Yon Rojanasakul helps cure cancer. Arun Abraham Ross helps make the nation safer.

Both are internationally recognized West Virginia University researchers who will be honored as Robert C. Byrd Professors during an investiture ceremony set for March 15 at the Erickson Alumni Center. The ceremony, the first since Byrd’s death last year, will also feature a special video photo tribute to the late senator and his life and work.

Through his leadership and vision, Byrd tirelessly supported key research initiatives, encouraged excellence and helped thousands of young people pursue higher education opportunities nationwide.

The Byrd professorships were established in 2004 by the WVU Research Corp. to recognize WVU faculty for outstanding achievement and distinction in research and other scholarly work, including technology development, technology transfer and commercialization. It is the highest honor the Research Corp. bestows upon faculty researchers.

Rojanasakul is a professor in the WVU Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences.

He began his faculty career at WVU in 1989. Since then, he has established an internationally recognized research program in the area of free radical biology and cancer research. His work focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of apoptosis and angiogenesis.

His research has led to the discovery of key molecular targets and signaling pathways involved in cancer cell death and chemoresistance. And also addresses the development of nanotechnology, drug delivery and toxicology and health effects.

The overall goal of Rojanasakul’s research is to develop more effective strategies for the prevention and treatment of cancer. He also maintains a passion for teaching and has been the recipient of eight outstanding teaching awards in the School of Pharmacy. He is a Benedum Distinguished Scholar and a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

Rojanasakul was also a recipient of the Young Investigator award in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, the Research Investigation Award from the American Association of College of Pharmacy and is a member of numerous processional and honor societies and associations. He is the author or co-author of a long list of important publications. He obtained his PhD. in pharmaceutics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; an MS from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and a BS from Mahidol University.

Ross, is an associate professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

Ross is one of the key faculty members conducting research for the WVU Center for Identification Technology Research, an industry/university cooperative research center that provides a method to leverage biometrics research conducted in academia into industry and a key academic partner of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Biometrics is the science of establishing human identity based on physical or behavioral traits (fingerprint, voice, face, DNA).

He is a recipient of NSF’s CAREER Award and was designated a Kavli Frontiers Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences in 2006. He is the co-author of the book “Handbook of Multibiometrics” and co-editor of “Handbook of Biometrics.” He is also an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Image Processing and the IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security. WVU has comprehensive integrative research and education programs in biometrics and is known worldwide for its identification technology research.

The FBI has awarded a grant to Ross and his colleagues to research ways to improve fingerprint analysis under a federal initiative known as the Friction Ridge Support Services Project. He has also received support for his biometrics work from NSF, Office of Naval Research, Army Research Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, National Institute of Justice and Center for Identification Technology Research.

Ross received a B.E. (Hons.) degree in computer science from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from Michigan State University, East Lansing.

Up to four, four-year Robert C. Byrd Professorships are awarded annually. Each will carry an annual stipend of $5,000 as a salary supplement for the four-year period of the award. Past recipients are Ismail Celik, David Lederman, Jamal Mustafa, Katerina Goseva-Popstojanova, Peter Gannett, Earl Scime, Mridul Gautam, Laura Gibson, Bojan Cukic, Mark Koepke, Lawrence Hornak and Kimberly Horn.



CONTACT: Gerrill Griffith; WVU Research Corp.
304-293-3743; Gerrill.Griffith@mail.wvu.edu

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