November 4, 2009

November 2009 People Notes


Lutf Alkebsi joined Tufts this fall as a lecturer in Arabic in the School of Arts and Sciences. He received an M.A. in Arabic from Sana’a University in Yemen in 2006. Prior to coming to Tufts, Alkebsi was a lecturer in Arabic at Brandeis University. He also has taught at the Center for Arabic Language and Eastern Studies in Yemen and Middlebury College. He has taught beginning, intermediate and advanced levels of literary Arabic as well as Arabic calligraphy.

Lisa Dacundo joined Tufts in October as the administrative assistant to Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Sternberg. Previously she worked at Vantage Partners, a management consulting firm, where she served as the executive assistant for two of the firm’s principals. Dacundo received her B.A. from the University of Central Florida and worked for many years at Walt Disney World. She also has a certification in culinary arts.

Elizabeth Foster came to Tufts in September as an assistant professor of history in the School of Arts and Sciences. She received a Ph.D. in history in 2006 from Princeton University, and was an assistant professor at Bates College from 2007 to 2009. Previously she taught in the Directed Studies Program at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University. Foster’s research interests include modern France, France in the world and colonial West Africa. She is working on a book manuscript titled Faith in the Empire: Church, State and Colonial Rule in French Senegal, 1880–1940. Of her several articles, published and forthcoming, the most recent is “An Ambiguous Monument: Dakar’s Colonial Cathedral of the Souvenir Africain,” published in the journal French Historical Studies.

Jarema Malicki has joined Tufts as an assistant professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology at the School of Dental Medicine. Previously he was an assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Genetics. He received his Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Yale University. Malicki has more than 60 publications, along with numerous research awards. His research, which focuses on eye development, is supported by three grants from the NIH, and uses zebrafish as a model.

Miriam O’Leary joined the medical school’s otolaryngology faculty in July as an assistant professor. She did a residency in otolaryngology/head and neck surgery at Boston Medical Center, graduating in 2008. She then pursued a fellowship in head and neck surgical oncology and microvascular reconstruction at the University of Miami, graduating in 2009.

Stephan Pennington started in September as an instructor in the Department of Music in the School of Arts and Sciences. He comes to Tufts from UCLA, where he is due to receive his Ph.D. in musicology. His dissertation explores the constructions of masculinities and femininities through musical performances of the cabaret song “Von Kopf bis Fuss” by Marlene Dietrich and the jazz vocal group Comedian Harmonists in 1930 in Berlin. His areas of research include U.S. and European popular music and jazz, as well as issues of race, gender, politics and sexuality. At both UCLA and the College of William and Mary, Pennington taught courses cross-listed with black studies, American studies and LGBT studies. He has presented on a variety of topics, including the various strategies of incorporating transgender theory into musicology, the music of the Harlem Renaissance and how fear of a police state affected New Wave music in the 1980s.

Kamran Rastegar joined Tufts in September as an assistant professor in the Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literatures in the School of Arts and Sciences. He received his M.A. in 2000, M.Phil. in 2003 and Ph.D. (with distinction) in 2005 in comparative literature and Middle East and Asian languages and cultures, all from Columbia University. He comes to Tufts from the University of Edinburgh, where he recently served as interim head of the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Department and was a lecturer in Arabic and Persian literatures. Rastegar previously taught Arabic and Persian language and literature courses, as well as topics related to cultural studies of the Middle East, at other universities, including Brown and Columbia. His research interests include comparative literature, film studies, postcolonial theory and trauma studies. He received British Academy funding for his research and has published several articles and a book monograph titled Literary Modernity Between the Middle East and Europe: Textual Transactions in 19th-Century Arabic, English and Persian Literatures.

Michael Roberts started in September as a lecturer in the Department of Occupational Therapy in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Roberts earned a master’s degree from the Boston School of Occupational Therapy at Tufts in 1994, and then taught courses at area universities, including Tufts, as well as professional seminars on cancer rehabilitation. Most recently he was the senior occupational therapist at New England Sinai Hospital, providing clinical supervision to staff and caring for patients. He returned to Tufts in the 2008–09 academic year, working as the department’s academic fieldwork coordinator. His expertise and interests are in oncology rehabilitation and uses of gaming technology for rehabilitation.

Pablo Ruiz came to Tufts in September as an instructor in the Department of Romance Languages in the School of Arts and Sciences. He is due to receive his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Princeton University; his dissertation is titled Borges and Oulipo: The Possibility of Literature. Ruiz has taught Spanish language as well as several courses about Hispanic culture at Princeton and Columbia. His interests include 20th-century Latin American narrative, the theory and practice of translation, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, travel writing, the songs of Luis Alberto Spinetta and the history of critical ideas. His literary essays, translations and travel pieces have been published in Variaciones Borges, Formules, Yzur, La Habana Elegante and Hermano Cerdo.

Cristian Staii joined Tufts this fall as an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the School of Arts and Sciences. He received a Ph.D. in physics and astronomy in 2005 from the University of Pennsylvania, and since then has been a postdoctoral research associate at Drexel University, Princeton University and most recently the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In 2006, he received the Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter Postdoctoral Fellowship Award. His areas of research include experimental condensed matter physics, nanotechnology and biological physics. Staii has published papers in scientific journals such as Nano Letters, Biomaterials and the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Sara Su came to Tufts in September as a visiting assistant professor of computer science. She received a Ph.D. in computer science from MIT in 2009; her dissertation is titled Enhanced Visual Authoring Using Operation History. While at MIT, Su spent time as both a graduate and postdoctoral researcher in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the Computer Graphics Group, focusing on image enhancement, interactive techniques and visualization. She also was an instructor in the MIT Women’s Technology Program. Su’s research interests are in computer graphics and interactive techniques, including the creation of interactive visualizations to help users communicate, collaborate and design. She will teach courses involving graphics and visualization in addition to collaborating on research and supervising student projects in these fields.

Samuel William Thomas III joined Tufts as an assistant professor of chemistry in the School of Arts and Sciences this September. He received a Ph.D. in chemistry from MIT in 2006, and after graduation was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard, where his research focused on organic electrets, infochemistry and biophysical chemistry. Thomas recently received the prestigious DARPA Young Faculty Award, which recognizes rising research stars and provides them with high-impact funding early in their careers so they can develop their research ideas in the context of Department of Defense needs. He has published a number of peer-reviewed articles, including “Controlling the Kinetics of Contact Electrification with Patterned Surfaces,” which appeared in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. His lab at Tufts will take an interdisciplinary approach to the design, synthesis and testing of organic materials for a number of applications.

Dorothy Vannah has joined the School of Dental Medicine as an assistant clinical professor and director of simulation learning. She has 39 years of experience in various roles within the dental profession, including clinical practice in oral surgery, periodontics and general dentistry. Vannah was for 25 years a faculty member in the Department of Dental Assisting at Northern Essex Community College and in the Departments of Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting at Middlesex Community College. She has lectured on pit and fissure sealants and teeth whitening at the annual Yankee Dental Congress since 1992, among many other professional speaking engagements. In her new role, she will oversee all aspects of programs in simulation learning.


Sandra Ayres, an assistant professor of biomedical sciences at the Cummings School, presented a poster at the annual meeting of the Society for Theriogenology in August in Albuquerque, N.M., titled “Evaluation of Goat Embryos Using a Vital Fluorescent Stain for Apoptosis: An Unusual Case.”

David Bardwell has been promoted to clinical professor of prosthodontics and operative dentistry at the School of Dental Medicine.

Mary Barnes, fieldwork coordinator in the Department of Occupational Therapy in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, received the prestigious Catherine Anne Trombly Award from the Massachusetts Association for Occupation Therapy for her contributions to the profession in the areas of education, research and publications.

Patty Bode, a lecturer in the Department of Education in the School of Arts and Sciences and director of art education for the joint Tufts/School of the Museum of Fine Arts Art Education Program, has been named Higher Education Art Educator of the Year by the Massachusetts Art Education Association, which is the state chapter of the National Art Education Association. Kristen Ripley, a lecturer in the Art Education Program, was named the Middle School Art Educator of the Year; she teaches full-time in Belmont, Mass. And Marie Shack, also a lecturer who is a full-time art teacher and arts administrator in the Wilmington Public Schools, was named the Supervisor/Administrator Art Educator of the Year. They will receive their awards on November 14 at the Massachusetts Art Education Association conference at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The Tufts Art Education Program earned three of the six recognition awards given by the association.

Joseph C. Cappelleri, an adjunct professor of medicine who works at Pfizer, has been elected to Think Science Now 100, a group that includes Pfizer’s most inspiring science and medical professionals.

Thomas Carroll, an assistant professor of otolaryngology at the School of Medicine, has joined the Department of Otolaryngology at Tufts Medical Center as the director of the Center for Voice and Swallowing. Carroll earned his bachelor’s degree in music from Oberlin College and combined his interests in medicine and music by becoming a laryngologist. He most recently finished a two-year combined clinical and research fellowship in laryngology and care of the professional voice at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. His primary treatment interest is the medical and surgical care of professional vocalists, but the scope of his practice ranges from treatment of the hoarse voice to swallowing disorders and chronic cough.

Nopsaran Chaimattayompol has been promoted to clinical professor of prosthodontics and operative dentistry in the School of Dental Medicine.

Caleb Davis is the new administrator in the Department of Philosophy in the School of Arts and Sciences. He was previously the administrative assistant to Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Sternberg.

Kevin B. Dole, M74, an associate clinical professor of pathology, was named the 2009 Pathologist of the Year, the highest honor of the College of American Pathologists. He was recognized for his leadership of the college’s Council on Membership and Professional Development and for his contributions to pathology over more than two decades. Dole, who has held a variety of leadership positions within the professional organization, is the medical director at Caritas Medical Laboratories and the director of pathology and laboratory at Carney Hospital. He is also a trustee at Carney Hospital, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Oak Bluffs, Mass.

Kevin P. Gallagher, a senior researcher at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), presented a paper, “U.S. Trade Policy and Macroeconomic Stability in Developing Nations: The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement,” at a conference of the New England Council for Latin American Studies at Union College on October 3.

Jonathan Harris, director of the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) Theory and Education Program, is teaching a module on ecological economics and development in Brown University’s Watson Institute International Scholars of the Environment (WISE) Program. This year’s WISE scholars, mid-career professionals working in universities, government and nongovernmental organizations in Africa, include participants from Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Gambia, Nigeria and Botswana. Harris also had an article published in the September 2009 real-world economics review, “Ecological Macroeconomics: Consumption, Investment and Climate Change.”

Jerome P. Kassirer, Distinguished Professor at the School of Medicine, along with co-authors John Wong and Richard Kopelman, professors of medicine, had the second edition of their book, Learning Clinical Reasoning, published in September by Lippincott. The book is about how to approach diagnosis and the tradeoffs between the benefits and risks of tests and treatments. The first edition was published 18 years ago. The book is expected to be adopted for use in medical school courses on the introduction to clinical medicine and residency programs. The new edition includes 30 new cases from the New England Journal of Medicine and other sources and expanded discussions of evidence-based medicine, clinical practice guidelines and cognitive errors.

Martha Kelehan, social sciences bibliographer at Tisch Library, and Patrick Florance, senior GIS specialist in University Information Technology, were selected to participate in an institute sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities on “Enabling Geospatial Scholarship” in mid-November at the University of Virginia.

Paul D. Lehrman, coordinator of music technology in the Department of Music in the School of Arts and Sciences, will have a film he wrote and produced, Bad Boy Made Good, screened at the Museum of Fine Arts on November 7. The film is about the history and revival of George Antheil’s Ballet mécanique, a legendary musical composition from the 1920s. On November 13, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), under the direction of Gil Rose, director of orchestral activities at Tufts, will present a rare live performance of Ballet mécanique at Jordan Hall in Boston, featuring eight Yamaha Disklavier player pianos. The occasion marks the 10th anniversary of the premiere of the piece, which took place at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. It is the second time Rose and BMOP will have performed the piece, the first being at the historic 2001 Boston Cyberfest concert at Symphony Hall.

Julio A. Martinez-Silvestrini, an assistant clinical professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, reports that his poster presentation, “Atypical Hip Pain in the Female Runner” co-presented with K. Lewis, was accepted for the 70th annual assembly of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Kelly McLaughlin, an associate professor of biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, has received a four-year grant from the National Science Foundation for a research project on “Controlling Cardiogenesis via the Notch Signaling Pathway,” with the goal of identifying and characterizing molecules used to mediate cardiac formation. Techniques developed in the course of this research could facilitate the manipulation of gene activity during specific stages of organ formation.

Margaret McMillan, associate professor of economics in the School of Arts and Sciences, was interviewed by CNN about child labor farmers.

Noshir Mehta, George E. Maloney, Dhirendra S. Bana and Steven J. Scrivani are editors of Head, Face and Neck Pain Science, Evaluation, and Management: An Interdisciplinary Approach (Wiley-Blackwell, August 2009), the first comprehensive guide to explore the interrelationships between head, face and neck pain. The book draws on international experts who offer the latest research and treatment information for a range of audiences, including physicians, dentists, medical and dental students, neuroscientists and others interested in pain management. Mehta directs the Craniofacial Pain Center at the School of Dental Medicine; Maloney and Scrivani are on the faculty in general dentistry; and Bana is a clinical faculty member at the School of Medicine and a physician with the John R. Graham Headache Center at Faulkner Hospital.

Monica White Ndounou, assistant professor of drama in the School of Arts and Sciences, moderated two panels at the American Theatre in Higher Education Conference in New York City in August. She also facilitated a roundtable discussion with playwrights, scholars and dramaturges titled “Playing with Fire: Pedagogy, Performance and the Politics of Adapting Black Women’s Literature into Visual Media.” In addition, she moderated the research panels “We’re All in This Together!: Theater (and Literature) and the Black Family” and “Counter-Hegemonic Performance: Black Dramatists Re-Vision Lynching.”

Eli Peli, adjunct professor of ophthalmology at the School of Medicine and director of the Vision Rehabilitation Service at Tufts Medical Center, has been named the 2009 recipient of the William Feinbloom Award, given by the American Academy of Optometry to recognize those who have made distinguished and significant contributions to clinical excellence in visual and optometric service. Peli will receive the award at the academy’s annual meeting on November 13.

Brian J.G. Pereira, professor of medicine, received the 2009 David M. Hume Award from the National Kidney Foundation. The Hume Award is the highest honor given to a distinguished scientist-clinician in the field of kidney and urologic diseases. Pereira also was honored as a finalist for the E&Y Entrepreneur Award 2009, and is president and CEO of AMAG Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge. His research on hepatitis C and G in dialysis and transplantation have led to the design of policies to reduce transmission in dialysis units, use of donors with HCV infection and management of the HCV-infected transplant candidate.

Robert M. Reece, clinical professor of pediatrics, reports that the third edition of a book he co-edited, Child Abuse: Medical Diagnosis and Management, was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Reece is also executive editor of the Quarterly Update, a review journal in its 20th year that selects peer-reviewed articles from the medical literature relevant to child maltreatment and conditions that could be mistaken for abuse.

Yun Saksena has been promoted to associate clinical professor of prosthodontics and operative dentistry at the School of Dental Medicine.

Mayly Sanchez, G03, an assistant physicist at Argonne National Laboratory, was named a 2009 HENAAC award winner in the category of Outstanding Technical Achievement-National Laboratories. HENAAC, the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation, provides resources for recognizing and recruiting Hispanics in science, technology, engineering and mathematics on a national level.

Sharan L. Schwartzberg, professor of occupational therapy and adjunct professor of psychiatry, conducted a workshop with Jane Crimmins, G09, on “Group Outcome Study: Integrating Education, Research and Practice” at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Association for Occupational Therapy in October. Schwartzberg also did a poster presentation with Mary Barnes, fieldwork coordinator in the Department of Occupational Therapy, on “Disembodied: Betrayal and Loss of Meaningful Social Role.” Schwartzberg presented a workshop, along with Ken Schwartz and George Saiger, on “Talking or Doing: Process or Activity Groups with Older Adults” at the Canadian Group Psychotherapy Association annual meeting in Toronto on October 15.

Kenneth Shadlen, a senior research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), has a chapter in the book Knowledge in the Development of Economies (Elgar), edited by Silvia Sacchetti and Roger Sugden. The title of the chapter is “Harmonization, Differentiation and Development: The Case of Intellectual Property in the Global Trading Regime.” It is based on Shadlen’s 2005 GDAE working paper on intellectual property in the WTO and regional trade agreements.

Patrick Skelly, associate professor of biomedical sciences at the Cummings School, presented a talk on “Using RNAi to Characterize the Schistosome Teguments” at the Schistosome Molecular Toolbox Workshop 2009 at the University of California-San Francisco in September. Skelly chaired the molecular genetics session at the meeting and was the facilitator for the RNAi Workshop.

Roberto Toscano, a master’s degree student in music in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, is organizing a concert of the JACK Quartet at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston on November 10. On the program are new quartets by Kota Nakamura, G09, and Felipe Lara, G05. For tickets and more information, go to

Scott A. Trudeau, a lecturer in the Department of Occupational Therapy in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, has been selected by the Society for the Study of Human Development (SSHD) as the 2009 recipient of the Best Dissertation Plan Award. He was given the award at the SSHD biennial meeting on October 19 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Trudeau’s dissertation research explored the impact of continued engagement in education on elders’ ability to age well. He received his Ph.D. from Boston College in May.