West Virginia University has honored faculty members Larry Hornak, Mark Koepke, Kimberly Horn and Roger Viadero with the new Robert C. Byrd Professorship Award.

Funded through the WVU Research Corp., the award was established to acknowledge outstanding professional accomplishments and leadership of WVU faculty in their field of study, including technology development, technology transfer and commercialization.

The Robert C. Byrd Professorship is intended to be a prestigious award and based on distinction in ones field of scholarly work,said John D. Weete, vice president for research and economic development and president of the WVU Research Corp.Recipients are expected to hold the highest standards and values of academic scholarship.

Hornak, professor of computer science and electrical engineering in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, was selected on the basis of his broad based leadership in programs critical to the current success and future growth of research in the area of identification technologies and biometrics. Dr. Hornak has led an interdisciplinary effort to build a program of international stature in the area of biometric information technology, leading to the establishment of the Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR) as a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.

Koepke, professor of physics in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, was selected for his research in the field of plasma physics. His efforts have drawn national and international distinction, and have led to an internationally recognized program in plasma physics at WVU . Dr. Koepke serves as deputy editor of Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, was named Distinguished Lecturer in Plasma Physics in 2001 by the American Physical Societys Division of Plasma Physics, and is a member of the International Advisory Committee of the International Conference on Plasma Physics.

Viadero, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, was selected for his research in the fields of environmental engineering, specifically the remediation of impaired ecosystems and aquaculture. Dr. Viadero has published extensively in peer reviewed journals in his field and holds several national-level leadership positions. He serves on the board of directors of the Aquacultural Engineering Society, is a contributing editor to Government Engineer, and has served as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) on aquaculture management for the U.S. Department of Labor.

Horn, associate professor of community medicine in the School of Medicine, was selected for her research in the field of public health, particularly for her interdisciplinary approach and national impact of her work on youth tobacco prevention and cessation. Her collaborative research and development of the Not On Tobacco (N-O-T) program, a teen smoking cessation program, is an example of the impact Horn has realized. The program quickly received national attention and was funded and promoted by the American Lung Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 1999 and 2003 (last population date), N-O-T served approximately 32,931 U.S. youths, helping over 6,000 youths become tobacco-free. Now used in almost every state in the nation as well as by schools serving military families abroad, N-O-T has been highlighted in Parade magazine, Prevention magazine, Time and the Ann Landers newspaper column.

“I congratulate these four professors on their outstanding academic achievements,Sen. Byrd said.The research advancements that they have made, and those that they are sure to make in the future, are points of pride for me and for every West Virginian. Their groundbreaking work is helping to ensure WVU ’s place among the nation’s top research universities.”

The Robert C. Byrd Professorship program will grant a total of 16 awards. Up to four, 4-year professorships will be awarded annually. Each professorship will carry an annual stipend of $5,000 as a salary supplement for the four-year period of the award.