The West Virginia University Research Corp. (WVURC) has honored professors Mridul Gautam and Earl Scime and Associate Professor Laura F. Gibson with Robert C. Byrd Professorship awards.

The awards were established and funded by the WVURC to acknowledge outstanding professional accomplishments and leadership of WVU faculty. The program recognizes faculty for their achievements in research and other scholarly activities, particularly the impact of their research and scholarly activities in their fields 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 WVURC .”Recipients are expected to hold the highest standards and values of academic scholarship.

Mridul Gautam, professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources (CEMR), has been selected for a full professor award.

With an impressive record in both research and teaching, Gautam has received numerous awards and honors from within the University, as well as national and international professional associations. Specifically, his career at WVU has produced international acclaimed work in gas-particle flows, combustion generated nanoparticles and exhaust emission formation, measurement, characterization and control.

Gautams research has cut across disciplinary boundaries by folding in researchers from all over the world specializing in fields of medicine, toxicology, physics, chemistry and material science.

Over the past 19 years, Gautam has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on more than $50 million in funded research, most of this through the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions.

Gautams research sponsors include the U.S. Department of Energy, South Coast Air Quality Management District, U.S. Department of Transportation, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology, Coordinating Research Council, multiple engine manufacturers with oversight from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state of West Virginia and other state and federal agencies.

Gautam has a vision for advancing research in academic institutions, in general, and at WVU , in particular. His efforts have focused on establishing world-class centers that will conduct a mix of fundamental and applied-sponsored research, and will also serve as technology catalysts within their respective regional and state economies.

Initiatives launched include the Center for Advanced Research in Autonomous Technologies, Diesel Research Program, National Center for Mining Engines and Safety, Nanoparticle Toxicology Laboratory and Cooperative Research and Development Agreements.

Earl E. Scime, professor and chair of the department of physics in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, also has been selected for a full professor award. Scimes research program in experimental physics is one of the few in the world that spans both laboratory and space plasma physics. His contributions to both of these research areas are significant and widely recognized in the plasma physics community and WVU .

As chair of the department of physics, his leadership has resulted in the development of interdisciplinary research programs at WVU , including the WVNano Initiative and a new multidisciplinary astrophysics/radio astronomy research program.

Scimes research achievements have been recognized with the Claude Worthington Benedum Distinguished Scholar Award, Outstanding Research and Outstanding Teacher Award from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, NASA Group Achievement Award for his work with the IMAGE spacecraft team, election to full membership in Commission H of the Union Radio-Scientifique Internationale and U.S. Department of Energy Plasma Physics Junior Faculty Research Grant.

Scimes accomplishments have enhanced both undergraduate and graduate education and research at WVU , providing outstanding opportunities for students and faculty alike. His mentorship of six undergraduate Goldwater Scholars is unprecedented at WVU and has elevated WVU s research mission with national visibility and acclaim. In the area of sponsored research, Scime has an outstanding record of securing funds for his research programhaving secured more than $4 million in external funding from agencies including the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and NASA .

Laura F. Gibson, associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the WVU School of Medicine, has been honored with an associate professor award. Gibson is a National Institutes of Health-funded investigator and also serves as vice chair for research in the department of pediatrics and adjunct associate professor in the department of microbiology, immunology and cell biology.

During her tenure as associate professor, Gibson has published 17 manuscripts, 14 as senior author. All of the publications have appeared in well respected, peer-review journals in the field of hematopoiesis and transplantation. She also has published approximately 40 abstracts, several of which have received publication attention and honors.

While maintaining a well funded and productive lab, Gibson also participates in student training at all levelsserving as a faculty mentor in summer fellowship and research programs, mentoring physician scientists with an interest in oncology, and has participated in the training of more than 20 undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students.

The names of these outstanding professorsGibson, Gautam and Scimeshould be as lauded and well-known as any of the greats that ever sank a three-pointer or kicked a winning field goal for West Virginia University,”Sen. Robert C. Byrd said.”Their groundbreaking work has helped to ensure WVU ’s place among the nation’s top research universities. I take tremendous pride in pointing out that their achievements and academic excellence are further proof that American ingenuity thrives in abundance right here in West Virginia.”

Up to four, four-year Robert C. Byrd Professorships will be awarded annually, until a total of 16 is reached. Each will carry an annual stipend of $5,000 as a salary supplement for the four-year period of the award.

Past recipients are Thomas H. Myers, professor of physics in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences; Bojan Cukic, associate professor of computer science and electrical engineering in CEMR ; Larry Hornak, professor of computer science and electrical engineering in CEMR ; Mark Keopke, professor of physics in the Eberly College; Roger Viadero, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering in CEMR ; and Kimberly Horn, associate professor of community medicine in the School of Medicine.