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Office of the Vice President for Research


The banner features, from left to right, Prakash Nagarkatti, Chuanbing Tang, Hans-Conrad zur Loye, Yiming Ji, Henry McMaster, Bert Ely, Dr. Carol Jantzen of the Savannah River National Laboratory, USC Provost Joan T.A. Gabel and USC President Harris Pastides.

USC Researchers Sweep 2016 Governor’s Awards for Science

Pictured from left to right are Prakash Nagarkatti, Chuanbing Tang, Hans-Conrad zur Loye, Yiming Ji, Henry McMaster, Bert Ely, Dr. Carol Jantzen of the Savannah River National Laboratory, USC Provost Joan T.A. Gabel and USC President Harris Pastides.


On Monday, April 25, Lt. Governor Henry McMaster presented four University of South Carolina faculty members with 2016 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Science. This individual recognition also translated into collective prestige as USC faculty swept each of the four Governor’s Awards categories.

Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Research 

Dr. Hans-Conrad zur Loye, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education and David W. Robinson Palmetto Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry received the Scientific Research prize on Monday.

Professor zur Loye has worked in USC’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry since 1996. Throughout his time here, he has garnered millions in research funding, published hundreds of journal articles and trained numerous undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Before receiving the 2016 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Research, Dr. zur Loye has garnered many honors and awards, including recognition as a AAAS fellow in 2009, American Chemical Society Fellow in 2011 and USC Trustee Professorship Awardee in 2012. Dr. zur Loye’s research interests include inorganic materials chemistry, synthesis of novel solid state materials and characterization of their physical properties, investigation of cooperative structure-property relationships, and crystal growth of complex oxides and investigation of their electronic and magnetic properties.

The fact that USC faculty received honors in all four Governor’s Award categories is a huge achievement for the entire USC System. It reinforces our standing as South Carolina’s premier research university, and gives our state a glimpse into the wonderful work that happens across the USC system every day. 

— Prakash Nagarkatti

Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Awareness

Dr. Bert Ely, Professor of Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences and Director of the Center for Science Education received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Awareness at Monday’s ceremony. 

Dr. Ely has been a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at USC since 1973, teaching undergraduate courses every semester and providing research opportunities in his laboratory for more than 200 undergraduates and 30 graduate students. In particular, he has been a champion of minority graduate students and eight minority students from his laboratory have earned their Ph.D. degrees in the past eight years. Many of these former students now teach at colleges and universities across the nation. He also cofounded a science club with an Eau Claire High School Biology teacher in 2006 that provided the opportunity for more than 30 ECHS students to participate in a research project in Dr. Ely’s laboratory over the course of six years. He has been an author of more than 100 research papers in the areas of bacterial, fish and human genetics.

Governor’s Young Scientist Award for Excellence in Scientific Research

Dr. Chuanbing Tang, Associate Professor of Chemistry and College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry received the Young Scientist Award for 2016.

Over the six years since Dr. Tang joined the USC faculty, he has trained 16 graduate students, 18 undergraduate students, a dozen postdoctoral scholars and a number of high school students. He has authored or co-authored about 90 refereed journal articles while securing nearly $5 million in external research funding. His research encompasses  sustainable  polymers  from  biomass,  metal-containing  polymers  and  polymers  for biomedical  applications. As a young investigator, professor Tang has played a strong role in contributing to the economy of South Carolina and the nation, as his research makes specialty chemicals and practical materials. His 10 patent applications (with 5 of them already granted) are a strong testimony of his impact now and in the future. His research projects have addressed pressing global  problems such as sustainability and antibiotic resistance, and have garnered widespread attention from the national and international research community.

Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Research at a Predominately Undergraduate Institution

Dr. Yiming Ji, Professor of Computational Science in the Department of Mathematics and Computational Science at USC Beaufort took the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Research at a Predominately Undergraduate Institution home to the Lowcountry on Monday.

Dr. Ji was one of the first professors to be honored with a Breakthrough Star award in 2010, and his star has continued to rise ever since. He has consistently received external research funding awards from the National Science Foundation since 2009, including NSF EPSCOR RII awards that are designed to help build collaborative research teams working on key NSF areas of focus. Dr. Ji’s primary research interests include wireless communication networks, data analysis, image processing and scientific computations, many of which impact the daily lives of nearly every American.

Prakash Nagarkatti, USC’s Vice President for Research praised all four of the 2016 Governor’s Award recipients. “I am so pleased to congratulate Professors zur Loye, Ely, Tang and Ji for the major accomplishment this represents for each of them. Each one of these scientists continues to make major contributions to his respective field, provides top-quality educational opportunities for his students and reflects the excellence that abounds here at the University of South Carolina. The fact that USC faculty received honors in all four Governor’s Award categories is a huge achievement for the entire USC System. It reinforces our standing as South Carolina’s premier research university, and gives our state a glimpse into the wonderful work that happens across the USC system every day.”

26 April 2016