OCTOBER 28, 2009

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OSU Honors Faculty for Research Excellence

Photo of OSU Regents Distinguished Research Award winners.
The 2009-10 Regents Distinguished Research Award winners pictured left to right are Dr. Brett Carver, Dr. Brenda Smith, Dr. John Chaney, Dr. Warren Ford and Dr. Rathindra Sarathy. Not pictured is Dr. Gary Yen.

Oklahoma State University has selected six outstanding faculty researchers as this year’s Regents Distinguished Research Award winners. These faculty members maintain records of past and continuing excellence in research and are recognized nationally and internationally for achievements in their respective fields of study. Winners will be honored at the Fall Convocation in November. This year’s winners are:

Dr. Brett F. Carver, Regents Professor, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Dr. Carver’s work focuses on the creation of genetically improved wheat varieties for Oklahoma. The farm-gate value of Oklahoma’s wheat crop, which exceeded $1 billion in 2008, is driven annually by the infusion of improved varieties across the commercial wheat landscape. Under Carver’s leadership, the Wheat Improvement Team at OSU – organized by him in 1998 – has created 13 new wheat varieties, three of which already dominate Oklahoma’s wheat acreage. His “GrazenGrain” breeding system also produced the first wheat variety with true grazing tolerance, a key component of the dual-purpose management system previously bred for only in forage crops.

Dr. John M. Chaney, Professor, College of Arts and Sciences Dr. Chaney’s research melds pediatric psychology and minority/diversity issues. Specifically, he examines family systems functioning in the context of chronic childhood health problems such as juvenile rheumatic disease and Type 1 diabetes. In 2007, he was co-author of the first paper focused on Native Americans ever to be published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. In this effort, he and his colleagues demonstrated that parents of Native American children with rheumatic diseases were at a higher risk of experiencing the negative effects of disease relative to their Caucasian counterparts. He also studies academic achievement in Native American college students and implicit bias in perceptions of Native American sports mascots.

Dr. Warren Ford, Regents Professor, College of Arts and Sciences Dr. Ford works on the synthesis of polymeric materials and nanotechnology. He was the statewide project coordinator of the Oklahoma Network for Nanostructured Materials, a group that between 2002 and 2008 devoted about $7 million in grant funds to improved instrumentation at OSU, the University of Oklahoma and Tulsa University. The funding also supported interdisciplinary nanotechnology research projects statewide as well as annual state nanotechnology conferences. His efforts helped shape Oklahoma as a state where nanotechnology researchers work together to further collaborative interdisciplinary research.

Dr. Rathindra Sarathy, Ardmore Professor, Spears School of Business Dr. Sarathy conducts research in the rapidly growing field of data security. For the past decade, his work has contributed to the development of theory, techniques and measures relating to the protection of numerical data. His work has been published in several major journals and has significantly impacted academic research, becoming a staple in doctoral seminars at major universities. Additionally, his work is among procedures recommended by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in its report on statistical disclosure limitation methodology. Sarathy has received funding from OSU’s Technology Business Assessment Group for the commercial potential of his work.

Dr. Brenda J. Smith, Associate Professor, College of Human Environmental Sciences Dr. Smith’s work centers on the role nutrition plays in the prevention and treatment of diseases associated with aging, specifically osteoporosis. She and her team were instrumental in demonstrating how dried plums promote new bone formation. Their study discovered dried plums to have comparable effects to the only FDA-approved drug that may reverse bone loss. Currently, Smith is involved with two clinical research studies. One designed to assess the impact of diabetes and inflammation on Native American women’s risk for osteoporosis. The second focused on optimizing bone health and quality of life for veterans following lower limb amputation.

Dr. Gary Yen, Professor, College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology Dr. Yen’s main research accomplishments are in the areas of control automation and health monitoring, bibliometric analysis and visualization, and evolutionary multi-objective optimization. Yen was among the first to make an in-depth analysis of global asymptotic stability of discrete-time neural networks. He was also a pioneer on the design of associate memory via learning and forgetting. Yen’s lasting impact has been in the emerging topic of complex network theory and its visualization of research specialties as complex networks. This work has seen applications in technology forecasting, funding decision-making and social modeling. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) and editor-in-chief of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Magazine. He will serve as president of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society in 2010-11.