Faculty members receive named, distinguished service professorships

University Communications

Seventeen faculty members received named professorships or were appointed distinguished service professors. Michael Foote, Sydney Hans, Heinrich Jaeger and Carole Ober received distinguished service professorships; Daniel Arber, Christopher Berry, Mark Courtney, Fred M. Donner, Steven Durlauf, Dwight N. Hopkins, Bana Jabri, John D. Kelly, Howard Nusbaum, Louis H. Philipson, James T. Robinson, Stuart Rowan and Chad Syverson received named professorships.

Biological Sciences Division

Daniel A. Arber has been named the first Donald West and Mary Elizabeth King Professor in the Department of Pathology.

Arber, chair of the Department of Pathology at the University and an authority on the diagnosis, classification and molecular genetics of blood cancers, came from Stanford University, where he was the Ronald F. Dorfman Professor in Pathology, vice chair for clinical services and medical director of anatomic pathology and clinical laboratory services.

Arber’s research focuses on molecular genetics and immunophenotypic changes in blood cancers. He was a major contributor to the 2016 World Health Organization classification of tumors of hematopoietic and lymphoid tissues, and was the lead author of the WHO classification of myeloid neoplasms and acute leukemias. He is currently president of the Society for Hematopathology (2016-2018), and he recently co-chaired a group of leading hematopathologists and hematologists who developed joint College of American Pathology/American Society of Hematology guidelines for the initial workup for acute leukemia, a five-year project that was published in 2017. He is also on the board of directors of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology.

Arber is the author of more than 300 publications, book sections and chapters. He has co-edited several textbooks in the field, including Hematopathology and two editions of Wintrobe’s Clinical Hematology, and was a co-author of the textbooks Illustrated Pathology of the Bone Marrow and Atlas of Peripheral Blood: The primary diagnostic tool. He has been honored with multiple teaching awards from Stanford School of Medicine and the Department of Pathology.


Bana Jabri has been named the Sarah and Harold Lincoln Thompson Professor in the Department of Medicine and the College.

Jabri, vice chair for research in the Department of Medicine and director of research at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, is a gastroenterologist and an expert in human immunology. She has followed a career interest in celiac disease, autoimmune disorders and inflammatory bowel disease. She is an elected member of the prestigious Association of American Physicians, and received multiple awards including the William K. Warren, Jr. Prize for Excellence in Celiac Disease Research in 2009, the Lloyd Mayer Prize in Mucosal Immunology in 2017 and the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.

Jabri has extensive experience in intestinal mucosal immunology. More recently, she has demonstrated a role for viral infections in loss of oral tolerance and celiac disease, and been developing mouse models that mimic key aspects of immune dysregulation found in patients with inflammatory intestinal disorders and autoimmune diseases.

Jabri completed her medical and PhD training at the Université Paris VII and the Institut Pasteur in Paris. She is co-director of the Digestive Diseases Research Core Center at UChicago, responsible for the scientific direction, administration, and efficient usage of the facilities and resources of the Integrated Translational Core.


Carole Ober has been named the Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor in Human Genetics and the College.

Ober is chair of the Department of Human Genetics. Her research focuses on the genetics of complex human phenotypes, with particular emphasis on traits related to reproduction and asthma susceptibility.

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Ober is principal investigator of a March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center and co-chair of the EVE Consortium on Asthma Genetics. She has received many awards for her research contributions in the areas of fertility and asthma, including the J. Christian Herr Award for Excellence in Basic or Applied Research in Reproductive Immunology (1986), the American Society of Reproductive Medicine Distinguished Scientist Award (2003), the Northwestern Obstetrics and Gynecological Society Award (2005), the Charles Reed Lectureship (2004) and the John E. Salvaggio Memorial Lectureship (2016) from the American Association of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, and the March of Dimes Jonas Salk Health Leadership Award for Research (2017).

Her research on understanding the role of genes and gene-environment interactions on reproductive outcomes and asthma susceptibility has resulted in more than 200 publications. A 2016 New England Journal of Medicine study by Ober and colleagues on “Innate Immunity and Asthma Risk in Amish and Hutterite Farm Children” was honored by the Clinical Research Forum, a national organization of senior researchers, as the best clinical research paper of the year.


Louis H. Philipson has been named the first holder of the James C. Tyree Professorship of Diabetes Research and Care in the Department of Medicine.

Philipson, director of the University of Chicago Medicine Kovler Diabetes Center, is an authority on diabetes. He is the founding director of the Kovler Diabetes Center, president of the Chicago Community Leadership Board and national President-elect for Science and Medicine of the American Diabetes Association. He and his colleagues have discovered insulin gene mutations that cause neonatal diabetes, and he has helped make UChicago Medicine the national leader in the study of monogenic diabetes. He also directs research in preventing and treating Type 1 diabetes.

Philipson completed his PhD and medical training at the University of Chicago, and is a graduate of Harvard College. He was recently named a recipient of the 2018 Order of Lincoln Award, which honors public service for the betterment of humanity in Illinois and is considered to be the state’s highest civilian honor.

The College

Fred M. Donner has been named the Peter B. Ritzma Professor in the College and the Humanities Division.

Donner, a professor of Near Eastern History in the Oriental Institute and Department of Near Eastern Language and Civilizations, has focused his scholarship on the origins of Islam, tribal and nomadic society, early Islamic history, Arabic-Islamic Historiography and Islamic law. Donner has served as the director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Language and Civilizations, and is the author of several influential books and more than 50 articles.

Donner was appointed in 2012 a life member of the Scientific Committee of the Tunisian Academy of Sciences, Letters, and Arts “Beït al-Hikma.” He served as president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America in 2012 and president of Middle East Medievalists from 1992-1994. Donner was a Marta Sutton Weeks fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center in 2014-2015 and held the NEH Professorship at the American Center for Oriental Research in Amman, Jordan in 2001. Donner is a recipient of a 1994 Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and a 2007-2008 Guggenheim Fellowship.


John D. Kelly, PhD’88, has been named the inaugural Christian W. Mackauer Professor in the College and the Division of the Social Sciences.

Kelly’s professional scholarship has focused on rituals throughout history, semiotic and military technologies, and colonialism and capitalism. His research explores the impact of these topics in both India and Fiji. In addition to over 30 articles, edited volumes and numerous lectures, Kelly has written several influential books, including The American Game: Capitalism, Decolonization, World Domination, and Baseball (Paradigm Press, 2006), Represented Communities: Fiji and World Decolonization (University of Chicago Press, 2001), and A Politics of Virtue: Hinduism, Sexuality, and Countercolonial Discourse in Fiji (University of Chicago, 1992).

Kelly has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Anthropology since 1994. He served as master of the Social Sciences Collegiate Division from 2002-2005, and currently serves as core chair for the Self, Culture and Society sequence in the College.

Division of the Physical Sciences

Michael Foote has been named the Louis Block Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Geophysical Sciences and the College.

Foote is a paleobiologist who documents large-scale patterns in the history of life, such as why some environments foster more species than others, or how widely a species is spread affects its extinction risk. His research covers biogeography, evolutionary paleoecology and macroevolution.

Foote co-authored the third edition of the highly influential Principles of Paleontology. He is a fellow of the Paleontological Society and received its Charles Schuchert award in 2000. After serving for nine years as the chair of the Geophysical Sciences department, he is currently the deputy dean for academic affairs in the Division of the Physical Sciences.


Heinrich Jaeger has been named the Sewell L. Avery Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Physics and the College.

The main theme of Jaeger’s research is the investigation of materials under conditions far from equilibrium. Such conditions give rise to a wealth of complex phenomena, and insights gained can be used to design new classes of smart materials. A focus of Jaeger’s work are granular materials, which are large aggregates of particles in far-from-equilibrium configurations, that exhibit properties intermediate between those of ordinary solids and liquids. His group’s projects explore how controlling this behavior provides a path to stress-adaptive materials for high-efficiency energy absorption, to soft robotic systems that can change shape or compliance, and to new forms of architectural structures that are fully recyclable. On the nanoscale, Jaeger’s research investigates the self-assembly of particles into ultrathin membranes that function as nano-sieves with tunable pore size.

He has been a UChicago faculty member since 1991, directing the UChicago Materials Research Center from 2001-2006 and the James Franck Institute from 2007-2010. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Social Sciences Division

Howard Nusbaum has been named the Stella M. Rowley Professor in the Department of Psychology and the College.

Nusbaum is internationally recognized for his multi-disciplinary studies of the nature of wisdom and the cognitive and neural mechanisms that mediate communication and thinking. Nusbaum’s past research has investigated the effects of sleep on learning, adaptive processes in language learning and the neural mechanisms of speech communication. His current research investigates how experience can increase wisdom and produce changes in insight and economic decisions, and examines the role of sleep in cognitive creativity and abstraction.

Nusbaum is the director of the Center for Practical Wisdom and a member of the executive committee of the new Computational Social Science program, which he played an instrumental role in creating. From 1997-2010, he served as the chair of the Department of Psychology. He has also served as co-director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience and as a steering committee member of the Neuroscience Institute. In 2012, Nusbaum was honored with the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and he received the Future Faculty Mentorship Award in 2007. He has just completed a two-year term as the division director for Division of Social, Behavioral and Economics Sciences at the National Science Foundation.

Booth School of Business

Chad Syverson has been named the Eli B. and Harriet B. Williams Professor of Economics.

Syverson’s research focuses on the interactions of firm structure, market structure, and productivity. His background as a mechanical engineer spurred his research interest in productivity—how things are put together, what can go wrong and what factors influence a company’s operating success.

He has written dozens of scholarly articles and is the coauthor, along with his colleagues Profs. Austan Goolsbee and Steve Levitt, of an intermediate-level textbook, Microeconomics. He serves as an editor of RAND Journal of Economics, is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and has served on multiple National Academies committees. He has been on the University of Chicago faculty since 2001 and joined Chicago Booth in 2008. He earned two bachelor’s degrees in 1996 from the University of North Dakota–one in economics and one in mechanical engineering. He earned his PhD in economics in 2001 from the University of Maryland.

Divinity School

Dwight N. Hopkins has been named the Alexander Campbell Professor in the Divinity School and the College.

A constructive theologian, Hopkins works in the areas of contemporary models of theology, various forms of liberation theologies (especially black and other third-world manifestations), and East-West cross-cultural comparisons. He is interested in multidisciplinary approaches to the academic study of religious thought, especially cultural, political, economic and interpretive methods.

He is the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Looking Back, Moving Forward: The Sankofa Institute for African American Pastoral Leadership (editor), Black Theology – Essays on Gender Perspectives and Black Theology – Essays on Global Perspectives. He was recently awarded the honorary recognition of Professor Extraordinarious in the Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology at the University of South Africa in Pretoria. He has been a visiting faculty member at numerous institutions including Renmin (People’s) University, Chung Chi College Divinity School, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.


James T. Robinson has been named the Caroline E. Haskell Professor of the History of Judaism, Islamic Studies, and the History of Religions in the Divinity School and the College.

Robinson’s research focuses on medieval Jewish intellectual history, philosophy and biblical exegesis in the Islamic world and Christian Europe. His main interests lie in the literary and social dimensions of philosophy, and the relation between philosophy and religion. He has taught more than 25 different courses during his time at UChicago and was awarded, in 2017, a Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring.

Robinson is the author of four books: Samuel Ibn Tibbon’s Commentary on Ecclesiastes, The Book of the Soul of Man; Asceticism, Eschatology, Opposition to Philosophy: The Arabic Translation and Commentary of Salmon b. Yeroham on Qohelet (Ecclesiastes), The Arabic Translation and Commentary of Yefet b. ‘Eli the Karaite on the Book of Joshua, and Sefer Nefesh ha-Adam: Perush Qohelet li-Shemuel ben Yehudah ibn Tibbon. He is also the editor of The Cultures of Maimonideanism: New Approaches to the History of Jewish Thought.

Harris School

Christopher Berry has been named the William J. and Alicia Townsend Friedman Professor in the Harris School and the College.

Berry is a scholar of American politics whose research agenda includes state and local politics and finance and congressional budgetary politics. His recent work on distributive politics challenges the theoretical paradigm that has dominated political science’s understanding of congressional politics for decades. He is known for an award-winning book, Imperfect Union: Representation and Taxation in Multilevel Governments, as well as other works on political control of administrative agencies, women and politics, and the implementation of state court rulings.

Berry is director of the Center for Municipal Finance and co-director of the Harris School’s M.S. in Computational Science and Public Policy.

Berry is involved in the execution of the undergraduate public policy program in the College, serving as the chair of the Curriculum Committee at the College, as well as teaching one of the core courses for the major.


Steven Durlauf has been named the Steans Family Professor in Educational Policy.

Durlauf’s research spans economic theory, econometrics and applied economics. He has helped pioneer the integration of sociological ideas into economic models and the use of statistical mechanics methods to study aggregate behavior when social influences are present. His research has had an impact on scholarship in policy areas including poverty, inequality and economic growth. He has also made contributions to the theory of policy evaluation.

Durlauf’s administrative contributions to the University predate his move to the Harris School. As he has served as co-director of the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group since 2012. He is now also serving as associate director of the Center for Economics of Human Development. Prior to joining Harris, Durlauf was the William F. Vilas Research Professor and Kenneth J. Arrow Professor of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, fellow of the Econometric Society, and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Institute for Molecular Engineering

Stuart Rowan has been named the Barry L. MacLean Professor for Molecular Engineering Innovation and Enterprise.

Rowan is an acclaimed soft materials chemist and engineer exploring the design and synthesis of new polymeric materials with a focus on the use of dynamic/reversible chemistry to access stimuli-responsive/adaptive polymeric materials, that includes self-healing as well as actuating polymers. His group also works on investigating the potential of nanocellulose to access more environmentally friendly materials and developing new synthetic methods for the construction of complex polymeric architectures. In addition to his appointment in the Institute for Molecular Engineering he has joint appointments in the Department of Chemistry at UChicago and the Division of Chemical Sciences and Engineering at Argonne National Laboratories.

He has recently been named the new editor-in-chief of the American Chemical Society’s ACS Macro Letters and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry as well as a fellow of the American Chemical Society’s POLY division. He has published over 140 scientific papers and reviews. He is a prior recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award for promising young faculty and more recently received the Morley Medal (ACS) in 2013, and the Herman Mark Scholar Award (ACS) in 2015. Before joining UChicago in 2016, he was the Kent H. Smith Professor of Engineering at Case Western Reserve University.

School of Social Service Administration

Mark Courtney has been named the Samuel Deutsch Professor in the School of Social Service Administration.

Courtney’s fields of special interest are child welfare policy and services, the connection between child welfare services and other institutions serving marginalized populations, and the professionalization of social work. His current work includes studies of the adult functioning of former foster children, experimental evaluation of independent living services for foster youth, and the influence of juvenile courts on the operation of the child welfare system.

Courtney is an affiliated scholar of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, where he served as director from 2001 to 2006. He is the author of the 2007 report Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth, a study that led to changes in federal law. In October 2008, the U.S. Congress passed an act permitting states to continue care for foster children until age 21 and receive federal assistance. Courtney testified in Congressional hearings about the value of the change and pointed to results of the Midwest study.

He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, a fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research, and has received the Distinguished Career Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work and Research and the Peter W. Forsythe Award for Leadership in Public Child Welfare from the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators. Since 2016, he has served as editor of SSA’s scholarly publication Social Service Review.


Sydney L. Hans has been named the Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor in the School of Social Service Administration.

Hans’ research seeks to understand how biological and social factors interact in contributing to risk and resilience in human development. She studies how experiences in early life, particularly the relationship between mother and infant, influence development at later ages. She has conducted studies focusing on the development of young children whose parents use illicit substances, suffer from major mental disorders, have experienced traumatic events, and/or live in conditions of extreme poverty.

Hans is particularly interested in using research to develop interventions and public policy that will benefit infants, young children and their families. She is currently working in Chicago and smaller urban areas in Illinois with home visiting programs in which community doulas provide services to teenage mothers. These programs work to improve maternal and infant health and to build mothers' efficacy and pride in parenting. She is also working with the Ounce of Prevention Fund to evaluate their Educare program, which gives children high-quality learning experiences from shortly after birth to age five.

Hans currently serves as SSA Deputy Dean for Research and Faculty Development as well as director of SSA’s Family Support Training Program. She also is a faculty member in the Department of Comparative Human Development and a faculty affiliate in the Department of Psychology. Hans previously held an academic appointment in the Department of Psychiatry for more than 25 years.