2020-21 Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship Awards Announced

D. Julian McClements
D. Julian McClements

The Office of Research and Engagement has announced the 2020-21 Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship Awardees. The Conti Fellowship acknowledges the high quality and importance of a faculty member’s accomplishments in research and creative activity at UMass Amherst and their potential for continuing excellence, particularly with respect to the project that they propose to undertake during the fellowship. Since 1981, 146 Fellowships have been awarded, and the list of Fellows is a Who’s Who in Research Excellence.

The selection of the Conti Fellows is based on campus nominations, endorsed by the department and dean and on external letters of support. These nominations are reviewed by a faculty committee of previous Conti Fellows who provide a recommendation for the selections. Conti Fellows receive release time from other duties for one year, in order to concentrate on the research project they have proposed, as well as a cash stipend. 

The 2020-2021 Conti Fellows are:

Professor D. Julian McClements, Food Sciences

Julian McClements specializes in the areas of food biopolymers and colloids, and in particular on the development of food-based structured delivery systems for bioactive components. This Conti Fellowship will enable Professor McClements to further his research on enhancing the environmental impact and health of the food system and to write his next book which will highlight the ethical and scientific arguments for reducing the amount of animal-based foods we currently eat, as well as presenting the technological advances being made in plant-based foods, cellular agriculture and insect-foods that aim to address this problem. His excellent accomplishments were clearly stated by his references, for example: “Professor McClements is without doubt, one of the most influential scientists in Food Science and Emulsion Science in the world.”


Professor Andrea Nahmod, Mathematics and Statistics

Andrea Nahmod’s research lies at the interface of nonlinear partial differential equations (PDE) and nonlinear Fourier and harmonic analysis, while bringing to bear tools and ideas from geometry, analytic number theory, and probability. References praised the superb quality of Nahmod’s research; as one stated succinctly: “Professor Nahmod is one of the most prominent and well-respected senior researchers in the field of Partial Differential Equations (PDEs).” This Conti Fellowship will allow Nahmod to focus on studying the invariance of the Gibbs measure and the almost sure existence of strong solutions in its statistical ensemble for the periodic defocusing Wick ordered cubic NLS in 3D.

Professor Prashant Shenoy, Computer Science

Prashant Shenoy’s research focuses on distributed systems and networking issues that have spanned the spectrum from large-scale cloud computing systems to small sensor devices. This Conti Fellowship will allow him to pursue two time-sensitive activities related to the “do social good” and “prevent harm” aspects of smart technologies. He will use his fellowship to finish his new book on smart technologies and to elevate his research on the Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT) with the goals of saving lives and securing the IoT infrastructure. Professor Prashant’s formidable achievements are well articulated in one of the reference comments: “I would rank Prashant at the top of systems researchers in the country - he has definitely established himself as a leader in the field.”

 “The accomplishments and projects proposed by each of the recipients are outstanding,” said Mike Malone, vice chancellor for research and engagement, “And I am very grateful to the nominators and the selection committee whose work is critical to the success of the Conti Fellowship program.”