Five distinguished profs awarded coveted grants

Amber Foley

In a small ceremony at Thursday’s Board of Regents’ meeting, the third annual Distinguished McKnight Professor awards were presented to five University professors.
Ann Fallon, Hung-wen Liu, David Pui, Anne Pusey and Michael Ward will each receive $100,000. The $500,000 grant, an endowment from the McKnight Foundation in correlation with the University’s Permanent University Fund, is given over five years, and is used for research, scholarly or artistic activities.
“The Distinguished McKnight University Professor award reflects the University’s commitment to its faculty with respect to recognizing scholarship, effort and dedication to the University’s mission,” said Ward, award winner and professor of chemical engineering and materials science.
At the ceremony, President Mark Yudof said that the faculty is at the heart of the University and that this grant is one of the University’s most prestigious awards.
The intent of the professorships is to honor and reward the University’s highest-achieving faculty.
To be awarded the professorship, recipients must first be nominated by their home department; then a board of faculty members reviews the nominees. The winners are selected based on scholarly or creative achievements, potential for greater attainments the distinction and honor they bring to the University, the quality of teaching and advising, and contributions to the community.
Each of the professors already have a general idea of how they would like to use the grant money.
“I would like to use the McKnight grant as seed money to explore new frontiers of nanoparticle research, such as the gene gun project and other nanobiotechnology applications,” said Pui, a professor of mechanical engineering.
Ward plans to use the award money to further advance his departments efforts in crystal engineering.
Fallon, professor in entomology, plans to use the grant she was awarded to upgrade laboratory equipment that would enhance three projects her department has been working on: mosquito reproduction, mosquito immunity, and mosquito growth and cell division.
The Distinguished McKnight University Professorship Program was created in late 1995 by the University Graduate School.