Each year, Boston University recognizes a handful of talented junior educators emerging as future leaders within their respective fields through the award of Career Development Professorships. Made possible by the generous support of distinguished donors, alumni, and BU’s Office of Technology Development, these professorships highlight the caliber, potential, and continued vitality of Boston University’s diverse faculty.

Awards, nominating procedures, and selection vary based on the professorship and the unit administering the honor.  All awards are three years in length and include support for the recipients’ salaries and/or research and scholarly work.

Current Career Development Professors


Peter Paul Career Development Professor

Jessica Petrick

Assistant Professor of Medicine, School of Medicine

Jessica Petrick is an epidemiologist at the Slone Epidemiology Center, whose research as part of the Black Women’s Health Study focuses on gastrointestinal cancers – including colorectal, liver, and esophageal – and on the nutritional and molecular factors that may contribute to racial disparities along the cancer continuum. She received her doctorate in epidemiology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her master’s in epidemiology and health policy and bachelor’s degree from Case Western Reserve University. She completed her postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health.

Moorman-Simon Career Development Professor

David Horacio Colmenares

Assistant Professor of Spanish, College of Arts & Sciences

David Horacio Colmenares’s research bridges modern Iberian and Mesoamerican studies, incorporating Romance languages, linguistics, historical anthropology, reception studies, and material culture to connect the cultural production of Colonial Latin America to current social questions. He holds a doctorate, a master of philosophy, and a master of arts in Latin American and Iberian cultures from Columbia University, a master’s in philosophy from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, and a bachelor’s degree from Universidad Iberoamericana de Puebla in Mexico.

David R. Dalton Career Development Professor

Emma Lejeune

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering

Emma Lejeune works at the intersection of mechanics, computation, biology, and data science, leveraging state of the art computational tools to investigate multiscale emergent behavior in biological systems and inform patient-specific medical protocols. Current translational research includes developing software to help predict the mechanical behavior of highly heterogeneous soft tissue. She received her doctorate and master’s in civil and environmental engineering from Stanford University and her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University. She completed her postdoctoral work at the University of Texas at Austin.

Innovation Career Development Professor

Joseph Larkin

Assistant Professor of Biology and Physics, College of Arts & Sciences

Joe Larkin’s interdisciplinary work examines how the physical and chemical environment influences microbes (in particular, bacterial biofilms), and how those microbes, in turn, engineer that environment through extracellular matrix and cell-to-cell signals to perpetuate and evolve. His research holds important practical implications for, among other things, maintaining the safety and sanitation of medical devices and water lines. He holds a doctorate in physics from Northeastern University, a master’s in physics from Boston University, and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.

Shibulal Family Career Development Professor (January 2021-January 2024)

Krzysztof Onak

Assistant Professor of Computing & Data Sciences

Krzysztof Onak’s expertise lies in the field of algorithms for big data and their applications to AI and machine learning. His main research interests concern big data computation with limited resources, including algorithms for modern parallel and distributed systems, sublinear-time algorithms, and streaming. He joins BU in January 2021 from IBM, where he has been a researcher in mathematics of AI at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. He holds a doctorate in computer science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s in computer science and bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and computer science from University of Warsaw (Poland). He completed his postdoctoral work as a Simons Postdoctoral Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University.

Wetherill-Bloom Career Development Professor in the Humanities (January 2021-January 2024)

Kate Lindsey

Assistant Professor of Linguistics

Kate Lindsey is an expert in phonology, whose research analyzes sound patterns and variations across underdocumented/understudied languages and cultures. Her current research and fieldwork examine the Ende language of Papua New Guinea: specifically the interaction of so-called ‘ghost elements’ pervasive in Ende phonology, as well as supporting the first reference grammar of Ende and theoretical analyses of vowel harmony and phonological reduplication. She received her doctorate in linguistics from Stanford University and her bachelor’s degree in world languages and cultures from American University.


Peter Paul Career Development Professor

Florian Douam

Assistant Professor of Microbiology, School of Medicine

Florian Douam’s translational research at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory investigates human immune responses to emerging viruses, including viral hepatitis, AIDS, Dengue fever, and yellow fever, to aid in the development of effective vaccines and therapeutics. He received his doctorate in molecular virology and master’s degree in biological sciences from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon in Lyon, France, and his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Université François Rabelais in Tours, France.

Moorman-Simon Interdisciplinary Career Development Professors

Chandramouli Chandrasekaran

Assistant Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology, School of Medicine
Assistant Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, College of Arts & Sciences

Chandramouli Chandrasekaran uses electrophysiological, behavioral, and computational techniques to better understand how the primate brain makes decisions based on sensory input and guides limb movement – findings with wide implications for treating human patient populations. He received his doctorate in psychology and neuroscience and master’s degree in psychology from Princeton University, a master’s degree in neural and behavioral sciences from University of Tübingen in Germany, and his bachelor’s degree in information technology from University of Madras in India.

Heba Gowayed

Assistant Professor of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences

Heba Gowayed researches the dynamics of immigration and refugee resettlement, examining how low-income people – particularly of Muslim and Arab origin – traverse social services, immigration laws, and their associated bureaucracies, while grappling with gender and racial inequalities. She holds a doctorate and master’s degree in sociology from Princeton University, a master’s degree in sociology from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from American University in Cairo.

Cecile Kaplan Dalton Career Development Professor

Derry Wijaya

Assistant Professor of Computer Science, College of Arts & Sciences

Derry Wijaya is an expert in machine learning, computational linguistics, and natural language processing, developing new algorithms and approaches to machine learning that improve the translation of less-annotated languages – particularly in automating the linguistic analysis of verbs. She received her doctorate in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from National University of Singapore. She completed her postdoctoral training at University of Pennsylvania.

Reidy Family Career Development Professor

Robert Metcalfe

Assistant Professor of Markets, Public Policy & Law, Questrom School of Business

Robert Metcalfe employs field experiments to understand human behavior and measure welfare in consumer markets and within large organizations, particularly in the presence of market imperfections and externalities, producing data with potential to help solve pressing managerial problems. He received his doctorate in economics from Imperial College London, his master’s degree from London School of Economics, and his bachelor’s degree from University of Wales, Swansea.

Ralph Edwards Career Development Professor

Dennis Jones

Assistant Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine

Dennis Jones’s research focuses on the immune-evasion mechanisms cancer cells use to persist in lymph nodes and spread to distant organs and works to identify strategies and molecular targets to enhance anti-tumor immunity and prevent metastasis. He received his doctorate in immunobiology from Yale University and his bachelor’s degree in biology from Morehouse College. He completed his postdoctoral training at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Isabel Anderson Career Development Professor

Sanaz Mobasseri

Assistant Professor of Management & Organizations, Questrom School of Business

Sanaz Mobasseri uses field experimental and computational methods to study the role of gender, race, and culture in shaping employee experiences in the workforce and labor market outcomes. She holds a doctorate in management of organizations and a master’s degree in public policy from University of California, Berkeley, and received her bachelor’s degree in finance from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

East Asia Studies Career Development Professor

Anne Feng

Assistant Professor of Chinese Art, College of Arts & Sciences

Anne Feng is a historian of Chinese art, with specialties in Buddhist art and architecture, Silk Road visual and material cultures, sacred space and ritual art, and mural painting practices. Recent research has examined images of water and waterscapes on the painted cave walls at Dunhuang in western China from the Tang dynasty. She holds a doctorate in art history from University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in art history from New York University.


Peter Paul Career Development Professors

Megan Cole

Assistant Professor of Health Law, Policy & Management, School of Public Health

Megan Cole’s research studies health care coverage for Medicaid and safety-net populations, focusing on how state and federal reform efforts affect the quality and equity of care for these groups. She holds a doctorate in health services research from Brown University, a master’s degree in health policy and administration from Yale University, and a bachelor’s degree from University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Ahmed Ghappour

Associate Professor of Law, School of Law

A computer engineer by training, Ahmed Ghappour merges multiple disciplines, exploring the interplay between emerging technologies, computer science, and law enforcement, particularly in the context of the modern surveillance state and cybersecurity. He holds a law degree from New York University and a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University.

Victor Kumar

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, College of Arts & Sciences

Victor Kumar’s writings center on ethics and cognitive science, examining how issues around evolutionary theory, feminism, race, and social justice reshape our understanding of individuals and societies. He received his doctorate in philosophy from University of Arizona, his master’s degree in philosophy from University of Alberta, and two bachelor’s degrees from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

Charlene Ong

Assistant Professor of Neurology, School of Medicine

Charlene Ong’s research seeks to create personalized risk assessments of patients with ischemic stroke through development of a comprehensive diagnostic imaging tool that processes physiologic, clinical, and radiographic data. She holds a master’s degree in population health sciences from Washington University (where she completed her residency), a medical degree from Columbia University, and two bachelor’s degrees from University of Pennsylvania.

Portia Pedro

Associate Professor of Law, School of Law

Portia Pedro teaches and writes about the processes that judges use to make procedural decisions. She also explores the ways in which judges use civil procedure to navigate the tensions between law and equity, standards and rules, finality and fairness, and governments and marginalized groups. She holds a PhD in law from Yale University, a law degree from Harvard Law School, and a bachelor’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles.

East Asia Studies Career Development Professor

April Hughes

Assistant Professor of Religion, College of Arts & Sciences

A scholar in the relationship of Buddhism to rulership in medieval China, April Hughes uses lenses of history, politics, and art – including Chinese Buddhist manuscripts and mural paintings – to understand religion within broader cultural and social contexts. She received her doctorate in religion from Princeton University and holds master’s degrees in Asian Studies and East Asian Studies from University of California, Berkeley, and University of California, Los Angeles, respectively, and a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Northridge.

Aram V. Chobanian Assistant Professor

Hugo Aparicio

Assistant Professor of Neurology, School of Medicine

Hugo Aparicio’s research focuses on the impact of lifestyle risk factors – namely body weight – on survival after stroke. He additionally works to identify and better understand vascular risk factors to brain injury and aging, cognitive dysfunction, and the development of Alzheimer’s disease and to improve care for those with stroke and dementia. He holds a medical degree from University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree from Emory University.

Peter J. Levine Career Development Professor

Wenchao Li

Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering, College of Engineering

A leading researcher in all areas of dependable computing, Wenchao Li develops computational proof methods and machine learning techniques to aid the construction of safe, reliable, and secure systems. He holds both a doctorate and master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer sciences from University of California, Berkeley, where he also received his bachelor’s degree.

Past Awardees


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