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UNI names 2002-2003 Prem Sahai Distinguished Professor <br>

October 27, 2002

Steve O'Kane, associate professor of biology, (319) 273-2219
Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Steve O'Kane, associate professor of biology at the University of Northern Iowa, has been named the Prem Sahai Distinguished Professor for the 2002-2003 academic year. O'Kane will receive a $25,000 award which may be used for summer salary, research support, graduate assistantships, professional travel and other appropriate expenditures. He will deliver a lecture in the spring as part of the award.

The Prem Sahai Distinguished Professorship in the UNI College of Natural Sciences is awarded annually, on a rotating basis, to a tenure or tenure-track faculty member from the departments of biology, chemistry or mathematics, who has shown excellence in teaching and research and who exemplifies distinction in the particular discipline. The professorship was established in honor of the late Prem Sahai, a UNI alumnus, by his family.

A member of the UNI faculty since 1996, O'Kane specializes in the types and diversity of plants. He has discovered and named several species new to science in the course of his research. He holds a Ph.D. in evolutionary and population biology from Washington University in St. Louis. O'Kane has done extensive fieldwork in the western United States, Alaska, Mexico, central and eastern Europe, Russia, Taiwan and Japan.