The Research Office

Oakland University faculty recognized for research, initiative at Town Hall

‘Researcher of the Year,’ Most Active Grant Seeker’ among this year’s award categories

icon of a calendarOctober 29, 2019

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Oakland University faculty recognized for research, initiative at Town Hall
Gopal Srinivasan
Dr. Gopalan Srinivasan — pictured with OU President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost James Lentini, and Chief Research Officer David Stone — was presented with the Researcher of the Year Award during the Town Hall on Oct. 24.

In recognition of their outstanding research and initiative, The Research Office at Oakland University presented awards to several OU faculty members during the Research, Innovation and Engagement Town Hall held Thursday, Oct. 24 at OU.

“It’s important to celebrate the hard work and the success of our faculty who seek external funding to support their research, their scholarship, and their artistry,” said Dr. David Stone, OU’s chief research officer. “The strong research environment generated by our outstanding faculty supports our strategic goal of maximizing student success and helps us live up to our mission of impacting the world through research.”

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 Dr. Sayed Nassar, a distinguished professor of mechanical engineering, who has received $5.2 million in research funding from the United States Department of Defense, the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, and the National Science Foundation. As director of the Fastening and Joining Research Institute (FAJRI), he has received an additional $5 million in center support. Dr. Nassar is a Fellow of the American Society of Engineers. During his career, he has had over 130 peer reviewed technical publications, a textbook, three U.S. patents, and two pending patent applications.

• Researcher of the Year Award, which was present to Dr. Gopalan Srinivasan, a distinguished professor of physics. The award recognizes the faculty member who has received the largest amount of grant funding in the fiscal year.

Dr. Srinivasan has received $850,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation. His first project focuses on smart nanomaterials for applications in magnetic sensors, sensor arrays for medical imaging and miniature energy harvesters. His second project is aimed at materials and devices for tunable reconfigurable electronics for satellite communication and components for frequency hopping radars.

Wei Zhang
Dr. Wei Zhang

• Most Research Active Award, which is presented to faculty members who have been awarded the highest number of new grants during the fiscal year. The award was presented to Dr. Wei Zhang, an assistant professor of physics.

An alum of the PI Academy, Dr. Zhang received three grants, funding his work on spintronics and energy studies. His grants came from the Department of Energy/Argonne National Lab, the United States Air Force, and the Michigan Space Grant Consortium.

• Most Active Grant Seeker Award, which was presented to Dr. Xiangqun Zeng, a professor of chemistry. The award is given to the faculty member who has submitted the highest number of grant proposals to federal agencies in the fiscal year.

This is the third year that Dr. Zeng has been the top recipient of this award. She submitted nine proposals in fiscal year 2019, totaling $2.8 million. Over the past three years, she has submitted 28 proposals, including projects proposed to the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, United States Department of Defense, and the Alpha Foundation.

Khalid Malik
Dr. Khalid Malik

• Outstanding Junior Investigator, which is given to the early career faculty member who had notable research accomplishments in the fiscal year. The award was presented to Dr. Khalid Malik, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering.

An alum of the PI Academy, Dr. Malik received both federal and foundation funding to support his research on secure, intelligent and decentralized design systems. He received funding from the National Science Foundation and the Brain Aneurysm Foundation.

One aspect of Dr. Malik’s work focuses on clinical decision support systems for prediction of neurological disorders with emphasis on subarachnoid hemorrhage using clinical text and brain angiography. His recent research also designs anti-spoofing techniques to detect fake video, and this work was cover by Channel 7 WXYZ.

Jen Lucarelli
Dr. Jennifer Lucarelli

• Best Team Player Award, which was presented to Dr. Jennifer Lucarelli, an associate professor and chair of interdisciplinary health sciences. The award honors an exemplary faculty member who serves as co-principal investigator on a grant.

Dr. Lucarelli is chair of the Healthy Pontiac, We Can! coalition and serves on the Executive Team of the Oakland County Sheriff Police Athletic League (PAL). As co-principal investigator, she works closely with two projects with her School of Health Sciences colleagues — Dr. Kate Rouleau and Dr. Laurel Dolin Stevenson.

Additionally, Dr. Lucarelli is the principal investigator on two grants focused on improving health in Pontiac and the rest of Oakland County. Her work is funded by the PAL/United Way, and the Michigan Endowment Fund.

Doug Wendell
Dr. Douglas Wendell

• Outstanding Research Department Award, which honors the department that has received the highest amount in research funding in the fiscal year. The award was presented to the Department of Biological Sciences. It is the third year the department has won the honor.

This year, the Department of Biological Sciences garnered $1.3 million in research funding. These grants supported 10 major projects, and the funding came from the American Heart Association, the Michigan Space Grant Consortium, the Michigan Swimmer’s Itch Partnership, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the United States Department of Agriculture.

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

• The Department of Chemistry had the highest number of proposal submissions this year, with 38 total proposals.

• The Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences had 13 proposals and 71 percent of its faculty submitting proposals, making it the department with the highest proportion of faculty submitting proposals.

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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