Meet our 2021 JoVE Science Education & Research Innovation Awards Judges...

Raveena Khatri, JoVE Writer | 16 min read
Raveena Khatri, JoVE Writer | 16 min read

Thank you to everyone who applied for our 2021 JoVE Science Education & Research Innovation Awards! JoVE is set to announce the award winners in just a few days, and in the meantime, we’re thrilled to introduce our amazing panel of judges. Get to know our judges who are helping us to recognize innovation and excellence in the academic and science communities ...

Innovation in Instruction Award Judges


Mary Poffenroth
Biology faculty at San Jose State University, California 

Mary is a first-generation college student and holds three master’s degrees including biology, psychology and science communication. She’s also an author of ‘Write Present Create: Science Communication for Undergraduates. She has taught nearly 20,000 students both in-person and online since 2007. Mary is a Salzburg Global Fellow and has spoken at TEDx London, Harvard, and SXSW. Her work has been featured in legacy media outlets such as TIME magazine, Forbes, Science, Entrepreneur, and National Geographic.

Johnny El-Rady
Instructor in the Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology at the University of South Florida 

Johnny has a bachelor's degree in Biology and a doctorate in Molecular Biology. At USF since Fall 1997, he has offered courses at all levels and all sizes both face-to-face and online. He has taught more than 25,000 students and has received three Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Awards. In addition, Professor El-Rady is a subject matter expert for various publishing companies and has written numerous ancillaries for college textbooks that are used worldwide.

“The judging was not easy as there were a lot of outstanding applications. It is great to know that faculty worldwide managed to do well, indeed excel, during the pandemic.”

Dr. Gian Battista Parigi
Associate Professor of Pediatric Surgery Università di Pavia, Italy and President, Committee for International Cooperation for Development (CICOPS)

Gian Battista is a professor of pediatric surgery at the University of Pavia and Rector's Delegate for International Cooperation. He also serves as a Medical Faculty Practical Traineeships general coordinator.

“While evaluating the projects I've been amazed by the ingenuity of the proposers that, with a relatively small array of online resources, were able to create an imaginative variety of "recipes" dealing with a relevant amount of multifaceted problems to solve. And the results were overall appealing!”


Researcher Innovation Award Judges

Sue Twine
Director of Research & Development of  the National Research Council at Canada’s Human Health Therapeutics Research Centre

Dr. Twine holds a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Southampton, UK and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University, UK. Her research career began with the biochemical characterization of protein-ligand interactions. Most recently, Sue has led diverse projects, underpinned by the application of mass spectrometry technologies to improve the translation of disease understanding to tangible therapeutic applications. She has co-authored more than 50 research publications and served as co-editor for several books.

Dietmar Schaffarczyk
Lecturer at the University of Tübingen and ETH, Zurich

Dietmar’s academic scope is within regulatory affairs and certification strategies for medical devices. In addition, Dietmar is CEO of stimOS GmbH and certified lead auditor and lead technical assessor for medical devices. He works at the university-industry interface where he is recognized nationally and internationally for his research contributions and achievements in materials science and regulatory strategies for interface technologies.

“Acting as a judge for JoVE was an honor for me. I see the need to implement new methods, new media and even virtual reality in teaching and research. This is a necessity in pandemic times, but should also continue beyond. Through the use of new media, teachers, researchers, students, and industry can grow together and collaborate in a way that conserves resources. The aspect of environmental protection and the avoidance of unnecessary travel should remain a central aspect in research and teaching.”

Dr. Yee Lian Chew
Research Fellow at Flinders University, Australia

Dr. Chew is a researcher and leader in the field of cellular neuroscience using the Caenorhabditis elegans model organism. Her Ph.D. research focused on the role of a neuronal protein in C. elegans. In August 2015, Dr. Chew joined the team of Dr. William Schafer at the world-leading Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge UK, supported by a Medical Research Council Career Development Fellowship and a European Molecular Biology Organisation Long-term Fellowship. Dr. Chew is dedicated to advocating for the benefit of underrepresented groups in STEM. She is currently Chair of the Australian Academy of Science EMCR Forum Executive, a team of 12 nationally recognized researchers who act as an advocacy group for EMCRs in Australia.

“I was very impressed by the creativity and innovation of some of this year’s entries, which showcased great science education initiatives in challenging times. The best entries to me were the ones that centered the student experience in an empathetic and supportive way.”


Librarian Innovation Award Judges

Ellen Clare Kimbro
Reference Librarian at Meharry Medical College Library in Nashville, Tennessee

Ellen started working in her position only two weeks ahead of the campus shut down due to COVID-19. Meharry's library was the only academic library in Nashville to keep its doors open and to remain staffed on campus during the pandemic's first waves and beyond. Before her current position, Ellen served providers in the Ascension hospital system- Saint Thomas Health Medical Libraries in Nashville for nearly three years. She earned her MLIS in 2017 from Dominican University in River Forest, Ill., and previously worked for 15 years as a career journalist at The Jackson Sun newspaper in Jackson, Tennessee.

“Seeing evidence of innovative ideas coming to fruition among different types of libraries inspired me to consider pitching similar ideas to my library colleagues. As institutions begin to reopen—in a limited fashion or otherwise—outreach to our user populations during a pandemic feels more important than ever before; each JoVE award entry demonstrates a real commitment to the kind of tangible, meaningful outreach efforts needed from now on to meet library users’ many needs.”

Melanie Masserant
Library Relations Manager at JoVE

Melanie joined the JoVE team in October 2020 to become the company's first Library Relations Manager. Before joining JoVE, she was an Account Development Manager at Springer Nature (2014-2020) where she supported librarians from Canada and the Northwestern U.S. Melanie is also a librarian with a passion for outreach-she moonlighted as an Affordable Education Resource Outreach Librarian at City University of New York (CUNY) John Jay College of Criminal Justice (2018-2020). She worked with their Teaching & Learning Center's course designers and faculty on finding library-licensed resources to support course learning outcomes. 

Alyssa Young
Science and Math Librarian, Assistant Professor at James Madison University

Alyssa holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Rhode Island. Alyssa currently consults with faculty and students for undergraduate and graduate-level research coursework provides information literacy instruction and is the liaison between the College of Science of Math and the library.

“While reading through the award applications it was clear that Librarians all over the world were hard at work making sure their users had digital access to resources they needed. It was wonderful to read through so many great projects that took place over this difficult year.”

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