Orange Alert

Faculty and Staff Highlights - December 2023

Posted on: Dec. 18, 2023

Read about the latest faculty additions, awards, and news highlights from faculty in the Department of Physics.

New Staff

Meghan Murphy

This summer the department hired Meghan Murphy to join the Physics Department staff team in the role of Administrative Assistant. Meghan replaces Cassandra Ellis who was promoted within the university to another role. Meghan brings years of experience of administrative support in a number of organizations. She has a degree in Psychology from SUNY Postdam. Since joining the team, Meghan has already made multiple positive contributions to our department. We are thrilled to have her in our department.

New Faculty

The following faculty recently joined our department this year.

Georgia Mansell headshot

We welcomed a new member to our faculty in January 2023. Dr. Georgia Mansell earned her B.S. from the University of Adelaide and her PhD from Australian National University where she did her research on squeezed states of light for gravitational-wave detectors. She joined the physics department as an assistant professor.

Alex Nitz G'15 (Courtesy of Detroit Free Press) headshot

Dr. Alex Nitz joined the physics department as a tenured associate professor. Dr. Nitz earned his PhD from Syracuse University in 2015. His research focused on understanding the Universe with gravitational-wave astronomy and astrophysics of compact objects.

Craig Cahillane headshot

Dr. Craig Cahillane joined our department in the summer of 2023. Prior to joining Syracuse University, Cahillane was a postdoc at LIGO Hanford Observatory from 2021-22 where he locked and analyzed the performance of the Advanced LIGO gravitational-wave detectors. Dr. Cahillane received his BS in 2014 from the University of Notre Dame and his PhD in 2021 from the California Institute of Technology.

Awards and Recognition

Ali Patteson headshot

NSF CAREER award was presented to Professor Ali Patteson for her project titled, “CAREER: Biomechanics and Mechanobiology of Vimentin Intermediate Filaments.” The Patteson lab will be investigating how vimentin cytoskeletal filaments stabilize the cell nucleus with mechanical reinforcement.

In addition, Prof. Patteson received multiple internationally recognized awards and was featured in and A&S article recognizing all her achievements:

● 2023 Cottrell Scholar award, a prestigious national honor that ranks her among the country’s best faculty researchers and teachers from the fields of astronomy, chemistry, and physics

● 2024 recipient of the APS’ Maria Goeppert Mayer Award. This award recognizes outstanding achievement by a woman physicist in the early years of her career.

● 2023 Sloan Research Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

mirna skanata headshot

Professor Mirna Mihovilovic Skanata has been awarded a NIH MIRA Award for her research on the Physics of behavior and neuroscience. The goal of NIH MIRA program is to increase the efficiency of NIGMS funding by providing investigators with greater stability and flexibility, thereby enhancing scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs. The program will also help distribute funding more widely among the nation's highly talented and promising investigators.

marina artuso headshot

Professor Marina Artuso received the NSF Major Research Instrumentation Award to develop new detector instruments for the Large Hadron Collider. The work will support students and building of the instruments. Congratulations Marina.

Gravitational Waves Group

The Gravitational Waves group was awarded an outstanding FOUR new grants from the National Science Foundation on the following: Cosmic Explorer Site Search, Cosmic Explorer Optical Design, Cosmic Explorer Mode-sensing Design, and Cosmic Explorer Project. The faculty members part of the group are Stefan Ballmer, Georgia Mansell, Craig Chaillane, Alex Nitz, Duncan Brown, and Eric Coughlin.

Professor Stefan Ballmer was given a new NSF Award titled "Launching the Cosmic Explorer Conceptual Design.” This award will establish a Cosmic Explorer Project Office, including systems engineering and management structures. Congratulations Stefan. Ballmer was appointed Director of the new Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Eric Coughlin, Physics Professor, was awarded a NASA grant to study repeated tidal stripping of a star by a supermassive black hole and the luminous flares that are thereby produced. Congratulations Eric!

Liviu Movileanu headshot

Professor Liviu Movileanu was recently awarded a pair of R01 awards through the NIH’s institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and Institute of General Medical Sciences totaling $3 million. Receiving just one of these highly selective grants in a year is a notable accomplishment for any faculty member.

In addition, Prof. Movileanu and affiliated Physics Prof. Aaron Wolfe are both co-principal investigators on a new grant awarded by the Syracuse University BioInspired Institute. The third co-PI is Steven Hanes, professor emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biology at Upstate Medical University. The principal investigator is Alaji Bah, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Upstate Medical University. The project is titled “Using the Co-Evolution of the Ess1-CTD Axis in Polar Fungi to Investigate the Role of Phase Separation as a Mechanism for Adaptation to Extreme Environments

The High Energy Theory and Cosmology group was awarded a renewal grant from the Department of Energy. The project is titled Foundations of Quantum Computing for Gauge Theories and Gravity. The team is led by Professor Simon Catteral and funds the work of Jack Laiho, Jay Hubisz, and Scott Watson to continue their outstanding work on particle physics and cosmology.

Lisa Manning portrait

Professor Lisa Manning wrote an essay for Physical Review Letters on the "future of the field” of soft matter and biological physics. This is the very first one in a new series by the Physical Review Letters. She received an award from the National Science Foundation to work on 3D mechanical modeling of epithelial stratification and turnover. In addition, Professor Manning was awarded a new grant from the Silicon Valley Foundation. This grant is to support the work she conducted on project CZI Theory Program to explore tissue mechanics to clarify the relationship between organ form and function.

Joseph Paulsen headshot

Professor Joey Paulsen was awarded a new National Science Foundation grant to work on stress focusing on thin solids in the absence of tensile loads.

Ross Jennifer headshot

Professor and Physics Department Chair Jennifer Ross was named AAAS Fellow. The Arts and Sciences marketing team highlighted this accomplishment in an article

Dr. Ross was awarded a new grant from Research Corporation for Science Advancement to create a new Cottrell Scholars Collaborative to write a book on leadership in academics. Professor Alison Patteson is one of the many collaborators along with many other Cottrell Scholars.