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Celebrating excellence in research: 2024 College of Science Awards

By Hannah Ashton

The College of Science gathered on Feb. 29 to recognize and celebrate our high achieving faculty and staff at the 2024 Combined Awards Ceremony. The evening celebrated the very best in the College, from teaching, advising and research to inclusive excellence, administration and service.

The following faculty and staff received awards in the category of research.

Congratulations to all the awardees!

Outstanding Faculty Research Assistant Award

Jenna Sullivan-Stack received the Outstanding Faculty Research Assistant Award for her remarkable contributions in research, service and equity.

Jenna Sullivan-Stack smiles for a photo.

Jenna Sullivan-Stack

Acknowledged as a “talented scientist, effective communicator and trusted collaborator,” Sullivan-Stack has contributed to national policy level complications of ocean research and conservation. She co-authored a Science paper that was downloaded nearly 28,000 times and ranked in the top 5% of research outputs scored by Altmetric.

She actively engages with international collaborators and effectively coordinates communication with diverse co-authors. Her participation in the United Nations Indigenous Dialogues underscores her respected position, where she co-organized a panel on ocean conservation, showcasing her ability to navigate sensitive and diverse collaborations. Her nominator emphasizes, “This speaks volumes about the respect she has from our colleagues.”

In addition to her research prowess, her commitment to service and equity is exemplified through her involvement in departmental committees and initiatives. She serves on the Integrative Biology Department’s Committee on Equity, Justice and Inclusion and contributes to the Inclusive Internationalization Committee. Jenna’s dedication extends beyond academia; she actively participates in the Skype a Scientist Program, virtually visiting elementary classes nationwide to share her research and inspire the next generation.

In the words of her nominator, “Jenna is a true asset to OSU. Her expertise is supporting a thriving research group to make local to global scientific impacts that are truly transdisciplinary.”

Dean’s Early Career Achievement Award

Assistant Professor Maude David received the Dean’s Early Career Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions across research, mentorship and innovation. Notably, David’s research on the gut-brain axis and application of deep learning to neurological diseases, particularly autism, has earned international reputation.

Maude David smiles for a photo.

Maude David

Her impressive CV includes 13 manuscripts in esteemed journals and securing approximately $9.5 million in funding from diverse sources. A fellow colleague from Stanford wrote, “In my estimation, Dr. David’s early academic achievements are among the most impressive I have seen in my entire career.” Her pioneering efforts extend beyond academia, as she has initiated companies like NeuroBiome LLC and Microbiome Engineering LCC, aligning with the College of Science’s mission for community health.

Industry partners in the biotechnology sphere commend David’s deep commitment to open and collaborative science. “She has shared all data, metadata and analytical pipelines with the scientific community: as a result, this dataset has already been used by many researchers, and part of it has been published in Nature Neuron.”

David has become a leader in her field elevating Oregon State’s distinction in the area of biomedical research and biocomputing. Faculty describe her as a devoted community member with an astonishing work ethic.

Marilyn Mackiewicz smiles for a photo.

Marilyn Mackiewicz

Marilyn Mackiewicz received the Dean’s Early Career Achievement Award for her exceptional contributions in research, teaching and service. Her research focuses on safe nanomaterials, and she and her group have developed a unique protocol for controlled nanoparticle production, allowing groundbreaking applications in bioimaging and therapy. The nominations from fellow colleagues highlight her “commitment to advancing the field” and call her a “rising star in nanomaterials.”

In the teaching domain, Mackiewicz’s impact extends beyond traditional classrooms. She is commended for her teaching approach in courses like CH220 and Ch320, combining her personal experience with research-based practices for career development. Her dedication to student success is evident in her creation of a new bioinorganic chemistry class, filling a significant gap in the chemistry curriculum. In addition, her mentorship qualities are highlighted in a peer-reviewed article published in the Journal of Chemical Education, demonstrating her dedication to supporting students’ success and building their self-advocacy.

As chair of the Equity, Justice and Inclusion committee, she has transformed the appearance of Gilbert Hall into an inclusive space, showcasing diverse faculty members and the student body. Marilyn's leadership role in the college's Strategic Planning Committee, including leading the development of a goal as the only assistant professor, underscores her impactful service. She organized the first Industry-University Collaborative Conference Program, which received positive feedback, and played a significant role in rewriting OSU's NSF Research Traineeship grant.

“A trailblazer in inclusive research, teaching and service leadership,” Mackiewicz is an accomplished, dedicated and pioneering member of the College of Science.

F.A. Gilfillan Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Science

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics Department Head Elisar Barbar received the F. A. Gilfillan Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Science.

Elisar Barbar smiles for a photo.

Elisar Barbar

Barbar is a pioneering leader in the biophysical characterization of protein complexes involving intrinsically disorders proteins, a field that few researchers venture into. Throughout her 25-year tenure at Oregon State, she has built an impactful scholarly program. One nomination letter describes her as an “international leader” who has shaped the field of biophysics and structural biology, producing “deep mechanistic understanding.”

Her career has resulted in numerous quantifiable accomplishments and indicators of her scholarly excellence and impact. She has 90 refereed papers in strong journals, primary investigator on grants totaling more than $10 million in external funding, and 18 active international collaborations with researchers from 13 countries. She has received the Milton-Harris Basic Research Award, a French university’s honorary “Chaire” award, and a New Zealand university’s Erskine Fellow award.

Barbar is the perfect example of striving to define success not by how elite or exclusive she is, but by who she includes and helps achieve their academic, career and life goals. She demonstrates this commitment in her research lab through her inclusion of diverse students and other advisees who were not accepted in or were not successful in other research groups. She helps these individuals cultivate their talents and interests and find success in the department and beyond.

Her unwavering commitment to groundbreaking research, exemplary mentoring and tireless advocacy for equity in science is remarkable and highly commendable.

Milton Harris Award for Basic Research in Science

Professor Christopher Beaudry received the Milton Harris Award for Basic Research in Science. Endowed by G. Milton Harris, a Portland native who received his bachelor's degree in 1926 from OSU. He was a pioneer in polymer, fiber and textile science. Dr. Harris and his family were and are devoted supporters of higher education, supporting numerous scholarships, awards and faculty positions in science and engineering at OSU.

Christopher Beaudry smiles for a photo.

Christopher Beaudry

The purpose of the Milton Harris is to recognize exceptional achievement in basic research by honoring an outstanding faculty member in the College. Special consideration is given to recent research that was carried out at OSU and that will have a significant impact on its field.

Beaudry is known for his significant contributions to organic chemistry, recognized as a top authority in the chemical synthesis of natural products, particularly in the exploration of molecular chirality.

“Professor Beaudry’s scholarly endeavors represent the very essence of basic research. His achievements include the conception of numerous unprecedented chemical reactions, marking a series of ‘firsts’ in the scientific community,” one nominator wrote.

His research has garnered widespread recognition, both within Oregon State and the broader scientific community. He recently received the OSU Impact Award for Outstanding Scholarship. A leading chemistry publication distinguished his work as a ‘Very Important Paper’ and he secured ‘most downloaded’ accolades from the esteemed journal Angewandte Chemie.

Promotion of equity, justice and inclusion has been an integral part of Chris’s career. Through his lived experiences, including being a first-generation college student, he understands students may experience “imposter syndrome” and he is committed to creating an inclusive laboratory environment.

“Overall, Prof. Beaudry has amassed a unique portfolio of synthetic chemistry that marks him as one of the best in our field, and positions him beautifully for continued contributions not only in the heart of organic chemistry, but also in the field of medicinal chemistry,” one colleague wrote. “I hope it is evident that I think the world of Prof. Beaudry’s science.”