Twenty-three UChicago faculty receive named, distinguished service professorships

Twenty-three University of Chicago faculty members have received named professorships or have been appointed distinguished service professors.

Profs. Maud Ellmann, Maryellen Giger, Melissa Gilliam, Ralph Koijen, Raphael Lee, Salikoko Mufwene, Stefan Nagel, Lucia Rothman-Denes, Margaret Beale Spencer, Amir Sufi and Dmitri Talapin received distinguished service professorships, while Profs. Anthony Casey, Jing Chen, Herschella Conyers, Dhammika Dharmapala, Rina Foygel Barber, Laura Gagliardi, Anastasia Giannakidou, R. Tamara Konetzka, Stephan Palmié, Selwyn Rogers, Sonja Starr and Alexander Todorov received named professorships.

Biological Sciences Division

Jing Chen has been named the Janet Davison Rowley Professor in Cancer Research in the Department of Medicine. This new professorship honors Rowley, whose pioneering research on the links between genetics and cancer earned her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Chen works to understand the signaling interplay between metabolic and cell signaling networks for a better understanding of cancer metabolism and improved clinical outcomes. In particular, his research seeks to determine metabolic and signaling functions of intracellular metabolites and circulating “blood chemicals,” which affect how tumors evolve, grow and respond to treatment; and to decipher the links between diet and particular cancer mutations.

He is director of the Cancer Metabolomics Research Center at UChicago Medicine.

His awards include the American Cancer Society Basic Research Scholar Award, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Career Development Program Scholar Award, and the Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar Award.

Melissa Gilliam has been named the Ellen H. Block Distinguished Service Professor of Health Justice in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pediatrics.

Named vice provost in 2016, Gilliam focuses broadly on supporting faculty at all stages of their careers to help them maintain and build academic excellence. This work includes chair development, faculty development, dual careers and recruitment/relocation. In addition to a campus-wide faculty development program, her portfolio also includes the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellows Program, the Neubauer Family Assistant Professors Program and graduate student mentoring initiatives. She also leads cross-campus initiatives related to diversity and inclusion. In this capacity, she supports the Center for Identity + Inclusion; the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture; and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.

Her clinical focus is in pediatric and adolescent gynecology and family planning. She is founder and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Ci3), a research center aiming to improve the health, education and wellbeing of adolescents—in particular those marginalized by class, race and sexual orientation—using participatory research methods including games, storytelling and design.

She is a fellow of the National Academy of Medicine, and her awards include the Loretta P. Lacey Researcher Award and the Chicago Foundation for Women’s Impact Award. She was also named one of the Chicago Urban League’s Innovators.

Maryellen Giger has been named the A.N. Pritzker Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Radiology and the College.

Giger conducts research on computer-aided diagnosis, including computer vision, machine learning and deep learning, in the areas of breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, lupus and bone diseases. She is now using these image-based phenotypes, “virtual biopsies” in imaging genomics association studies for discovery. She has now extended her AI in medical imaging research to include the analysis of COVID-19 on CT and chest radiographs, and is principal investigator on the NIBIB-funded Medical Imaging and Data Resource Center.

She is a cofounder, equity holder and scientific advisor of Quantitative Insights, Inc., which started through the New Venture Challenge at the University of Chicago. QI produces QuantX, the first FDA-cleared, machine-learning-driven system to aid in cancer diagnosis.

She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and was awarded the William D. Coolidge Gold Medal from the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, the highest award given by the AAPM. In 2013, Giger was named by the International Congress on Medical Physics as one of the 50 medical physicists with the most impact on the field in the last 50 years. She has served as president of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and as president of the International Society of Optics and Photonics and was the inaugural editor-in-chief of the SPIE Journal of Medical Imaging.

R. Tamara Konetzka has been named the Louis Block Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences and the College.

Konetzka is an internationally recognized expert in the health economics of long-term and post-acute care. Her research focuses on the incentives created by health care policy, including payment policy, and their effects on quality of care. She has been the principal investigator on numerous major federal research grants, leading to significant advances in knowledge of the drivers of nursing home quality, how public reporting of quality changes the behavior of providers and consumers, and the unintended consequences of home-based long-term and post-acute care. This year, she testified before the U.S. Senate on COVID-19 and nursing homes.

Konetzka serves on several editorial boards and is editor-in-chief of Medical Care Research and Review. 

Raphael C. Lee has been named the Paul and Allene Russell Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Medicine.

Lee is a surgeon and biomedical engineer who has focused his research efforts on characterizing the molecular mechanics of trauma injuries, including burns and ionizing radiation. He directs the Laboratory for Molecular Regeneration, which is focused on developing therapeutics that accelerate and improve functional recovery following disabling trauma. He is also working with the National Academies toward strategies to incorporate engineering control systems pedagogy into medical education. He is a member of the Committee for Molecular Medicine and a fellow of the Pritzker School for Molecular Engineering.

Lee has received the American College of Surgeons Schering Scholar, MacArthur Fellow and Searle Scholar awards. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and past president of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Lee is the recipient of the Pierre Galletti Award for leadership in trauma therapeutics.

Selwyn Rogers has been named the first James E. Bowman Jr. Professor in the Biological Sciences in the Department of Medicine. This new professorship honors Bowman, a distinguished faculty member in the Department of Pathology and the first African American to earn tenure in the Biological Sciences Division.

Rogers is a widely respected surgeon and public health expert. As founding director of the University of Chicago Medicine Trauma Center, Rogers is building an interdisciplinary team of specialists to treat patients who suffer injury from life-threatening events, such as car crashes, serious falls and gun violence. His team works with leaders in the city's trauma network to expand trauma care on the South Side.

Additionally, as executive vice president for community health engagement, Rogers works with faculty across the University as well as members of the community to develop a multidisciplinary approach to trauma care and health disparities. Rogers’ clinical and research interests focus on understanding the health care needs of underserved populations. He has published numerous articles relating to health disparities and the impact of race and ethnicity on surgical outcomes.

He is a member of the American College of Surgeons, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, the American Surgical Association, the International Association for Trauma Surgery and Intensive Care, the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, and the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma.

Lucia B. Rothman-Denes has been named the Haig P. Papazian Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology and the College. 

Combining genetic, biochemical, biophysical and structural approaches, her work on a bacteriophage system has yielded fundamental insights into viral-host interactions and identified new mechanisms for regulating gene expression at the transcriptional level. Her laboratory also focuses on further elucidating these viral-host interactions and exploiting them to discover new targets for antibacterials.

She is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology.

Division of the Humanities

Maud Ellmann has been named the Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature and the College.

A leading scholar of British, Irish and European modernism and critical theory, Ellmann researches the connection between literature, psychoanalysis and feminism, with her more recent publications turning to the literature and culture of World War II-era Britain.

Her most recent book, The Nets of Modernism, links the writings of Henry James, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce to Freudian psychoanalysis. Ellmann’s earlier books include The Poetics of Impersonality (1987), which investigates the work of poets T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound to analyze their political and philosophical allegiances; The Hunger Artists (1993), which explores the relation between writing and self-starvation in a wide range of literary and cultural contexts; and a critical study of the Anglo-Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen, which won the British Academy’s Rose Mary Crawshay Prize in 2004.

Anastasia Giannakidou has been named the Frank J. McLoraine Professor in the Department of Linguistics and the College.

Well-versed in multiple languages, Giannakidou focuses her scholarship on the study of meaning, the relation between meaning and linguistic form, and how language is used to convey subjectivity, including ideology. She works at the intersection of formal linguistic semantics and philosophy of language and emphasizes how important cross-linguistic diversity is for the development of sound semantic and philosophical theories about language.

Her most recent book is Truth and Veridicality in Grammar and Thought, co-authored with Alda Mari, which will be published in early 2021. It asks the question of how speakers form veridicality judgments about the truth or falsity of sentences, and how the veridicality judgment is reflected in the grammatical phenomena of mood choice, propositional attitude verbs, and modality expressions found in English, Greek and the Romance languages.

Salikoko S. Mufwene has been named the Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Linguistics and the College.

Mufwene is one of the leading names in the world on the emergence of creoles and on language and globalization. His current research centers on evolutionary linguistics, which Mufwene approaches from an ecological perspective. He focuses on the phylogenetic emergence of language and how languages have been affected by colonization and worldwide globalization, particularly through the indigenization and speciation of European languages in the colonies.

Among his many honors, Mufwene received fellowships at the Linguistic Society of America (2018) and the Institute for Advanced Study in Lyon (2010‒11) and was awarded a “médaille” du Collège de France in 2003. His first and seminal book, The Ecology of Language Evolution, has been translated in Mandarin.

Physical Sciences Division

Rina Foygel Barber has been named the Louis Block Professor in the Department of Statistics and the College.

Her research works on developing and analyzing estimation, inference, and optimization tools for structured high-dimensional data problems such as sparse regression, sparse nonparametric models, and low-rank models, as well as modeling and optimization problems in image reconstruction for medical imaging.

She won the 2020 COPSS Presidents’ Award, generally considered the highest award in statistics, as well as the Institute of Mathematical Statistics’ Peter Gavin Hall Early Career Prize and the 2018 Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring at the University of Chicago.

Dmitri Talapin has been named the Ernest DeWitt Burton Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Chemistry, the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and the College.

His focus is on the chemistry, physics and material science of inorganic nanostructures. By combining expertise in colloidal synthesis, self-assembly, and characterization of nanomaterial properties, his group creates novel materials for electronic, photovoltaic, thermoelectric, and catalytic applications.

Among his awards are the ACS Inorganic Nanoscience Award and the American Chemical Society Akron Award. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and holds a joint appointment at Argonne National Laboratory. 

Division of the Social Sciences

Stephan Palmié has been named the Norman & Edna Freehling Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the College. 

Palmié conducts ethnographic and historical research on Afro-Caribbean cultures, with an emphasis on Afro-Cuban religious formations and their relations to the history and cultures of a wider Atlantic world. His interests also include practices of historical representation and knowledge production, systems of slavery and unfree labor, constructions of race and ethnicity, conceptions of embodiment and moral personhood, medical anthropology, and the anthropology of food and cuisine.

He is the author of three books, including The Cooking of History: How Not to Study Afro-Cuban Religion, winner of the 2014 Clifford Geertz Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of Religion, and Wizards and Scientists: Explorations in Afro-Cuban Modernity and Tradition, honorable mention for the Caribbean Studies Association Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Award in 2004, as well as 11 co-authored books and edited volumes.

Palmié has served as president for the Society for the Anthropology of Religion; co-edited and authored several articles for encyclopedias, handbooks and readers; and given numerous invited lectures, among other service to the field. He received the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2010.

Margaret Beale Spencer has been named the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development and the College.

A leading scholar of developmental science, Spencer examines life course experiences of diverse individuals across socio-economic contexts. Scholarly insights regarding human vulnerability, risk and resiliency scaffold her theory, research and applications. Her scholarly contributions include the Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory (P-VEST), which incorporates identity, cultural and ecological perspectives with meaning-making processes. Her program of research, Urban Research Initiative (URI), embraces the universality of human vulnerability, and pursues an authentic representation of diverse humans as lives evolve in an ethnically, racially and economically diverse world. 

Broad recognition includes election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Life Course Achievement designation from the American Psychological Association. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and she returned as a faculty member in 2009.

Chicago Booth

Ralph S.J. Koijen has been named the AQR Capital Management Distinguished Service Professor of Finance. 

His research focuses on investments, macro-finance, insurance and econometrics, and has been published in the American Economic Review, Econometrica, the Journal of Political Economy, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Finance, the Review of Financial Studies and the Journal of Financial Economics.

Koijen is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a research fellow of the Center for Economic Policy Research. He is a co-director of the NBER Asset Pricing program and serves as a co-editor of the Review of Financial Studies.

Koijen was awarded the 2019 Fischer Black Prize by the American Finance Association, given biennially to the top financial economics scholar under the age of 40.

Stefan Nagel has been named the Fama Family Distinguished Service Professor of Finance.

His research focuses on asset pricing, investor behavior and risk-taking of financial intermediaries. Nagel currently serves as the executive editor of the Journal of Finance. He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a research fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research and CESifo.

Nagel has won various awards for his research, including the Smith-Breeden Prize of the American Finance Association for the best paper in the Journal of Finance in 2004, and the Fama/DFA prize for the best asset pricing paper in the Journal of Financial Economics in 2006 (first prize) and 2010 (second prize).

Amir Sufi has been named the Bruce Lindsay Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and Public Policy. His research focuses on finance and macroeconomics, and his work on household debt and the economy forms the basis of his book co-authored with Atif Mian, House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again. This book won the 2016 Gordon J. Laing Prize from the University of Chicago Press.

He is co-director of the Corporate Finance Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and he serves as an associate editor for the American Economic Review, the Journal of Finance, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics. Sufi was awarded the 2017 Fischer Black Prize by the American Finance Association, given biennially to the top financial economics scholar under the age of 40.

Alexander Todorov has been named the Leon Carroll Marshall Professor of Behavioral Science.

He studies how people perceive, evaluate and make sense of the social world. His research uses multiple methods, from behavioral experiments to building of computational models.

Todorov’s research has appeared in a variety of publications, including Science, Nature Human Behavior, PNAS, Psychological Science and the Journal of Neuroscience. His most recent book publication is Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions.

He has been awarded the 2008 SAGE Young Scholar Award from the Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology, a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2019 Career Trajectory Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology.

Law School

Anthony Casey has been named the first Donald M. Ephraim Professor in Law and Economics.

The Law School’s deputy dean and the director of the Center on Law and Finance, Casey, JD’02, is an expert on business law, finance and corporate bankruptcy. His research has been published in the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, the Supreme Court Review, and the University of Chicago Law Review. He teaches courses and seminars in corporate governance, business law, bankruptcy and reorganization, finance, litigation strategy, civil procedure, and law and technology.

Before entering academia, Casey was a partner at Kirkland and Ellis, LLP, and an associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. His legal practice focused on corporate bankruptcy, merger litigation, white-collar investigations, securities litigation and complex class actions. Casey also served as a law clerk for Chief Judge Joel M. Flaum of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Herschella G. Conyers has been named the first Lillian E. Kraemer Clinical Professor in Public Interest Law.

Director of the Law School’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice Clinic, Conyers, AB’76, JD’83, has devoted her career to criminal and juvenile justice reform and is actively engaged in local, national and international juvenile justice policy. In addition to policy work, the clinic provides direct representation to children and young adults accused of crime. A nationally recognized leader in trial skills, Conyers teaches the Law School’s Intensive Trial Practice Workshop and a seminar titled “Life (and Death) in the Law.” She has been honored with numerous awards, including a University of Chicago Diversity Leadership Award earlier this year.

Before joining the Law School, Conyers served as an assistant public defender, supervisor and deputy chief in the Office of the Cook County Public Defender from 1986 to 1993.

Dhammika Dharmapala has been named the Paul H. and Theo Leffmann Professor.

A renowned expert in tax policy and law and economics, Dharmapala is co-editor of the Journal of Law and Economics and is an international research fellow of the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation and a fellow of the CESifo Research Network (based in Munich). He serves on the advisory board of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and has previously served on the Boards of the American Law and Economics Association, the National Tax Association and the International Institute of Public Finance.

His scholarship, which spans the fields of taxation, the economic analysis of law, and corporate finance and governance, has been published in leading scholarly journals, and also has been cited in various media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The Economist.

Sonja Starr has been named the Julius Kreeger Professor.

Starr, who joined the University of Chicago faculty this year, has a deep background in the use of quantitative analysis to examine the effects of criminal justice policies. Her innovative research includes empirical studies on the expungement of criminal convictions and racial disparities in prosecution. She also has written about policies designed to expand employment opportunities for people with criminal records, the challenges of empirically analyzing policing disparities, and equality concerns associated with the use of predictive algorithms by police and courts.

A graduate of Yale Law School, Starr has clerked for Judges Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Mohamed Shahabuddeen of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Before coming to the University of Chicago, Starr taught at the University of Maryland and Harvard Law School.

Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering

Laura Gagliardi has been named the first Richard and Kathy Leventhal Professor of Molecular Engineering and Chemistry.

Gagliardi is recognized as one of the most highly accomplished theoretical and computational chemists in the world. Her particular research interests include the development of new quantum chemical methods, the computational design of energy-relevant materials, with a special focus on spectroscopy, catalysis, and photochemistry.

Her awards include the 2020 Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry of the American Chemical Society, the 2019 Award in Theoretical Chemistry from the Physical Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society, Humboldt Foundation Research Award and Bourke Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Academia Europaea and the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science, elected board member of World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists, and Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry. She has served as an associate editor of the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation since 2016. In January 2021, she will start serving as an associate editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.