“Strong Alone. Unstoppable Together.” It’s not just a Nike brand, it’s the work ethic that inspires the team at the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech.

Our commitment to teamwork means every member of the institute plays an essential role in our success. It’s also the reason we take time each year to recognize individuals who go above and beyond to advance the institute’s broader mission; Answering challenges to human health, habitat and well-being. Accordingly, our community regularly nominates two team members to receive a very special set of honors: the Research Excellence Award and the Mission, Values and Vision Award (MVV.)

Dr. Anil Vullikanti is the 2017 winner of the Research Excellence Award. He is an Associate Professor within the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory at the institute.

chris barrett, anil villukanti, and charles steger

NDSSL Director Madhav Marathe states, “Anil is actually PI slash co-PI on multiple projects, but he also works on projects that others lead. This particular institute values team science. Anil is a team player. He will work on any problem that you ask him to work on.”

In fact, when learning he won the award, Vullikanti simply stated, “This really should be a team award.”

Contributions cited for his nomination include:

  • Dr. Vullikanti’s work in such highly competitive journals as Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and IEEE.
  • His best paper nomination at the 2016 Supercomputing Conference.
  • His strengths as a mentor, with several students moving on to successful careers at high-profile companies such as Microsoft, Bloomberg and Amazon.

The MVV Award focuses on individuals or teams who make exceptional contributions to the mission, values and vision of the institute.

The 2017 MVV Award winner is Maureen Lawrence-Kuether. She is the Program Coordinator for the institute’s Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory.

maureen laurence-kuether and chris barrett

“Working with NDSSL and as the institute grows into this more computational approach, it’s a pretty exciting place to be right now. I plan to utilize skills the I’m currently learning through my master’s degree to help step us up to an even higher level,” says Lawrence-Kuether.

“She really embodies all the things the award called out for.  The award highlights the contributions of a team member who exemplifies the mission, the values and the vision of the Biocomplexity Institute. She has an exceptional service record. She’s a real team player. She wants to make a difference to the team, the lab and to the institute,” says Marathe.

Multiple people nominated Maureen for the award, highlighting a number of her contributions, including:

  • Success in improving the proposal submission process.
  • Her efforts to identify new sponsored project opportunities.
  • Her ability to collaborate with teams throughout the institute and accept challenges head-on while producing quality work.

“We, all together and each of us, can achieve great success at this institute," says Dr. Chris Barrett, executive director of the Biocomplexity Institute.  "Anil Vullikanti and Maureen Lawrence-Kuether each exhibit both the individual initiative and talent necessary to succeed and the dedication to the collaborative value that their contributions produce. I am proud for them of their achievements, and we're all happy they're here with us.” 

This year's awards ceremony concluded with the presentation of a newly mounted portrait of Virginia Tech President Emeritus Charles Steger. The Biocomplexity Institute's campus headquarters was recently re-named in honor of Steger, recognizing his years of professional service as a major proponent of institutional research.

charles steger is presented with a new portrait

Leaders like Charles Steger, Anil Vullikanti, and Lawrence-Kuether will make the success of Biocomplexity Institute certain as it looks forward to solving future challenges to our health, habitat and well-being.

Published by Becky Freemal, May 01, 2017
Tags: Awards and Honors