Finance Professors, Biomedical Engineering Student Win Honors

Accolades is an occasional News Center feature that highlights recent accomplishments of The University of Texas at Dallas faculty and students. To submit items for consideration, contact your school’s communication manager. 

Jindal School Educators Receive Crowell Prizes

Dr. Jun Li (left) and Dr. Umit Gurun earned recognition for their research.

Two faculty members from finance and managerial economics in the Naveen Jindal School of Management have been recognized for their research with the annual Dr. Richard A. Crowell Prize.

Sponsored by PanAgora Asset Management, the annual contest celebrates new and cutting-edge academic research that connects theory and practice in the field of quantitative investing.

Dr. Umit Gurun, Ashbel Smith Professor of accounting, and co-authors were awarded first prize for their paper, “IQ from IP: Simplifying Search in Portfolio Choice.” 

By using the Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval) system, a free public database, the researchers examined the monitoring behavior of individual institutional investors at investment management companies between 2004 and 2015. The researchers specifically looked at insider-trading filings and found that the fund managers tended to track specific firms and top management of companies — CEOs, chief financial officers and board chairs. When the firm bought after a tracked insider did so, the stock outperformed the firms’ other purchases.

Other authors were Dr. Huaizhi Chen of the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Lauren Cohen and Dr. Christopher Malloy of Harvard Business School, and Dr. Dong Lou of the London School of Economics. The study is forthcoming in the Journal of Financial Economics.

Dr. Jun Li, an associate professor, and co-author, Dr. Huijun Wang, now at the University of Melbourne, earned the third-place prize for their paper, “The Expected Investment Growth Premium.” The study focused on planned investments of firms and how they affect their risk premiums. Unlike a negative relation between past investments and future stock returns that has been well established in the finance literature, the researchers found firms with larger planned investments have better future stock performances.

Li earned a Crowell second-place prize in 2015 and third place in 2011 for previous research.

Jonsson School Student Takes 2 Awards at Thesis Competition

Kara Peak

Kara Peak, a biomedical engineering doctoral student in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, won two out of three awards at the DFW regional Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition in June at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

The competition, developed by the University of Queensland in Australia, recognizes students who can effectively explain their research in three minutes for a nonspecialist audience. Peak won both first place and the People’s Choice honor at the competition, which came with cash prizes.

She explained her research on developmental tissue engineering with Dr. Victor Varner, assistant professor of bioengineering. Peak studied the biochemical signal fibroblast growth factor 10 along with biomechanical forces to determine how embryonic tissues develop naturally. Her goal is to help reduce mortality by removing or improving tissues in the body and creating an engineered organ rather than waiting for a donated organ.

“I’m a very wordy person. I had to focus on the story I wanted to tell. I wrote out why the research is important, what tissue engineering research looks like, how mine is different and the implications of it all. I definitely had to whittle a lot down,” Peak said.

Peak is working on her doctoral proposal this fall and hopes to eventually get a research position in either academia or industry.

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