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Oklahoma State University

2016 Regents Distinguished Research Award Winners

Oklahoma State University has honored seven faculty with the 2016 Regents Distinguished Research Award. Recipients are selected based on evidence of outstanding and meritorious research achievements and are recognized nationally and internationally in their fields of study. The winners were honored at the 2016 Convocation in December.

The winners:

Francis Epplin, Professor and Neustadt Chair in Agricultural Economics
Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Epplin is a leading researcher in the economics of biofuels and crop and livestock production systems. He has heightened awareness of the importance of coupling biology-based and economic research. Epplin has authored and co-authored more than 200 journal articles, abstracts, book chapters, and experiment station bulletins. His work has been supported by more than $20 million in funding through collaborative and multidisciplinary grants. Epplin has advised 17 master’s and 20 doctoral students, many of whom he recruited. His honors include being named a Regents Professor, receiving the OSU Sarkeys Distinguished Professor Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Agricultural Economics Association.



William Decker, Professor of English
College of Arts & Sciences

Decker is a recognized scholar of American literature, especially of the writings of Henry Adams and the study of American letter writing. He has written three books, edited a collection of essays and a novel, and served on editorial boards for numerous journals and publishers, and has delivered 33 papers to professional conferences both nationally and internationally. Recognized for student mentoring, Decker has directed three dissertations, seven master’s theses and 11 undergraduate honors theses. His recognitions include being named a Fulbright Lecturer in Belgium, election as a Corresponding Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and receiving the College of Arts & Sciences Junior Faculty Award for Scholarly Achievement.



Robert Burnap, Professor and Vaughn O. Vennerberg Chair of Bioinformatics & Molecular Genetics
College of Arts & Sciences

Burnap studies photosynthesis and how the process of converting light energy into chemical energy drives cellular metabolism. His research focuses on the water oxidation mechanism in photosynthesis, while a second major project led to the development of the first publically available DNA microarrays for the cyanobacteria Synechocystis. He has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation since 1998 and is at the forefront of technology development in bioinformatics. Burnap is not only recognized for mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, but also Oklahoma high school teachers who gain hands-on research experience in his lab through a College of Education STEM teacher development program.




Ramesh Sharda, Regents Professor and Vice Dean of the Watson Graduate School of Management, ConocoPhillips Chair in Technology Management
Spears School of Business

Sharda is being honored with his second Regents Distinguished Research Award following his recognition in 2003, the award’s inaugural year. Sharda is internationally known for his study of data analytics and decision support systems. He has published more than 150 papers in academic journals, many of which have been among the top-cited in his field. One paper has been cited more than 1,000 times. Sharda sets an example as a mentor for junior faculty and graduate students, especially doctoral candidates, including those enrolled in the Ph.D. in Business for Executives program, founded by Sharda. His professional leadership includes directing an international network of academics who share analytics teaching resources.



Bert Jacobson, Regents Professor and M.B. Seretean Endowed Professor
College of Education

Jacobson’s research in health and human performance includes examination of caffeine use and performance, sleep quality and efficiency related to bedding surfaces, and many other areas. Jacobson and colleagues received a U.S. patent for an antiballistic garment currently in use by the U.S. military, and he has applied for a patent for an apparatus to assist the elderly with balance and stability. Jacobsen has published more than 135 journal articles and 50 peer-reviewed abstracts and has served on review boards and as an associate editor for a number of journals. In recognition of his research, Jacobsen has been named a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.



Balabhaskar Balasundaram, Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering
College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology

Balasundaram conducts research into developing theories and algorithms for mathematical optimization problems involving large-scale data networks. He has been published in 33 peer-reviewed journals, proceedings and handbooks with his articles having been cited more than 400 times. Balasundaram has secured more than $3.5 million in competitive research grants and is co-principal investigator on a $950,000 National Science Foundation grant funding a new supercomputer cluster at OSU. His honors include two Research Excellence Awards from the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology, the Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Operations Research from the Institute of Industrial Engineers, and the Halliburton Outstanding Young Faculty Award.



Hailin Qu, Regents Professor and William Davis Endowed Chair
College of Human Sciences

Qu’s internationally influential research evaluates service quality and consumer benefit in hospitality and tourism management. He has published 102 peer-reviewed papers with more than 4,100 citations, and is the 15th leading researcher for publishing in three top-tier journals in the field. He is also founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality and Tourism. Qu has secured more than $5 million in research funding while at OSU. His honors include the OSU Regents Distinguished Teaching Award, the College of Human Sciences Outstanding Engagement Award, the OSU Eminent Faculty Award, and the School of International Studies Education Faculty Excellence Award.



Richard Eberle, Professor of Molecular Virology
Center for Veterinary Health Sciences

Eberle is an internationally recognized expert in simian herpesviruses, especially monkey B virus (BV). For decades, Eberle has studied the extreme neurovirulence of this virus and is considered one of two leading authorities in the world. He has mapped the BV genome and developed a murine model of BV to test anti-viral drug efficacy against infection providing physicians with model-tested data.