Seven UChicago faculty members receive named professorships

Seven members of the University faculty—Habibul Ahsan, Pete Angelos, Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer, Young-Kee Kim, Paul Mendes-Flohr, David H. Song, and Jerrold R. Turner—have received named professorships. All appointments are effective Jan. 1.

Habibul Ahsan, director of the Center for Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention at the University of Chicago Medicine and associate director of the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been named the Louis Block Professor in Health Studies, Human Genetics and Medicine.


Ahsan studies the relationships between environmental and genomic factors in cancer and other diseases to understand the pathogenesis, prognosis and prevention of diseases of broad public health significance. He has published extensively on the large-scale epidemiology, genetic susceptibility and prevention of health effects of arsenic exposure, from contaminated wells in parts of Bangladesh, and also on the molecular and genetic epidemiology of breast and other cancers.

Since 2000, Ahsan has led the Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study, or HEALS, which examines the long-term consequences of arsenic exposure—a problem that affects nearly a third of the population of Bangladesh. In 2010, his team showed that the risk of dying from a chronic disease was nearly 70 percent higher for those with high arsenic levels. Those with moderate exposures had a 20 to 30 percent increased risk. A follow-up study found that the combination of arsenic exposure and smoking multiplied the risk.

Based on the scientific leads from HEALS, Ahsan and colleagues are testing whether inexpensive supplements of selenium and vitamin E can reduce rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease and death for those with elevated arsenic levels.

He is also principal investigator of two genome-wide association studies to identify novel genes for breast cancer risk and prognosis among 7,000 young women from the United States, Germany, Canada and Australia.

Born in Bangladesh, Ahsan received his medical degree from Dhaka University and a M.Med.Sc degree in epidemiology from the University of Western Australia. After completing his post-doctoral training in molecular epidemiology at Columbia University, he taught at Columbia for 11 years. He joined the UChicago faculty in 2006.

Peter Angelos, section chief of endocrine surgery and associate director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, has been named the Linda Kohler Anderson Professor in Surgery.

A highly regarded physician with extensive experience in surgery of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands, Angelos is an expert in the use of minimally invasive surgical techniques in the treatment of endocrine cancers. He is also an authority on issues of medical professionalism, new-surgeon training and surgical ethics.


A prolific author, Angelos has published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on improving outcomes of thyroid and parathyroid surgery, minimally invasive endocrine surgery, best practices for thyroid cancer treatment and ethical decision making in health care.

He chaired the ethics committee of the American College of Surgeons oncology group for 13 years and currently serves as Secretary-Treasurer of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons and the U.S. chapter of the international Society of Surgery.

Angelos completed his surgical residency at Northwestern University, with a year spent in an ethics fellowship at UChicago, and his PhD in philosophy at Boston University. After a second fellowship in endocrine surgery at the University of Michigan, he joined the faculty in surgery and medical ethics and humanities at Northwestern University, where he was chairman of the ethics committee. He joined the UChicago faculty in 2006.

Included in multiple lists of “top doctors,” he has received many honors for his clinical skills, emphasis on professionalism and devotion to teaching.

Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer, the Ann L. and Lawrence B. Buttenweiser Professor in Classics and the College, has been named the Helen A. Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor in Classics and the College.


Bartsch-Zimmer, whose research focuses on Roman literature and culture, has been honored for her teaching and scholarship with a Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching, a Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007.

She is the author of The Mirror of the Self: Sexuality, Self-Knowledge, and the Gaze in the Early Roman Empire (2006), which examines the understanding of the self in ancient Greece and Rome. Her other publications include Actors in the Audience: Theatricality and Doublespeak from Nero to Hadrian, Ideology in Cold Blood: A Reading of Lucan’s Civil War and Decoding the Ancient Novel: The Reader and the Role of Description in Heliodorus and Achilles Tatius.

Among her edited volumes are Seneca and the Self, co-edited with David Wray (University of Chicago Press. 2009), Ekphrasis, co-edited with Jaś Elsner (Special issue of Classical Philology 102, 2007), and Erotikon: Essays on Eros, Ancient and Modern, co-edited with Thomas Bartscherer (University of Chicago Press, 2005).

Bartsch-Zimmer is a graduate of Princeton University and received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, where she taught before joining the UChicago faculty in 1998.

Young-Kee Kim, who has made outstanding contributions to the understanding of fundamental particles and their interactions, has been appointed the Louis Block Professor in Physics. Kim joined the UChicago faculty in 2003 and has served as deputy director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory since 2006. Previously she taught at the University of California, Berkeley.


Kim has devoted much of her work to understanding the origin of mass for fundamental particles, which manifests itself as weight under the force of gravity. She has studied the two most massive particles, the W boson and the top quark, at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in order to better understand how particles acquire mass.

Kim is the former co-spokesperson (co-leader) of the CDF (Collider Detector at Fermilab) experiment at Fermilab’s Tevatron, which completed data collection last September. Kim also participates in the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics in Geneva, Switzerland, and in an effort to develop the next generation of accelerators.

Kim’s many honors include the University of Rochester’s Distinguished Scholar Medal (2010), the South Korean government’s Science and Education Service Medal (2008), and the Ho-Am Prize (2005) for outstanding achievements in basic science.

Paul Mendes-Flohr, a leading scholar on modern Jewish thought and intellectual history, has been named the Dorothy Grant Maclear Professor in the Divinity School and the Committee on Jewish Studies.


An expert on the works of the German-Jewish religious philosopher Martin Buber, Mendes-Flohr is currently at work on a biography of Buber.

He is the author of German Jews: A Dual Identity (1999), which explores the complex cultural loyalties of German Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mendes-Flohr’s other works include The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History (with Jehuda Reinharz), Progress and its Discontents (in Hebrew), and Divided Passions: Jewish Intellectuals and the Experience of Modernity.

He is the editor of A Land of Two Peoples: Martin Buber on Jews and Arabs, published by the University of Chicago Press. Mendes-Flohr also is editor-in-chief, with Bernd Witte, of the 21-volume critical edition of Martin Buber’s writings in German. 

Mendes-Flohr joined the UChicago faculty in 2000, after teaching for 30 years at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received his PhD from Brandeis University.

David H. Song, vice chairman of surgery, section chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery and director of the plastic surgery residency-training program at the University of Chicago Medicine, has been named the Cynthia Chow Professor in Surgery.


An internationally recognized expert in plastic and reconstructive surgery, Song specializes in breast reconstruction and oncoplastic surgery—a multispecialty approach to tumor removal and tissue reconstruction. His research, including several current clinical trials, focuses on improving breast reconstruction after lumpectomy or mastectomy. He also has pioneered techniques for the repair of chest wall defects.

A fellow in the American College of Surgeons and past president of the Chicago Society of Plastic Surgeons, Song also has served as a board member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Association of Academic Chairmen of Plastic Surgery. He serves on the boards of the UChicago Laboratory Schools and the Medical Aid for Children of Latin America, which provides free surgical care for children with congenital deformities in the Dominican Republic.

He edited two textbooks and is associate editor of Plastic Surgery, 3rd Edition, the definitive textbook in the field, to be published this year.

Song has received many honors, including the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of California, Riverside; and clinician of the year from Y-ME, a national breast cancer advocacy organization.

Song earned his medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed his general surgery residency and fellowships in plastic surgery and microsurgery at UChicago Medicine. He then joined the Chicago faculty in 2001. He was named section chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery in 2004. In 2009, he completed an MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and was named vice chairman for business and strategy for surgery.

Jerrold R. Turner, associate chairman of pathology, has been named the Sara and Harold Lincoln Thompson Professor in Pathology and Medicine.


An active physician and scientist, Turner has primary clinical expertise in gastrointestinal pathology. His research interests relate to disorders associated with defective intestinal barrier function, including inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and graft versus host disease. Turner's research group integrates tools from diverse disciplines, including cell biology, electrophysiology, structural and molecular biology, and immunology to understand how barrier dysfunction drives disease.

Turner studies how the epithelial cells that line the digestive tract establish, maintain and regulate barriers to prevent uncontrolled exchange between the hostile environment of the gut lumen and the sterile internal tissues. His laboratory has focused on the biology and pathobiology of tight junctions, the structures that seal and regulate flux across the space between adjacent epithelial cells.

Turner's recent work has changed scientists' understanding of how tight junctions function, replacing an older model with a more dynamic one. Ongoing efforts of his lab include molecular characterization of these interactions and their roles in barrier regulation. Application of these data to preclinical models has allowed Turner to develop novel therapeutic approaches that restore intestinal barrier function and limit or prevent disease.

The author of nearly 200 articles, reviews and book chapters, Turner has been recognized with Outstanding Investigator awards from the American Society for Investigative Pathology and the American Physiological Society. He is presently associate editor of Gastroenterology, serves on several editorial boards, and holds leadership positions in major pathology, physiology and gastroenterology societies.