FSU hires 15 rising stars to bolster key research areas

Gary K. Ostrander, Vice
President for Research at Florida

Florida State University has hired 15 new researchers in the Brain Health and Disease, Energy and Materials, and Coastal and Marine Research initiatives as it continues to invest in these burgeoning areas and further science and discovery as part of its mission as a preeminent university in Florida.

“Using our existing infrastructure, collaborative culture and strategic research vision, we were able to attract a truly outstanding class of scientists to help lead innovation in these key research areas,” said Interim Provost Sally E. McRorie. “I have no doubt that their knowledge, expertise and unbridled curiosity, combined with FSU’s support, will lead to some amazing discoveries in the decades ahead.”

FSU focused this latest recruiting effort on these strategic research areas based on their value to overall human advancement and the large amount of related research already occurring at the university. For example, FSU is home to a variety of existing research centers such as the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Center for Brain Repair, Autism Institute, Coastal and Marine Laboratory, Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies, High Performance Materials Institute, and Center for Advanced Power Systems.

“We really felt that these areas had the most potential for immediate growth and development based on our existing strengths as a research university, as well as being critical launch points for humanity’s successful march into the future,” said Vice President for Research Gary K. Ostrander. “To help speed along innovation, we have spread these new researchers out through a number of different departments, which should spur interdisciplinary collaboration and increase the flow of ideas across the university.”

Twelve out of the 15 researchers began this fall; the remaining three will start in January.

The three scientists hired in Brain Health and Disease are:

Liz Hammock, doctorate from Emory University. Hammock joins the Department of Psychology and will focus on molecular genetics and development of social and affective behavior in mammals.

Wen Li,doctorate from Northwestern University. Li also joins the Department of Psychology and will focus on the psychological and neural underpinnings of emotional processing and interactions in normal and anxious individuals.

Yuan Wang, doctorate from Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Science. Wang joins the Department of Biomedical Science and will focus on the development and plasticity of neuronal circuits and their pathology in human diseases and neurodegeneration.

The eight scientists hired in Energy and Materials are (complementing three scientists previously hired in this area):

Yan-Yan Hu, doctorate from Iowa State University. Hu is joining the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and focuses on NMR spectroscopy studies of energy conversion and storage devices.

Justin Kennemur, doctorate from North Carolina State University. Kennemur is joining the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and researches the synthesis of block co-polymers.

Chen Huang, doctorate from Princeton University. Huang joins the Department of Scientific Computing and uses computational methods to study advanced materials.

Shangchao Lin, doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lin is joining the Department of Mechanical Engineering and studies multi-scale computational design of functional materials.

Zhibin Yu, doctorate from University of California Los Angeles. Yu joins the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering and researches thin film production for tandem solar cells and wafer scale photonic systems.

Christianne Beekman, doctorate from Leiden University. Beekman joins the Department of Physics and researches pulse laser deposition of thin films.

Hoyung Chung, doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University. Chung joins the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and studies bio-inspired polymers.

Jose Mendoza-Cortes, doctorate from California Institute of Technology. Mendoza-Cortes joins the department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and studies computational and theoretical chemistry.

The four scientists hired in Coastal and Marine Research are:

Scott Burgess, doctorate from University of Queensland (Australia). Burgess joins the Department of Biological Science and studies marine population biology, population connectivity and the dynamics and life history of marine creatures.

Mike Stukel, doctorate from Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Stukel joins the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science. He researches the interface of biological and chemical oceanography, coastal ecosystems and the role of zooplankton in carbon cycling.

Robert Spencer, doctorate from University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom). Spencer joins the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science and researches the export, processing and fate of organic matter in coastal systems.

Mariana Fuentes, doctorate from James Cook University (Australia). Fuentes joins the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science and studies conservation biology of large marine animals, particularly sea turtles.