Meet our new faculty: Natural sciences and mathematics

This semester, Arts & Sciences welcomes more than 30 new faculty members! Meet some of the new members of our community.

This fall, departments and programs spanning the natural sciences and mathematics welcomed new researchers and instructors to their ranks. See brief introductions below, and be sure to also read about our new faculty in the social sciences and new faculty in the humanities


Swanne Gordon

Swanne Gordon, PhD, joins the Department of Biology as an assistant professor. Gordon is an evolutionary biologist and behavioral ecologist whose research is built around the underlying question: why is there diversity in nature, and how is it maintained? Her work is interdisciplinary and focuses on the evolution and maintenance of color polymorphisms in warning coloration, rapid evolution, and the interaction between sex linkage and adaptation. To study these topics, she uses a combination of field, laboratory, mathematical, and behavioral experiments. Prior to her appointment at Washington University, Gordon was an Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Jyväskylä. She earned her doctorate at the University of California, Riverside.

Michael Landis

Michael Landis, PhD, joins the Department of Biology as an assistant professor. Landis is interested in learning how evolutionary processes behave and how Earth's biodiversity has changed over time. His lab at Washington University develops statistical models and scientific software to search for evolutionary patterns in biological and simulated datasets. In particular, he is interested in inferring phylogenetic relationships among species, estimating historical patterns of biogeography, and learning how phenotypes evolve over millions of years. Landis earned his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, and most recently was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University.

Andrés López-Sepulcre

Andrés López-Sepulcre, PhD, joins the Department of Biology as an assistant professor. López-Sepulcre is interested in a variety of ecological and evolutionary questions, especially involving the relationship between both disciplines. Within the framework of eco-evolutionary theory, he asks questions on topics like: the relationship between adaptation on ecosystem processes (e.g. nutrient cycling), density- and frequency-dependent selection, rapid evolution, or the regulation of populations in space and time. Prior to his appointment at Washington University, López-Sepulcre was a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CRNS) and the University of Jyväskylä in Finland.


Thomas Bakupog

Thomas Bakupog, PhD, joins the Department of Chemistry as a general chemistry lecturer and director of peer-led team learning (PLTL). Bakupog earned his doctorate from the University of Wyoming, Laramie. He has taught general chemistry for more than seven years, including in his previous position at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. Bakupog’s goal in working with students in general chemistry is to make chemistry more relatable to everyday life. He hopes this approach will allow students to overcome some of the anxiety that traditionally surrounds chemistry.


Environmental Studies

Karen DeMatteo

Karen DeMatteo, PhD, joins Environmental Studies as a lecturer. DeMatteo has a long relationship with Washington University; she has lectured with Environmental Studies on a part-time basis since 2008 and has been a research scientist in the Department of Biology since 2014. She now serves as a full-time lecturer focusing on geographic information systems. DeMatteo earned her doctorate from Saint Louis University and holds adjunct appointments at the WildCare Institute - Saint Louis Zoo and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Her research is focused on the biology and ecological interactions that occur at species and community level, and her research methods include ecological genetics, GIS technology, behavioral ecology, physiological ecology, and reproductive physiology. 

Mathematics and Statistics

Aliakbar Daemi

Aliakbar Daemi, PhD, joins the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as an assistant professor. In his research, Daemi uses geometrical tools provided by gauge theory to study low dimensional objects. His interests include gauge theory, low-dimensional topology, and symplectic geometry. After earning his doctorate from Harvard University, Daemi served as a research assistant professor at Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University. Most recently, he was a visiting assistant professor at Columbia University. His work is supported by the National Science Foundation.

Francesco Di Plinio

Francesco Di Plinio, PhD, joins the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as an assistant professor. Di Plinio’s research interests include harmonic analysis and partial differential equations, and his current project "Singular integrals with modulation or rotational symmetries" is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Prior to his appointment at Washington University, he served on the mathematics faculty at the University of Virginia and Brown University. He earned his doctorate in pure mathematics from Indiana University Bloomington. This semester, he will teach Calculus II.

Soumendra Lahiri

Soumendra Lahiri, PhD, joins the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as the Stanley A. Sawyer Professor. Lahiri joined the faculty of NC State University in 2012 and was named a Distinguished Professor of Statistics in 2014. His research interests include resampling and computer intensive methods, financial statistics and econometrics, spatial and environmental statistics, asymptotic expansions, and social science and security applications of data analytics. Lahiri is the author of two books and more than 100 papers, and his work has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency, among others. He serves as an editor of Sankhya, Series A, and he earned his doctorate from Michigan State University.


Manel Errando

Manel Errando, PhD, transitions into the role of assistant professor in the Department of Physics. Errando first came to Washington University in 2015 as a research scientist, and in 2017 he became a lecturer. His research interests include the study of X-ray and gamma-ray emission from accreting black holes and stellar-mass binaries, as well as developing new high-energy astrophysics instrumentation. He has won numerous grants and awards from NASA, including the Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowship for Early Career Researchers in 2018. Errando teaches introductory physics and solar system astronomy; earlier this year, he won ArtSci Council’s Excellence in Teaching Award in Science. He earned his doctorate from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Augusto Medeiros da Rosa

Augusto Medeiros da Rosa, PhD, joins the Department of Physics as a lecturer. Medeiros does research on models of particle dark matter and their astrophysical implications. This semester, he is teaching introductory physics and honors problem solving. He earned his doctorate from Washington University earlier this year.