Professor Jan Wessel was one of four University of Iowa faculty members selected as a recipient of the Iowa Mid-Career Faculty Scholar Award for 2023.
This is the second year for the award, which provides funding and development opportunities for outstanding tenured associate professors who have established national or international reputations in their disciplines and are exceptional teachers in and outside the classroom.
Each awardee will receive $25,000 annually for the next three years to support their scholarly activities. In addition to the financial support, scholars will work with mentors to create a tailored development plan and participate in an annual symposium showcasing their work to the university community. Development conferences—covering topics such as research leadership, mentoring, and resource management—will allow awardees to engage with the five members of the inaugural 2022-2025 cohort and form a community of scholars across disciplines.
The Iowa Mid-Career Faculty Scholar Award program highlights UI’s commitment to nurturing the professional development and recognition of its exceptional faculty. By supporting the growth and success of these scholars, the university continues to advance its mission of excellence in teaching, research, and service.
Per IOWA Now press release, Professor Wessel is a prominent researcher in cognitive neuroscience, recognized for his exceptional scholarly productivity and innovative work. Over the past two years, he has published 16 papers in esteemed journals such as Current Biology, eLife, and Scientific Reports. Wessel currently serves as the principal investigator for two five-year R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health and an NSF CAREER Award, totaling more than $3.6 million. In 2022, he was appointed as a standing member of the National Institutes of Health’s Human Complex Mental Function study section.
In addition to his research success, Wessel is committed to teaching and mentorship. As a first-generation student, he dedicates himself to supporting other first-generation students at Iowa. Wessel used part of his NSF CAREER Award to establish a First-Generation Brain Research Workshop, which introduces first-gen students to cognitive neuroscience methods. In recognition of these contributions, he received the 2022 Award for Outstanding First-Generation Student Advocacy from the UI’s First-Generation Task Force.
Mark Blumberg, F. Wendell Miller Professor and chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, wrote in his nomination letter: “By the time (Wessel) was promoted to associate professor in 2020, one of his external evaluators wrote that he ‘has emerged as a major international force in the field of cognitive neuroscience. Indeed, if one wants reliable and groundbreaking data in the area of human motor control and cognitive flexibility, I cannot think of anyone better than Wessel to provide it.’ Another wrote that he is ‘one of the top cognitive neuroscientists of his generation.’”
Wessel received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in psychology from the University of Cologne and earned a doctorate in psychology from the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research. He joined Iowa as an assistant professor in 2015.