Accolades: Faculty Earn Research Support, Honors

Accolades is an occasional News Center feature that highlights recent accomplishments of UT Dallas faculty and students. To submit items for consideration, contact your school’s communication manager.

Rugg Earns Grant Supporting Research on Cognitive Aging

Dr. Michael Rugg

Dr. Michael Rugg

Dr. Michael Rugg, director of the Center for Vital Longevity at UT Dallas and head of the center’s Functional Neuroimaging of Memory (FNiM) Laboratory, has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health totaling $2.2 million over five years.

The grant, which was awarded by the NIH’s National Institute on Aging, will fund the continuation of Rugg’s research on the effects of age on brain function and memory. Rugg is the Distinguished Chair in Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

An important aspect of this new phase of research will be the study of individuals with mild cognitive impairment, an important risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. The grant will support research that uses magnetic resonance imaging to examine the structure and function of the brain.

One area of study will build on the group’s previous work on healthy aging over the last decade to understand the brain changes linked to memory difficulties in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s. A second focus will compare previously unstudied aspects of memory in healthy young and older people.

Both areas aim to advance our understanding of how age- and Alzheimer’s-related differences in the brain’s function and structure affect key cognitive abilities like memory, and how brain function differs between people who are aging successfully and those who are at high risk of developing the disease.

Stecke Receives Purdue’s Outstanding Industrial Engineer Award

Dr. Kathryn Stecke

Dr. Kathryn Stecke

Purdue University’s School of Industrial Engineering has named Dr. Kathryn Stecke, Ashbel Smith Professor of operations management in the Naveen Jindal School of Management, a recipient of its Outstanding Industrial Engineer Award, a special recognition given to alumni who have “demonstrated exemplary accomplishments, leadership and service to community.”

The award is the second Purdue alumni honor Stecke has received. In 2014, she was named a Distinguished Woman Scholar, which recognizes doctoral alumnae who have made significant contributions in their academic and professional communities, and who, a spokesperson said, “serve as role models to all of our scholars in the making.”

The first engineer to receive the Distinguished Woman Scholar Award, Stecke is the only person to have earned both alumni accolades. At Purdue, she earned one master’s degree in applied mathematics and a second in industrial engineering before earning her PhD in industrial engineering.

Stecke graduated from Boston State College (now part of University of Massachusetts, Boston) with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and earned its Education for Service Award in 2015.

An internationally recognized scholar on manufacturing issues and improving manufacturing efficiencies and cost controls, she is widely considered the U.S. expert on the Seru Production System, a work-cell-based manufacturing process created in Japan in the early 1990s.

Piquero Named President of International Academic Association

Dr. Nicole Leeper Piquero

Dr. Nicole Leeper Piquero

Dr. Nicole Leeper Piquero, associate provost and Robert Holmes Professor of Criminology in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, was named president of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS).

Piquero began her term in March at the organization’s annual convention in Kansas City, Missouri.

The academy is an international professional organization that promotes criminal justice education, research and policy analysis. ACJS publishes two academic journals: Justice Quarterly and the Journal of Criminal Justice Education.

“I am honored and humbled to serve as president of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences,” Piquero said. “I look forward to serving the academy and the field of criminology and criminal justice more generally by working with our members to conduct rigorous scientific research to help inform criminal justice policy and decision-making.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].