Six U. of I. faculty members to be named University Scholars
9/15/2010 | Jeff Unger, News Bureau | 217-333-1085; firstname.lastname@example.org
[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Six Urbana campus faculty members will be recognized as University Scholars. The program recognizes excellence while helping to identify and retain the university’s most talented teachers, scholars and researchers. The faculty members will be honored at a 4 p.m. reception today (Sept. 15) at the I Hotel and Conference Center, 1900 S. First St., Champaign.
Begun in 1985, the program provides $10,000 to each scholar for each of three years to use to enhance his or her academic career. The money may be used for travel, equipment, research assistants, books or other purposes.
The recipients (with comments from their nominating papers):
Narayana Aluru, a professor of mechanical science and engineering, has made important research contributions across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, which include mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering as well as materials science. Moreover, he has been instrumental in furthering interdisciplinary research collaboration in the emerging field of nanotechnology, both at Illinois and within his profession. He is an affiliate of three departments and five interdisciplinary centers.
His pioneering work in nanofluidics has set the stage for solving many
real-world problems including water purification, drug delivery and nano-manufacturing.
Gustavo Caetano-Anolles, a professor of crop sciences, conducts research encompassing evolutionary theory, genomics and structural biology within a computational framework. His primary interests include the evolution of RNA structure and the modem RNA world, the evolution of genomes, protein architecture and the evolution of the protein world, the evolution of modem biochemistry and early life, the evolution of biological networks, including cellular metabolism, and the prediction of outcomes using machine learning and phylogenetic methods.
Lauren M.E. Goodlad, a professor of English and the director of the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, has earned international renown in her primary field of Victorian literary and cultural studies and is becoming a campus leader for interdisciplinary humanities scholarship and cultural theory. In Victorian studies, she has written an influential and well-received work of literary and social history, has co-edited a special issue of the journal Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net, and has had an impressive number of articles and essays in the highest-visibility journals and books. Her work straddles contemporary cultural studies, political theory, postcolonial studies and the history of modern liberalism, imperialism, globalization and development.
Kristin Hoganson, a professor of history, has taken fields that have too rarely even been on speaking terms – U.S. diplomatic/political history and transnational gender/cultural studies – and placed them in a scholarly conversation that has brought not just mutual transformation and insight, but a new orientation to both.
Hoganson’s capacity to forge new paths across disciplinary boundaries has been recognized and heralded by colleagues, students, the university and the history profession alike. She is a well-respected, oft-cited leader in the fields of U.S. history and international American studies, and gender and women’s history.
Dan Roth, a professor of computer science, has made major conceptual and theoretical advances in artificial intelligence that have changed how computer scientists develop algorithms and programs for natural language understanding and how they think about computational modeling of learning and reasoning. Last year, he was elected a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the premier AI professional society, “for significant contributions to the foundations of machine learning and inference and to developing learning-centered solutions to natural language problems.” His research and educational initiatives have contributed to placing the university and the computer science department in leading roles in the data sciences.
Andrew Suarez, a professor of entomology, is a leading figure in two of the most rapidly growing and central disciplines within integrative biology: conservation biology and invasion biology. He is among the leading authorities on the globally invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, arguably the world’s most noxious “tramp ant”
(so-called because they accompany humans, uninvited, as they travel around the world). He was the first person to examine this cosmopolitan species scientifically in its native area and in doing so was among the very first to demonstrate the extraordinary utility of a biogeographic approach to understanding invasion success, pioneering an approach that today is the gold standard in the field.