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Kellett Mid-Career Awards given to eight faculty members

February 25, 2009

Eight faculty have received Kellett Mid-Career Awards for their research.

Kellett Awards are given by the Graduate School and funded by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. They are given to faculty who are five to 20 years past their first promotion to a tenured position. Honorees receive a $60,000 flexible research fund.

Honored this year are:

Russ Castronovo, English. Castronovo is one of the most influential scholars in American studies. He has published three books and two edited collections and was a leading voice at the Dartmouth Institute for American Studies, and at UW-Madison has formed a faculty research group devoted to American studies.

Jorge Escalante-Semerena, bacteriology. Escalante-Semerena’s research focuses on studies of bacterial cell physiology and metabolism. His work has helped reveal how cells assemble complex vitamins; identified new metabolic routes for energy generation; and contributed to the understanding of the control of gene expression and enzyme activity in response to the energy status of the cell.

Jeffrey Hardin, zoology. Hardin is internationally recognized for his research, in which he uses C. elegans to explore how cells move and adhere to each other in embryos. He also is a leader in biology education on and off campus: He is chair of his department and director of the Biocore Program, a four-semester honors biology program.

Lea Jacobs, communication arts. Jacobs is an international expert on early film and theater; censorship in Hollywood; and American film in the 1920s. Her current book project chronicles changes in film style during the transition to sound. Jacobs teaches courses in the history of the Hollywood studio system; film analysis; silent cinema; and animation. She also is the director of UW Cinematheque.

Kirin Narayan, anthropology. Narayan is known for her research on narrative, award-winning ethnographic writing, and her exploration of cultural insights through fiction and memoir. She has done fieldwork in northern India and in the South Asian American diasporic community. Narayan teaches courses on South Asia, narrative, folklore, life history, diaspora and ethnographic writing.

Ronald Raines, biochemistry. Raines has provided fundamental insight into the stability of collagen and other proteins; discovered an RNA-cleaving enzyme that is a clinical anti-cancer agent; and developed processes to synthesize proteins and convert biomass into fuels and chemicals.

John Karl Scholz, economics. Scholz studies factors affecting household wealth accumulation; public policy and household saving; and public policy affecting disadvantaged workers. In 1997–98, he was the deputy assistant secretary for tax analysis at the U.S. Treasury Department, and from 1990–91 he was a senior staff economist at the Council of Economic Advisers. He directed the Institute for Research on Poverty at UW-Madison from 2000–04.

Aili Tripp, political science and gender and women’s studies. Tripp has received numerous awards, including the Victoria Schuck Award from the American Political Science Association for the best book on women and politics. She is co-editor of the journal Politics and Gender and of the UW Press book series “Women in Africa and the Diaspora.” Tripp also is director of the Women’s Studies Research Center.