Auburn University Faculty Awards

President's Outstanding Collaborative Units Award

Presented to those Auburn University units whose collaborative efforts result in unique exemplary service or academic excellence within the university and the community.

Jennifer Robinson

Portrait of Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer L. Robinson,  Associate Professor

Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts

PhD, Experimental Psychology; 

2006 – Case Western Reserve University

MA, Experimental Psychology; 

2005 – Case Western Reserve University

BA, Psychology and Biochemistry; 

2002 – Case Western Reserve University

“This award is important to me because the Auburn University MRI Research Center is truly a one-of-a-kind place. There is no other neuroimaging center that has such a positive presence, coupled with an intense desire to facilitate research.”

Jennifer L. Robinson is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology. She is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, where she received her academic degrees at Case Western Reserve University. Robinson then completed a psychiatric neuroimaging postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio under the mentorship of  David Glahn. She developed and directed the Functional Neuroimaging program for the Department of Neurosurgery at Scott & White Healthcare, where she conducted pre-surgical planning assessments and studied the functional connectivity of the brain. Robinson came to Auburn in August 2012 and was drawn to the rich collaborative environment and rich intellectual resources surrounding the Auburn University MRI Research Center, where she conducts research on the interfacing of affective and cognitive processes in the brain. Robinson has three dogs: Cooper, Casey, and Grizzly.

Jeffrey Katz

Portrait of Jeffrey Katz

Jeffrey S. Katz, Professor

Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts

PhD, Experimental Psychology; 

1998 – Tufts University

MS, Experimental Psychology; 

1996 – Tufts University

BA, Psychology; 1989 – Ithaca College

“My proudest academic moments at Auburn have been hooding the graduate students I have mentored as they receive their doctorates and engaging with their families at graduation.”

Jeffrey S. Katz teaches classes in comparative cognition, cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and sensation and perception. His research focuses on the comparative mechanism of learning and cognition. Katz has published more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and is on three editorial boards. Since joining the faculty at Auburn in 2000, Katz has been honored with the American Psychological Association’s Division 3 Young Investigator Award in 2001; the Outstanding Professor Award from the Auburn University Panhellenic Council in 2003; Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 2002, 2004, and 2005; College of Liberal Arts Early Career Teaching Award for 2004-05; APA Fellow Status in Experimental Psychology in 2007; APA Fellow Status in Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology in 2008; Alumni Professor Award from Auburn University each year from 2006-11; College of Liberal Arts Academy of Teaching and Outstanding Teachers induction in 2012; Psi Chi Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the Department of Psychology for 2001-02 and 2012-13; and Comparative Cognition Society Recognition of Service in 2014. Katz was most recently awarded the Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015.

Ana Watkins

Portrait of Ana Watkins

Ana M. Franco-Watkins  Professor

Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts

PhD, Philosophy; 

2004 – University of Maryland-College Park

MA, Psychology; 

1999 – The College of William and Mary

BA, Psychology, 

1997 – St. Mary’s College of Maryland

“This award represents the collaborative scientific community that exists at Auburn University.”

Ana M. Franco-Watkins joined the Department of Psychology at Auburn University in 2006. Her research focuses on using psychological theories and methodologies to elucidate decision making processes that address basic and applied research questions with real-world implications. Watkins seeks opportunities to be involved in multidisciplinary projects that address broader real-world questions. Her research program is both collaborative within the field of psychology as well as interdisciplinary. In all these projects, students, both undergraduate and graduate, are integral to her success as a researcher. She is married to Lawrence S. Watkins Jr.

Thomas Denney

Portrait of Thomas Denney

Thomas S. Denney Jr.

Director, Auburn University MRI Research Center and the Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Donnellan and Family Endowed Professor 
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

PhD, Electrical and Computer Engineering; 

1994 – The Johns Hopkins University

MS, Electrical Engineering; 1990 – Auburn University

BS, Electrical Engineering; 1985 – Auburn University

“I have been honored to live and work with several people that are a constant source

of inspiration. My colleagues at the Auburn University MRI Research Center and the Department of Psychology are a wonderful group of people.”

Thomas S. Denney Jr. is currently the Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Donnellan and Family Endowed Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and has a courtesy joint appointment in the Department of Psychology. He is also the director of the Auburn University MRI Research Center and co-director of the Alabama Advanced Imaging Consortium. Denney has more than 25 years of experience in the analysis and acquisition of cardiovascular MRI data. His research has been continuously funded by grants from the Whitaker Foundation and the National Institutes of Health since 1996. He has served as an associate editor for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, Transactions on Image Processing and the Journal of Electronic Imaging. He has also served on the IEEE Bio Imaging and Signal Processing Technical Committee, served as the publications chair for the International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging in 2004, and served as the technical program chair in 2007. Denney currently serves on the NIH Small Business Medical Imaging Study Section. He and his wife, Melissa, have two sons: Trey and Foster.

Gopikrishna Deshpande

Portrait of Gopikrishna Deshpande

Gopikrishna Deshpande, Associate Professor

Auburn University MRI Research Center, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

PhD, Biomedical Engineering; 

2007 – Georgia Institute of Technology

MS, Electrical Communication Engineering; 

2003 – Indian Institute of Science

BT, Electronics and Communication Engineering; 2001 – National Institute of Technology

“This award is a recognition of the excellent, and frankly world-class, collaborative accomplishments at the Auburn University MRI Research Center involving groups from electrical engineering, psychology, and veterinary medicine.”

Gopikrishna Deshpande is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and is involoved with neuroimaging activities at the Auburn University MRI Research Center. He is also a faculty member in the Department of Psychology. Before coming to Auburn in 2010, Deshpande was a research faculty member for the Biomedical Imaging Technology Center at Emory University. He has published more than 55 peer-reviewed journal papers in the field of neuroimaging, functional magnetic resonance imaging, signal processing, and machine learning. Deshpande is also the recipient of a million dollar grant from the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency for imaging awake dogs; he and his group at Auburn were the first in the world to demonstrate this technology. Deshpande and his wife, Chaitra Gururaja, have two sons: Vibhuvar and Yaduvar.

Nouha Salibi

Portrait of Nouha Salibi

Nouha Salibi

Staff Scientist, Siemens Healthcare, Auburn University MRI Research Center, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

PhD, MS – Washington University

BS – Centre d’Etudes and de Recherches

Mathématiques et Physiques

“I am grateful for the honor of being included in the Auburn family and sharing the President’s Outstanding Collaborative Units Award with such a prestigious research team.”

Nouha Salibi has been with Siemens Healthcare since 1988 where she is a senior staff scientist and research collaborations manager in the MR R&D Group. She moved to Auburn in 2010 during the startup of the Auburn University MRI Research Center to support the MR research collaboration between Auburn University and Siemens Healthcare. Salibi enjoys working with Auburn faculty from various departments and disciplines on research projects involving MRI and MRS, or Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, with the 3T and 7T Siemens scanners.

Meredith Reid

Portrait of Meredith Reid

Meredith A. Reid, Postdoctoral Fellow

Auburn University MRI Research Center, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

PhD, Biomedical Engineering; 
2013 – The University of Alabama at Birmingham
MS, Biomedical Engineering; 
2010 – The University of Alabama at Birmingham
BS, Biomedical Engineering; 
2007 – The University of Alabama at Birmingham
BS, Spanish; 
2007 – The University of Alabama at Birmingham

“I believe that science can only move forward if teams of people with different but complementary skills work together. Since joining Auburn, I have been blessed with the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from experimental and clinical psychologists, electrical and biomedical engineers, and physicists working towards the common goal of advancing our knowledge of neuroscience.”

Meredith A. Reid is a postdoctoral fellow at the Auburn University MRI Research Center. A native of Birmingham, she received a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering with a minor in mathematics and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish in 2007 from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. She pursued graduate training under the mentorship of Adrienne Lahti at UAB and earned a master’s degree in 2010 and a doctorate in 2013. Reid joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Auburn University MRI Research Center in 2013. Her broad interest is in interdisciplinary neuroimaging research at the interface between the clinical and engineering sciences. Reid’s research integrates multiple MRI methods to investigate the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders. After surviving a tornado in Alabama on April 27, 2011, she became passionate about improving our understanding of the neurobiology of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and how people develop PTSD. She has received numerous awards, including the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health.

Ronald J. Beyers

Portrait of Ronald J. Beyers

Ronald J. Beyers, MRI Physicist and Safety Officer

Auburn University MRI Research Center, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

PhD, Biomedical Engineering; 

2010 – University of Virginia

MS, Electrical Engineering; 

1988 – Air Force Institute of Technology

BS, Electrical Engineering; 

1984 – United States Air Force Academy

“This award exemplifies the importance and value of a collaborative team effort. The Auburn Family unites the university and community into a collaboration itself.”

Ronald J. Beyers, formally a research engineer, is the staff magnetic resonance physicist at the Auburn University MRI Research Center. Born and raised in Northern California, he received his Bachelor of Science from the United States Air Force Academy and his Master of Science while an active duty Air Force officer. His notable Air Force career moments included graduating from the Air Force Test Pilot School as a Flight Test Engineer and his Air Force nomination as pre-candidate to NASA for Mission Specialist Astronaut. After 26 years of Air Force service, Beyers retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He began a second career in academia by studying at the University of Virginia to receive his doctorate in biomedical engineering – researching novel cardiac MRI methods in post infarct (heart attack) mice. When he came to Auburn, he joined as the staff MR physicist at the then-newly commissioned Auburn University MRI Research Center. His passion is to create novel MR imaging and spectroscopy methods for both research and clinical applications. He is married to Nadine P. Ellero.

Last updated: 03/07/2017