2014 Distinguished Scholar Award

Senior professors are honored for their exceptional scholarly accomplishments and younger faculty members for their demonstrated scholarly potential.
Frederick Luis Aldama profile picture

Frederick Luis Aldama

Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor
Departments of English and of Spanish and Portuguese


Frederick Aldama’s work spans multiple genres. An internationally renowned scholar in multiethnic, postcolonial and Latina/o and Chicana/o literary and cultural studies, Aldama has had a profound influence on what scholars study and how they study it. 

His writings on Mexican-American authors, race and sexuality, postcolonial fiction, graphic novels and narrative theory combine biology, neuroscience, popular cinema, comics and straight-up literary criticism with cultural nuance and political sensitivity. His most recent work has brought neuroscientific and narratological rigor to the analysis of highly influential and popular postmodern forms of literature such as comics, popular cinema and flash fiction. 

According to one colleague, “Frederick has played a major role in inspiring others — not only his students but also his colleagues — to explore the role that cognitive theories can play in the understanding of narrative within any genre.”

Aldama’s scholarship has received national and international recognition, including the Modern Language Association Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies, and the Southwest Book Award. He has delivered more than 40 invited lectures and plenary and keynote addresses, and serves on the editorial and advisory boards for the three most significant peer-reviewed journals in narrative theory: Journal of Narrative Theory; LIT: Literature, Interpretation, Theory; and Narrative.

Aldama is the founder and director of the Latino and Latin American Studies Space for Enrichment and Research (LASER), an Ohio State-based collaborative that sponsors programming for faculty, staff and students and provides an innovative student mentoring program.  

Aldama received his BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD from Stanford University. He joined The Ohio State University in 2005.

Samson T. Jacob profile picture

Samson T. Jacob

The William C. and Joan E. Davis Cancer Research Professor
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry


Samson Jacob has emerged as a pioneer in the field of regulation of gene expression, particularly in the context of leukemia and liver cancer. 

He has advanced the understanding of how both oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are regulated during normal development, as well as deregulated during disease, and identified and characterized enzymes, signaling molecules, biochemical pathways, transcription factors and DNA modifications that can affect human health by altering the pattern of gene expression. His groundbreaking research has changed the dialogue on the elements that regulate gene expression and has given insight into the development of novel therapeutic agents.

According to one colleague, “Dr. Jacob’s national and international reputation as a major figure in biological research comes not only from his outstanding research accomplishments, but also from his contributions in academic administration and service to the scientific community.”

The quality and importance of Jacob’s research are evidenced by the more than 200 peer-reviewed publications in high-impact and top-tier journals in the fields of biochemistry, cancer research, hepatology and immunology, including Nature, Science, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Blood, Hepatology, Cancer Research, Oncogene, J. Biological Chemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Jacob is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been continuously funded throughout his career by the National Institutes of Health.

He obtained his BS from Madras University, India, and his MSc and PhD from Agra University, India. He joined Ohio State in 1996.

Lung-fei Lee profile picture

Lung-fei Lee

University Chair in Macroeconomics-Monetary Economics
Department of Economics


Lung-fei Lee has made seminal contributions to theory and practice in microeconometrics, specifically the statistical analysis of economic data on the behavior of individuals, households and organizations. He has developed models of limited dependent variables to deal with statistical issues that arise in analysis of micro data and has been a leader in developing estimation theory for models with cross-sectional dependence. These models have been widely applied to the analysis of networks, social interactions and spatial interactions. 

“Lung-fei Lee is a scientist at the very pinnacle of the field,” according to one colleague. “Over the past 40 years he has not only made superbly original contributions to the theoretical development of estimators and tests, he also has produced top-flight applications to many key areas on economics. He has had a huge impact on the profession and continues to innovate.”

Lee has published more than 100 refereed articles in eminent journals including Econometrica and Review of Economic Studies. He is an elected fellow of the Econometric Society, an honor awarded to fewer than 2 percent of world economists, and is ranked third among econometricians worldwide based on the quality and quantity of his contributions to theoretical econometrics. His research has been funded continuously for 22 years. 

Lee has served as president of the Chinese Economic Association in North America and held adjunct professorships at Peking University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

Lung-fei Lee received his BSc from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, M.Math and M.Phil from the University of Waterloo, Ontario and his MA and PhD from the University of Rochester. He joined Ohio State in 2000.

Samir D. Mathur profile picture

Samir D. Mathur

Department of Physics


Samir Mathur is a world leader in the application of string theory to the study of the quantum physics of black holes. He is the originator of the “Mathur Conjecture,” put forth in 2002 as a resolution to a famous information paradox involving black holes that pits the classical notion that information carried into a black hole by in-falling matter and energy is forever lost against principles of quantum mechanics that say the information must be retained. 

According to Mathur, information is not lost but rather resides in a “fuzzball” of quantum strings permeating the black hole itself. Mathur’s Conjecture is the first concrete example of how the effects of quantum gravity could extend out to the horizon of the black hole. His research has led to other deep insights into the nature of quantum gravity as well.

According to one colleague, “This body of work, the impact that it has had and the recognition that it has received has elevated Samir to the level of a truly exceptional and internationally visible theoretical physicist.”

Mathur has published 41 papers in refereed journals. His publications have attracted more than 5,000 citations to date. Three of his papers have been cited more than 250 times, and one is on track to cross the 500-citation threshold for a “renowned” paper in 2014. Since 2002, he has given 53 invited talks at conferences and workshops, 12 colloquia and lectures at eight summer schools. Mathur’s research has been continuously funded by the U.S. Department of Energy since his arrival at Ohio State in 1999. 

Mathur received his MS from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and his PhD from the University of Bombay.

DeLiang Wang profile picture

DeLiang Wang

Department of Computer Science and Engineering


DeLiang Wang has become one of the most prominent researchers in his field, making groundbreaking contributions to oscillatory correlation theory and solving the speech segregation problem. 

His best-known work is perhaps his analysis of neural oscillator networks and his more recent endeavor in segregating the target speech from its acoustic inference. His research team has developed a variety of algorithms in machine perception that have advanced the state-of-art performance by large margins. His algorithms on pitch tracking, dereverberation, singing voice separation, mask estimation and localization-based separation are widely used in the research community.  

According to one colleague, “His pioneering contributions in advancing oscillatory correlation theory and speech segregation put him at the forefront of his field, rivaled by few in his generation.” 

Another colleague wrote, “Professor Wang has built an extraordinary record of research accomplishments. Whether in terms of publication, impact or recognition, professor Wang has few peers.”

Wang’s scholarly work includes more than 100 articles in leading journals and numerous papers in conference proceedings and edited books. His papers are widely quoted in the literature. He has been continuously funded throughout his career, and currently leads a multimillion-dollar National Institutes of Health effort to help listeners with hearing loss better understand speech in noise. 

Wang is an elected Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is a recipient of the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award and the Helmholtz Award from the International Neural Network Society. He currently serves as co-editor-in-chief of Neural Networks, a premier journal in his field.

Wang received his BS and MS from Peking (Beijing) University and his PhD from the University of Southern California. He began his academic career at Ohio State in 1991.

Thomas E. Wittum profile picture

Thomas E. Wittum

Department of Veterinary Preventative Medicine


Thomas Wittum is a leader in research at the interface of veterinary and human medicine and public health. His research in the field of veterinary epidemiology emphasizes a “One Health” approach to prevention and control of zoonotic infectious diseases that directly impact both animal and public health. 

Wittum primarily focuses on the food-borne transmission of zoonotic enteric organisms, including Salmonella and other pathogens, as well as important antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic-resistant genes. His applied approach to research utilizes field research with results that can be directly implemented by producers, practitioners, regulatory agencies and other academic researchers.

One colleague wrote, “Professor Wittum’s research program to address one of the most important public health issues facing our country today has not just been an academic exercise. The true significance of this work is represented in its impact on national policy toward veterinary and agricultural antimicrobial use.”

Wittum has published more than 110 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts and has been principal or co-investigator on federal grants totaling more than $8 million. He has been instrumental in the development of Ohio State’s nationally recognized Veterinary Public Health Program, an innovative collaboration between the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health. 

He serves on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Agricultural Antimicrobial Use and Resistance, which developed the blueprint to inform federal policy in this important area. He is a past president of the Association for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, an international organization to advance veterinary epidemiology and public health initiatives, especially in the area of One Health.

Wittum earned his BS from Kansas State University and his MS and PhD from Colorado State University. He joined Ohio State in 1995.

Nominations                    Previous Winners