President's Research Awards go to Sun, Huber and Forster

Image 2016 President Winners of the 2016 USD President's Research Awards: Hongli Sun, Victor Huber and Gina Forster.

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota has awarded grants for outstanding research to three biomedical faculty members who were chosen by external reviewers for their research accomplishments, publications and grant success.

The 2016 award recipients, who receive a $3,000 grant and a plaque:

President’s Award for Research Excellence, New-Mid Career Faculty: Hongli Sun, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of biomedical engineering. Sun’s research is focused on developing novel nano-biomaterials-based strategies for bone repair. As a junior faculty, Sun has authored several articles in the leading journals of the field, and his work has been highly appreciated by his peers. He also actively serves as a manuscript and grant reviewer for many peer-reviewed journals, conferences and founding agencies. His research is currently funded by South Dakota Board of Regents, S. T. Li Foundation and NSF EPSCoR (BioSNTR).

President’s Award for Research Excellence, Established Faculty: Gina Forster, Ph.D., professor in the department of basic biomedical sciences. Forster's research focuses on understanding the neurobiology of anxiety, and how factors such as early life stress, substance use and traumatic brain injury affect brain function to produce anxiety states.

President’s Award for Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Victor Huber, Ph.D., associate professor in the department of basic biomedical sciences. Huber studies host immune responses against influenza viruses, in particular those associated with vaccine-induced immunity and susceptibility to secondary bacterial infections. The goal of this research is to develop vaccines and therapeutics that can be used to limit deaths associated with these infections.

Candidates were reviewed based on past and current research accomplishments, including criteria such as publications, presentations, successful grantsmanship, peer reviewer experience, maintenance of an active graduate or undergraduate program and being conferred other competitive research awards.

The innovation and entrepreneurship award further required that the winner demonstrate innovative thinking or research findings that had promising commercial potential as well as a concept that had progressed beyond the theoretical stage to the applied stage.

Download a photo: Winners of the 2016 USD President's Research Awards: Hongli Sun, Victor Huber and Gina Forster.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News