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Faculty Notes

Alber Named 2009 Pew Scholar

Frank Alber, assistant professor of biological sciences, will get closer to determining the architecture of a macromolecular machine after being named a 2009 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. He will receive a $240,000 award over four years to help support his research. Alber is among 17 early-career scholars The Pew Charitable Trusts considers to be America’s most promising scientists.


Higher Education Group Honors Sanchez

George Sanchez, vice dean for College diversity and professor of American studies and ethnicity, and history, has been selected as the outstanding Latino/a faculty in higher education research institutions by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, Inc.

The award, which will be presented to Sanchez in March, recognizes an individual who has demonstrated excellence in both research and teaching and has provided significant contributions to his or her academic discipline.


The Bard Goes Digital

Bruce R. Smith, Dean’s Professor of English, has received a start-up grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to create the Cambridge World Shakespeare Encyclopedia.

In addition to being published as a 2 million-word, two-volume reference book in 2012, the encyclopedia will become a second-generation digital workspace and reference resource designed for collaborative exchange among scholars, teachers, students and performers who study Shakespeare worldwide.

The project addresses key opportunities for Renaissance studies and the digital humanities. It integrates a wealth of otherwise distributed resources in an encyclopedic way. It offers multiple user models, balancing copyright constraints with individual and institutional access. And it combines user-generated content with peer review, modeling new modes of publication applicable beyond this field.

Sponsored by Cambridge University Press, an international team that is developing core content will build and maintain the site. USC’s Center for Transformative Scholarship will support design and prototyping.


Mancall in the Media

Peter Mancall, professor of history and anthropology, and director of the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute, appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in July to discuss his book Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson (Basic Books, 2009). His book was also the History Book Club’s Featured Selection for July. A lecture Mancall delivered on the book at the Museum of the City of New York in September was aired by C-Span in October as part of its Book TV program.


USC Parents Association Teaching and Mentoring Awards

Steve Lamy, professor of international relations and vice dean for academic programs, and Brian Rathbun, assistant professor of international relations, received 2009 USC Parents Association Teaching and Mentoring Awards.


Mellon Foundation Grant Supports Graduate Research

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has approved a three-year, $883,000 grant for the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute’s (EMSI) programs for 2009 to 2012. The institute’s director, Peter Mancall, notes that the foundation’s support will allow the institute to frequently bring leading humanists to USC’s campus or to the Huntington.


The West Bank and East Jerusalem Archaeology Database Receives Honor

The West Bank and East Jerusalem Archaeology Database that is publicly available through USC’s Digital Library has been awarded the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) Open Archaeology Prize, sponsored by the Alexandria Archive Institute, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the David Brown Book Company. Lynn Swartz Dodd, lecturer in religion and curator of the USC Archaeology Research Center, developed the database in collaboration with the USC Digital Library staff (Matt Gainer, Zahid Rafique, Wayne Shaof and Joyce Ouchida) and based on research done by Rafi Greenberg (Tel Aviv) and Adi Keinan (University College London), which was supported by a project originated by Dodd and Ran Boytner (UCLA Director of International Research at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology).


Itzhak Bars, professor of physics and astronomy, was interviewed on Matt Holmes’ live radio show on AM 900 CHML on his theory of Two-Time Physics, which is based on a space-time of 4 space and 2 time dimensions.

Gordon Berger, professor emeritus of history and former director of the USC East Asian Studies Center, was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon by the Government of Japan for his contributions to the advancement of Japanese studies and the promotion of the understanding of Japan in the United States.

John Bowlt, professor of Slavic languages and literatures, and director of the Institute of Modern Russian Culture, has been awarded Russia’s Order of Friendship for his Russian-American cultural work.

Laurie Brand of international relations has been named the Robert Grandford Wright Professor. 

Karl Christe, professor of chemistry, was elected a fellow of the European Academy of Sciences.

Antonio Damasio, holder of the David Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience, professor of psychology and neurology, and director of the USC Brain and Creativity Institute, received the first Richard Wollheim Memorial Award from the British Psychoanalytic Council and an honorary doctorate in economics from the Copenhagen Business School.

Richard Dekmejian, professor of political science, was received by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain at Safriyah Palace in June to present his own collection of a number of Arab political and intellectual issues.

Steven E. Finkel, associate professor of biological sciences, was selected as an American Society for Microbiology Branch Lecturer. He was also selected to join the editorial board of the Journal of Bacteriology.

Eric Friedlander, Dean’s Professor of Mathematics, has been elected by the membership to become the next president of the American Mathematical Society.

Jed Fuhrman, holder of the McCulloch-Crosby Chair in Marine Biology and professor of biology, had his paper, “Microbial Community Structure and Its Functional Implications” published in the May 14, 2009, issue of Nature.

Joshua Goldstein, associate professor of history, has been awarded the 2009 Kurt Weill Prize for outstanding scholarship on music theater since 1900 for his book Drama Kings: Players and Publics in the Re-creation of Peking Opera 1870–1937 (University of California Press, 2007).

Myron F. Goodman, professor of biological sciences and chemistry, and USC College doctoral student Fei Jiang had their paper, “The active form of DNA polymerase V is UmuD’ 2C-RecA-ATP,” published in the July 2009 issue of Nature.

Ko Honda, professor of mathematics, has been awarded the Mathematical Society of Japan’s 2009 Geometry Prize.

Thomas Jordan, University Professor and holder of the W.M. Keck Foundation Chair in Geological Sciences, was awarded a $1.6 million federal stimulus grant to continue developing the PetaShake Project — an advanced computational research platform designed to support high-resolution earthquake simulations on a regional scale.

Peggy Kamuf, Marion Frances Chevalier Professor of French, and professor of comparative literature and English, was awarded a $180,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the translation of the seminars of Jacques Derrida.

Zhong-Lin Lu, William M. Keck Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience, professor of psychology and biomedical engineering, and co-director of the Dana and David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center, and his fellow researchers developed a visual demo that suggests a curveball’s break is, at least in part, a trick of the eye. Their demo won the Best Visual Illusion of the Year prize at the 2009 Vision Sciences meeting.

María Elena Martínez, associate professor of history, and American studies and ethnicity, had her book, Genealogical Fictions: Limpieza de Sangre, Religion, and Gender in Colonial Mexico (Stanford University Press, 2008), honored with two awards from the American Historical Association: the Conference on Latin American History (CLAH) Book Prize in Mexican History and the James A. Rawley Prize in Atlantic History.

Jill McNitt-Gray, professor of kinesiology, biological sciences and biomedical engineering, was elected president of the American Society of Biomechanics.

Moh El-Naggar, assistant professor of physics, was awarded a grant to investigate biotic-abiotic nanoscale interactions in biological fuel cells by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research’s Young Investigator Research Program.

Sergey Nuzhdin, professor of molecular biology, has been awarded a $563,000 stimulus grant to purchase an Illumina/Solexa Genome Sequencer. The money also will cover the salaries of technical and bioinformatics employees, likely postdoctoral scientists, to operate the technology.

Manuel Pastor, professor of geography, and American studies and ethnicity, was invited by White House Office of Urban Policy Director Adolfo Carrion to be part of a strategy panel on urban policy meeting at the White House in July.

Richard Roberts, professor of chemistry and chemical engineering, has been awarded a five-year, $1.25 million research grant from the new National Institutes of Health Transformative Research program. He is among only 42 nationwide honored with the elite award.

Steve Ross, professor and chair of history, hosted KCRW’s The Politics of Culture show on Nov. 3, 2009. He discussed The Los Angeles Berlin Wall Project with guests Justin Jampol, founder and director of the Wende Museum, mural artist Kent Twitchell, and Wayne Rakovitch, chairman of the Wende Board.

Robert Sacker, professor of mathematics, has had a special issue of the Journal of Difference Equations and Applications dedicated to him.

Mary Elise Sarotte, professor of international relations, has won the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies’ 2009 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in German and European Studies.

Merril Silverstein, professor of gerontology and sociology, was appointed editor-in-chief of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences beginning January 2010.

Bruce R. Smith, Dean’s Professor of English, reports that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio program based on his The Acoustic World of Early Modern England (University of Chicago Press, 1999) won the 2009 Marulic Prize for best radio documentary devoted to the world’s culture heritage.

Lowell Stott, professor of earth sciences, and Gary Rosen, professor and chair of mathematics, along with Gisele Ragusa of the USC Rossier School of Education, have been awarded a $1 million State Department of Education California Postsecondary Education: Improving Teacher Quality Grant: Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) pipeline grant.

Bosco Tjan, associate professor of psychology, has been appointed to the National Science Foundation review panel for the Cognitive Neuroscience program.

Lorraine Turcotte, associate professor of kinesiology and biological sciences, was elected to the Board of Trustees of the American College of Sports Medicine (2009–12, Basic & Applied Sciences). She also received the Recognition Award from the Southwest Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Michael S. Waterman, USC University Professor, holder of the USC Associates Chair in Natural Sciences, and professor of biological sciences, computer science and mathematics, was named a 2009 fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). Waterman was also named an International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) Fellow in the inaugural Fellows Class of 2009.

Francille Wilson, associate professor of American studies and ethnicity, was elected president of the Commission on the Status of Women for the city of Los Angeles.

Justin Wood, assistant professor of psychology, was awarded a New Investigator Award from the American Psychological Association for his article “Visual Working Memory for Observed Actions,” published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General


Read more articles from USC College Magazine's Fall 2009/Winter 2010 issue