Researcher of the Year
The Researcher of the Year awards recognize the efforts of high-achieving faculty whose work is improving society through the generation and dissemination of new knowledge. Each college nominated a senior faculty member and a junior faculty member who received his or her terminal degree within the past 10 years. Winners were selected by an interdisciplinary faculty committee and announced at a virtual ceremony Aug. 24.
The awards program was created with input from the Vice President of Research Faculty Advisory Board and includes a $5,000 award.
Congratulations to all of our nominees and this year’s Researchers of the Year!
Senior Researcher of the YearHai Xiao
Samuel Lewis Bell Distinguished Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Hai Xiao’s research interests focus on photonic and microwave technologies, novel devices and materials, imaging instrumentation and advanced manufacturing for applications in energy, intelligent infrastructure, clean-environment, biomedical sensing/imaging, and national security.
Xiao has organized and led several large multidisciplinary research projects at Clemson and currently serves as the principal investigator of seven projects with nearly $8.5 million in external funding.
He has published 88 peer-reviewed articles, earned 6 patents and graduated 10 PhD students since 2013. Xiao is currently mentoring eight PhD students and two master’s students.
Junior Researcher of the YearVincent Richards
Biological Sciences Department
Vincent Richards uses microbial genomics to further the understanding of the relationship between diverse microbial communities and human health. His most recent work has focused on the oral microbiome, specifically the bacterial and fungal microbial communities in the mouth that are associated with tooth decay. Richards’ research has the potential to support the development of novel therapeutics and prevention strategies.
He has received more than $2 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and has published 41 papers, including 13 in the past two years. Additionally, Richards is mentoring two PhD students, a master’s student and two undergraduates.
2019 Researcher of the Year
Senior Researcher of the YearKen Marcus
Department of Chemistry
Dr. Marcus specializes in the development of analytical chemistry instrumentation and holds nearly 15 patents on technologies now commercially available. His discoveries have fueled innovations in health care, national defense, advanced materials and other industries. Dr. Marcus is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (London), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society for Applied Spectroscopy and the National Academy of Inventors. He also serves on the editorial advisory board of three scientific journals.
Junior Researcher of the YearMark Blenner
McQueen-Quattlebaum Associate Professor
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Dr. Blenner is a biotechnology expert whose innovations using metabolic engineering and synthetic biology are facilitating the conversion of low-value renewable substrates into more valuable products like biofuels, bioplastics, pharmaceuticals and omega-3 fatty acids for supplements and fish feed. His diverse research portfolio has applications in space exploration, waste utilization, covert surveillance of nuclear weapons development and much more. Blenner also is leading a statewide effort to attract more chemical engineering students with an eye toward diversifying the profession.