ORNL Welcomes First Liane Russell Fellows

August 29, 2014

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 29 — Renowned mammalian geneticist Liane Russell returned Thursday to the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to congratulate the first recipients of a new fellowship named in her honor.

ORNL created the Liane Russell Distinguished Early Career Fellowship to attract a diverse and promising work force of early career scientists and engineers whose interests align with DOE missions.

“It is gratifying to see these opportunities being made available to a diverse group of talented young people because, sadly, in the scientific fields this has not always been the case,” Russell said. “For this reason I am particularly honored to have my name attached to the fellowships.”

The competitive, three-year fellowship is aimed toward establishing long-term research careers at ORNL. They are available to outstanding scientists and engineers who have received their doctorate degrees within the past seven years, with emphasis given to attracting women and minority candidates.

The first three Russell fellows, recognized at Thursday’s reception, are:

Celia Shiau, whose primary area of research will be genomics, computing and neutron scattering to probe host-microbe interface for environmental assessment and clean energy. She comes to ORNL from Stanford University and will be sponsored jointly by ORNL’s Environmental Science and Bioscience divisions.

Huiyuan Zhu, whose primary area of research will be synthetic control of hybrid nanomaterials for catalytic applications. She comes to ORNL from Brown University and will be sponsored by the Chemical Sciences Division.

Huina Mao, who will study “big data” for human settlement mapping and health informatics. She comes to ORNL from Indiana University and will be sponsored by the Computational Science and Engineering Division.

Russell and her husband, the late William L. Russell, led a groundbreaking mammalian genetics and mutagenesis research program at ORNL that included the Mouse House, a colony of mutant mice used in genetics research. Liane Russell’s findings on the vulnerability of embryos to radiation led to changes in radiological practices for women of child-bearing age.  Mouse House discoveries include the roles of the X and Y chromosomes in mammals, including gender determination.

Russell’s numerous awards include DOE’s Enrico Fermi Award and the prestigious International Roentgen Medal. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. The Russells were also a force in preserving rivers and natural areas in their adopted home of Tennessee.

Also recognized Thursday were four participants in the University of Tennessee-ORNL Collaborative Cohort Program. Under the new UT-ORNL Science Alliance program, underrepresented UT-Knoxville junior faculty will collaborate with ORNL scientists, including the Russell fellows. The cohorts are:

Tessa Burch-Smith, assistant professor of biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, who will study development of a reverse genetic system for studying gene function in Crassulacean acid metabolism plants.

Tessa Calhoun, assistant professor of chemistry, who will study rapid-scanning transient absorption imaging of heterogeneous micro-environments.

Joshua Sangoro, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, who will study structure-morphology-property relationships in polymerized ionic liquids.

Stephanie TerMaath, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, who will study supercomputing for multi-disciplinary optimization of obstructed ventricular catheters.

More information on ORNL fellowship programs including the Russell fellowship can be found at http://www.ornl.gov/ornl/careers/fellowships.

Information on the UT-ORNL Science Alliance Collaborate Cohort program is available at http://scialli.utk.edu/collaborative-cohort-program-fellows/.

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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