Tech presents inaugural Research Excellence Awards

Apr 16, 2024 | Faculty/Staff, General News, Research

Louisiana Tech University awarded the inaugural Research Excellence Awards to showcase the contributions to research and innovation within the University’s community and the dedication of individuals advancing their knowledge and fostering collaboration.

The awards presented by Louisiana Tech President Jim Henderson, during a ceremony at the Davison Athletics Complex, included the Industry Partnership Excellence Award, Research Associate Excellence Award, and Distinguished Research Excellence Award.

“At Louisiana Tech University, we pride ourselves on being pioneers at the forefront of exploration and breakthroughs, dedicated to redefining the realms of knowledge and collaboration,” Dr. Sumeet Dua, Executive Vice President for Research, said. “It is with immense pride and boundless enthusiasm that we honor the extraordinary achievements of our distinguished faculty and staff with the Research Excellence Awards.”

The Industry Partnership Excellence Award recipient is Dr. Prashanna Bhattarai, assistant professor of Electrical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Science (COES). Bhattarai’s expertise is in power system protection, electric machines, power system transients and modeling, and power quality. The research mainly focuses on maintaining the fidelity of electrical power and ensuring the safety of the equipment system and customers in case of any disturbances.

“If society as a whole had to live without power for a day, it would most likely be on the verge of a collapse,” Bhattarai said. “Nowadays, sustainability and efficiency are paramount, and we are witnessing a paradigm shift towards renewable energy sources, smart grids, and ultra-high speed decision-making devices.”

The Research Associate Excellence Award recipient is Dr. Xuan Liu, director of the Laboratory Animal Facility in the College of Applied and Natural Sciences (CANS). Liu’s research involves ethical research practices of laboratory animals and collaboration to facilitate applications and reviews for animal experiments. He is recognized for fostering an environment that welcomes discussions on research methodologies, data interpretation, and critical thinking skills.

“As director of the Laboratory Animal Facility, my duties include overseeing the operation to ensure everything runs smoothly and to take care of our animal residents,” Liu said. “Other than my day-to-day laboratory responsibilities, I also collaborated on an article with MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston that is titled Adaptive design of mRNA-loaded extracellular vesicles for targeted immunotherapy of cancer.

The Distinguished Research Excellence Award recipient is Dr. Yuri Lvov, a chemistry professor and T. Pipes Eminent Endowed Chair on Micro and Nanosystems in the COES. Lvov’s pioneering work in layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly and the development of clay nanotube composites have not only revolutionized material science but have also opened new avenues for applications in medicine, environmental remediation, and beyond.

“We have produced many results including several industrial contract applications of clay nanotube,” Lvov said. “In collaboration with L’Oreal, we have developed the position of clay nanotube for hair coloring and hair treatment. This visibility of the University helps attract the best students in undergraduate and graduate programs.”

“Each recipient stands as a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence, our profound dedication to transformative research, and our relentless drive to cultivate meaningful, impactful partnerships,” Dua added. “Their remarkable contributions transcend mere personal accolades, serving to significantly amplify Louisiana Tech’s standing on the international stage. This accolade is a tribute to their exceptional dedication, their pioneering spirit, and the vibrant culture of collaboration that defines Louisiana Tech.”

Louisiana Tech continues to promote a culture of research excellence and collaboration that continues to inspire and empower future generations of scholars and innovators.

Honorable Mentions: Pradeep Chowriappa (Industry Partnership Excellence Award), Fan Li (Research Associate Excellence Award), Mark DeCoster and John Matthews (Distinguished Research Excellence Award)