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College Congratulates Newly Promoted Faculty

College Congratulates Newly Promoted Faculty

The College of Natural Sciences congratulates its faculty members that have demonstrated high distinction in teaching, research and service to the university and their field of study. Below are the faculty members that have received promotion in 2012.

Mark Daniels

Promoted to Clinical Professor, UTeach

Daniels is the associate director of UTeach Natural Sciences. He primarily teaches mathematics courses for the Mathematics Department and has developed the curriculum for multiple inquiry-based mathematics courses specifically designed for pre-service teachers. Daniels is also the faculty advisor for teaching options in the Mathematics Department as well as the director of the Discovery Learning Project for the College of Natural Sciences. His research interests involve the preparation of pre-service teachers and the incorporation of instructional methodology in mathematics courses taken by students seeking certification.

Alex Demkov

Promoted to Professor, Department of Physics

Demkov earned his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Arizona State University. He joined the Physics Department at the University of Texas in 2005 after nine years as a principal staff scientist in Motorola’s R&D organization, where he worked on the physics of nano-scale materials and devices. He has made significant contributions to the physics of high dielectric constant materials, and their interfaces with semiconductors and metals. Demkov is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. In 2011 he received the IBM Faculty Award. He has published more than 100 research papers, and has been awarded seven U.S. patents. Demkov’s primary research interest is the physics of oxides, oxide heterostructures and oxide molecular beam epitaxy. Current work includes: (1) properties and crystal growth in epitaxial semiconductor/oxide systems; (2) properties of thin oxide films and nanostructures; (3) phase transitions in transition metal oxides; (4) properties of biomaterials.

Deana Erdner

Promoted to Associate Professor, Department of Marine Science

Erdner is an associate professor in the Department of Marine Science and Marine Science Institute. She received her Ph.D. in biological oceanography from Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program. In general the research in her laboratory seeks to understand the factors that control the growth and distribution of marine phytoplankton. While the lab does not discriminate based on taxonomy, the majority of current projects in the lab focus on the ecology of toxic dinoflagellates that cause harmful algal blooms, commonly called “red tides.” However, the general questions addressed by her research, such as those regarding effects of macro- and micronutrient stress and the structure of local and global populations, are of interest in all groups of phytoplankton. Erdner’s experimental approach integrates molecular tools with traditional ecological techniques, along with both laboratory experimentation and field studies, in order to understand the controls on phytoplankton growth and population structure.

Anna Gal

Promoted to Professor, Department of Computer Science

Gal is a professor in the Department of Computer Science. She received her Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Chicago in 1995. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and at Princeton University. She is a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. She received the Machtey Award for Best Student Paper at the IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science in 1991, and the EATCS Best Paper Award at Track A of the International Colloquium on Automata, Languages and Programming in 2003. Gal is a member of the Scientific Board of the Electronic Colloquium on Computational Complexity, and an Associate Editor of the ACM Transactions on Computation Theory.

Kristen Grauman

Promoted to Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science

Grauman is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science. Her research in computer vision and machine learning focuses on visual search and recognition. Before joining UT Austin in 2007, she received her Ph.D. in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at MIT, and her bachelor’s of arts in computer science from Boston College. She is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow and Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellow, and a recipient of the NSF CAREER and ONR Young Investigator awards. She and her collaborators received the IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Best Student Paper Award in 2008 for work on hashing algorithms for large-scale image retrieval, and the Marr Prize Best Paper Award at the IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision in 2011 for work on modeling relative visual attributes. In 2012, she received the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award from the University of Texas System.

Vishwanath Iyer

Promoted to Professor, School of Biological Sciences

Iyer did his undergraduate work in Mumbai, and got his master's degree in biotechnology from Baroda, India. He obtained his Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard University and did post-doctoral research in genomics at Stanford University before joining the UT Austin faculty. Research in the Iyer lab is aimed at understanding the process of gene regulation at the level of RNA, but with a view of the entire genome rather than individual genes. They study regulatory proteins called transcription factors, the role of chromatin, which is the form the genome exists in within cells, and post-transcriptional regulation mediated by microRNAs. They also study how normal variation in individual genomes and mutations in cancer affect these processes. Their research is currently funded by the NIH and CPRIT. Dr. Iyer has taught undergraduate genetics as well as human genetics and has been the recipient of a CNS Teaching Excellence Award.

Cynthia Kay Jay

Promoted to Senior Lecturer, School of Human Ecology

Jay is Director of the Historical Textiles and Apparel Collection (HTAC). She teaches Culture, Gender and Appearance and Textiles Artifact Management. She supervises student installations in the permanent exhibit space in Gearing Hall and advises undergraduate research projects in conservation and collection management. She is involved in the collaborative “Gone With the Wind” conservation project with the Harry Ransom Center and is investigating the collection’s serape, which may have belonged to Santa Anna. Jay holds a bachelor’s of science from Oklahoma State University in Textiles and Merchandising, a master’s degree in Historic Textiles from Colorado State University and a Ph.D. in Adult Education from The University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include oral histories and entrepreneurial efforts of artists and craftspeople. She consults on issues of vintage textile care and conservation, artist/entrepreneurs in small business and topics concerning adult education methods. Her business experience includes manufacturing, retailing, wholesale sales, marketing, promotion and product development.

Su Yeong Kim

Promoted to Associate Professor, School of Human Ecology

Kim studies the intersection of family and cultural contexts in the development of children of immigrants in the United States. She examines culturally-relevant developmental processes such as acculturation, tiger parenting, and language brokering in immigrant families, with a focus on the development of adolescents.  Kim’s focus is on Chinese-American and Mexican-American families in the United States.

Sacha Kopp

Promoted to Professor, Department of Physics

Kopp received his Ph.D. in 1994 from the University of Chicago. He has also served as a postdoctoral fellow and visiting assisting professor at Syracuse University. Kopp's research group studies the smallest building blocks of known universe. Atoms, the building blocks conjectured already by the Greeks, are today known to be subdivided into smaller bits. Today we know there are 12 building blocks of all matter, some called quarks and others called leptons. He worked on the research team at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory that discovered the largest of these basic building blocks, the top quark, in 1994, and also performed experiments at Fermilab and the Cornell Electron Storage Ring. Of late, I am studying a particle called the neutrino. Neutrinos are in the lepton family and are very small (<1 billionth the size and mass of an atom), yet are the most abundant particle in the universe. Ironically, they interact very weakly with other particles, and we know comparatively little about them. Kopp has performed an experiment at Fermilab to confirm that they do, in fact, have a non-zero mass. More recently, he was worked on another Fermilab experiment to measure the strength of the interaction between neutrinos and other particles. In 2004 he was a recipient of a College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award. He became the College of Natural Sciences Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in 2010 and has supervised 4 postdoctoral fellows and 9 Ph.D. students.

Christina Markert

Promoted to Associate Professor, Department of Physics

Markert joined the physics faculty at the University of Texas in 2006. She graduated from Frankfurt University, Germany in 2001, using data obtained with the NA49 heavy ion experiment at the CERN SPS, and was a postdoctoral research Humboldt Fellow at Yale University for three and a half years before she became a senior research scientist at Kent State University. She is working on the STAR experiment at the RHIC collider located at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island in New York and data has been taken since 2001. Markert also joined the ALICE experiment at the new Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Europe in 2010, where she studies the Quark Gluon Plasma under the much higher temperatures and energy density conditions. This state of nuclear matter is expected to have existed after the first ten-millionths of a second after the Big Bang. Besides her research, Markert loves teaching and mentoring students. Both take a lot of time but it is nevertheless very rewarding.

Mikhail Matz

Promoted to Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences

Matz obtained his Ph.D. in 1999 from the Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry in Moscow, Russia. In the early 2000s, as a research faculty at University of Florida, he studied molecular biology and evolution of coral fluorescent proteins, the subject that eventually grew into a broader-scope program addressing ecological genomics of reef-building corals. Since 2006, when Matz moved to UT Austin, his lab investigates how corals adapt to the variable environment at the physiological, gene expression, and genetic levels. This research is making extensive use of next-generation sequencing technologies, and involves developing original methods for functional and structural genomics best suited for non-model organisms. Matz teaches the lab-based class in invertebrate biology, as well as workshops in quantitative PCR and next-generation sequencing.

James McClelland

Promoted to Associate Professor, Department of Marine Science

McClelland is an associate professor in the Department of Marine Science and the Marine Science Institute. He received his Ph.D. in biology from the Boston University Marine Program. McClelland’s research addresses environmental changes and their consequences. Changes in watersheds as a result of human activity, including changes in land use, land cover, and global warming, are of particular interest. In turn, changes in the fluxes of water, carbon, and nutrients to estuaries and the coastal ocean are altering fundamental ecosystem properties such as primary production and food web structure. To identify and explore changes in land-sea coupling McClelland uses a wide variety of approaches including analysis of historic data sets, field studies of biogeochemical cycling and transport, and modeling. In his field studies, he frequently takes advantage of stable isotopes and other natural markers to track the fate of water, organic matter, and nutrients from land through estuarine and marine systems.

Stephen McCord

Promoted to Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

McCord received his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry in 1992 at The University of Texas at Austin under the supervision of National Academy member, Allen Bard. He returned to the university as a lecturer in 1994 and has taught in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry ever since. McCord is a highly regarded instructor and was recognized with a Texas Exes Teaching Excellence Award in 2009. He was instrumental in the development of the Quest online learning service as it pertains to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He is now working on the Course Transformation Project. This is a high priority effort to build the next generation General Chemistry experience of students in the future, based upon combining the best that technology has to offer with better use of lecture time. He currently serves on the Board of Visitors at Abilene Christian University.

Nancy Prideaux

Promoted to Senior Lecturer, School of Human Ecology

Prideaux has taught a variety of courses in the textiles and apparel curriculum including the introductory textiles laboratory and visual merchandising. She has worked closely with the retail merchandising internship program, supervising senior students completing the nine-hour field experience sequence. She is currently the director of the UT in NYC program. Prideaux’s teaching excellence has been recognized with the Robert Murff Excellence Award, the College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award, the Texas Exes in Human Ecology Community Service Award, and the School of Human Ecology’s Teaching Excellence Award. Her service to the Austin community includes The Junior League of Austin, Town Lake Park Project, Leadership Austin and past service to SafePlace and The Paramount Theatre.

Pamela Powell

Promoted to Clinical Associate Professor, UTeach

Powell teaches at The University of Texas at Austin for the UTeach Natural Sciences Program and for the Mathematics Department. She teaches a variety of mathematics courses; mathematics for elementary majors, college algebra, finite mathematics, precalculus, functions and modeling, and a aathematics topics course for the SABIC/UT Foundation Year Program. Powell is a certified 4–8 mathematics teacher who has taught at the middle school, high school, and community college in addition to her university teaching experience. She has mentored teachers at various grade levels for over twenty years. She currently coordinates the student teaching experience for UTeach Natural Sciences students in mathematics, science, and computer science and in the spring semester, she coordinates the UTeach France Exchange Program. Pamela received her bachelor’s of science and master’s in mathematics education from the University of Texas at Austin with an emphasis on incorporating technology to enhance student learning.

Elaine Rich

Promoted to Distinguished Senior Lecturer, Department of Computer Science

Rich is a Distinguished Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science. She received her Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie-Mellon in 1979. Her thesis, Building and Exploiting User Models, laid the groundwork for the next thirty years of work on personalizing information systems to meet the needs of individual users. Rich joined the UT faculty in 1979. Rich’s 1983 textbook, Artificial Intelligence was translated into six languages and recently appeared as number 21 on a list of most significant classic computer science books. It and two newer editions have sold over 250,000 copies. In 1985 she joined MCC, where she focused on the use of natural language in human/machine interfaces. In 1991, Rich was elected a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. In 1998, Rich returned to UT. In 2007, she published a new textbook, Automata, Computability and Complexity: Theory and Applications.

Lydia Steinman

Promoted to Distinguished Senior Lecturer, School of Human Ecology

Steinman serves as the Undergraduate Instructional Administrator for the Department of Nutritional Sciences. Her dedication to educating students has been recognized by receipt of the Department of Human Ecology’s Excellence in Teaching Award, the College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award, Katherine Ross Richards Centennial Teaching Fellowship in Nutrition, the Natural Sciences Council Faculty Service Award, and she has been honored as a Fellow of Susan T. Jastrow Human Ecology Chair for Excellence in Nutritional Sciences. An advocate for children’s health, Steinman has promoted the adoption of policies that improve the nutritional environment of public schools in Texas. She was a founding member of the School Health Advisory Council for the Austin Independent School District and was instrumental in developing the Fit, Healthy and Ready to Learn Program and the Wellness Program.  She established and continues to work with The University of Texas Elementary Charter School’s Healthy Families Initiative, a comprehensive coordinated school health program. Steinman is a member of The University of Texas Elementary School Health Advisory Council and the Education Council, and the Travis County Agri-Life Leadership Advisory Board.

Mihai Sirbu

Promoted to Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics

Sirbu has been an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics since August 2007. Before that, he had been a Ritt Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Columbia University, 2004-2007. Sirbu obtained his Ph.D . in mathematics form Carnegie Mellon University in 2004, and his bachelor’s degree in 1998 from the University of Iasi, Romania. His research interests are in the area of stochastic control and optimization, mostly applied to financial models. More specifically, Sirbu has been working recently on qualitative analysis of markets with frictions, including transactions costs and other fee structures, time-illiquid markets and others. He is also interested in the general problem of controlling degenerate diffusions.

Peter Stone

Promoted to Professor, Department of Computer Science

Stone is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow, AAAI Fellow, Fulbright Scholar, and professor in the Department of Computer Science. He received his Ph.D. in computer science in 1998 from Carnegie Mellon University. From 1999 to 2002 he was a senior technical staff member in the Artificial Intelligence Principles Research Department at AT&T Labs - Research. Stone's research interests include machine learning, multiagent systems, robotics, and e-commerce. In 2003, he won a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation for his research on learning agents in dynamic, collaborative, and adversarial multiagent environments. In 2004, he was named an ONR Young Investigator for his research on machine learning on physical robots. In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious IJCAI 2007 Computers and Thought award, given once every two years to the top AI researcher under the age of 35.

Christopher Sullivan

Promoted to Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences

Sullivan received his undergraduate degree from Penn State University, his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and his postdoctoral training from the University of California at San Francisco. Throughout his career, Sullivan’s research has focused on understanding the biology of tumor viruses and the host response to viral infection. Currently, his lab is focuses on understanding the role of non-protein-coding RNA elements in viral pathogenesis. Since joining the faculty at UT, Sullivan has received the National Science Foundation Career Award, the Burroughs Wellcome Investigators in Pathogenesis Award and been named a National Academy of Science Kavli Fellow.

Lexing Ying

Promoted to Professor, Department of Mathematics

Ying received his Ph.D. from New York University in 2004 and was a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech from 2004 to 2006 before joining UT Austin. His research lies in the area of computational and applied mathematics. He received the Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship in 2007, the NSF CAREER award in 2009, and the Feng Kang Prize of Scientific Computing in 2011.

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Tuesday, 07 February 2023

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