Professor and student among tops in technology at UH


College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics helps celebrate night of honor for Women in Computing

Pictured from left to right: Laura Vailas, assistant dean of UHs College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Susan Hardin, associate professor of biology and biochemistry at UH; Mehnaz Bhayani, UH student in computer science; and Art Vailas, vice president for Research and Intellectual Property Management at UH.

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HOUSTON, June 15, 2004 The Association for Women in Computing marked 25 years of advancement and leadership for women in technical disciplines with a recent gala that honored, among others, two shining stars from the University of Houston.

Susan H. Hardin, an associate professor of biology and biochemistry, received one of the "Top Houston Women in Technology" awards for 2004, and Mehnaz Bhayani, a computer science senior, was awarded a $7,000 Kathi Bowles Scholarship.

"This was a big night for UH with two prestigious honors bestowed on both the faculty and student levels," said John Bear, dean of UH's College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. "It represents UH's commitment to fostering research across the board and reflects the changing landscape for the role of women in cutting-edge research and technical fields."

Along with her academic endeavors, Hardin, who joined the UH faculty in 1995, brings a fresh research perspective through her role as president and CEO of VisiGen Biotechnologies Inc., a company she co-founded with four other UH professors. The technologies under development by Hardin and her colleagues illustrate her dedication to biomedical research and may soon offer physicians a quicker, more thorough way to assess genetically linked risk factors for such things as diseases and adverse drug reactions. (See related release at

As for Bhayani, her interests lie in the variety of possibilities available in the field of computer science. Receiving the Kathi Bowles Scholarship, which is given to benefit outstanding women pursuing careers in technology related fields, will help her support her academic endeavors. Bhayani has especially expressed an interest in programming, saying it is rewarding to "create something on your own that gives you a sense of completion."

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