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School of Arts and Sciences

Faculty Highlights


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Fall 2019

Melinda Latour, Rumsey Family Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Arts, Department of Music, has received the Ruth A. Solie Award at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society for the book she co-edited titled The Relentless Pursuit of Tone: Timbre in Popular Music (Oxford University Press, 2018). At the award ceremony, the committee said of the book, “The chapters in the volume are all well researched, the writing and editing are consistently good, the level of attention to the technological engineering and social meaning, remarkable. This volume will certainly be highly influential, even field-changing.”
Kelly Greenhill Kelly Greenhill, associate professor, Department of Political Science, has been awarded a 2020/21 Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorship. The position is designed to enable “outstandingly distinguished academics based in overseas universities to spend an extended period of time at a UK higher education institution.” Greenhill will be hosted primarily by SOAS University of London and will be giving a series of scholarly and public “Leverhulme Lectures” during her time abroad. 
Bruce Boghosian, professor, Department of Mathematics, has published an article in the magazine Scientific American titled “Is Inequality Inevitable?”. The piece discusses the growth of wealth inequality in many countries and Boghosian’s research on the issue, which uses models of wealth distribution to demonstrate how wealth inequality will continue to grow in a range of countries.
Samuel Thomas, Dean of Academic Affairs for Arts and Sciences and professor of chemistry, has published a paper in Langmuir, the American Chemical Society’s journal of fundamental interface science. Titled “Combining Top-Down and Bottom-Up with Photodegradable Layer-by-Layer Films,” the article was co-authored with Tufts Chemistry Ph.D. student Matthew Feeney. The article was also featured on the journal’s cover.
Sarah Sobieraj, associate professor, Department of Sociology, is a member of the project advisory board and was involved in the creation of MediaWell, a newly launched project of the Social Science Research Council’s (SSRC) Disinformation Research Mapping Initiative. It is an online resource for scholars, policy makers, and students concerned about issues of information integrity and democratic health. The site features accessible, continuously updated literature reviews synthesizing the emerging scholarship on key issues related to disinformation, expert reflections, a searchable database of nearly 1000 publications related to disinformation studies, related news, and more. Sobieraj’s own research on Disinformation, Democracy, and the Costs of Identity-Based Attacks Online is featured as part of the site’s expert reflections.
Zeina Hakim, associate professor of French, Department of Romance Studies, has been awarded the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity. She was nominated by students in the Eta Psi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta at Tufts. The selective award is given to ten recipients from across the United States and Canada.
Maurice Parent, professor of the practice, Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, has directed SpeakEasy Stage's production of Choir Boy, taking place at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. The production began September 13 and was extended an additional week through October 19. Watch an interview with Parent talking about directing Choir Boy.
Brian Hatcher, Packard Professor of Theology, Department of Religion, gave the invited keynote address at the International Seminar on Probing Social Reform in India in the Nineteenth Century: Vidyasagar's Legacy in the Long Run which took place September 26-27, 2019 in Kolkata, India. The event was sponsored by the Asiatic Society in Kolkata and honors the 200th anniversary of Pandit Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar, a major cultural icon in India and Bangladesh. While in Kolkata, he also gave a second lecture at the Victoria Memorial Hall.  
Marina Umaschi Bers, professor and chair, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, has been awarded a major grant from the U.S. Department of Education for her project "Coding as Another Language: The Development and Implementation of a Computational Thinking Curriculum and Sustainable Professional Development Model in K-2." The grant involves a partnership between Bers' DevTech research group and Norfolk Public Schools in Virginia to develop, implement, and study a developmentally appropriate computer science curriculum for students in grades K-2. Virginia is the first state in the country to mandate the teaching of computer science.  
Heather Nathans On October 1, Heather Nathans, Alice and Nathan Gantcher Professor of Judaic Studies and Chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, gave a talk on her award-winning book Hideous Characters and Beautiful Pagans: Performing Jewish Identity on the Antebellum American Stage (University of Michigan Press, 2017) at the American Library in Paris
Enrico Spolaore, Seth Merrin Professor, Department of Economics, has been awarded the Primio Due Torri d’Oro prize from his hometown of Rovigo, Italy. Named after the town’s two medieval towers, the prize is given every three years to an internationally well-known native of the town or its province. As part of the award ceremony, Spolaore gave a talk at the 16th-century Academia dei Concordi.
Mary Jane Shultz, professor, Department of Chemistry, has received a $1M grant from the Department of Energy to investigate the potential of ultra-nano particles to address pressing energy issues. The goal of the research will be to understand, and ultimately to control, chemistry and dynamics at complex interfaces using three targeted processes: removing CO from feedstock via gas-shift or oxidation; transforming CO2 into high-value products; and leveraging combined stability of Li0.55TiO2.27 with ultra-nano particles in Lithium-ion batteries.
Madina Agénor Madina Agénor, Gerald R. Gill Assistant Professor of Race, Culture, and Society in the Department of Community Health, was appointed to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Committee on Prevention and Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in the United States. The purpose of the Committee is to examine the scientific literature on the burden, causes, prevention, and control of STIs in the United States and provide direction for future public health programs, policies, and research on STI prevention and control.

Mimi Kao, assistant professor, Department of Biology, and Ani Patel, professor, Department of Psychology, have been awarded a major grant from the National Institutes of Health as part of the Sound Health Initiative, an NIH-Kennedy Center partnership in association with the National Endowment for the Arts. The grant will support Kao and Patel's research studying rhythm perception in songbirds.
Michael Beckley, associate professor, Department of Political Science, has been awarded the best article of the year in the field of international security from the American Political Science Association for his article "The Power of Nations: Measuring What Matters," which was published in the journal International Security. 
Sarah Luna, Kathryn A. McCarthy, J45, AG46, Assistant Professor in Women’s Studies, Department of Anthropology, was awarded the 2019 Cultural Horizons Prize from the Society for Cultural Anthropology for her article “Affective Atmospheres of Terror on the Mexico-U.S. Border.” The prize is awarded by a jury of anthropology doctoral students for the best article appearing in the previous year of the journal Cultural Anthropology. Luna’s article investigates the effects of rumors of violence within the Mexican and U.S. governments’ war on drugs.
Marina Umaschi Bers, professor and chair, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, and her DevTech research group received the 2019 Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award, which recognizes successful partnerships and projects that ultimately benefit military-connected children, for their exemplary community partnership with the Norfolk Public Schools (NPS) in the “Breaking the Code” project to bring computer science to elementary schools with high presence of military families.


Spring 2019

Gregory Crane, professor, Department of Classical Studies, has been awarded a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant will fund an expansion of the Perseus Digital Library which will incorporate reading tools that help to enable the study of ancient texts.
Adolfo Cuevas The Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Harvard has awarded Adolfo Cuevas, assistant professor in the Department of Community Health, the Diversity Scholar Award at their annual symposium. Cuevas was honored for his work on stress and obesity. 
Kris Manjapra Kris Manjapra, associate professor of history and chair of the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora, has been awarded the 2019 Merck Tagore Award. The award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to cultural exchange between India and Germany. It is awarded every two years and will be presented at a ceremony in Mumbai in October.
The Art of Curating: Paul J. Sachs and the Museum Course at Harvard (Getty Research Institute, 2018) a book by Professor of the History of Art and Architecture Andrew McClellan (with co-author Sally Anne Duncan) won the New England Society’s “Best Book in Art and Photography” award for 2019. The book examines the professionalization of art museum curators in the United States in the first half of the 20th century.
Sasha Fleary, Evans Family Assistant Professor, Department of Child Study and Human Development, has received a major grant from the National Institutes of Health. This grant will fund the development and pilot test of a digital obesity prevention intervention for adolescents. The major innovations of the study are the inclusion of health literacy, a potentially critical factor in adolescents’ obesogenic behaviors, and the use of an interactive digital platform for the intervention. The study's results will lay the groundwork for future large-scale clinical trials to test the effectiveness of the inclusion of health literacy in preventive health interventions for diverse groups of adolescents.
The Psychonomic Society has appointed Ayanna Thomas, professor, Department of Psychology, as the editor-in-chief of its journal Memory & Cognition. She will begin a four-year term in this position on January 1, 2020.
Professor of Psychology Ani Patel is the co-author of a new study in the journal Current Biology which focuses on a dancing parrot named Snowball and how his responses to music can teach us about how other species process music as well as human musicality. The study’s release has received a wide variety of media coverage including The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and BBC News.
Anjuli Fahlberg, lecturer, Department of Sociology, has been awarded the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) 2019 Dissertation Award for her dissertation “Activism Under Fire: Violence, Poverty, and Collective Action in Rio de Janeiro.” Fahlberg’s study examines organized activism in situations of extreme poverty and violence and is based upon ethnographic research she conducted in the City of God, a favela in Rio de Janeiro.
Pearl Robinson, associate professor, Department of Political Science, is the winner of the 2019 Distinguished Africanist Award from the African Studies Association (ASA). The award recognizes “lifetime distinguished contributions to African studies.” She will be presented with the award at the Association’s annual meeting in Boston in November.
Noe Montez, associate professor, Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, has been elected as a member of the governing council of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Beginning in August 2019, he will serve as the new Vice President for Professional Development for the association.
Mingquan Wang, senior lecturer and language coordinator of the Chinese program in the Department of International Literary and Cultural Studies, co-chaired the 15th International Conference on Chinese Language Pedagogy, which was held June 28-30, 2019 in Beijing, China. The conference, sponsored by Beijing Normal University and Tufts University, featured 8 keynote speeches, over 160 presentations, and more than 200 participants from 15 countries and regions around the world. Wang was also recently elected to the board of directors of the U.S. Chinese Language Teachers Association for a three-year term, from April 2019 to April 2022.
Michael Reed, Professor of Biology Michael Reed, professor of biology, who specializes in avian ecology and conservation biology, has been appointed as an associate of the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) at Harvard University. 
Freeden Blume Oeur, associate professor of sociology at Tufts University Associate Professor of Sociology Freeden Blume Oeur’s book Black Boys Apart: Racial Uplift and Respectability in All-Male Public Schools (University of Minnesota Press, 2018) has won two awards from the American Sociological Association. The book is the winner of the 2019 Pierre Bourdieu Book Award from the Section on Sociology of Education, and the co-winner of the 2019 Oliver Cromwell Cox Award from the Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities.
Erin Kelly Erin Kelly, professor of philosophy, gave a talk titled “Who Belongs in Prison?” at a TEDxCambridge event at the Opera House in Boston on May 3, 2019. The talk focused on morality and criminal conviction. Kelly is also the author of the recently published book The Limits of Blame: Rethinking Punishment and Responsibility (Harvard University Press, 2019).  
Andrea Acevedo Andrea Acevedo, assistant professor, Department of Community Health, has published an article in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs entitled “Disparities in criminal justice outcomes after beginning treatment for substance use disorders: The influence of race/ethnicity and place.”
Alecia McGregor Alecia McGregor, assistant professor, Department of Community Health, has recently published two journal articles: “Marginalized Yet Mobilized: Race, Sexuality, and the Role of ‘Political Hypervigilance’ in African American Political Participation in 2016” in Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race and “Examining Christian views toward the Affordable Care Act: The importance of race and denomination” in Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community.
Richard Eichenberg, associate professor of political science Richard C. Eichenberg, associate professor of political science, has published a new book titled Gender, War, and World Order: A Study of Public Opinion (Cornell University Press, 2019). Using a large data set from public opinion surveys, Eichenberg examines the gender differences in attitudes towards national security and military force across issues, cultures, and time as well as the consequences of these differences.
Professor of the Practice, SMFA at Tufts, Anthony Romero Anthony Romero, professor of the practice, performance, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, has been awarded a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University Fellowship for 2019-2020. Romero is among a group of 50 leading artists and scholars from a variety of disciplines who were selected for the fellowship from a highly competitive field of more than 1,000 applicants.
Madina Agénor Madina Agénor, Gerald R. Gill Assistant Professor of Race, Culture, and Society, Department of Community Health, is an author on a new article published in the journal Pediatrics. The article titled, “School Restroom and Locker Room Restrictions and Sexual Assault Risk Among Transgender Youth,” examines the high prevalence of sexual assault victimization among transgender and nonbinary youth and finds that restrictive restroom and locker room policies are associated with higher risk for sexual assault among this population.
Karen Kosinski, Lecturer in the Department of Community Health Karen Kosinski, lecturer in the Department of Community Health, has published an article in the journal Acta Tropica. Her article titled “Contextualizing Schistosoma haematobium transmission in Ghana: Assessment of diagnostic techniques and individual community water-related risk factors” focuses on research Kosinski and colleagues conducted on schistosomiasis infections in rural Ghana.
Kyle Emerick, James L. Paddock Junior Professorship in International Economics A paper by Kyle Emerick, James L. Paddock Assistant Professor in International Economics, Department of Economics, has been awarded the 2019 American Economics Journal: Economic Policy Best Paper Award. The paper titled “Adaption to Climate Change: Evidence from U.S. Agriculture,” examines the impacts of variation in temperature and precipitation due to climate change on U.S. agriculture.
Daniel McCusker Daniel McCusker, senior lecturer in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, was chosen to participate along with a small group of performers from around the world, in an international tribute to Merce Cunningham on what would have been his 100th birthday. Night of 100 solos: A Centennial Event was held on April 17, 2019 in venues in London, New York City, and Los Angeles and featured 100 solos choreographed by Cunningham. McCusker, who is also an associate professor of dance at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, performed in the event held at UCLA.
Alex Vilenkin, Leonard and Jane Holmes Bernstein Professor in Evolutionary Science at Tufts University Alex Vilenkin, Leonard and Jane Holmes Bernstein Professor in Evolutionary Science, Department of Physics and Astronomy, is featured in a new film, Before the Big Bang 9: A Multiverse from ‘Nothing’, part of a series which has featured Stephen Hawking and other leading cosmologists. The film is an hour long interview with Vilenkin about his research in which he explores what happened before the big bang, why there is a multiverse and how it might be tested.
Heather Nathans Heather Nathans, Alice and Nathan Gantcher Professor of Judaic Studies and Chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, has been accepted into a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute at the Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. The program is called “Privilege and Prejudice: Jewish History in the American South.”
Justin Hollander Justin Hollander, professor of urban and environmental policy and planning, published the book A Research Agenda for Shrinking Cities (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018). The book focuses on how the topic of shrinking cities is being researched including the challenges and opportunities in this research area as well as in the field’s sub-domains. It is newly available in paperback.
Melinda Latour Melinda Latour, Rumsey Family Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Arts, Department of Music has been awarded a 2019 American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship. The award will support her project “The Voice of Virtue: Moral Song in Late Renaissance France, 1574-1652.” Latour was selected along with 81 other awardees from a pool of more than 1,100 applicants in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.
Misha Kilmer, Professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics at Tufts University Misha Kilmer, William Walker Professor of Mathematics and chair of the Department of Mathematics, has been named as one of the 2019 Fellows of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). The designation recognizes members for their excellence in research as well as their contributions to the community. Kilmer is being recognized for “her fundamental contributions to numerical linear algebra and scientific computing, including ill-posed problems, tensor decompositions, and iterative methods.”
Adolfo Cuevas Adolfo Cuevas, assistant professor in the Department of Community Health, has published an article titled “Placing prostate cancer disparities within a psychosocial context: challenges and opportunities for future research” in the journal Cancer Causes and Control. The paper examines why Black men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and highlights some of the ways in which psychological and social factors such as institutional and interpersonal discrimination may explain racial disparities in prostate cancer incidence.
Sergei Mirkin Sergei Mirkin, the White Family Chair in Biology, has received a Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) totaling $2.6M from the National Institutes of Health. The grant will support research Mirkin’s lab is pursuing on the genome instability caused by DNA repeats, a problem that is tied to nearly forty hereditary neurological and neurogenerative disorders including fragile X syndrome, Huntington’s disease, myotonic dystrophy, Friedreich’s ataxia, and many others. Specifically, the lab focuses on unraveling molecular mechanisms that are responsible for repeat expansions using several unique experimental systems they have developed in yeast and mammalian cells. Understanding these mechanisms is potentially important for prognostic purposes and genetic counseling. It may also help in developing therapeutics for these currently untreatable diseases.
Richard Lerner, Bergstrom Professor of Applied Developmental Science, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development and director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development has received a two-year grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative DAF, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The grant will fund research to develop methods and measures for statistical analysis of multiple aspects of child development.
José Antonio Mazzotti, the King Felipe VI of Spain Professor of Spanish Culture and Civilization, Department of Romance Studies at Tufts University José Antonio Mazzotti, the King Felipe VI of Spain Professor of Spanish Culture and Civilization, Department of Romance Studies, has been awarded the José Lezama Lima poetry award by Casa de las Americas, a prestigious Cuban cultural institution, for his book El Zorro y la Luna (The Fox and the Moon). The prize is one of the most important literary awards in the Spanish speaking world. Mazzotti received the award in Havana, Cuba on January 31, where he was also presented with the Cuban edition of his book. 
Laura Gee Laura Gee, assistant professor of economics, recently gave a TedxCambridge talk titled “Certainty Inspires Action.” Gee’s research is in behavioral economics and her talk focuses on how to encourage women’s participation in leadership and technology professions by enhancing certainty. She gives the example of a research study she conducted with LinkedIn which found that telling job seekers how many other people had applied to a job posting increased applications and could boost diversity.
Elizabeth Foster Elizabeth Foster, associate professor, Department of History, has published a new book, African Catholic: Decolonization and the Transformation of the Church (Harvard University Press, 2019). The book explores Catholicism during the decolonization of French sub-Saharan Africa and how decolonization led to a fundamental reorientation of the Catholic Church.
Charles Sykes, professor of chemistry, and Marina Flytzani Stephanopoulos, Robert and Marcy Haber Professor in Energy and Sustainability in the School of Engineering, have been awarded this year's American Chemical Society Catalysis Lectureship. The prestigious award is for their work developing single-atom catalysts that could be significantly more efficient than those currently deployed in the production of goods such as fuel and plastics, the processing of food, and removing harmful gases in catalytic converters. The award will be presented at the American Chemical Society's national meeting in San Diego in August.
Kristin Skrabut Kristin Skrabut, assistant professor, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, has published an article in Current Anthropology. The article titled “Residency Counts and Housing Rights: Conflicting Enactments of Property in Lima’s Central Margins” examines how the Peruvian government’s attempts to count and categorize poor residents of Lima have contributed to urban sprawl, unsustainable growth, and conflict in the city. It draws on Skrabut’s two years of ethnographic fieldwork in an impoverished shantytown in Lima.

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