Junior faculty named for Hellman Family Faculty Fund Awards

15 August 2002 |

Ten assistant professors whose research shows the promise of great distinction have been named winners of the campus’s Hellman Family Faculty Fund 2002 Awards.

Established in 1995 by Warren and Patrician Christina Hellman, the fund helps ensure that important research by junior faculty receives needed support. For many past recipients, the Hellman has played a critical role in their careers — leading to publication, important new contacts, research funding from other sources, or new research directions.

“The Hellman Fellowship offers an extraordinary opportunity to junior faculty,” notes one former fellow. “Many use it as a springboard to larger projects. In my case, it allowed me to ask a question that otherwise would not have been asked…. In my foray outside of my narrow expertise, I also learned a great deal and am a better scientist and teacher for it.”
Scholars in the physical and life sciences, engineering, the arts, humanities, and social sciences are eligible for the award. Recipients are selected principally because of the quality of the proposed research, with a maximum award amount of $50,000.

The winners for 2002, and the research projects funded, are:

• Steven Boggs, physics, “Test Flight of the Nuclear Compton Telescope”
Boggs’ work is in experimental high-energy astrophysics, developing gamma-ray telescopes to study some of nature’s most exotic creations, such as black holes, neutron stars, and supernova explosions.

• Kurt Cuffey , geography, “Improved Precipitation Isotope Analyses for Climate Change Studies”
Cuffey seeks to improve understanding of physical and chemical processes that determine how Earth’s surface environment operates as a system and changes through time. His research emphasizes environmental change of polar regions.

• Mia Fuller , Italian studies, “Mussolini’s Citizens: Living in Italy’s Fascist-Era ‘New Towns’, from 1928 to the Present”
With the support of a Fulbright Scholar Grant, a Rome Prize, and other fellowships, she has combined field work with archival research in her study of architecture and city planning in the Italian colonies between 1869 and 1943.

• Jennifer Johnson-Hanks , demography, “Reproductive Intentions and Fertility Rates in Developing Countries”
Johnson-Hanks’ research and teaching interests include fertility, nuptiality, education, social organization, qualitative methods, and Africa.

• Edward Miguel , economics, “Pre-School Health and Education in Urban India”
Miguel seeks to understand the impact of tropical disease on economic development, particularly educational outcomes and labor productivity in India and Kenya. He also works in the political economy of development, on topics including public finance decentralization, ethnic divisions, and social

• Ramona Ann Naddaff , rhetoric, “Censorship and the Novel: Case Studies in the Politics of Reading”
Naddaff is currently researching a book on censorship and the novel in 19th and 20th-century France, England, and the United States. Her areas of interest are ancient Greek philosophy and literature, politics and the novel, 20th-century French thought, and history of philosophy.

• Noam Sobel , neuroscience, ”Odortopy: Are Odors Spatially Mapped in the Brain?”
Neurobiologist Noam Sobel studies the olfactory system in humans. Since his arrival on campus, he has built one of the finest olfactory labs in the country and has designed and constructed a state-of-the-art olfactometer for precise control of odor delivery.

• Dan Stamper-Kurn , physics, “In-situ Imaging of Spinor Bose-Einstein Condensates”
Stamper-Kurn is pursuing the creation of novel mesoscopic and macroscopic quantum systems using ultra-cold atoms.

• Dirk Trauner , chemistry, “Molecular Recognition of Potassium Channels”
Trauner’s research interests span the fields of organic synthesis, molecular recognition,and neurobiology.

• Karsten Weis , molecular and cell biology, cell & developmental biology, “Regulation and Dynamics of the Ran GTPase Cycle”
Weis runs an active research laboratory that explores the mechanism of nucleocytoplasmic exchange.

The Hellman recipients for 2001, who received a total of $300,000 in support for their research, were Cheryl Briggs , integrative biology; Ying Qing Chen , biostatistics; Antje Hofmeister , plant and microbial biology; Carolyn Huie Hofstetter , education; David Lee , economics; Khalid Mosalam , civil and environmental engineering; Kaipeng Peng , psychology; David Schaffer , chemical engineering; Kate van Orden , music; Matthew Welch , molecular and cell biology; Christine Wildsoet , optometry; and Peidong Yang , chemistry.

A call for applications for awards from the Hellman Family Faculty Fund is issued annually.


Information on Hellman Family Faculty Fund award applications


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