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New MSU Foundation Professors Announced

Foundation Professors

Michigan State University recently named five new MSU Foundation Professors, a designation given to outstanding faculty who demonstrate excellence in research and teaching, while enhancing the prominence of the institution.

“These honorees are internationally recognized researchers,” said MSU Provost June Pierce Youatt. “Their scholarship and contributions to their fields represent a level of engagement and accomplishment that MSU is proud to support.”

These scientists join 31 other researchers who have been named MSU Foundation Professors. Three of the latest recipients are current faculty, while two are new to the university.

“While their areas of investigation vary, they are united in one aspect: their work is having profound impacts on the world’s most challenging problems,” said Stephen Hsu, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies.

Asgi Fazleabas, University Distinguished Professor, Associate Chair of Research, and Director of Women’s Health Research in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, is an internationally recognized expert on infertility and endometriosis, a chronic and painful disease that affects 6 to 10 percent of all women of reproductive age and more than 176 million worldwide. His research, which has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1986, has led to important findings about the mechanisms that contribute to the development of endometriosis, as well as its impact on fertility. Fazleabas has served on and chaired study sections for the NIH and is a highly sought-after speaker at national and international meetings on reproductive health.

James Kirkpatrick, professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Earth and Environmental Sciences, is an internationally renowned expert in the structure, dynamics and energetics of materials of importance in geochemistry and materials applications. His cutting-edge research methods involve the combined applications of experimental solid-state NMR and other spectroscopic and analytical methods with computational molecular modeling. This multifaceted approach has provided new insights into the structure, energetics, and molecular-scale dynamical behavior of a wide variety of material—including cement and concrete, clays and other layer structure materials—as well as fluid transport in shales and other rocks. He is also widely known for his work on mineral and glass structure using NMR methods and crystallization processes in igneous rocks. He is a fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Mineralogical Society of America, the American Ceramic Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Yunhao Liu, professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), recently joined Michigan State. His research interests include sensor network and pervasive computing, peer-to-peer computing, the Internet of things (IoT), and supply chain. He conducted the world’s first underground coal mine sensor network surveillance system in 2005-06, and for this contribution he received the Hong Kong Best Innovation and Research Award Grand Prize in 2007. Liu is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), as well as editor-in-chief of ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks.

Peter Savolainen, a transportation engineer who examines road user behavior, has joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Savolainen’s work in this area has provided important information regarding road user behavior changes in response to such roadway features as maximum speed limits, centerline and shoulder rumble strips, and red-light-running cameras at signalized intersections. His research has also advanced fundamental knowledge of how roadway design, environmental factors, and in-vehicle distractions affect the risk of traffic crashes. His research is funded through competitive grant awards from agencies including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, and various state departments of transportation. Dr. Savolainen currently serves on the editorial advisory boards of Accident Analysis and Prevention and Analytic Methods in Accident Research, as well as on the Transportation Research Board Standing Committees on Statistical Methods and Motorcycles and Mopeds.

Yimin Xiao, professor in the Department of Statistics and Probability, is a leader in the field of probability, stochastic processes and random fields and fractals. His much-sought-after research has led to visiting professorships and invited researcher positions around the world, most recently at CEMPI in Lille, France; the University of Ulm in Germany; the Institut Mittag-Leffler in Sweden; and the Beijing Institute of Technology in China. Xiao’s prolific career has included numerous invited talks and seminars, more than 100 publications, and several successful National Science Foundation (NSF) grants. He has served as a panelist and grant reviewer for the NSF and is currently coeditor-in-chief of Statistics and Probability Letters, managing editor for the Journal of Fractal Geometry, and associate editor of Science China: Mathematics.

The MSU Foundation Professorship was established in 2014 through the generosity of the Michigan State University Foundation. In addition to the permanent title, honorees are typically provided with five years of supplemental scholarly funding.

“We are pleased to recognize the global stature of these MSU scholars and to invest in their continued research and creative activity,” said David Washburn, Executive Director of the Michigan State University Foundation. “We look forward to their next achievements.”

To view the full roster of MSU Foundation Professors or learn more about the nomination process, visit the website of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies.

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