Please join in welcoming the following new faculty. We look forward to outstanding scholarship, teaching, and service from these newest members of the Arts & Sciences community. Congratulations!
David Queller, PhD, joins the Department of Biology in Arts & Sciences as Spencer T. Olin professor. Most recently he held the position of Harry Carothers and Olga Keith Wiess Professor in Natural Sciences at Rice University. His research interests include evolutionary biology, particularly the evolution of social interactions: the evolution of altruistic behavior, parent-offspring conflict; conflict and cooperation in social insects and social amoebae; mating systems and sexual selection in plants and animals; applications of population genetic and quantitative genetic methods in these areas. He received his doctorate in biological sciences from the University of Michigan. He is the author of numerous publications, has won a number of prestigious grants and honors, and has been elected member to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Queller is currently working with Dr. Strassmann on a research project entitled “Evolution and genetics of kin recognition in a model system” which has been awarded a four-year grant from the National Science Foundation.
Joan Strassmann, PhD, joins the Department of Biology in Arts & Sciences as professor. Formerly she was the Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Professor in Natural Sciences and Department Chair of Ecology Biology at Rice University. Dr. Strassmann’s work investigates cooperative alliances that have occurred at several important steps in the evolution of life, and have proven evolutionarily and ecologically very successful. Studying how these alliances came to be, how conflicts are subsumed into cooperation, what conflicts remain, and how they influence sociality comprise her dominant research interests. Dr. Strassmann received her doctorate in the department of Zoology from the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of numerous publications and has won a number of prestigious grants and honors. She is also on several editorial boards, including Evolution and BMC Evolutionary Biology and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Strassmann has recently received Texas Teacher Quality Grants Program funds to develop rigorous teaching training in Elementary Science. Currently, Dr. Strassmann is working with Dr. Queller on a research project entitled “Social interactions and molecular evolution” which has been awarded a four-year grant from the National Science Foundation.
Yuko Miki, PhD, joins the Department of History in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. She received her doctorate from New York University in May 2010. Her area of specialization is the history of the African diaspora and Latin America and her dissertation is titled “Insurgent Geographies: Black, Indians, and the Colonization of Nineteenth-Century Brazil.” She has presented her work at numerous conferences, including “Just Like Our Workers’: Slavery, Abolitionism, and the Resurgence of Indigenous Labor in Late-Nineteenth-Century Brazil” at the American Historical Association annual meeting in January 2010. She has received a number of awards, including the Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at New York University.
Sowande' Mustakeem, PhD, joins the Department of History in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. She received her doctorate from Michigan State University in 2008. Most recently she has held an appointment as Andrew Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in History and as a visiting lecturer in African and African American Studies program at Washington University in Saint Louis. Her research interests include the middle passage, gender and slavery in the Americas, and Diaspora/black Atlantic studies, history of medicine, and violence studies. She has won numerous awards and honors, and has recently published an article on diet, disease, and mortality aboard 18th century slave ships in the Journal of African American History.
Paul Ramírez, PhD, joins the Department of History in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. He recently received his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley and also holds degrees in the study of religion from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard College. His specialization is the intersecting histories of medicine and religion in late colonial and early republican Latin America. His dissertation, titled “Minerva’s Mexico: Science, Religion, and the Art of Healing in Late Colonial Epidemics,” examines the ways ritual performances, rumors, and lay healing knowledge shaped the official implementation of immunization in colonial Mexico.
Matt Kerr, PhD, joins the Department of Mathematics in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. Dr. Kerr received his doctorate in Mathematics from Princeton University in 2003. He subsequently held positions at UCLA, the Max Planck Institut, and the University of Chicago. A lecturer at Durham University (UK) since 2007, Kerr received one of the most substantial first grants awarded to a mathematician by EPSRC in 2009. His research interests lie in algebraic geometry: Hodge theory, algebraic cycles, and problems at the interface of these areas with mathematical physics and number theory in particular. Dr. Kerr was recently invited to speak at the "Regulators III" conference in Barcelona and at the Summer School on Hodge Theory and Shimura Varieties hosted by ICTP in Trieste, Italy.
Alvaro Pelayo, PhD, joins the Department of Mathematics in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. Dr. Pelayo received his doctorate in Mathematics from the University of Michigan in 2007. He spent a year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow, then was appointed the Charles B. Morrey Assistant Professor of Mathematics at University of California at Berkeley. He received an invitation to be Visiting Professor at the Universite de Rennes in France in the spring of 2010. Dr. Pelayo has received many awards and prizes including the Royal Spanish Mathematical Society’s annual Prize to a young mathematician. His research areas are dynamical systems and symplectic geometry and geometric aspects of partial differential equations, with a particular emphasis in the semiclassical analysis and symplectic geometry of completely integrable systems.
Minjung Kyung, PhD, joins the Department of Mathematics and the Center for Applied Statistics, both in Arts & Sciences, as Assistant Professor. Dr. Kyung’s research interests include Bayesian statistics, spatial statistics, nonparametric regression, nonparametric Bayesian statistics. She received her doctorate from North Carolina State University in 2006 with a dissertation titled “Generalized Conditionally Autoregressive Models.” Most recently, Dr. Kyung has been a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Florida, Gainesville.
Elizabeth Schechter, PhD, joins the Department of Philosophy and the program in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor, starting July 1, 2011. Dr. Schechter received her doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Maryland in 2009 with a dissertation titled “How Many Minds: Individuating Mental Tokens in the Split-Brain Subject.” She is currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy of Cognitive Science at the University of Oxford, and a Junior Research Fellow at Corpus Christi College. She uses the split-brain phenomenon as a springboard for exploring issues like the structure of consciousness, the individuation of mental tokens, and the relationship between neural and psychological facts.