Research Spotlight: Four professors named 2010 Ford Fellows

SMU's 2010 Ford Research FellowsFour outstanding SMU researchers have received the University’s 2010 Ford Research Fellowships. This year’s recipients are Jaime Clark-Soles, New Testament, Perkins School of Theology; Ernie Jouriles, Psychology, Dedman College; Daniel Millimet, Economics, Dedman College; and Brent Sumerlin, Chemistry, Dedman College.

Established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from SMU Trustee Gerald J. Ford, 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.

(Above, the new Ford Research Fellows were honored by the SMU Board of Trustees during its May meeting (left to right): Brent Sumerlin, Jaime Clark-Soles, Daniel Millimet and Ernie Jouriles. Photo by Hillsman S. Jackson.)

Continue reading “Research Spotlight: Four professors named 2010 Ford Fellows”

For the Record: Feb. 18, 2010

Brent Sumerlin, Chemistry, Dedman College, has been selected as a 2010-2012 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The award carries a grant of $50,000 to support his research. The Sloan Research Fellowships “seek to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise,” according to the foundation’s website. The 2-year fellowships are awarded annually to 118 researchers “in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field.” More than 30 Sloan Research Fellows have won Nobel Prizes later in their careers.

Ron Wetherington, Anthropology, Dedman College, has been selected to receive a “Friend of Darwin” award from the National Center for Science Education. Wetherington, who also serves as director of SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence, was honored for his advocacy on behalf of science by the NCSE, which supports the teaching of evolution in public schools. Read more.

Research Spotlight: Better living through chemistry

Brent SumerlinBrent Sumerlin (left) works with a team of postdoctoral research associates, graduate and undergraduate students who fuse the fields of polymer, organic and biochemistries to develop novel materials with composite properties. His research has helped him earn a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, given to junior faculty members who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars in American colleges and universities.

Sumerlin, assistant professor of chemistry in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, will receive $475,000 over five years for two related nanotechnology research projects. The award also includes support for education outreach, and Sumerlin’s will fund a program for K-12 school districts and community colleges to help prepare and attract underrepresented minority students for SMU chemistry internship positions.

The first part of Sumerlin’s NSF-funded research will investigate how nano-scale polymer particles can be triggered to come apart in response to a chemical stimulus. One of the potential applications of the technology is an automatic treatment solution for diabetics – one that would release insulin from tiny polymer spheres when they encounter dangerous levels of glucose in the bloodstream.

“Researchers worldwide are looking toward methods of insulin delivery that will relieve diabetics of frequent blood-sugar monitoring and injections,” Sumerlin said.

The second aspect of the project involves making polymers with the ability to come apart and put themselves back together again – a technique that Sumerlin believes can be used to construct materials that are self-repairing. “We could potentially think about coatings for airplane wings that are damaged by debris during flight,” Sumerlin said. “After landing, we could quickly treat the coating, causing it to re-form itself.”

Learn more at the Sumerlin Research Group website

For the Record: Nov. 29, 2007

Richard Nelson, Theology, Brent Sumerlin, Chemistry, and Matthew Wilson, Political Science, have received Sam Taylor Fellowships from the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Nelson’s Fellowship will support his research at the University of Cambridge, England, on the Book of Judges as a resource in public policy debates. Sumerlin’s Fellowship will allow local high school students, along with undergraduate and graduate students, to participate in his research developing new synthetic “smart” materials in biotechnology. Wilson’s Fellowship will support his research on public opinion toward Catholicism and its role in national elections, one part of a larger book project.

Mark Roglán, Meadows Museum Director, talked about the future and educational mission of the Meadows Museum with The Dallas Morning News Nov. 26, 2007.

The Dedman School of Law‘s Mock Trial team has earned a spot in the American Bar Association‘s national competition in January. Nefeterius McPherson, Sally Pretorius, John Roberts and Michael Thomas took first place in the regional competition and will represent the region in Chicago Jan. 26-27, 2008.

Erin Krafft, a graduate student in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, struck a $60,000 bargain on NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” Nov. 16, 2007. Read more.