Tulane scholars honored at first Research, Scholarship and Artistic Achievement Awards ceremony

The Office of Research held the first Tulane University Research, Scholarship and Artistic Achievement Awards on Thursday, Nov. 4, to honor outstanding Tulane scholars and recognize their exceptional research.

The awards ceremony was held at the Higgins Hotel in downtown New Orleans with Meg Farris, WWL-TV medical and general assignment reporter, as the emcee.

Dr. Giovanni Piedimonte, vice president for research, opened by thanking all who supported the awards ceremony coming to fruition and noted that award recipients included a wide and diverse array of researchers from multiple disciplines.

Piedimonte noted that 2020 was a record year in Tulane’s history for total research and federal research funding in Tulane’s history. “Even more remarkable, these records were set in the midst of the worst pandemic of the century. Thus, allow me to say thank you to every single Tulanian involved in research, scholarship and the arts for their efforts during unprecedented challenges,” he said.

President Michael Fitts opened by stating that the event being held in person was a testament to Tulane’s 98% COVID-19 vaccination rate. He also noted that the pandemic highlighted the importance of the university’s research.

He went on to address the researchers by saying, “In looking at you, you really are the past, present and the future of Tulane University, and I’m really proud of all of you.”

Fitts noted that the university’s research has experienced an incredible period of growth. “Over the last five years our federal funding has gone up close to 50 percent.”

Fitts said that the awards honor Tulane researchers’ “extraordinary work that makes a difference to the lives of the world.”

“We are a great academic research university, and our impact is felt here and across the globe,” Fitts said.

Throughout the night, Fitts presented the Research Hall of Fame Award to four recipients. The award is for lifetime achievement and recognizes scholars who have made substantial contributions to advancing knowledge during their academic careers.

Fitts also presented the Spirit of Tulane Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement of scholars whose work embodies Tulane’s motto, “Not for oneself, but for one’s own,” and enhances the university’s research mission.

Robin Forman, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, also took the stage. He said that although it’s the first time the university has held the event, the university’s researchers and their work are often discussed among colleagues.  

“We’re sharing our sense of excitement and pride in your latest discoveries, ideas and creations, in your latest books and papers and latest collaborations,” Forman said.

He continued, “It’s great to have this chance to celebrate together and to celebrate all the ways in which you make our communities healthier, safer, happier, more resilient and more just.”

Forman presented the recipients of the Innovation Award, which recognizes those who explore novel ideas, approaches and insights through interdisciplinary scholarship to address clinical, public health or societal challenges. He also presented the Galaxy Award, which recognizes achievement of scholars who have a strong five-year history of funding and enhancing the university’s research mission. Lastly, Forman presented the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, an award that recognizes scholars for their excellence in research that address societal inequalities and promotes social change.

Piedimonte presented the Funding Awards and Convergence Award. The Funding Awards honor scholars in the STEM and non-STEM fields who have been awarded the largest combined dollar amount of funding during the previous year. The Convergence Award honors scholars or teams who collaborates across fields and departments to transcend traditional academic disciplines.

Additionally, Dr. M. “Tonette” Krousel-Wood presented the Student/Trainee Research Mentoring Award, which recognizes exceptional research mentors. She also presented the Rising Star Award. The award honors the work of assistant professors, within five years of appointment at Tulane, who demonstrate exceptional growth and impact in research areas.

The Citation Award, which is awarded to the author of a peer-reviewed article with the most citations during the previous year, was presented by Dean of Libraries and Academic Information Resources David Banush.

The Publication Award, which is awarded for the best journal article and book published in the previous year, was presented by Jessica Shedd, assistant provost for assessment and institutional research.

A full list of the award recipients is below:

2021 Research Hall of Fame Award: Elizabeth Hill Boone (School of Liberal Arts); Jiang He (School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine); Robert Force (Tulane Law School); L. Gabriel Navar (School of Medicine)

2021 Spirit of Tulane Award: Monica Vaccari (Tulane National Primate Research Center, School of Medicine); Gregory Bix (School of Medicine); Mia Bagneris (School of Liberal Arts)

2021 Innovation Award: Tanika Kelly (School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine); Tony Hu (School of Medicine, School of Science and Engineering); Nora Lustig (School of Liberal Arts)

2021 Galaxy Award: Lisa Morici (School of Medicine); Lydia Bazzano (School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine); Hank Ashbaugh (School of Science and Engineering); Douglas Harris (School of Liberal Arts)

2021 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Robert St. Martin Westley (School of Law); Brigham Walker (School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine); Elisabeth McMahon (School of Liberal Arts); and The Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design: Ann Yoachim (School of Architecture); Rashidah Williams (Small Center); José Cotto (School of Architecture); Nick Jenisch (School of Architecture); Emilie Taylor Welty (School of Architecture)

2021 Funding Awards: Chad Roy (School of Medicine, Tulane National Primate Research Center); Mia Bagneris (School of Liberal Arts); Adrian Anagnost (School of Liberal Arts)

2021 Convergence Awards: Stacy Drury (School of Medicine); Jay Rappaport (School of Medicine, Tulane National Primate Research Center)

2021 Student/Trainee Research Mentoring Award: Patricia Kissinger (School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine); Jana Lipman (School of Liberal Arts)

2021 Rising Star Award: Courtney Bryan (School of Liberal Arts); Michael Naguib (School of Science and Engineering); Maeve Wallace (School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine)

2021 Citation Award: Robert Garry (School of Medicine)

2021 Publication Award: Andy Horowitz (School of Liberal Arts); J. Quincy Brown (School of Science and Engineering)