College of Science

College of Science names inaugural Dean’s Professorship Award recipients


The Clemson University College of Science has recognized six faculty members as the inaugural recipients of its Dean’s Professorship Award.

Professors Jeff Anker and Margaret Wiecek received Dean’s Distinguished Professor Awards. Feng Ding and Chris McMahan received Dean’s Associate Professorship Awards. Xian Lu and Matt Koski received Dean’s Assistant Professorship Awards.

The two-year awards, which are supported through unrestricted gifts to the College of Science, recognize faculty for research programs that increase the national and international prominence of Clemson University, mentorship of undergraduates and graduate students, and significant extramural research funding from government and industrial sources.

“As we continue advancing science at Clemson, the primary accelerator is top faculty talent. Endowed professorships and state-of-the-art facilities help us recruit and retain the very best,”  said College of Science Dean Cynthia Y. Young. “I am so thankful to the Clemson Family that has wrapped its arms around science and is supporting us through new endowed faculty positions and unrestricted giving. The Dean’s Professorship Awards and the Dean’s Teaching Fellows enable us to recognize some of our most talented scholars and teachers as we continue building additional endowed faculty positions through the generocity of our Clemson Family.”

Jeff Anker

Jeff Anker

Anker’s research epitomizes translational science. The chemistry professor focuses on bioanalytical chemistry, particularly the use of optical spectroscopy and implanted devices to monitor chemical and biophysical processes within the body. He has a history of forming teams to develop innovative ideas at the boundaries between disciplines that include chemistry, bioengineering, microbiology and medicine. Anker was a Clemson Unversity School of Health Research Faculty Fellow. CUSHR Faculty Fellows are embedded into a department at Prisma Health for a semester and summer to produce health-related research.

Anker is a senior member of the National Academy of Inventors. He is first inventor on three patents that were licened.He is the founder and CEO of Aravis BioTech LLC, which works to commercialize intellectual property from his lab. 

He has received  over $4.8 million in grant funding  in the past 10 years, mostly from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health. 

Anker has had 24 papers published that have 50 or more citations. In addition, he has advised five doctoral graduates and five postdoctoral researchers. He was the adviser for the winning student team in the 2020 Clemson University Creative Inquiry COVID challenge that had 86 teams entered. His 2021 team finished second.

Margaret Wiecek

Margaret Wiecek
Margaret Wiecek

A Clemson faculty member since 1988, Wiecek researches theory, methodology and applications of mathematical programming with a particular interest in multi-criteria optimization and decision making.  Much of her work has been funded through the Department of Defense. She is one of 65 Clemson faculty members involved in an $18 million research partnership with the U.S. Army housed at the Clemson University International Centerfor  Automotive Research to develop the next generation of autonomous vehicle tools and prototyping.

She received a 2019 Multiple Criteria Decision Making Gold Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the International Society on Multiple Criteria Decision Making. She has been president of the MCDM section of the U.S.-based Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Wiecek has had more than 140 publications from her Clemson work. She has also advised 13 doctoral and 44 master’s graduates.

Feng Ding

Feng Ding headshot
Feng Ding

Ding’s research focuses on computational biophysics, especially amyloid aggregation associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Ding joined Clemson’s Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2012.

Ding has published more than 145 papers since he earned his doctorate in 2004 and has an h-index of 53. An h-index measures a scientist’s scholarly impact.

He is the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on six active grants funded by the NSF and NIH, including a 2016 National Science Foundation CAREER Award.

Ding has advised four doctoral graduates and five postdoctoral researchers. He currently advises four doctoral students. 

Chris McMahan

Chris McMahan

McMahan’s research focuses on statistics, including applications in genetics, engineering, agriculture and epidemiology. He has twice won the American Statistical Association’s Outstanding Application Award.

McMahan has published over 60 papers since 2012. He has published with more than 120 collaborators from across the globe.

McMahan has received research funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research.

He has advised seven doctoral and eight master’s graduates. He currently advises five doctoral students.

Xian Lu

Xian Lu
Xian Lu

Lu studies space physics, especially the relation of space weather to solar and terrestrial weather. Lu received an NSF Early Faculty Career Development Award in 2018. During the past  five years, she was principal investigator or a co-principal investigator on 10 grants which received about $5 million in total funding.

Lu has published 21 papers and given 15 invited talks during the past five years. She has advised three postdoctoral researchers, five graduate students and 10 undergraduate students.

She is a National Center for Atmospheric Research Faculty Award recipient. One of her graduate students received the NCAR Newkirk Fellowship.

Matthew Koski

Koski’s research focuses on floral diversification, especially in response to climate change.

Portrait of Matthew Koski
Matt Koski

He has published 13 papers since he joined Clemson in 2019. Science Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine and NPR’s Climate Cast have highlighted his research. He won a single principal investigator grant from NSF during his first year as a faculty member.

Koski is advising one doctoral student, an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship winner.

Each department chair and school director was able to nominate up to five faculty members for the Dean’s Professorship Awards. A screening committee evaluated the applications and made final recommendations to the dean.

Associate Dean Stephen Creager chaired the selection committee. Other committee members were Center for Human Genetics Director Trudy Mackay, Associate Dean Calvin Williams,  College of Science Director of Faculty Excellence Initiatives Robert Anholt, College of Science Lead Faculty Senator Hugo Sanabria and Alumni Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences Lesly Temesvari.

Faculty accomplishments

“The review committee was blown away by our faculty’s accomplishments in research and discovery, which included hundreds of high-impact papers, millions of dollars in research funding, and thousands of students mentored. Our faculty are making a huge difference in people’s lives both within Clemson and around the world,” Creager said.

The newly named Dean’s Professors join 14 other faculty members in the College of Science who hold named or endowed faculty positions.

Endowed Chairs

  • Trudy Mackay, Self Family Endowed Chair in Human Genetics
  • Ya-Ping Sun, Frank Henry Leslie Chair of Natural and Physical Sciences

Endowed Professors

  • Emil Alexov, Wallace R. Roy Distinguished Professor of Physics
  • Dev Arya, Wallace R. Roy Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
  • Joe Kollis, Tobey-Beaudrot Professor of Chemistry
  • Ken Marcus, Robert Adger Bowen Professor of Chemistry
  • Apparao Rao, Robert Adger Bowen Professor of Physics

Named Professors

  • Robert Anholt, Provost’s Distinguished Professor of Genetics and Biochemistry
  • Murray Daw, Science Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Physics

Alumni Distinguished Professors

  • Richard “Rick” Blob, Alumni Professor of Biological Sciences
  • William “Billy” Bridges, Alumni Professor of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
  • Julia Frugoli, Alumni Professor of Genetics
  • William “Bill” Pennington, Alumni Professor of Chemistry
  • Lesly Temesvari, Alumni Professor of Biological Sciences

This summer, alumna Emily Wallace gave $1.25 million to establish the Emily Peek Wallace ’72 Endowed Directorship for the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, the first endowed faculty position in the school. In addition, the College of Science is currently recruiting the Dr. Waenard L. Miller, Jr. ’69 and Sheila M. Miller Chair of Medical Physics.

The College of Science has also launched the Dean’s Distinguished Lecturers program to recognize outstanding teaching-focused faculty who demonstrate significant positive impact on student learning. The winners will be announced in the spring.

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