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A Record 19 USF Faculty Recognized with Outstanding Research Achievements Awards

From innovators on the frontiers of engineering, physics and health, to a biologist who studies giant squid, to the author of an award-winning children’s graphic novels, meet USF’s top faculty researchers.

TAMPA, Fla. – Nineteen University of South Florida faculty members whose research set standards in a wide array of disciplines are the new recipients of the university’s 2020 Outstanding Research Achievement Award.

“USF’s faculty continue to pursue innovative research that inspires our students and benefits the communities we serve,” USF President Steven Currall said. “I am proud to recognize this year’s recipients for their outstanding achievements and impactful discoveries.”

The annual awards nominations are submitted by deans, department chairs and center and institute directors and are reviewed by members of the USF Senate Research Council. Each faculty member receives $2,000 with the award in recognition of their achievements for the 2019 calendar year.

Meet this year’s awardees:

Tammy Allen
Tammy Allen, PhD
Distinguished University Professor
Department of Psychology
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Allen is an international leader in the study of the intersection between work and family, employee career development, and occupational health. During 2019, she published and had accepted 10 peer-reviewed journal articles, including two in the prestigious Journal of Applied Psychology. Her work was cited 3,462 times in 2019 alone. An article of Dr. Allen’s was selected as a top three publication in Personnel Psychology. Dr. Allen was also the co-PI on a newly awarded National Science Foundation research grant to examine boundary management and career wellbeing. In 2019, she completed a two-year term as the President of the Society for Occupational Health Psychology and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Neuchâtel in recognition of her achievements. She was awarded visiting Fellowships at the University of Canterbury (Erskine Fellow), the University of New South Wales, and the University of Coimbra (Erasmus Mundus).

Michelle Arnold
Michelle Arnold, PhD, AuD
Assistant Professor
Communication Sciences and Disorders
College of Behavioral and Community Sciences

Dr. Arnold is a principal investigator for the Auditory Rehabilitation and Clinical Trials laboratory. Dr. Arnold’s research focuses on increasing access to hearing healthcare for older and vulnerable adults. In 2019, her work was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, the top-ranked journal in her discipline. Her article on hearing aid use among Hispanic/Latino adults in the U.S. was also featured in a dedicated JAMA Network podcast in April 2019. Dr. Arnold also submitted two major extramural grants as PI: An Early Career Research R21 to the National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and another to the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Gil Ben-Herut
Gil Ben-Herut, PhD
Associate Professor, Religious Studies
College of Arts and Sciences 

Dr. Ben-Herut’s research interests include pre-modern religious literature in the Kannada language, South Asian bhakti (devotional) traditions, translation in South Asia, and programming for Digital Humanities. Ben-Herut’s book, Śiva’s Saints: The Origins of Devotion in Kannada according to Harihara’s Ragaḷegaḷu (Oxford University Press), was awarded the Best First Book Award by the Southeastern Medieval Association in 2019 and went on to win in 2020 the Best Book Award from the Southeastern Conference of the Association for Asian Studies. Other major research accomplishments in 2019 include receiving a Carnegie-Whitney Grant from the American Library Association and submitting a co-edited book, Regional Communities of Devotion in South Asia: Insiders, Outsiders, and Interlopers.

Jean-Francois Biasse
Jean-Francois Biasse, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Biasse’s transdisciplinary work spans across number theory, quantum information science and computer security. His research applies to the design of cryptographic schemes that will resist attacks from powerful quantum computers in the future. In 2019, Dr. Biasse received an NSF CAREER award. Last year, Dr. Biasse had four papers accepted or published in top-tier venues and engaged in very ambitious transdisciplinary collaborations with the colleges of Engineering, the Arts and Education. In 2019, Dr. Biasse was invited to join the editorial board of the International Journal of Computer Mathematics: Computer Systems Theory. He also was invited to serve in the committee of the MathCrypt 2019 conference and participated in exclusive invitational workshops at the American Institute for Mathematics, and at Dagstuhl Schloss, one of the world’s premier meeting centers for informatics research.

Jianfeng Cai
Jianfeng Cai, PhD
USF Preeminent Professor
Department of Chemistry
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Cai conducts research in chemical biology and bioorganic chemistry, with the focus on the development of a new class of unprecedented peptidomimetics, “AApeptides”, for their biological applications. In 2019, in addition to two ongoing two National Science Foundation grants and two National Institutes of Health grants, Dr. Cai received new funding as the principal investigator in a five-year NIH award of more than $1.8 million to develop novel polymer biomaterials combating C. difficile infection, a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. Additionally, in 2019, Dr. Cai published 21 high-profile peer-reviewed papers.

Marleah Dean Kruzel
Marleah Dean Kruzel, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Communication
College of Arts and Sciences

Marleah Dean Kruzel is a collaborator member in the Health Outcomes & Behavior Program at the Moffitt Cancer Center. Her research program covers communication across the cancer care continuum, yet she specializes in previvors — individuals who have tested positive for a genetic variant greatly increasing their lifetime risk for hereditary cancer but who have not been diagnosed with cancer. Informed by a problem-centered approach, she seeks to identify communication challenges in stages of the cancer care continuum to ultimately improve health outcomes and patient experiences. Dr. Dean Kruzel’s scholarship and translational materials have featured on podcasts and media outlets, including her own previvor story as a part of the Center for Disease Control’s “Bring Your Brave” breast cancer campaign. In 2019, she earned promotion to associate professor with tenure and was awarded a Top Paper in the Health Communication Division from the International Communication Association; a CDC grant as co-PI for $1.8 million;  and an Institutional Research Grant from Moffitt Cancer Center via the American Cancer Society. Dr. Dean Kruzel published six peer-reviewed journal articles and one book chapter, with additional journal articles and book chapters accepted for publication. She also earned increasing professional presence in national and international communication associations.

Heather Judkins
Heather Judkins, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Integrative Biology
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Judkins uses cephalopods as a basis to answer multiple research questions, which include the topics such as cephalopod diversity, taxonomy, biogeography, phylogeny and ecology. In 2019, she had five papers published or accepted in journals and two graduate students successfully defended their conservation biology master’s theses. A NOAA Ocean Exploration grant allowed for her team to be the first to view a Giant Squid in the Gulf of Mexico, which was a widely shared discovery and highlights the need for continued deep-sea research. She and the DEEPEND (Deep Pelagic Nekton Dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico) team received a NOAA RESTORE grant which allows for five more years of monitoring the midwater column in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Judkins is the President of the Cephalopod International Advisory Council until 2021. She also committed to being a co-editor for a cephalopod paralarval identification handbook which will be published by Springer and contribute greatly to invertebrate researchers worldwide.

Xiaopeng (Shaw) Li
Xiaopeng (Shaw) Li, PhD
Associate Professor and Susan A. Bracken Faculty Fellow
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
College of Engineering

Dr. Xiaopeng (Shaw) is the director of a U.S. Department of Transportation national university transportation center, known as the National Institute for Congestion Reduction. His major research interests include connected and automated vehicle traffic control and connected and interdependent infrastructure systems. In 2019, he received several research grants from National Science Foundation; U.S. Department of Transportation; U.S. Department of Energy; Connected Wise, LLC; and the Florida High Tech Corridor Matching Grants Research Program. Dr. Li also published 17 peer-reviewed journal papers in 2019, of which seven were in flagship transportation engineering journals. He also established the Connected and Autonomous Transportation Systems Lab that opened in January 2019 and developed two level-3 connected automated vehicles.

David W. Murphy
David W. Murphy, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering

Dr. Murphy’s research on biological, ecological and environmental fluid mechanics took him from Bermuda to Antarctica on two National Science Foundation grants in 2019. He received an NSF CAREER award for his work on the fluid dynamics of insect flight and the swimming of zooplanktonic sea butterflies found around Bermuda. His Antarctic expedition in November 2019 was to study krill schooling behavior. He published four peer-reviewed articles, including one in Scientific Reports, and joined that journal’s editorial board. Along with his PhD student Ali Al Dasouqi, the team received a Gallery of Fluid Motion award at the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics conference for their video describing their research on bubble bursting — which also was highlighted by national and international media. Dr. Murphy gave three invited talks in 2019 and is co-editing a special issue of the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

Ivan Oleynik
Ivan Oleynik, PhD
Department of Physics
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Oleynik has made key contributions in several scientific disciplines, condensed matter physics, materials science and chemistry by studying materials at the atomistic and electronic structure levels. He investigates how matter responds to extreme conditions of high pressure and temperature, and predicts properties of novel two-dimensional materials, molecular electronics and magnetic tunnel junction devices. In 2019, Dr. Oleynik was elected to lead the American Physical Society Topical Group on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter. Dr. Oleynik’s outstanding scientific contributions and service to international scientific community has been recognized by his 2019 election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Vacuum Society. Additionally, in 2019, he received a U.S. Department of Energy grant and was awarded 500,000 node hours (5 percent of the entire capacity) on Summit — the fastest computer in the world — worth about $5 million.

Kyle Reed
Kyle Reed, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering

Dr. Reed’s research focuses on low-cost methods to restore abilities in individuals with asymmetric impairments, such as from stroke or unilateral amputations. His research on haptics focuses on thermal responses of the skin, coordinated motions, and human-robot interaction. Dr. Reed’s research in 2019 resulted in eight accepted journal papers, four patents awarded, and was awarded the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Outstanding Scientific Stroke Poster Award. This award and one of his journal papers are related to his patented device that had its first commercial sale in 2019. Dr. Reed was awarded a National Science Foundation grant and served as either PI or co-PI on four other NSF grants. He was a 2019 Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar and was elevated to Senior Member in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and named to the inaugural class of Senior Members in the National Academy of Inventors.

Khary Rigg
Khary Rigg, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Mental Health Law & Policy and Florida Mental Health Institute
College of Behavioral and Community Sciences

Dr. Khary Rigg’s research focuses on the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders, particularly among vulnerable populations. In 2019, Dr. Rigg authored nine peer-reviewed articles in top ranked journals such as International Journal of Drug Policy, Drug & Alcohol Dependence and Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. One of his articles was cited more than 50 times in 2019, while another was the most downloaded paper in the Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse. In addition, two of his other studies were commissioned for policy briefs by the Carsey Institute of Public Policy and the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion. He also helped secure over $2 million in Centers for Disease Control funding and received the 2019 Early Career Achievement Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His research also was covered widely in national news outlets, such as US News & World Report, Playboy Magazine, the Lynne Freeman Radio Show, Women’s Day Magazine and the UK Daily Mail.

Jarod Roselló
Jarod Roselló, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of English
College of Arts and Sciences

In 2019, Dr. Roselló published his first children’s graphic novel, Red Panda & Moon Bear, with Top Shelf Productions, a premiere international graphic novel publisher. Red Panda & Moon Bear was selected for Scholastic’s Book Club, was named to Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books for Young Readers 2019, New York Public Library’s Best Books for Kids 2019, received a starred review in School Library Journal, and was the recipient of a 2019 Nerdy Award for Graphic Novels. Dr. Roselló gave an invited panel presentation at the 2019 Comic-Con International: San Diego, appeared as a guest author at Miami Book Fair, and participated in the inaugural breakfast roundtable hosted by the Graphic Novel and Comics Librarian’s Roundtable at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference.

Helena Szépe
Helena Szépe, PhD
School of Art and Art History
College of the Arts

Dr. Szépe’s research focuses on the visual and material culture of books in the era of the shift from script to print in Europe. The many new discoveries in her monograph Venice Illuminated: Power and Painting in Renaissance Manuscripts (Yale University Press) emerged from years of archival research in Venice and examination of hundreds of manuscripts in public and private collections. Venice Illuminated was awarded two prestigious book prizes in 2019: the Delmas by the Renaissance Society of America and the Marraro through the American Historical Association. The Marraro Prize notes that her book “opens new and exciting ways of thinking about Venetian art and political office-holding from the 14th to the 17th centuries.” In addition to publishing extensively, Dr. Szépe has participated in curating international exhibitions and is conducting collaborative research with scholars from the University of Padua on the topic of Manuscripts and Modern Memory. Her current book project examines Venetian nuns and their illuminated manuscripts in an era when religious women came to be increasingly confined by force.

Davide Tanasi
Davide Tanasi, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of History
College of Arts and Sciences 

Dr. Davide Tanasi’s research focuses on the application of chemistry, 3D digital imaging and visualization to Mediterranean archaeology and Florida historical material culture. Dr. Tanasi authored one edited volume, designed one digital humanities web-platform, and published 12 peer review articles in top-ranked journals, including Pattern Recognition Letters, Science & Technology of Archaeological Research, Journal of Archaeological Science Report and Studies in Digital Heritage. In 2019, he was featured as expert in national and international media, such as The Conversation USA, Tampa Bay Times, Repubblica and Malta: TVM -National TV Station. He served as scientific consultant for the Homeland Security Investigations office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Florida Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the identification and evaluation of seized archaeological artifacts.

Mark H. Taylor
Mark H. Taylor, PhD, CPA
Dan and Tina Johnson Distinguished Professor in Accountancy
Director, Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy
Muma College of Business 

Dr. Taylor’s paper with co-authors Steven M. Glover and Yi-Jing Wu, published in the fall of 2019 in Contemporary Accounting Research, provides ground-breaking evidence on factors leading to differences of opinion among expert auditors and regulators in audits of fair value measurements found in the financial statements of public companies. The differences are revealed in Public Company Accounting Oversight Board reports of inspections of the audits of the largest accounting firms. Dr. Taylor’s second co-authored paper was accepted in December 2019 for publication in the November 2020 issues of The Accounting Review. The paper examines whether tone at the top in the largest accounting firms can non-consciously affects auditors’ task-level judgments. In their groundbreaking research, the authors find evidence that such is the case. Specifically, the authors find that an audit quality approach to tone at the top reduces auditors’ tendency to accept management’s estimate compared to a commercial approach when a specialist is present. These studies were originally funded by the Center for Audit Quality and the results of both papers have significant implications for practitioners, regulators, standard setters and academics. Additionally, Dr. Taylor concluded a three-year term as Vice President, Finance, of the American Accounting Association in 2020.

Robert H. Tykot
Robert H. Tykot, PhD
Department of Anthropology
College of Arts and Sciences 

Dr. Tykot published 13 peer-reviewed articles, one technical report and eight abstracts. The publication on Lipari obsidian presents results from a National Science Foundation grant for in-depth geological survey, collection of hundreds of samples and multi-method chemical analysis, which distinguished for the first time five distinct subgroups. Obsidian was used for stone tools found as far away as France, Croatia and Albania, representing the maritime capabilities of early agriculturalists 8,000 years ago. This research allows comparisons over time and space of the usage of different source localities and socioeconomic interpretations regarding territorial control, scale of production and exportation. Studies of obsidian artifacts, copper-based metals, ceramics, marble and human diet are in 12 other articles. Tykot received grants in 2019 from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, Rust Family Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. He is editor-in-chief of Science and Technology of Archaeological Research and on the editorial board for nine other international journals.

Hsiao-Lan Wang
Hsiao-Lan Wang, PhD, RN, CMSRN, ACSM EP-C, FAAN
Associate Professor
College of Nursing

Dr. Hsiao-Lan Wang’s research is to improve cancer symptom management through promoting physical activity that can be translated into clinical practice. She is a doctoral prepared registered nurse, associate professor with tenure, and American College of Sports Medicine Certified Exercise Physiologist. In 2019, Dr. Wang published four articles with a fifth in press. She is the senior author on two articles related to symptom cluster science and VA health, the lead author reporting pilot findings for her personalized home-based exercise intervention named PAfitME, and lead author of the first published scoping review about exercise interventions in cardio-oncology. Her outstanding service at the national and community levels led to her selection as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. The National Cancer Institute awarded Dr. Wang $2.8 million to test the effectiveness of PAfitME intervention in head and neck cancer patients with fatigue and pain.

Attila A. Yavuz
Attila A. Yavuz, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
College of Engineering

Dr. Yavuz’s research focuses on the creation of novel cybersecurity techniques to secure critical cyber-infrastructures and computer systems. Dr. Yavuz is the director of Applied Cryptography Research Laboratory and the co-director of the Center for Cryptographic Research at USF. His research on privacy-enhancing technologies and vehicular security has made a significant worldwide impact on millions of users via actual deployments. Prior to joining USF, Dr. Yavuz earned a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a Cisco Research Award, and grants from the Department of Energy and Robert Bosch, LLC. Dr. Yavuz and his PhD students have published five top journal papers, three flagship conference papers, and filed six invention disclosures, one license and seven open-source software projects in 2019.

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