October 2008

October People Notes


Amahl Bishara joined Tufts as an assistant professor of anthropology this fall. Bishara previously was at the University of Chicago, where she had been a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for the past two years. She received her Ph.D. in 2006 from New York University; her dissertation was Local Hands, International News: The Labors of News Making and the Production of International Authority through Palestinian Media Work Under Occupation. Her research continues to focus on journalism in the Middle East, and she has published several articles on this topic.

Ryan Centner, A98, is a new assistant professor of sociology. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. His research interests include comparative urban studies, political sociology, globalization, social theory, development, the built environment, Latin America and southern Europe. His most recent article appears in the journal City & Community, and he is currently editing a book manuscript about his dissertation fieldwork in Argentina. He is also teaching one of the core courses for the new Leadership Studies minor.

David Ekbladh joined Tufts this fall as an assistant professor of history. He comes to Tufts from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, where he has been a visiting scholar for the past year. He received his M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. in history, all from Columbia University. He has been affiliated with the Humanities Center at Harvard and was awarded the John M. Olin Postdoctoral Fellowship in International Security Studies at Yale University. He has published several articles and is currently working on a book project, tentatively titled The Great American Mission: Development and the Construction of an American World Order, 1914 to the Present. His teaching interests include U.S. foreign relations, the Cold War, history and international affairs in the Asia-Pacific region and international conflict prevention.

Alexandre François is a new visiting assistant professor of computer science. François is on leave from the University of Southern California, where he is a research assistant professor of computer science in the Viterbi School of Engineering. François received a Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies (M.S.) from the University Paris IX–Dauphine (France) in 1994, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from USC in 1997 and 2000, respectively. His research focuses on the modeling and design of complex dynamic software systems as an enabling step toward the understanding of perception, cognition and interaction. He was a 2007–08 fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Kenneth Garden is a new assistant professor of religion. He comes to Tufts from the department of religion at Amherst College. He received a Ph.D. in Near Eastern languages and civilizations from the University of Chicago in 2005. His research interests include the life and thought of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, the Muslim philosopher, jurist and mystic who lived in the 11th and 12th centuries; classic and contemporary Islamic revivalist thought; classical Islamic intellectual history; the medieval Maghrib and al-Andulus; Sufism and secularism. He is currently working on a book project about al-Ghazali.

Zeina Hakim is a new assistant professor of Romance languages. She was previously in the department of French at the University of Geneva. She received her Ph.D. in French from Columbia University in 2005. Last year she was on sabbatical, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, and is expected to receive her Doctorat-ès-Lettres from the University of Geneva this fall. Her research interests include 17th- and 18th-century French literature, cultural history and historiography; literature and aesthetics in early modern France; literary theory, the novel, autobiography and women’s studies. She was awarded the John H. O’Neill Prize by the Northeast American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Marc Hodes is a new associate professor of mechanical engineering. He received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from MIT in 1998. His research interests include thermal management of electronics, thermoelectric effects and their application, transport in supercritical water, applied heat conduction, heat pipes and thermal design. He comes to Tufts from Bell Labs Ireland, where he was a co-manager and scientist in a 10-member research group. Prior to that, he was a member of the technical staff at Core Bell Laboratories, part of Lucent Technologies. He holds three patents, with 16 more pending.

Kevin Irwin is a new lecturer in community health. He received his M.A. and will receive his Ph.D. in sociology from Yale University in December. His research interests include structural determinants of health, qualitative and community-based research, homelessness, HIV/AIDS and public health ethics. He has conducted research throughout the U.S., Russia and India, and taught most recently at Connecticut College.

Thomas James is a new professor of the practice in mechanical engineering. He comes from Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd., where he was senior vice president of global engineering, and most recently, senior vice president of professional power tools for the firm’s Asia operations. In his most recent assignment, James lived in a high-rise in Hong Kong and commuted weekly to the Chinese mainland, where he oversaw a major manufacturing activity. He received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 2002 and an M.B.A. in 2004 from Marquette University. He also has an M.S. in materials science and engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. He holds several utility patents for inventions related to mechanical mechanisms and manufacturing processes, with several more pending.

Kris Manjapra is a new assistant professor of history. He received a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. His fields of specialization include modern intellectual history, modern South Asia, modern Germany and world history. He has been awarded numerous fellowships, including a UCLA Mellon postdoc in the humanities in 2007. He has a book forthcoming titled Cosmopolitan Thought Zones: New Approaches to South Asian Intellectual History.

Christina Maranci is a new associate professor of art and art history. Maranci received her M.A. with distinction and Ph.D. from the department of art and archaeology at Princeton University. She comes to Tufts from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, where she was an associate professor. Her research interests include the art and architecture of the medieval Transcaucases, the historiography of art history and cross-cultural interaction. She has published two books, including Medieval Armenian Architecture in Historiography: Josef Strzygowski and His Legacy. She has taught a number of courses on Byzantine, Gothic, Romanesque and medieval art and architecture.

Dan Margalit joined Tufts this fall as an assistant professor of mathematics. He previously was an assistant professor at the University of Utah. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago. His research interests include geometric group theory and low-dimensional geometry/topology. He was awarded a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2004 and received a NSF grant in 2007. A number of his publications focus on mapping class groups and Torelli groups, braid groups and Artin groups.

Molly McCanta is a new assistant professor of geology. She received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in geological sciences from Brown University. She received a Urey Fellowship as a postdoctoral scholar at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, and most recently had been a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology. Her research interests include elemental partitioning in terrestrial and extraterrestrial igneous processes and the behavior and chemistry of magmas in the Earth’s crust. She has published in several peer-reviewed journals and has been involved in research laboratories at Cal Tech, the Johnson Space Center and Brown University. McCanta also taught for a year at Pomona College.

Norman Ramsey is a new associate professor of computer science. He previously taught for eight years at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard. Ramsey received his M.A. and Ph.D. in computer science from Princeton University. He also holds a master’s degree in physics from Cornell University. Ramsey’s scholarly work focuses on programming languages and systems. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Functional Programming, and has received the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award and a Fannie and John Hertz Fellowship.

Ichiro Takayoshi is a new assistant professor of English. Takayoshi recently received his Ph.D. from Columbia University’s department of English and comparative literature. His research interests include American literature, political theory, literature and war and Asian-American literature. His dissertation, Empire on Paper: Interventionist and Isolationist Literature in the United States, 1939–1941, will be nominated for the Bancroft Prize for the Best Dissertation in U.S. History in 2009. It examines the discourse of patriotism and internationalism on the eve of the U.S. entry into World War II through the works of key fiction writers, cultural critics and religious leaders.

Thomas Vandervelde is the new John A. and Dorothy M. Adams Faculty Development Assistant Professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering. He received a Ph.D. in physics in 2004 from the University of Virginia. His dissertation was Regulated Self-assembly of Epitaxial Silicon-germanium Quantum Structures and Their Properties. Most recently he was a research assistant professor at the University of New Mexico’s Center for High Technology Materials. He has many active grants and holds one patent.

David Vinson is a new professor of the practice in the chemical and biological engineering department. He comes to Tufts from Air Products and Chemicals Inc., where he was the principal engineering associate for global engineering. Prior to that, he was the manager of advanced control for global engineering. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Lehigh University.

Keree-Ann Waite has joined Community Relations as a staff assistant. A lifelong Medford resident, Waite comes to Tufts after working as an assistant branch manager at Citizens Bank and as a bookkeeper/cashier at Shaw’s supermarket. She studied speech pathology at Northeastern University.


Julian Agyeman, associate professor and chair of urban and environmental policy and planning, has been selected by the American Psychological Association as a member of the National Task Force on the Interface Between Psychology and Global Climate Change.

Astier Almedom, director of the Institute for Global Leadership’s International Resilience Research and Policy/Practice (IRP) initiative, introduced the concept of resilience at the Alpbach seminar on “Preventing Conflict, Creating Resilient Societies” in late August as part of the European Forum, in which more than 20 African ambassadors to the United Nations participated.

Rachel G. Bratt, professor of urban and environmental policy and planning, has returned to campus after a yearlong sabbatical. Among her many activities, she was the keynote speaker at the Australia National Housing Conference in Sydney, Australia. Her talk was titled “Partnerships, Policies and People: Promoting Affordable Housing for Lower Income Households.” She also spoke to several groups of government officials in Wellington, New Zealand, about observations from the U.S. that may be relevant to that country’s affordable housing agenda. Another trip took her to Beijing and Chengdu, where she participated in a conference organized by the China Planning Network, a joint effort sponsored by MIT and Tsinghua University. She has begun a new research project comparing Massachusetts with four other states (California, Rhode Island, Maryland and New Jersey) that have initiatives aimed at overcoming local exclusionary zoning.

Edward Butler, clinical professor of medicine, was named a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). As a fellow, Butler is recognized as a leader in the IDSA.

Christopher Cannizzaro, research assistant professor of biomedical engineering, was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The fellows are scientists and engineers in all stages of their careers who spend a year working in federal agencies or congressional offices, learning about science policy and providing expertise and analysis.

Aurelie Chanson, a postdoctoral fellow in the Vitamins and Carcinogenesis Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts, was awarded grants from the CREES program of the Agricultural Research Service and from the American Institute for Cancer Research to continue her work on vitamin B status and polymorphisms in human uracil-processing enzymes as determinants of the risk of breast cancer.

Robert Chapman, A63, D67, DG74, professor and chair of prosthodontics and operative dentistry and director of informatics at the School of Dental Medicine, was elected chair of the executive board of the Consortium for Oral Health Related Research at its annual meeting held in San Francisco in July. The consortium, initiated by Tufts Dental School in 2007, now comprises 22 dental schools in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The goal of the consortium is to share data about electronic health records and teaching. Paul Stark, an associate professor and director of graduate education at the dental school, was named head of the research division of the consortium at the same meeting.

Suzanne Duncan has been promoted to library assistant III at the Webster Veterinary Library, where she has worked since 1997, originally as a temporary staff member and then in a permanent position. In addition to helping library users find what they need, Duncan is responsible for hiring and supervising student workers, ordering books, checking-in and binding journals and representing the Webster Library on the university-wide library lending and copier-printer teams.

Asma Ejaz, a visiting research scholar from Pakistan in the HNRCA’s Vascular Biology Laboratory, won one of the three top awards in the oral competition for the American Society for Nutrition Procter & Gamble Graduate Student Research Awards at Experimental Biology 2008 in San Diego. She initially competed with more than 160 applicants and was selected as one of 12 finalists in the oral competition. Also, her manuscript was recognized as best manuscript by the American Society for Nutrition.

Rebecca Kaiser Gibson, a lecturer in the English department, was awarded a 2008 Artists Fellowship in Poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Gibson’s poetry has appeared in numerous reviews and magazines, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

WeiMin Guo, a research associate in the Vascular Biology Laboratory at the HNRCA, published an article, “Avenanthramides, Polyphenols from Oats Inhibit IL-1beta-induced NF-kappaB Activation in Endothelial Cells,” in the February issue of Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

Thomas Higgins, professor of medicine, received a 2008 Boston University School of Medicine Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus Award in recognition of his outstanding career in anesthesiology and critical care.

Samantha Jordan, D10, and Cedar Fowler, M10, are among the 110 health sciences students in the country who will get the chance to conduct biomedical research full time for a year as part of a $4 million venture by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Jordan is the only dental student among the 42 students—from 26 medical schools, three veterinary schools and an osteopathic school—who will take part in the HHMI-NIH Research Scholars Program, which brings top health sciences students to the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., to conduct hands-on biomedical research.

Gretchen Kaufman, assistant professor of wildlife medicine at the Cummings School, was awarded a renewal grant from the Elinor Patterson Baker Foundation for the Nepal Rabies Prevention and Dog Sterilization Project, with an additional supplementary amount to allow for expansion of the program into other communities.

Michael Kowaleski, associate professor of clinical sciences at the Cummings School, served as orthopedic session chair and lecturer at the 145th American Veterinary Medical Association annual convention in New Orleans in July.

Lisa P. Kuh, head teacher at the Eliot-Pearson Children’s School, has received her doctorate in teacher education from the University of Washington. Her thesis was titled Policy and Practice: Early Childhood Teacher Collaboration in a Head Start, District and University Lab School. Kuh also received scholarship funding from the Critical Perspectives in Early Childhood special interest group of the American Educational Research Association. She will continue teaching at the Eliot-Pearson Children’s School and expand her research interests.

Joerg Mayer has recently been promoted to assistant clinical professor in exotics species medicine at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. He is a member of the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians, where he has contributed to an effort to develop a board-certification process for a specialty in exotic animal medicine.

Timothy McAlindon, professor of medicine and chief of the division of rheumatology, had a paper recently published, “Is lipstick associated with the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)?” in the Journal of Rheumatology.

Tina McDavitt, field hockey head coach, has been selected to the USA Field Hockey women’s indoor national field hockey team, which will compete in the Pan American Games in Argentina in November. She was a member of the national team from 2003 to 2006. McDavitt guided Tufts to a record 13 wins last season, and the team picked up its first NCAA tournament victory.

Gilbert Metcalf, professor of economics, has been appointed to the National Research Council’s committee on health, environmental and other external costs and benefits of energy production and consumption. The committee will produce a report for the Department of the Treasury that examines the costs and benefits of energy distribution and consumption that are not incorporated in the price of energy. Metcalf was also recently quoted in a CNBC article, “Climate Consensus Obscures Obama, McCain Differences”

Jo-Ann Michalak, director of the Tisch Library, has been re-elected as Nelinet treasurer and chair of the finance and investment committee. Nelinet is a member-owned, member-governed cooperative of more than 600 academic, public and special libraries in the six New England states. The organization promotes the advancement of libraries and facilitates the sharing of library and information resources and services.

Dominique Penninck, professor of clinical services at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, was named president of the European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging at the organization’s annual meeting in Oslo, Norway, in August.

Connie Reik, associate librarian at the Tisch Library, spoke about using government documents to uncover family history at the Federation of Genealogical Societies in Philadelphia on Librarian’s Day, September 3. She will speak at meetings of the Federal Depository Library Program in Washington, D.C., in October; the Essex Society of Genealogists and the New England Historic Genealogical Society in November. She will also give a talk on “Soldiers and Sailors of the 18th, 19th & 20th Centuries in Federal Government Documents & Publications” at the midwinter conference of the genealogy committee of the American Library Association Reference and User Services Association.

Pearl T. Robinson, associate professor of political science, is completing a three-year term as president of the African Studies Association. Her presidential address, “Ralph Bunche and African Studies: Reflections on the Politics of Knowledge,” was presented at the ASA’s 50th anniversary celebration in New York City and appears in the April 2008 issue of African Studies Review. Robinson is currently director of GhanaGold: A Corporate Social Responsibility Study Tour, an offering of Tufts’ Africa in the New World program. She was among the invited guests at the September 15 State Department luncheon for His Excellency John Kufuor, the president of Ghana.

Linda Ross, associate professor of clinical sciences at the Cummings School, has been appointed a section editor in medicine for the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association.

Laurence Selenick, the Fletcher Professor of Oratory and director of graduate studies in the department of drama and dance, was awarded a William Evans Visiting Fellowship to the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. In July, he delivered a keynote address at the Australian Drama Conference and public lectures for the Gender Studies Concentration and the Russian Studies Cluster. He also published a number of articles and essays.

Ken Shadlen, a senior research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), co-convened a workshop on “Politics of Intellectual Property” in April as part of the Joint Sessions of the European Consortium for Political Research. Shadlen also gave a seminar, “La Política de la Propiedad Industrial en America Latina,” at FLACSO in Buenos Aires in May.

Jian Shen, a postdoctoral fellow in the HNRCA’s Nutritional Genomics Laboratory, received the Irwin H. Rosenberg Award for Excellence in Pre-doctoral Research for work on nutrition, genetics and heart disease. The award, named for the former director of the HNRCA, is given for outstanding scientific research, based on a written manuscript or manuscripts and conducted in collaboration or under the mentorship of an HNRCA scientist.

Patrick Skelley, assistant professor of biomedical sciences at the Cummings School, had a cover story about his work featured in the June 2008 issue of Natural History magazine. The story was called “Sex and the Single Schistosome.”

Liz Stanton, a research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), gave a talk at the National Conference of State Legislatures, which met in New Orleans. She spoke about GDAE’s report on the cost of climate inaction in Florida.

Jonathan Strong, lecturer in English, has published his 10th novel, Drawn From Life (Quale Press). It is the story of Pete Dabney, who grows up in the Midwest during the mid-20th century. Even though he’s fascinated with cars, he doesn’t quite fit in since he likes to draw and likes boys. He travels east to Boston, where he learns to become an artist and learns to negotiate his desires, returning home at mid-life to fashion a life that suits him.

Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, associate professor of political science, attended the EUCOM (United States European Command) 2020 Partnership Building Symposium held in Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany, in early August. Kathleen Peggar, F08, who is now serving as a liaison officer to EUCOM, helped organize the conference, which was the first in a series of symposia designed to enhance the partnership between the Command and some of its key stakeholders over the coming decade. Taliaferro was an invited guest from academia, and Patrick Gambrel, F08, was an invited guest from the private sector.

Paul Waldau, director of the Center for Animals and Public Policy at the Cummings School, will have a paperback version of his book, A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science and Ethics, published in spring 2009. The book was originally published in 2006.

Dayong Wu, a scientist in the Nutritional Immunology Laboratory of the HNRCA, gave presentations on “Age-associated Immune and Inflammatory Dysregulation: Impact of Nutrition” and “White Button Mushroom Promotes Natural Killer and Dendritic Cell Function” at the Symposium on Diet, Nutrition & Immunity, organized by the International Life Sciences Institute Southeast Asia Region in Singapore last spring.

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