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IUPUI honors Research Frontiers Trailblazers

Sep 22, 2023

Eight IUPUI researchers, with current projects such as improving the quality of care for older adults and better understanding the role of Christian nationalism in the U.S., have been honored as 2023 Research Frontiers Trailblazers.

This annual award from the Indianapolis campus’s vice chancellor for research recognizes associate professors in the first three years of their academic appointment who have made exceptional contributions to research in their field. This year’s recipients mark the largest group of honorees in the award’s history, joining 35 others who have been recognized since the award’s inception in 2010.

“We are thrilled to honor these eight faculty researchers, whose impactful work is truly bettering lives and communities here in our state and around the world,” said Phaedra Corso, IU associate vice president for research and vice chancellor for research at IUPUI. “As we continue our efforts to make our Indianapolis campus one of the nation’s premier urban research institutions, we celebrate the exceptional work these researchers are already doing to advance knowledge within their fields.”

Meet the 2023 Research Frontiers Trailblazers

  • Amrou Awaysheh is a OneAmerica Foundation Endowed Chair, associate professor of operations and supply chain management, executive and academic director of the IU Business Sustainability and Innovation Lab and founding director of the IU IoT Energy Efficiency Lab in the Kelley School of Business. Awaysheh has managed over 70 global corporate social responsibility initiatives with Fortune 500 firms that address how companies integrate sustainability within their operations and supply chains by eliminating waste to landfills; decreasing energy consumption and carbon emissions; reducing water extraction; and improving stakeholder livelihoods. He frequently consults with corporate boards on sustainability strategies.
  • Justin Blackburn is associate professor of health policy and management, health policy Ph.D. program director and scientific director of Well-being Informed by Science and Evidence in Indiana in the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. Blackburn’s work, focused through a state-level policy lens, aims to understand the impact of health policies on health outcomes, particularly among vulnerable populations. Through partnerships with community-engaged public health leaders at Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration, he provides evidence to aid in real-time health policy decision-making affecting the lives of people in Indiana and beyond.
  • Dena Carson is associate professor and director of the criminal justice and public safety program in the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Carson’s research interests include youth violence and gangs, with a specific focus on delinquent peer associations, youth victimization experiences and the evaluation of programs that impact youth populations. Her work impacts many of the societal challenges facing Indianapolis and cities around the globe by informing gang prevention and intervention in both neighborhoods and schools.
  • Nicole Fowler is associate professor and director of research for the division of general internal medicine and geriatrics in the IU School of Medicine, associate director of the IU Center for Aging Research at the Regenstrief Institute and scientist in the Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science. Fowler researches the development, testing and comparison of evidence-based and patient-centered interventions that improve the quality of care for older adults and their family caregivers. Her work particularly focuses on medical decision-making interventions to support family caregivers of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and person-centered approaches to early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
  • Benjamin Perrin is associate professor in the School of Science. Perrin’s research is focused on the cell biology of age-related hearing loss. His lab studies how the hair cell bundle inside the inner ear, which hearing and balance depend on, is maintained and repaired at a molecular level.
  • Khairi Reda is associate professor of data science and human-computer interaction and director of the data science graduate program in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering. Reda’s research explores how data visualization techniques can facilitate scientific discovery, engagement and, ultimately, positive social change. The goal of his research is to develop fundamental knowledge and useable tools to improve people’s ability to make sense of digital information.
  • Andrew Whitehead is associate professor of sociology in the School of Liberal Arts and director of the Association of Religion Data Archives at the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at IUPUI. Whitehead is considered one of the foremost scholars of Christian nationalism in the United States. His research explores how Christian nationalism has shaped the public discourse around religion and politics and reoriented the social scientific study of religion. He also co-directs the Association of Religion Data Archives, the world’s largest online religion data archive, which is committed to democratizing access to quality data to a variety of stakeholders.
  • Jingwen Yan is associate professor and director of the bioinformatics program in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering. Her research is focused on developing computational and bioinformatics approaches for integrative analysis of high throughput multi-omic genetic data, multi-modal neuroimaging data and rich biological knowledge. Her research may help in the development of applications to improve understanding and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders; help with the discovery of genetic biomarkers to monitor disease progression; and provide insights of molecular mechanisms toward the development of complex diseases.

Watch videos of each researcher discussing their work.


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