Accolades: Faculty, Student Researchers Receive Awards

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.

Doctoral Student Gets Award for Environmental Studies

Sarah Karimi

Sarah Karimi

Sarah Karimi MS'16, a doctoral student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UT Dallas, recently received the Simon Karecki Award for outstanding contributions to environmental research and for academic excellence.

Karimi’s research examines the potential toxicity of nanoparticles used by the semiconductor industry to smooth and polish the surface of silicon wafers, which eventually become the transistors found in electronic devices. Karimi said that because the nanoparticles are used in large quantities, there is the potential for them to wind up in waterways.

“My work is on aquatic toxicology, and I use the freshwater flea Daphnia magna as a model organism. This research is a beautiful interface of biology and chemistry,” Karimi said. “These organisms are recommended by the EPA for environmental testing of all kinds of pollutants. They are very sensitive, so anything that affects them, may also affect humans.”

Karimi’s advisors are Dr. Rockford Draper, professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Paul Pantano, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

“Karimi has made significant discoveries on the effects of these nanoparticles on this model organism,” Draper said. “Her research could help inform the semiconductor industry as they make decisions about their processes.”

The Simon Karecki Award Fellowship Fund was created by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and the SRC Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing (ERC) in memory of Karecki, who was a student in the ERC and an SRC Fellow. The annual award recognizes and encourages talented young researchers in their pursuit of studies related to environmentally sustainable manufacturing.  


Cybersecurity Institute Director Honored for Lasting Research Work

Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham

Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham

Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham, the Louis A. Beecherl Jr. Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at UT Dallas, is the inaugural recipient of the CODASPY Award for Outstanding Research on Data Security and Privacy.

The award was presented at the Association of Computing Machinery’s Conference on Data and Applications Security and Privacy (CODASPY).

The award recognizes Thuraisingham’s innovative and lasting research contributions, which have spanned over three decades at Honeywell, MITRE, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and UT Dallas. The award citation notes her work on multilevel secure databases (1980s), the inference problem (1990s), assured information sharing (2000s) and secure data management on the cloud (2010s).

Thuraisingham, who is executive director of the Cyber Security Research and Education Institute at UT Dallas, has received several prior awards, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society’s 1997 Technical Achievement Award; Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control 2010 Outstanding Contributions Award; and the Society for Design and Process Science 2012 Transformative Achievement Gold Medal. She is also a fellow of many organizations including the IEEE and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“After working in the field for the past 32 years, I am as motivated as ever to continue my research and make significant contributions,” Thuraisingham said. “I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve been presented at Honeywell, MITRE, NSF and UT Dallas, and I’m very grateful to the U.S. government for sponsoring my research.”


Computer Science Professor Earns Distinguished Paper Award

Dr, Tien Nguyen

Dr. Tien N. Nguyen

A paper co-written by computer science associate professor Dr. Tien N. Nguyen earned an ACM Distinguished Paper Award at the 24th ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering.

The paper, “API Code Recommendation Using Statistical Learning from Fine-grained Changes,” was co-written by Nguyen and his former students at Iowa State University, Anh Tuan Nguyen and Hoan Anh Nguyen; and his colleagues, Danny Dig and Michael Hilton at Oregon State University.

The project, led by Nguyen, addresses the problem of auto-completion for source code to help programmers improve their productivity in integrated development environments. Their approach is the first to use statistical learning from historical, fine-grained code changes via data analytics to auto-complete partially editing source code.

The honor is Nguyen’s fourth ACM Distinguished Paper Award in the past eight years at top-tier software engineering conferences, including the International Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering in 2009 and the International Conference on Automated Software Engineering in 2012 and 2014. In 2015, he also earned the Best Formal Demonstration Paper Award at the International Conference on Software Engineering. 

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

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