News: 2013, July 8th

Three recognized with Distinguished Dissertation Awards

 

Three recent Auburn University graduates have been selected as winners of the Graduate School’s 2012-13 Distinguished Dissertation Awards.

Award winners are Kevin Kocot, Chris Marble and Elizabeth Ndontsa, all in the Biological/Life Sciences category. Kocot will go on to compete for the Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards.

The Distinguished Dissertation Awards recognize the scholarship of doctoral students whose dissertations make an unusually significant contribution to their respective disciplines. Auburn’s colleges and schools nominate students for the awards, and an award committee composed of graduate faculty selects the award winners.

This year’s winning dissertations are:

  • “A combined approach toward resolving the phylogeny of Mollusca” by Kevin M. Kocot. The dissertation addresses deep evolutionary relationships within the phylum Mollusca, which includes invertebrates such as snails, clams and squid. Kocot’s dissertation committee consisted of Auburn faculty members Ken Halanych (chair), Scott Santos, Leslie Goertzen and Jason Bond and University of Bergen researcher Christiane Todt. Kocot graduated in May 2013 with a doctorate in biological sciences.
  • “Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction from Horticultural Production Practices” by Chris Marble. The dissertation examines ways that horticultural production practices can be altered to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration. Marble’s dissertation committee consisted of Auburn faculty members Charles Gilliam (chair), Glenn Fain and Jeff Sibley, United States Department of Agriculture researchers Stephen Prior and H. Allen Torbert III, and Mississippi State University faculty member Patricia Knight. Marble graduated in May 2013 with a doctorate in horticulture.
  • “Synergy Not Antagonism in Antioxidant Defenses: The Unanticipated Effect of Electron Donors on Catalase-Peroxidase Function” by Elizabeth Ndontsa. The dissertation examines the interconnectivity of the catalatic and peroxidatic functions in catalase-peroxidases (KatGs), which are enzymes that catalyze the decomposition of H2O2. Ndontsa’s dissertation committee consisted of Auburn faculty members Douglas Goodwin (chair), Holly Ellis, German Mills and Christian Goldsmith. Ndontsa graduated in May 2013 with a doctorate in chemistry.

Award winners receive an honorarium of $500 and a certificate.

The two categories for the Distinguished Dissertation Awards rotate each year. The Graduate School will solicit nominations in the fall for the 2013-14 categories: Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering; and Social Sciences.

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