Three USD professors honored for research

Three USD professors honored for research Three professors from The University of South Dakota are being honored for their research and entrepreneurial achievements.

The President's Award for Research Excellence is presented to Dr. Kathleen Eyster from the School of Medicine and Dr. Jeffrey Simons from the Department of Psychology.

The President's Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship goes to Carol Lushbough of the Department of Computer Science. This year's recipients were honored during "President's Research Day" Nov. 29.

The President's Research Awards for Research Excellence were 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.�

Award winners receive a plaque and a $3,000 grant to be used to assist in funding their research projects.

The President's Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was initiated in 2002 and recognizes innovative thinking and efforts to realize the commercial potential of the innovation. Recipients must have demonstrated pursuit of its development which may be done independently or in collaboration with a private sector partner.

President's Research Day was created as an annual event to highlight research efforts taking place at USD. The theme for 2004 is "USD Research and Scholarship: Moving toward 2010."

Presentations began Monday at 1 p.m. with a welcome by President James Abbott and general overview of research at USD by Melvin Ustad, interim vice president for research, in the Al Neuharth Media Center Freedom Forum Conference Room.

The afternoon consisted of a presentation with Ben Perryman, assistant director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, about the South Dakota Signal Transduction Center; Professor Stanley May of the Department of Chemistry, presenting information on the Center for the Research and Development of Light-Activated Materials; and Indranil Biswas, assistant professor of basic biomedical sciences, who spoke about the Infectious Disease and Vaccinology Research Center.

Cory Knedler, chair of the art department, spoke on the Slagle mural and other public art projects, and Mike Keller, dean of the business school, presented the Vermillion Entrepreneurship Program.

The afternoon concluded with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Vermillion Incubator at 116 Market Street, and a reception to honor the award winners.

Dr. Kathy Eyster

This year's senior staff recipient is Kathy Eyster of the USD School of Medicine, Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Eyster's research interests are in the field of reproductive endocrinology, specifically signal transduction pathways in the ovary and gene expression profiling in the endometrium. She was principal investigator on four major federal research grants since coming to USD, two from NIH and two from the National Science Foundation. Her research is currently funded with a major four-year grant from NSF for "Physiological Genomics and Signal Transduction in the Ovary." Dr. Eyster has an extensive publication record in top national refereed journals. She consistently involves both undergraduate and graduate students in her research, serves as an effective mentor for several young junior faculty, and is an excellent reviewer of grants and journal manuscripts at both the local and national level.

In addition to her own strong research record, Dr. Eyster is instrumental in developing a strong, university-wide core facility in the area of genomics, which is utilized by researchers throughout the state. Another area in which she has taken a leadership role is in the development of strong and productive research collaborations with her clinical colleagues in the USDSM Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In his letter nominating Dr. Eyster for this award, her dean, Ron Lindahl, wrote that "her research skills have made her one of the most successful scientists in the School of Medicine."

Dr. Jeff Simons

The award for mid-career faculty this year honors Dr. Jeff Simons from the psychology department. Dr. Simons has demonstrated a strong record of scholarship and has already assembled an impressive list of published journal articles and book chapters dealing especially with substance abuse. He is published in such reputable journals as Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, and The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.�

His research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and he recently received a major grant from the NIH National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for his work on "Risk for Alcohol Problems among College Students."

He consistently involves both graduate and under-graduate students in his research and an exemplary indication of his mentorship is the recent award of a prestigious NRSA Fellowship to one of his graduate students, Raluca Gaher.

He is a licensed psychologist in the state of South Dakota and serves on the Project Assessment Team of the Disaster Mental Health Institute, studying the impact of 9/11 on Red Cross workers. Dr. Simons serves his field as a reviewer for several national journals. To quote Dean Moen's nomination letter, "he is rapidly becoming one of the leading young scholars in the nation in his area of research."

Professor Carol Lushbough

The 2004 recipient of the President's Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is Carol Lushbough of computer science. Lushbough's outstanding computer programming skills have led to several successful commercial products. She has been a contributing developer to Internet software companies, VisualMetrics and BrightPlanet.

In addition, she has been the system architect and lead developer on bioinformatics software including BioStream bioinformatics tool in collaboration with Iowa State University, BioExtract Server bioinformatics Internet application, also in collaboration with Iowa State, and the FieldStream Database, a bioinformatics proprietary database, for VisualMetrics.

She successfully mentors graduate students and practices the integration of "real world" applications into her graduate courses. Lushbough received a governor's grant to revise two courses that she teaches to integrate real world software development projects into the class. As a result, in her class she creates development teams that work with businesses to develop new software tools. The outcome has been one USD graduate student starting a software development business.

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