The Research Office

OU recognizes faculty for research, innovation and engagement

icon of a calendarNovember 8, 2022

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OU recognizes faculty for research, innovation and engagement
Dr. Zissimos P. Mourelatos
Dr. Zissimos P. Mourelatos (left), distinguished professor of mechanical engineering, was presented with the Frank Giblin Lifetime Achievement Award during the Research, Innovation and Engagement Town Hall on Nov. 3.

The Research Office at Oakland University presented awards to several OU faculty members in recognition of their outstanding research and initiative during the Research, Innovation and Engagement Town Hall, which was held on Thursday, November 3. The awards were presented virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A core focus of the Research Office is to support faculty who require external funding to carry out their research and scholarly activities,” said Dr. David Stone, professor of health sciences and philosophy, and vice president for research at OU. “These awards recognize the high level of effort and accomplishment required to acquire external funding in today’s hypercompetitive environment.”

This year’s award categories included:

• Frank Giblin Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes faculty members for their notable research accomplishments during their career at Oakland University and is named in honor of Dr. Frank Giblin to recognize his remarkable career in the Eye Research Institute. The award was presented to Dr. Zissimos P. Mourelatos, distinguished professor of mechanical engineering, who has received $4.8 million in external funding over his career.

Dr. Mourelatos has been funded by many automotive and technology corporations. He joined OU in January 2003, with 18 years of experience at General Motors R&D with concurrent teaching/research at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor before joining OU. He has graduated 21 Ph.D. students at OU. His work has been published in numerous books, papers and reports. Dr. Mourelatos is a fellow of ASME and SAE.

Dr. Marouane Kessentini
Dr. Marouane Kessentini

• Researcher of the Year Award, which recognizes the faculty member who has received the largest amount of competitive grant funding in the fiscal year, was presented to Dr. Marouane Kessentini, professor and chair of Computer Science and Engineering at OU. Dr. Kessentini received over $2 million in research funding this year.

Dr. Kessentini has received multiple funding awards from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy to support his work. He also currently has a $1 million project with the Department of Defense and Ground Vehicle Systems Center. He also runs a new NSF Industry-University Research Center.

• Most Active Research Award, which is presented to faculty members who has been awarded the highest number of new grants during the fiscal year, was presented to Dr. Marouane Kessentini, professor and chair of Computer Science and Engineering at OU.

Dr. Kessentini has received six NSF research grants focused on artificial intelligence and software engineering. He has also received $1 million in funding for the OU Cybersecurity Center from the Department of Energy, as well as $1 million in funding from the Department of Defense/Ground Vehicle Systems Center.

Dr. Colin Wu
Dr. Colin Wu

• Xiangqun Zeng Most Active Grant Seeker Award, which was presented to Dr. Colin Wu, associate professor of chemistry at OU. The award is given to the faculty member who has submitted the highest number of grant proposals in the fiscal year. Professor Wu has submitted six proposals in fiscal year 2020, applying to NIH, NSF, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society. This award was recently renamed in honor of Dr. Zeng, who has won the award for the past four out of five years, and has submitted nearly 50 proposals in that time.

• Outstanding Junior Investigator Award, which is given to the early career faculty member(s) who had notable research accomplishments in the fiscal year. The award was presented to Dr. Colin Wu, associate professor of chemistry at OU. Dr. Wu received $981,000 in funding, including the prestigious NSF CAREER young investigator award from the National Science Foundation. With support from this grant and his funding from the American Heart Association, he aims to understand how DNA is repaired on a molecular level.

In particular, Dr. Wu is interested in the fundamental relationships between environmental damage, DNA, and heart function. DNA damage is caused by environmental toxins, such as prolonged exposure to the sun, cigarette smoke and other pollutants, and stress.

• Outstanding Research Department Award, which was presented to the Department of Chemistry. The award recognizes the departments that have received the highest amount in research funding in the fiscal year. This year, the Chemistry Department has over $3.3 million in research funding, supporting 10 major projects.

In addition to the awards, Dr. Stone also highlighted some of the initiatives and accomplishments undertaken by other departments this year, including:

• The Biological Sciences Department had the highest number of proposal submissions this year, with 31 total proposals.

• The Chemistry Department had 75 percent of its faculty submitting proposals, making it the department with the highest proportion of faculty submitting proposals.

“This year we’d also like to recognize the chairs of the committees affiliated with the Research Office,” Stone said. “Committee work can be difficult and time-consuming, and doesn’t always get recognized or appreciated. However, keeping these committees running is critical to the research infrastructure. The regulatory committees help faculty navigate laws, regulations, and guidelines relevant to research processes; protecting both investigators and the university. The other committees promote student research and discourse about the responsible conduct of research. Some of these chairs have served for many years, while some are new to the committees. Many have served or are serving on multiple committees. All of them work diligently with faculty and administrators, leading with patience, wisdom, diplomacy, and efficiency, overseeing standard operations as well as dealing with issues and new process implementation.”

More information can be found in the Annual Research Report, which is released each fall and provides details about sponsored projects and activities for the prior year. The report can be found on the Research Office website at

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