University of South Florida

College of Arts & Sciences


Five CAS faculty members who were recognized with outstanding research achievement awards

Five CAS faculty members recognized with Outstanding Research Achievement Awards

Five USF College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) faculty members are being recognized next month with Faculty Outstanding Research Achievement Awards.

“The faculty being recognized with these awards have demonstrated extraordinary success in their research and scholarly endeavors," said USF Research & Innovation Interim Vice President Sylvia Thomas. "We honor them for creating and deploying transformative knowledge, solutions and innovations that address important challenges locally, nationally and globally.”

The largest internal recognition of its kind at USF, the annual nominations are submitted by deans, department chairs, center and institute directors, and associate deans for research. The nominations are reviewed by members of the USF Research Council. Each faculty member receives $2,000 and recognition for their accomplishments at an awards ceremony on September 12.

This year’s CAS awardees are:

Peter E. Clayson, Assistant Professor

For innovative contributions to the integration of psychometric principles and psychophysiological measurement, leading to improved insights, diagnosis and therapeutic interventions for mental health conditions, with broad ramifications for disciplines studying individual differences

Peter Clayson

Peter Clayson is a leading expert in the field of clinical psychophysiology, earning widespread acclaim for his contributions to the measurement and psychometric evaluation of psychophysiological signals, particularly event-related potentials (i.e., brain waves). In 2022, Clayson was awarded a highly competitive five-year grant of $2,907,897 to optimize paradigms for studying the relationships between psychophysiological signals and mental illness. His work will guide the evaluation of biomarkers of mental illness through high quality psychometrics to pave the way for the better selection of biomarkers and the development of innovative tasks, ultimately improving the clinical utility of these biomarkers. Additionally, in 2022 he published six articles in top-tier journals and secured in-principle acceptances on three Stage 1 Registered Reports. His exceptional accomplishments placed him among the top 2 percent of the most cited scientists globally in 2022 (Stanford University World Top 2% Scientists List).

Prahathees Eswara, Associate Professor 
Molecular Biosciences

For distinguished contributions to the fundamental understanding of bacterial cell biology and the establishment of interdisciplinary collaborations to develop novel antibiotics

Prahathees Eswara

Prahathees Eswara’s research aims to understand bacterial cell division and harness this knowledge to develop novel antibiotics. His lab is supported by an NIH R35 grant (~$2.2M; 2019-2024) and he is the first person from USF to receive this outstanding investigator award. He also received an R21 grant (2021-2023) as a co-Investigator. In 2022, he published five research articles including two as a corresponding author in journals such as Nature Communications (IF: 17.7) and Microbiology Spectrum (IF 9.0). In recognition of his expertise, Eswara was invited to serve as a councilor (2020-2023) and as a program committee member (2022-2025) of the annual international Microbe meetings for the American Society for Microbiology. In 2022, Eswara reviewed grants for NSF and was solicited to review for European Research Council Advanced Grant. In October 2022, he delivered the distinguished faculty CAS Trail Blazers Lecture attended by USF alumni and donors.

David Himmelgreen, Professor 

For distinguished contributions in research relating to food security, hunger, nutrition and human health

David Himmelgreen

David Himmelgreen is a professor in anthropology and director of the USF Center for the Advancement of Food Security and Healthy Communities. In 2022, he was elected as a Fellow of the AAAS for his research and programs to mitigate global food insecurity, especially for marginalized populations. He received grants from the USDA for the 15th Street Nutrition Education Program in Pinellas County, Florida and was recently awarded an NSF grant for an interdisciplinary research experience in rural Costa Rica. He published six peer-reviewed journal articles and co-authored a book chapter in A Companion to Medical Anthropology, edition 2. Through his center, he has conducted funded community-engaged research and evaluations with non-profit orgnizations including Feeding Tampa Bay, Evara Health, Tampa Family Health Centers, Hillsborough County and the 15th Street Farm. He provided training opportunities to 15 students in 2022 and he served on the board of Feeding Tampa Bay.

Lisa Melonçon, Professor 

For distinguished contributions to the field of technical and professional communication, particularly for advances in improving and sustaining curricula and pedagogical practices and for advances to improving health communication practices

Lisa Meloncon

Lisa Melonçon is a leading expert in technical and professional communication (TPC). Her two books published in 2022 continue her trajectory of research in TPC.  Assembling Critical Components  argues for moving away from defining the field to considering the field’s identity through component parts, examples of which are represented by each of the chapters. Melonçon’s second book, Strategic Interventions in Mental Health Rhetoric, co-edited with Cathryn Molloy, brings together diverse scholars who cumulatively argue for the importance of rhetorical expertise in mental health communication. Recognizing the importance of her work, she was awarded the Ken Rainey Research Award from the Society for Technical Communication and the Kitty Locker Research Award from the Association of Business Communication in 2022, and was conferred as Society of Technical Communication Associate Fellow.

Steven R. Wilson, Professor 

For distinguished contributions to the field of interpersonal communication, particularly for advancing theory and measurement regarding how people navigate difficult conversations and create resilience in the face of disruptive life events

Steven Wilson

Steven Wilson is an internationally renowned expert on interpersonal communication whose research offers important insights about how people navigate difficult conversations (e.g., families talking with military veterans about behavioral health) as well as create resilience in the face of life disruptions (e.g., challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic). During 2022, Wilson was recognized with a major career award from the National Communication Association, published two peer-reviewed articles, a handbook chapter and an encyclopedia article, received two top-paper awards from national and international conferences, co-edited a flagship journal in his discipline, had his first doctoral graduate receive two dissertation awards and performed important service in support of military veterans and their families in the Tampa Bay area and beyond.

Reposted from the USF Research and Innovation Newsroom

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About CAS

The College of Arts and Sciences is the intellectual heart of the University of South Florida. We are a community of teachers and scholars united in the belief that broadly educated people are the basis of a just, free, and prosperous society. By focusing on the big questions facing all of humanity, we prepare students for successful, socially responsible personal and professional lives. By conducting innovative, interdisciplinary research and scholarship, we advance knowledge in ways that prepare us to address complex social and scientific problems and enhance the quality of life for people and communities.