Skip to main content
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Thirty-two UW–Madison faculty awarded 2020-21 faculty fellowships

The awardees span the four divisions — arts and humanities, physical sciences, social sciences, and biological sciences — on campus.

“During these difficult times, it is a pleasure to be able to recognize our outstanding faculty who, every day, support the research, teaching, outreach and public service missions of the university,” says Steve Ackerman, vice chancellor for research and graduate education.

The awards are made possible by research efforts of UW–Madison faculty and staff. Technology arising from these research efforts is licensed by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). Income from successful licenses is returned to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education to fund research activities throughout the divisions on campus, including these awards.

Eleven faculty have been appointed to WARF Named Professorships. The awards, which come with $100,000, honor faculty who have made major contributions to the advancement of knowledge, primarily through their research endeavors, but also as a result of their teaching and service activities. Award recipients choose the names associated with their professorships.

Eleven faculty have received H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowships recognizing faculty up to six years past their first promotion to a tenured position. The award is named in recognition of the late WARF trustee president H.I. Romnes and comes with $60,000 that may be spent over five years.

Ten faculty also have been honored with Kellett Mid-Career Awards to support faculty who are seven to 20 years past their first promotion to a tenured position. The award was created to provide needed support and encouragement to faculty at a critical stage of their careers and comes with $75,000 that may be spent over five years. The award is named for the late William R. Kellett, a former president of the WARF board of trustees and president of Kimberly-Clark Corp.


Emery H. Bresnick, Gary Felsenfeld Professor of Cell and Regenerative Biology, is director of UW­–Madison Blood Research Program and co-director of the Cancer Genetic/Epigenetic Mechanisms Program of the Carbone Cancer Center. His research discovered genetic/epigenetic mechanisms that unveiled new paradigms of blood stem and progenitor cell development/function and human disease diagnostic strategies.

Edwin Chapman, Ricardo Miledi Professor of Neuroscience, is an HHMI Investigator and director of the Quantitative Membrane Biophysics Program. His research concerns the molecular mechanisms by which Ca2+ ions trigger exocytosis in nerve terminals. He pioneered the use of time-resolved biochemical and biophysical methods to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that mediate excitation-secretion coupling and was the first to reconstitute this process. He is also a leader in the study of exocytotic fusion pores. In parallel, his laboratory spearheaded the identification of protein receptors for the clostridial neurotoxins, including Botox™.

Li Chiao-Ping, Sally Banes Professor of Dance, focuses on issues of social justice and equality; pushes the boundaries of traditional dance vocabulary, content, and form; and explores issues of race, gender, ability, place, culture and identity. She works against normative male-female partnering and classical techniques to develop a highly personal statement and style. An ongoing element of her work is the negotiation of tradition and innovation, stemming from her cultural history and social environment. She is artistic director of Li Chiao-Ping Dance.

Robert Enright, Aristotelian Professorship in Forgiveness Science, is a professor of educational psychology, a licensed psychologist, and co-founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, a not-for-profit dedicated to dissemination of knowledge about forgiveness and community renewal through forgiveness. He is a pioneer in the scientific study of forgiveness, integrating philosophy, psychology, and psychotherapeutic themes into his work. He is often introduced as “the father of forgiveness research.”

Mark Eriksson, John Bardeen Professor of Physics, studies quantum computing, semiconductor quantum dots and nanoscience. With collaborators, he demonstrated the first quantum dot in silicon/silicon-germanium occupied by an individual electron and performed the first experiments to demonstrate the quantum dot hybrid qubit. Eriksson currently leads a multi-university team focused on the development of spin qubits in gate-defined silicon quantum dots. A goal of this work is to enable quantum computers to be built using many of the materials and fabrication methods that are the foundation of modern, classical integrated circuits.

Anna Huttenlocher, Anna Ruth Brummett Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Microbiology and Immunology, conducts research at the interface of cell biology and immunology. Her work centers on understanding innate immune inflammation. Her research group is dissecting how external cues and cell signaling networks regulate cell migration during tissue damage and repair, and how this is altered in human disease. Her lab has pioneered approaches to visualize and manipulate cell motility within live organisms and has discovered previously unknown mechanisms that regulate resolution of inflammation. She is a physician-scientist who sees patients with autoimmune diseases and is director of UW–Madison’s Medical Scientist Training Program.

Lea Jacobs, Mae D. Huettig Professor of Communication Arts, is a primary document historian with strong interest in the production practices and organizational structure of the American film industry and in the development of film styles and genres. Her research areas include the history of the American studio system, silent film, film melodrama, and the relationship between film style and technology. She was director of the UW Cinematheque for over a decade and helped run the Wisconsin Film Festival from 2010-2013. From 2013-2018 she was associate vice chancellor for research in the arts and humanities.

Stacey J. Lee, Frederick Erickson Professor of Educational Policy Studies, is an educational anthropologist, engaging anthropological approaches to explore the role of formal and informal education in the incorporation of immigrant youth into the United States. She was one of the earliest education scholars to offer a critical, socio-cultural analysis of the racialization of Asian-American students in U.S. schools. She is currently exploring the way different Asian-American communities navigate the broader racial contexts through their educational advocacy.

Lynn K. Nyhart, Robert E. Kohler Professor of History of Science, focuses on the history of German biology in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially on the relationships between the development of institutional structures through which science operates (universities and disciplines, zoos, schools, museums, print culture), on the one hand, and the emergence of important intellectual trends in biology on the other. Her current project examines the politics of the life sciences before and after the political revolutions of 1848.

Joel Rogers, Noam Chomsky Professor of Law, Political Science, Public Affairs and Sociology, also directs COWS, a national think-and-do tank on high-road development. He has published widely on democratic theory and practice and developed the influential “high-road” approach to development. This reconciles concerns with social inclusion and material fairness, environmental sustainability and popular accountability, even under competitive market conditions, by using democratic organization to increase the total-factor productivity of places and capture and share its benefit locally.

Jamie Schauer, William C. Boyle Professor of Environmental Engineering, is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene. His research focuses on development and application of measurement techniques to understand the sources and impacts of air pollution. Schauer’s research has contributed to numerous efforts around the world to develop control strategies for mitigating air pollution and to identify how the control of air pollution sources can reduce the impacts of air pollution on human health.


Monique Allewaert, associate professor of English, studies eighteenth-century American plantation colonies with particular attention to intersections of ecology, critical race studies and aesthetics. She is completing a book that explores how plantation colonies’ inadvertent proliferation of insects became surprisingly central to the cultural productions of enslaved, free black, and indigenous stakeholders.

John Bengson, associate professor of philosophy, researches the conceptual foundations of thought and action. He has published extensively on intuition, perception, understanding and practical know-how. He is writing a series of books on the nature of morality, non-theoretical forms of understanding, and philosophical methodology.

Keith Findley, associate professor of law, has engaged with, studied and taught about the criminal justice system for 35 years. In 1998, he co-founded the Wisconsin Innocence Project and focused his attention on the systemic flaws that contribute to wrongful convictions. Continuing that work, in 2017 he co-founded the Center for Integrity in Forensic Sciences, dedicated to improving the reliability of criminal prosecutions through strengthening forensic sciences.

Holly Gibbs, associate professor of Geography and Environmental Studies, researches how and why people use land around the world, with particular attention to tropical deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and sustainable agriculture in the United States. Gibbs previously received the Deans Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievement and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

Victor Goldgel Carballo, associate professor of Spanish, researches and teaches nineteenth-century Latin America. He has published on the modern celebration of new things, as well as on impostors and intellectual piracy. His current research focuses on different ways of actively “not-knowing”—including tact, hypocrisy, and cynicism— underpinning whiteness, race, and slavery in Cuba. During the past year, he has been an ACLS Fellow at the National Humanities Center.

Melissa Harrison, associate professor of biomolecular chemistry, focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms by which the DNA genome is differentially interpreted to allow for organismal development and how improper execution of this process can lead to disease. Harrison has been named a Vallee Scholar, Basil O’Connor Starter Research Scholar and a Wisconsin Partnership Program New Investigator.

Nam C. Kim, associate professor of anthropology, conducts archaeological research on past societies. With field experience across several countries, he is interested in urbanism, state formation, and forms of violence, warfare, and peacemaking. He has authored/co-authored The Origins of Ancient Vietnam (Oxford, 2015) and, with Marc Kissel, Emergent Warfare in Our Evolutionary Past (Routledge, 2018). He has also received recognition for teaching and service efforts.

Hiroshi Maeda, associate professor of botany, investigates biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids, essential human nutrients and precursors of numerous plant natural products. The Maeda group uncovered evolutionary diversification of tyrosine biosynthetic pathways and determined underlying biochemical and genetic basis in various plant lineages. The basic discovery is currently being utilized to conduct synthetic biology for sustainable plant-based production of various chemicals.

Stephen Meyers, professor of geoscience, conducts research on climate change and Earth history, and teaches geoscience. He established tadada Scientific Lab – which explores new approaches for inspiring scientific literacy and cultivating emotional connections to science – and has directed international programs for advanced geoscience education.

Christy Tremonti, associate professor of astronomy, studies how supernovae and black holes help regulate star formation in galaxies. She is an avid user of the Hubble Space Telescope and an enthusiastic instructor who particularly enjoys teaching non-majors about the dark side of the universe: dark matter, dark energy, and black holes.

Xudong Wang, professor of materials science and engineering, studies the growth and assembly of nanostructures and the development of flexible electronic and biomedical devices for mechanical energy harvesting from human activities and ambient environment. He is a leader of nanogenerators that enables self-powering function in bioelectronics.


Dominique Brossard, professor and chair of the Department of Life Sciences Communication and an affiliate of the Morgridge Institute for Research, studies the intersection among science, media, and policy. She is an internationally known expert in public opinion dynamics related to controversial scientific issues and risk communication. She has published more than 100 research articles in outlets such as Science and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and has been an expert panelist for the National Academy of Sciences.

Thomas Brunold, professor of chemistry, studies geometric and electronic properties, and thus the reactivity, of metal centers in proteins and cofactors through combined spectroscopic and computational studies of key enzymatic states and synthetic inorganic model complexes.

Paul Campagnola, professor of biomedical engineering and medical physics, studies change in the extracellular matrix—a collection of molecules that surrounds the cells in tissues and organs—in various forms of cancer, fibrosis and connective tissue disorders. He applies novel 3D imaging and microfabrication techniques to examine structural features and create biomimetic models to study these diseases.

Joshua Coon, professor of biomolecular chemistry and Thomas and Margaret Pyle Chair at the Morgridge Institute, develops chemical instrumentation and methodology for global analysis of protein structure, regulation, and function. His lab leverages these technologies to study a wide range of organisms having implications from bioenergy to human health.

David Lynn, professor of chemical and biological engineering, chemistry, and materials science, designs and synthesizes new types of ‘soft’ organic materials, including polymers, surfactants, surfaces, and biointerfaces. He and his research group have developed new materials with potential applications in advanced drug delivery and environmental sensing, as well as new approaches to control or prevent the fouling of surfaces by microorganisms.

Marisa Otegui, professor of botany and member of the Center for Quantitative Cell Imaging, studies how plant cells control the degradation of signaling components to coordinate development and responses to stress and disease. Her group has discovered fundamental mechanisms that regulate protein and membrane degradation and are essential for plant survival and growth. She has participated in several initiatives to bring new microscopy imaging capabilities to campus and is the director of the 3D Electron Microscopy Center at Bock Laboratories.

Bret Payseur, professor of genetics and medical genetics, studies biological evolution. His research examines the origin of species, adaptation to novel environments, and mechanisms of reproduction — all from a genetic perspective. He values mentoring of graduate students as a critical part of scientific research and education.

Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, professor of English, is a scholar, poet, and essayist specializing in nineteenth- and twentieth-century African-American and Caribbean literature, visual culture, and feminist theory. Her critical books and articles have demonstrated the centrality of black women’s theoretical and artistic practice, especially during the Harlem Renaissance era. Her creative writing and nonfiction explore the nuanced and multifaceted aspects of black life in the diaspora. She is presently at work on a series of essays following in the footsteps of nineteenth-century abolitionist author Mary Prince.

Jeff Smith, professor of film, is the Director of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. He has written two books on American cinema and is coauthor of the 11th and 12th editions of Film Art: An Introduction. Smith teaches courses on film theory, film sound, and contemporary Hollywood and does video essays for the Criterion Channel’s “Observations on Film Art” series.

Jon Pevehouse, professor of political science and public affairs, studies international relations and political methodology. He has received several teaching awards, including the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. He is the recipient of the Karl Deutsch Award, an international award given to the scholar under age 40 who has made the most significant contribution to the study of international relations. He has also served as the editor of the leading professional journal in the field, International Organization.