Six faculty members appointed to WARF named professorships
Six members of the University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty have been appointed to Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation named professorships.
The appointments include $75,000 in research support from WARF over five years.
Henry T. Bunn, Glynn Ll. Isaac Professor of African Paleoanthropology, focuses on the biological and behavioral evolution of humankind in Africa — particularly the evolution of human diet and the foraging and social behavior related to the quest for food. For the past nine years he has served as co-director of the Olduvai Paleoanthropology and Paleoecology Project, and is now developing a related project at Olduvai in Tanzania and at nearby Laetoli.
Judith M. Harackiewicz, Paul Pintrich Professor of Psychology, studies goals, competition and performance evaluation in academic and athletic contexts. Her research into promoting motivation found that a simple intervention led to high school students taking more math and science courses in high school, and she is testing ways to promote interest and performance in foundational college biology courses that serve as a gateway to biomedical careers.
Tom Loeser, Skip Johnson Professor of Art, designs and builds one-of-a-kind functional and dysfunctional objects that are often carved and painted. Last year he worked with willow furniture maker Dave Chapman, building three large willow and steel pod forms that are permanently installed reading retreats in the children’s section of the new downtown public library in Madison.
Ann C. Palmenberg, Roland R. Rueckert Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Virology, examines the structure and biochemistry of viruses with RNA genomes — viruses such as influenza, polio, the “common cold” and many of the most deadly animal and human pathogens. She has dissected the genome sequences and molecular mechanisms by which these viruses cause disease, including an important first molecular description of the structure, immunogenicity and antiviral drug profiles of a new species of rhinoviruses with significant relevance to asthma research.
Thomas W. Reps, J. Barkley Rosser Professor of Computer Sciences, focuses on program analysis and verification, addressing one of the most important technological issues faced by society: ensuring that the software that surrounds us behaves correctly. One of his notable contributions is the development of an algorithm used in Microsoft’s SLAM tool for identifying bugs in device drivers — bugs that once caused over 85 percent of crashes in Windows.
Kirsten Wolf, Kim Nilsson Professor of Scandinavian Studies, studies Old Norse-Icelandic language and literature, focusing on cognitive linguistics. She is co-editor of the field’s most popular reference book — Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia — author of a textbook on the Vikings, and has done pioneering work on Icelandic-Canadian literature.