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Two Stony Brook University faculty have recently received Fulbright U.S. Scholar Awards.

Lilianne R. Mujica-Parodi, professor of Biomedical Engineering, has been awarded the Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award for 2021-2022. R. Anna Hayward, associate professor at the School of Social Welfare, has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Award for Spring 2022.

Lilianne Mujica-Parodi
Lilianne Mujica-Parodi

Mujica-Parodi earned the Distinguished Scholar Award after an extremely competitive peer-review process by the Institute of International Education/Council for International Exchange of Scholars (IIE/CIES), and approval by both the United States and Israeli governments. She will be conducting research at the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Department of Physics of Complex Systems in Rohovot Israel, an institution with a long history of investigation and discovery rooted in a mission of advancing science for the benefit of humanity. The Weizmann Institute is one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary basic research centers in the natural and exact sciences.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Professor Mujica-Parodi,” said Yi-Xian Qin, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, “She is an excellent researcher in the field of computational neurobiology and the development of advanced brain imaging techniques. She devotes her enthusiasm and energy to biomedical research, students, the university, and beyond. It is inspiring to see Professor Mujica-Parodi’s innovative research and engineering approaches potentially impact our understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of brain-based disorders.

Fotis Sotiropoulos, Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences shared, “We are extremely proud of Lily’s accomplishments, and grateful for her contributions as an esteemed member of our faculty and research team. I am confident that the Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award will not only enhance her research but create important global impact.”

As a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar, Professor Mujica-Parodi will be one of 40-50 U.S. researchers/teachers selected annually  to conduct cutting edge work abroad with the largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. Fulbright Scholar awardees are devoted to increasing mutual understanding between people of the U.S. and people of other countries.

Mujica-Parodi’s Fulbright Award will focus on testing how ant colonies reorganize their social structures as a function of fluctuations in the food supply. Essentially treating the ant colony as a “living economic model” of resource allocation under constraint, she and her collaborators — professors Ofer Feinermann and Helmut Strey — will test whether the degree of resource scarcity biologically biases a population towards different models of distribution. This problem has direct implications for Mujica-Parodi’s current research on a key component of brain aging: the gradual starvation of neurons as they lose their ability to metabolize glucose effectively (“hypometabolism”). 

Read more about Mujica-Parodi’s award at the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences website.

R Anna hayward
R. Anna Hayward

Hayward will lecture and conduct research at the University of Málaga in Spain as part of a project titled, “Responding to climate change and environmental injustice:  Youth and community resilience on Spain’s Costa del Sol.”  This project will engage social work students in understanding community vulnerabilities to climate change on the southern coast of Andalucía, Spain and how youth and communities exhibit resilience in the face of natural disasters including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is a remarkable accomplishment to have one of our professors awarded the prestigious Fulbright fellowship,” said Jacqueline B. Mondros, dean and assistant vice president for Social Determinants of Health at the School of Social Welfare. “This recognition is reflective of the high level of Professor Hayward’s work and her dedication to environmental justice and the ways in which social workers can help improve the world of their clients.”

As a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Hayward will share knowledge and foster meaningful connections across communities in the United States and Spain. Hayward’s research interests include father involvement among families living in poverty, parental incarceration and its impact on families and children, and environmental and ecological justice. She is the principal investigator on a five-year evaluation of a federally funded fatherhood initiative, and recently served as a Fulbright Scholar to Jamaica where she studied environmental justice in the Caribbean.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to forge lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has enabled more than 390,000 dedicated and accomplished students, scholars, artists, teachers, and professionals of all backgrounds to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and find solutions to shared international concerns. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. 


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