Cutler and Floros earn Evan Pugh professorships

April 29, 2004

Anthony Cutler, research professor of art history, and Joanna Floros, professor of cellular and molecular physiology, have been named Evan Pugh professors, the highest distinction that the University can bestow upon a faculty member.

Named after Penn State's first president, this award is given to faculty members whose research publications and creative work or both are of the highest quality over a period of time; are acknowledged national and international leaders in their fields, as documented by pioneering research or creative accomplishments; are recipients of prestigious awards; and demonstrate excellent teaching skills with undergraduate and graduate students.

Cutler is recognized as a world authority in Byzantine studies. His standing as a scholar was highlighted in his selection as the art history editor of the three-volume "Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium," which was honored, along with Cutler and his fellow editors, with the Hawkins Prize of 1992 from the American Publisher's Association. In the specialized area of Byzantine carved ivories, he has led the way in shaping the direction of scholarship. Rather than rely on stylistic analysis as previous scholars had done, he chose to apply rigorous technical criteria for classification and dating. His approach includes hands-on examination of the objects. In 1994, Princeton University Press published, "The Hand of the Master: Craftsmanship, Ivory and Society in Byzantium (ninth-11th Centuries)." His groundbreaking work on Byzantine ivories continues in his forthcoming two-volume "Corpus of Byzantine Ivory Carvings."

A newer area of investigation for Cutler is gift exchange between Byzantium and Islam. He is unraveling the complex cultural exchanges of precious gifts and embassies between these two societies by using an interdisciplinary approach including art history and anthropology to decipher the cultural history. He is currently completing, "The Empire of Things: Gift Exchange in Byzantium, Islam and Beyond," which will be published by the University of Chicago Press.

Cutler received a bachelor of arts (honors) in 1955 and a master of arts in 1960 from Trinity College, Cambridge University. He attended the Istituto di Studi Storici in Naples, in 1955 and the Belgrade National University in 1962. In 1963 he received his doctoral degree from Emory University. He received an Open Scholarship to Trinity College, a Rockefeller Postgraduate Fellowship to Naples and the British Council Fellowship to Belgrade. He was a Fellow, Southeastern Institute of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Duke University in 1966; Gennadeion Fellow, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1970; Fellow, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, 1975, 1982, 1990 and 1998; Senior Research Fellow, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 1983; Brittingham professor, Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1988; American Academy in Rome, resident in art history, 1992; American Society of 18th-Century Studies Fellow, Houghton Library, Harvard University, 1994; Paul Mellon Senior Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Art Gallery, 1999. He is currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on a J. Clawson Mills Scholarship.

He has received numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and other foundations. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University and was a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow in 2002. He received the Hawkins Prize in 1992, made Choice's Outstanding Academic Books of 1994; received the Francois Ier medal from the College de France in 1995, and the Humboldt Research Prize in 2001.

After four years at Emory University, Cutler joined the Penn State faculty in 1967 as associate professor of art history. In 1974 he became professor of art history and in 1987 he was named research professor of art history. The University awarded him the Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in 1988 and the Alumni Teaching Award, also in 1988. He is the author of 12 books, numerous book chapters and hundreds of papers and reviews. He has supervised seven doctoral dissertations and 20 master's students.

Floros is a founder and an important contributor to the surfactant protein field. Pulmonary surfactant is a lipoprotein complex that prevents lung collapse and is essential for life. Surfactant deficiency can lead to respiratory distress syndrome in prematurely born infants. Floros was the first to identify, characterize and clone the precursor molecules to human surfactant protein A. She suggested that the genetic locus for this protein consisted of more than one gene. In 1992, independent research confirmed this. She and her group have since carried out detailed characterization of the genetic variants of SP-A.

Continued study focused on the genetic diversity of surfactant protein and its complexity at a time when their potential significance was not widely appreciated. Genotyping of SP-A and SP-B to identify associations between genetic variants and pulmonary disease susceptibility is a major focus in her laboratory and the results of these experiments support her initial assessment that genetic variability will help explain differences in risk among individuals and may also identify individuals who would benefit from specific therapies.

Her recent research also focuses on the impact of environmental pollution on pulmonary disease susceptibility. The fact that environmental pollutants, such as ozone, affect the surfactant protein system, make her laboratory ideal to address questions of gene-environment interactions. Her work is internationally recognized and she is considered an important leader in the field.

Floros received her bachelor of arts in biology in 1974 from Northeastern University and her doctoral degree in pathology from Temple University School of Medicine in 1980. From 1980 to 1982 she was a post-doctoral fellow in biological chemistry and from 1982 to 1985 she was an instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School (HMS). In 1985 she became assistant professor of pediatrics (biochemistry) at HMS and in 1988 associate professor of pediatrics (biochemistry). She joined the University in 1991 as professor of cellular and molecular physiology. She also holds joint appointments as a professor of pediatrics since 1996 and obstetrics and gynecology since 2003. In 1997, she received the University Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement.

She received the National Research Service Award in 1982-84 and the National Institutes of Health New Investigator Research Award in 1984-87. From 1988 to 1993 she was a Genetech/American Lung Association Career Investigator. She has been the principal investigator on National Institutes of Health grants continually since 1985 and in 1996-2006 received a Merit award. In July 1996 she was listed in Who's Who in American Thoracic Society. The majority of her nearly 30 trainees -- students, post-doctoral fellows, clinical fellows -- hold academic positions in the United States and abroad.

In 1999-01 she was president of the College of Medicine's Hinkle Society and she is currently president of Faculty Organization. She is the author of more than 100 scientific papers and book chapters and has given numerous presentations in the United States and abroad. She has filed for a patent on "Surfactant Prevention of Lung Complications from Cancer Chemotherapy."

For pictures of Cutler and Floros, go to http://live.psu.edu/still_life/2004_04_29_people/index.html

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Last Updated March 03, 2010