Uwe Thumm, professor of physics, and Kun Yan Zhu, professor of entomology, were recognized as Distinguished Graduate Faculty members during the Fall 2014 Graduate School commencement ceremony. The award honors faculty members who are recognized nationally and internationally for their excellence in scholarship, research, and teaching at the graduate level.
Thumm works in the area of theoretical atomic physics. Thumm’s current focus is in a new area of research called autosecond physics that involves using laser systems and theoretical modeling for studying electronic motion and the formation of chemical bonds. In addition to its contributions to scientific knowledge, it is anticipated that autosecond physics could have applications to everyday issues such as health care, energy, and security.
Zhu’s research in insect molecular toxicology includes studying insect resistance to chemical insectisides. Zhu’s work focuses on the synthesis of chitin, which is a vital component of arthopod exoskeletons. By gaining an understanding of chitin synthesis, Zhu’s lab also gains an understanding of how insecticides can be developed that disrupt chitin synthesis. Zhu’s laboratory initiated the discovory of acetylcholinesterase paralogous gene and insectiside-resistant mutations associated with it.