Emerging Researcher, Scholar, Creator Awardees Honored at Celebration of Achievements

Posted: November 3, 2011 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: November 16, 2011 at 9:17 am

By Lynn Burke

The Nov. 2 Celebration of Achievement in the Center for the Arts lobby was a testament to the amazing talent and diverse interests of Mason faculty and students. A highlight of the afternoon was the recognition of three of Mason’s most talented young faculty members with Emerging Researcher, Scholar, Creator awards.

The award and a $3,000 stipend go to faculty members who are within 10 years of receiving their terminal degree and have growing national and international acclaim. This year’s awardees are Peter Leeson, the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism; Qiliang Li, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Siddhartha Sikdar, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Peter Leeson. Photo courtesy of Peter Leeson

Peter Leeson, who joined Mason in 2007, focuses his current studies in law and economics primarily, but not exclusively, on medieval judicial practices in dispute resolution and the role of beliefs in sustaining systems of law and order, the informational properties of various judicial procedures and the efficiency properties of the property rights structure and legal arrangements. He also has tackled the subject of the law and economics of superstition across cultures and over time.

In addition, Leeson is able to communicate his ideas across disciplines and outside academia to a more general audience. His recent book, “The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates,” has earned him international fame as an economist of uncanny insight and awards from numerous academic societies and other media. The New York Times described him as “one of the most creative economists in the profession.”

Leeson received a BA summa cum laude from Hillsdale College and a PhD from Mason. He was a visiting fellow at Harvard University in 2004 and the F.A. Hayek fellow at the London School of Economics in 2005.

Qiliang Li. Photo by Evan Cantwell

Qiliang Li came to Mason in 2007 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where he was a research scientist. Since joining Mason, Li has established an experimental lab for research in nanoelectronics.

His research interests lie in microelectronics, with a focus on the emerging field of nanoelectronics. These efforts involve the development of electronic devices so small that their interatomic interactions and quantum-mechanical properties are significant and must be taken into account in their design. Li and his colleagues are also working on high-impact applications of these devices to computer memories, biomedicine and solar energy cells.

Li is the author or co-author of more than 50 technical papers, and he has two U.S. patents. He is reviewer for journals of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Physical Society and Institute of Physics.

Li received an MS from Nanjing University and a BS from Wuhan University. He also has a PhD in electrical and computer engineering from North Carolina State University. In addition, Li holds a Virginia Microelectronics Consortium professorship and received a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2009.

Siddhartha Sikdar. Photo by Evan Cantwell

Siddhartha Sikdar, a member of the bioengineering and electrical and computer engineering faculty, has since 2008 held an appointment at the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study. He also maintains an affiliation with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center.

Since coming to Mason, Sikdar has developed an outstanding research program that leverages his expertise in medical ultrasound technology and bioengineering. His research interests are in the development and clinical translation of new diagnostic ultrasound imaging techniques and applications, and the application of bioengineering concepts, tools and techniques for investigating the pathophysiology of soft tissue pain syndromes and understanding complex muscle disorders.

Sikdar has forged a number of external and internal collaborations, foremost among them a close and successful partnership with Lynn Gerber, director of the Center for the Study of Chronic Illness and Disability in the College of Health and Human Services. He is also working with other researchers at  Mason’s College of Science, the NIH Clinical Center, the University of Maryland Medical Center, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Baltimore and others.

He earned his bachelor of technology degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, and an MS and a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle. In 2010, Sikdar was recognized by the National Science Foundation with a CAREER award.


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