2019 Monfort Professors Announced at Celebrate! Colorado State

Amber Krummel

Amber Krummel, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry who has made significant breakthroughs in the direct visualization of chemical reactions and dynamics, has been named a Monfort Professor.

One of Colorado State University’s highest honors, Monfort Professorships are awarded to faculty who are considered rising stars in their fields. The two-year awards are made possible by the Monfort Family Foundation.

Krummel, who joined the Department of Chemistry in 2010 and was named an associate professor in 2017, is known to her colleagues as a trailblazer in chemistry, especially in the field of spectroscopy, which examines the interaction between matter and light.

Krummel built a high-repetition-rate laser system that could take spectroscopic pictures of molecules 100,000 times a second to help researchers understand how they are moving with time.

“This motion-picture of molecules doing their dance in tiny spatial scales (micrometer arenas) has enabled her ability to see and understand chemical and other phenomena,” University Distinguished Professor A.R. Ravishankara and Professor Grzegorz Szamel said in their nomination letter.

Since then, Krummel has used her tool to answer one of the key open questions in materials science: How are molecules distributed inside a microscopic droplet compared to a large volume, where they are uniformly distributed and not influenced by surface forces?

She and her students used their tool to image chemical dynamics across an ionic liquid microdroplet, showing that the solutes at or near the surface move differently than those located well inside the droplet.

Additionally, Krummel has developed a growing research group that has published in leading chemistry and optics journals. She, herself, has been published in more than 30 peer-reviewed journals, has given more than 40 invited talks and has filed eight provisional patents.

Krummel “has breathed new life into our physical chemistry program and is rapidly establishing herself as a cornerstone of a rising chemistry department,” said Matthew P. Shores, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry. “Her dedication to our students, her research and our University fits exactly with the criteria desired in Monfort Professors.”

As an instructor, Krummel has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and is regularly sought out by students who wish to work in her lab. She has taught courses ranging from general chemistry to graduate-level specialty seminars. She was awarded the 2016 College of Natural Sciences Early Career Faculty Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award.

Krummel plans to use the Monfort resources to support graduate students in a new research effort to investigate the nature of the solid-electrolyte interphase generated in energy storage devices.

“Amber Krummel is clearly worthy of this distinction,” said Janice Nerger, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “Her high level of scholarly accomplishments, her degree of national and international attention, her excellence in the classroom, dedication to graduate and undergraduate research and her clear success in supporting her research through external funding, places her among the most productive faculty in the college.”

Tim Stasevich

Tim Stasevich, a physicist-turned-biochemist who specializes in single-molecule imaging of critical biological processes, has been named a Monfort Professor, one of Colorado State University’s highest honors for faculty.

An assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Stasevich joined the CSU faculty in 2014 and has since been recognized for his work through numerous awards, grants, media appearances and high-impact publications.

“Tim has surpassed ‘rising star’ status and has now established himself as a true superstar in his field,” wrote a committee of his peers in a nomination letter. “It is an understatement to say that Colorado State University and the [department] are lucky to have him.”

Since coming to CSU, Stasevich has become a respected leader in biochemical imaging. His lab made a significant breakthrough by imaging single-molecule RNA translation dynamics in living cellsusing a custom-built system, which his group published about in Science. Stasevich is also the recipient of a NIH Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award, a Keck Foundation award, a Boettcher Foundation award, and a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development award.

Stasevich is a physicist by training, holding a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in physics, but he became fascinated by cell biology during his graduate work. That next stage of his career was jumpstarted by a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral position with James McNally, where Stasevich developed a passion for understanding transcriptional processes and protein dynamics in living cells. He later was a postdoctoral researcher at Osaka University in Japan with Hiroshi Kimura, where he developed a novel biochemical technique to mark endogenous protein modifications in living cells and designed microscopes to image those modifications.

Just before moving to CSU, Stasevich served as a visiting scholar at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research campus, where he solved a major controversy in the field of epigenetics and published about it in Nature.

Beyond his research program, Stasevich has proven himself a valued mentor and teacher of undergraduate and graduate students. Actively mentoring several Ph.D. and undergraduate students in his lab, he also previously won the CSU Graduate Advising and Mentoring Award. Selected by the Graduate Student Council, that award is based on educational guidance, career development and interpersonal relationship skills.

Stasevich also engages in service and outreach activities by serving as a reviewer for journal papers, serving on committees and supporting students; notably, Stasevich has helped revive the Biochemistry Club and is its faculty adviser.

Said his nominators: ” [Stasevich] embodies all that a Monfort Professor should be – a scholar and research pioneer, a dedicated and talented teacher, and an effective and engaged mentor.”

Made possible through the Monfort Family Foundation, Monfort Professorships are two-year awards that help CSU attract and retain talented young faculty.

2018 Monfort Professors Announced at Celebrate! Colorado State

Jeffrey Pierce

Monfort Professor Jeff Pierce, associate professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University

Jeffrey Pierce, an associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science, has been named a Monfort Professor. Established by the Monfort Family Foundation, Monfort Professorships are awarded to faculty who are considered rising stars in their fields. The two-year awards help Colorado State University attract and retain talented young faculty.

Pierce joined the CSU faculty in 2013 as an assistant professor, and he was previously an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. His Ph.D. in chemical engineering is from Carnegie Mellon University, and he also holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Northeastern University.

One of the world’s leading modelers of atmospheric airborne particles, Pierce is a widely sought-after collaborator for U.S. and international research projects. Pierce’s expertise is in the impacts of atmospheric particles on human health and climate. Human-generated atmospheric particles are among the most uncertain areas for accurate predictions of global climate. His work has examined how changes in atmospheric aerosols affect the Earth’s climate by interacting with the sun and the Earth’s radiation, and by modifying clouds.

The author or co-author of more than 90 peer-reviewed articles in leading journals, Pierce has secured in excess of $8 million in sponsored research funding throughout his time at CSU. He has also worked actively with other researchers across campus, including through the Office of the Vice President for Research-sponsored Partnership for Air Quality, Climate and Health (PACH). Through his work with PACH, Pierce and colleagues have estimated that airborne particles lead to approximately 3 million premature deaths around the world every year.

Pierce is furthermore an accomplished and respected teacher. Among his many contributions are the development of a new course for training atmospheric scientists in the field, and the redesign of the department’s Intro to Air Pollution course.

“It is hard to overstate the highly positive impact Jeff has had on the Department of Atmospheric Science, on the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, on the CSU Partnership for Air Quality, Climate and Health, and on CSU as a whole,” wrote atmospheric science department chair Jeffrey Collett, in nominating Pierce for the Monfort Professorship. “He is an exceptional colleague to faculty from many parts of campus, an outstanding adviser, and a dedicated member of many graduate student committees. Jeff is a collegial, humble, and thoughtful member of the CSU faculty.”

George Wittemyer

head shot of researcher George Wittemyer

George Wittemyer, an associate professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology who is recognized as a world-renowned expert on elephant conservation, has been named a Monfort Professor, one of CSU’s highest honors.

He began studying elephants and the effects of poaching on them when he was an undergraduate at Colorado College in the 1990s. After graduating from college, he received a coveted fellowship through the Fulbright Program, which took him to Kenya in 1997, where he met Iain Douglas-Hamilton, one of the preeminent elephant biologists in the world and founder of Save the Elephants.

Douglas-Hamilton helped Wittemyer land an internship with the Kenya Wildlife Service, which led the researcher to the Samburu National Reserve, a rugged and semi-desert park in Kenya.

From 1997 to 2007, Wittemyer lived primarily in Samburu, where he launched a project to identify every elephant that came into the park. With the Save the Elephants field team, he continues to monitor these elephants to this day, following them and recording the ups and downs of their lives.

Wittemyer has testified about his research on Capitol Hill and is among a group of scientists who have joined a coalition of concerned citizens, activists, nongovernmental organizations, politicians and governments whose aim is to stop the killing of elephants, and the trafficking and demand for ivory.

He is highly sought after by top U.S.-based and international media outlets to talk about these topics. Earlier this year, he was interviewed about China’s ivory ban and effects on poaching in Africa on National Public Radio‘s “All Things Considered.”

Wittemyer, who has a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, was described as a “rising star” by Ken Wilson, professor and department head, in his nomination letter.

“Dr. Wittemyer has developed into a brilliant scholar, whose faculty research productivity has been exceptional,” he said. “As his publication record will attest, Dr. Wittemyer has established a superb research program that has generated incredible recognition, especially for his work with African elephant conservation. But, his research goes beyond the scientific and is touching people and livelihoods, and generating the kind of outreach that exemplifies the land-grant mission.”

His research findings have been published in top journals, including Science, where he has had a paper published each year over the last three years. Based on a media analysis, a 2017 study he co-authored on the effects of noise pollution in U.S. protected areas reached 1.9 billion viewers, listeners and readers, and had an advertising equivalency of $3.7 million.

Wittemyer has secured more than $6 million in external funding during his time at CSU, serving as a principal investigator on 22 projects. He also teaches undergraduate and graduate students about wildlife management, conservation of large mammals and conservation biology research.

Wittemyer serves as the chair of Save the Elephants’ scientific board, a testament to his expertise. He is also a technical advisor on elephants for the Kenya Wildlife Service and a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s African Elephants Specialist Group.

The Monfort Professor designation comes with a monetary award of $75,000 a year over the next two years to support Wittemyer’s internationally-recognized research.

Animal Behavior Biologist and Accomplished Chemist Named Monfort Professors by Colorado State University

Kim Hoke, an associate professor in the Department of Biology who has done groundbreaking work in the evolution of animal behavior, has been named a Monfort Professor, one of CSU’s highest honors.

The designation comes with $75,000 a year over the next two years to support her internationally recognized research, which involves integrating behavior, neuroanatomy and genomics of amphibians and fishes.

Beyond her research accomplishments, which have garnered her two major grants from the National Science Foundation (including a prestigious CAREER award) and publication in top journals like the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hoke has also been recognized for excellence in teaching and mentoring. In addition to innovations in teaching, she has been instrumental in designing capstone courses in the department and has a strong undergraduate mentoring program for students in her laboratory, according to her nomination materials.

“My high regard and enthusiasm for Dr. Hoke as a scientific colleague and fellow faculty member has no bounds,” department head Michael Antolin wrote in his recommendation letter. “Her interdisciplinary research takes a familiar endeavor, the observation of animal behavior, and brings it to the highest level and cutting-edge scientific achievement. But even more, this is not a lone journey. Dr. Hoke is dedicated to bringing her younger colleagues with her in mentoring of students in classes and in her lab.”

Antolin, who nominated Hoke for the honor, and College of Natural Sciences Dean Jan Nerger also lauded Hoke’s service and outreach contributions in their recommendation letters.

“Of particular note is her dedication to interdisciplinary teams across campus, serving on multiple NSF panels, and organizing three international conferences,” Nerger wrote. “The intent of the Monfort Professorship is to support our ‘rising star’ faculty in their research and teaching careers. In my opinion, Dr. Hoke is just that … a rising star. Her trajectory is steep and heading toward the distinction of University Distinguished Professor.”

Hoke won the Research Excellence Award from the Office of the Vice President for Research in 2015 for a paper published in Nature, and this year she was named a Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Fellow by the Institute for Advanced Study in Delmenhorst, Germany, to support her upcoming sabbatical.

Hoke intends to use the Monfort funding to extend her research on genetic and developmental contributions to behavioral diversity in Trinidadian guppies.

Melissa Reynolds, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and a faculty member in the School of Biomedical Engineering, has been named a Monfort Professor at Colorado State University. The Monfort Family Foundation helps the university retain talented faculty by awarding funds to two professors each year in support of their research and teaching.

Reynolds, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and a B.S. from Washington State University, leads a research group that integrates novel chemistries into man-made medical devices for humans. One focal point of her research is the development of advanced biocompatible materials that show promise for medicinal-chemistry problems, such as catheter rejection by the body.

Since joining CSU’s faculty in 2009, Reynolds has earned many accolades in research, teaching and service. A mentor to 33 undergraduates, 26 graduate students and three postdoctoral scholars, Reynolds has also taught 11 different courses including analytical and materials chemistry, and bioengineering.

The author of 42 refereed research papers, Reynolds was the first to show that metal organic frameworks can be used as biological catalysts. She has also led the development of a new platform for antimicrobial materials that greatly exceed the efficacy of current treatments.

Reynolds was the inaugural Webb-Waring Biomedical Investigator, awarded through the Boettcher Foundation. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and was named Educator of the year by the Colorado Bioscience Association. Her research has brought in more than $3.3 million in grant funds.

Currently serving as associate chair in the chemistry department, Reynolds has also led the full reorganization of the graduate program to become more student-focused, and has served as advisor to the chemistry graduate organization. “Note that these additional, highly valuable service activities are over and above her exemplary research, classroom teaching, other teaching and student mentoring, and multiple and varied service activities already noted,” wrote Professor of Chemistry Richard Finke in nominating Reynolds.

Added Jan Nerger, dean of the College of Natural Sciences in her nomination letter: “When I consider the intent of the Monfort Professorship program is to identify, reward and retain our best younger faculty, Melissa Reynolds is clearly worthy of this distinction. Her high level of scholarly accomplishments, her excellence in the classroom, dedication to graduate and undergraduate research, and her clear success in supporting her research through external funding, places her among the most productive faculty in the College of Natural Sciences.”

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