Research and Creative Achievement — Professional Promise awards honor faculty members who are early in their careers for excellence in research, scholarship, and creative achievement.
Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Bai, classical Chinese, and French. Those are the languages Megan Bryson, assistant professor of religious studies, has studied. This vast linguistic knowledge grants her access to a wider breadth of information than many scholars have. The result is her world-renowned research into the intersections of religion, gender, and ethnicity in Southwest China, with teaching and research expertise in Buddhism and the religions of Asia. Bryson’s work incorporates time-consuming translation, transcriptions from medieval manuscripts, and ethnographic studies. Her meticulous scholarship has afforded her noteworthy recognition that includes a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.
Maik Lang, associate professor of nuclear engineering and Pietro F. Pasqua Fellow, is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in material effects from swift heavy ion irradiation. His award-winning research has brought in close to $2.5 million in research funding and has enabled him to author close to 10 journal publications a year. His stature in the field has been recognized with his selection to the International Scientific Committee of Swift Heavy Ions in Matter conference, his service on review panels for US and international user facilities for swift heavy ion effects, and his membership on the editorial board of npj Materials Degradation, part of the prestigious series of Nature journals. Lang is also responsible for mentoring students to great success.
In only seven years, Lisa Lindley, an associate professor of nursing, has become an expert in a difficult field: end-of-life care for children. A prolific writer on the topic, Lindley has brought $2 million in federal funding to UT. She has received a National Institutes of Health Career Development Award as well as NIH funding to study the effectiveness and costs of concurrent care—that is, the continuation of life-prolonging therapies for those enrolled in hospice care. This work promises to provide guidance to those forced to make the terrible choice between continuing curative life-prolonging therapies or using hospice care for their children with serious illnesses. “UT is considered an important academic setting for end-of-life research, in large part because of Dr. Lindley’s contribution to the science,” College of Nursing Dean Victoria Neiderhauser wrote.
Stephanie TerMaath, assistant professor and Jessie Rogers Zeanah Faculty Fellow in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering, came to UT after working at both Lockheed Martin and Boeing. This professional experience has benefited both her research and her students, allowing her to leverage industry connections to arrange student tours of assembly plants and bring an array of noted speakers to campus. TerMaath’s pioneering research into fracture mechanics of thin structures, from aerospace components to brain implants, has garnered honors including the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program award. TerMaath is also co-principal investigator of a $9.9 million NASA program led out of UT. A nominator noted that one of TerMaath’s most impressive research contributions resulted from her own challenges. “Like millions of people worldwide, she has a brain shunt, a medical device that regulates her intracranial pressure. Having recently undergone her sixth brain surgery in the last decade, she is very familiar with this device failure and the subsequent patient suffering, and she is determined to fix it.”