Galileo Circle Copernicus Awards

The Galileo Circle Copernicus Award is one of the highest honors the College of Science can bestow on its non-tenure eligible faculty, appointed personnel or classified staff. These awards, established through the generosity of Galileo Circle members, recognize individuals whose extraordinary accomplishments significantly advance the mission of a department and the knowledge base of a discipline. Each Copernicus Awardee receives $2,500 and a lifetime membership in the Galileo Circle.

2017 Galileo Circle Fellows2018 Galileo Circle Copernicus Awardee Cassandra Faux, Galileo Circle Fellow S. Scott Saavedra, Galileo Circle Copernicus Awardee Minying Cai and Galileo Circle Fellow Adam Showman (not pictured) © 2017 FOTOSMITH

2018 Galileo Circle Copernicus Awardees

Cassandra Faux
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Cass Faux is a Clinical Associate Professor and Coordinator of Clinical Education in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. Since 1999, when she joined the College of Science family, Cass has received funding to support programs for individuals with progressive neurological diseases and those who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. She is a founder of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Clinic (ALS), an interdisciplinary team located at Banner University Medical Center, serving people with ALS. She works closely with neurology and optical sciences to develop eye gaze systems for individuals who can no longer communicate verbally. Her funding for deaf and hard-of-hearing children has centered on narrowing the academic achievement gap between children with cochlear implants and typical hearing peers. Cass and her team developed a program that promotes vocabulary through telepractice, thereby reaching school-age children throughout southern Arizona. Her work has been recognized nationally.

Minying Cai
Research Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Minying Cai is currently a research professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arizona. She has been working in the Chemistry & Biochemistry department for more than 19 years and has more than 100 publications and numerous patents in the area of novel drug discovery for obesity, diabetes, cancer, pain and neuro-disorder diseases. Dr. Cai received the Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics in 2004. Before that, she is a well developed researcher in Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica; Shanghai Research Center of Biotechnology in Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Cai has been working on peptide based drug discovery for more than 26 years, her research discovers and determines structural information on peptides and proteins to design drugs to more effectively treat human disease. She is working on projects at the interface of chemical biology, molecular pharmacology and molecular biology within the areas of 1. Structure based drug design and synthesis of GPCR ligands, including developing selective human melanocortin receptors (hMCRs) ligands; 2. Developing novel biophysics tools for molecular imaging; novel molecular biomarker; high-throughput screening system, etc. 3. Exploiting novel scaffold via computational chemistry for small molecule therapeutics for energy balance and cancer study; 4. Exploring the novel physiological functions of melanocortin system involved. In collaboration with other investigators worldwide, she aims to identify and develop molecule modulators of GPCRs for the therapeutic treatment of melanoma, metabolic and central nervous system disorders.

Previous Galileo Circle Copernicus Awardees


Carol Bender
Distinguished Outreach Professor Emerita

Lisa Elfring
Associate Professor, Departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Chemistry and Biochemistry

Jeffrey S. Kingsley
Associate Director, Steward Observatory

Yeon Sun Lee
Research Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Peter Loch
Associate Research Scientist, Physic Department

Devid Meko
Research Professor, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research

Lynne Oland
Research Scientist, Department of Neuroscience

John Pollard
Associate Professor of Practice, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Becca Van Sickler
Senior Program Coordinator, Departments of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science

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