2017 College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Research Awards (CASDRA)

The College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Research Awards (CASDRA) was initiated in 1993-94. Awards may be given in four areas: Natural Sciences and Mathematical Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Engaged Scholarship.

In recognition for outstanding research achievements, each recipient receives $500.00 toward research expenses, a plaque, and recognition at the CAS August faculty meeting.

Distinguished Research Award in the Natural and Mathematical Sciences: Yongmei Wang

Dr. Yongmei Wang, Department of ChemistryDr. Yongmei Wang is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Memphis. She received her B.S. at the University of Science and Technology in China and completed her Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame. She joined the faculty member in the Chemistry Department in 2003. While at Memphis, Dr. Wang has developed an active research program that focuses on the computational/theoretical studies at the interface of macromolecular systems and nanomedicine. Her research work spanned from the study of separation and characterization of macromolecules and nanoparticles, rational design of polymeric systems for gene and drug delivery, the plasmonic optical properties of metallic nanoparticles and their use in nanomedicines. She is an internationally recognized research scholar and has given many invited talks at international conferences held in Slovak, Germany, Netherland, Korea and China. The research activities in her group were supported by National Science Foundation, Petroleum Research Fund, National Institutes of Health and other agencies. Dr. Wang was recognized as PI of millionaire from the University of Memphis in 2012 and was awarded Dunavant Professorship in 2015-2018.

Distinguished Research Award in the Social Sciences: Susan Neely-Barnes

Dr. Susan Neely-BarnesSusan Neely-Barnes is professor and chair of the Department of Social Work at the University of Memphis. Served as MSW program coordinator for four years prior to becoming chair. In Fall 2014, she served as fellow in the Provost's office at the University of Memphis and worked on faculty diversity and student success initiatives.

Dr. Neely-Barnes is the author of twenty-seven publications and more than forty conference presentations. She has been the recipient of six research grants totaling more than $1.5 million. Dr. Neely-Barnes' research is focused on empowering people with disabilities and improving the knowledge base in social work around services for people with disabilities and their family members.

Dr. Neely-Barnes has more than ten years of teaching experience at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral level in the areas of research, evaluation, human behavior in the social environment, practice with families, and disability.

Dr. Neely-Barnes received her Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of Washington in 2005, her MSW from Washington University in St. Louis in 1999, and her BA from Duke University in 1996.