Outstanding Faculty Scholar: Dr. Jack Costello
Dr. John “Jack” Costello, professor of biology, has been named the 2018 Outstanding Faculty Scholar Award Winner. The honor, which is awarded annually, is given to a tenured faculty member who demonstrates the highest standards in research, scholarship, and contributions to his/her field.
Costello was selected by a five-person committee of tenured faculty members. This provost-appointed committee reviewed nominations from the campus community, statements from finalists, samples of scholarly work, and letters of recommendation.
Over the course of his 29 years at Providence College, Costello has amassed more than $3 million of external funding from sources that include the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research. He has authored or co-authored more than 90 peer-reviewed publications – several of which were co-authored with PC undergraduates.
Costello’s research focuses on marine organism design and function and targets previously invisible animal interactions in their underwater world. Much of his work has concentrated on gelatinous species (e.g. jellyfish) and their use of the fluids that surround them. This initial interest has broadened into a consideration of convergent patterns of fluid use by a wide array of aquatic organisms.
Most recently, he and his colleagues have adapted methods – previously restricted to controlled laboratory settings – to allow observation and measurement of the mechanics operating in the organism’s actual underwater world. They take these methods in situ – where the plankton really live and operate – instead of the jars, containers, and holding tanks of the laboratory.
The rules that govern these animal-fluid interactions are important for marine ecology. Due to the fundamentally physical nature of these interactions, the team’s findings may have applications for engineering design.
Costello will be recognized at the 2018 Academic Convocation in August. He also will receive an honorarium and deliver a talk on his scholarly work during the 2018-19 year. Congratulations to Dr. Costello on this well-earned honor.
Photos from Dr. Costello’s Invertebrate Biology course (Spring 2018):