Tag Archive for faculty achievements

Kleinberg Lectures at International Conference

During the Fall 2010 semester, Ethan Kleinberg delivered two lectures in France.

Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of history, associate professor of letters is spending the year as director of the Vassar-Wesleyan Paris Program and an invited scholar at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. During the Fall 2010 semester, Kleinberg delivered two lectures based on his current book project, The Myth of Emmanuel Levinas. Levinas is a French Jewish philosopher who turned to the use of Jewish

Gallarotti Publishes Power Curse, Cosmopolitan Power

Book by Giulio Gallarotti

Book by Giulio Gallarotti

Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government, tutor in the College of Social Studies, is the author of  The Power Curse: Influence and Illusion in World Politics, published by Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010; and Cosmopolitan Power in International Relations: A Synthesis of Realism, Neoliberalism, and Constructivism, published by Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Stark Published in Behavioral Sciences Journal

Laura Stark, assistant professor of sociology, is the author of ““The Science of Ethics: Deception, The Resilient Self, And the APA Code of Ethics, 1966-1973,” published in the fall 2010 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences.

The paper examines the process by which the American Psychological Association determined that deception could be used as an acceptable research method.

Taylor Awarded DOE Grant for “Imaging Lignin Degradation”

Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry and environmental studies, has received a $193,809 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for a project called “Imaging Lignin Degradation.” Taylor will collaborate with colleagues at Penn State University and the University of Tennessee.

Taylor hopes to use fluorescence imaging and isotope trace experiments to develop probes for finding organisms that can break down lignin. She plans to test complex biological samples.

“Think going to the forest and bringing home a bucket of dirt containing small insects and lots of microorganisms and then figuring out which ones can break down lignin. This is related to my own work, where I hope to help turn lignin into a viable carbon source for biofuel production,” Taylor explains.

Hingorani Receives State Award for Tobacco-Related Illness Research

At left, State Senator Joseph Crisco awarded Manju Hingorani, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, with a Department of Public Health grant to fund her research titled "Role of DNA Mismatch Repair in Tobacco Smoke-Mediated Carcinogenesis.”

A Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) award will fund a biomedical research project on tobacco-related illnesses.

On Oct. 26, Senator Joseph Crisco (D-Woodbridge) presented Manju Hingorani, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, with one of the eight awards, supported by the Connecticut DPH Biomedical Trust Fund. Hingorani received a $165,083 grant to promote understanding of the mechanisms whereby DNA mismatch repair suppresses carcinogenesis and development of refractory cancers.

“While we have made considerable progress in the area of tobacco use prevention, tobacco-related illnesses continue to be the leading causes of disability and death,” said Senator Crisco, sponsor of legislation in 2005 creating the Biomedical Trust Fund in a state press release. “This research is helping to shine new light on how tobacco use contributes to chronic diseases, and moves us forward in the effort to save lives of those stricken with cancer, heart disease, and other smoking-related diseases, which are leading causes of death in Connecticut.”

Hingorani’s study was selected from 17 highly-competitive applications. This is the first time Wesleyan has received a grant from the Biomedical Research Trust Fund.

The grant will fund a post-doc and research associate’s projects through September 2012.

The funding “is a positive indication that Connecticut is moving forward with a strong commitment to carrying out the goals of the biomedical research bill, and that is to use a portion of the tobacco settlement funding to provide funding for research efforts to help fight cancer, heart disease, and other diseases that may be linked to smoking,” Senator Crisco said in the press release.

According to state health officials, tobacco is the single most preventable cause of mortality and morbidity in our society. In Connecticut, tobacco use is associated with over 5,000 deaths per year. These deaths are primarily caused by cancer, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Tobacco also causes secondary adverse health effects to nonsmokers exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is a significant cause of morbidity in children that manifests itself in diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia.

Royer Receives Donath Medal at Geological Meeting

Dana Royer.

Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, assistant professor of environmental studies, accepted the gold Donath Medal at the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual meeting in Denver, Colo. Nov. 1.

The award came with a cash prize of $10,000.

The award recognizes a scientist, aged 35 or younger, for outstanding original research marking a major advance in the earth sciences.

On a GSA press release, Peter D. Wilf of Pennsylvania State University said, “Dana is a true innovator who successfully tackles extremely important questions in paleoclimatology and paleoecology, in part using paleobotanical proxies calibrated with a remarkable series of careful modern analog studies. He often connects the deep-time climate and CO2 record to the present day in highly societally-relevant ways that are widely cited in the ‘modern’ climate change literature.”

“Without Dana’s contributions we would know much less about Earth’s climate history and its great importance to today’s world,” Wilf said.

Leo Hickey, professor of geology and Curator of Paleobotany at Yale University, said, “In the rapidly developing field of plant paleoecology and ecophysiology, Dana Royer stands out in terms of innovation and sheer breadth and depth of knowledge. He is truly an emerging leader in the geological sciences.”

Phil Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, also attended the annual GSA meeting, which focused on “Reaching New Peaks in Geoscience.”

Gus Seixas ’10 and Greg Hurd ’10 also presented results of their Wesleyan thesis research at the meeting.

Rubenstein Guest Panelist at Global Politics of Sexuality Conference

Mary-Jane Rubenstein, assistant professor of religion, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, was a guest panelist at a conference titled “Christianity and the Global Politics of Sexuality” held Oct. 21 at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, New York University.

Focusing specifically on sexuality, Rubenstein and other panelists discussed the ways in which transnational and non-governmental Christian organizations have an impact on legal and social policies in different areas where Christians may comprise a small minority or a larger percentage of the population. In addition, sexuality continues to rankle and even divide Christian churches themselves, as evidenced by the recent tensions in the Anglican Communion over LGBT clergy members. This panel explored debates about sexuality within Christian churches and the global reach of Christian claims about sexuality.

Rubenstein is the author of Strange Wonder: The Closure of Metaphysics and the Opening of Awe, and of numerous articles and chapters on continental philosophy, negative theology, and the crisis over sex and gender in the global Anglican Communion.

Taylor, Bonfert-Taylor, Bodznick Awarded NSF Grant

Edward Taylor, associate professor of mathematics; Petra Bonfert-Taylor, associate professor of mathematics; and David Bodznick, dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, received a grant worth $199,924 from the National Science Foundation for their “Collaborative Research: Analytic and Geometric Methods in Limited Angle Tomosunthesis.” The grant expires Aug. 27, 2011.

Nature Conservancy Awards Chernoff Funds for Fish Study

Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, chair of the Environmental Studies Program and director of the College of the Environment, received a $13,000 grant from The Nature Conservancy for his research titled “Fish and Benthic Invertebrate Assemblages-Zemko Dam.” The grant expires Aug. 15, 2011.

Stark’s Medical Research Ethics OpEd Published in L.A. Times

In an Oct. 8 The Los Angeles Times OpEd titled “Gaps in medical research ethics,” Laura Stark, assistant professor of science in society, assistant professor of sociology, assistant professor of environmental studies, explains flaws in the current research review system in the United States. On the heels of a U.S. apology for medical research in Guatemala, the U.S. now has on opportunity to overhaul ethics rules.

Stark shows how the ethics review process enabled the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use federal prisoners in experiments during the 1960s. The prisoners were infected with “pneumonia, influenza and the common cold, as well as simian-virus 40, which had contaminated batches of polio vaccine given to millions of Americans.” Attention to where our present-day ethics came from shows the flaw in our current system.

Degiovanni Honored for His Latin-American Scholarly Book

Fernando Degiovanni

Fernando Degiovanni, associate professor of romance languages and literatures, associate professor of Latin American studies, was awarded the prestigious Alfredo Roggiano Prize for his Los textos de la patria: Nacionalismo, politicas culturales y canon en Argentina (2007). This prize is awarded every three years by the International Institute of Ibero-American Literature to the author of an outstanding scholarly book on any phase of Latin American literature or culture.

The International Institute of Ibero-American Literature is the oldest association of scholars devoted the study of Latin American literature and culture in the United States.

Curran Elected Fellow by N.Y. Academy of Medicine

In July 2010, the board of the New York Academy of Medicine elected Andrew Curran, professor of French, Department of Romance Languages, a Fellow of the Academy in the history of medicine. Curran had previously received the Paul Klemperer fellowship in the history of medicine at the Academy and had given a lecture there on “natural history and slavery.” While at the Academy, Curran finished a book on 18th-century life sciences, The Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Era of Enlightenment (Johns Hopkins University Press, forthcoming 2011).