Appointment of Professor David Boas as Arthur G.B. Metcalf Chair and Professor Ran Canetti as Wang Professor

From Dr. Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer

I am delighted to announce the appointments of two distinguished faculty leaders in the sciences to a pair of Boston University’s most prestigious named professorships.

David Boas, professor of biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering and director of the BU Neurophotonics Center, has been named Arthur G.B. Metcalf Chair. This professorship, established in 1995 and endowed by the Board of Trustees in honor of the former industrialist, BU professor of engineering, and board chair, recognizes a scholar of international reputation in mathematics, science, or engineering. The last holder of the Metcalf Chair was Nobel Prize winner and Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Physics Sheldon Glashow.

For over two decades, Professor Boas has been among the world’s leading researchers in neuroengineering and neuroscience, bridging those fields with photonics, imaging science, computation, and data science to vastly improve our understanding of brain structure and function and produce life-changing clinical diagnostics and therapies. Robustly supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, Professor Boas is credited with inventing diffuse correlation spectroscopy to measure blood flow in the brain. His innovations have directly impacted the study of stroke, migraine, and neuro-vascular coupling during brain activation and may hold a key to better understanding the origins of Alzheimer’s Disease. A member of the BU faculty since 2017 (and prior to that, a member of Harvard Medical School faculty), Professor Boas is an elected fellow of the Optical Society of America, the Society of Photonics in Industry and Engineering, and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. He is the founding president of the Society for Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy and the founding editor-in-chief of the journal Neurophotonics.

Ran Canetti, professor of computer science in the College of Arts & Sciences and director of the BU Center for Reliable Information Systems & Cyber Security, has been appointed Wang Professor. This honor, endowed in 1988 by Wang Laboratories, recognizes a distinguished scholar and teacher in the natural sciences, mathematics, computer science, or engineering. BU’s previous Wang Professor was Professor Emeritus of Mathematics & Statistics, Psychological & Brain Sciences, and Biomedical Engineering and Founding Chair of the Department of Cognitive & Neural Systems Stephen Grossberg.

Over the last 20 years, Professor Canetti has helped transform the fields of cryptography and information security, introducing now standardized frameworks used to ensure the safety of online transactions. Professor Canetti’s concept of universal composability is so widespread that many now use it without citation, with protocols developed through his frameworks used to analyze the security of systems as diverse as cryptocurrencies, Internet standards, operating system modules, computer hardware, cyber-physical systems, quantum protocols, and legal processes. His work has received over 43,000 citations throughout the years, and current research is supported by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Defense. Since joining the BU faculty in 2011, Professor Canetti has been routinely recognized for his teaching and generosity as a mentor, with many past PhD students and postdocs now emerging as leaders, themselves, in the field of computer science. He has also helped broaden the impact of computer science to other disciplines, recently developing the course Law for Algorithms that is jointly taught by computer science and law faculty from BU, Columbia, Harvard, and UC Berkeley. Professor Canetti is an elected fellow of the International Association for Cryptologic Research and an associate editor of the Journal of Cryptology and Information and Computation.

The Metcalf Chair and Wang Professorship hold five-year renewable terms and provide annual support for the recipients’ research and scholarly work. Please join me in congratulating Professors Boas and Canetti on these important and well-deserved University-wide distinctions. Both are pushing the boundaries of their fields and bring enormous talent, leadership, and innovation to their roles. We look forward to their continued contributions and service in the years ahead. I would also like to thank our academic deans for nominating and championing an incredibly gifted and diverse cross-section of BU faculty for these professorships. The process for selecting these honors has further highlighted the caliber and breadth of talent within our academic community and demonstrated why BU will continue to be a leading global laboratory for discovery in the coming decades.

Appointment of Professor David Boas as Arthur G.B. Metcalf Chair and Professor Ran Canetti as Wang Professor – 11.18.22