Date January 9, 2024
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Faculty at Brown earn prominent awards, distinctions in 2023

Over the last year, prestigious national and international organizations recognized Brown faculty for their research, scholarship and leadership.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Throughout 2023, faculty members at Brown were honored for outstanding research, service and leadership with numerous awards, fellowships and other honors. The scholars, whose fields range from East Asian studies to engineering to epidemiology, earned both national and international recognition and support for their work. 

Among such distinctions are the following honors:

Madina Agénor, an associate professor of behavioral and social sciences and epidemiology, was one of two recipients of the 2023 Early-Stage Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health Sexual and Gender Minority Research Office, which recognizes investigators who have made substantial and outstanding research contributions in areas related to sexual and gender minority health.

Dr. Jasjit Singh Ahluwalia, a professor of behavioral and social sciences and medicine, was selected by the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Health Equity Special Interest Group to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his substantial and distinguished scholarly contributions to research on health equity promotion in behavioral medicine.

Alfred Ayala, a professor of surgery (research), received the 2024 Legacy Keynote Lecture Award from the Society of Leukocyte Biology and was invited to give the keynote lecture at the society’s annual meeting. The award is presented annually to a member for excellence in leukocyte biology research and is the highest honor bestowed by the organization.

Professor of Comparative Literature and Modern Culture and Media Ariella Aïsha Azoulay received the 2023 Royal Photographic Society Award and the 2023 Infinity Award by the International Center of Photography for excellence in critical writing, theory and research on photography.

R. Iris Bahar, a professor emerita of engineering and computer science, received the 2024 Undergraduate Teaching Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. IEEE, the world’s largest engineering professional organization, recognized Bahar for “innovative undergraduate teaching and transformative student mentoring that champions inclusivity in engineering and examines societal impacts of technology.”

Dr. Richard Besdine, a professor of medicine and health services, policy and practice, and Terrie “Fox” Wetle, a professor of health services, policy and practice, were honored in 2023 by HopeHealth with the Human Dignity Award. The nonprofit organization, a teaching affiliate of the Warren Alpert Medical School, recognized Besdine and Wetle for their dedication to the essence of hospice, which is to provide comfort, compassion and dignity to patients, and hope and healing to their families.

Lisa Biggs, an assistant professor of the arts and Africana studies, won the American Society for Theatre Research’s Errol Hill Award, and the Lila Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies from the National Communications Association for her book, “The Healing Stage: Black Women, Incarceration and the Art of Transformation.”

Professor of International Economics and Professor of International and Public Affairs Mark Blyth received the International Political Economy Distinguished Scholar Award, which recognizes outstanding senior scholars whose influence and intellectual work will continue to impact the international political economy field for years to come.

Lucas Caretta, an assistant professor of engineering, was awarded an iWOE Prize in Oxide Electronics for Excellence in Research at the 29th International Workshop on Oxide Electronics. The workshop is an important venue to discuss recent advances and emerging trends in the field. Caretta’s work focuses on solving fundamental nanoscale problems to tackle technological large-scale challenges.

Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences Kate Carey received the Marlatt Mentorship Award from the Research Society on Alcohol in recognition of her exceptional mentoring of young scholars in the field of alcohol research. Carey serves as the director of Brown’s doctoral program in behavioral and social health sciences.

Mary Carskadon, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior, received the 2023 Excellence in Research Award (in honor of sleep researcher Dr. William C. Dement) from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The award recognizes scholars who have displayed exceptional initiative and progress in the areas of sleep research, dissemination of knowledge, and mentoring of the next generation of physicians and scientists.

Professor of History Holly Case was named a 2023 Berlin Prize Fellow by the American Academy in Berlin. Her project seeks to explore symbolic World War II politics as they relate to the war in Ukraine and the 1990s wars in Yugoslavia, “alongside taint-tracing claims as they relate to the WW-II history of cybernetics and the problem of ‘dirty data’ in computer science and machine learning.”

Dr. Philip Chan, an associate professor of behavioral and social sciences and medicine, was elected to the Presidential Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS. In this role, he will advise the federal government on policy related to HIV across the United States. Since 2015, Chan has served as consultant medical director for the Rhode Island Department of Health Center for HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis. 

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Dr. Silvia Chiang received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to conduct tuberculosis research in Brazil during the 2023-24 academic year.

Assistant Professor of Political Science Donghyun Danny Choi received a Best Book Award from the Experimental Research Section of the American Political Science Association for his co-authored book, “Native Bias: Overcoming Discrimination Against Immigrants.”

Kim Cobb, director of the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, and Alberto Saal, a professor of Earth, environmental and planetary sciences, were elected as 2023 American Geophysical Union Fellows, an honor bestowed on 0.1% of the AGU’s 60,000 members. Both were selected because of their outstanding scientific achievements, contributions to furthering scientific advancement and exemplary leadership.

Lorin Crawford, an associate professor of biostatistics, received the 2023 Emerging Leader Award from the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies. Crawford was cited for “path-breaking research that combines theory and methods of mathematics, statistics and computing to generate new knowledge and insight about the genetic basis of disease; for exceptional contributions to mentoring students from multiple scientific disciplines; and for demonstrating leadership and vision through promotion and development of transdisciplinary research in data science.” Separately, Crawford will serve from 2024-2026 on the regional committee of the Eastern North American Region of the International Biometric Society, which is responsible for oversight of the affairs of the region.

Associate Professor of History and Environment and Society Bathsheba Demuth was elected to the Society of American Historians. Membership includes more than 400 academic scholars, public historians and professional writers working on topics in American history.  

Dean of Brown’s School of Engineering Tejal Desai was selected as the 2023 Robert A. Pritzker Distinguished Lecture Award winner by the Biomedical Engineering Society. It is the highest honor offered by the society and is bestowed each year an individual who has demonstrated impactful leadership and accomplishments in biomedical engineering science and practice.

Assistant Professor of Political Science Gemma Dipoppa received a 2023 McGillivray Best Paper Award from the American Political Science Association for “Fascist Ideology and Migrant Labor Exploitation.”

Dr. Don S. Dizon, a professor of medicine and surgery at the Warren Alpert Medical School and head of community outreach and engagement at Brown’s Legorreta Cancer Center, was named editor of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, the flagship journal of the cancer-fighting organization the American Cancer Society.

Karen Fischer, a professor of geological sciences, received the Inge Lehmann Medal from the American Geophysical Union. The award recognizes Fischer’s “outstanding contributions to the understanding of the structure, composition and dynamics of the Earth’s mantle and core.”

Computer science professors Kathi Fisler and Shriram Krishnamurthi were awarded Distinguished Educator Awards by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Programming Languages. According to the ACM, Fisler and Krishnamurthi’s work “has paved the way for a new generation of computer scientists and teachers and has helped to make computing education more accessible, engaging and effective for all.”

Mara Freilich, an assistant professor of applied mathematics and Earth, environmental and planetary sciences, was named a fellow for the Center for the Chemical Currencies of a Microbial Planet Faculty. The fellow program supports the center’s mission of promoting a deeper understanding of the chemicals and chemical processes that underpin ocean ecosystems and the global carbon cycle. Freilich’s work uses mathematical modeling and observations to study the role of ocean.

Scott Frickel, a professor of environment, society and sociology, won the Robert K. Merton Book Award from the Science, Knowledge and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association for a book he coauthored called “Residues: Thinking Through Chemical Environments.” The award is given annually in recognition of an outstanding book on science, knowledge and technology.

Oded Galor, a professor of economics, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Athens University of Economics and Business. Galor is the founding thinker behind the Unified Theory of Economic Growth which seeks to uncover the fundamental causes of growth, prosperity and inequality throughout human history. 

Visiting Scholar in Anthropology Alma Gottlieb received a Visionary Award from the Cape Verdean American Community Development Organization.

Dr. Colin Harrington, a clinical professor of psychiatry and human behavior, medical science and medicine, was named president-elect of the American Neuropsychiatric Association, which aims to improve the lives of people with disorders at the interface of psychiatry and neurology. Harrington, who for two decades has been active in administrative and leadership roles with the organization, will serve as president-elect from 2023 to 2025 and as president from 2025 to 2027.

Kaley Hayes, an assistant professor of health services, policy and practice, was one of four recipients of the Health in Aging Foundation New Investigator Award from the American Geriatrics Society, which recognizes individuals whose original research reflects new and relevant research in geriatrics and who are committed to a career in aging research. The society cited Hayes as “a rising star in geriatric pharmacoepidemiology.”

Professor of Brain Science and Engineering Dr. Leigh Hochberg was named to the board of directors of the American Society for Neurorehabilitation. The board plays an important role in furthering the organization’s mission to improve the lives of people with neurological disorders through advances in basic and clinical research, as well as shaping the future of the field of neurorehabilitation.

Juliet Hooker, a professor of political science, published a new book, “Black Grief/White Grievance: The Politics of Loss,” that was named to the Library Journal list of best social sciences books of 2023.

Stephen D. Houston, a professor of social science, anthropology, and history of art and architecture, received the 2023 Orden del Pop award, for his contributions to the conservation, research and dissemination of the cultural heritage of Mesoamerica, from the University of Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala. 

Professor of History and American Studies Evelyn Hu-Dehart was one of three U.S. historians of Mexico elected to the Mexican Academy of History (Academia Mexicana de la Historia) as an international fellow.

Professor of History Nancy Jacobs was elected 2023 president of the American Society for Environmental History. With approximately 900 members, it is the largest organization dedicated to environmental history in the country.

Wilmot G. James, a professor of the practice of health services, policy and practice, was named chair of Wellcome’s Climate Impacts Advisory Committee, which funds short-term, high-impact projects that combine evidence generation with communications and/or public engagement to make the impacts of climate change more visible.

David Kertzer, a professor emeritus of social science, professor emeritus of anthropology and Italian Studies, and professor of international and public affairs (research), published a new book, “The Pope at War: The Secret History of Pius XII, Mussolini, and Hitler,” which received a 2023 Longlist Literary PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award For Biography and $5,000 prize from PEN America.

Professor of Economics Toru Kitagawa won the 2023 Japanese Economic Association Nakahara Prize, which is awarded each year to an outstanding Japanese economist under the age of 45. Kitagawa was commended for his contributions to theory, evidence-based policy designs and specification tests for causal effect identification and robustification of Bayesian inference.

Professor of the Practice of History of Art and Architecture Kent Kleinman was awarded the 2023 Distinguished Professor Award by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.

Professor of Economics Brian Knight has been named co-editor of the American Economic Journal: Policy

Diane Lipscombe, a professor of science and neuroscience the director of Brown’s Carney Institute for Brain Science, received the Landis Award for Outstanding Mentorship from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Lipscombe was one of five awardees to be recognized for showing dedication to superior mentorship and training in neuroscience research.

Professor of Computer Science Michael Littman was named a recipient of the 2024 AAAI/EAAI Patrick Henry Winston Outstanding Educator Award by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Educational Advances in Artificial Intelligence. The annual award recognized Littman for his innovative teaching methods, providing service to the A.I. education community and educating the general public about A.I.

Dr. Elizabeth Lowenhaupt, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior, pediatrics and medical science, was named chair of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, an organization that aims to ​​improve the quality of health care in jails, prisons and juvenile facilities. Lowenhaupt serves as consulting medical and psychiatric director at the Rhode Island Training School, the state’s only juvenile correctional facility. 

Associate Professor of Anthropology Katherine Mason received the 2023 Boyer Prize for best article in psychological anthropology for her article “Blenders, Hammers and Knives: Postpartum Intrusive Thoughts and Unthinkable Motherhood,” published in Anthropology and Humanism in March 2022. The prize is given annually to a book or article published in the preceding three years that addresses the psychodynamic process in a cultural context. 

Dr. Patrick McGann, an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics, is among the first cohort of the Obama Foundation’s USA Leaders program, a six-month virtual program that supports and connects emerging leaders. McGann, who is the director of the Lifespan Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, was selected to join the program for his commitment to improving the lives of individuals with sickle cell disease through a focus on antiracism and health equity both locally and internationally.

Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies Iris Montero was awarded the Newberry’s Short-Term Resident Fellowship for the project, “The Guardian of the Sacred Bundle: Migrant Women Wisdom in the Early Modern World.”

Vincent Mor, a professor of health services, policy and practice, was selected to serve on the Congressional Budget Office’s 2024 Panel of Health Advisers, which consists of widely recognized experts in health policy and the health care sector who advise the CBO on analyses and the preparation of studies and cost estimates. Mor was also presented with an Industry Ally Award as part of McKnight’s inaugural Pinnacle Awards. He was honored as a top industry veteran who has set new standards, driven change and inspired others.

Anarina Murillo, an assistant professor of biostatistics, will serve from 2023-2025 on the Regional Advisory Board of the Eastern North American Region of the International Biometric Society, which advises on matters of policy, new initiatives and on the appointment of committees.

Assistant Professor of History Emily Owens was one of two people to win the 2023 Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize from the National Women’s Studies Association. The prize recognizes groundbreaking monographs in women’s studies that make significant multicultural feminist contributions to women of color/transnational scholarship.

Dr. Noah Philip, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior, received the George N. Thompson Award for Distinguished Service from the Society of Biological Psychiatry for outstanding service to the organization. Since Philip joined the society as a resident in 2009, he has participated in several of the organization’s committees and leadership roles, including serving as education chair and, most recently, program chair.

Dr. Patricia Poitevien, an associate professor of pediatrics and the senior associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion at the Warren Alpert Medical School, is one of 84 new members of the American Pediatric Society. Current members nominate new members through a process that recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves as child health leaders, teachers, scholars, policymakers and clinicians.

Sherief Reda, a professor of engineering and computer science, was named an Amazon Scholar. The Amazon Scholars program is designed for academics who want to apply research methods in practice and help Amazon solve hard technical challenges without leaving their academic institutions. Reda will be working with the company’s Supply Chain Optimization Technologies team, which Amazon often refers to as its central nervous system.

Professor of Natural Theology Bernard Reginster was awarded the Findlay Visiting Professorship by the Department of Philosophy at Boston University.

Professor of Economics Kareen Rozen has been named co-editor of the American Economic Journal: Microeconomics

Professor of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences James Russell was named a fellow for the Geological Society of America in recognition of a sustained record of distinguished contributions to geosciences. Founded in 1888, the Geological Society of America is a global scientific society with members from academia, government and industry in more than 100 countries. Russell uses key indicators trapped in lake and ocean sediments to reconstruct past climate conditions.

Dr. Stephen Salloway, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior and neurology, and the associate director of Brown’s Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, received the Leon Thal Award for Alzheimer’s Research from the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at the Cleveland Clinic. Salloway was cited for “helping open the molecular era for the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Christopher Schmid, a professor of biostatistics, received the Shadish Recognition for Extraordinary Service from the Society for Research Synthesis Methods. Schmid was recognized for extraordinary service contributions to the society including starting its journal and serving as president from 2018 to 2019. Schmid was also named a Society for Research Synthesis Methods fellow for his exceptional contributions to the field of research synthesis and to the society.

Thomas Serre, a professor of science and computer science, received the PAMI Mark Everingham Prize from the Computer Vision Foundation. The award recognizes candidates whose research projects have significantly contributed to the progress of computer vision, and have influenced and inspired the research of others.

Associate Professor of Engineering Anita Shukla was named one of 10 Emerging Leaders in Health and Medicine Scholars by the National Academy of Medicine. The list honors those who advance science, combat persistent challenges in health and medicine and spark transformative change to improve health for all. Shukla’s research focuses on developing new biomaterials-based treatments for life-threatening bacterial and fungal infections.

Jon Steingrimsson, an assistant professor of biostatistics, was named associate group statistician in the biostatistics and data management center of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, a National Cancer Institute-funded collaborative cancer research group that focuses on design and conduct of clinical trials through a network of over 1,200 cancer centers and hospitals.

Subra Suresh, a Brown professor at large of engineering, was honored with the insignia of Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, the highest French order of merit, both military and civil. Formerly the Royal Order of the Legion of Honour, it was established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte.

Lecturer in English Grace Talusan was a Massachusetts Artist Fellow with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

Senior Lecturer in Political Science Nina Tannenwald was a Fulbright visiting professor of international studies at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna from January through June of 2023.

Professor of Political Science Katherine Tate received the 2023 Barbara Sinclair Legacy Award for a lifetime of significant work in legislative studies from the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association.

Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology Peter Van Dommelen has been appointed as a visiting scholar in the Institut d'Història Jaume Vicens i Vives of the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain.

Suresh Venkatasubramanian, director of Brown’s Center for Technology Responsibility and  professor of computer science and data science, was featured in Fast Company's Artificial Intelligence 20 for helping to write the White House’s framework for A.I. governance. The list features 20 technologists, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and creative thinkers shaping the world of generative A.I.

Associate Professor of East Asian Studies Hye-Sook Wang was honored by the Korean government with a Cultural Merit Medal, the second highest honor that can be conferred by the president of South Korea on individuals who have “rendered distinguished service” to the country. Wang was recognized for contributions she has made by teaching, researching and promoting Korean language and culture.

Lai-Sheng Wang, a professor of chemistry, was awarded the 2023 Herbert P. Broida Award by the American Physical Society. Wang was recognized for characterizing solution species in the gas phase using a technique called photoelectron spectroscopy and for outstanding contributions investigating boron clusters.

Associate Professor of Music Lu Wang was awarded the Toulmin Fellowship from the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University and National Sawdust, and a fellowship from the George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation for “Three New Large-scale Compositions: Storytelling Through Themes of Place, Belonging, and Community.”

William H. Warren, a professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences, received the 2023 Ken Nakayama Medal for Excellence in Vision Science from the Vision Sciences Society. This honor recognizes Warren’s high-impact and lasting research contributions to the field of vision science, especially in the area of perception and action.  

Professor of International and Public Affairs and Political Science Margaret Weir was named a Spring 2024 Berlin Prize Fellow. She will be working on her book, “The New Metropolis: Political Power and Spatial Inequality in Twenty-First Century America.”

Assistant Professor of Engineering Monica Martinez Wilhelmus has been named an awardee of the Office of Naval Research’s 2024 Young Investigator Program. Wilhelmus is among 24 recipients who will share nearly $18 million in funding to conduct innovative scientific research that will benefit science and technology for the Department of the Navy.

Dr. Rahul Vanjani, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School, was one of six early career educators in medicine and nursing to be named a Macy Faculty Scholar, an honor that came with up to $100,000 over two years to implement an educational scholarly project and participate in a program of career development activities. Vanjani will expand the existing social medicine elective, which he launched at Brown in 2021, to professions beyond medicine, including nursing, pharmacy, social work and law.

David Zelaya, an assistant professor of behavioral and social sciences, was honored by the Society of Counseling Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association with an Early Career Teaching Award, which recognizes the contributions of an early career psychologist who has made significant impact through pedagogy, lesson content and teaching style.