Research at Nebraska 2019-2020 Report


Raymond Hames

Raymond Hames, professor of anthropology, earned member-ship in the National Academy of Sciences. The honor, one of the highest distinctions for a scientist or engineer in the United States, recognizes distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Hames is an international authority on the lives of indigenous peoples of the Venezuelan Amazon, particularly the Yanomamö and Ye’kwana, and has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and The Leakey Foundation. His work focuses on behavioral ecology, food and labor exchange, human ecology, marriage, kinship and parental investment. Hames is the fourth Nebraska faculty member, and the fi rst since 2003, to earn the prestigious distinction.

Ed Cahoon, Tom Clemente and Eileen Hebets were named American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows in 2019. Fellows are selected by their peers for scientifically or socially distinguished achievements that advance science or its application.

  • Cahoon, George Holmes Professor of Biochemistry, was recognized for contributions to plant lipid biochemistry.
  • Clemente, Eugene W. Price Distinguished Professor of Biotechnology, was honored for contributions to plant molecular biology and genetics.
  • Hebets, Charles Bessey Professor of Biological Sciences, was recognized for contributions to behavioral and evolutionary biology.

Two Husker researchers will use Fulbright U.S. Scholar Awards to travel to São Paulo, Brazil, to research and teach. Cody Hollist, associate professor of child, youth and family studies, will study suicide and self-harm in Brazil, develop interventions to mitigate them and teach family therapy courses to students at the Federal University of São Paulo. Isabel Velázquez, Harold E. Spencer Professor in Modern Languages and Literatures, will conduct research at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas, or UNICAMP, focused on the sociolinguistic experience and perceptions of speakers of Venezuelan Spanish, an estimated 100,000 of whom have recently settled in Brazil after fleeing political and economic crises in Venezuela. Through her research, Velázquez aims to help these refugees integrate into Brazilian society.

Author Chigozie Obioma, James E. Ryan Associate Professor of English, appeared on the Booker Prize for Fiction shortlist in 2019 for his second novel, “An Orchestra of Minorities.” The prize is one of the world’s most prestigious awards in literature and has recognized outstanding fi ction for more than 50 years. Obioma’s book, written in the mythic style of the Igbo literary tradition, tells the story of a Nigerian poultry farmer as he pursues the woman he loves. This was Obioma’s second appearance on the shortlist. In 2015, his debut novel, “The Fisherman,” received the same honor. He is among a handful of authors selected for the shortlist more than once.

Amy Burnett, Paula and D.B. Varner University Professor of History, was named a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The fellowships honor individuals who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. During the 12-month fellowship, Burnett will research the correspondence among European humanists, pastors and teachers during the Reformation and work on a book, “The Religious Republic of Letters: Correspondence Networks in Reformation Germany.” She was one of 175 fellows in 2020, who were selected from more than 3,000 applications.

Shudipto Dishari, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, received the Early Career Research Program award from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The award is designed to enhance the nation’s scientific workforce by supporting exceptional researchers during their critical early career years. With the funding, Dishari will design new polymer materials that improve energy efficiency and storage, possibly in devices such as fuel cells and redox-flow batteries. She hopes the work will pave the way for her to eventually commercialize the polymers through a spinoff company. Dishari was one of 73 scientists to receive the DOE early career award in 2019.

Cody Creech, assistant professor of agronomy and horticulture, received the Crop Science Society of America Early Career Award. The honor recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in crop science within seven years of completing their final degree. Creech, a dryland cropping systems specialist at the university’s Panhandle Research and Extension Center, focuses on enhancing agronomic practices to increase profitability, optimizing soil water conservation and improving weed management. His research has contributed to refining seeding recommendations for winter wheat and defining the role of wheat residue in soil water conservation.

Anthropologist Heather Richards-Rissetto received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The award is granted to scholars pursuing projects that embody exceptional research, rigorous analysis and clear writing. With the fellowship, Richards-Rissetto, assistant professor of anthropology, will pursue work on a digital publication focused on the Mayan city of Copán, an archaeological site in Honduras dating from the 5th to 9th centuries CE. The publication will feature 3D reconstructions and immersive virtual reality experiences of the city.

Sherri Jones, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences and Velma Warren Hodder Professor of Special Education and Communication Disorders, received Honors of the Association recognition from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 2019. The group’s most prestigious award, this honor recognizes lifetime achievement and distinguished contributions to the field of communication sciences and disorders. Jones was honored for her 30 years of continuously funded audiology research focused on identifying the functional consequences of genetic mutations in the inner ear. She developed a technique to examine vestibular neural function, with the ultimate goal of better diagnosis and treatment of dizziness. The association also noted Jones’ success as a teacher, mentor and administrator.

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