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College Professors Blazing the Trail in Research: Three Receive International Honors

August 1, 2005

College Professors Blazing the Trail in Research: Three Receive International Honors

A neuroscientist, a computational biologist and an organic chemist — all three professors in USC College — have won national and international honors for their outstanding research.

University Professor Michael Waterman, the USC Associates Chair in Natural Sciences and professor of biological sciences, computer science and mathematics, was elected a corresponding member of the French Academy of Sciences in the biological division. Waterman was selected among a group of the world’s most eminent scientists. The post reflects the quality of Waterman’s contributions to cell and molecular genomics.

Professor of psychology, neurology and neuroscience Antonio Damasio was awarded the 2005 Prince of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research. The award acknowledges scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work of international scope. His research has shed light on the neural bases of decision-making, emotions, language and memory, and enhanced the understanding of illnesses such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. This fall, Damasio and his wife, Hanna, joined the faculty of USC College, where he will direct a new institute to study the human brain in relation to emotion and creativity.

Chemist G.K. Surya Prakash, professor and the George A. and Judith A. Olah Nobel Laureate Chair in Hydrocarbon Chemistry, was awarded the 2006 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Hydrocarbon Chemistry. It is the second national ACS award won by Prakash in the last two years, “a truly stellar and practically unprecedented achievement,” said Nobel laureate George Olah, USC Distinguished Professor, holder of the Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Chair in Organic Chemistry and director of the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, where Prakash serves as scientific co-director. Prakash’s contributions to the field of fluorine research have proved critical to advancements in biology, materials science and the pharmaceutical industry.