Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Collage of 2023 Award Winners

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) is recognizing eighteen exceptional researchers, scholars, innovators, students, and administrators in the 2023 Discovery and Innovation Awards program.

“We are honored to recognize the University of Iowa faculty, staff, postdocs, and students whose research and scholarship betters our community, our state, and our world,” said Marty Scholtz, vice president for research. “These awards celebrate every aspect of research and scholarship at the University of Iowa. The winners range from undergraduate student researchers to faculty members who lead in their fields, from research administrators and professional staff to scholars engaging with the general public.”

Each winter, the OVPR solicits nominations from the campus community for the awards, which include: Scholar of the Year, Early Career Scholar of the Year, Leadership in Research, Graduate Student Excellence, Postdoctoral Scholar/Fellow Excellence, and Excellence in Undergraduate Research, as well as awards that recognize distinguished achievement in communicating research to general audiences, engaging the public through research and scholarship, mentoring student researchers, administering research programs, and advancing understanding in diversity, equity, and inclusion. The winners will be recognized at a reception on Monday, September 11.

Faculty Awards

Christine Petersen

Christine Petersen, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases in the College of Public Health, is the 2023 Scholar of the Year. The award celebrates nationally recognized recent achievement in outstanding research, scholarly and/or creative activities by tenure- and/or research-clinical-track faculty members within the previous 24-month period.

Lina-Maria Murillo

Lina-Maria Murillo, assistant professor of gender, women’s and sexuality studies and history in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), is the 2023 Early Career Scholar of the Year. The award honors assistant professors in tenure-track, research-track or clinical-track positions at the UI who are currently involved in research, scholarship and/or creative activity and show promise of making a significant contribution to their field.

Azeez Butali

Azeez Butali, professor of oral pathology, radiology, and medicine in the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research at the College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, received the Leadership in Research Award. This is a lifetime achievement award recognizing research and scholarly accomplishments over a career. 

Keith Mueller

Keith Mueller, Gerhard Hartman Professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy in the College of Public Health, received the Distinguished Achievement in Publicly Engaged Research Award. The award recognizes an individual faculty member who has put addressing public needs and direct engagement with the public, in the service of improving quality of life through research, at the forefront of his or her academic activities. 

Beth Livingston

Beth Livingston, Ralph L. Sheets Associate Professor in Industrial Relations in the Tippie College of Business, received the Faculty Communicating Ideas Award. This award recognizes excellence in communication about research and scholarship in the sciences and humanities and the study of creative, visual, and performing arts to a general audience directly or via print and electronic media.

Marina Del Rios

Marina Del Rios, associate professor of emergency medicine in the Carver College of Medicine (CCOM), received the Advancing Understanding in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Award. The purpose of this award is to recognize research, scholarship, or creative expression conducted within the past three-year period that advances our understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Susan Meerdink

Rory Fisher

Rory Fisher, professor of neuroscience and pharmacology in CCOM, and Susan Meerdink, assistant professor of geographical and sustainability sciences in CLAS, received the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU) Distinguished Mentor Awards. The award honors mentors’ dedication to making their students research experiences successful.


Staff Awards

Deanna Nicholson-O'Quinn

DeAnna Nicholson-O’Quinn, director of operations in the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, received the Distinguished Research Administrator Award. The award recognizes staff members who performed exceptional service in support of research at the University of Iowa by exploring funding opportunities, assisting in grant proposal preparation, submission, post-award administration, and operational support.

Sara Miller

Sara Miller, research manager in the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research in the College of Dentistry and Dental Clinic, received the Distinguished Research Professional Award. The award recognizes staff members who performed exceptional service in support of research at the University of Iowa by conducting experiments, collecting, and analyzing results and performing operational duties associated with a laboratory or research program.


Postdoc Award

Banu Gumusoglu

Banu Gümüşoğlu, postdoctoral research fellow in the CCOM Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, received the Postdoctoral Research Scholar/Fellow Excellence Award. This award honors postdoctoral research and scholarly activity that is recognized as highly original work and makes a significant contribution to the field.


Student Awards

Kara Carter
Kimberly Fiock

Two students were given Graduate Research Excellence Awards: Kara Carter, PhD candidate in the School of Social Work in CLAS; and Kimberly Fiock, PhD candidate in the Experimental Pathology Graduate Program in CCOM. The Graduate Research Excellence Awards honor students in terminal degree programs conducting research and scholarly activity that is recognized as highly original work and makes a significant contribution to the field.

Ashley Rhodes

Megan McGovern
Connor Linzer

Laura Flores

Regan Day

Five students received ICRU’s Excellence in Undergraduate Research Awards: Regan Day, a political science, marketing, and business analytics and information systems major; Laura Flores, a human physiology major completing a public health certificate; Connor Linzer, a human physiology major completing an international studies minor; Megan McGovern, a biomedical science major completing a chemistry minor; and Ashley Rhodes, a biomedical engineering major completing a human physiology minor. This award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in scholarly investigation, artistic creation, or performance by undergraduates at the UI.