This year’s submissions for the 3rd annual Chapman University Grand Challenges Initiative Outstanding Research Publication Award included fascinating results that added to the world’s scientific knowledge in a diverse array of subjects such as the assessment of hazard scales, leaderless mRNAs, and animal cell-size scaling. The articles submitted serve as a testament to Chapman University’s growing research profile. The work involved current Chapman University faculty and students, alongside researchers at institutions such as NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of New Hampshire, and the Universidad de Chile.

The committee selected Dr. Shenyue Jia’s article “Patterns of population displacement during mega-fires in California detected using Facebook Disaster Maps” as the winner of this year’s Outstanding Research Publication Award. The article, published in the leading journal Environmental Research Letters, demonstrates the utility of real-time data for responding to humanitarian crises such as those associated with disasters.

One reviewer cited the article’s “novel data application to a global problem,” and another similarly pointed to its interdisciplinary use of social media analysis in the areas of climate change and disaster planning.

Dr. Jia is a research fellow with Chapman’s Institute for Earth, Computing, Human and Observing. The article is co-authored with Seung Hee Kim, Son Nghiem, Paul Doherty and Menas Kafatos.

The cash award is sponsored by postdoctoral alumni of the Grand Challenges Initiative. The review committee this year was chaired by Dr. Doug Dechow, in collaboration with Drs. Brenna Gormally and Shana Welles.

Our congratulations to Dr. Jia!