21 UChicago faculty receive named, distinguished service professorships

Twenty-one University of Chicago faculty members have received distinguished service professorships or named professorships.

President Robert J. Zimmer and incoming President Paul Alivisatos have received distinguished service professorships, along with Profs. Bariş Ata, Jing Chen, Frederick de Armas, Jean-Pierre Dubé, Martha Feldman, Michael Kremer, Thomas Lamarre, David Levin, Susan Levine, Adekunle Odunsi and Esteban Rossi-Hansberg.

Profs. Sanjay Dhar, Roberto Lang, Stacy Tessler Lindau, Josephine McDonagh, Kenneth Moss, Sianne Ngai, Willemien Otten and Lawrence Zbikowski have received named professorships.

All appointments are effective July 1, unless otherwise noted.

President Robert J. Zimmer has been named the Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Mathematics and the College.

Prior to his appointment as president, Zimmer was a University faculty member and administrator for more than two decades, specializing in the mathematical fields of geometry, particularly ergodic theory, Lie groups and differential geometry. His work focuses on group actions on manifolds and more general spaces, with applications to topology and geometry, particularly understanding the actions of semisimple Lie groups and their discrete subgroups on differentiable manifolds and the structures on the manifold that these actions may preserve. His work on the types of symmetries that geometric spaces can exhibit became known as the Zimmer program, including Zimmer’s conjecture concerning higher-rank lattices, which was open for over 30 years and was finally resolved in 2017.

Zimmer has authored four books: Ergodic Theory and Semisimple Groups (1984), Essential Results of Functional Analysis (1990), Ergodic Theory, Groups, and Geometry (2008), and Group Actions in Ergodic Theory, Geometry, and Topology: Selected Papers (2019), as well as more than 80 research articles.

Zimmer is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a former member of the National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation. He also served on the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science and on the Board of Mathematical Sciences of the National Research Council. He is the chair of the boards of Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Marine Biological Laboratory.

Incoming President Paul Alivisatos has been named the John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Chemistry, the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and the College, effective Sept. 1.

Alivisatos is a preeminent scientist and entrepreneur who currently serves as executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, Berkeley. He has made pioneering research breakthroughs in nanomaterials, and his inventions are widely used in biomedicine and QLED TV displays. He also founded two prominent nanotechnology companies: Nanosys, Inc. and Quantum Dot Corp. (now part of Thermo Fisher).

Alivisatos, who received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UChicago in 1981, will actively maintain his research program while UChicago president and plans to move his research group to Chicago in 2022. 

Among his more than 25 awards and honors, Alivisatos has received the National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the Priestley Medal and the international BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Biological Sciences Division

Jing Chen has been named the Janet Davison Rowley Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Medicine.

Chen joined the UChicago Department of Medicine in 2020, after serving as professor and R. Randall Rollins Chair in Oncology at the Emory University School of Medicine and leading the Cell and Molecular Biology Research Program at the Winship Cancer Institute there. At UChicago Medicine, he is also currently the director of the Cancer Metabolomics Research Center.

Chen’s research aims to understand cancer metabolism by focusing on the relationships between metabolic and cell signaling networks, with the goal of improving clinical outcomes. His innovative efforts in leukemia research have revealed links between mutant proteins, signaling and cell metabolism. He also explores the connections between diet and tumor-causing mutations by testing the effects of diet-derived substances on genetically distinct tumors.

His work has resulted in numerous high-impact publications, substantial funding, six patents, and honors and awards from the American Cancer Society and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, among other institutions. In addition to research, Chen is devoted to teaching and mentorship and in 2017 won the Winship Cancer Institute Research Mentorship Award.

Roberto Lang has been named the A.J. Carlson Professor in the Department of Medicine.

Lang joined the UChicago faculty in 1983 and is currently the director of the Noninvasive Cardiac Imaging Laboratory and leader of the Valve Clinic. He is an expert in echocardiography, a method of studying the heart using sound waves. His research focuses on assessing heart issues, such as heart failure and valve disease, using specialized echocardiography, as well as other noninvasive methods like automated border detection. Lang’s pioneering work led to the development of three-dimensional echocardiography, allowing physicians to directly visualize the complex shapes of the heart and its components.

Named by Chicago magazine as one of the top cardiologists in Chicago, Lang is an influential and highly-regarded physician researcher. He has served as the president of the American Society of Echocardiography and won numerous awards for his clinical and academic work.

Stacy Tessler Lindau has been named the Catherine Lindsay Dobson Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Lindau, who joined the UChicago faculty in 2002, is also a professor of Medicine-Geriatrics and the director of both the Program in Integrative Sexual Medicine, a program to preserve and recover female sexual function after cancer and across the lifespan, and CommunityRx, a research program focused on community-driven health. Additionally, she is the founder and chief innovation officer of NowPow, LLC and president of MAPSCorps, 501c3, organizations that grew out of a Health Care Innovation Award from the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

A gynecologist with a degree in public policy, Lindau studies the health and health care of marginalized populations throughout their lives, by engaging with communities to address root-causes that impede health. In her clinical work, she also devotes herself to the prevention and treatment of sexual disorders in women and girls affected by cancer and other complex illnesses.

Lindau has been recognized extensively for her work, including as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at UChicago and with a 2016-18 Aspen Institute Health Innovators Fellowship.

Adekunle “Kunle” Odunsi has been named the first AbbVie Foundation Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Odunsi is the AbbVie Foundation Director of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Dean for Oncology of the Biological Sciences Division. He came to Chicago in March 2021 from Buffalo, New York, where he served as deputy director at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. He also served as executive director of the Center for Immunotherapy and chair of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at Roswell Park.

A gynecologic oncologist and an expert in cancer immunotherapy, Odunsi’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of immune recognition and tolerance in ovarian cancer and translating these findings to immunotherapy clinical trials. He pioneered the development of antigen-specific vaccine therapy and “next-generation” adoptive T-cell immunotherapies to prolong remission rates in women with ovarian cancer.

Among numerous awards and honors, Odunsi is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and serves as co-chair of the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Moonshot Immuno-Oncology Translational Network Steering Committee.

Humanities Division

Frederick A. de Armas has been named the Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Romance Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature and the College, effective Aug. 1.

A literary scholar, critic and novelist, de Armas focuses his scholarly work on the literature of Renaissance and early modern Spain, often from a comparative perspective. He writes extensively on authors such as Cervantes, Calderón and Lope de Vega and explores connections between Spanish literature and Italian art and architecture, and between myth and empire during the rule of the Habsburgs.

His many books written and edited in English and Spanish include Quixotic Frescoes: Cervantes and the Italian Renaissance Art (2006); Ovid in the Age of Cervantes (2010); Don Quixote Among the Saracens: A Clash of Civilizations and Literary Genres (2011); and Women Warriors in Early Modern Spain: A Tribute to Bárbara Mujica (2019). De Armas has written a few novels about Cuba such as El abra del Yumurí (2016) and Sinfonía salvaje (2019). His new book The Danger Outside: Cervantes’ Architecture will be published in 2022.

In 2018, de Armas received a doctorate honoris causa from the Université de Neuchatel in Switzerland. In 2007, he received UChicago’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring.

Martha Feldman has been named the Ferdinand Schevill Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Music and the College.

A cultural historian, Feldman centers her scholarship on different vernacular music from 1500 to the present. Her wide-ranging scholarship has encompassed madrigals in the civic culture of Renaissance Venice; the music of courtesans and 18th-century opera as a manifestation and refraction of changing notions of sovereignty, myth and festivity; and the entanglements of voice with race, alterity, media, memory and historical practice.

Feldman has written and edited many books and monographs, including The Voice as Something More: Essays toward Materiality (2019), co-edited with Judith T. Zeitlin; The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds (2015); and Opera and Sovereignty: Transforming Myths in Eighteenth-Century Italy (2007), which received the 2010 Gordon J. Laing Award of the University of Chicago Press. Among many honors and distinctions, she received the 2001 Dent Medal from the Royal Musical Association and the 2009 Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award.

Michael Kremer has been named the Mary R. Morton Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the College.

His scholarship focuses on the history of analytic philosophy, with an emphasis on studies of Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell and the early work of Ludwig Wittgenstein. Kremer has an abiding interest in logic, the philosophy of mathematics and the philosophy of language, as well as the relationship between reason and religious faith.

Among his many essays and publications, Kremer has written “The Purpose of Tractarian Nonsense” in the journal Nous (2001); “Sense and reference: the origins and development of the distinction” in the Cambridge Companion to Frege (2010); and “A Capacity to Get Things Right: Gilbert Ryle on Knowledge” in the European Journal of Philosophy (2017).

In 2008, Kremer received the Llewellyn John & Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In 2021–2022, he will be a visiting fellow at All Souls College, Oxford University, where he will pursue research on the life and philosophy of Gilbert Ryle, particularly in relation to the knowing how/knowing that debate.

Thomas Lamarre has been named the Gordon J. Laing Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Cinema and Media Studies and of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and the College.

Drawn to studying media and mass culture, Lamarre focuses on cinema, animation and new media. His interests encompass the history of technology and science, emphasizing the building of national and cultural identities; comparative philosophy and cultural theory; animal studies and environmental humanities; and empire and critical race studies. His current research on animation addresses the use of animals in the formation of media networks associated with colonialism and extraterritorial empire, and the consequent politics of animism and speciesism.

His book, The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation (2009), established his reputation as a leading scholar about Japanese animation. Lamarre’s most recent publication, The Anime Ecology: A Genealogy of Television, Animation, and Game Media (2018), examines the social impact of television through the lens of anime, while placing Japanese television and animation within significant historical and global frameworks. Lamarre is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

David J. Levin has been named the first Alice H. and Stanley G. Harris Jr. Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Germanic Studies and Cinema and Media Studies and the College.

Levin focuses on the aesthetics and politics of performance in opera, theater and cinema. In addition to his scholarship and teaching, he has worked extensively as a dramaturg and collaborator for opera and ballet productions in Germany and the U.S., such as the Frankfurt Opera, Frankfurt Ballet, Bavarian State Opera in Munich and Lyric Opera of Chicago.

His scholarship supports his avid interest in performance. Levin is the editor of Opera Through Other Eyes (1994), and the author of Richard Wagner, Fritz Lang, and the Nibelungen: The Dramaturgy of Disavowal (1998) and Unsettling Opera: Staging Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, and Zemlinsky (2007).

From 2011–16, he was the founding director of the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago. Currently, he serves as senior advisor to the provost for arts.

Josephine McDonagh has been named the George M. Pullman Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature and the College.

Within her focus on 19th-century British literature, colonialism and the politics of literary expression, McDonagh researches the vital intersections between literature and the diverse social contexts in which literary texts were produced and circulated. Her scholarly work encompasses wide-ranging topics from violence to family politics, population and mobility.

McDonagh is the author of Literature in a Time of Migration: British Fiction and the Movement of People 1815–1876 (2021); Child Murder and British Culture, 1720–1900 (2003); George Eliot (1997); and De Quincey’s Disciplines (1994). She has co-edited several volumes on topics, including gender politics, literature’s encounters with 19th-century science, Dickens and the French Revolution, colonial commodity culture and migration studies. Starting July 1, she will be director of the Nicholson Center for British Studies.

Sianne Ngai has been named the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature and the College, effective Aug. 1.

Her scholarly work is most broadly concerned with the analysis of aesthetic forms and judgments specific to capitalism. Ngai’s first book, Ugly Feelings (2005), focuses on politically ambiguous, non-cathartic emotions such as envy and irritation compared to anger and fear. Her second book, Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting (2012), argues for the contemporary centrality of three everyday aesthetic categories, which Ngai approaches with the same philosophical seriousness given to the beautiful and sublime. For this book, she received the James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association.

Ngai’s most recent book, Theory of the Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment and Capitalist Form (2020), explores the “gimmick” as an affective speech art and form encoding a series of interconnected contradictions about labor, time and value. Currently, she is working on a book about the ways in which Marx, Hegel and several other well-known writers and artists inhabit error.

In 2015, Ngai was awarded an honorary doctorate in humanities from the University of Copenhagen.

Lawrence Zbikowski has been named the Addie Clark Harding Professor in the Department of Music and the College.

A leading scholar of music theory and analysis, Zbikowski in his research applies recent work in cognitive science and cognitive linguistics to questions of musical understanding. Topics he has explored include music and emotion, musical agency, music and movement and the ways musicians extend cognitive processes through interactions with instruments and each other.

His recent book, Foundations of Musical Grammar (2017), builds on research about fundamental aspects of human communication to explore how meaningful musical utterances are created. A prolific author, Zbikowski has published articles and chapters on music and dance, metaphor and music theory, conceptual blending and music, tone painting in 18th-century music and text-music relationships in early-19th-century song. In 2019, he received UChicago’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award.

Social Sciences Division

Susan Levine has been named the Rebecca Anne Boylan Distinguished Service Professor in Education and Society, the Department of Psychology and the College.

Levine investigates the development of mathematical cognition and the effects of input from parents and teachers on promoting children’s learning in math and science. In her most recent work, she focuses on the development of home- and school-based interventions that leverage cutting-edge basic science to improve math and science learning. These remarkable studies document the ways in which math-anxious parents and teachers implicitly communicate their anxiety to children.

As the founder and director of the UChicago Science of Learning Center, she brings researchers and practitioners together with the ambition of enhancing research and learning outcomes. Among many notable publications, she is the author of two books, with a third, Math is Not Optional, in progress with Oxford University Press.

In 2018, Levine was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a distinction that follows a number of other indicators of her eminence in the field, including the Anne L. Brown Award for Excellence in Developmental Research. She is an elected fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Kenneth B. Moss has been named the Harriet & Ulrich E. Meyer Professor in the Department of History and the College.

Moss studies modern Jewish politics, culture and thought in the age of the nation. His work traces how Jewish visions of cultural and political self-determination were realized, frustrated, unmade or recast across the 20th century from Russia and Poland to Palestine and Israel—and what happened to Jews in the process. Previously the Felix Posen Professor of Modern Jewish History at Johns Hopkins University, he will join UChicago in July.

His acclaimed first book, Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution (2009) examined the triumph and tragedy of bids for Yiddish and Hebrew cultural renaissance amidst total war and revolution. Recovering bold artistic creativity and nation-building undone by violence and repression, Jewish Renaissance demonstrated the intensity of Jewish engagement with the liberal ethos of culture and art as vehicles of freedom, and the surprisingly deep impact of that ethos on Jewish nationalism.

This autumn, Harvard University Press will publish Moss’ second book. An Unchosen People: Jewish Political Reckoning in Interwar Poland traces how pre-Holocaust Europe’s largest Jewish community reckoned with nationalism’s pathologies, diaspora’s fragility, Zionism’s promises and the problem of choice under conditions of powerlessness and danger. Advance reviews herald it as a second foundational contribution.

Esteban Rossi-Hansberg has been named the Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics and the College.

Rossi-Hansberg considers the spatial properties of economic growth in terms of both the within-country and international dynamics of the spatial organization of economic activity. His 2018 Journal of Political Economy paper, “The Geography of Development,” offers a novel framework incorporating the barriers that impede workers from migrating, and distinguishing positive reasons for staying in place from barriers to leaving. His contributions to the study of international trade are equally significant.

In addition to these lines of research, Rossi-Hansberg has made important contributions to the study of organizations, with a focus on variations in knowledge in organizational hierarchies and the implications of knowledge asymmetries for labor economics and international trade.

He is an elected fellow of the Econometric Society and has received the August Lösch Prize, and the Geoffrey J. D. Hewings Award, among others. Previously the Theodore A. Wells Professor of Economics at Princeton University, he will join UChicago in July. He is an alumnus of the University of Chicago, having earned his doctorate in economics in 2002 under the advising of Nobel laureate Robert Lucas.

Booth School of Business

Bariş Ata has been named the Sigmund E. Edelstone Distinguished Service Professor of Operations Management.

Ata takes a problem-driven approach to bridge the theory and practice of operations management and has used stochastic models to study manufacturing and service operations, airline revenue management, delivery of health care services, operational innovation in the social sector and stochastic networks.

Ata’s current research interests include xenotransplantation, operational issues in the criminal justice system and the logistical challenges in the last-mile delivery problems in Africa. His work has been recognized by the Best Paper in Service Science Award, INFORMS (2009), William Pierskalla Best Paper Award, INFORMS (2015) and Wickham Skinner Best Paper Award, POMS (2019). He is a recipient of the Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Young Scholar Prize, INFORMS (2015) and the Emory Williams MBA Teaching Award at Chicago Booth (2021).

Ata serves as the editor for the Stochastic Models and Simulation Department of Management Science and the deputy editor for Stochastic Systems. He has also served as an associate editor for Mathematics of Operations Research, Operations Research, Management Science, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management and Stochastic Systems.

Sanjay K. Dhar has been named the first James M. Kilts Jr. Professor of Marketing.

Dhar is an expert on strategic marketing management, advanced marketing strategy, brand management, new product development, pricing strategy, promotion strategy, advertising strategy, product placement strategy, retail price advertising strategies, retail management best practices, consumer and retail sales promotions, trade promotions, private labels, category management, loyalty reward programs, EDLP pricing, assortment management, purchase incidence and brand choice.

His research has won the 2019 Dick Wittink Prize for the best paper published in Quantitative Marketing and Economics, was selected as a finalist for the American Marketing Association’s 2012 William F. O’Dell Award and was awarded the organization’s 2008 Paul E. Green Award.  Dhar received the John D. C. Little Award in 1995 for the best marketing paper published in an INFORMS journal and was a runner-up for the Davidson Award in 2003 for the best paper published in the Journal of Retailing.

Dhar has published articles in the Journal of Political Economy, Marketing Science, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Retailing, Management Science, Marketing Letters, Quantitative Marketing and Economics, and Pricing Theory and Practice.

Jean-Pierre Dubé has been named the first James M. Kilts Distinguished Service Professor of Marketing.

He also serves as the director of Chicago Booth’s Kilts Center for Marketing, is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and is an academic trustee at the Marketing Science Institute.

Dubé’s research interests lie at the intersection of industrial organization and quantitative marketing. He has conducted empirical studies on the formation of consumer preferences for branded goods, price discrimination, advertising, food deserts and nutrition policy, and the role of misinformation in consumer demand.

His work has been published in the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Political Economy, Management Science, Marketing Science, Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Quarterly Journal of Economics, and the RAND Journal of Economics. He also serves as an area/associate editor for the Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, Marketing Science, and Quantitative Marketing and Economics.

Dubé was the recipient of Chicago Booth’s Phoenix Award for service to the extracurricular and community activities of the Class of 2016, the American Marketing Association’s 2008 Paul E. Green Award and Booth’s 2005 Faculty Teaching Excellence Award for Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Programs.

Divinity School

Willemien Otten has been named the Dorothy Grant Maclear Professor in the Divinity School and the College.

A historian of Christianity and Christian thought, Otten focuses on the medieval and early Christian intellectual tradition, with an emphasis on the continuity of Platonic themes. The role of nature and humanity interest her most; her work draws attention to an idea of nature in which nature is an ally and co-worker of the divine.

She is the author of numerous volumes including the recent Thinking Nature and the Nature of Thinking: From Eriugena to Emerson (2020) and serves as an editor for the Journal of Religion. Otten is also the editor or co-editor of landmark works in the theological field, including the three-volume Oxford Guide to the Historical Reception of Augustine (2013) and Augustine Our Contemporary. Examining the Self in Past and Present (2018).

Otten was named a 2015–2016 Luce Fellow by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and The Henry Luce Foundation, Inc. She has served as the President of the Society for Eriugenian Studies (SPES) since 2011. Among her many honors are a 2019 honorary doctorate from the University of Copenhagen, awarded for her comprehensive work in the history of theology and church history.

As director of the Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion, Otten oversees a variety of programming—from fellowships and visiting scholars, to papers and conferences—in order to bring to life crucial conversations on religion in public life.