Seven UConn professors recognized as Fulbright Scholars

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The University of Connecticut had seven members of faculty recognized as Fulbright Scholars, each of whom are given the opportunity to teach and perform research abroad.  

The Fulbright Program is the federal government’s flagship international educational exchange program, according to UConn Today. UConn is ranked ninth nationally as a top producer of Fulbright U.S. Scholars.  

Michael Lynes, department head and professor of molecular and cell biology, plans to conduct research on strengthening connections between computability theory and combinatorics.  

“I am simultaneously excited and humbled,” Lynes said. “I know that this is a wonderful opportunity to extend my interactions with other scientists outside my usual sphere, and to live in a culture different from our Storrs community.”  

Lynes said he plans to look at the role of Metallithionein (MT), an unusual stress response protein, in the progression of chronic inflammations such as Type 1 Diabetes and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  

“We have developed a therapeutic antibody that acts as an effective treatment in mouse models of those two diseases and are working with Biohaven Pharmaceuticals to develop a human version of that therapeutic antibody,” Lynes said. “I also hope to enrich the opportunities for students and postdoctoral fellows from the University of Bergen to connect with us here at UConn and to enable UConn students to connect with scientists at the University of Bergen.”  

Steven Wilf, professor of global commerce at UConn Law, dedicates his award to the intersection of technology and policy. Wilf’s work will focus on recent international legislation that would apply overarching trade secret laws to their respective states and member countries.  

“I am simultaneously excited and humbled. I know that this is a wonderful opportunity to extend my interactions with other scientists outside my usual sphere, and to live in a culture different from our storrs community.”

Department Head and Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology Michael Lynes

“Trade secret is a very important part of intellectual property law that is increasingly salient for the functioning of the global economy,” Wilf said. “My goal is to research how these new laws are working on the ground in order to build bridges between the U.S. and European governance of technological and business information.”  

Wilf said students interested in Fulbright should note the importance of travel abroad, extensive reading in global history and serious language study.  

“My Fulbright is actually a pan-European grant. Strasbourg has one of the two major intellectual property centers in the world,” Stilf said. “It is also the location of the European parliament … Nevertheless, I was especially pleased that I would be posted in France.”  

Scholar Amanda Denes, associate professor of communication, is to conduct research at the Translational Health Research Institute at Western Sydney University in Australia.  

“I feel honored to be selected for a Fulbright Award. It provides an invaluable opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture and collaborate with experts from across the world,” Denes said. “I will explore how heterosexual and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTQIA+) couples, in which one partner is in treatment for cancer, communicate about the effects of cancer on their relationship.”  

The goal of Denes’ research is to identify the specific forms of communication that contribute to individual and interpersonal well-being when managing the relational and sexual changes that accompany cancer and its treatment, she said.  

“I feel honored to be selected for a fulbright award. It provides an invaluable opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture and collaborate with experts from across the world.”

Associate Professor of Communication Amanda Denes

“In the classroom, I highlight cultural sensitivity, adaptability and flexibility as skills that not only benefit cross-cultural exchange, but everyday interactions,” Denes said. “I am excited to put these principles into action during my time abroad and share my experiences with my students when I return.”  

Other scholars recognized from UConn include Damir Dzhafarov, Marie Shanahan and Anna Oledorf-Hirsch. Oledorf-Hirch, assistant professor of communication, will conduct research at the University Duisburg-Essen in Germany in its digital Citizenship in Network Technologies lab.  

“I’m thrilled that my research on the effects of social media literacy was chosen as worthy of a Fulbright fellowship,” Oeldorf-Hirsch said. “I’m particularly excited for the opportunity to expand my current research into new collaborations with researchers in Germany.”  

Oeldorf-Hirsch said global research on communication technology should be recognized more.  

“My hope is that the connections I make during my time abroad will build a collaborative relationship between our department at UConn and the University of Duisburg-Essen, among other German universities.” 

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