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April 15, 2013   Columns Articles | Inside UGA | 2013 Creative Research Medals
Magnify Burke, John-H.Sunflower
John Burke, professor of plant biology, was senior author on a paper about the gene responsible for the double flower mutation  shown in Vincent van Gogh’s famed sunflower paintings. Photo by Paul Efland
Magnify Cuomo, Chris-H.Env.portrait
Chris Cuomo
Magnify Fallows, Noel-h.env
Noel Fallows Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski
Magnify Krashen, Daniel-v.env
Danny Krashen is a faculty member in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
Magnify Mote, Thomas-h.env
Thomas Mote Photo by Peter Frey
  • Burke, John-H.Sunflower
  • Cuomo, Chris-H.Env.portrait
  • Fallows, Noel-h.env
  • Krashen, Daniel-v.env
  • Mote, Thomas-h.env

2013 Creative Research Medals

James Hataway

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By James Hataway | April 15, 2013

The Creative Research Medals will be awarded April 18 to five ­faculty members for their outstanding research or creative activity within the past five years that focuses on a single theme identified with the University of Georgia.

John Burke
Professor of Plant Biology
John Burke is a leader in the study of species in the Compositae, one of the largest and most ecologically successful families of flowering plants.

The Compositae includes more than 40 economically important species that are grown as food crops or for medicinal, horticultural or industrial applications.

Burke's research focuses in particular on sunflowers, which are the only major crop species to have been domesticated in North America. His work has shed light on the genetic basis of the transformation of weedy sunflowers into a useful crop plant and provided evidence that all modern-day cultivated sunflowers trace back to a single domestication event approximately 4,000 years ago. His lab also is interested in the genetics of floral development.

His work on this topic went viral in 2012 when Burke and his colleagues published research describing the genetic mutation responsible for the unique sunflower variants painted by the famous post-Impressionist Vincent van Gogh.

Chris Cuomo
Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies 

Chris Cuomo is recognized for her unique and groundbreaking interdisciplinary work on the epistemology and ethics of global climate change.

In 2003, Cuomo formed a research team with physical geographers who study the history and resilience of permafrost. Drawing upon her more than 25 years of scholarship, Cuomo used research methods informed by feminist epistemology to integrate interviews with members of vulnerable populations into scientific research on landscape changes on Alaska's North Slope.

Her team's interviews with Iñupiaq elders resulted in the creation of a community-based geographic information system that incorporates cultural information and memories along with geo-specific information about changes in the landscape. This unique blend of quantitative and qualitative data not only clarified the ecological changes in the North Slope region, but also produced excellent resources on the subsistence practices and gendered divisions of labor for contemporary Iñupiaq communities. 

Noel Fallows
Associate Dean of International and Multidisciplinary Programs 

Noel Fallows is a professor of Spanish in the Romance languages department and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He is a distinguished scholar of Spanish medieval literature and culture and an internationally recognized specialist on chivalry and military history in late medieval and Renaissance Spain.

His recent book, Jousting in Medieval and Renaissance Iberia, is a major contribution to the understanding of the institution of chivalry, with emphasis on the culture and technology of jousting. The richly illustrated volume draws upon treatises, fictional works and an array of visual artifacts to trace the history and ideology of jousting practices. The work has been acclaimed as a masterful and original study, remarkable for its combination of rigorous textual criticism, historiographical and methodological discussion and careful interpretation of visual material.

The book was the recipient of the 2012 La Corónica International Book Award for scholarship in Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Daniel Krashen
Associate Professor of Mathematics 

Daniel Krashen is recognized for his contributions to a branch of algebra known as field patching.

Field patching assigns geometric shapes to complex algebraic systems called function fields.

The method uses the tools of topology-an area of mathematics concerned with describing shapes-to more easily scrutinize the properties of equations in function fields. These are pure mathematical problems requiring great technical knowledge to understand and solve.

While it is difficult to predict how or when discoveries in this field might translate into applied technologies for biology, physics or engineering, Krashen's research creates an essential scaffolding from which applied technologies may emerge.
These algebraic structures have deep underpinnings in the understanding of fundamental applications of mathematics from the symmetries and structure of space, time and matter, to the optimization of error-correcting codes in cellphone communication.

Thomas Mote
Professor and Head of the Geography Department

Thomas Mote is one of the leading experts on climate change and the cryosphere-the portions of the Earth's surface that are frozen.

These regions of the planet are particularly sensitive to changes in climate, and Mote is celebrated for his body of research that has led to a better understanding of how the cryosphere is responding to a changing climate, amplifying climate changes and serving as an important factor in seasonal climate predictability. Because many of these frozen regions are inhospitable and difficult to access, Mote is recognized particularly for his inspired use of satellite data to track changes in surface melting on the Greenland ice sheet and then relating those changes to important components of climate variability.

The data he accumulated and his many years of experience studying the cryosphere became particularly important in July 2012 when an extreme level of surface melt in Greenland captured the attention of scientists and international media.

More from this issue

  • April 15, 2013

    2013 Creative Research Awards

    The Creative Research Awards recognize outstanding bodies of work that have gained broad recognition. They will be presented April 18 at the Georgia Center. Complete information on all of this year's ­winners is available online at Continue

  • April 15, 2013

    University to celebrate outstanding students, faculty, staff, alumni during Honors Week

    UGA will celebrate outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni at several events during Honors Week, April 15-19. Continue

  • April 15, 2013

    UGA law school alumnus chosen to clerk at US Supreme Court

    UGA School of Law graduate Andrew A. Pinson has been selected to serve as a judicial clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for the October 2013 term. Pinson's appointment makes him the sixth Georgia Law graduate in nine years to be selected for this post. Continue

  • April 15, 2013

    2013 Distinguished Research Professors

    The title Distinguished Research Professor will be bestowed upon faculty who are internationally recognized for their original contributions to knowledge and whose work promises to foster continued creativity in their discipline. Continue

  • April 15, 2013

    Members of promotion, tenure review committees announced

    In accordance with UGA Guidelines for Appointment, Promotion and Tenure, the membership of the University Review Committees are being announced. Continue

  • April 15, 2013

    BSRI retreat will focus on sustainability of bioenergy

    The sustainability of bioenergy, including its socioeconomic and environmental components, will be the focus of UGA's Bioenergy Systems Research Institute annual retreat May 13 at the Georgia Center. Continue

  • April 15, 2013

    2013 Josiah Meigs Teaching Professors

    Two faculty members will be named Josiah Meigs Teaching Professors April 15 at the 2013 Faculty Recognition Banquet at the Georgia Center. The professorship is the university's highest recognition for instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Meigs Professors receive a permanent salary increase of $6,000 and a fund of $1,000 for academic support. Continue

  • April 15, 2013

    Training ground

    Vicki Michaelis, the first John Huland Carmical Distinguished Professor of Sports Journalism in Grady College, has witnessed and written about some of the greatest sports moments of the 21st century during her tenure as lead Olympics writer for USA Today. Continue

  • April 15, 2013

    Feeding frenzy

    New UGA research has identified the neural pathways in an insect brain tied to eating for pleasure, a discovery that sheds light on mirror impulsive eating pathways in the human brain. Continue

  • April 15, 2013

    Adams attends final Staff Council meeting as president, praises staff

    UGA President Michael F. Adams received a standing ovation during his final visit to the university's Staff Council. Continue

  • April 15, 2013

    Microbiologists shed light on ancient origin of life

    Researchers in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences have discovered important genetic clues about the history of one of Earth's oldest life forms called archaea. Continue

  • April 15, 2013

    Modern art: Instructional designer helps faculty sculpt online courses

    Being raised by a single working mother, Flint Buchanan saw the real impact of night classes firsthand as his mother, Susanne, balanced educating herself and raising him. Now as an instructional designer in the Office of Online Learning, Buchanan is trying to help those who may be in a similar situation. Continue

  • April 15, 2013

    Early lecturer calls for investigation of Southern civil rights-era violence

    In 1967, Wharlest Jackson was murdered in Natchez, Miss., after receiving a promotion over white men at a tire plant. Continue

  • April 15, 2013

    NIH awards $1.5M to researcher studying Legionnaires’ disease

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  • April 15, 2013

    Two undergraduate students named 2013 Udall Scholars

    Two UGA Honors students were among 50 students nationwide who were awarded 2013 Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation Scholarships. The scholarships of up to $5,000 are awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors pursuing careers focused on environmental or Native American public policy. Continue

  • April 15, 2013

    2013 Richard B. Russell Awards

    Three UGA faculty members will receive Richard B. Russell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the 2013 Faculty Recognition Banquet at the Georgia Center on April 15. Russell Awards recognize outstanding teaching by faculty early in their academic careers. Winners receive $5,000. The Richard B. Russell Foundation in Atlanta supports the program. Continue

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