Fall 2020 Issue
Picture of the Fall 2020 Research Magazine cover.
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Contents

the Samford Hall clocktower is pictured
National Science Foundation Career Award Recipients

The National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program issues research funding “in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.” During the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the following Auburn faculty members received this prestigious recognition.

Dr. Majid Beidaghi
Dr. Majid Beidaghi

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Project Title

Cathode Materials for Aluminum Batteries: Understanding Factors Influencing Aluminum Ion Intercalation into MXenes

Dr. Debswapna Bhattacharya
Dr. Debswapna Bhattacharya

Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering

Project Title

Bringing Models to Native: Open Access Bioinformatics for Protein Structure Refinement

Dr. Pengyu Chen
Dr. Pengyu Chen

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Project Title

Nano-Plasmon Ruler Imaging for Direct Visualization of How Cells "Talk"

Dr. Byron Farnum
Dr. Byron Farnum

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Project Title

Multi-Electron Nickel Redox Cycles for Solar Energy Conversion and Storage

Dr. Evangelos Miliordos
Dr. Evangelos Miliordos

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Project Title

State-of-the-Art Quantum Calculations on a Novel Class of Super-Atoms: Discovering Exotic Chemical Bonding Schemes and Proposing New Two- and Three- Dimensional Materials

Dr. Neha Potnis
Dr. Neha Potnis

Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Project Title

Investigating the Mechanistic Basis of Host Adaptation in Close and Distant Relatives Within Xanthomonas Species Complex

Dr. David Roueche
Dr. David Roueche

Department of Department of Civil Engineering

Project Title

Theory-Guided Statistical Framework for Advancing Learning from Post-Windstorm Engineering Assessments

Dr. Daniel Warner
Dr. Daniel Warner

Department of Biological Sciences

Project Title

Testing Alternative Routes of Adaptive Phenotype-Environment Matching Across Heterogeneous Landscapes in Wild Populations

Dr. Matthew Waters
Dr. Matthew Waters

Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences

Project Title

Identifying Primary and Secondary Drivers of Cyanotoxin Production Utilizing the Sediment Record and Paleolimnology

Cover Story

Steady Growth in Challenging Times
Quick Take: Bill Dean
Bill Dean

Closing Thoughts from the Vice President

James Weyhenmeyer
James Weyhenmeyer, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research and Economic Development

We often hear about “the Auburn Family” and how great it is to be a part of it. This year, especially, has shown that to be true, as students, faculty and staff have pulled together to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Auburn’s research enterprise has remained strong, as critical research continued, even while many other institutions opted for a full shutdown of their research efforts. Thanks to the dedicated work of researchers and staff across the university, and aided by careful adherence to best practices in safety, impactful research at Auburn has carried on, despite the difficulties of a public health crisis.

As our cover story explains, researchers in Auburn’s College of Agriculture have continued to do the important work of helping keep Alabama’s food supply safe and secure. Faculty members in other areas have tested coronavirus vaccine candidates, engineered emergency ventilator systems, and studied the social and economic implications of COVID-19. Issues of health disparities in the rural South have come into the spotlight again, and Auburn researchers, in collaboration with other institutions across the nation, have responded with renewed efforts to combat these inequities. As family members do in hard times, those who make up the research enterprise across Auburn University have worked together to evaluate problems, find solutions and provide real help in a time of need.

As is often the case, our strengths shine brightest in difficult times, and in what has proven to be a year of unprecedented challenges, Auburn has carried on, steady and strong. With a hopeful eye toward better days ahead, we will continue our commitment to solve real-world problems through discovery and innovation, leveraging the talents and dedication of Auburn researchers to benefit our local communities and the people of Alabama, our region and beyond.

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Last updated: November 12, 2020