• Meet the Baylor researchers who will highlight BU’s national brand campaign

    Baylor researchers photo shoot

    Some of the world’s most significant challenges are being addressed at Baylor. Across campus, BU professors and their students are conducting high-level research that advances understanding on issues like cancer, renewable energy, physical health, and diet — just to name a few. In the weeks ahead, be on the lookout for five of those researchers in a national Baylor University brand campaign that showcases these professors and the impact of their research.

    Baylor is working to up its research efforts to the level identified as Tier 1 research status, which would place BU among the world’s top research institutions. As Baylor works towards those benchmarks, guided by the roadmap of Illuminate, plenty of incredible research is already taking place. Last year, Baylor kicked off a multi-year campaign to highlight that, produced by award-winning Dallas-based ad agency Johnson + Sekin. This year, Baylor and Johnson + Sekin have teamed up for a second phase of the campaign, with five professors giving their time in early August to participate.

    Here’s a sneak peek of the professors involved:

    * Dr. Kenny Befus, assistant professor of geosciences: An expert on volcanoes and geologic forces, Befus won a prestigious NSF CAREER grant for a unique idea: to “read” gemstones by searching for strains and imperfections that could serve as a record that allows scientists to uncover information about the geologic process that shaped them.

    * Dr. Horace Maxile, assistant professor of music theory: Maxile’s research into Black composers of popular music is unmatched in higher education. Seeking to fill a void in the scholarship of Black composers of classical and concert music, his work illuminates their contributions and gives voice to work that deserves a greater stage.

    * Dr. Daniel Romo, the Schotts Professor of Chemistry and co-director of the CPRIT Synthesis and Drug-Lead Discovery Laboratory: Romo describes his work as “construction engineering at the molecular level.” His nationally-recognized and highly-funded work has uncovered new strategies for the synthesis of natural compounds — a process that could lead to drug discovery for cancer and other diseases.

    * Dr. Annette von Jouanne, professor of energy systems: Long recognized as a “Celebrated Woman Engineer” by the National Academy of Engineering, von Jouanne came to Baylor from Oregon State and brought her nationally-regarded research into renewable energy and electric vehicles to campus. She worked on the first hybrid SUV, and currently partners with the Navy on the development of electric ships.

    * Dr. Kelly Ylitalo, assistant professor of epidemiology: Ylitalo works with tides of data to study health, physical functioning and aging, but it’s not hard for her to remember that there’s “a face behind every number.” She partners with the Waco Family Health Center and World Hunger Relief Farm to study the effectiveness of alternative prescriptions from doctors, such as exercise at the FHC’s Wellness Center, or vegetables — research boosted by a highly-coveted National Institutes of Health Career Development Award.

    Big thanks go out to all of the professors involved, who braved triple-digit heat in parks and farms, or traveled to musical performance halls, or allowed production crews into their labs and workspaces to allow award-winning photographer Tadd Myers to capture the heart of their work.

    Sic ’em, Drs. Befus, Maxile, Romo, von Jouanne and Ylitalo!