Three ECE Faculty Among 22 Charles River Campus Promotions


By Joel Brown, BU Today

The University has promoted 18 faculty members to associate professor with tenure and raised the status of several others on the Charles River Campus. Photo by Mike Spencer
The University has promoted 18 faculty members to associate professor with tenure and raised the status of several others on the Charles River Campus. Photo by Mike Spencer

College students who have lived through a sexual assault may not seek traditional counseling on campus for a number of reasons, including privacy fears. An online intervention program that they can access at any time from the privacy of their dorm room might reach more women, says School of Education counseling and human development faculty member Amie Grills.

“There seems to be something comforting about being able to work through your experience when you have a program that nobody knows about but you,” says Grills, coinvestigator on a project funded by the National Institute of Mental Health examining a therapist-facilitated intervention program for those students.

“It’s taking years of working with victims of sexual assault and women who’ve had negative sexual encounters—taking what we learned from all that clinical study and applying it to this online intervention,” says Grills, whose research is focused on childhood anxiety and differential responses to traumatic experiences across age groups.

The women can visit the site at any time to work through modules where they discuss their experience and learn coping skills. A therapist reviews their posts and responds with written and video feedback within 48 hours. “We tried to incorporate what might typically happen in a therapeutic setting with the feedback women receive,” Grills says.

The three-site study concluded this spring. Its findings will be presented at the American Psychological Association annual convention in August and published this summer. Grills and collaborator Heather Littleton of East Carolina University are working on securing funding to expand the project to reach even more women.

Grills is among 18 faculty members on the Charles River Campus promoted to associate professor with tenure. Also promoted are two School of Law faculty, to the rank of full professor with tenure, a current associate professor awarded tenure, and a non–tenure track faculty member promoted to associate professor.

“Through foundational scholarship and groundbreaking exploration, these talented faculty members are emerging as leaders in their fields and demonstrating why Boston University continues to be a global destination for research,” says Jean Morrison, University provost and chief academic officer. “We are enormously proud of what they have been able to accomplish and excited that they will continue their careers at Boston University.”

The faculty promoted come from a diverse range of fields, from the sciences, business, and law to the humanities and the performing arts.

Anna Henchman, a newly minted College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of English with tenure, specializes in 19th-century British literature, with an emphasis on the relationship between literature, art, and epistemology. She is the author ofThe Starry Sky Within: Astronomy and the Reach of the Mind in Victorian Literaturewhich examines how four Victorian authors, Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, Thomas De Quincey, and Alfred Tennyson, looked at Earth through the prism of the stars.

“A lot of what I’m interested in is how we as human beings can use our imagination to get outside the constraints of human perception,” says Henchman. “To see how the writers were using optics to pull their readers way out into space, and then back onto the surface of the Earth.”

In her latest project, she’s going in another direction entirely, exploring how Charles Darwin, Hardy, and other Victorians depicted tiny creatures such as snails and worms, creatures who experience the world primarily through touch. “It’s really about how writers were trying to imagine how consciousness could have evolved over time,” she says.

As well as Amie Grills and Anna Henchman, the additional faculty promoted to associate professor with tenure are:

Ayse Coskun, College of Engineering associate professor of electrical and computer engineering


Recognized internationally for her novel methods to increase energy efficiency, power, and temperature management of computer systems, Coskun is an NSF CAREER Award winner and holder of six patents. She has been recognized for her algorithmic advances that synchronize software performance, hardware activity, and thermal balance to optimize system performances.

Douglas Densmore, ENG associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, biomedical engineering and bioinformatics

Densmore specializes in design automation, using electronic design techniques along with synthetic biology to build synthetic biological systems, primarily expressed as software packages. He is an NSF CAREER Award winner and past recipient of ENG’s Early Career Research Excellence Award and BU’s Reidy Family Career Development Professorship. His computational research has generated a patent, two textbooks, and numerous journal and conference papers.

Vivek Goyal, ENG associate professor of electrical and computer engineering

Goyal is known for his work in modern signal processing, specializing in wavelet coding techniques. The author of six books, he holds 18 patents and is permanent cochair of the wavelets conference series of SPIE, the international professional society for optics and photonics. He is the recipient of numerous NSF grants, including a CAREER Award, and is an elected fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Amy Appleford, CAS associate professor of English

Appleford studies the literature and culture of late medieval England, as well as medieval women’s visionary writing and mysticism. Her recent book, Learning to Die in London, 1380-1540 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), examines how attitudes toward death and dying shaped civic life just a generation after the Black Death. She is currently at work on a forthcoming volume.

Margaret Beck (GRS’06), CAS associate professor of mathematics and statistics

Beck is noted for her research in dynamical systems and applied mathematics. A pioneer in bringing techniques from invariant manifold theory to the study of partial differential equations, she has developed new computational methods that are considered major theoretical advances in mathematical theory. She has received National Science Foundation funding to support her work.

Tulika Bose, CAS associate professor of physics

Bose studies high-energy particle physics, seeking to better understand nature’s most fundamental forces. Recently appointed trigger coordinator for the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland,Bose is internationally recognized for her work in experimental physics. She is a past recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship.

Michael Dietze, CAS associate professor of earth and environment

Dietze studies forest ecosystems and community dynamics from the local to the global scale. His research topics include climate-fire-vegetation relationships in the Alaskan tundra and the development of ecoinformatics tools for integrating field data and modeling. His research has been funded by numerous NSF awards and a NASA grant.

Horacio Frydman, CAS associate professor of biology

Frydman focuses on understanding how microorganisms and their hosts interact. His groundbreaking research on Wolbachia bacteria in insects, both as a means of manipulating a host’s reproduction and as a possible tool in preventing the spread of diseases like malaria and dengue fever, has earned significant funding from both the NSF and the National Institutes of Health.

Sharon Goldberg, CAS associate professor of computer science

Goldberg uses tools from theory and networking, including cryptography and game theory, to solve practical problems relating to computer and internet security. Considered a leading authority in the field of network security, she is the recipient of numerous NSF grants, including a CAREER Award, and a Sloan Research Fellowship.

Lucy Hutyra, CAS associate professor of earth and environment

Hutyra combines principles from different fields to better understand Earth’s carbon cycle. She is a recognized leader in the nascent field of carbon dynamics, and her research has been supported by a grant from IBM’s Smarter Cities Program, as well as from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the NSF, including a CAREER Award.

Mark Kramer, CAS associate professor of mathematics and statistics

Specializing in mathematical neuroscience, Kramer uses techniques from differential equations, dynamical systems theory, and statistics, among other fields, to produce new discoveries in the study of epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. He is the recipient of a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award  and has received significant funding from the NIH.

Ashley Mears, CAS associate professor of sociology

Mears, whose research focuses on gender studies and economic sociology, explores commodification of beauty and glamor and the intersection of culture and economic markets. Her 2011 book Pricing Beauty: The Making of a Fashion Modelexamines the creation of value in modeling.

Andrew West, CAS associate professor of astronomy

West studies M- and L-type dwarf stars, the smallest yet most numerous stars in the Milky Way, with a focus on their magnetic activity and using them to understand the structure of our galaxy. The recipient of numerous NSF grants, including a CAREER Award, he has published more than 100 articles and papers exploring the properties, formation, and aging of stars. He designed and taught one of the first four massive open online courses (MOOCs) developed at BU, Alien Worlds: The Science of Exoplanet Discovery and Characterization, which launched last fall.

Ana Albuquerque, Questrom School of Business associate professor of accounting

Albuquerque specializes in research on executive compensation, with a special emphasis on comparative studies of pay based on productivity. Her work in relative performance evaluation has been the basis of a number of highly regarded papers. She is a past recipient of Questrom’s Broderick Award for Outstanding Research.

Kira Fabrizio, Questrom associate professor of strategy and innovation

Fabrizio specializes in innovation, knowledge exploitation, and intellectual property rights, with an emphasis on energy and environmental policy. A past winner of the Broderick Award for Outstanding Research, she cocreated a new MBA concentration in energy and environmental sustainability. She also is advisory editor for Research Policy.

Rady Roldán-Figueroa (STH’05), School of Theology associate professor of the history of Christianity

Roldán-Figueroa studies the early modern period and the history of Christian spirituality, focusing on the Protestant and Roman Catholic Reformations in the Spanish-speaking world. His specific research into the Spanish Bible’s influence on the King James Bible has led to new discoveries about understudied figures, religious movements, and spiritual practices. He is the author of The Ascetic Spirituality of Juan de Avila (1499-1569).

The other promotions:

Adrian Whitty, CAS associate professor of chemistry

Whitty studies protein-protein interactions with the aim of understanding the activation and signaling of growth-factor receptor systems and advancing the pursuit of drugs that inhibit protein-protein interactions. Prior to joining BU in 2008, he worked for 14 years at Biogen Idec, where he participated in and led multiple drug discovery teams and directed the company’s postdoctoral program. Whitty has been granted tenure.

Shiela Kibbe-Hodgkins, College of Fine Arts associate professor of music

Kibbe-Hodgkins chairs the School of Music department of piano performance. She specializes in musical collaboration and voice coaching. She has taught as visiting faculty at Juilliard and produced three CDs, including this year’s Modern Fairy Tales, and has earned international recognition for her solo and ensemble work.She has been promoted to associate professor.

Khiara Bridges, School of Law professor of law

Bridges specializes in interdisciplinary research on the intersection of race, class, and reproductive rights, and is the author of Reproducing Race: An Ethnography of Pregnancy as a Site of Racialization, the result of her research in the obstetrics clinic of a New York public hospital. Last year she received LAW’s Michael Melton Award for Excellence in Teaching. She has been promoted to professor with tenure.

Anna di Robilant, LAW professor of law

Di Robilant studies property law and theory, legal history, and comparative law between the United States and Europe. Her research has focused largely on common and civil law and the design of property law institutions in free and democratic societies. Her unique focus led to her appointment as chair of the Property Law section of the Common Core of European Private Law. She has been promoted to professor with tenure.