Four professors named Ford Research Fellows for 2009

SMU's 2009 Ford Research FellowsFour exemplary SMU researchers have received the University’s 2009 Ford Research Fellowships. This year’s recipients are Ben Johnson, History; Fred Olness, Physics; Larry Ruben, Biological Sciences; and Carolyn Smith-Morris, Anthropology. All of the new Ford Research Fellows teach in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from Gerald J. Ford, chair of SMU’s Board of Trustees, the fellowships help the University retain and reward outstanding scholars. Each recipient receives a cash prize for research support during the year.

Read more about this year’s recipients under the link. Right, the new Ford Fellows were honored by the SMU Board of Trustees during its May meeting (left to right): Gerald J. Ford, Ben Johnson, Carolyn Smith-Morris, Fred Olness, Larry Ruben, and SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

Ben Johnson, History, Dedman College – Johnson’s research interests include environmental, borderlands and modern U.S. history. His work in Texas-Mexico border history resulted in the 2003 book Revolution in Texas: How a Forgotten Rebellion and Its Bloody Suppression Turned Mexicans into Americans (Yale University Press). His most recent book, Bordertown: The Odyssey of an American Place (Yale University Press, 2008) received the Ray and Pat Browne Award for the Best Reference/Primary Source Work in Popular and American Culture from the Popular Culture and American Culture Association as well as SMU’s 2009 Godbey Lecture Series Authors’ Award.

Fred Olness, Physics, Dedman College – Olness specializes in elementary particle physics phenomenology with an emphasis in quantum chromodynamics, the force that binds nuclei. His research seeks to determine the fundamental building blocks of nature and what holds them together. He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2005 for significant contributions to understanding nucleon structure and heavy quark production in perturbative quantum chromodynamics. He has worked with the Theoretical Physics Group at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, and at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. He is co-author of the textbook Mathematica for Physics, now in its 2nd edition.

Larry Ruben, Biological Sciences, Dedman College – Ruben’s interests include the pathogenesis of African trypanosomes, cellular signaling and molecular parasitology. He has done extensive research into the signal properties of Trypanosoma brucei, which causes the lethal disease commonly known as sleeping sickness that infects humans and livestock and potentially affects more than 60 million people in 36 countries. His current research focuses on the pathways that regulate cell division and cell death, searching for unique processes in the trypanosome that can be used to design new therapies that may prevent infection cells from successfully dividing and reproducing.

Carolyn Smith-Morris, Anthropology, Dedman College – Smith-Morris specializes in medical anthropology, American Indians, diseases of development, gender and health. For more than 10 years, she has worked with the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona, researching the many overlapping factors in a diabetes epidemic among the Pima Indians and how the community has responded to this health crisis. She documented her findings in the 2006 book Diabetes Among the Pima: Stories of Survival, published by the University of Arizona Press. She is a member of the Anthropology Department’s SMU CORES (Community Research and Service) Initiative, which sponsors research-based service projects in Dallas and other communities.

Read more at the Ford Research Fellows’ faculty websites:

Ben Johnson
Fred Olness
Larry Ruben
Carolyn Smith-Morris