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VOL. 45 | NO. 1 | Friday, January 1, 2021

ORNL patent holders honored by Battelle

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Six scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been recognized as Battelle Distinguished Inventors.

The award is for obtaining 14 or more patents during a career at ORNL. Since UT-Battelle began managing ORNL in 2000, 77 ORNL researchers have reached this milestone.

The honorees:

• Claus Daniel manages ORNL’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy and is a professor at the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education at the University of Tennessee. He is board president and co-founder of TennSMART, a public-private partnership focused on advancing intelligent mobility. His patents cover technologies related to materials science, applied energy systems, energy storage and carbon utilization. His work has been recognized with an R&D 100 Award and a Federal Laboratory Consortium, or FLC, award.

• Sergei Kalinin is an ORNL corporate fellow at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences and UT-ORNL Bredesen Center faculty member. Kalinin’s research is focused on applying machine learning and artificial intelligence in advanced microscopy for atomic fabrication and the discovery of new physics. His patents cover various aspects of scanning probe microscopy and ferroelectric materials applications. His work has been recognized with four R&D 100 Awards.

• Vilmos Kertesz is a staff scientist in the Biosciences Division. Kertesz’s research is focused on mass spectrometry-based chemical profiling and imaging techniques for the chemical characterization of surfaces and single cells. His patents cover technologies related to the development of advanced chemical analysis tools. His work has been recognized with five R&D 100 Awards and two FLC awards.

• Huimin Luo is a senior research scientist in the Manufacturing Science Division. Her research is focused on ionic liquids, organic synthesis, rare earth metals, fluorine chemistry and nuclear chemistry. Her patents cover technologies related to ionic liquid synthesis and applications, radioisotope separations, rare earth metal separations and ionic liquid-based lubricants. Her current work includes projects related to battery recycling, graphite synthesis in molten salts and melt-spinning of polyacrylonitrile carbon fiber. Her work has been recognized with an R&D 100 Award.

• Thomas Potok is section head for data and artificial intelligence systems research in the Computer Science and Mathematics Division. He holds a joint faculty appointment at Duke University and is co-founder of a joint venture startup commercializing his co-inventions with Knoxville-based Covenant Health. His patents cover technologies related to machine learning, deep learning, text analytics and neuromorphic computing. His work has been recognized with three R&D 100 Awards and an FLC award.

• Xiao-Guang Sun is a senior research scientist at the Chemical Sciences Division. His current research focuses on developing novel salts and organic and polymeric materials for energy storage devices. His patents are related to electrolytes and additives that can be used to tailor ion transport and formation of beneficial surface layers to extend battery life. His work has been recognized with two R&D 100 awards.

UT senior Campbell earns Marshall Scholar award

Elise “Josie” Campbell has been selected as a 2021 Marshall Scholar, the first University of Tennessee student to receive the award since 1983 and only the third since it was launched in 1953.

The scholarship is a prestigious designation awarded to no more than 50 U.S. students each year to pursue graduate studies in the United Kingdom.

Campbell is a senior in music with a minor in Africana studies. She says she intends to use the award to pursue a two-year master of music in cello performance at a London conservatory.

She has also been invited to intern with the famed Chineke! Foundation to support her music goals, which include performing with professional chamber music groups and leading a nonprofit organization focused on creating more opportunities for musicians and composers who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color by providing minority children from underprivileged communities with free music lessons, instruments and mentorship programs, and facilitating community performances.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to represent UT next fall as a Marshall Scholar. I am excited that this opportunity will allow me to be immersed in such a rich musical culture, while simultaneously working to diversify the classical music world,” says Campbell, a first-generation college student from Kennesaw, Georgia.

Campbell, a recipient of the School of Music’s Kline and Presser Scholarships, co-founded UT’s Black Musicians Alliance, which in February produced “Black & Boujee,” a concert celebrating Black students, musicians, performers and composers. She serves on the UT School of Music Diversity Task Force and the Dean of Libraries’ Student Advisory Committee. She has held leadership positions with UT’s Black Student Union and Women’s Coordinating Council.

OR Gastroenterology welcomes Wier

Katina Wier, FNP-C, has joined the medical team at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology Associates in the Covenant network.

Wier works closely with and supports our gastroenterologists, who have served our community for more than 35 years.

She is a certified family nurse practitioner with clinical interests in chronic disease management, colonoscopy screening evaluation and disease prevention.

Wier’s bachelor’s degree in nursing is from Bristol’s King University and her master’s degree is from Lincoln Memorial.

Oak Ridge Gastroenterology Associates is at 988 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Suite 200.

ORNL team works on SARS-CoV-2 project

A multiinstitutional team, led by a group of investigators at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been studying various SARS-CoV-2 protein targets, including the virus’s main protease.

This protein plays a key role in viral replication by snipping the virus’s newly made protein chain into smaller functional units that do the work to help it replicate.

The team was led by Ada Sedova, a biophysicist in the Molecular Biophysics Group within ORNL’s Biosciences Division; senior staff member Oscar Hernandez of ORNL’s Computer Science and Mathematics Division; computational scientists Josh Vermaas and Jens Glaser at the National Center for Computational Sciences, or NCCS; and David Rogers, NCCS performance engineer.

Now, the team has harnessed 27,612 of Summit’s NVIDIA V100 GPUs to simulate more than 1 billion compounds binding with two different structures of the main protease, with each billion-compound screening completed in less than 24 hours.

The feat has earned the team a finalist nomination for the Association of Computing Machinery, or ACM, Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing–Based COVID-19 Research, a special version of the ACM Gordon Bell Prize for outstanding achievements in high-performance computing to be presented at this year’s SC20 virtual conference.

The team – Sedova, Hernandez, Glaser, Vermaas and Rogers – worked with ORNL’s Swen Boehm, Matthew Baker and Mathialakan Thavappiragasam; NVIDIA’s Jeff Larkin and Scott LeGrand; Andreas Tillack of the Forli Lab Scripps Research; and Aaron Scheinberg of Jubilee Development to successfully scale AutoDock-GPU to Summit and carry out the massive screenings. The work was carried out using a portion of a special computational allocation awarded by the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium.

Oak Ridge High’s Jiang a ‘Scholar semifinalist’

Local high school senior Jina Jiang has been named a semifinalist for the 2021 class of the Coca Cola Scholars Program.

Jiang will now moving to the next round of the selection process to become a Coca-Cola Scholar and receive a $20,000 college scholarship.

A joint effort of Coca-Cola bottlers across the country and The Coca Cola Company, the Coca-Cola Scholars Program is the largest corporate-sponsored, achievement-based scholarship program in the United States.

With the addition of the 2021 class, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation will have provided more than 6,450 Coke Scholars nationwide with over $75 million in scholarships over the course of 33 years.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation celebrates and empowers visionary leaders who are refreshing the world.

With its 32nd class of Coca-Cola Scholars, the Foundation has provided more than $72 million in scholarships to over 6,300 program alumni who together have become a powerful force for positive change. Information

Maryville’s Huffstetler earns Build for Bees grant

Emily Huffstetler has received a $10,000 grant for Build for Bees, her nonprofit organization that aims to restore the mason bee population through education and workshops that teach others how to build their own mason bee houses, using recycled materials.

She is a freshman at Maryville College.

Huffstetler is one of 10 recipients of the Be More Fund, a new grant awarded by the National Society of High School Scholars co-founded by James Lewis and Claes Nobel, the senior member of the Nobel Prize family.

She initially was selected as one of 40 finalists for the grant, then she competed in a two-day competition called the Be-More-A-Thon to make it to the top 10.

The $10,000 grant was awarded nationally to 10 people who have “an established product, passion project, innovation or nonprofit that contributes to world betterment,” according to the NSHSS website.

Huffstetler, who is from Maryville, is triple majoring in writing communication, Spanish and design at Maryville College. In addition, she is a McGill Scholar and serves as the freshman class president.

Sykes wins early-career achievement award

Virginia Sykes, assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, has received the Inspiring Young Scientist Award from the Environmental Quality Section of the American Society of Agronomy.

The accolade recognizes member scientists for early-career achievement and excellence in environmental quality. The award is a highlight of Sykes’ early career work.

“I have been attending ASA conferences since I was a graduate student. I’m grateful to the teams I’ve worked with and the mentors that have helped me along the way. It really is such an honor to be selected.”

Sykes’ research is multidisciplinary, bringing together experts on diseases, insects, weeds, soils, economics and crops in an effort to build more sustainable agricultural systems.

Her current focus is on cover crops, plants grown offseason from corn and soybean cash crops.

Sykes holds a joint appointment in UT AgResearch and UT Extension. Regarding her role, she says, “Systems level research requires a team approach, but examining something from so many different angles can be complicated. Ultimately, it is about translating that research into workable solutions for producers.”

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