Ploski, Balsara Chosen for Research Mentoring Awards
Dr. Jonathan Ploski, an assistant professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, receives the 2017 Provost's Award for Faculty Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring from Interim Provost Dr. Inga Musselman at the May 10 Honors Convocation.
Dr. Poras T. Balsara, professor of electrical engineering and associate dean for academic affairs in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, and Dr. Jonathan Ploski, an assistant professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, were recently honored with 2017 Provost's Awards for Faculty Excellence in Research Mentoring.
The awards recognize faculty members who guide and support UT Dallas students in their research endeavors. The undergraduate honor has existed since 2013; the graduate award is new this year.
“Jonathan Ploski and Poras T. Balsara lead by example, by engaging and encouraging students to actively participate in research, and by providing them with personalized attention and guidance,” said Dr. Inga Musselman, interim provost. “The commitment of our faculty to mentoring and preparing the next generation of critical thinkers is one of UT Dallas’ key strengths.”
Ploski, the undergraduate research mentoring award recipient, joined the UT Dallas faculty in 2010. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate classes in areas of neuroscience, genetics, behavior and bioengineering.
Ploski’s research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of learning and memory, with an emphasis on memory modification and its potential for treating emotional disorders. His work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
Undergraduates in Ploski’s laboratory learn and eventually perform a variety of sophisticated techniques that span molecular biology and animal behavior. He said the participation of undergraduates in research increases his lab’s productivity and prepares them for graduate and professional school or research positions in academia and industry.
“For most undergraduates who begin working in a research laboratory, it can be at first an intimidating experience as they quickly realize the complexity of the research and all of its moving parts,” Ploski said. “What I enjoy most about working with them is witnessing the sense of pride and confidence they feel when they accomplish more than they ever thought was possible.”
Dr. Poras T. Balsara receives the 2017 Provost's Award for Faculty Excellence in Graduate Research Mentoring from Dr. Inga Musselman, interim provost, at the Hooding Ceremony.
Balsara, the recipient of the new graduate research mentoring award, arrived at UT Dallas in 1989. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and has received several awards from UT Dallas, including the Jonsson School award for Best Teacher in Electrical Engineering. He also has been recognized by the Jonsson School for outstanding service and exemplary contributions to PhD education and research.
From 2002 to 2013, Balsara served as the associate department head for graduate studies. His research interests include VLSI design, power electronics, design of energy-efficient circuits and systems and digitally assisted mixed-signal design. He has published journal and conference publications, holds patents and has co-authored a book with a student that was translated into Japanese.
“When I joined UT Dallas in 1989, it already had some of the best colleagues that one would ask for. However, we were not known outside the Dallas area,” Balsara said. “Now, because of our students’ success beyond the local area, we are recognized at national and global levels.
"My students constantly inspire me to become a better teacher and mentor; they may not be aware that I learn as much from them as they learn from me.They enable me to explore somewhat ill-defined or at times ‘weird’ ideas and bring them to fruition. I dedicate this award to all of them.”
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