Penn Arts and Sciences Welcomes New Faculty for 2015-2016

August 21, 2015

Penn Arts and Sciences has appointed 24 new members to its standing faculty for the 2015-2016 academic year. The School is pleased to welcome:

Nikhil Anand, Assistant Professor of Anthropology: Environmental anthropology; political ecology of urban infrastructures; climate change, deforestation, and scarcity of resources (particularly water) in the context of community practices and the local ecology, with a focus on South Asia. Ph.D. from Stanford University. Comes to Penn from University of Minnesota.

Nicholas Betley, Assistant Professor of Biology: Complex neuron network behaviors; modification of neuron types causing ion channels to respond to light (optogenetics); the role of AGRP neurons involved in survival behaviors such as eating and drinking, mating, predator- and pain-avoidance, and sleep. Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Sudeep Bhatia, Assistant Professor of Psychology: Decision science; experimental and theoretical choice behavior, particularly regarding behavioral economics; mechanisms individuals use to represent and aggregate information involved in preferential choice and intuitive judgment. Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University.

Elizabeth Brannon, Professor of Psychology: Developmental, cognitive, and comparative psychology; cognitive neuroscience; evolutionary anthropology; quantitative cognition in non-human primates and human infants. Ph.D. from Columbia University. Comes to Penn from Duke University.

Marina Brownlee, Professor of Romance Languages (as of January 1, 2016): Early modern Spanish literature and medieval studies; periodization; cultural and linguistic translation; literary representations of the senses; the relationship of early tabloid literature to the 17th-century short story. Ph.D. from Princeton University. Comes to Penn from Princeton University.

Mary Channen Caldwell, Assistant Professor of Music: The role of sacred song in medieval and renaissance Europe; aspects of faith and entertainment in devotional and religious songs; the social, religious, and political impact of song in pre-modern Europe; dance history and dance/music interaction. Ph.D. from University of Chicago.

Alexander Chase-Levenson, Assistant Professor of History: Modern Britain; quarantine systems and practices, particularly in 18th- and 19th-century Britain, in the context of continental Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Ottoman Empire; European notions of contagion and disease. Ph.D. from Princeton University.

Ian Thomas Fleishman, Assistant Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures: Aesthetics and evolution of narrative form from modernism to the postmodern as evidenced by representations of sex and violence; depictions of open wounds in literary and cinematic works to contextualize injury as an aesthetic principle of 20th-century narrative. Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Jennifer Flores Sternad, Assistant Professor of English: Contemporary, transnational art in global Latino cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Tijuana, Buenos Aires, and Córdoba; political aesthetics of cultural production in the contexts of 19th- and early 20th-century anti-colonial nationalist struggles, neoliberalization and the institutionalization of leftist movements across the Americas. Ph.D. expected from New York University.

Glenda Goodman, Assistant Professor of Music: Musicology and history; early American music and music in the Atlantic world in the 17th- and 18th-century; music and identity in American society; the role of music in constructing difference, engineering consumerist tastes, and structuring social hierarchies. Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Michael Hanchard, Professor of Africana Studies (as of January 1, 2016): Comparative racial politics and political theory; black politics across the African Diaspora; nationalism; social movements; racial hierarchy and citizenship. Ph.D. from Princeton. Comes to Penn from Johns Hopkins University.

Daniel J. Hopkins, Associate Professor of Political Science: American politics, with an emphasis on immigration politics, local politics, political behavior, and research methods; quantitative behavioral analysis of politics. Ph.D. from Harvard University. Comes to Penn from Georgetown University.

Mia Levine, Assistant Professor of Biology: Evolutionary biology, computational biology, and  molecular genetics, with special interests in cytology, evolution of chromosome structure, and the biological causes and functional consequences of rapid gene changes. Ph.D. from University of California, Davis.

Ramah McKay, Assistant Professor of History and Sociology of Science: Global health; health and healing in Africa; effects of transnational medical aid on governance, health and healthcare, and daily life in Mozambique. Ph.D. from Stanford University. Comes to Penn from University of Minnesota.

Lisa Miracchi, Assistant Professor of Philosophy: Epistemology; cognitive science and visual arts; theories of human knowledge and performance; relationships between knowing/not-knowing and achievement/failure. Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

Abraham Nitzan, Professor of Chemistry: Theoretical chemistry, with an emphasis on activation, relaxation, and energy transfer processes in molecular systems; transport phenomena in condensed phases and on surfaces; and electromagnetic and electronic interactions in small particle clusters. Ph.D. from Tel-Aviv University. Comes to Penn from Tel-Aviv University.

Mitchell Orenstein, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures: International politics, with a focus on the political economy of transition in Central and Eastern Europe; pension privatization worldwide; role of policy paradigms in economic reform. Ph.D. from Yale University. Comes to Penn from Northeastern University.

Michael Platt, James S. Riepe University Professor; Professor of Marketing, Psychology, and Medicine (joint appointment with the Wharton School and the Perelman School of Medicine): Brain mechanisms responsible for decision-making, approached with a broad range of behavioral, neurophysiological, neuroimaging, pharmacological, and genetic techniques. Ph.D. from Penn. Comes to Penn from Duke University. 

Elizabeth Rhoades, Associate Professor of Chemistry: Protein folding, mis-folding, and dynamics; intrinsically disordered proteins; development of biophysical tools that may ultimately lead to therapies to modulate disease resulting from protein mis-folding and aggregation. Ph.D. from University of Michigan. Comes to Penn from Yale University.

José-Victor Ríos-Rull, Lawrence R. Klein Professor of Economics: Quantitative macroeconomic models applied to economic policy; international macroeconomics and the impact of capital flows on differentials in household savings rates; demand-driven business cycle fluctuations. Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Minnesota. Comes to Penn from University of Minnesota.

Yun Song, Calabi-Simons Visiting Professor of Mathematics and Biology: Computational biology; mathematical population genetics; applied probability; the application of mathematics, probability, statistics, and computer science to biological problems. Ph.D. from Stanford University. Comes to Penn from University of California, Berkeley.

Dawn Teele, Assistant Professor of Political Science: Comparative politics; evolution of political institutions; gender politics; political identity; political inclusion and empowerment of women; attainment of democratic citizenship; policy outcomes. Ph.D. expected from Yale University.

Jolyon Thomas, Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations: Modern Japanese thought and religion; Zen Buddhism; Shinto; Japanese popular culture including manga and anime; institutional history, human rights, warfare, and the relation between religion and freedom in transnational perspective. Ph.D. from Princeton University.

Neil Tomson, Assistant Professor of Chemistry: Development of alternate energy sources by using synthetic inorganic and organometallic chemistry through catalysis, spectroscopy and computational chemistry; homogeneous catalysts for the synthesis of ammonia in ionic liquids; the role of covalency in the bonding in uranium compounds. Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley.