Promotions to Full Professor on the Charles River Campus

From Dr. Kenneth Lutchen, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer

President Freeman and I are delighted to announce the promotion of 22 members of our Charles River Campus faculty to the rank of full professor at Boston University.

Great faculty make great universities, translating important ideas and research discoveries into practical solutions that improve our quality of life, producing new scholarship that advances our understanding of the world around us, and helping shape the future workforce through their teaching and example. The individuals we recognize today have emerged as leaders in their respective fields of research and in their classrooms. At a time of transition and challenge in the world, they are meeting the moment by pursuing highly relevant new areas of inquiry, employing innovative new approaches, and entering boundary-pushing collaborations across dozens of disciplines. In doing so, they exemplify each day the depth and excellence of Boston University’s talented academic community. We are proud to count them as members of our faculty and excited to see them reach this significant milestone here at BU.

Jonathan Barnes, CAS, Linguistics, is a phonologist specializing in segmental and prosodic phonology – or the patterns of rhythm, intonation, and stress of the voice. His theoretical and experimental contributions, funded by six National Science Foundation (NSF) grants and published in leading journals, have produced new insights about the perceptual basis for processing prosody. His “Tonal Center-of-Gravity” theory has gained international attention as a powerful tool for prosodic analysis. His second book, Prosodic Theory and Practice (2022), brings together scholars from disparate frameworks with the aim of bridging divides in the field of prosody. He also played a major role in the founding of the Department of Linguistics in 2018, serving as its chair since 2020.

Elizabeth Blanton, CAS, Astronomy, uses observations at multiple wavelengths – including radio, infrared, optical, and X-ray wavelengths – to study clusters of galaxies. Her results advance understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies as the basic building block of the universe. Her work has been supported by NSF and NASA, notably the Chandra X-ray Observatory. She is a fellow of the American Astronomical Society and recently served as director of BU’s Institute for Astrophysical Research. She has published numerous refereed articles in leading scientific journals, including Nature and the Astrophysical Journal.

Gordon Burtch, Questrom, Information Systems, researches the effects of online platforms on offline markets and digital platform design with a focus on social interaction, content creation, and the behavior of online platform participants. He is the inaugural recipient of the Kelli Questrom Associate Professorship and has received multiple awards for his work including the Best Paper Award from the INFORMS Workshop on Data Science and Questrom’s Broderick Award for Excellence in Research. He has published over 20 articles in top-tier journals, including Information Systems Research and Management Science.

Catherine Espaillat, CAS, Astronomy, studies the physical nature and evolution of disks of gas and dust that surround young stars and the protoplanets that form within those disks. Her work has been supported by NSF and NASA, including the James Webb Space Telescope, and she is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is the director of BU’s Institute for Astrophysical Research and additionally serves as her department’s director of undergraduate studies. She has published numerous refereed articles in leading scientific journals, including Nature and Science.

David Glick, CAS, Political Science, studies American politics and researches the US Supreme Court, local government, and public policy. A fellow with the federal government’s Office of Evaluation Sciences, he is co-PI on the Menino Survey of Mayors and has co-authored a book, Neighborhood Defenders: Participatory Politics and America’s Housing Crisis (2019) and other works chronicling the local politics of housing. He has additionally published 26 peer reviewed articles in journals including Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, American Journal of Political Science, and Perspectives on Politics.

Srikanth Gopalan, ENG, Mechanical Engineering, is a materials experimentalist working in the broad area of energy and materials science. He works at the intersection of structure, chemistry, and interfaces and is credited with pioneering the development of reversible solid oxide fuel cells. Supported by grants from federal, state, and industry sponsors – including NSF and the US Department of Energy (DOE) – his work is considered vital in the push for clean power generation and sustainable energy. He has published over 83 journal articles and is an active and contributing member to The Electrochemical Society.

Tal Gross, Questrom, Markets, Public Policy & Law, is an applied economist whose empirical work focuses on health economics and household finance. His recent research uses novel data sets and experimental methods to help better understand how budget constraints of households affect healthcare consumption. He has published a recent book on health economics, Better Health Economics: An Introduction for Everyone (2024), and numerous widely cited articles in top journals, including the American Economic Review. He is associate editor of the Journal of Health Economics and is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Melissa Holt, Wheelock, Counseling Psychology & Applied Human Development, is a counseling psychologist whose work focuses on the experiences of adolescents who have been discriminated against due to their identity characteristics. Supported by numerous grants from both federal agencies and foundations such as the National Institute of Justice, she is internationally recognized as one of the leading authorities on school safety research. She co-directs the BU Wheelock Social Adjustment & Bullying Lab and is the director of Kilachand Honors College where she is the Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Professor. She has received numerous awards, including a Leadership Award from the American Education Research Association, and is a fellow of the American Psychological Association. She has published two books, 15 book chapters, and more than 60 journal articles in leading journals such as the Journal of School Psychology and Pediatrics.

Traci Hong, COM, Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations, advances health communication theory by leveraging new and social media to promote behavioral change that can lead to beneficial health outcomes. Her work specifically examines how people cognitively process and are persuaded by mediated health messages around vaping, tobacco, alcohol consumption and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a co-investigator on an NSF grant that seeks to thwart epidemics from becoming pandemics by, in part, using social media to promote early preventative behavioral practices. Her research has additionally been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.

Kimberly Howard, Wheelock, Counseling Psychology & Applied Human Development, is a counseling psychologist who is recognized internationally for her work studying the career development of children and youth, including career interests in nontraditional fields. She co-directs the BU Wheelock Center for Future Readiness and has received funding from federal agencies and foundations, such as NSF. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, received the Outstanding Mentor Award from the BU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, and has served as chair of the BU Faculty Council. A frequent conference presenter, she has published 16 book chapters and 27 articles in top journals, including The Counseling Psychologist and the Journal of Career Development.

Yasuko Kanno, Wheelock, Language & Literacy Education, is an applied linguist who specializes in immigrant English learners’ access to postsecondary education. Specifically, she examines the marginalization of multilingual students of color and works with local schools in Boston to promote educational equity for this population. Her research has been funded by numerous foundations, including the William T. Grant Foundation and the Spencer Foundation, and she has presented extensively at international and national conferences. She has published four books, including 2021’s widely praised English Learners’ Access to Postsecondary Education: Neither College nor Career Ready. In addition, she has published seven book chapters, and more than 20 articles in top journals, such as TESOL Quarterly, American Education Research Journal, and Teachers College Record.

Deeana Klepper, CAS, Religion, is a historian of religion in medieval Europe whose research focuses on religious identities, cultures, and inter-religious encounters among Christians, Jews, and Muslims. She has authored two books, including 2022’s Pastoral Care and Community in Late Medieval Germany: Albert of Diessen’s “Mirror of Priests,” along with 12 book chapters and articles in major journals. A frequent presenter at national and international conferences on medieval studies, Jewish studies, and history, she was elected this year to the Society of Fellows of the Medieval Academy of America, an honor that recognizes long-term scholarly achievement within the field.

David Lagakos, CAS, Economics, is a macroeconomist who studies the determinants of economic growth in some of the world’s least developed regions. A past lead academic for the International Growth Centre in Ghana, he has served as editor of the Review of Economic Dynamics and the Journal of Development Economics and is currently a research affiliate at NBER and the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). His papers have appeared in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and other prominent journals.

Petrus Liu, CAS, World Languages & Literatures, is a scholar of Chinese literature and queer studies whose work bridges feminist theory, queer theory, and Marxism through publications and courses on modern Chinese and comparative literature, digital media, capitalism and the novel, and new social movements in the global South. He has authored or co-edited four books, including 2023’s The Specter of Materialism: Queer Theory and Marxism in the Age of the Beijing Consensus, along with five book chapters and numerous peer reviewed journal articles. He is the recipient of a Harvard University Radcliffe Institute fellowship as well as the College of Arts & Sciences’ Gitner Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Judith Lok, CAS, Mathematics & Statistics, is a statistician specializing in the fields of causal inference and survival analysis. Her NIH- and NSF-sponsored research focuses on both theoretical aspects and applications of causal inference, spanning statistical theory, applications in medicine (including HIV/AIDS, COVID-19, and bacterial infections), and public health (including maternal and child health). Her newest federally funded project, “Learn-As-you-GO,” is an adaptive clinical trial design, where the intervention package changes over time as earlier-stage outcomes become available. She has published 37 articles in top-tier medical, epidemiology, and statistics journals, including three in the Annals of Statistics, with a textbook, Causal Inference: A Statistics Playground, in development.

Ruth Paris, SSW, Clinical Practice, is an expert in infant and early childhood mental health, whose community-based research examines the strengths and stressors affecting parent-child relationships and parenting practices in families with trauma histories. Her work specifically assesses the impact of equitable interventions in improving parenting capacities, parent-child interactions, parental mental health, and child development. A past Fulbright Scholar, she is the associate director for research at the BU Wheelock Institute for Early Childhood Well-Being and an inaugural fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research. Her research has been supported by major federal and foundation grants and she has published numerous book chapters and dozens of widely cited articles in top journals, including the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Child Abuse and Neglect, and the Infant Mental Health Journal.

Natalia Ramondo, CAS, Economics, is an international trade economist whose research examines the global impact of multinational corporations’ activities. Her most recent studies explore the correlation between those firms’ activities and carbon emissions worldwide. Her work has been supported by two NSF grants and published in top-tier economic journals, such as the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, and the Review of Economic Studies. She is a research associate at NBER, a research fellow at CEPR, and an associate editor for the Journal of Monetary Economics, the American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, and the Journal of International Economics.

Rady Roldán-Figueroa, STH, History of Christianity, is a scholar of early modern Catholicism, with expertise in Spanish religious cultures, spirituality and literacy, Catholic missions, and Lascasian studies. He has published two books, including 2021’s The Martyrs of Japan: Publication History and Catholic Missions in the Spanish World, and six edited volumes along with numerous articles, book chapters, and essays in leading historical journals. The associate editor of the Journal of Early Modern Christianity, he is a past recipient of the Harold J. Grimm Prize for outstanding article from the Sixteenth Century Society, the premier scholarly society of early modern historical studies. He has served as director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at STH and as director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the Pardee School of Global Studies. In 2019, he received the STH Teaching Excellence Award.

Andrea Vedolin, Questrom, Finance, is an empirical asset pricing scholar whose most recent research focuses on empirical puzzles in international finance. Her work provides new ways to explain the low volatility and counter-cyclicality of exchange rates and the large premium on exchange rate forwards. She also studies how trading frictions are reflected in exchange rates, or how monetary policy announcements impact interest rates, bond yields, and asset prices in general. She holds editorial positions at top field publications including Management Science, the Review of Financial Studies, and the Journal of Financeand has published extensively in premier finance and economics journals, such as the Journal of Financial Economics.

Chen Yang, CAS, Chemistry; ENG, Electrical & Computer Engineering, designs materials and devices for high-precision neuromodulation. Her work enables technologies to better understand how the brain functions and to treat neurological disorders where drug therapies are not available. Supported by major federal, foundation, and industry grants, she is a past NSF CAREER award recipient, a current American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering fellow, and a member of the American Chemical Society and the International Society for Optics and Photonics. Her research has resulted in multiple granted patents, and she has published 63 articles in top science and engineering journals, including Nature and Science.

Michael Zell, CAS, History of Art & Architecture, is a scholar of 17th-century Baroque art, with a particular focus on works of the Dutch masters. He has authored or co-edited four books, including most recently, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and the Gift in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art (2022), which explores the interaction between Dutch gift culture and art as a function of commerce. An active member of the Center for Netherlandish Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, he has published six journal articles, six book chapters, and several museum exhibition catalogue essays and entries. He is a past recipient of CAS’s Frank and Lynne Wisneski Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Rosemarie Ziedonis, Questrom, Strategy & Innovation, researches the interplay of innovation, research, intellectual property rights, and strategy from multiple disciplinary angles, examining how firms strategically use patents, how patents can be pledged as collateral in financing new ventures, and how intellectual property policies affect corporations. Her research has been published in top-tier journals in strategy, finance, and accounting, including Contemporary Accounting Research, the Strategic Management Journal, and Research Policy. She is associate editor of Management Science, and her work has been supported through numerous federal and foundation grants.

Please join me in congratulating these wonderfully talented colleagues on their recent promotions and in wishing them success in their new ranks.

Promotions to Full Professor on the Charles River Campus – 4.19.24