December People Notes

Elise Ahyi has joined the provost’s office as assistant provost, working with the provost and vice provost on a variety of initiatives and special projects, including academic priority setting and strategic planning. Ahyi will represent the provost’s office on university-wide initiatives related to enhancing diversity. She will also serve as the provost’s office representative on projects related to facilities planning and campus improvement.

Dr. Nancy Arbree, associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Dental Medicine, was recognized at the 34th annual session of the American College of Prosthodontists in Ottawa, Canada, October 27-30, for her work as the organization’s president for the past year. At the President’s Dinner on October 29, Arbree received a gavel and plaque for “her many contributions to the specialty of prosthodontics and outstanding leadership as president of the college during 2003-2004.”

Diana Bailey, associate professor at the Boston School of Occupational Therapy, presented a paper, “The Occupation of Managing Household Finances,” at the third annual conference of the Society for the Study of Occupation: USA, held in Warm Springs, Ore., October 29-31.

Avner Baz has been appointed an assistant professor of philosophy. Baz most recently worked as a Harper and Schmidt Teaching Fellow and an associate member of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago. He received his M.A. from Tel Aviv University and his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2000. His areas of expertise include ethics, aesthetics and epistemology, with a focus on Kant, Wittgenstein and Cavell. Baz has an extensive teaching background and has published several papers, journal articles and a children’s book. He was the recipient of the Interdisciplinary Program for Fostering Excellence Fellowship from Tel Aviv University and a Fulbright Fellowship.

Hilary Binda has joined the university as a lecturer in visual and critical studies. She earned her doctoral degree in English from Tufts in 2002, and has taught at Evergreen State College, Pine Manor College and Tufts. Her teaching interests include literature and poetry; post-structural, feminist and queer theory; creative writing; and composition and rhetoric. She developed the first web edition of the complete works of Christopher Marlowe as part of the Perseus Project, a database of English Renaissance texts in the Department of Classics at Tufts. Her work on the Perseus Project also included the Julius Caesar website and Shakespeare’s “Richard III.” She is currently working on the manuscript for a book titled Image Conscious: Iconoclasm and the Reformation of Time in Early Modern English Literature.

Bruce M. Boghosian, professor of mathematics and adjunct professor of computer science, organized and hosted the 13th International Conference on the Discrete Simulation of Fluid Dynamics. The conference was sponsored by Tufts and took place at the Cambridge Marriott Hotel August 16-20. The conference was attended by more than 75 scientists from 10 countries. Topics presented included lattice models of fluids, dissipative and smoothed particle hydrodynamics and molecular dynamics. There were sessions on advances in theory and computation, engineering and medical applications and fundamental issues in hydrodynamics, kinetic theory and statistical mechanics. Keynote speakers included Prof. Stephen Orszag of Yale University, Prof. David Campbell of Boston University, Prof. Constantino Tsallis of the Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Fisicas and Dr. Stephen Wolfram of Wolfram Research Inc. The conference banquet speaker was 2004 Boltzmann Award-winner H. Eugene Stanley of Boston University.

Christoph Börgers, professor of mathematics, has been awarded a $205,150 grant from the National Science Foundation for a mathematical and computational study of persistent background gamma oscillations in the neocortex and their hypothetical role in states of sustained attention.

Liz Canny has been promoted to senior assistant provost for faculty administration. She has primary responsibility for the oversight of all academic appointments and works with the schools and the trustees office on matters related to the tenure and promotion process, appointment letters and faculty contracts, and school and university bylaws. In addition to these responsibilities, Canny serves as office manager for the provost’s office.

Lenore Cowen, associate professor of computer science, is the principal investigator for a new National Science Foundation grant in computational biology for a project on “Rational Genomic Annotation Systems: Integration, Mining and Modeling of Biological Data.” The work will be done in conjunction with researchers from Boston University and MIT.

Honey Earner, a staff assistant in the nursing department at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) Metabolic Research Unit (MRU), retired on October 15. She was a member of the MRU staff for 21 years.

Hugh Gallagher, a research scientist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy since 2001, has been appointed an assistant professor. After earning his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, he served as a research assistant and departmental lecturer at the University of Oxford and then as a senior research assistant at the University of Minnesota. Gallagher works principally in particle physics, in particular in experimental studies of neutrino interactions. His work on atmospheric neutrinos is playing an important role in the elucidation of recent measurements of neutrino oscillation effects. He is a founding member of the MINOS (Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search) experiment, which employs facilities at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to seek evidence for an extremely small mass for the subatomic particles called neutrinos, and is the leader of the group that will analyze the data from the detector at the Fermi Lab near Chicago. Gallagher presented an invited talk at the Neutrino 2004 conference last spring in Paris, where he gave an overview of the significance of the results of various atmospheric neutrino oscillation experiments being conducted throughout the world.

Christos Georgakis, professor of chemical engineering, is one of 308 individuals to be awarded the distinction of fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Georgakis, who was named to the Section of Engineering, was recognized for innovative contributions to the modeling and control of batch and continuous processes and the integration of process design and control. Election as a fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers to recognize colleagues’ efforts to advance science or its applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. The new fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on February 19, 2005, at the Fellows Forum during the annual meeting of AAAS in Washington, D.C.

Larry Hamberlin has joined the faculty as a lecturer in music. He recently completed a visiting professorship at Williams College, where he taught courses in ethnomusicology and rock. He earned a master’s degree in music history from the University of Washington, and his doctoral degree in musicology from Brandeis University. His dissertation research focused on the interactions of classical and popular music in early 20th-century America. He has given presentations on New Orleans jazz and Irving Berlin at several national and international conferences. His paper on operatic novelty songs won a Mark Tucker Award for outstanding student paper at the annual conference of the Society for American Music. Hamberlin is an accomplished musician and has performed as a conductor, pianist, harpsichordist and organist. He has also served as executive director of the Rochester Chamber Music Society.

Boris Hasselblatt, professor of mathematics, organized a major international workshop, the Clay Mathematics Institute/Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Workshop on “Recent Progress in Dynamics.” The workshop was held at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, Calif., September 26-October 1, and drew a large number of dynamicists, many of them among the leaders in their specialty. Thirty participants gave talks in which they presented significant new results in several specialties within the discipline. Many speakers also discussed unsolved problems, and in this way, the workshop set an agenda for future research in dynamical systems. The most significant new results as well as a discussion of the unsolved problems will be published in a conference volume by Cambridge University Press next year. At the workshop, Cambridge University Press also unveiled the book, Modern Dynamical Systems and Applications (Brin, Hasselblatt and Pesin, eds.), which was published in October.

Soha Hassoun, associate professor of computer science, has received funding for the next two years from the National Science Foundation for research on “Tools for Double-Gate FETS.”

Dr. Aidee N. Herman, clinical assistant professor of periodontology; Natanya Marracino, D05; Jose Torres, D07; and Tomas Ballesteros, D07, won second prize in the community service poster competition at the 12th annual Hispanic Dental Association meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 14-16. They presented their poster, “Oral Health and Health Literacy: Giving Back to the Hispanic Population in Boston.” Their second-prize award of $500 was given to the Tufts student chapter of the Hispanic Dental Association. Herman has served as the chapter’s faculty adviser since 1993.

Robert Jacob, associate professor of computer science, has received funding from the National Science Foundation for his three-year project, “Reality-Based Interaction: A New Framework for Understanding the Next Generation of Human-Computer.”

Dr. Nitin Khankari, assistant professor of prosthodontics and operative dentistry, received an M.S. degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee. His research was in dental biomaterials, and his thesis is titled “Resistance to Compressive Loading of Porcelain Fused to Gold Foil Maxillary Anterior Crowns.”

Richard M. Lerner, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, participated in the Center for Applied Developmental Science’s advisory board meeting, held at the University of Jena, Germany, in October. The two-volume Encyclopedia of Applied Developmental Science, edited by Celia B. Fisher (Fordham) and Lerner, was published in October by Sage Publishers.

Vincent Manno, professor of mechanical engineering, has been appointed associate provost. Manno is serving this year in a limited role as the provost’s office liaison to the University Council on Graduate Education as he completes a previously scheduled sabbatical. When he returns from sabbatic leave, he will assume an additional responsibility of overseeing the interdisciplinary programs that report to the provost’s office and chairing the Interdisciplinary Programs Council.

Dr. David M. Margolis, M85, associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, has been named a member of the AIDS Research Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The committee advises the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as well as the director of the Division of AIDS in all areas of biomedical research on HIV infection and AIDS. Margolis’ term runs through June 2008.

Georgiary McElveen has joined the faculty as a lecturer in music. She comes to Tufts from Brandeis University, where she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and instructor, with a joint appointment in music, African and African-American studies and American studies. She earned her doctoral degree in musicology from Duke University in 2002. Her doctoral work focused on religious social consciousness and cooperative power in the metropolitan St. Louis Gospel Music Center from 1930 to 1960. Her research centers on black sacred music, protest music, film music and semiotics. She is the recipient of a Named Instructorship Award at Duke University and of the Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship from the American Musicological Society.

Dr. Simin N. Meydani, director of the HNRCA Nutritional Immunology Laboratory, discussed “Vitamin E and Respiratory Infections” at the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s Science Day Workshop in Landsdowne, Va., on October 28.

Dr. Gulsun Gul Muftu, assistant professor of general dentistry, presented a study, “Dental Care Assessment of a Population with Domestic Violence History,” at the joint meeting of the Continental European Division (CED), Scandinavian Division (NOF) and Israeli Division (ID) of the International Association for Dental Research in Istanbul, Turkey, last summer.

Paula Murphy-Gismondi, manager of the Metabolic Research Unit (MRU) volunteer services at the HNRCA, retired on November 26. She began her career at Tufts as a social worker in the MRU, screening potential volunteers for psychosocial/psychiatric disorders. As chair of the HNRCA Community Advisory Board, which recently was inducted into the Tufts Hall of Diversity, Murphy-Gismondi has worked with community members to ensure representation of diverse population groups in the HNRCA’s human studies program. She led the development of the HNRCA Speakers Bureau, a free community outreach/education service for seniors that offers information on a variety of health and nutrition topics. She has also spearheaded the participation of the HNRCA staff in recognition programs for research volunteers and in many health fairs serving minorities and older adults in the Boston area, including the Governor’s Council on Fitness, the Chinese Elders Health Fair sponsored by the Ross Initiative at Tufts, the LaSalle Village senior health fair and the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center’s health fair for elders.

Peggy Newell, associate provost for research for the past six years, has been promoted to vice provost. Newell will retain her former duties as well as serving as deputy to Provost and Senior Vice President Jamshed Bharucha, working with him on the strategic development of university priorities, overseeing the Office of the Boards of Overseers and chairing the committee that is looking at the organization and budgets of Arts, Sciences and Engineering.

Yelena Ogneva-Himmelberger has joined Tufts as a lecturer in urban and environmental policy and planning and in the Environmental Studies Program. She received an M.A. in geography from Moscow State University in Russia and her Ph.D. in geography from Clark University. Her doctoral studies, which were partly funded by the U.S. Man and Biosphere Program, linked field interviews and survey data with satellite imagery to inform land-use decisions in rural southern Mexico. At Tufts, she is teaching Geographic Information Science (GIS), and she is also a research specialist in Academic Technology, where she will help faculty integrate GIS technology into their research and teaching. Prior to joining Tufts, she taught advanced undergraduate courses in GIS and remote sensing at Mount Holyoke College and intensive GIS courses at the National University of Costa Rica. As a participant in the NASA-funded project on predictive modeling of land-use change in southern Mexico, she directed the GIS and remote sensing research group. Fluent in several languages, Ogneva-Himmelberger has written peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in English, Spanish and Russian.

Lisa Perrone has joined the faculty as an assistant professor of mathematics. She completed her doctoral studies in mathematics at Emory University, and her research interests include numerical linear algebra, Kronecker product approximations and discrete ill-posed problems and regularization, with applications in image restoration. She has taught courses at Emory University and Hawaii Pacific University and has received an award for excellence in teaching.

Dr. Stefano Pizzirani has joined the faculty of the School of Veterinary Medicine as an assistant professor of clinical sciences. Pizzirani received his D.V.M. degree from Pisa University and his Ph.D. in veterinary ophthalmology from Messina University. He is a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons and comes to Tufts from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Judy Ribaya-Mercado, a scientist at the HNRCA and an assistant professor at the Friedman School, participated in a consultants meeting on “Harmonization of Methodologies to Assess Vitamin A Status Using Stable Isotope Techniques” at the invitation of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Section of Nutritional and Health-Related Environmental Studies, in Vienna, Austria, September 2-3. At the meeting, Ribaya-Mercado discussed her experience in the use of stable isotope techniques in vitamin A research studies conducted with colleagues in the Philippines, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Ribaya-Mercado also gave lectures on “Vitamin A and Health” to science and health care students at Naga College and at the Universidad de Santa Isabel in Naga City, Camarines Sur, Philippines, last August.

Dr. Morton B. Rosenberg, professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery and head of the Division of Pain Control and Anesthesia at the School of Dental Medicine, has been named the recipient of the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology’s 2006 Heidbrink Award. This is the highest and most prestigious recognition of contributions to the field of anesthesia, sedation and pain control in dentistry. Rosenberg will receive the award at the society’s annual meeting in May 2006, in Santa Fe, N.M., where he will deliver the Joseph Osterloh Memorial Lecture. Rosenberg also holds an appointment as associate professor of anesthesia at Tufts School of Medicine.

Dr. Robert M. Russell, director of the HNRCA, discussed “Carotenoid Status and Metabolism,” chaired the session on vitamin A, E and carotenoids and chaired a poster session on vitamins and minerals at the 26th European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism Congress September 10-13 in Lisbon, Portugal. Other HNRCA scientists participating in the conference included Dr. Carmen C. Sceppa, a scientist in the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory, who discussed “Sarcopenia in the Elderly: Is It an Inflammatory Process?” and served as co-chair of the nutritional epidemiology and communication poster session. Dr. Simin N. Meydani, director of the Nutritional Immunology Laboratory, discussed “Aging and Immune Function” and served as chair of the enteral nutrition and gut function session. Dr. Irwin H. Rosenberg, director of the Nutrition and Neurocognition Laboratory, discussed “Micronutrients and Cognitive Behavior” and chaired the vitamins and minerals poster session.

Deborah Schildkraut, J95, an assistant professor of politics at Oberlin College for the past four years, has joined Tufts as an assistant professor of political science. She earned her Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University in 2000. Her research investigates the relationships between public opinion and ethnic diversity in the United States, with particular attention to opinions about ethnicity-related policies, including whether the government should provide services and materials in languages other than English; whether public services should be available to immigrants; and whether bilingual education should be eliminated. Her forthcoming book, Press One for English: Language Policy, Public Opinion and American Identity (Princeton University Press, 2005), examines the complex role that competing ideas about “what it means to be American” play in shaping opinions about language policies. With a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation, she is conducting a nationwide telephone survey as part of her current project, “21st Century Americanism,” which further explores the relationship between national and ethnic identifications, political activity and policy preferences.

Sharan L. Schwartzberg, professor and chair of the Boston School of Occupational Therapy, was a presenter on a two-day panel, “Developing Doctoral Programs in Occupational Therapy,” at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s biannual meeting of academic program directors October 22-23 in Savannah, Ga. Her comments addressed developing a post-professional occupational therapy doctoral program. Tufts will admit students to the first class for that degree program in January.

Orit Shaer, a Ph.D. student in computer science, went to Vienna, Austria, last spring to attend the Pervasive 2004 Conference workshop on “Toolkit Support for Interaction in the Physical World.” Shaer presented her work, “TUIMS: Laying the Foundations for a Tangible User Interface Management System,” which was co-written by computer science graduate Nancy Leland and Associate Professor Robert Jacob. While in Vienna, she also attended the ACM Computer-Human Interaction Conference (CHI 2004), where Jacob presented a tutorial, “Introduction and Overview of Computer-Human Interaction.”

Nancy S. Shilepsky, a 1974 graduate of Tufts, has been elected treasurer of the Boston Bar Association. Shilepsky is a partner at Perkins Smith & Cohen, where she co-chairs the Executive Advocacy Group and the Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Group. Her nationally recognized employment law practice spans more than 20 years, and she is a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. She received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1978.

Karen Shirer, director of planning and analysis in the Advancement Division, has decided to leave Tufts to pursue other career opportunities. Shirer has been a Tufts employee for 11 years. For two different stints, she was budget and fiscal officer for both the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Fletcher School before leaving to be the director of administration for the UCLA School of Nursing.

Jesse Smith has joined the faculty as a lecturer in drama and dance. He earned his MFA in technical direction from the University of Connecticut, and during his graduate studies, he served as technical director for several productions, assistant technical director for another and as graduate assistant carpenter for three years. He has worked on technical direction and carpentry for the Lake George Opera, the Hartford Stage Company, the Arizona Theatre Company, the Theatre Offensive, the Merry-Go-Round Theatre and Mystic Scene Studios. He has directed four international summer camps for Luethi Peterson Camps, an organization that fosters international understanding and community responsibility among young people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Sameer Sonkusale has been appointed an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the School of Engineering. Sonkusale comes to Tufts from Texas A&M University, where he was an assistant professor in the Analog and Mixed-Signal Design Center in the Department of Electrical Engineering for two years. He received his doctoral degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. His research involves the development of integrated circuits and systems for communication system design, sensor electronics and computing. He holds several patents and has received support from Texas Instruments for his work on data converters.

Diane Souvaine, professor of computer science, has received National Science Foundation funding for her project, “Impact on Computational Geometry on Depth-Based Statistics.”

Enrico Spolaore has joined the faculty as an associate professor of economics. Before coming to Tufts, he was the Kutayba Alghanim Assistant Professor of Political Economy at Brown University, where he had worked since 1998. He received his doctorate in economics from Harvard in 1993, and has been a visiting scholar or professor at a number of institutions, including the Center for Economic Studies at the University of Munich, the Center for Basic Research in the Social Sciences at Harvard and the Department of Economics at Boston College. His fields of interest are political economics, international economics, macroeconomics and public economics. He has published widely on these topics in peer-reviewed journals and in a book, The Size of Nations. He is the recipient of many awards and fellowships, including an Ente Luigi Einaudi Fellowship, National Science Foundation research grants and a Human Capital and Mobility Fellowship from the European Center for Advanced Research in Economics.

Vivian Stephens-Hicks, coordinator of the Division of Public Health at the School of Dental Medicine, was awarded two grants from the Boston Public Health Commission to benefit the Bethel Baptist Church in Roxbury. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the grants are part of the CDC’s efforts to develop an integrated approach to chronic disease prevention and health promotion. The grants are titled “Boston Steps Neighbor Walk” and “Boston Steps Healthy Neighborhoods Advocates” and are part of efforts to reduce obesity, diabetes and asthma in Boston neighborhoods.

Chih Ming Tan has joined the Arts & Sciences faculty as an assistant professor of economics. He completed his doctoral studies in economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison last spring. Prior to earning his degree, he worked as a research analyst for the Ministry of Defense in Singapore and has also done research at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at the Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Richard E. Stockwell Graduate Fellowship in Economics, a Robock Award for Empirical Economics and a Vilas Travel Fellowship. His work centers on macroeconomics, applied economics and economic growth.

Aron Troen of the HNRCA Nutrition and Neurocognition and Vitamin Metabolism laboratories and Chao-Qiang Lai of the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory are recipients of the 2004 HNRCA Pilot Grant Initiative for their project, “Life Span Extension by Dietary Methionine Restriction in Drosophila Melanogaster.” Claudine Kos of the Mineral Bioavailability Laboratory also received funding for her work on the “Role of Extracellular Calcium-sensing Receptor in Dietary Calcium Chemoprevention of Carcinogen-induced Colon Cancer.”

Dr. Michael Valkanas and Dr. Maxwell Vergo, both of whom received their M.D. degrees from the School of Medicine on May 23, have been named 2004 Massachusetts Medical Society Scholars. They were two of eight Massachusetts medical school students to receive the $10,000 awards, presented annually based on academic record, community involvement and financial need. Before entering medical school, Valkanas worked as a paramedic for Norwood Hospital and South Shore Hospital, as a critical care paramedic for Boston Med-Flight and as a firefighter/paramedic and EMS coordinator in Mansfield, Mass. He also has taught CPR to church groups and high school students and lectured in schools on the dangers of drinking and driving. He plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine. Vergo was a volunteer with the Big Brothers Association and Kids in Chemotherapy and Their Students, an organization that matches a child with cancer and a medical student. He has volunteered at the Sharewood Health Clinic, a Tufts student-run program in Malden that provides primary care services to area residents. Vergo is interested in a career in primary care, cardiology or hematology/oncology.

Yudian Wahyudi has joined the faculty as a lecturer in comparative religion. He comes to Tufts from Fakultas Syari’ah, State Institute of Islamic Studies, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where he is an assistant professor of Islamic legal philosophy. He recently completed two visiting scholar positions at the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School, where he worked on the projects “Shari’a and State in Egypt,” “Morocco and Indonesia: Intellectual Responses” and “The Problem of Psychologism in Qur’anic Legal Hermeneutics.” He received his Ph.D. from McGill University in 2002, and has written prolifically on Islamic philosophy and modern trends in Islam.

Benjamin Waller has joined the Advancement Division as a reporting analyst. Most recently, he worked on developing a web-based student information system used by students, faculty and staff of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He holds a degree in management information systems from the University of Connecticut.

Melissa Wender is serving as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literatures. She is currently on leave from Bates College, where she is an assistant professor of Japanese language and literature. In 2002-03, she was a postdoctoral associate at the Yale Council on East Asian Studies. She obtained her doctorate in East Asian languages and civilizations from the University of Chicago in 1999. Her first book, Lamentation as History: Narratives by Koreans in Japan, 1965-2000, which examines the literature and social movements of people of Korean descent in Japan, is forthcoming from Stanford University Press. She is currently working on a volume of translations of stories by Koreans in Japan and is beginning a project on Korean writers who came to Japan as colonial subjects, many of whom wrote their first works of literature in Japanese before going on to write in Korean. She has taught courses on a wide range of topics, including literature, popular culture and minority identity.