Congratulations to our 2023 Research Excellence Awards winners, Dr. Christian Moraru and Dr. Louis-Marie Bobay.
While many distinguished scholars are known as highly specialized experts in one field, English professor Christian Moraru receives the Senior Research Excellence Award for his mastery of several areas.
Known internationally as one of – and sometimes “the” – expert in post-WWII American fiction and postmodernism and considered one of the most significant 21st-century scholars of world literature, the Class of 1949 Distinguished Professor in the Humanities is also lauded for his diverse and deeply nuanced, polymathic forays into contemporary literary theory.
Moraru’s impact includes the coining of several terms that have been adopted by scholars in his milieu, including “cosmodernism,” which brings together cosmopolitanism and modernism; “geomethodology,” which reexamines how we critique world literature in the contexts of globalization and cosmopolitanism; and “sobjects,” which references the leveling of people, or subjects, and objects in our current cultural moment.
With 8 monographs, 8 edited essay collections, over 300 hundred articles and book chapters, over 400 reviews, over 100 invited talks to his name, he has been published – in multiple languages – in leading journals in his fields and with prestigious academic presses. He has also held a Fulbright and multiple Alexander von Humboldt Fellowships and is currently supervising a $2M European Research Council Grant.
In addition to sustaining a formidably high rate of scholarly productivity across his 25 years at UNCG, Moraru is a much sought-after mentor who has supervised a large number of graduate students. In just the past six years, four of his advisees have published their revised manuscript dissertations as books with Oxford, Palgrave-MacMillan, and other top scholarly presses.
Assistant professor of biology Louis-Marie Bobay receives the Early Career Research Excellence Award for his scholarship on the evolution of microbial genomes and populations.
Dr. Bobay is an international leader in the area of genome evolution and is specifically known for his reconceptualization of how species are distinguished among bacteria, with impacts on our understanding of all cellular life and viruses.
Using cutting-edge computational approaches, Bobay has explored how bacteria acquire and exchange genes, how that has positively impacted bacterial fitness, and how to use knowledge of genetic material exchange to differentiate between bacterial species. He is among the first researchers to quantify genome-wide recombination rates across diverse bacteria.
Bobay – whose work requires expertise in bioinformatics, computer programming, statistical analysis, and interpreting highly complicated results processed on high performance computing clusters – joined the biology department at UNCG five years ago and also holds adjunct positions in the departments of computer science and nanoscience.
Since joining UNCG, he has brought in over $2M in research funding, and his early career funding successes include serving as PI on a $1.5M NIH grant and a co-PI on a $2M NSF grant.
Despite setting high standards for excellence in his lab, Bobay is known among his graduate and postdoctoral students for his patience and humility and for creating a relaxed atmosphere of mutual respect, support, and collaboration. He has mentored nine graduate students, three postdocs, and four undergraduate researchers.
Bobay has a high publication rate for his field, often producing three to five publications in a year. Over 11 years, he has published 28 articles, with his research appearing in leading journals such as Genome Biology, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and PLoS Genetics.
He has also released three widely-used computational algorithms and co-authored the French book “L’évolution…C’est tout simple!” for the general public.