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2016 Research and Creative Achievement—Professional Promise

Research and Creative Achievement — Professional Promise awards honor faculty members who are early in their careers for excellence in research, scholarship, and creative achievement.

Monica Black

Monica BlackMonica Black, associate professor in the Department of History, has a growing reputation as one of her generation’s foremost scholars of German history. Her first book, Death in Berlin: From Weimar to Divided Germany (2010), won two major book prizes, the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History and the 2011 Rosenberg Prize. She has also won numerous awards for her research, including two of the most competitive research fellowships in the humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies fellowship and the Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin. Black is no less outstanding as an undergraduate teacher. Acting as associate head of the undergraduate program, she is focused on providing undergraduates with more hands-on learning and research opportunities.

Shawn Campagna

Shawn CampagnaShawn Campagna, associate professor of chemistry, pioneered the use of mass spectrometry for the analysis of metabolytes—an area that has application across several disciplines, including biology and agricultural science. With resource support from several UT departments, he built the Biological and Small Molecule Mass Spectrometry Core Facility, a model facility that consists of six mass spectrometers. He was recently awarded funds to purchase a seventh instrument. In just five years, Campagna has attracted more than $5.5 million in funding. His drive and creativity have had a huge impact on multiple departments across the university.

Sarah Colby

Sarah ColbyDepartment of Nutrition associate professor Sarah Colby’s research in adolescent and young adulthood obesity led to her receiving the single largest grant awarded at UT in 2014: a $4.9 million USDA/AFRI grant designed to increase the fruit and vegetable intake of college-age adults through social marketing. Although she was the principal investigator on that project, she has worked collaboratively on many smaller grants, including one developed by the Healthy Campus Research Consortium to promote healthy culinary skills in children involved in 4-H programs. Peer reviews describe Colby as an emerging leader in the field of nutrition education and public health nutrition and laud her for conducting innovative, novel, and cutting-edge research while using a broad range of emerging research technologies.

Gong Gu

Gong GuGong Gu, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is a prodigious researcher whose h-index—27 for the Web of Science—already exceeds the average in his field. His primary interest lies in the heterostructures of two-dimensional materials. Published in the journal Science in 2014 and cited sixty-eight times, his landmark study in this area examines how the concept of heteroepitaxy in 3-D semiconductors can be extended to two dimensions, resulting in a one-dimensional interface. Gu’s other research interests include photovoltaics and organic electronics. For this work, Gu and his student, S. Das, were featured on the cover page of the journal Nanoscale. He is known for his open-mindedness, perseverance, and leadership in the discipline.