A UCF physics professor and a UCF optics and photonics alumnus are among 15 honorees selected for induction to the Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine of Florida (ASEMFL), a group that brings together the nation’s most distinguished scholars who live and work in Florida.
Talat S. Rahman, Pegasus Professor of Physics and distinguished professor in the UCF’s College of Science, and Jason M. Eichenholz ’95 ’98PhD, co-founder and chief technology officer, Luminar Technologies and courtesy faculty member in CREOL, the UCF College of Optics and Photonics are the latest Knights to join the prestigious organization. Along with Rahman, Eichenholz and 13 other researchers throughout the state, now bring the ASEMFL membership to 230.
Housed at UCF, ASEMFL is a not-for-profit organization of top scholars and researchers from universities, public agencies and industries statewide who study issues in science, engineering and medicine that impact the people of Florida and provide unbiased, expert advice related to these issues.
An induction ceremony for this year’s honorees will be held Friday, Nov. 3 during ASEMFL’s annual meeting at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management inOrlando.
Rahman is a prolific researcher in physics, with multidisciplinary research interests in computational design of functional nanomaterials through microscopic understanding of their physical and chemical properties. As chair of the UCF Department of Physics, Rahman has led the effort to transform undergraduate instruction through evidence-based, active learning strategies. She is active with the PhysTEC and the Bridge Program of the American Physical Society to prepare physics students for careers in teaching, and to diversify the population of physics graduate students. She received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Rochester. ASEMFL selected Rahman “for outstanding contributions that unveil novel properties of low-dimensional materials and for efforts in enhancing diversity in STEM.”
Eichenholz leads Luminar Technologies’ efforts to advance lidar technology in driverless vehicles. A pioneer in laser- and optics-enabled innovation, product development and commercialization, Eichenholz holds more than 60 U.S. patents and is a fellow of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and a fellow of the national optics society Optica.
He is actively involved at UCF, serving as a courtesy faculty member of CREOL, the College of Optics and Photonics; and as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Boards of CREOL and the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science. He recruits UCF students and graduates for internships and careers at Luminar Technologies. He holds UCF master’s and doctoral degrees in optics and photonics. ASEMFL selected Eichenholz “for pioneering contributions to the development and commercialization of lidar, with emphasis on autonomous vehicle applications, and to methods of Open Innovation in photonics.”
Members of the National Academies — National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine – who live or work in Florida have automatic ASEMFL membership. National Academy membership is considered the highest career distinction in the United States in each academy discipline. UCF has eight National Academy members who are faculty members.
New members elected to ASEMFL, including Rahman and Eichenholz, are regarded as having potential to become National Academy members. ASEMFL membership serves as a step toward the national distinction.
ASEMFL’s nine-month election process begins in August each year and ends the following April.
ASEMFL’s 2023 New Member Inductees and Their Citations:
Cammy R. Abernathy, William H. Wadsworth director of Engineering Leadership Institute and professor, materials science and engineering, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, University of Florida.
Citation: For creative research advances in thin film electronic materials and for broad impact in engineering education and engineering diversity.
Norma A. Alcantar, professor and associate dean for Research, College of Engineering, University of South Florida.
Citation: For outstanding contributions in providing drinking water for low-income communities and contributions to disrupting amyloid fibril formation in Alzheimer’s research.
Mark A. Atkinson, director and Jeffrey Keene Family Professor, UF Diabetes Institute, University of Florida.
Citation: For global impact on care and health of patients suffering from diabetes through translational research andleadership in the field.
Robert H. Bishop, dean and distinguished university professor, College of Engineering, University of South Florida.
Citation: For exceptional contributions to the U.S. space program and for enduring global impact in engineering education.
Jason M. Eichenholz ’95 ’98PhD, co-founder, Luminar Technologies, and courtesy faculty member, College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida.
Citation: For pioneering contributions to the development and commercialization of lidar, with emphasis on autonomous vehicle applications, and to methods of Open Innovation in photonics.
Alessia Fornoni, Katz Professor of Medicine and chief, Katz Family Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami. Citation: For discovery of renal fat as a key contributor to chronic kidney disease (CKD) and clinical development of drugs to halt CKD.
Girardin Jean-Louis, distinguished university professor, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami.
Citation: For being arguably the premier researcher unraveling the mechanisms of race-based health disparities in sleep disorders, and in designing effective interventions to address this issue.
Pamela Keel, distinguished research professor, Department of Psychology, Florida State University.
Citation: For identifying and characterizing purging disorder and advancing research in epidemiology, etiology, and treatment of an illness impacting 1 in 50 women worldwide.
Xue Z. Liu, vice chair, Department of Otolaryngology, and professor of otolaryngology, human genetics, biochemistry and pediatrics, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami.
Citation: For being a leading surgeon-scientist with known translational research in ENT disorders and in training physician-scientists.
Dwayne McCay, president emeritus, Florida Institute of Technology.
Citation: For being the technical lead for Space Shuttle Propulsion Systems and designing the first laser-propelled rocket, process improvement for laser welding systems, and discovery of solute-driven Benard cells.
Subhra Mohapatra, university professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida.
Citation: For pioneering developments in cellular and molecular engineering systems and nanoscale technologies, especially for advancing detection and treatment of human diseases.
William Pelham, distinguished university professor of psychology and psychiatry, and Director, Center for Children and Families, Florida International University.
Citation: For seminal contributions to the understanding and treatment of children’s mental health challenges that are improving lives worldwide.
Talat S. Rahman, Pegasus Professor and distinguished professor, Department of Physics, University of Central Florida.
Citation: For outstanding contributions that unveil novel properties of low-dimensional materials and for efforts in enhancing diversity in STEM.
Theo M. Siegrist, Professor, Florida A&M-Florida State University College of Engineering.
Citation: For research into novel materials that focuses on the structural-property relationships at the core of their exceptional properties.
Robert H. Weisberg, distinguished university professor emeritus, College of Marine Science, University of South Florida.
Citation: For pioneering work advancing understanding of tropical and ocean current phenomena, contributing to mitigation of hurricanes and harmful algal blooms.
More information is available at ASEMFL.org.