36 early-career faculty members earn Johns Hopkins Catalyst Awards

Thirty-six talented early-career faculty members representing all nine academic divisions of the university will receive 2020 Johns Hopkins Catalyst Awards.

The Catalyst Awards will enable these faculty to tackle projects across the spectrum of discovery, from designing a mobile health intervention to improve the cardiovascular health of African immigrants in the U.S., to investigating the neurobiology of creativity, to creating a safe storage tool kit to prevent firearm-related injury and death, to enhancing our understanding of the carbon cycle while unraveling the mechanisms behind the co-evolution of ancient marine life and environment.

One awardee is pursuing a national longitudinal investigation on the impacts of the built environment, mobility changes, and social distancing measures on COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates in U.S. metropolitan counties. Another is writing a book on Italian environmental films from the silent era to the present and exploring how film can help us grapple with global ecological crises and foster a culture of care and change.

These experts represent 30 departments—including Earth & Planetary Sciences, Classics, Mechanical Engineering, Gynecology and Obstetrics, Energy Resources and Environment, and Epidemiology.

“Contending with an uncertain funding environment that was further constrained by the impacts of the global pandemic, it has never been more important to invest in the future of our university’s exceptional scholars,” Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels says. “Supporting their research and creative projects will reinforce their fields while benefitting human knowledge and health.”

The 2020 honorees—selected on the basis of their accomplishments to date, creativity and originality, and academic impact—will each receive a $75,000 grant to support their work over the next year. They also will have the opportunity to participate in mentoring sessions and events designed to connect these colleagues at similar stages in their careers.

The Catalyst Awards program was launched in early 2015, as was the Discovery Awards program for interdivisional collaborations. Together the two programs represent a $30 million commitment by university and divisional leadership to faculty-led research.

The Catalyst Awards program is open to any full-time faculty member appointed to a tenure-track position within the past three to 10 years. Faculty from across the university served on the committee that selected the awardees from a pool of 125 submissions.

This is the sixth year of the program, which has now recognized a total of 206 high-potential faculty from all divisions of the institution.

“This is a moment I look forward to each year: supporting our early career faculty as they embark on creative and ambitious projects,” says Denis Wirtz, JHU’s vice provost for research. “My sincere congratulations to this new Catalyst cohort. Your proposals were selected through a very competitive, universitywide process, and I hope you are proud of this achievement. We look forward to celebrating with you as you blaze new trails of discovery.”

2020 Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award recipients

  • Valsamo Anagnostou, Oncology, School of Medicine
  • Emily Anderson, Classics, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
  • Raman Arora, Computer Science, Whiting School of Engineering
  • Kristin Bigos, Medicine – Clinical Pharmacology, School of Medicine
  • Julia Burdick-Will, Sociology, School of Education and Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
  • Ryan Calder, Sociology, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
  • Yvonne Commodore-Mensah, School of Nursing
  • Laura Di Bianco, Modern Languages and Literatures, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
  • David Dowdy, Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • David Gutkin, Musicology, Peabody Institute
  • Yingli Fu, Radiology and Radiological Science, School of Medicine
  • Adrian Haith, Neurology, School of Medicine
  • Shima Hamidi Environmental Health and Engineering, Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Sung Hoon Kang, Mechanical Engineering, Whiting School of Engineering
  • Hyungbae Kwon, Neuroscience, School of Medicine
  • Felipe Lara, Composition, Peabody Institute
  • Albert Lau, Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry, School of Medicine
  • Kevin Lewis, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
  • Yi Li, Physics and Astronomy, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
  • Richard Lofton, School of Education
  • Enrique Mallada, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Whiting School of Engineering
  • Jonas Nahm, Energy Resources and Environment, School of Advanced International Studies
  • Rakhi Naik, Medicine – Hematology, School of Medicine
  • Jian Ni, Carey Business School
  • Lauren Osborne, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine
  • Ligia Paina, International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Matthew Peters, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine
  • Joseph Sakran, Surgery, School of Medicine
  • Laura Samuel, School of Nursing
  • Emmy Smith, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
  • Jungsan Sohn, Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry, School of Medicine
  • Jamie Spangler, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Whiting School of Engineering
  • Shuying Sun, Pathology, School of Medicine
  • Elizabeth Thornberry, History, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
  • Arthur Jason Vaught, Gynecology and Obstetrics, School of Medicine
  • Shigeki Watanabe, Cell Biology, School of Medicine

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