The 2015 award recipients, who receive a $3,000 grant and a plaque:

  • President’s Award for Research Excellence: New-Mid Career Faculty, Z. Rick Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry;
  • President’s Award for Research Excellence: Established Faculty, Yuhlong Lio, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences;
  • President’s Award for Research Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Grigoriy Sereda, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Chemistry.

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 & 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.

“Research is an essential component of USD’s mission, and one of many ways USD contributes to the economic development of the state,” said James W. Abbott, USD president. “Our award winners this year are from chemistry and mathematics, which are disciplines of significant strength at USD and complementary to the university’s prominence in the fine arts, humanities, and professional programs.”

About the recipients:

Z. Rick Wang

Wang is a tenure-track assistant professor of chemistry working in the area of inorganic chemistry. He has been an active mentor for his post-docs, graduate students and undergraduate students. His first postdoctoral associate now has a prestigious position at a university in China and he has just begun to graduate Ph.D. students from his group. Wang has supported numerous undergraduate students, many of whom have given presentations at national chemistry meetings.

Wang publishes in the highest-standard chemistry journals, which attests to the quality of his research. Among them: The Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie and Chemical Communications. The publications represent the flagship journals of the American, European and British chemical societies, respectively. Last year, Wang was also awarded a $650,000 National Science Foundation-CAREER grant, which brings tremendous national recognition to the investigator, department and university.

Wang actively participates in all the major research programs within chemistry, including National Science Foundation-EPSCoR, NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program (IGERT) and the department’s current NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.

Yuhlong Lio

Lio is a tenured professor of mathematical sciences with significant research accomplishments over the past few years. He has demonstrated a consistent record of publication, with more than 50 publications in internationally peer-reviewed journals. His research is published in diverse venues and includes work in theoretical and pure mathematics, applied mathematics, industrial mathematics, medical mathematics and computational skills for mathematics.

Lio has been recognized for his expertise at the national/international level by external agencies seeking his input as a scholar. He has served as a panel member to review proposals for the National Science Foundation, as a reviewer on external research proposals for an institution in Hong Kong, as a visiting scholar for the National Science Council at the Institute of Mathematics Academia Sinica in Taiwan from 2009-2013, as a visiting scholar for the mathematics research promotion center for the Ministry of Science and Technology at the Institute of Mathematics Academia in Taiwan from 2014-2015, and as the keynote speaker for the 2010 Conference of the Intelligent Technologies and Applied Statistics at Tamkang University in Taiwan.  

Lio has also been recognized for his expertise at the national and international levels through his work as editor of many prestigious journals. He has served on the editorial boards of The Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation, Electronic Journal of Applied Statistical Analysis, the Journal of Statistics and Mathematics (co-editor in chief), and the British Journal of Mathematics and Computer Science. In addition to this, Lio has been invited to review manuscripts for 28 different international peer-review journals.

Grigoriy Sereda

Sereda is a tenured professor of chemistry working in the area of organic chemistry. A routine visit to a local dentist led Sereda to begin investigating dentin tubule occlusion in collaboration with Dr. Josh Brower of Siouxland Smiles. Brower provided the samples and Sereda began researching new nanoparticles as dentin tubule occlusion materials that could potentially reduce the sensitivity of teeth. This initial research led to a donation of $25,000 by Brower and his wife with the intent of supporting this research in order to develop these materials into a product with commercial potential.

Sereda is also involved in collaborative research with faculty in the Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences (BBS) in the Sanford School of Medicine and in the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Program in Sioux Falls. He and his BBS collaborator, Victor Huber, have applied for a U.S. patent involving a quick assay that uses nanomaterials to determine the efficacy of vaccines. This research is supported by an internal ORSP grant and they have applied for further external funding from National Institutes of Health. Sereda has support from the BME program to develop antimicrobial paints as well, and he has recently been awarded (as co-PI) a $200,000 Governor Research Center sub award in collaboration with South Dakota School of Mines & Technology involving nanocomposite polymers. Sereda also played a major role in crafting the recently awarded NSF-MRI NMR (2013) and SEM (2014) grants as well as the NSF-REU (2015) program within the Chemistry Department.

Dr. Sereda’s synthetic ability in organic and materials chemistry has allowed him to develop a diverse array of valuable research collaborations within USD and South Dakota.

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