Research Excellence Awards honor early and mid-career Brown scholars

The winners were selected by a panel of Brown faculty. In addition to the award, recipients receive a research allowance of $5,000. The recipients of the Research Excellence Award 2022 include:

David Badre (cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences) received a Mid-Career Research Achievement Award. Badre is a leader in the neuroscience of cognitive control, which impacts how the brain translates goals and plans into concrete behaviors. His research has provided influential insights into how the prefrontal cortex supports humans’ ability to guide memory retrieval and perform complex tasks involving multiple goals. His work has been recognized with a Sloan Fellowship, a James S. McDonnell Fellowship, and a Young Investigator Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. Additionally, Badre was a finalist for the Association of American Publishers’ PROSE Award for his 2020 book, “On Task.” He chairs the Cognition and Perception Study Section of the National Institutes of Health.

Margaret Hanson Bublitz (Psychiatry and Human Behavior; Medicine) received an Early Career Research Excellence Award. Bublitz studies the pathways linking psychological stress before and during pregnancy to adverse perinatal health, as well as mind-body interventions to reduce stress and mitigate the risk of adverse obstetric outcomes. She published some of the first childhood maltreatment history investigations into cortisol trajectories during pregnancy. Her next study of a phone-based mindfulness intervention designed to reduce the risk of developing hypertensive disorders during pregnancy recently received funding from the National Institutes of Health. Bublitz is a practicing clinical psychologist and has been a leader in integrating behavioral health into primary care and OBGYN services at Lifespan’s Women’s Medicine Collaborative.

Dr Gaurav Choudhary (medicine) received a Mid-Career Research Excellence Award. Choudhary is a physician-scientist conducting basic, clinical, and epidemiological research in pulmonary vascular disease and right ventricular dysfunction. His clinical and epidemiological work on pulmonary hypertension has contributed to redefining the diagnostic criteria for this condition, while his fundamental scientific research has made it possible to identify new therapeutic targets. He is currently the Director of Cardiovascular Research at Warren Alpert Medical School and the Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute, and Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the VA Providence Health Care System. He directs a pulmonary hypertension research and clinical program funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Providence VA National Institutes of Health.

Hongjie Dong (Applied Mathematics) received a Mid-Career Research Achievement Award for his research on partial differential equations, which are mathematical equations that describe fundamental laws of physics and engineering, among other sciences. He is considered a leading expert in this field and has developed new tools for analyzing elliptical and parabolic partial differential equations with important applications to the study of composite materials theory, fluid dynamics and kinetic theory. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Early Career Award and a prestigious Simons Foundation Fellowship. From 2014 to 2017, Dong served as director of undergraduate studies in the Brown Division of Applied Mathematics.

Eric Nathan (music) received an Early Career Research Achievement Award for his instrumental and vocal compositions. By experimenting with musical structures, visual choreography and new performance techniques, Nathan manipulates the experience of live performance. His recent compositions include “Missing Words” and “Some Favored Nook”. He has been commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation at the Library of Congress, and the New England Philharmonic, where he conducts as Composer-in-Residence for the 2021-22 academic year. Nathan received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Walter Damrosch Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, and a 2022 Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Tara Nummedal (History; Italian Studies) received a Mid-Career Research Achievement Award. Nummedal is a historian of science and gender in early modern Europe. Her 2019 book, “Anna Zieglerin and the Lion’s Blood: Alchemy and End Times in Reformation Germany,” examines the politics of alchemy in the Holy Roman Empire through the story of a young female alchemist. In 2020, she co-edited the first born-digital book as part of Brown’s digital publishing initiative, “Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s ‘Atalanta fugiens’ (1618) with Scholarly Commentary”. Nummedal is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a Burkhardt Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, and a Fellowship from the National Endowment of Humanities.

Brenda Rubenstein (chemistry) received an Early Career Research Achievement Award for his research in theoretical and computational chemistry. She has conducted pioneering work in quantum theory and alternative computing, and is the recipient of a Sloan Fellowship, a Camille Dreyfus Fellowship, the Air Force Young Investigator Award, and was recently named to the 2021 Brilliant 10 list of young scientists. promises of Scientific American. She is committed to increasing diversity in STEM and chairs the Brown Chemistry Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Committee. Rubenstein also created the Rhode Island Advocate program to mentor underserved students in local high schools, preparing them to participate in science research projects and participate in local and international science fairs.

André Zullo (Health Services, Policy and Practice) received an Early Career Research Excellence Award. Zullo conducts research on the optimal use of drugs and vaccines to improve health and minimize adverse effects in older adults. His work has been highly influential in supporting clinical practice and informing evidence-based decision-making by pharmaceutical companies. He has published over 105 peer-reviewed articles and received millions in grants over the past four years. Zullo received the New Investigator Award from the American Geriatrics Society and the Plein Memorial Lecture Award from the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. He is also Past Chair of the International Society of Pharmacoepidemiology Geriatrics Special Interest Group.

New awards for Inventor and Startup of the Year

This year marked the introduction of two new award categories at the Research Celebration: the Inventor of the Year Award and the Startup of the Year Award.

“These new categories represent Brown’s commitment to innovation,” said Pipher. “New inventions and the resulting start-ups are the natural result of strong faculty research programs.”

Practicing physician-scientist Dr. Wafik El-Deiry, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and medical oncologist at Rhode Island Hospital and Miriam Hospital in Providence, received the Inventor Award from the year, which honors the inventor Brown who has had the most invention disclosures during the past calendar year. With nine disclosures submitted in 2021 alone, El-Deiry was a top inventor at Brown Technology Innovations.

Bolden Therapeutics received the Startup of the Year award, which recognizes the new company that has both licensed a Brown technology and raised the most investment capital – all by 2021. Bolden Therapeutics is a biotechnology company developing therapies to treat diseases of the central nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Bolden’s core technology was backed by a Brown Research Seed Award the company received in 2018.

The Research Celebration event also honored 21 recipients of the Seed prices 2022awarded to advance promising early-stage research projects, and 14 recipients of the Solomon Prize 2022awarded to recognize outstanding research in various fields, with preference given to junior faculty members.

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