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Emory researchers Liang and Yount honored with Albert E. Levy Award
Steven H. Liang (left) and Kathryn M. Yount

The 2024 recipients of the Albert E. Levy Award for Excellence in Scientific Research are associate professor Steven H. Liang (left), recipient of the Junior Faculty Award, and renowned global health professor Kathryn M. Yount, recipient of the Senior Faculty Award.

Steven H. Liang, associate professor in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, and Kathryn M. Yount, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Global Health, were named the 2024 recipients of the Albert E. Levy Award for Excellence in Scientific Research.

The Levy Award recognizes one junior and one senior Emory faculty member each year that are considered to be outstanding in their respective fields of research. Each year, the University Research Committee (URC) accepts nominates from Emory faculty at large to determine the recipients. The award was created by civic and academic activist Edith Levy Elsas while she was a member of the Emory University Board of Visitors in memory of her father, Albert E. Levy.

Originally overseen by Emory Universitys Sigma Xi, a scientific research honor society that encourages research communication across multiple scientific disciplines, the Levy Award program stopped for a period when the Emory chapter of Sigma Xi became inactive. In 2000, at the request of the benefactor, the Albert E. Levy Award was reinstated to be administered by the URC.

Each awardee receives a trophy and a contribution in research funds of $2,000.

Meet the 2024 award winners 

Junior Faculty Award: Steven H. Liang 

Steven H. Liang is an associate professor in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences. Liang also holds multiple leadership positions within the Emory Center for Systems Imaging core, including an endowed directorship of radiochemistry, cyclotron facility and radiopharmacy services, as well as head of the Positron Emission Tomography Imaging Center, both in the Emory University School of Medicine.

Liang’s research focuses on drug development and radiochemistry for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. His group has pioneered methods for the selective incorporation of radioactive fluorine atoms into neurodegeneration-related drug molecules to allow PET imaging of these compounds in the brain. A recent breakthrough was their development of a new PET drug that enables real-time observation of cholesterol breakdown in the brain. Given that altered cholesterol metabolism in the brain is associated with neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease and Huntingtons disease, this discovery is expected to greatly advance clinical neuroimaging.

The work of Liang has been recognized by numerous awards including the Berson-Yalow Award from the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. His group’s work is supported by numerous National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants as well as industry contracts.

Senior Faculty Award: Kathryn M. Yount 

Kathryn M. Yount holds the Asa Griggs Candler Professorship of Global Health and is a professor in Social, Behavioral, and Health Education Sciences in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. She is also a professor of sociology in the Emory College of Arts and Sciences.

Younts research has a global reach, spanning diverse regions including Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the United States. Her work focuses on utilizing cross-cultural measures to illustrate the positive correlation between enhanced women’s empowerment and improved mental and nutritional health, increased child immunization rates and reduced mortality rates among girls.

A hallmark of her work, GlobalConsent, is a pioneering web-based program aimed at curbing sexually violent behavior among male undergraduates in Vietnam. It is the first program proven effective in middle-income countries and is now being scaled nationally with the support of the National Institute of Mental Health in partnership with six Vietnamese universities. Her comprehensive efforts have significantly contributed to the prevention of gender-based violence and the enhancement of health outcomes across diverse global regions.

With her work extensively published in top journals in the social sciences and public health, Younts research has garnered significant recognition. She is globally acknowledged as a leading scholar.

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