Presidential Research Scholars
The Presidential Research Scholars (PRS) awards program recognizes faculty members who have garnered national and international prominence in research, scholarship and creative activity and who demonstrate clear promise for continued, significant productivity in their research/creative activity. Each award recipient will receive $3,000 to be used at the scholar's discretion as an honorarium or to support research or creative works.
Applications are solicited for (1) Social and Behavioral Sciences and Physical Sciences and Engineering and (2) Arts and Humanities and Life and Biomedical Sciences in rotating cycles every other year.
For nomination and application deadlines and guidelines, visit www.ohio.edu/research/funding.
Neil W. Bernstein
At a university that's a little more than 200 years old, Neil W. Bernstein(opens in a new window) studies life and literature that's more than 2,000 years old. Spoiler alert: stories of love, war and politics abound, and the plotlines of ancient Rome still run through today's Hollywood blockbusters.
Bernstein's research focuses on Latin literature from the Roman imperial period — 27 BCE to 476 CE — a period of epic storytelling, narrative poetry, declarative speeches, and a lot of wars and social and political upheaval. Bernstein's translations and analyses help bring this era to life for modern students and scholars.
His first two books — "In the Image of the Ancestors: Narratives of Kinship in Flavian Epic(opens in a new window)" and "Ethics, Identity, and Community in Later Roman Declamation(opens in a new window)" — examine issues of family and community and ethical and social conflict in the early Roman imperial period. He's also written a book about the tragedy of Hercules, as told by playwright Seneca, as well as a textbook(opens in a new window) helping Latin students read the play.
More recently, Bernstein has translated and analyzed the writings of first-century poet and statesman Silius Italicus, particularly Punica, his 12,000-line epic poem on Rome's war with Carthage. His recent book, "Silius Italicus: Punica, Book 9(opens in a new window)," is the first full-scale commentary in English devoted to Punica 9, which begins the narrative of the Battle of Cannae in August 216 BC. His commentary in the book examines the disastrous Roman defeat at Cannae, the largest battle of the ancient Greco-Roman world.
Due out in January, Bernstein's latest book, "The Complete Works of Claudian(opens in a new window)," offers a modern and accessible translation of the poet Claudian’s work, published in English for the first time since 1922. Claudian (active 395-404 AD) was the last great classical Latin poet, and his poems were major influences on European art and literature.
Bernstein is a professor of classics and religious studies(opens in a new window) in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Ronan Carroll's(opens in a new window) team is looking for ways to stop a potent killer, one that is getting adept at resisting antibiotics.
Research in his lab involves a team of postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students with multiple projects, all focused on the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, one of the leading causes of infection and death by a microbe in the United States with reports that it could account for between 10,000 and 15,000 deaths annually.
Treatment of Staphylococcus aureus infection is challenging as the bacteria has acquired resistance to a large number of commonly-used antibiotics. That's why Carroll's lab is exploring how the microbe causes disease so that they can discover new ways to fight it. One aspect of their research is the hundreds of regulatory and small RNAs (sRNAs) that are potential targets for antimicrobial therapy.
Carroll has already mapped the location of all known sRNAs on the Staphylococcus aureus genome, thus revolutionizing sRNA studies of the microbe. His work, funded by the National Institutes of Health and NASA, has led to may important discoveries, including a key one in his lab. Carroll has identified an sRNA called Teg41 that plays a crucial role in how Staphylococcus aureus produces toxins and how effectively these toxins attack a host cell.
Nearly a third of the human population already has Staphylococcus aureus living in their nose, an environment which runs about three degrees cooler than a person's core temperature. Carroll is working with Erin Murphy in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine to study how the shift in temperature from the nose to the bloodstream could affect how RNA-based regulation and protein production might make the microbe more virulent.
Carroll is associate professor of biological sciences(opens in a new window) in the College of Arts and Sciences and associate director of the Infectious and Tropical Diseases Institute (ITDI).
In the media, Katherine Jellison(opens in a new window) is one of the most-quoted historians when it comes to women in the White House. But her research interests lie far afield from the nation's seat of power.
A scholar of U.S. women’s history, Jellison has a research portfolio developed around rural residents, particularly women, who helped build the U.S. consumer culture during the 20th century. Her first book, "Entitled to Power: Farm Women and Technology, 1913-1963(opens in a new window)," focuses on farm-based consumers. She has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on rural consumers of farm equipment, household appliances, commercialized entertainment and recreation, wartime propaganda, mass-produced clothing, and products and services of medical practitioners.
In her second book, "It's Our Day: America's Love Affair with the White Wedding, 1945-2005(opens in a new window)," Jellison shifts to a largely urban perspective to examine the nation's transition from home-based to big-business weddings.
Her latest book manuscript, "Amish Women and the Great Depression," goes back to Jellison's rural roots. She collaborates with co-author Steven Reschly of Truman State University to examine how Depression-era Amish women struck a balance between production and consumption to retain their family farms despite the economic crisis. The quantitative framework for their book involves a massive New Deal consumer study and interviews with 300,000 wives and mothers conducted by Works Progress Administration employees in 1935-36. Among the women participating in the study were members of the nation's oldest and best-known Amish community — the Old Order Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Johns Hopkins University Press will publish the book in fall 2023.
Jellison is a professor of history(opens in a new window) in the College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Central Region Humanities Center(opens in a new window). Jellison helped found the Rural Women's Studies Association(opens in a new window) and was recently named a fellow of the Agricultural History Society.
Patrick O’Connor(opens in a new window) walks where dinosaurs once roamed and puts together the pieces of their environment left behind some 75-66 million years ago.
His research spans from animals alive today to those that existed long ago during the Late Cretaceous Period in Madagascar, eastern and northern Africa, and Antarctica. His work includes not only describing species new to science but also rigorously interpreting the ecosystems in which they lived.
Combining expeditionary fieldwork with laboratory- and museum-based comparative biology, O’Connor’s research utilizes multiple approaches to address hypotheses related to the evolution of organisms, ecosystems, and the Earth in a deep-time context. With continuous funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society, he has discovered and named several new dinosaurs, crocodiles, and mammals while revealing novel insights about the changing face of the planet over the past 70 million years.
O'Connor's passion for his research is fueled by its multi-disciplinary nature. He works with diverse teams of biologists and geologists, along with artists and science communicators, to contextualize the recovered fossils and characterize past biotas and ecosystems from some of the most remote places on the planet. Together, they paint new pictures of life on Earth on southern hemisphere landmasses immediately preceding the planet's last mass extinction event at the end of the Mesozoic Era.
His work exploring ecosystem dynamics, animal extinction, and biotic recovery following mass extinctions is critical for understanding of how organisms fit within their ecosystems and how ecosystems respond to large-scale environmental change on the planet.
O'Connor is professor of neuroscience and anatomy in biomedical sciences(opens in a new window) in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, director of educational programs in the Heritage College Office of Research and Grants, and a member of the Ohio Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies(opens in a new window).
Dr. Benjamin Bates is the Barbara Geralds Schoonover Professor of Health Communication in the Scripps College of Communication.
Bates uses communication to enact change, not simply observe it. Specifically, he focuses on questions of what constitutes health, how it can be attained, and community understandings of intervention options. His aim is to provide analysis and interpretation that can better public policy and health interventions.
"As a rhetorically trained scholar, the first focus of my research provides analysis of
existing health messages to identify strengths and weaknesses, as governments and nonprofit actors persuade or fail to persuade audiences to adopt health-promoting action,” Bates said. “As a scholar who wishes to intervene in the world, the second focus of my research uses communication theory and research methods to identify appropriate strategies for communication intervention to improve the health and wellbeing of the public, alongside and with members of the community in which the intervention is to take place.”
Bates has worked both nationally and internationally. Among his impacts are working with the Ohio University Infectious and Tropical Disease Institute and the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador’s Center for Research on Health in Latin America, where his team has transformed approaches to addressing communities impacted by Chagas disease.
Rapp is passionate about helping customers and salespeople, and his research ideas are grounded in real-world business practices that add value to the business community and generate interest among academics.
Rapp has published his research in premier journals in marketing as well as applied psychology, with more than 8,000 citations, demonstrating the impact of his contributions.
Rapp notes that his research strategy is very straightforward. First, he is diligent in building company relationships, delivering value and demonstrating empathy. As an academic, Rapp is very aware that a businessperson is not concerned about an academic publication, but rather, wants help solving a problem, increasing performance, or addressing the deficiencies in their sales organization. Second, he tackles pressing issues or emerging research ideas, having examined the role of social media in salesperson and customer perceptions and now working in the area of artificial intelligence. Third, he endeavors to have impact, working on things that people truly care about.
Lastly, “I write and research about things that are enjoyable for me,” Rapp said. “I truly love the sales field. I am passionate about helping customers and salespeople, and my research enables that as much as my teaching.”
Dr. Julie Roche is a professor of Physics and Astronomy(opens in a new window) in the College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics(opens in a new window). She is an experimental nuclear physicist who performs experiments at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, where she has served in multiple leadership roles. The National Science Foundation has continuously funded her work since 2006.
"Protons and neutrons, which make up the nuclei at the center of atoms, are composite particles. They in turn are made up of quarks, which are held together by particles called gluons, the messengers of the Strong Force. Gluons are exchanged back and forth between quarks, and they are the source of the proton’s mass," Roche said.
The Strong Force creates over 99 percent of the mass of the visible matter in the universe. Yet, the Strong Force is the least understood of the four known fundamental forces in our universe.
Roche and her colleagues’ experiments scatter electrons off proton targets. Then, detectors measure the direction and energy of the products of the collision. Roche's current research goal is to produce a 3-D tomographic picture of the proton's internal structure, akin to medical tomographies that produce sliced images of the body. This new approach to understanding the proton's internal structure has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the Strong Force.
Dr. Arthur Smith, professor of Physics and Astronomy(opens in a new window) in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded nearly $8 million in external grant funding over his research career. Smith uses Scanning Tunneling Microscopy to view single atoms on material surfaces and molecular beam epitaxy to grow his own crystalline layer samples, one atom at a time.
But his work took a major turn in 2000.
One day, while scanning the surface of manganese nitride, a magnetic material, Smith and his students began to see a modulation due to the spins of the manganese atoms. This discovery marked a whole new direction for Smith’s lab, exploring spintronic materials, which combine normal electronic materials with magnetic spins and can lead to new devices with enhanced functionality and decreased power consumption.
Having a tool capable of seeing not only the atoms, but also their spins, positioned his group as a world leader in this area. Indeed, as noted by his colleagues in the field, Smith is one of the few researchers who designs and builds his own instrumentation, ensuring his lab is always conducting cutting-edge research.
"Most importantly for me is to never lose that sense of wonder and imagination I get when viewing the atomic arrangements of a new material’s surface and to hopefully impart this gift to my own students," Smith said.
Dr. Jason Trembly is the Russ Professor of Mechanical Engineering(opens in a new window) in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology and director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment(opens in a new window). His overarching research goal is to develop innovative, sustainable, and cost-effective solutions for the most urgent environmental problems facing the nation and Appalachia. To date, he has received more than $23 million in awards from the U.S. Department of Energy and other federal and state agencies and industry.
Trembly’s research is far-reaching and has focused on transforming mining, energy, water, and agricultural wastes into value-added products, such as building and construction materials, clean water, industrial feedstocks, and fertilizers.
He is currently working with CONSOL Energy and Engineered Profiles to commercialize sustainable carbon-based building materials, utilizing reclaimed mining wastes from Appalachia, which could result in new manufacturing facilities and jobs located in the region. He is also pivoting this technology towards 3D-printing of carbonized building structures and manufacturing carbon foams and graphite for building/construction, aerospace, defense, and lithium-ion battery applications.
“I place great emphasis in stimulating professional growth in research capabilities and independent program development of graduate students and am very proud of their achievements, as demonstrated by their awards and success subsequent to graduation.”
Susan Williams is a professor of anatomy and associate dean of faculty in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her lab conducts experiments both in the lab and in the field to examine the functional morphology, biomechanics and physiology of feeding in vertebrates, including chewing and swallowing. The primary goal of her research is to understand how the mammalian feeding system is altered or maintained over the course of evolution, during growth and development, and in injury or disease. By leveraging the evolutionary diversity in mammal feeding, one of her next projects will focus on patterns of functional and biomechanical integration between the head, neck and forelimbs in predatory mammalian carnivores that differ in killing mode and running ability. Williams has published dozens of articles in top research journals; contributed to Feeding in Vertebrates – Evolution, Morphology, Behavior Biomechanics, a book edited by leaders in the field; and has received both National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) grants to support her work.
Shiyong Wu is a professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the College of Arts & Sciences, a member of the Molecular Cellular Biology program, and director of the Edison Biotechnology Institute. He is internationally known for research contributions on the mechanisms of non-melanoma skin cancer formation. His lab has received approximately $4.2 million in grant awards, including three from the NIH, and published more than 80 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters. His work probes the fundamental molecular mechanisms of skin cancers caused by ultraviolet light exposure and helps identify potential therapeutics for prevention and treatment. His lab has made major contributions in the field of photochemistry, photobiology and photo-carcinogenesis. Wu has given seminars and invited talks around the world.
Devika Chawla is a professor of communication studies in the Scripps College of Communication. Her research focuses on communicative, performative and narrative approaches to studying family, home, and social identity. Specifically, she examines how people transform themselves in the relationships that surround them and with the social, political, economic resources available to them. In 2007, she embarked on an oral history project about cross-generational familial experiences caused by the division of British India into independent India and Pakistan. After conducting three years of oral history fieldwork with three generations of refugees in North India, Chawla published a book-length monograph, Home, Uprooted: Oral Histories of India’s Partition (Fordham University Press), which won the 2015 Outstanding Book Award from the Ethnography Division and the International and Intercultural Division of the National Communication Association. She has also edited and co-authored books and more than 50 essays in peer-reviewed journals and anthologies.
Robert G. Ingram
Robert G. Ingram is a professor of history in the College of Arts & Sciences and director of the George Washington Forum on American Ideas, Politics and Institutions. His research concerns religion and society in post-revolutionary Britain and its empire. In particular his scholarship grapples with the Reformation’s long-term effects on the English-speaking world. He has authored two books, four edited collections, and 19 book chapters and articles. He also has organized nine scholarly conferences, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and has held visiting fellowships at Durham University and Oxford Brookes University. His most recent book, Reformation Without End: Religion, Politics and the Past in Post-Revolutionary England, followed God in the Enlightenment and Between Sovereignty and Anarchy: The Politics of Violence in the American Revolutionary Era and Religion, Reform and Modernity in the Eighteenth Century: Thomas Secker and the Church of England.
Kevin Mattson is the Connor Study professor of contemporary history in the College of Arts & Sciences. He is a cultural and intellectual historian of international repute who has authored and edited 14 well-regarded books and more than 200 articles in the field of American history. His research focuses on the intersection of ideas and politics in the 20th century, including participatory and deliberative democracy. In his most recent book, We’re Not Here to Entertain: Punk Rock, Ronald Reagan and the Real Culture War of 1980s America, Mattson utilized extensive archival research to document how the punk rock movement produced ideas and modes of expression that defied the basic assumptions of the time, with lasting cultural and political importance. His other books probe political rhetoric, and include Just Plain Dick: Richard Nixon’s Checkers Speech and the “Rocking, Socking” Election of 1952, and What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?: Jimmy Carter, America’s Malaise and the Speech that Should Have Changed the Country.
Christopher Fisher is a professor of music in the College of Fine Arts. He is the co-author of Piano Duet Repertoire (Indiana University Press, 2016) and author of Teaching Piano in Groups (Oxford University Press, 2010). The latter work is the only comprehensive group piano pedagogy book of its kind and is used as a textbook at universities and conservatories internationally. As a result of the book’s critical acclaim, Fisher has delivered lectures throughout the world on the topic of group piano pedagogy, including recent engagements at the Juilliard School in New York and in the United Kingdom. In addition, he has published compositions and arrangements and contributed to the recording of Samplings: New Recordings for Bassoon and Piano. Fisher currently is working on two new manuscripts for the Oxford University Press.
Katarzyna Marciniak is a professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences and is affiliated with the College of Fine Arts. Over the past 20 years, she has contributed to the development of transnational cinema and postsocialist media studies in relationship to Eastern European cultures. Marciniak’s most cited work is Alienhood: Citizenship, Exile, and the Logic of Difference (University of Minnesota Press, 2006), which examines globalization. The essay collection she co-edited, Transnational Feminism in Film and Media (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), has been recognized as a groundbreaking contribution to transnational feminist media studies. Due to the critical acclaim for her work, in 2010 Palgrave appointed Marciniak the lead editor of their book series, Global Cinema, which has published 19 volumes to date. That same year, she won the MLA Florence Howe Award for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship. In 2016 Marciniak co-edited a collection of essays, Teaching Transnational Cinema: Politics and Pedagogy (Routledge), which explores the opportunities and challenges of teaching unfamiliar audiovisual texts.
Carl Brune is a professor of physics and astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences. His research—both experimental and theoretical—investigates how atomic nuclei react when they collide. Brune’s studies provide a greater understanding of astrophysical nuclear processes, such as those occurring in the cores of stars, during the big bang in the early universe, and in explosive environments such as supernovae. His work also has practical applications for nuclear power production. Brune has published findings in high-impact journals such as Nature Physics, frequently gives talks at national and international conferences, and has led several international collaborations. He has received $12.7 million in external funding since joining the university in 2001 and was the primary investigator on $9.6 million of those awards. Brune has also helped secure funding from the National Science Foundation for equipment upgrades to Ohio University’s internationally renowned Edwards Accelerator Laboratory. Brune is a fellow of the American Physical Society.
Peter Harrington is a professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is an expert in chemometrics, a subdiscipline of analytical chemistry that focuses on maximizing the information gained from chemical experiments. As there is a shortage of this expertise in the United States, Harrington has focused his research on designing automated, smart methods that can be used by scientists untrained in chemometrics to obtain accurate test results. In 1996, he developed and popularized the Copiosity Principle, which has become an important computational approach in the chemometrics field. Harrington employs his research methods and expertise to characterize botanical medicines, including cannabis. He has a long-standing collaboration with the USDA to develop automated chemometric methods for chemotyping foods and dietary supplements. Harrington won the Eastern Analytical Symposium Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemometrics in 2019.
Michael Geringer is the O’Bleness Professor of International Strategy in the College of Business. He has been globally recognized for his research on the creation, management and growth of international businesses. His work on how Japanese, European and North American companies can compete in international markets has generated 2,000 citations and attracted grant funding to expand the studies to Indian firms. In addition, Geringer’s research on human and technological resources in multinational corporations helped launch the widely cited Best Practices in International Human Resources Management project that involved scholars from more than 20 nations. He has authored or edited 47 books and monographs and is currently working on the second edition of International Business (McGraw-Hill Education) for a 2020 release. Geringer has garnered several teaching and research awards, including the Decade Award for most influential article from the Journal of International Business Studies.
Kimberly Rios is an associate professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences. With funding from entities such as the John Templeton Foundation, Rios has researched people’s responses to threats to their self-concepts and social identities, with a focus on majority and minority group identities. Historically, social psychology has emphasized tendencies toward conformity, but Rios’s work focuses on the notion that people are driven not only to fit in but also to be unique and distinctive from their peers . Rios has contributed new research findings to the social psychology field that illuminate why white Americans may respond negatively to multiculturalism and how those perceptions can change. In addition, she has studied why Christians and Muslims may consider religion and science as incompatible and the factors that can impact those views over time. In 2019, Rios received the Outstanding Early Career Award from the International Society for Self and Identity.
Jeff Vancouver is the William C. Byham Chair in Industrial/Organizational Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences. His research focuses on self-regulation—the processes individuals use to maintain or achieve needs and goals—to understand human behavior, and he has attracted funding from entities such as the National Science Foundation for his work. Vancouver’s research on the nature and effects of self-efficacy was groundbreaking, as it challenged previously held beliefs. In addition, he is considered a thought leader on the use of computational modeling as a tool to advance Industrial/Organizational (I/O) psychological research. His work, published in high-impact journals in the psychology discipline, is highly cited. Vancouver’s accomplishments have garnered him fellowship status in the Association of Psychological Sciences and the Society of I-O Psychologists.
Avinash Karanth Kodi
Daniel R. Phillips
Julie Sarno Owens
Steven W. Evans
Frank Van Graas