This award is given to recent Ph.D.s for outstanding research at the university or immediately after graduating. It is named for the late Robert C. Anderson, who served as UGA’s vice president for research and president of the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.
Daniel Becker, a recent doctoral graduate in ecology, is recognized for his explorations of food subsidies and infectious disease both broadly and in vampire bats. In Latin America, vampire bat populations have expanded during recent decades in response to the proliferation of livestock, which are a readily available food source for these blood-feeding animals. For his thesis research, he traveled to Belize and Peru to capture bats, and in the laboratory, he compared how the animals’ diet, immune measures, movement, and infection by bacterial and viral pathogens differed in areas with high versus low livestock abundance. He found that some pathogens have taken advantage of higher bat density and contact rates in livestock-provisioned areas. He has published 14 manuscripts since 2014, serving as first author for nine, and he has 10 more papers in review or ready to submit. He is now a postdoctoral researcher at Montana State University.
Bertranna Muruthi is a doctoral graduate of the Marriage and Family Therapy program in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences. Central to her research is the analysis of factors related to risk and resilience for immigrant families. She is developing interventions to advance the well-being of immigrant families in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Muruthi uses culturally responsive methods to examine the family as the unit of analysis within the context of communities and the organizations that serve them. She has provided vital knowledge on black immigrant mother-daughter communications about substance abuse and risky sexual behaviors at a time when black women remain one of the most vulnerable populations in the U.S. With a steady stream of external funding and 13 publications in peer-reviewed journals, she is on her way to becoming a powerhouse in the field of family sciences. She is an assistant professor at Virginia Tech.
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