Research Faculty Honors & Highlights

FIU psychologist Dr. Jonathan Comer appointed president of Society of Clinical Psychology (APA Division 12)

Dr. Comer is a Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Florida International University, where he directs the Mental Health Interventions and Technology (MINT) Program, an interdisciplinary clinical research program devoted to expanding the quality, scope and accessibility of quality mental health care. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and of the Society of Clinical Psychology.

Dr. Comer’s program of work examines four areas of overlapping inquiry. First, his research evaluates mental health treatments and services, with particular focus on the development of innovative methods to reduce systematic barriers to effective care. To this end, he conducts research examining the role of new technologies—such as videoconferencing and mobile platforms—for meaningfully expanding the reach of mental health care. He also uses epidemiologic datasets to document problems in the quality of mental health services and geographic disparities in care. Second, his work examines the assessment, phenomenology, and course of anxiety disorders, disruptive behavior disorders, and traumatic stress disorders, with particular focus on early-onset problems. Third, his work examines the psychological impact of disasters and terrorism on children and families. He has published extensively on children affected by the 9/11 terror attacks and on children affected by the Boston Marathon bombing, and he served as a consultant throughout the federal trial of United States v. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Fourth, in recent years, Dr. Comer’s work has expanded to consider biological markers of child psychopathology and neurocircuitry patterns associated with the intergenerational transmission of internalizing problems.

Dr. Ruogu Fang receives prestigious award

Ruogu Fang, PhD, Assistant Professor, Computing and Information Sciences, and Director of FIU’s Smart Medical Informatics Learning and Evaluation (SMILE) Group, is the first recipient of the Robin Sidhu Memorial Young Scientist Award from the Society for Brain Mapping & Therapeutics.  The award recognizes and supports Dr. Fang’s promising program of research that bridges information technology and health informatics to better understand brain dynamics and preventive health.  Earlier this year, Dr. Fang was named one of 35 national awardees in the Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ highly competitive and prestigious Ralph Lowe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award program.  Dr. Fang is the Principal Investigator on a Computer and Information Science and Engineering Research Initiation Initiative (CRII) funded last year by the National Science Foundation.


NIH Pathway to Independence Awardee:  Mariano Kanamori, PhD.

Mariano Kanamori, Ph.D., an NIH-funded post-doctoral research fellow at the Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA), is the first investigator from the Robert Stempel College of Health & Social Work to receive an NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00).  The NIH award, established to provide exceptionally promising researchers with the training and support needed for timely transitions into tenure-track faculty or equivalent positions, will enhance Dr. Kanamori’s program of cross-cultural research on health disparities. During the award period, Dr. Kanamori will obtain additional training, such as advanced skills in social network analysis and statistics, while conducting a longitudinal research study aimed at developing behavioral interventions effective in reducing HIV risk and substance abuse among Latina farm workers in South Florida.  Dr. Kanamori earned his doctoral degree in epidemiology at the University of Maryland in 2013 and came to FIU for postdoctoral training at CRUSADA under the mentorship of Mario De La Rosa, PhD, and Mary Jo Trepka, MD, MSPH.


CARTA Fulbright Scholars:  Alpesh K. Patel, PhD and Jacob D. Sudol, PhD

The Fulbright Program is the most prestigious scholarship offered by the U.S. government. Remarkably, two assistant professors in CARTA spent the past academic year as Fulbright Scholars.  Dr. Alpesh Patel is an assistant professor in contemporary art and theory, and director of the MFA program in the visual arts.  He worked on a research project entitled Transnational Approaches to Queer Contemporary Art Practice in Poland at Adam Mickiewicz University, one of the top-tier universities in Poland.  Dr. Jacob Sudol is an assistant professor and coordinator of the music technology program. Dr. Sudol was a visiting professor at the Institute of Music and Sound and Music Innovative Technologies at National Chiao Tung University, a leading public research university in Taiwan. He taught composition and music technology courses, and collaborated with Taiwanese musicians to create and perform new compositions that incorporate technology.

Ryan Meldrum wins 2016 ACJS New Scholar Award

Ryan Meldrum, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, has been awarded the 2016 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) New Scholar Award, which recognizes outstanding scholarly contributions to the study of crime and/or criminal justice by someone who has received his or her doctoral degree within the past six years. ACJS is one of the major professional and academic organizations for criminologists. Dr. Meldrum was voted as the unanimous choice for the award.

Dr. Meldrum’s research interests include testing and refining theories of juvenile delinquency, with particular attention given to peer associations and self-control during adolescence. His research has been published in numerous journals, including Criminology, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Criminal Justice and Behavior, Journal of Criminal Justice, and Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice. He is also co-author of the book Self-Control and Crime Over the Life Course. His recent research projects explore the influence of early life influences on antisocial behavior, including prenatal exposure to secondhand smoke and parental self-control.

chen2Shu-Ching Chen named 2016 IEEE Fellow

Shu-Ching Chen, Eminent Scholar Chair Professor in the School of Computing and Information Sciences, has been named an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Fellow in recognition of his outstanding record of accomplishments in multimedia data management and disaster information management. Specifically, Dr. Chen’s research has focused on development of innovative and fundamentally new methodologies for a wide range of multimedia data management problems for efficient data management/searching/retrieval. His work has been published in prestigious journals and adopted as official tools/applications by Federal, state, and county governments. Dr. Chen’s work has also yielded one patent.

The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for advancing technology for humanity. IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership and is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honor and an important career achievement.

elisa-trucco3Elisa Trucco recognized as an Emerging Scholar in Research on Adolescence

The Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) recently named Elisa Trucco, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology, as an Emerging Scholar. The award is given annually to four researchers recognized as gaining national prominence as experts on adolescence. Dr. Trucco, who joined FIU’s Center for Children and Families in August 2015 immediately after completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Michigan, is establishing an interdisciplinary program of research focused on increased understanding of the etiology of substance use in adolescence from a social ecological approach. During the course of her training, the Research Society on Alcoholism honored her innovative research with two prestigious awards, the Junior Investigator Award (2013) and the Enoch Gordis Research Recognition Award (2015). Currently the recipient of a highly competitive Research Career Development Award (K01) from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and co-investigator on a National Institute on Drug Abuse grant recently awarded to FIU, Dr. Trucco has already authored or co-authored more than 20 publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Kalai-Mathee2Kalai Mathee Selected as Section Editor for Journal of Medical Microbiology

On its 70th anniversary, the Journal of Medical Microbiology, one of the most prestigious journals in microbiology, announced that it is restricting its editorial board format and identified Kalai Mathee, PhD, Professor of Human and Molecular Genetics, and Director, Global Health Consortium, as one of six Section Editors.  Recognized experts in their respective fields, section editors will ensure that the journal continues to publish high-quality science across the full spectrum of clinical microbiology.  As Section Editor for Prevention and Therapy, Dr. Mathee will oversee a panel of editors responsible for steering the journal’s scientific content in that subject category.  Dr. Mathee’s impact on the field will extend to the Microbiology Society’s Editorial Office, as the section editors will influence the content, promotion, and expansion of the journal.

AzizinaminiWhite House honors Atorod Azizinamini

The White House and the U.S. Department of Transportation will honor Atorod Azizinamini, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing, for his innovations in making the nation’s aging bridges safer. Azizinamini has been named a 2015 White House Transportation Champion of Change. The White House Champions of Change Program highlights the stories and examples of citizens across the nation, who are leading projects and initiatives that move their communities forward. On October 13, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the White House Office of Public Engagement will host White House Champions of Change, focused on Beyond Traffic: Innovators in Transportation for the Future.  Azizinamini and the other honorees will be recognized for being leaders in advancing transportation and change that benefits the country’s transportation system. Azizinamini invented the Folded Plate Steel Bridge System, which provides an economical, long-term solution for replacing outdated short span bridges.