August Faculty and Staff Features

Juan Carlos Arango, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Juan Carlos Arango, Ph.D.
Juan Carlos Arango, Ph.D.

Juan Carlos Arango received the Early Career Award from the National Academy of Neuropsychology. The award is given to someone who is nominated by the academy membership and judged by the awards committee and the Board of Directors to have made substantial early career contributions within 10 years of receiving his or her doctoral degree, particularly regarding scholarly activity.

Sandra Wilkins, professor and chair of Department of Fashion Design, VCU Qatar

Sandra Wilkins
Sandra Wilkins

Wilkins has been named the “Best Professor in Fashion Designing" by the World Education Congress.

The World Education Congress Asia Awards are presented by the Asian Confederation of Businesses with CMO Asia as its strategic partner, and Stars of the Industry Group as a research partner. These awards are presented to individuals who are building their institutions through leadership, innovation, academic and industry interface and an ultimate objective of building future leaders.

Wilkins will be presented the award on Sept. 25 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics

Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D.
Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D.

Fisher, director of the VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine and the Thelma Newmeyer Corman Chair in Cancer Research at Massey Cancer Center, has received two editorship appointments.

Fisher is now the co-editor-in-chief of Advances in Cancer Research, a premier cancer research review journal. This journal highlights seminal areas of cancer research and includes both thematic and eclectic volumes authored by established experts in their respective fields. The journal's 10.2 impact rating in 2010 placed it among the elite journals in cancer research. Previous co-editors-in-chief were George Vande Woude of the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich., and George Klein of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

Fisher also joined the editorial board of Discovery Medicine for a three-year term. The journal publishes cutting-edge reviews on breakthrough advances in the broad field of medicine, and reviews focus on medical specialties, life sciences, research technology, therapeutic technology and methodology and the pharmaceutical health care industry. Editors chosen for the board are accomplished scientists and physicians. Others added to the board include Noel Rose, Stanley Prusiner, Craig Venter and Bert Vogelstein.

Fisher joined the VCU School of Medicine in 2008. His research programs focus primarily in three broad areas, including cancer, neurodegeneration and infectious diseases.

Puru Jena, Ph.D., and Qiang Sun, Ph.D., VCU Department of Physics

Puru Jena, Ph.D.
Puru Jena, Ph.D.
Qiang Sun, Ph.D.
Qiang Sun, Ph.D.

Jena, distinguished professor of physics, together with Qiang Sun, Ph.D., research associate professor, and their team in the Department of Physics, have been recognized by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences as having one of the 20 most-read papers online during the month of June 2011.

According to the journal, this online interest likely will result in increased citations of their paper titled, “Electric field enhanced hydrogen storage on polarizable materials substrates,” which was published online in the February 2010 Early Edition of the journal.

In the study, Jena, Sun and an international team of researchers from Peking University in Beijing and the Chinese Academy of Science in Shanghai identified a new theoretical approach that may one day make the synthesis of hydrogen fuel storage materials less complicated and improve the thermodynamics and reversibility of the system.

Many researchers have their sights set on hydrogen as an alternative energy source to fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal that contain carbon, pollute the environment and contribute to global warming. Known to be the most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen is considered an ideal energy carrier – not to mention that it’s clean, environmentally friendly and non-toxic. However, it has been difficult to find materials that can efficiently and safely store and release it with fast kinetics under ambient temperature and pressure.

The research is based on the charge polarization theory published in Physical Review Letters in 1992 by Jena, the late B.K. Rao, Ph.D., a former professor of physics at VCU, and their student, J.Niu.

Read the VCU new release about the study here.

Marcus Messner, Ph.D., assistant professor of mass communications 

Marcus Messner
Marcus Messner

Messner received a national teaching award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC.) The “2011 AEJMC Promising Professor Award” honors new tenure-track faculty and graduate students in mass communication who demonstrate excellence and innovation.

“I’d like to thank my school’s former Director Terry Oggel for nominating me for this award as well as my colleagues at the School of Mass Communications for their support of my teaching and research, especially Jeff South who has developed our intercultural social media program with me,” said Messner.  

Messner teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in journalism, multimedia journalism, social media, online journalism, beat reporting, global communication, business of media, research methods and convergence law and ethics. Messner’s research focuses on the growing influence of new media formats.

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication is a nonprofit, educational association of journalism and mass communication educators, students and media professionals. The group’s mission is to promote standards in journalism and mass communication education and research, to encourage the implementation of a multi-cultural society in the classroom and curriculum, and to defend and maintain freedom of communication.

John Venuti, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Chief

John Venuti
John Venuti

Venuti has been chosen as one of 30 law enforcement executives from across the country to participate in the 15th National Law Enforcement Leadership Institute on Violence Against Women.

The four-day conference, which is hosted by the International Chiefs of Police, begins Aug. 20 in Seattle. Participants will consider innovative approaches for investigating crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

“The conference gives us an opportunity to look at our current policies and gives us the opportunity to compare our policies to what other police agencies are doing and modify it, if necessary, for best practices,” Venuti said.

Venuti has more than 25 years of law enforcement experience and was appointed VCU Police Chief on Feb. 1, 2010.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police is the world’s oldest and largest nonprofit membership organization of police executives, with more than 22,500 members in 108 countries.