Appointments, honors and activities

May 29, 2015  

Faculty and staff honors:

- Corey Neu, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, received a 2014 Faculty Early Career Development award from the National Science Foundation. He is using advanced microscopy, image registration, and molecular biology methods to study the biomechanics of the cell nucleus and basic mechanisms that determine the physical regulation of gene expression. The research will aim to significantly advance the understanding of the physical regulation of the cell nucleus in structurally complex and hierarchical biological tissues. More broadly, the research activities may impact tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and related fields, by establishing the ability to study mechanisms of nuclear strain and gene expression in single cells, including studies of rare cell populations within tissues and biomaterials. The education activities emphasize undergraduate and graduate course development in mechanobiology, and broaden a partnership between Purdue and the Children's Museum of Indianapolis to promote learning in science and engineering from an early age.

- Laura Bofferding, an assistant professor of mathematics education, received a 2014 Faculty Early Career Development award from the National Science Foundation.  She is working to identify language factors and instructional sequences that contribute to improving elementary students' understanding of addition and subtraction problems involving negative integers. Currently, most students learn about negative numbers long after they have learned about positive numbers. They have little time or opportunity to build on their prior understanding by contrasting the two concepts. The research involves second- and fourth-graders and will test the language factors that support students' understanding of integers. The work also involves second- and fifth-graders and will test the optimal order in which integer addition and subtraction problems are presented. Research results will be incorporated into an undergraduate mathematics methods course. Bofferding also will create an integer game and storybook, illustrating key concepts identified through the research, that parents can explore together with their children during family math nights and at home.

- Yulia Pushkar, an associate professor of physics, received a 2014 Faculty Early Career Development award from the National Science Foundation. She is working to uncover the detailed mechanism for photosynthesis, the process by which plants produce substances such as sugars from carbon dioxide from water and sunlight. The understanding of this key life process could advance the development of alternative energy sources through the design of better water-splitting catalysts that enable artificial photosynthesis. The work employs various physical measurements to determine the molecular details of this important process in real time and, as such, is at the interface of physics, chemistry and the biological sciences. The broader impact of the research is on several scientific areas including bioinorganic chemistry and molecular biophysics. Additionally, the work has consequences on science education at the high school level through the research team's efforts in designing lesson modules about photosynthesis that high school science teachers can use.

Alumni honors:

- Purdue alumna Beth Brooke-Marciniak has been named to the Forbes list of "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women." Brooke-Marciniak is global vice chair of public policy for EY (formerly Ernst & Young). She has responsibilities in the 150 countries where the international professional services firm operates. She earned a bachelor's degree in industrial management/computer science from Krannert School of Management in 1981 while playing on the women's basketball team and received an honorary doctorate from Purdue in 2012. This is the eighth time she has been named to the Forbes most powerful women list.

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