Faculty members receive named, distinguished service professorships

Fifteen faculty members received named professorships or were appointed distinguished service professors. Sendhil Mullainathan received a University Professorship; Habibul Ahsan, James Chandler, Michèle Lowrie, Margaret M. Mitchell, Richard Neer and Susan Stokes received distinguished service professorships; and Robert L. Kendrick, Deborah L. Nelson, Steven Pincus, Rama Ranganathan, Keyoumars Soltani, Dmitri Talapin, Harald Uhlig and Tara Zahra received named professorships.

Biological Sciences Division

Habibul Ahsan has been named the Louis Block Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences and the College.

Ahsan is an internationally known epidemiologist whose research focuses on the impact of environmental agents and their interaction with genetic and other factors in the development of cancer, cardiovascular and chronic diseases. Ahsan conducts large-scale population studies integrating multiple layers of lifestyle, clinical and molecular data.

He leads several local, national and international projects and initiatives, such as the newly established Institute for Population and Precision Health; the Chicago Multiethnic Population And Surveillance Study; the ChicAgo Center for Health and EnvironmenT, to study local environmental health issues; multiple global health projects through UChicago Research Bangladesh; and the Illinois Precision Medicine Consortium, which is helping to enroll more than 100,000 participants for a national effort—now known as the All of Us Research Program—to develop a massive personal data base designed to improve the nation’s health and health care. Ahsan just received a new 10-year award from the National Cancer Institute to establish a precision cancer project as part of a national effort on cancer risk and prevention.

Rama Ranganathan has been named the Joseph Regenstein Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Institute for Molecular Engineering, and the College.

Ranganathan studies the evolution of biological systems like proteins and cellular signaling to decode the complex processes by which cells communicate with each other and sense their environments. He joined the University of Chicago in 2017 to lead the newly established Center for Physics of Evolving Systems, which studies the secrets behind the extraordinary efficiency, flexibility and robustness of biological systems designed via evolution. As a scholar, his laboratory combines experimental laboratory work with modeling and simulation, all to unravel the dynamics of these processes.

Keyoumars Soltani has been named the Allan L. Lorincz Professor in the Department of Medicine.

Soltani is an expert in the diagnostic and surgical treatment, including laser surgery, of dermatological conditions. He is a former chief of dermatology at the University of Chicago and an authority on the treatment of skin cancers, graft-versus-host disease and blistering conditions. His research interests focus on the immunology and pathology of skin diseases. He also collaborates with basic scientists in studies of tumor markers in non-melanoma skin cancers.

Soltani earned his MD in 1965 from the University of Tehran, followed by a residency in 1971 at Temple University, and a fellowship at the University of Chicago. Dr. Lorincz, the professorship's namesake who died in 2010, was a pioneer in the field of investigative dermatology. This endowed chair was funded through a generous gift by Dr. Kang-Ihnn Paik and his family. Paik, a former dermatology resident at the University who trained with both Soltani and Lorincz, is now in private practice in Los Angeles, California.

Division of the Humanities

James Chandler has been named the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor in English, Cinema and Media Studies, and the College.

A distinguished expert of the Romantic period in English literature, Chandler also has specialized in studies of the history of the novel; the relationship between politics and literature, and history and criticism; and cinema studies. For the past 18 years, he headed up the Franke Institute for Humanities at the University of Chicago, which has contributed to redefining the humanities and its role within academics and the world. Previously, Chandler was the Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Distinguished Service Professor.

Recently, Chandler published An Archaelogy of Sympathy: The Sentimental Mode in Literature and Cinema, which links the work of Frank Capra and the golden age of Hollywood to a larger cultural and intellectual history of literature. For many years, he has received funding from foundations as Andrew W. Mellon to enable collaborative projects with other like-minded institutions such as Cambridge University, University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University.

Robert L. Kendrick has been named the William Colvin Professor in Music, Romance Languages and Literatures, and the College.

Specializing in early-modern music and culture, Kendrick also has embraced Latin American music, historical anthropology, traditional Mediterranean polyphony and the visual arts. His most recent book, Singing Jeremiah: Music and Meaning in Holy Week, explores the impact of performing liturgical music on European cultures from the mid-16th century to the 17th century.

In 2018, Kendrick was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he serves as a member of Milan’s Accademia Ambrosiana. To honor his distinguished teaching abilities, he received the 2006 Humanities Graduate Teaching Excellence Award.

Michèle Lowrie has been named the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Service Professor in Classics and the College.

Author of monographs on Horace and the literary culture of Augustan Rome (both from Oxford University Press), several edited volumes, and more than 40 articles ranging over Latin poetry and prose to Victor Hugo, Hermann Broch and Jacques Derrida, Lowrie is one of two scholars in the Division of Humanities and one of only 66 worldwide to receive a fellowship for her research from the National Endowment for the Humanities in the 2018-2019 academic year. She will step down from serving as deputy dean for the Division of Humanities in July and hopes to use the fellowship to complete a book called Security: A Roman Metaphor.

Earlier this year, Lowrie delivered the J. H. Gray Lectures in the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge on security in Roman literature and political thought. She will also hold residential fellowships at the Center for Advanced Studies at Ludwig-Maximillan’s University in Munich and the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Durham in England during her sabbatical year.

Richard Neer has been named the Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Distinguished Service Professor in Art History, Cinema and Media Studies, and the College.

An expert in Greek art and architecture, Neer works at the intersection of art history, archaelogy and aesthetics. He has published widely on Greek vase painting, sculpture, architecture and poetry, as well as on French painting of the 17th century, theories on style and the history of cinema.

Starting in 2019, Neer will become director of the Franke Institute of the Humanities. Currently, he serves as the executive editor of Critical Inquiry. His recently published books are The Emergence of Classical Style in Greek Sculpture and Art and Archaeology of the Greek World: A New History, 2500-100 BCE.

Deborah L. Nelson has been named the Helen B. and Frank L. Sulzberger Professor in English Language and Literature and the College.

Studying the late 20th century culture and politics, Nelson focuses on American literature and plays; gender and sexuality studies; photography; and Cold War history. Her 2017 book Tough Enough: Arbus, Arendt, Didion, McCarthy, Sontag, Weil, explores the six famous women’s similar style and philosophical viewpoint, which derives from a shared attitude toward suffering. Their stance was a critical counter-tradition to the more familiar post-World War II polar attitudes of emotional expressivity and cool irony.

Nelson is a founding member of the Post45 collective, which publishes an online journal Post45 and book series at Stanford University Press. She serves as the chair of the English Language and Literatures Department and on the board of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.

Division of the Physical Sciences

Dmitri Talapin has been named the Louis Block Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the College.

Talapin is a chemist focusing on creating materials with interesting properties that can be used in new electronics, photovoltaics, optics and catalysts. In particular, he is interested in the rules that govern how nanoparticles assemble themselves, which enables breakthroughs such as “electronic glue,” solder for semiconductors or faster nanoscale manufacturing. He actively works with the UChicago Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to license and develop discoveries in the lab for commercialization.

Talapin holds a joint appointment at the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory. He has received a Materials Research Society Outstanding Young Investigator Award, American Chemical Society Inorganic Nanoscience Award, a Sloan Fellowship and an NSF Early Career Award, among others, and was ranked 21st in the 100 most cited chemists of the decade by Thompson Reuters in 2011.

Division of the Social Sciences

Susan Stokes has been named the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science and the College.

Stokes, who was at UChicago from 1991 to 2005, joins the faculty from Yale University. Her research focuses on democratic theory, distributive politics, comparative political behavior and how democracy works in developing societies. Stokes was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2008. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Fulbright, the American Philosophical Society and the Russell Sage Foundation.

She is the author or co-author of five books, including the forthcoming, Why Bother? Rethinking Participation in Elections and Protests co-authored with S. Erdem Aytaç; Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism, co-authored with Thad Dunning, Marcelo Nazareno and Valeria Brusco and recipient of best-book prizes from the Comparative Politics and Comparative Democratization sections of American Political Science Association;.and Mandates and Democracy: Neoliberalism by Surprise in Latin America, which received prizes from the APSA Comparative Democratization section, the Society for Comparative Research and the Hallett Prize for a lasting-contribution award. Stokes’s articles have appeared in The American Political Science ReviewWorld Politics and The Latin American Research Review.

Harald Uhlig has been named the inaugural Bruce Allen and Barbara Ritzenhaler Professor in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics and the College.

A macroeconomist, Uhlig’s research focuses on applied quantitative theory and applied dynamic, stochastic general equilibrium theory, the intersection of macroeconomics and financial economics, and Bayesian time series analysis and macroeconomic applications. He is a fellow of the Econometric Society and serves as an elected regional representative of North America for the organization. He also serves as head editor of the Journal of Political Economy

His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Institute for New Economic Thinking and the Becker Friedman Institute. Uhlig co-edited the second volume of the Handbook of Macroeconomics, published in 2016.  He contributed to Advances in Economics and Econometrics: Eleventh World Congress. His recent articles have been published in the Journal of Monetary EconomicsEconometrica, and the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking. He served as chair of the department from 2009-2012.

Tara Zahra has been named the Homer J. Livingston Professor in the Department of History and the College.

Zahra’s research focuses on the history of modern Europe from a transnational and comparative perspective; including the Habsburg Empire and successor states; migration; gender and the family; nationalism and internationalism.

Her first book, Kidnapped Souls: National Indifference and the Battle for Children in the Bohemian Lands, 1900-1948, as well as her second, The Lost Children: Reconstructing Europe's Families after World War II, have each earned multiple book awards. Her third, The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World, was recently published, along with Objects of War: The Material Culture of Conflict and Displacement, which she co-edited with Prof. Leora Auslander. She is currently working on a history of deglobalization in interwar Europe. Zahra is co-chair of the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2014 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017.

The College

Steven Pincus has been named the Thomas E. Donnelley Professor for the Department of History and the College.

Pincus’s research explores Atlantic history, the history of Britain and the British Empire, global history, early American history, and the history of the Netherlands, with a particular emphasis on the history of political economy and state formation.

Pincus, who was at UChicago from 1993 to 2005, joins the faculty from Yale University. He is the author of Protestantism and Patriotism: Ideologies and the Making of English Foreign Policy, 1650-1668 and England’s Glorious Revolution 1688-89, 1688: The First Modern Revolution, and most recently The Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for Activist Government. He has published numerous essays on the economic, cultural, political and intellectual history of early-modern Britain, early-modern empires, the British Empire and the early-modern Atlantic. Currently, Pincus is completing a book on the global British Empire (c. 1650-1784) that offers a new interpretation of the American Revolution and the origins of British India, and a book comparing the Irish Revolution (1778-1782) with the American Revolution.

Chicago Booth School of Business

Sendhil Mullainathan has been named a University Professor, joining Chicago Booth from Harvard University.

Mullainathan’s research spans broad areas of economics: behavioral, labor, public economics and corporate finance, and most recently has focused on the intersection of machine learning and public policy. He has published more than 50 journal articles, including 14 papers in top economics journals, and recently co-authored Scarcity: Why Having too Little Means so Much. In 2002, he received a MacArthur Fellowship and serves on the board of the MacArthur Foundation.

In 2012, Mullainathan was designated a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum; he also was labeled a Top 100 Thinker by Foreign Policy Magazine, and named to the “Smart List: 50 people who will change the world” by Wired Magazine (UK). Mullainathan helped co-found the non-profit organization ideas42, which applies behavioral science to positively change lives; and co-founded Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a center to promote the use of randomized control trials in development. Mullainathan is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Divinity School

Margaret M. Mitchell has been named the Shailer Mathews Distinguished Service Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature, and the College. 

Mitchell is a leading literary historian of ancient Christianity, who spans a range of topics in New Testament and early Christian writings in her research and teaching. She is the author of four books, including, most recently, Paul, the Corinthians and the Birth of Christian Hermeneutics (2010). The first volume of her collected essays, Paul and the Emergence of Christian Textuality: Early Christian Literary Culture in Context, appeared in autumn 2017. She has recently published articles on the exciting newly discovered Greek homilies on the Psalms by Origen of Alexandria and is completing a book on how the Bible was a problem for ancient Christians.

She has received major grants and fellowships including from the Luce, Mellon and Guggenheim foundations, and is an elected member of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, l’Association internationale d’études patristiques and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.