Five Rutgers–Camden Faculty Members Earn 2022 Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity

Researchers excel in mathematics, physics, science, psychology, sociology, anthropology and criminal justice topics

May 5, 2022

By Tom McLaughlin

Rutgers University–Camden Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis selected five faculty members to receive the 2022 Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity. These awards  go to faculty who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in research, scholarship, or creative work.

“We applaud these colleagues who epitomize the excellence in research and teaching that define Rutgers University–Camden’s mission,” said Chancellor Tillis. “The caliber of their contributions is emblematic of the high standards to which we collectively aspire.”

Tenured recipients:

Nawaf Bou-Rabee

Nawaf Bou-Rabee

Nawaf Bou-Rabee, associate professor of mathematical sciences

  • Noted mathematician in probability, computational and applied mathematics
  • Leading expert in the area of mixing times for Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC). This is a class of algorithms with significant applications in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computational vaccine design. His
  • Work supported by the National Science Foundation and a prestigious Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Grace Brannigan

Grace Brannigan

Grace Brannigan, associate professor of physics and graduate program director for the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology (CCIB) at Rutgers–Camden

  • Pioneered the use of molecular dynamic simulations to investigate interactions between proteins and small molecules associated with the cell membrane.
  • Has published 13 peer-reviewed journal articles since 2019; five articles have more than 15 citations
  • Recently received a $2 million National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) to create the innovative Codes4Life (C4L) program, which uses software engineering and artificial intelligence to bridge the diverging gap between software engineering and artificial intelligence
Andrey Grigoriev

Andrey Grigoriev

Andrey Grigoriev, professor of biology

  • In 2020, was the first Rutgers University researcher to secure a Rapid Response Research Award from the National Science Foundation to study the coronavirus genome, focusing on small RNAs, among other factors of the virus genome conservation.
  • Led a research group that published a paper in the Journal of Virology on the potential traces of the small RNA action (and evasion) in the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome.
  • Published research in the prestigious journal Genome Research, which resulted from a large collaboration of the International Rice Research Institute with multiple universities in the U.S. and abroad. This work will help guide and accelerate rice breeding by identifying genetic variation that will be useful in the efforts devoted to future sustainable agriculture, feeding billions of people in the changing climate.



Non-tenured recipients:

Rufan Luo

Rufan Luo

Rufan Luo, assistant professor of psychology

  • Researches the influences of early parent-child relationships for healthy development, particularly language development by children in dual or multilingual households.
  • Has created interventions designed to help parents and children engage with each other in ways to strengthen parent-child bonds and mitigate the negative effects of growing up in a multilingual household.
  • Grant-funded work includes serving as a co-principal investigator on a $503,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation to support her research with parents and young children
Daniel Semenza

Daniel Semenza

Daniel Semenza, assistant professor of sociology, anthropology, and criminal justice

  • Has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles in leading criminology, public health and medical journals, as well as nine book chapters on the topics of gun violence, violent victimization and health disparities in the criminal justice system.
  • Editorial board member for three academic journals
  • Frequent media commentator to discuss policies that can help to reduce gun violence and community health disparities.
  • Faculty affiliate with the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers University,
  • Secured two separate rounds of funding from the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers University to support his work on racial disparities in community gun violence exposure