Several professors in the College of LAS have received named scholar positions for their contributions in education and research at the University of Illinois.
The named positions include the inaugural LAS Dean’s Distinguished Professorial Scholars, who are receiving $10,000 for teaching and research as they are promoted to full professor.
“These named scholars have been chosen for their energy, creativity, and potential in teaching and research in the College of LAS,” said Feng Sheng Hu, the Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of LAS. “They are incredible examples of the level of effort we apply to achieving academic excellence.”
2020-2021 I. C. Gunsalus Scholar
Erik Nelson, molecular and integrative physiology. Nelson was recognized for his outstanding work on cholesterol metabolism and cancers of the breast or ovary. He and his lab are currently focusing on 27-hydroxycholesterol, which activates the estrogen receptors and also plays an important role in the immune regulatory system and tumor progression. He joined the University of Illinois in 2014.
2020-2021 Helen Corley Petit Scholars
Jenny Davis, anthropology. Davis is also the director of the Native American and Indigenous Languages Lab and an affiliate faculty of American Indian studies and gender and women's studies. Davis was recognized for her outstanding work in contemporary indigenous languages and identity. Davis’ research focuses on indigenous language revitalization as well as indigenous gender and sexuality. She joined the U of I in 2016.
Patricia Gregg, geology. Gregg is recognized for her work on volcano Ggeophysics and geodynamics, mid-ocean ridge processes, melt generation, and migration through the upper mantle. Gregg and her lab group utilize thermomechanical models to better understand the rheological controls on magma reservoir growth, pressurization, and volcanic eruption. She joined the U of I in 2014.
Rana Hogarth, history. Hogarth is recognized for her outstanding work in Atlantic world history, history of medicine, slavery and race and African American history. Hogarth’s research focuses on the medical and scientific constructions of race during the era of slavery and beyond. She joined the U of I in 2013.
Sandra Ruiz, Latina/Latino studies and English. Ruiz’s research includes an investigation of the relationship between Puerto Rican subjectivity, gender, sexuality, and revolutionary performance under colonial time. Her book, “Ricanness: Enduring Time in Anticolonial Performance,” published in June 2019, investigates the relationship between Puerto Rican subjectivity, gender, sexuality, and revolutionary performance under colonial time.
Charles Sing, chemical and biomolecular engineering. Sing’s research focuses on problems in polymer physics. Their research informs the design of advanced materials for energy, biotechnology, consumer products, and medicine. Sing joined the University of Illinois in 2014.
Joshua Vura-Weis, chemistry. Vura-Weis is recognized for his outstanding work in femtosecond x-ray spectroscopy of transition metal catalysts, spin crossover materials, and photovoltaics. He and his lab focuses on solving problems in energy, catalysis, and biology using advanced spectroscopic techniques such as tabletop X-ray transient absorption spectroscopy. He joined the University of Illinois in 2013.
2020-2021 Dean’s Distinguished Professorial Scholars
Carl Bernacchi, plant biology. Bernacchi is recognized for his outstanding work in the impacts of climate change on crop physiology, energy fluxes between the atmosphere and plant canopies, carbon sequestration and crop canopy responses to stress. His research focuses on understanding the impacts of atmospheric and climatic change on crop species important to the midwestern United States.
Javier Irigoyen-Garcia, Spanish. Irigoyen-Garcia is recognized for his research in early modern Iberian literature and culture. His research focuses on the representation of race, ethnicity, and class differences in early modern Spain. A current project deals with the political value of insults as a source of collective identity in the early modern Spanish imaginary. Irigoyen-Garcia joined the U of I in 2008.
Candice Jenkins, African American studies and English. Jenkins is recognized for her outstanding work in contemporary black fiction and black postmodernism. Her research focuses on using a critical black feminist lens to consider how a variety of African American cultural texts address evolving questions of racial subjectivity, sexual politics, and class in the United States.