members for their outstanding research and scholarship at the fifth annual Research Achievement Awards event, held Thursday at The Pavilion at Boar’s Head Resort.

“2023 was an incredible year for UVA research, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to gather and celebrate our faculty’s impressive accomplishments,” Interim Vice President for Research Fred Epstein said.

“I’m a great admirer of these talented and dedicated researchers and the impressive breadth of research represented by this year’s award winners,” President Jim Ryan said. “Their work stretches from quantum physics to the Arctic, from cardiology to contemplative sciences. They ask important questions about our health, our well-being and our cultural world. They also mentor and inspire others, which multiplies their impact across Grounds and in their fields.”

Law professor Danielle K. Citron delivered a keynote address, based on her recent book, “The Fight for Privacy: Protecting Dignity, Identity, and Love in the Digital Age.” She is an expert in privacy, free expression and civil rights, and her most recent honors include being named a MacArthur Fellow and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Executive Vice President and Provost Ian Baucom praised the researchers for not just bringing attention to the work done at UVA, but for advancing science for all.

“Across Grounds, faculty are pursuing groundbreaking research and scholarship that distinguishes the University and advances their disciplines,” Baucom said. “As we celebrate their achievements, it is important to acknowledge the tremendous effort these researchers have devoted to their work along the road to discovery.”

Besides the 130 researchers who were honored that night for their achievements in research and scholarship, the following 16 were honored with Research Achievement Awards.


Distinguished Research Award

Gary K. Owens, Robert M. Berne Endowed Professor of Cardiovascular Research and Director, School of Medicine

The cardiovascular research of Gary Owens has fundamentally reshaped our understanding of vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) differentiation. His research focuses on identifying the factors and mechanisms that regulate the stability of late-stage atherosclerotic lesions and the probability of a heart attack or stroke.

During his years at UVA, Owens has written over 200 research papers and received over $30 million in research funding. He also helped establish a partnership between UVA Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC) and the CV Group at AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical that has helped the University become a leader in the fields of translational research in heart failure, atherosclerosis, vascular complications of diabetes, and targeted drug delivery.

“His research contributions have brilliantly illuminated the intricate complexities of SMC biology, challenging and overturning longstanding beliefs in the field,” said Ling Qi, Andrew P. Somlyo, Distinguished Professor and Chair of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, School of Medicine.


Nikos Sidiropoulos, Louis T. Rader Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science

Nikos Sidiropoulos has made ground-breaking contributions to tensor theory, wireless communications, and signal processing. He has 4 patents and has published over 165 journal papers in his field. He is a world-leading authority on tensor decomposition which has proven to be indispensable for analyzing big data.

Sidiropoulos is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and received the IEEE SPS Claude Shannon–Harry Nyquist Technical Achievement Award.

“Beyond his unquestionable breadth and depth, his research maintains a fruitful balance between theory and practice, building natural bridges that are critical for interdisciplinary projects,” said Georgios B. Giannakis, McKnight Presidential Chair in ECE, University of Minnesota.


Donald E. Brown, Senior Associate Dean for Research and Quantitative Foundation Distinguished Professor of Data Science, School of Data Science

Don Brown’s research focuses on data fusion, knowledge discovery, using data to improve health, and predictive modeling with applications to security and safety. In his 40-year career at UVA, he has been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator for more than 100 research contracts with federal, state, and private organizations totaling over $35M. He has published two books and over 120 papers. He was also the founding director of the Data Science Institute at UVA that became the School of Data Science.

Brown’s “passion for serving others through research and teaching is obvious and contagious, and research and education are intertwined in all his pursuits,” said Phil Bourne, Stephenson Founding Dean, School for Data Science, Professor of Data Science and Biomedical Engineering.


Patricia (Tish) Jennings, Professor, Curriculum, Instruction, & Special Education; School of Education and Human Development

Tish Jennings pioneered applying contemplative science to solve difficult problems in education. Her work has increased the understanding of educator and student wellbeing and their effect on preK-12 student outcomes. Since 2007, Professor Jennings has helped develop and lead the CARE (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education) program for educators, which has received multiple grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

“Professor Jennings is one of those rare scholars who is able to not only produce high quality research, but to conduct work that reaches well beyond the research literature to impact practice and policy,” said Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl, NoVo Foundation Endowed Chair in Social and Emotional Learning, Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois Chicago.


Research Excellence Award

Liheng Cai, Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science

Liheng Cai’s research focuses on bottlebrush polymers, associative polymer networks, and voxelated bioprinting. He studies the interactions between adaptive soft materials, like responsive polymers or biological gels, and living systems, like bacteria or cells and tissues in the human body.

“Because of his excellence in research, Cai has received a total of $2.33 million funding to his lab, graduate students have won departmental and SEAS fellowships, and two postdocs have secured faculty positions,” said David L. Green, Associate Professor, Depts of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science.


Elana Swartz, Associate Professor Media Studies, College of Arts & Sciences

Elana Swartz’s work on how money and its infrastructure can be understood as a media technology has been central to efforts to understand the emerging digital economy. Her first book, New Money: How Payment Became Social Media, was named #12 on a list of the greatest tech books of all time by The Verge.

Swartz “is a world-class public expert on topics related to fin tech, the digital economy, and cryptocurrency,” said Andrea Press, Chair of Media Studies & William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Media Studies & Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences.


Peter Schauss, Assistant Professor, Physics, College of Arts & Sciences

Starting from an empty laboratory five years ago, Peter Schauss has built a world-class quantum physics laboratory at UVA. He has developed state-of-the-art capabilities for quantum simulation of condensed matter systems, using them to perform experiments that are having significant international impact. Schauss has been recognized with highly competitive young investigator awards and secured substantial external funding to support his successful and growing research program.

“In my 30 years at UVA, no other Physics faculty member has achieved a more impressive research profile at this stage of their career - in terms of quality and impact of results, visibility and reputation in the research community, and potential for future success,” said Robert R. Jones, Francis H. Smith Professor of Physics, College of Arts & Sciences.


Award for Excellence in Arts and Humanities

Ashon Crawley, Professor of Religion & African American & African Studies, College of Arts & Sciences

Ashon Crawley is an internationally renowned creative scholar whose interdisciplinary work weaves together Black queer studies, religious studies, music, performance studies, and visual art. His first book, Blackpentecostal Breath, was influential in the fields of religious studies and Black studies. His second book, The Lonely Letters, won three non-fiction literary awards. Crawley’s work is disseminated across multiple platforms and outlets, including public-facing essays, visual art, and performance pieces.

Crawley’s “vibrant presence raises our already highly respected research profile, creatively expands our curricular offerings, and provides mentorship to both junior faculty and to our students,” said Robert Trent Vinson, Chair & Director, Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American & African Studies & Commonwealth Professor of African American & African Studies, College of Arts and Sciences.


David Getsy, Eleanor Shea Professor of Art History, College of Arts & Sciences

David Getsy works at the intersection of art history, queer studies, and transgender studies, and is a leading scholar in post-war American sculpture. In 2022, Getsy’s book Queer Behavior: Scott Burton and Performance Art won the Robert Motherwell Book Award from The Dedalus Foundation. Getsy’s earlier book, Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender, was the first to bridge art history and transgender studies.

“Anchored by the award-winning Queer Behavior and the paperback release of Abstract Bodies, David is forging an entirely new subfield in Art History,” said Douglas Fordham, Professor and Department Chair, Art Department, College of Arts & Sciences.


Tiffany King, Barbara and John Glynn Research Associate Professor of Democracy and Equity, College of Arts & Sciences

Tiffany King is an award-winning scholar whose interdisciplinary research is breathing new life into the field of Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies. King’s scholarship is having both a national and global impact on the field.

King’s “research is field-defining, award-winning, and cutting edge, drawing attention and acclaim from scholars internationally,” said Allison Pugh, Professor of Sociology and Chair, Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality, College of Arts & Sciences.


Public Impact Focused Research Award

William Shobe, Professor of Public Policy; Professor of Economics; and Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Studies, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service

Bill Shobe’s research focuses on reducing emissions, carbon removal technologies, and electricity sector transformation, and finding effective solutions to pressing environmental problems. He has made significant contributions to the design of emission markets and auctions, and is consulted statewide about Virginia electricity demand forecasting. He helped design the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that helps states reduce carbon emissions while investing in communities.

Shobe’s “… projects create new bodies of knowledge in service to the greater public, informing how the clean energy transition can positively impact Virginia’s economy, environment, residents, and businesses,” wrote Carrie Ella Hearne, Director of Affordability and Competitiveness, and Aaron Berryhill, Solar Program Manager, State Energy Office, Virginia Department of Energy.


Research Mentor Award

Amy Bouton, Harrison Distinguished Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology (MIC), School of Medicine

During Amy Bouton’s 30-year career at UVA, she has applied her leadership, commitment, and creativity to help her fellow faculty.

Several years ago, Bouton helped establish a committee of senior faculty to review grant proposals prior to submitting to NIH. This model was so successful that it was adopted by other groups on Grounds. As interim Chair of the Department of MIC, she instituted “Promotion Advisory Committees” for all faculty below the rank of Full Professor. The committees meet every 6 months to provide advice to faculty.

“Amy has shown amazing leadership and guidance to me at every stage of my career. She always has time to listen, be a sounding board, and offer insightful advice and constructive criticism,” said Lucy Pemberton, Associate Director for Education, UVA Cancer Center, School of Medicine.


Research Collaboration Award

Leena S. Cho, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, Department of Landscape Architecture, School of Architecture

Howard E. Epstein, Sidman P. Poole Professor of Environmental Sciences and Dept. Chair, Department of Environmental Sciences, College of Arts & Sciences

Matthew G. Jull, Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, School of Architecture

Caitlin D. Wylie, Associate Professor, Department of Engineering and Society, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (with courtesy appt. in the School of Data Science)

For nearly a decade, this team of researchers have dedicated individual and collective efforts towards focused research on the Arctic region and its flora, fauna, buildings, landscapes, infrastructure, and communities, examining the complexities of natural and built environments in relationship to climate adaptation. Their important insights and actions include building datasets, resources, and partnerships directly with Arctic communities.

“With the more recently defined Grand Challenge focus at UVA on Environmental Resiliency and Sustainability, the nominated team exemplifies the University’s commitment to a collaborative, high-impact approach to climate change,” said Malo A. Hutson, Dean and Edward E. Elson Professor, School of Architecture.


Other Researchers Honored:

Top 25 Sponsored Funding Recipients

The following 25 researchers received the highest amount of funding at UVA for FY23.

Daphna Bassok, School of Education & Human Development

Douglas A. Bayliss, School of Medicine

Marc D. Breton, School of Medicine

Christopher S. Hulleman, School of Education & Human Development

Kevin A. Janes, School of Engineering and Applied Science

Karen Johnston, School of Medicine

Jonathan R. Lindner, School of Medicine

Thomas Loughran, School of Medicine

Michael D. Lyons, School of Education & Human Development

Jianjie Ma, School of Medicine

Madhav V. Marathe, School of Engineering and Applied Science

Imre Noth, School of Medicine

Kevin A. Pelphrey, School of Medicine

William A. Petri, School of Medicine

Karen S. Rheuban, School of Medicine

Josipa Roksa, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

John R. Scully, School of Engineering and Applied Science

Emily J. Solari, School of Education & Human Development

James R. Stone, School of Medicine

Jie Sun, School of Medicine

Sana Syed, School of Medicine

Gregory C. Townsend, School of Medicine

Kenneth Walsh, School of Medicine

Jessica E. Whittaker, School of Education & Human Development

Amanda P. Williford, School of Education & Human Development

Aidong Zhang, School of Engineering and Applied Science


Nationally Recognized Award Winners & Members of Academies

The following researchers were invited for achieving notable recognition and acclaim in their respective fields at a national level. The criteria for inclusion in this category typically involve either winning a prestigious national award, being elected or named to a distinguished academy, receiving an award from a society/academy, or receiving recognition for excellence from sources external to the University.

Roger Anderson, School of Medicine

Benton H. Calhoun, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Giorgio Carta, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Yue Cheng, School of Data Science, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Pamela F. Cipriano, School of Nursing

Danielle K. Citron, School of Law

Andres F. Claren, School of Engineering & Applied Science

W. G. Clark, School of Architecture

Linda Columbus, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Brian R. Davis, School of Architecture

Nancy L. Deutsch, School of Education & Human Development

Sepideh Dolatshahi, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Edward H. Egelman, School of Medicine

Sebastian Elbaum, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Ana L. Fostel, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Wintre Foxworth Johnson, School of Education & Human Development

Cassandra L. Fraser, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Xinfeng Gao, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Mariano A. Garcia-Blanco, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Christopher M. Gaskin, School of Medicine

Amanda K. Gibson, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Lian-Wang Guo, School of Medicine

Mool C. Gupta, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Richard Handler, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Rachel A. Harmon, School of Law

Ziv J. Haskal, School of Medicine

John A. Hossack, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Cathy Hwang, School of Law

Brant E. Isakson, School of Medicine

Adwait Jog, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Andrew S. Johnston, School of Architecture

Ahmad Jomaa, School of Medicine

Irving L. Kron, School of Medicine

Christopher M. Kuenze, School of Education & Human Development

Venkataraman Lakshmi, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Tracy A. Larson, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Virginia T. LeBaron, School of Nursing

Ajay Limaye, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Ruth Mason, School of Law

Joseph Moorman, School of Medicine

Jason A. Papin, School of Medicine

Thomas A. Platts-Mills, School of Medicine

Kristina Richardson, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Andrea Roberts, School of Architecture

Laura Morgan Roberts, Darden School of Business

Jeffrey J. Saucerman, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Frederick Schauer, School of Law

Beth E. Schueler, School of Education & Human Development

LaRon A. Scott, School of Education & Human Development

Kevin Skadron, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Ashish Venkat, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Haydn N. Wadley, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Brian G. Weinshenker, School of Medicine

Jennifer L. West, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Xu Yi, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Ifrah Zawar, School of Medicine

Miaomiao Zhang, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Sen Zhang, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Huiyuan Zhu, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences



Recognized by Their Deans and Schools

The following researchers were nominated by their school deans to be recognized for having gone above and beyond in their research endeavors. This could involve making substantial contributions to their field of study, influencing the academic community, or having a positive impact on society through their work. This is a way of highlighting and celebrating the exceptional contributions of these individuals to their respective fields during the specified year.

Jayakrishna Ambati, School of Medicine

Laura Barnes, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Andreas Beling, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Nicola Bezzo, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Silvia S. Blemker, School of Engineering & Applied Science

James T. Burns, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Jack W. Davidson, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Andrew C. Dudley, School of Medicine

Linda R. Duska, School of Medicine

Jonathan L. Goodall, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Scott K. Heysell, School of Medicine

Patrick E. Hopkins, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Eric R. Houpt, School of Medicine

Jaideep Kapur, School of Medicine

Robert G. Kelly, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Michael J. Kennedy, School of Education & Human Development

Jason R. Kerrigan, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Boris P. Kovatchev, School of Medicine

Christopher M. Kramer, School of Medicine

James H. Lambert, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Matthew J. Lazzara, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Dorothy E. Leidner, McIntire School of Commerce

Li Li, School of Medicine

Sheng Li, School of Data Science

Art W. Lichtenberger, School of Engineering & Applied Science

John R. Lukens, School of Medicine

Meghan Mattos, School of Nursing

Trish Ann Millard, School of Medicine

Daniel P. Murphy, Darden School of Business

Ken Ono, Provost Office

Elizabeth J. Opila, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Paul Perrin, School of Data Science

James Platts-Mills, School of Medicine

Jeana Ripple, School of Architecture

Gustavo Rohde, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Kara D. Romano, School of Medicine

Chris J. Ruhm, Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy

Saras Sarasvathy, Darden School of Business

Suprateek Sarker, McIntire School of Commerce

Abigail Scholer, Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy

Shayna L. Showalter, School of Medicine

Nina J. Solenski, School of Medicine

Craig Volden, Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy

Michael E. Williams, School of Medicine

Bev Wilson, School of Architecture

Jonee Wilson, School of Education & Human Development

Jochen Zimmer, School of Medicine

Jamie Zoellner, School of Medicine

Vice President for Research