Recipient Profiles - FFE

Alice Barkan, Professor, CAS (Biology)

Alice Barkan’s scholarly and service record at UO since 1991 places her at the very top of the field of molecular and cellular biology. Her research is broadly directed at understanding the evolution of chloroplast gene expression and photosynthetic complexes. Recently her research team assigned functions to 34 previously unstudied plant genes. Barkan has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles in high-impact journals, including PNAS, PLOS Genetics, Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. She successfully secured and managed five NSF and US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture grants since 2009. Her funding has a huge impact on both PhD production and on research in the Department of Biology and in the Institute of Molecular Biology at UO.  Since 2010, she was either a chair or on a thesis committee for 24 doctoral students in biology.

Besides her scholarly contributions, Barkan devoted her time and effort to key institutional committees, including the Faculty Advisory Committee for the UO Greenhouse Facility, the Laboratory Safety Committee, and the Committee for Academic Infrastructure. Beyond the UO, Barkan has served on grant panels of the NSF and Department of Energy several times and the editorial board of journal Plant Cell.

Elliott Berkman, Associate Professor, CAS (Psychology)

Elliot Berkman studies factors that drive successes or failures in attaining personal goals. He uses translational neuroimaging methods that help us understand the mechanisms underlying self-regulation and value, as well as pave the way towards interventions to improve self-control in many applied settings (including smoking, obesity, and other addictive behaviors). This research is well funded by the National Institutes of Health and private foundations. He has been recognized with a Janet Taylor Spence Transformative Early Career Research Award from the Association of Psychological Science, which recognizes transformative early career contributions to psychological science.

Berkman also performs an extraordinary level of service to the field and university. This includes multiple journal editorships, serving on study sections for grant review, organizing conferences at the field level, and at UO, serving on the Institutional Review Board and working extensively to develop institutional metrics. Finally, he is regarded as an outstanding teacher and mentor, recently receiving the UO Graduate School’s Graduate Mentor Excellence Award.

Christopher Chávez, Associate Professor (SOJC)

Christopher Chávez’s research lies at the intersection of globalization, media, and culture. Specifically, his research explores two main themes: the ways in which global media industries organize and re-organize collective identity, and the degree to which marginalized communities can be empowered within the constraints of marketplace dynamics.

Chávez has published two books, 18 articles and chapters in strong venues. In his book, Reinventing the Latino Television Viewer: Language Ideology and Practice (Lexington Books, 2015), he examines the view that media executives make implicit assumptions about audiences. His scholarly work crosses the boundaries of research areas, generating new knowledge on cultural identity theory in relation to advertising and media industries.

His research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals including Consumption Markets and CultureInternational Journal of Communication, and Critical Studies in Media Communication.

Hank Childs, Associate Professor, CAS (Computer and Information Science)

Hank Childs is one of the most accomplished researchers in the field of scientific visualization, a critical tool for analysis of “big data.” His work helps scientists gain insight from massive datasets in the natural sciences. As an example, he led the development of the VisIt visualization toolkit, which has been downloaded more than 200,000 times by scientists and researchers for applications as varied as astrophysics, combustion, climate, engineering, nuclear reactor, fusion, and ocean modeling.

Childs is considered one of the experts in scientific visualization. He publishes approximately 12 papers per year and has attracted more than $2.75 million of external research funding. Childs is a computer science star and the UO is fortunate to be able to call him one of its own.

Judith Eisen, Professor, CAS (Biology)

Judith Eisen has played a preeminent international role in establishing the zebrafish model system for understanding the development of neuronal diversity. She has more recently furthered the use of zebrafish as a model for understanding gut microbiome development. For this pioneering work. Eisen has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also served as director for the UO Institute of Neuroscience.

Eisen has a long history of earning funding not only for her own research but also for efforts at UO to improve science literacy and diversity in science. Her service to the field also includes multiple posts on editorial boards as editor of volumes and journals, and she has been awarded many research fellowships and visiting scholarships from institutions such as NSF, NIH, Harvard, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Ramesh Jasti, Associate Professor, CAS (Chemistry and Biochemistry)  

Ramesh Jasti invented the field of carbon nanohoop materials. Carbon nanohoops are molecules that are made up strings of cyclic carbon molecules linked together and then turned into a hoop by further linking the first molecule in the string to the last molecule in the string. Jasti has shown that these materials are potentially useful in medicine, energy storage, solar energy conversion, and a host of other technological uses. However, a major problem is that these materials are extremely difficult to make. Over the past five years, Jasti and his research group have worked out beautiful systematic methods for making these materials in all sizes.

Evidence of his scholarship is shown by his receipt of an NSF CAREER Award, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship.

Vera Keller, Associate Professor, CHC (History)

Vera Keller has established herself as a major figure among historians of early modern science and intellectual life. Her first full-length monograph, Knowledge and the Public Interest, 1575-1725 (Cambridge, 2015), Keller traced a major shift in the reasons that European intellectuals gave for pursuing knowledge about the physical world, connecting science with a “public interest” in mastering nature and desiderata—lists of knowledge in need of discovery. Keller has also authored or co-written journal articles and book chapters and edited four collections of essays.

The UO is especially indebted to Keller for ORBI, the Oregon Rare Book Initiative, which has brought national attention to our university’s remarkable collection of early printed books. She is hard at work on her second major monograph on the late sixteenth-century alchemist and scientist, Conrad Grebel.

Ernesto Martinez, Associate Professor, CAS (Ethnic Studies)

Ernesto Martinez is an associate professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies. Martinez has played a significant role in pioneering the field of queer racial studies. His first book, On Making Sense: Queer Race Narratives of Intelligibility (Stanford University Press, 2012), had a major impact across literature, ethnic studies, and queer studies. His monograph followed on the heels of a co-edited volume, Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader (Duke University Press, 2011). His third book, The Truly Diverse Faculty: New Dialogues in American Higher Education (Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2014), is a co-edited volume. His most current book is for children, When We Love Someone, We Sing to Them (Reflections Press, 2018). The story takes the Mexican tradition of serenading as a form of courtship and imagines it from the perspective of queer Mexican boy.

Ken Prehoda, Professor, CAS (Chemistry and Biochemistry)

Ken Prehoda is an expert in molecular biology and molecular evolution who studies how cells evolve over time and how cellular evolution can help find clues to diseases. Two fundamental questions driving his research are: how does a protein that initially performs one task evolve to perform another task? And, how do complex systems like those that allow cells to work together in an organized way evolve to form the many different proteins that are required for cells to work cooperatively?

Prehoda has served on the UO Senate (2012-2016) and Senate Executive Committee (2012-2014). He also served on the UO Provost search committee (2013), the UO Research Advisory Board (2013-2017), and the UO Applied and Translational Science Committee (2015-2016). He also serves on the Knight Campus advisory board (2016-present). Prehoda serves as the director of the Institute of Molecular Biology.

Nick Proudfoot, Professor, CAS (Mathematics)

Nicholas Proudfoot studies higher-dimensional geometric structures that are connected to certain combinatorial data and founded the rapidly growing field of hypertoric geometry. His work in this area has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation since 2004.

Proudfoot provides significant service to the field by organizing annual international workshops on algebra and representation theory, held at UO, and focuses on training pre/postdoctoral fellows. He also serves as a reviewer for many journals and grant panels.

Proudfoot a record of strong service to the university, serving on many committees including the Senate and Grad Council. He also chairs the Graduate Affairs Committee and is incoming associate head for the Department of Mathematics.

Kathleen Scalise, Associate Professor, COE (Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership)

Kathleen Scalise is one of the leading measurement scientists and educational statisticians working today. Her recognitions and accomplishments are diverse and include research awards, teaching awards, and prestigious visiting scholar appointments. Scalise’s publications have appeared in the most rigorous academic journals in the educational field and are highly cited by other leading researchers.

Scalise is now considered one of the leading experts in the field of adaptive testing (i.e., digital assessment) of student performance in science and mathematics coursework, ranging from kindergarten through high school.

Steven Shoemaker, Professor, CAS (Religious Studies)

Stephen Shoemaker’s tireless scholarship has profoundly enriched our understanding on a wide variety of topics in the history of religious cultures during late Antiquity—apocalypticism in late Rome and the Byzantine world, early Christian martyrdom, the origins and transformations of Marian devotion, and the life of the Prophet Mohammed.

The sheer volume of his work—eight books, including three critical translations, over forty journal articles and book chapters—is astonishing. He also edits the flagship journal in his field, the Journal of Early Christian Studies. Shoemaker has also dedicated himself to university service, currently as director of the medieval studies program.

Daniela Vallega-Neu, Associate Professor, CAS (Philosophy) 

Daniela Vallega-Neu is a renowned scholar of Martin Heidegger, whose work focuses on the German philosopher’s sense of an end of Western history, on his quest for new beginnings, and on Heidegger’s search for a language of being. Vallega-Neu is also developing a “plural ontology” of time that considers how various beings, things, and events possess temporalities that no linear concept of time can capture.

Vellege-Neu is the author of four books, most recently Heidegger’s Poietic Writings: From Contributions to Philosophy to The Event (Indiana University Press, 2018), and well over a dozen articles and chapters in journals and books published in the US, Britain, Italy, and Germany. She has also accumulated a distinguished record of service to the university community, most recently as head of the Department of Philosophy.

Tuong Vu, Professor, CAS (Political Science)

Tuong Vu is among the world’s top five scholars of the politics of Southeast Asia and the world’s single most prominent scholar of the politics of Vietnam. His first book, Paths to Development in Asia: South Korea, Vietnam, China, and Indonesia (Cambridge University Press, 2010), was awarded the Bernard Schwartz Award for Best Book on Asia. His second book, Vietnam’s Communist Revolution: The Power and Limits of Ideology, was published with the Cambridge University Press in 2017, and was reviewed in many prominent journals of his field as a seminal work. His mastery works were aired and he interviewed with Deutsche Well International-Berlin (2017), Australian National Radio (2017), Bloomberg News Service (2016), New York Times (2016), and more. Tuong recently received the three-year Japan Foundation funding for his Oregon-Japan-Vietnam collaboration and exchange project.

Under his leadership, UO faculty members and staff are building research and teaching exchange relations with Vietnamese universities as part of the Japan Foundation Project. His dedication to education is well manifested in his record of serving 15 PhD and MA students in political science, Asian studies, anthropology, international studies, law & conflict resolution, and sociology, either as a chair or a committee member since 2008. Tuong has an outstanding record of service as a director of the Asian studies program and the Oregon Consortium for International and Area Studies, and as a Dean’s Advisory Committee member. Nationally, he has served the Human Rights Watch-Asia Division as an advisory board member since 2011.

Rocío Zambrana, Associate Professor, CAS (Philosophy)

Rocío Zambrana is Associate Professor of Philosophy. Her work examines conceptions of critique in Kant and German Idealism (especially Hegel), Marx and Frankfurt School Critical Theory, Decolonial Thought, and Decolonial Feminisms. She is the author of Hegel’s Theory of Intelligibility (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and articles on Hegel, Kant, Critical Theory, and Decolonial Thought. She is currently writing a book entitled Colonial Debts, Critical Histories, Subversive Resistance: The Case of Puerto Rico

Zambrana has been a member of the University of Oregon’s Center for the Study of Women in Society’s Women of Color Group since 2010. She has also served as a member of the APA’s Committee for Hispanics, as a member, then chair, of SPEP’s Committee for the Status of Women, and as a member of the advisory board, then managing board, of PIKSI. She served as advertising editor, editor, chief and managing editor, and senior consulting editor for the Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal from 2002-2010.