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Engineering Faculty Celebrated As Part Of 50-in-5 Achievements
Lindsay Lewis
More than 20 Engineering faculty members were recognized for contributing to the UH 50-in-5 initiative.
More than 20 Engineering faculty members were recognized for contributing to the UH 50-in-5 initiative.

At the first in-person, 50-in-5 celebration event, 116 faculty members were honored at the Wortham House on Monday, Nov. 29. President Renu Khator, Provost Paula Myrick Short and Vice President for Research Amr Elnashai recognized faculty achievements in Year 2 and Year 3 of UH’s 50-in-5 Program.

The University of Houston launched the program to increase research and scholarly activity by 50 percent during the course of five years, aligning UH with other top research universities in the Association of American Universities (AAU) and supporting the University’s rise to become a Top 50 public university.

Faculty were celebrated for achievements in two 50-in-5 categories: Impact 50 and National Recognition. Impact 50 recognizes UH faculty with the highest impact factors on peer-reviewed journal publications.

Out of this group of honorees, the top impact score for a publication was earned by Cullen College of Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering Department's Yan Yao, professor and principal investigator in the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston, and Yanliang Liang, assistant research professor. Their Nature Energy article, “High-power Mg batteries enabled by heterogeneous enolization redox chemistry and weakly coordinating electrolytes,” carries a journal impact factor of 60.8.

In the National Recognition category, 23 faculty were honored for national awards, which includes the prestigious Guggenheim Award and MacArthur Fellowship, Fulbright Scholars, National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Awards, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellows, National Academy of Inventors Fellows (NAI), Sloan Research Fellowships, and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowships.

Cristina Rivera Garza, Distinguished Professor in Hispanic studies, was honored for earning a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, while Pradeep Sharma, M.D. Anderson Chair Professor and department chair of Mechanical Engineering, was honored as a recipient of the Guggenheim Award. Triantafillos Mountziaris, the William A. Brookshire Department Chair of chemical and biomolecular engineering, was recognized for his election as fellow of AAAS. 

“These achievements bring incredible recognition to our colleges and the University of Houston,” said Short. “We are very proud to see our faculty earn such prestigious and distinguished awards. I have been at two AAU top research universities and know firsthand what quality in research and scholarship at that level of institution should be. We have that here at UH and faculty honored at the event have demonstrated such quality.”

This category also includes faculty who published single-author books, as scholarly texts raise UH's visibility  in both academia and the public domain. During the event, 24 faculty were celebrated for publishing single-author books. Gerald Horne, Moores Professor of History, and Courtney Crappell, director of the Moores School of Music, published two texts in 2019, and Horne published another in 2020. Rivera Garza published three texts in 2020 and one in 2019, while Alessandro Carrera, Moores Professor of Modern and Classical Languages, published a book in both years.

“The list of accomplishments recognized in this 50-in-5 event could have been from any Top 10 U.S. university,” said Elnashai. “It is so impressive to see the scholarly accomplishments by faculty from a university on the rise, even an ambitious one like UH. It proves what I have always known; that our top faculty are world-class, as distinguished and competitive as any faculty worldwide.”

Faculty members celebrated for high-impact publications, national recognition and single-author books are listed on UH’s 50-in-5 website. Faculty members who earned patents and major grant awards during Year 2 and 3 of the program will be celebrated at the Wortham House in February.

Engineering faculty honored for Year 2 of the program include:

  • National Recognition Honorees: Haleh Ardebili and Sheereen Majd.
  • Publication Honorees: Jiming Bao, Ji Chen, Hadi Ghasemi, Zhu Han, Michael Harold, Hyongki Lee, Yanliang Liang, Chandra Mohan, Jeremy Palmer, Jeffery Rimer, Jae-Hyun Ryou, Venkat Selvamanickam, Xiaonan-Shan Shih, Navin Varadarajan, Peter Vekilov, Di Yang, Yan Yao and Cunjiang Yu. 

Engineering faculty honored for Year 3 of the program include:

  • National Recognition Honorees: Shailendra Joshi, Triantafillos “Lakis” Mountziaris and Pradeep Sharma.
  • Publication Honorees: Haleh Ardebili, Praveen Bollini, Long Chang, Ji Chen, Juan Carlos Fernandez-Diaz, Hadi Ghasemi, Lars Grabow, Zhu Han, Michael Harold, Alamgir Karim, Yanliang Liang, Dmitri Litvinov, Chandra Mohan, Jeremy Palmer, Jeffrey Rimer, Jae-Hyun Ryou, Pradeep Sharma, Peter Vekilov, Di Yang, Yan Yao and Cunjiang Yu. 

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