Faculty News March 2013


Professor of Chemistry Karen Allen and her collaborator at the University of New Mexico, Prof. Deborah Dunaway-Mariano, have received a two-year National Institutes of Health R21 award to understand the structure and function of trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatase (T6PP). T6PP is an enzyme identified in screens of C. elegans as a potential therapeutic target for infectious diseases caused by parasitic nematodes: lymphatic filariasis. The National Institutes of Health Exploratory / Developmental Research Grant Program (R21) funding mechanism is intended to encourage high risk but potentially high impact research.


Professor of Archaeology Mary C. Beaudry received the J.C. Harrington Award for her contributions to historical archaeology including her field research in North American, the United Kingdom, and the Caribbean, as well as her innovative and interdisciplinary work on material culture. Established in 1981, the Harrington Award is named in honor of Jean Carl Harrington (1901-1998), one of the pioneers of historical archaeology in North America. The award, considered historical archaeology’s highest honor, includes an inscribed medal and is presented for a lifetime of contributions to the discipline centered on scholarship. No more than one Harrington Medal is presented each year.


Professor of English William C. Carroll has been awarded a residency fellowship at the Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanities, sponsored by the Bogliasco Foundation, in Bogliasco, Italy, for the spring of 2014.


Professor Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing and Research Professor in the Departments of Archaeology, Earth Sciences, and Electrical and Computer Engineering of Boston University, is the recipient of the 2013 Ireland Visiting Scholar Award from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Each year the Ireland Award brings internationally renowned scholars in the arts and sciences to UAB to present a public lecture and participate in campus activities. The prize ($10,000) is made possible through an endowment established by Caroline P. and Charles W. Ireland.

“Professor El-Baz is a globally recognized scientist and human being,” said Dr. Sarah Parcak, UAB associate professor of anthropology. “He has more than 50 years of experience conducting research in geology, archaeology, remote sensing,” adding: “I’ve been reading his papers since I was an undergraduate and wrote to him in my senior year of college — I was shocked that he wrote me back. It made an enormous impression that a scholar with such a huge international reputation would take time to encourage a young student. It speaks to his humanity — something for which he is also famous.”

Dr. El-Baz, a veteran of NASA’s Apollo program of lunar exploration, is a pioneer in applying space imaging in the fields of geology, geography and archaeology. He is particularly noted for research on desert landforms and the location of groundwater resources in arid lands. Under his direction, the Boston University Center for Remote Sensing was selected in 1997 by NASA as a “Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing.”


Assistant Professor of English Anna Henchman‘s book The Starry Sky Within: Astronomy and the Reach of the Mind has been accepted by Oxford University Press, and will appear in 2014.


Assistant Professor of Chemistry Ramesh Jasti has received a Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Sloan Foundation has selected 126 outstanding U.S. and Canadian scientists to receive Sloan Research Fellowships in 2013. The President of the Foundation, Dr. Paul Joskow, considers these Fellows, “the best of the best among young scientists.” A central goal of Prof. Jasti’s research is to develop new organic synthesis methods to prepare carbon nanomaterials with high levels of homogeneity. A significant challenge in nanoscience is to develop syntheses for the preparation of homogenous batches of carbon nanotubes with a predetermined structure/property on demand.

Prof. Jasti has also received a Boston University Ignition Award to investigate carbon nanohoops as advanced energy storage materials.  The winning proposal was developed in collaboration with 2nd year graduate student, Evan Darzi, in the Jasti Group.  Through this award, they aim to advance their research to commercialization, possibly as a start-up company. Read more


Biochemist magazine interviews CAS Professor of Biology Hans Kornberg about his experience winning the first Colworth Medal 50 years ago. Read more


Associate Professor of English Maurice Lee’s Uncertain Chances: Science, Skepticism, and Belief in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (Oxford UP, 2012) was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2012.


Associate Professor of English Christopher Martin has been invited to participate in “Ovid Transformed: The Poet and the Metamorphoses,” a two-day event celebrating the reception of the Latin author’s greatest work that will take place at the American Academy in Rome on May 9-10. In addition to reading from the translations of the Metamorphoses compiled in his anthology Ovid in English alongside poets Seamus Heaney, Frank Bidart, and James Lasdun and novelists Jane Alison and Marina Warner, he will be speaking on two scholarly panels treating Ovid’s influence on early modernity with Stephen Greenblatt, Jonathan Bate, Roberto Calasso, and Ramie Targoff.


BU Provost Jean Morrison and Dean of Arts & Sciences Virginia Sapiro were quoted in New Scientist magazine in an article titled “Let’s stick together: How couples can go the distance.” The article examined scientist couples’ difficulty finding jobs in the same locations. Read the article


Associate Professor of Chemistry Scott Schaus and his co-inventor, Professor of Biology Ula Hansen, have received an Ignition Award to develop a small molecule chemotherapeutic for the effective treatment of primary liver cancer.


Assistant Professor of Astronomy Andrew West has been named a Cottrell Scholar by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. Outstanding early-career teacher-scholars in Ph.D. granting universities are accepted into the Cottrell Scholar Program via a rigorous peer-review process. In addition to presenting innovative research proposals, the Cottrell Scholars are expected to be innovative teachers of undergraduate science students.


Professor and Chair of Political Science Graham Wilson delivered a lecture in the BU Washington Program’s Speaker Series on February 20. The title of Wilson’s lecture was “K Street: Corridor of Influence or Corridor of All That’s Evil? Interest Groups & The Future of American Politics.”