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Archive for Friday, December 11, 2009

Deadline looming for award that honors high caliber KU, Kansas university researchers

From left are the 2009 Higuchi award recipients: Duy Hua, Kansas State University; Arienne Dwyer, Kansas University; Sue Rice, standing in for her husband, Charles Rice, K-State; and Steven Barlow, KU.

From left are the 2009 Higuchi award recipients: Duy Hua, Kansas State University; Arienne Dwyer, Kansas University; Sue Rice, standing in for her husband, Charles Rice, K-State; and Steven Barlow, KU.

December 11, 2009

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The deadline is approaching to submit nominees for next year’s Higuchi research awards, one of Kansas University’s top awards for research.

George Frederickson, a university distinguished professor of public administration and a 2005 recipient of a Higuchi award, said that while many awards recognize teaching, high-quality research matters most when it comes to the university’s standing in the academic community.

“They make a big fuss out of teaching, which is great,” Frederickson said. “But the university’s entire national and international reputation is built on research. Who’s on your faculty, and what have they published?”

Professors at any Kansas Board of Regents university are eligible for the award, which comes with a $10,000 stipend. Nominees are due for the 2010 awards on Monday.12-14

The Higuchi awards — created by the late KU pharmaceutical chemist Takeru Higuchi and his wife, Aya — recognize and honor a career of high-quality research.

This year’s four recipients all said it was an honor to be selected. They include:

• Steven Barlow, KU professor of speech-language hearing, who won the Dolph Simons Award in Biomedical Sciences. Barlow, who joined the faculty in 2000, has worked with at-risk premature newborns.

He developed a treatment to help prepare infants for feeding and establish a normal sucking behavior — one of the primary factors that extend hospital stays for premature babies.

“We can usually get the youngster out of the hospital a week earlier,” Barlow said.

• Arienne Dwyer, KU associate professor of linguistic anthropology, who won the Balfour Jeffrey Award in Humanities and Social Sciences. She has studied languages that are disappearing, particularly in inner Asia, making interactive maps of geographic language systems.

“It’s a great honor, and it means a lot for my department and for research at KU in general,” she said of receiving the award.

• Duy Hua, Kansas State University distinguished professor of chemistry, who won the Olin Petefish Award in Basic Science. He works in an incredibly complex field, he said, involving organic synthesis.

For him, however, he said he prefers to think of his field in another way. Every day when he goes to work, he said, he thinks of his research as saving and improving the lives of people affected by cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

• Charles Rice, university distinguished professor of agronomy at Kansas State, who received the Irvin Youngberg Award for Applied Sciences.

In his research on soil and climate change, he’s determined that higher levels of carbon dioxide in soil help(deletes) plants grow. However, he said the effects of global climate change still could reduce the global potential for growing crops.

“Water availability, that will negate that (carbon dioxide) response,” Rice said.

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