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Five new Distinguished University Professors named

Five UT faculty members have been recommended to receive the highest rank — Distinguished University Professor.

The honorees were selected from 19 nominations submitted to the Academic Honors Committee. Their appointments are expected to be approved by the UT Board of Trustees Monday, Nov. 19, and will bring the number of Distinguished University Professors to 23.

The new Distinguished University Professors are:

• Dr. Robert M. Blumenthal, professor of medicinal microbiology and immunology in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. He has been at UT for 31 years and has an international reputation for work in the field of global gene regulation in bacteria. In 2008, he presented at a Distinguished Scientist Seminar in the National Institutes of Health Rocky Mountain Lab. He received The University of Toledo Outstanding Research Award this year, the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2008, and the Dean’s Award for Graduate Student Mentoring in 2005. Blumenthal is a pioneering faculty member in bioinformatics, genomics and proteomics (BGP) and continues to serve as the BPG program director.

• Dr. Charlene M. Czerniak, professor of science education in the Judith Herb College of Education, Health Science and Human Service. She has been at UT for 23 years. To date, she has generated $30 million in extramural funds from places such as the National Science Foundation. She has presented more than 50 times nationally and internationally, as well as more than 50 times at state and regional meetings. Czerniak has published approximately 50 papers and nine book chapters, and is editor of several books and journals. She has received the George Mallinson Distinguished Service Award, the Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education, the Judith Herb College of Education Research Award and the Distinguished Alumni Award for Service.

• Dr. Paul W. Erhardt, professor of medicinal chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He is director of the Center for Drug Design and Development and has been at UT for 18 years. He spent 20 years in industry at Berlex Laboratories. At UT, he received the Outstanding Research Faculty Award in 2004 and 2006, the Excellence Award for Research in 2009 and 2010, and the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award in 1995. In addition to being a contributing member of UT service activities, Erhardt travels the world for lectures, presentations and conferences. He has mentored 19 undergraduate and 20 graduate students, as well as 14 postdoctoral fellows and six sabbatical visitors.

• Dr. Carol A. Stepien, professor of ecology in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. A molecular geneticist who focuses on researching fish genetics, Stepien is director of the Lake Erie Center and has been at UT eight years. She has received the University’s Outstanding Research Award in 2008 and the Dion D. Raftopolous Sigma Xi Outstanding Research Award in 2010. Her book, Molecular Systematics of Fishes, was printed in 1997 and reprinted in 2002. Stepien serves as an editor for several publications, including Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, the Journal of Great Lakes Research and Biological Invasions. She has mentored 36 undergraduate, seven graduate, eight doctoral, four international graduate, three postdoctoral and 12 high school students.

• Dr. Gretchen E. Tietjen, professor of neurology in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. She has been at the University 16 years and has served as chair of the Department of Neurology since 2006. Tietjen also is the founding director of the Neurology Residency Program, founder and director of the UTMC Stroke Center, and has served as neurology clerkship director. She is listed in the Best Doctors in America and received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2001, the Seymour Solomon Research Award and the Stroke Innovation Award in 2008, and the UT Outstanding Research Award in 2011. She directs the UT Headache Treatment and Research Center and the Stroke Research Center of Northwest Ohio.

These five — along with Dr. Ali Fatemi, Distinguished University Professor of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering in the College of Engineering and Susan R. Martyn, Distinguished University Professor of Law and the Stoepler Professor of Law and Values in the College of Law, who received the honorary title in April — will be recognized at a reception Monday, Nov. 19, from 3 to 5 p.m. in Libbey Hall.

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