Featuring top accomplishments by Pacific University faculty and staff members Jenny Smythe, Christine Guenther, Hannu Laukkanen, Deepa Rao and Shilpi Banerjee.
Christine Guenther, professor of mathematics and computer science, was awarded the prestigious Simons Foundation Collaboration Grant for Mathematicians in May. The goal for the $35,000 grant is to support the “mathematical marketplace” by substantially increasing collaborative contacts in the community of mathematicians working in the United States. Guenther plans to pursue three collaborative projects with the grant.
Deepa Rao, assistant professor of pharmacy, was granted a Medical Research Foundation of Oregon New Investigator Award of $40,000, which will support her research project. With these grants, the foundation supports promising new investigators in biomedical research. Principal investigators must be at the beginning of an independent career with a faculty position at an Oregon college or university.
Hannu Laukkanen ’83, OD ’84, MEd ‘94, professor of optometry, received the 2013 Award for the Advancement of Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation at the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association’s annual conference in April in San Diego. Laukkanen presented a talk at the conference detailing his 2012 sabbatical at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he worked with soldiers displaying vision defects due to traumatic brain injuries. The association focuses on advancing the art and science of rehabilitation for the neurologically challenged patient.
Jenny Smythe ’90, OD ’93, MS ’00, dean of the Pacific University College of Optometry, was elected the first woman president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. She assumed the presidency at the ASCO annual meeting in June. Since graduating as an optometrist in 1993 from Pacific University, she has held many roles within the College of Optometry. In 2010, she became the first woman elected to the ASCO executive committee. The Oregon Optometric Physicians Association named her Optometrist of the Year, also in 2010.
Shilpi Banerjee, director of clinical education for the School of Audiology, was elected to a three-year term on the American Academy of Audiology Board of Directors effective July 1. The American Academy of Audiology is the world’s largest professional organization of audiologists, with an active membership of more than 11,000. Banerjee also was awarded “Honors of the Academy” from the Minnesota Academy of Audiology in February in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the organization.