January 16, 2013
Kenneth Gross, Renaissance scholar and professor of English, will share the 2011–12 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for his book Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life. Cornell University’s Department of English, which administers the prize, calls it one of the most distinguished in American theater. Endowed by the theater critic George Jean Nathan in 1959, the annual award is honors an American “who has written the best piece of drama criticism during the theatrical year,” whether in the form of an essay or book. Gross shares the prize with Jonathan Kalb, professor of theater at Hunter College, for his book, Great Lengths: Seven Works of Marathon Theatre.
Elizabeth (Lissa) McAnarney, professor and chair emerita of pediatrics at the Medical Center, will receive the 2013 John Howland Medal from the American Pediatric Society, the highest honor bestowed by the American Pediatric Society. McAnarney earned the award for her groundbreaking work helping to develop the board-certified subspecialty of adolescent medicine, her research examining the best ways to care for pregnant adolescents, and her career-long commitment to education and mentorship.
Gaurav Sharma, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been named a 2013 fellow by the IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Sharma is being recognized for contributions to electronic imaging and media security. Sharma developed a mathematical framework for evaluating the accuracy of color capture devices by relating them to human visual perception, work that led to a well-cited paper and to commercial application in digital camera designs. He is currently working on developing a method for decoding the structure of noncoding RNAs that mirrors error correction decoding methods in communications.
Faculty named to mathematics society
The American Mathematical Society has named (from left) Sam Gitler, Frederick Cohen, Joseph Neisendorfer, and Douglas Ravenel to its inaugural class of fellows for 2013. Also named was John Moore (not pictured), a current research associate who served on the faculty from 1987 to 1998. Gitler was a professor at the University from 1987 to 2002 and past department chair. Cohen and Ravenel are professors of mathematics and Neisendorfer is emeritus professor of mathematics. The fellows program was started to recognize “members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication, and utilization of mathematics.”
Biochemistry professor named an AAAS fellow
Eric Phizicky, Dean’s Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.
Phizicky, a member of the University’s Center for RNA Biology, was elected “for major contributions to the basic knowledge of tRNA (transfer RNA) processing and turnover and for the development and widespread distribution of powerful genome-wide technologies.”
Phizicky, who came to the Medical Center in 1987, has spent his career working to understand how tRNA is made and how it does its job in the cell, which is to help with the translation of genes into proteins. His lab also focuses on the design, construction, and implementation of genomic methods to analyze protein structure and function, work that’s conducted in collaboration with Elizabeth Grayhack, associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics.
“I’m extremely honored to receive this distinction,” says Phizicky, whose work is mainly funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health and has been published in journals such as Science, Genes & Development, and Molecular Cell. “It is no accident that many scientists don’t want to retire. I love the thrill of finding new things and solving problems in biology—it is really a lot of fun.”