Regents Award recipients honored at USD

Regents Award recipients honored at USD President and Mrs. Donald Dahlin, the University Research Council, and the Office of Research and Graduate Education hosted the annual President's Reception for Researchers at the President's Home on Thursday, Oct. 17. This event is held to honor all USD researchers and to recognize their contributions to the reputation and visibility of the university.

At the reception, President Dahlin honored the two recipients of the 2002 Regents Award for Research Excellence and the recipient of the new President's Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Established Career

Recipient for 2002

Dr. Douglas S. Martin

Dr. Martin earned his Ph.D. in 1988 from the University of

Saskatchewan in the area of pharmacology. He was a post-doctoral fellow in pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center for three years and returned to the University of Saskatchewan for an additional year of training in physiology before arriving at USD as an assistant professor in 1992. He is currently an associate professor of physiology and pharmacology in the Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences at the USD School of Medicine.

Dr. Martin's research is concerned with the broad area of cardiovascular pharmacology and he is pursuing two major areas of research in his laboratory. The first is the role of the peripheral venous system in control of arterial pressure and the development of arterial hypertension.

Dr. Martin is investigating changes in venous function that may contribute to the onset of hypertension and is looking into how these changes may

differ between genders. The second area is control of circulation by the nervous system. In particular, he is examining the role of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus in controlling blood pressure and stress responses.

Dr. Martin's research is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health through an R01 Award and by an American Heart Association Established

Investigator Award. He has 21 articles published in peer-reviewed journals and serves as the current president of the American Heart Association's Northland Affiliate Board of Directors.

Dr. Martin represents a faculty member who is clearly helping to build South Dakota's research identity both within our own borders and to the national community as well.

Early/Mid Career Recipient

for 2002

Dr. Richard Braunstein

Dr. Braunstein received his B.A. from George Washington University, his M.A. from Rutgers University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in Boulder in political science in 1999. That same year he joined the USD faculty as an assistant professor of political science.

Dr. Braunstein's fields of specialization include American politics, public law, civil rights and liberties, race and ethnicity, public policy, and conflict resolution. He has published several academic book chapters, as well as public policy papers. Since coming to USD, he has been very successful in involving students in his research and they have been included in his publications and presentations.

The state of South Dakota, the American Political Science Association, and the Chiesman Foundation, as well as numerous small internal grants have funded Dr. Braunstein's research. He is currently revising a major grant proposal to the National Institutes of Justice. He has collaborated with colleagues in his department on a recently completed major study of American Indian Criminal Justice in South Dakota for the South Dakota Governor's Office.

Dr. Braunstein serves his field as a journal editor and textbook reviewer. He is one of the rising stars in social science research at USD.

History and

background of the award

The Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Research was initiated in 1997 to recognize research accomplishments that have enhanced the national reputation of the scholar and the state. Two awards are given on an annual basis, one to a faculty member in early or mid career and one to an established faculty member. USD is fortunate to have a number of nationally and internationally known faculty members with successful research programs.

Many of these faculty members offer enhanced educational experiences for their students as a result of the research activities. In addition to beautiful plaques, they each also received a $3,000 grant to be used to assist in funding their research projects.

Innovation and

Entrepreneurship Award

Recipient for 2002

Dr. Zoran Ristic

Dr. Ristic has been a faculty member in the Department of Biology at USD since 1993 and is currently an associate professor. He is a native of Yugoslavia and received his Ph.D. in botany from the University of Alberta in 1992. He did his postdoctoral training at Purdue University in horticulture.

Dr. Ristic's research is related to understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which plants resist the detrimental effects of high temperatures and dehydration, using maize (corn) as a model system. Knowledge of these mechanisms will aid in devising molecular and other strategies for enhancing the ability of this important agricultural crop to cope with these stresses. His laboratory has identified an extremely drought and heat resistant line of maize that synthesizes unusual proteins.

They have obtained genetic evidence that these proteins are important to the plant's drought and heat resistance. The objectives are to identify the genes that control the synthesis of these proteins, to elucidate the protein function, and ultimately, to insert these genes into other plants to improve their drought and heat.

Dr. Ristic's research has received more than $600,000 from USD internal research programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, and the National Science Foundation to support this research.

Dr. Ristic, in conjunction with Pioneer researchers, has a jointly owned patent pending. Recently, Dr. Ristic worked with GAEA Inc., a small biotech company in Brookings, on an NSF STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) proposal in conjunction with Pioneer.

This proposal was awarded in July and is the first STTR proposal to be funded at USD. If the Phase I project is successful, the research consortium will be pursuing the $750,000 available for Phase II and III to further develop and test the drought resistant corn.

Pioneer Hi-Bred International has expressed interest in an exclusive licensing agreement for the technology, which would represent the first significant royalty agreement for USD. Dr. Ristic is setting an example of how USD aims to conduct good science and move the results of that research into the marketplace benefiting the researcher and the university.

History and

background of the award

This is a new award just established this year to recognize innovative thinking and efforts to realize commercial potential of research. The award will be given annually to a USD faculty or staff member who shows evidence of innovative ideas or research findings that have commercial potential and demonstrates pursuit of its development. In addition to a beautiful plaque, the recipient will receive a $1000 grant to be used to support the research project.

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