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Awards and honors highlight accomplishments of Rochester’s faculty

(University of Rochester illustration / Julia Joshpe)

Rochester faculty are being honored for notable and longtime contributions to their fields.

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University of Rochester faculty regularly earn regional, national, and international awards and honors for their professional contributions to research, scholarship, education, and community engagement.

As part of an ongoing series, we’re spotlighting their accomplishments.

Mark Adams elected VP of Medical Society of State of New York

Mark Adams, a professor of clinical imaging sciences, was elected vice president of the Medical Society of the State of New York. A member of the society for more than two decades, he was treasurer from 2018 to 2023 and serves as chair of the Legislative and Physician Advocacy Committee and the Budget and Finance Committee. He also serves on the Investment Committee of the society’s Board of Trustees.

Robert Doran recognized with Alan Walker Book Award

Liszt and Virtuosity, edited by Robert Doran, a professor of French and comparative literature, is co-winner of the triennial Alan Walker Book Award, sponsored by the American Liszt Society.

Doran’s collection of essays, published by the University of Rochester Press in 2021 as part of its Eastman Studies in Music series, was one of two books awarded the recognition. It’s the third time over the past four award periods that an Eastman Studies book has won the Alan Walker Book Award.

Varchas Gopalaswamy awarded Sylvie Jacquemot Early Career Prize

As the recipient of the 2024 EPS- PPCF Sylvie Jacquemot Early Career Prize, Varchas Gopalaswamy has been invited to give a plenary talk at the upcoming EPS Plasma Physics Conference in Salamanca, Spain this summer. (Photo by Jacob Deats)

Varchas Gopalaswamy, a scientist at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics, has been selected as the recipient of the 2024 EPS-PPCF Sylvie Jacquemot Early Career Prize. The prize, awarded on behalf of the board of the EPS Division of Plasma Physics, is in recognition of his “impressive contribution to the development of statistical modeling to achieve accurate predictions of laser fusion experiments thereby improving implosions and achieving record Lawson products for direct-drive on OMEGA.”

Terrance Kessler elected an Optica Fellow

Terrance Kessler folds his arms while posing in front of white board.
Terrance Kessler has been named an Optica Fellow for his pioneering work on large-aperture optics.

Terrance Kessler, a senior research engineer and diversity manager at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, was elected a fellow by the Board of Directors of Optica, an honor that recognizes his contributions to the optics and photonics community.

Kessler is being recognized specifically “for pioneering innovations in the technology and applications of large-aperture optics used for fusion and chirped-pulse amplification lasers.”

Lisa Kitko to lead Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing

Lisa Kitko stands in front of School of Nursing building.
As chair-elect of the American Heart Association’s Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, Kitko will lead the council in its advocacy for nursing and cardiovascular and stroke conditions across the lifespan.

Lisa Kitko, the dean of the School of Nursing and a professor of nursing and geriatric medicine, was named chair-elect of the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing. The council serves as a home for cardiovascular nursing science, provides resources for nurses’ professional development at all stages and career paths, and advocates for nursing and cardiovascular and stroke conditions across the lifespan.

An award-winning nurse scientist, Kitko sheds light on the role of family caregivers in managing heart failure in her research. She has contributed to the development of interventions and support programs aimed at addressing the needs of both heart failure patients and their caregivers, and her work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and AHA.

Susana Marcos and team recognized by Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery

Susana Marcos, the David R. Williams Director of the Center for Visual Science, the Nicholas George Professor in Optics, and a professor of ophthalmology at Rochester, was recognized for her work on a study in the Journal of Cataracts & Refractive Surgery (JCRS). Marcos and her fellow authors received the JCRS 2023 Mamalis Award.

The annual award is presented to the best laboratory science article published in the publication in the year, as voted on by the journal’s editors. The authors were recognized at the 2024 American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Meeting in Boston.

group of 5 researchers stand side by side as Susana Marcos holds award.
Susana Marcos (second from left) and fellow authors received the Mamalis Award from the Journal of Cataracts & Refractive Surgery.

Maiken Nedergaard receives Nakasone Award

Maiken Nedergaard, a professor of neurology, has been recognized by the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization with its 2024 Nakasone Award for her “groundbreaking discovery and exploration” of the glymphatic system, the brain’s unique waste removal system, and the role that sleep plays in its function.


Nedergaard is codirector of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine, which maintains research facilities at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the University of Copenhagen. In 2012, her lab first described the glymphatic system, a previously unknown network of channels that piggybacks on blood vessels. The system is used to transport cerebrospinal fluid deep into brain tissue and flush away toxic waste, including beta amyloid and tau, two proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Christie Petrenko recognized for her work on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Christie Petrenko smiles while standing at a podium.
Christie Petrenko accepts the 2024 Starfish Award for her considerable contributions as a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders researcher and advocate.

Christie Petrenko, a research associate professor at the University’s Mt. Hope Family Center, director of clinical training in the Department of Psychology, and an associate professor of pediatrics, has been recognized with the 2024 Starfish Award, presented at FASD United’s 9th International Research Conference on Adolescents and Adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. The award, whose recipients are selected by a committee of adult self-advocates with FASD, recognizes Petrenko’s considerable contributions as a researcher and an advocate in the field.

Petrenko is the codeveloper of an FASD mobile app. She has coauthored a training manual to help medical professionals diagnose the disorder as well as a comprehensive FASD resource for clinicians and researchers.

Jannick Rolland named to Augmented World Expo’s XR Hall of Fame

Jannick Rolland, the Brian J. Thompson Professor of Optical Engineering and director of the Center for Freeform Optics, has been inducted to Augmented World Expo’s (AWE) inaugural class of the XR Hall of Fame. Featuring 101 inaugural inductees, the XR Hall of Fame honors the pioneers whose groundbreaking contributions have shaped and propelled the extended reality industry forward.

The XR Hall of Fame noted Rolland as an “optical see-through head-mounted display pioneer.” She and her fellow inductees will be recognized at the AWE USA 2024 event taking place in June in Long Beach, California.

Jannick Rolland in a room with three graduate students wearing and using extended reality technology.
Optical engineering professor and XR Hall of Fame inductee Jannick Rolland (second from the right) discusses Hyperion, an augmented reality platform with PhD students Jeremy Goodsell, Daniel Nikolov, and Yiwen Fan. (University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

Jessica Shang named Young Engineer of the Year

The Rochester Engineering Society (RES) named Jessica Shang, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and a scientist at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE), as the 2023 Young Engineer of the Year, an honor for which she was a finalist in 2022. The award recognizes outstanding achievement and contributions to the profession by young engineers in the Rochester region and promotes the importance of engineering practice to society. Shang will be recognized at the RES Awards in May.

Shang’s research spans many disciplines, including fluid dynamics of the brain, turbulence and viscosity at high-energy-density conditions, and biologically inspired hydrodynamic sensing. Her group collaborates with the University of Rochester Medical Center, LLE, and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, among others.

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