Scholars of Excellence

Chih Foundation Research & Publication Award

The Chih Foundation recognizes groundbreaking research with transformative potential to greatly benefit society. The award seeks to support exceptional third- or fourth-year Science, Engineering or Medicine PhD, PharmD, or MD students. Through their generosity, the Chih Foundation Research & Publication Award provides a $2,500 monetary award to exemplary scholars who reflect these qualities.

The application deadline for consideration is in early October of each year. For more information, please contact Karissa Valine-Plaza in the Office of Graduate Studies.

2022 Chih Foundation Research & Publication Award Recipients

Christian Brown

Christian Brown (Integrative Biology)
Mentor: Stephen Deban, Ph.D.

Research Summary

"Christian’s research interests include the movements of amphibians, especially plethodontid salamanders, ranging from fine-scale biomechanics of locomotion to dispersal at the ecosystem level. Ultimately, his work examines the life history of amphibians in the broader context of ecological and evolutionary theory with the goal of increasing awareness for conservation. 

Skeptics of evolution once asked Charles Darwin, “what use is half a wing?” Like evolution, the origin of animal flight has long been debated. While the debate continues, the directed aerial descent of wingless salamanders confirms the idea that life in the trees can spur flight. Wandering salamanders (Aneides vagrans) reside in the crowns of coast redwood trees, the tallest trees on the planet; how they manage to move through the canopy to locate mates and resources or avoid predators is not well understood. This research takes a comparative approach to studying how A. vagrans handles the biomechanical challenges of navigating in and jumping from its extreme arboreal niche. 

Results reveal how drag is useful for supporting the body weight of modern flying animals ranging from ‘entry level’ wingless salamanders to fully fledged birds. This new appreciation of the full spectrum of wingless to winged body plans that can all aerodynamically support body weight continuously boosts our understanding of the evolution of flight."

Visit Mr. Brown's website for additional information.

 

Salman Sadiq Shuvo

Salman Sadiq Shuvo (Electrical Engineering)
Mentor: Yasin Yilmaz, Ph.D.

Research Summary

"Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) is a popular Machine Learning technique for optimization and resource allocation tasks. DRL techniques require a simulated environment to capture the stochasticity of real-world complex systems. This uncertainty in future transitions makes the planning authorities doubt real-world implementation success. My projects on environmental, healthcare, and energy systems focus on appropriate system dynamics modeling and state-of-the-art DRL techniques for experimental analysis. In the process, I have developed novel DRL (Multi-agent and Multi-objective) algorithms."

 

Past Chih Foundation Research & Publication Award Winners

2021

 
Name Department College
Melissa Bikowitz Molecular Medicine Morsani College 
Ausmita Sarker Computer Science & Engineering College of Engineering
Veena Subramanian Cell Biology, Microbiology, & Molecular Biology College of Arts & Sciences

2020

Name Department College
Michael Sacco Molecular Medicine Morsani College of Medicine
Karthick Mayilsamy Molecular Medicine Morsani College of Medicine

2019

Name Department College
Anthony Sanchez Cell Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology College of Arts and Sciences

2018

Name Department College
Jeremy Baker Molecular Medicine Morsani College of Medicine
Bi Zhao Cell Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology College of Arts and Sciences
Longwei Wang Electrical Engineering College of Engineering

2017

Name Department College
Mengqiu Wang Marine Science College of Marine Science

2016

Name Department College
Andy Weiss Cell Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology College of Arts and Sciences