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Forty faculty honored with Vilas professorships

May 3, 2018 By Chris Barncard

Extraordinary members of the University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty have been honored during the last year with awards supported by the estate of professor, U.S. senator and UW Regent William F. Vilas (1840-1908).

Vilas Research Professorship

Samuel Gellman, Ralph F. Hirschmann Professor of Chemistry, was named to a Vilas Research Professorship.

Created “for the advancement of learning,” Vilas Research Professorships are granted to faculty with proven research ability and unusual qualifications and promise. The recipients of the award have contributed significantly to the research mission of the university, and are recognized both nationally and internationally.

Gellman joined the UW–Madison faculty in 1987. His laboratory has since helped to establish a new discipline of chemistry, combining tools and concepts from organic chemistry, biophysics and biology to design, synthesize and evaluate unnatural molecules that mimic the structures and functions of proteins and nucleic acids.

This research — spanning more than 300 publications — has been conducted in conjunction with dozens of graduate students and undergraduates, and Gellman, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has enjoyed introducing thousands of undergraduates to organic chemistry in the classroom.

The professorship provides a salary supplement, funding for research expenses and a retirement supplement for faculty who serve at least 15 years as a Vilas Research Professor.

Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorships

Twelve professors were named to Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorships, an award recognizing distinguished scholarship as well as standout efforts in teaching and service. The professorship provides five years of flexible funding — two-thirds of which is provided by the Office of the Provost through the generosity of the Vilas trustees and one-third provided by the school or college whose dean nominated the winner.

The recipients are:

Amy Quan Barry, English

AnHai Doan, Computer Sciences

Richard Hsung, Pharmacy

Ullrich Langer, French and Italian

Katherine Magnuson, Social Work

Melanie Matchett Wood, Mathematics

Joel Pedersen, Soil Science

Anne Pringle, Botany

Parmesh Ramanathan, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Jenny Saffran, Psychology

Lones Smith, Economics

Scott Straus, Political Science

Vilas Faculty Mid-Career Investigator Awards

Sixteen professors received Vilas Faculty Mid-Career Investigator Awards, recognizing research and teaching excellence. The award provides flexible research funding for one year.

The recipients are:

Andrea Arpaci-Dusseau, Computer Sciences

Jeri Barak, Plant Pathology

Lyric Bartholomay, Pathobiological Sciences

Guillermina De Ferrari, Spanish and Portuguese

Deborah Ehrenthal, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Felix Elwert, Sociology

Audrey Gasch, Genetics

Kristine Kwekkeboom, Nursing

Xuejun Pan, Biological Systems Engineering

M. Zachariah Peery, Forest and Wildlife Ecology

Marzena Rostek, Economics

Oliver Schmitz, Engineering Physics

Jennifer Schomaker, Chemistry

Lyn Van Swol, Communication Arts

Jason Yackee, Law

Tehshik Yoon, Chemistry

Vilas Faculty Early Career Investigator Awards

Eleven professors received Vilas Faculty Early Career Investigator Awards, recognizing research and teaching excellence in faculty who are relatively early in their careers. The award provides flexible research funding for one year.

The recipients are:

Christy Clark-Pujara, Afro-American Studies

Ricki Colman, Cell and Regenerative Biology

Christelle Guédot, Entomology

Chris Hittinger, Genetics

Sarah Paul, Philosophy

Robert Redfield, Surgery

Karu Sankaralingam, Computer Sciences

Raluca Scarlat, Engineering Physics

Linsey Steege, Nursing

Lu Wang, Mathematics

Stephen Young, Geography