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man presenting a certificate to a professor

Exceptional ASU faculty members honored as University Professors

By

Margaret Coulombe

Five of Arizona State University’s faculty members were appointed University Professors in a ceremony hosted by ASU President Michael M. Crow and Provost Robert E. Page, Jr., and attended by Patrick Kenney, George Justice and Ferran Garcia-Pichel, the deans of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“Our University Professors are groundbreaking leaders in their creative art or science,” Crow said. “They represent the world-class minds that choose ASU as the place to advance their work and impart their knowledge with the next generation of master learners.”

Those chosen are also ASU’s top experts in their fields of research, nationally and internationally: Roy Curtiss III, University Professor of Microbiology; Berthold Hölldobler, University Professor of Life Sciences; Stuart Lindsay, University Professor of Physics; Alberto Ríos, University Professor of Letters; and Eric Reiman, University Professor of Neuroscience.

“We want to honor those faculty members with longstanding accomplishments in innovation, mentorship, research and entrepreneurship,” Page said. “These exceptional senior researchers spur new discoveries in science and in self-discovery, develop strong programs of study and significantly impact our communities.”

Roy Curtiss is a professor in the School of Life Sciences and the director of the Centers for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology and Microbial Genetic Engineering in the Biodesign Institute. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the St. Louis Academy of Sciences and the Arizona Arts, Science and Technology Academy. His research uses microbial genetic manipulation to address problems of global concern, including the development of live vaccines to reduce the destruction and death caused by infectious disease agents of fish, poultry, swine, cattle and humans. His recent research emphasizes the design and construction of cyanobacterial strains to maximize production of biofuels and biofuel precursors. Curtiss has more than 360 journal articles to his credit. In 2014, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society for Microbiology and the AZBio Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Arizona BioIndustry Association.

Regents' Professor Bert Hölldobler is a faculty member in the School of Life Sciences. He has authored or co-authored more than 300 scientific research papers, in addition to four books with longtime collaborator, Harvard Professor Emeritus Edward O. Wilson. This dynamic duo received the Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for “The Ants,” a groundbreaking work on the list of the top 100 books of the century, released by Modern Library list of Random House Publishers. His honors include 24 of the top awards for scientific research and lifetime achievement, including the prestigious Cothenius Medal from the German National Academy. At ASU, Hölldobler helped to build a dynamic research collective – the social insect research group (SIRG). This group studies bees, ants, termites and wasps, with a focus on neuroscience, biomedicine, genetics and epigenetics, complex adaptive systems, sociobiology and robotics. The group’s synergistic partnerships contribute to many high-impact publications and advances. These include the sequencing of the first complete genome of the honey bee and six economically important ant species, with partners from across the globe.

Regents’ Professor Stuart Lindsay is the director of the Center for Single Molecule Biophysics in the Biodesign Institute at ASU. He is also the Nadine and Edward Carson Professor of Physics and Chemistry in the Department of Physics and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Lindsay holds 31 U.S. patents, co­founded Molecular Imaging (now part of Agilent Technologies) and more recently, Recognition AnalytiX. He has published over 200 research papers and is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute of Physics. His research interests include nanoscale chemical mapping, applications of nanoscience for sustainable energy, new techniques for DNA and protein sequencing based on electron tunneling, and nanoscale probes of epigenetic markings and cell biochemistry. Most recently Lindsay lead a team of scientists from ASU and IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center in the development of a prototype DNA reader that could make whole genome profiling an everyday practice in medicine in the near future.

Dr. Eric Reiman is the executive director of Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, clinical director of the neurogenomics program with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and is a professor of practice in ASU’s School of Life Sciences. He helped to establish the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium, which includes the Arizona Alzheimer’s Research Center and the Arizona Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center, which he directs. He is also on the board of directors of the Flinn Foundation. Reiman has authored more than 200 publications and pursues efforts to leverage Arizona’s scientific and organizational resources to promote understanding, early detection and tracking of Alzheimer’s disease and develop disease-slowing and prevention therapies.

Regents’ Professor Alberto Ríos was named the state’s inaugural poet laureate in 2013 and was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets in 2014. Ríos is the recipient of the Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award, the Arizona Governor's Arts Award, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Walt Whitman Award, the Western States Book Award for Fiction and six Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and fiction. He has published 10 books and chapbooks of poetry, three collections of short stories and a memoir. His individual works have also been included in “The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry,” and more than 500 other national and international literary anthologies and journals. He is the Katharine C. Turner Endowed Chair in the Department of English and the host of PBS Channel 8, Books & Co. Ríos has led many community-based projects across the state. His work is regularly taught and translated, and has been adapted to dance and both classical and popular music.