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Innovators in their fields: the 2011 Regents' Professors

February 16, 2012

Awarding its highest faculty honors, Arizona State University named seven outstanding faculty members as Regents' Professors last November. The awardees – Luc Anselin, Paul Davies, Colleen Keller, Jerry Y.S. Lin, Gary Marchant, Simon Ortiz and Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez – were honored Feb. 16 at an induction ceremony in the Galvin Playhouse, on the Tempe campus.

The annual accolade recognizes professors who have made pioneering contributions in their areas of expertise, who have achieved a sustained level of distinction and who enjoy national and international recognition for these accomplishments.

What follows is a series of profiles that looks at the life, work and achievements of the honorees – among them, an unorthodox cancer researcher, a renowned poet, a health scholar and practitioner, and a builder of the nation's first school for border studies.

Luc Anselin

It is one of Luc Anselin’s gifts to intuitively communicate mathematics and statistics through courses, publications and software products; students and stakeholders who thought they had math phobias suddenly find spatial analysis accessible and captivating. His love of mathematical and statistical foundations of spatial econometrics is contagious, say his colleagues. His 1988 book “Spatial Econometrics, Methods and Models” has become a classic in the field.  read story

Paul Davies

Cosmologist Paul Davies is known for asking such questions as: "Why is the universe just right for life?" and "Are we alone?" Now he is applying his inquisitive approach to a 40-year-old puzzle: How to survive cancer. “By connecting the dots of evolutionary, developmental and cancer biology, we have come to view cancer not so much as a disease to be cured as a condition to be controlled,” Davies says. He and Charles Lineweaver of the Australian National University published a theory of cancer last year “based on the concept that it is an evolutionary throwback to our earliest ancestors.”  read story

Colleen Keller

Colleen Keller has been honored for her many career accomplishments as a nursing educator and researcher, but being named the first Regents’ Professor from the College of Nursing and Health Innovation is perhaps the most satisfying, because the recognition comes from her alma mater. Keller's 18 years as a critical care nurse has been significant to her research – she is an expert clinician and nationally recognized scholar who is among the few researchers whose work is being translated into the clinical setting to improve health solutions.  read story

Jerry Y.S. Lin

As a young college student in China, Jerry Lin didn’t think a degree in chemical engineering would take him far. Today, he is an internationally recognized pioneer of modern inorganic membrane science. Still, he says, his students are his main achievement. In the past 20 years, Lin has become a sought-after mentor, serving as adviser to 70 graduate students and post-doctoral students who are starting their careers.  read story

Gary Marchant

Gary Marchant has always loved science, and he has built a career around it – amassing numerous accolades for his knowledge, teaching, research and scholarship in the field of law and emerging technologies. “I love my work,” says Marchant, who regularly testifies before Congress and contributes research as a member of a National Academy of Sciences’ National Research committee.  read story

Simon Ortiz

Among the first to be published in the Native American literary renaissance of the 1960s – along with such icons as Leslie Marmon Silko, N. Scott Momaday, Joy Harjo, Laura Tohe and Lawrence Evers – Simon J. Ortiz weaves stories of land, culture and community. The author of 24 books, Ortiz is, on many levels, a careful master of language. "The language of my childhood, the ancestral language of the Acoma Pueblo People – Aaquumeh hano – is imbued with a sacred and mythic power that embraces everything of spiritual and human importance," he writes.   read story

Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez

The same vision and drive that led Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez to create and revamp public policy centers and programs at three major universities brought him to ASU in 2005, where he and his ASU colleagues redesigned the then Department of Chicana/o Studies. The School of Transborder Studies arose through their efforts in 2011 and became the first such school in the nation. With Vélez-Ibáñez’s leadership, a new curriculum emerged with a strong orientation to policy and applied practice and insistence on bilingualism and biliteracy.  read story