Penn State professor of physics receives Maria Goeppert Mayer Award

Reka Albert, professor of physics at Penn State, has received the Maria Goeppert Mayer Award from the American Physical Society, which honored her for "scientific achievements that demonstrate her potential as an outstanding physicist." The award was first established in 1985 with help from the General Electric Company, and is presented to women within the first 10 years after receiving a doctoral degree.

Albert's research concerns the underlying network structure and the dynamics of complex biological systems. By creating computational representations called network models, she investigates problems  -- such as drought stress in plants and diseases in animals -- in biological systems. Albert's recent papers examined such questions as how a disease can spread through a city, to how the body's immune system responds to invading pathogens, and how individual proteins behave in cells. Her papers have been published in physics journals as well as journals devoted to molecular biology, genetics, and network theory.

Albert's research accomplishments have been recognized with many previous awards. She was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2010 and she received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2007, a Sloan Research Fellowship in 2004, and the Shaheen Graduate School Award from the University of Notre Dame in 2001. She is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the Society for Mathematical Biology. She serves as a reviewer for more than 20 journals and several foundations, such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Prior to joining Penn State in June of 2003, Albert was a postdoctoral associate at the University of Minnesota from 2001 to 2003, and a research assistant and teaching assistant at the University of Notre Dame from 1996 to 2001. She also was a teaching assistant at the Babes-Bolyai University in Romania from 1995 to 1996. She received a doctoral degree in physics from the University of Notre Dame in 2001, and master's and bachelor's degrees in physics from the Babes-Bolyai University in Romania in 1996 and 1995, respectively.

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Last Updated March 28, 2011