Scott Emmons wins Goldwater Scholarship

scott_emmons-200x300A no-April-fooling congratulations to sophomore Scott Emmons, for his selection as a 2017 Goldwater Scholar!

Scott joined our networks research group in his first year, bringing substantial previous experience about community detection in networks from his high school experiences working at IU in Bloomington, Indiana. He is a Robertson Scholar and an Honors Carolina student, the Robertson piece meaning we haven’t seen as much of him recently while he’s away at Duke. But he is still active in the group, and he is part of an upcoming paper we are getting ready for submission later this Spring.

Congratulations Scott!

Mucha and Shai both recognized at Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence Ceremony

It is with enormous pride that I get to further publicize that Dr. Saray Shai is one of the 10 recipients of the Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence for the 2016-17 academic year, awarded by the UNC Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. At any given time, there are roughly a thousand postdoctoral associates associated with UNC. So this is quite an honor for her, recognizing the very interesting work that she’s been doing.

As part of today’s Postdoctoral Research Award Ceremony, Saray gave a fantastic short overview talk about some of her work on transportation networks.

Saray joins her fellow postdoc, Dr. Dane Taylor, who received this same award last year. I am exceptionally proud of both of them.

I was also excited when I heard that they and others nominated me and I was selected for the Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award, a new award this year. Of course, it’s easy to be a good mentor to such great postdocs!

We are each very grateful to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs for these recognitions!

img_1098Photo credit to Natalie Stanley.

Natalie Stanley presents SIAM Student Paper Prize talk

As announced previously, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Ph.D. candidate Natalie Stanley is one of the winners of this year’s SIAM Student Paper Prize. She and her fellow winners were officially presented with their awards earlier this week at the SIAM Annual Meeting in Boston. Today, their recognition continued in a special minisymposium at the meeting, where they presented talks about their winning papers.

Congratulations to Natalie on this honor and on giving a wonderful talk.

2016 Political Ties Award

We are excited and honored to learn that our paper, “Kantian fractionalization predicts the conflict propensity of the international system,” coauthored with Skyler Cranmer and Elizabeth Menninga and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has just been selected for this year’s Political Ties Award, given annually by the Political Networks Section of the American Political Science Association for the best article published on political networks the prior year. We are grateful to the section officers and selection committee for recognizing our contribution.

More about this paper is available here and here.

2016 SIAM Student Paper Prize awarded to Natalie Stanley

Congratulations to Natalie Stanley for receiving one of the three 2016 SIAM Student Paper Prizes!

Natalie, a Ph.D. candidate in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, was selected for this prestigious award based on her paper “Clustering network layers with the strata multilayer stochastic block model,” to appear in an upcoming issue of IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering (also available from arxiv.org). With this work co-authored with Saray Shai, Dane Taylor, and Peter Mucha, this award recognizes Natalie’s pivotal contribution leading this paper.

The Prize will be awarded at the 2016 SIAM Annual Meeting (AN16), to be held July 11-15, 2016, in Boston. There will be an award ceremony during the Opening on Monday and she has been invited to present her winning paper in a special minisymposium for the student paper prize winners that Wednesday. She will also receive a cash prize of $1,000 along with reimbursement toward her travel expense to attend the meeting.

Separate from Natalie’s paper prize, she will also be presenting some of her latest research in a 5-minute lighting talk in the “Ignite” format at the 2016 SIAM Workshop on Network Science, July 15-16, also in Boston, for which she has also won a SIAM Student Travel Award.

In addition to Natalie’s activities in our research group and in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Curriculum, she plays an important role as one of the first funded cohort of trainees in the NIH BD2K Biomedical Graduate Training Program at UNC.

Congratulations to Natalie for this wonderful and well-deserved recognition!

Jessime Kirk awarded a 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Jessime-Kirk-500x313Congratulations to Jessime Kirk for winning an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! A Ph.D. candidate in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Jessime works in Mauro Calabrese’s lab in the Department of Pharmacology and collaborates closely with our group to do the data analysis that is central to his thesis research.

More information about the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) and its history is available from www.nsfgrfp.org.

Taylor receives Postdoctoral Scholar Award for Research Excellence

A big congratulations to postdoctoral associate Dr. Dane Taylor for being named as one of the 10 recipients of this year’s Postdoctoral Scholar Award for Research Excellence from the UNC Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. For context, there are approximately 1,000 postdocs at UNC at any given time, so this is an incredibly competitive honor for Dane, recognizing his many scientific accomplishments. The awards “are designed to assist postdoctoral scholars in their continued professional development” and include both a plaque and a monetary award.

As part of today’s awards ceremony, Dane gave a great short talk about some of his work in the mathematical analysis of cascades on networks. Not only was I proud of him for winning the award, but many attendees commented to me about how much they enjoyed his talk, commending him for making his presentation accessible and interesting.

Congratulations Dane!

Dani Bassett wins MacArthur “Genius Grant”

Our collaborator Dani Bassett, now at Penn, has been named one of this year’s MacArthur Fellows! It has been an incredible pleasure to work with Dani these past years and I am exceptionally proud for her for this very well deserved award. Check out all of the information about her fellowship and her work at macfound.org.

Well done, Dani!

Mason Porter wins Erdos-Renyi Prize

stadium5Congratulations to my long-time collaborator and coauthor Mason Porter for winning this year’s Erdős–Rényi Prize in Network Science! The prize is awarded annually to a researcher under the age of 40 in network science.

Mason’s and my collaboration dates back to our collective time at Georgia Tech, when I was an assistant professor and he was a postdoc. I wish I could claim him as “my” postdoc, but I was only one of (at least) three people with different varieties of mentoring responsibilities with Mason during his time at Georgia Tech. We started our foray into network science together in 2003, co-advising a pair of summer undergraduate research students, including Thomas Callaghan, pictured with us here. We’ve all come a long way since then.

Well deserved, Mason!