Monfort Professor Award Recipients Announced; Award is One of Colorado State’s Top Honors

Colorado State University today announced Rajiv Khosla, associate professor of agricultural science; Venkatesan (Mani) Manivannan, associate professor of engineering; Frank Dinenno, associate professor of health and exercise science; and Jacob Roberts, assistant professor of physics, as recipients of the prestigious Monfort Professor Award, one of the university’s top honors.

Each will receive $75,000 annually for two years to support innovative teaching and research. The awards, established through a gift from the Monfort Family Foundation, are in addition to salary and support the professors currently receive from Colorado State.

In May 2008, Colorado State announced a $3.1 million gift from the Monfort Family Foundation to extend its renowned Monfort Excellence Fund. As part of that gift, the Monfort Professors program helps recruit and retain top-quality faculty at the university.

"We’re grateful to the Monfort Family for the very generous support they continue to show for our faculty, students, and university community," said CSU Interim President Tony Frank. "Their support allows our top faculty to continue their very important and groundbreaking research, provide our students with opportunities to work alongside experts and ultimately provide an even greater level of service to the people of Colorado and beyond."

Selection of the Monfort Professors comes from an in-depth selection process that includes nominations from all eight colleges at Colorado State.

"The recipients embody the excellence of Colorado State’s faculty," said CSU Interim Provost Rick Miranda. "The selection process is extremely rigorous and rewards faculty members who are making a difference not just at the university but around the world."

Khosla has been an associate professor of Agricultural Science since 1999, after attaining his doctorate from Virginia Tech. He has developed two undergraduate and one graduate course, and put together a new degree concentration called Applied Information Technology in Agriculture. His precision agriculture outreach program has been adopted in Colorado and throughout the United States, and has reduced nitrogen in soils by 8 percent to 22 percent without impacting crop yield. This program, which uses satellite technology to monitor agricultural fields, will have dramatic long-term benefits to water systems throughout the nation and world. Khosla has presented his research in numerous countries including Argentina, Canada, Mexico and his native India.

Manivannan has been an associate professor of Engineering at Colorado State since his 2006 arrival from the General Electric Global Research Center in New York, where he began working as a research scientist in 2001. A native of India, he earned his doctorate degree from the Indian Institute of Science and worked at University of Caen in France, the University of Texas and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Maryland. Manivannan’s work in energy materials research, thin film solar cells, solid oxide fuel cells, superconductivity and lithium-ion batteries has won national and international acclaim. At Colorado State, he teaches courses in material engineering and renewable energy, and he has developed programs to enhance educational opportunities for international students.

Dinenno has been an associate professor of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State since 2004. Before his arrival, he did four years of postdoctoral research in anesthesia at the Mayo Clinic. At Colorado State, he has developed two doctorate courses in Health and Exercise Science, serves as director of the Undergraduate Honors Program for HES and is the editor of the Journal of Physiology. His groundbreaking research in skeletal muscular blood flow is unlocking the secrets of how advancing age impacts blood flow and oxygen delivery.

Roberts has been an assistant professor of physics since 2003. He earned his doctorate from the University of Colorado, where he worked with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning team of Carl Weiman and Eric Cornell. His research in atomic gas Bose-Einstein condensates, which analyzes atoms and how they react in extremely cold temperatures, is recognized as some of the most important work being done in this field. In November 2007, Roberts and Amy Pruden-Bagchi, assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, were honored by former President George W. Bush with the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, which recognizes outstanding scientists who show exceptional potential for leadership in research. Developed by the National Science Foundation, the award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.

The university’s previous Monfort Professors include Randy Bartels, Department of Electrical Engineering; David Thompson, Department of Atmospheric Science; N. LeRoy Poff, Department of Biology; Tomislav Rovis, Department of Chemistry; Karolin Luger, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Ranil Wickramasinghe, Department of Chemical Engineering; John Belisle, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology; Kathleen Pickering, Department of Anthropology; A. Scott Denning, Department of Atmospheric Science; and Yian Shi, Department of Chemistry.