OVPR honors five research faculty members with awards, professorships


The Office of the Vice President for Research will recognize five research faculty members from across the University of Michigan for their leadership and advancement of critical work in areas ranging from drug discovery and motor vehicle safety to chronic disease detection and historical migration patterns.

Kathleen Klinich and Andrew Alt will receive OVPR Research Faculty Achievement Awards, and Young Geun Park will receive the OVPR Research Faculty Recognition Award.

Klinich, Alt and Park, who were selected by the OVPR Research Faculty Awards Advisory Committee and confirmed by Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research, will be honored at the President’s Faculty Awards event Oct. 23.

Aruna Sarma and J. Trent Alexander also will be recognized at the event, as they begin their five-year appointments as OVPR Collegiate Research Professors on Sept. 1.

“The University of Michigan is a global leader in research, scholarship and creative practice, and we are able to maintain this stellar reputation because of our research faculty, who are incredibly driven to solve the boldest challenges impacting communities across Michigan and beyond,” Cunningham said.

OVPR Research Faculty Achievement Award

The Research Faculty Achievement Award recognizes research associate professors and associate research scientists who have made outstanding scholarly achievements, as represented by significant contributions to an academic field of study over time, a specific outstanding discovery, or the development of innovative technology or practice.

Kathleen Klinich is an associate research scientist in biosciences at the U-M Transportation Research Institute. Through a combination of experimental testing, computational modeling and crash data analysis, Klinich has developed motor vehicle injury-prevention strategies to protect vulnerable occupant populations such as children and individuals in wheelchairs.

Andrew Alt is an assistant research scientist in pharmacology at the Medical School, an associate research scientist at the Life Sciences Institute and director of the Center for Chemical Genomics. Alt led the discovery of novel molecules that interact with opioid receptors differently than existing opioid drugs, holding significant therapeutic potential for treating opioid addiction.

OVPR Research Faculty Recognition Award

Young Geun Park
Young Geun Park

The Research Faculty Recognition Award is presented to a research assistant professor or assistant research scientist based on exceptional scholarly achievements, as evidenced by publications and other activities in an academic field of study.

Young Geun Park is an assistant research scientist in mechanical engineering at the College of Engineering. Park has achieved label-free and minimally invasive detection of sepsis, cancer and metabolic illness-associated biomarkers in point-of-care settings at vastly higher speeds and sensitivity than typical gold-standard clinical tests.

OVPR Collegiate Research Professorship

The OVPR Collegiate Research Professorship is awarded to a research professor-track faculty member who has made exceptional scholarly achievements and advanced knowledge in their field.

Aruna Sarma is the assistant dean for research faculty at the Medical School, chair of the Dow Division of Health Services Research in the Department of Urology, and a research professor in urology and epidemiology. Sarma has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and her work addresses burden, risk and progression of male and female urinary and sexual dysfunction.

J. Trent Alexander is a research professor at the Population Studies Center and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research at the Institute for Social Research. As principal investigator on the Decennial Census Digitization and Linkage Project, Alexander is developing a longitudinal data infrastructure that includes most of the U.S. population since 1940. This resource will create transformational research opportunities across the social, behavioral and health sciences.


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