Faculty Honors & Awards

Susan Kidwell with shells 04/01/2020

Professor Susan Kidwell, a longtime member of the Committee on Evolutionary Biology and the William Rainey Harper Professor of Geophysical Sciences, will be awarded the 2020 Paleontological Society Medal. The medal is "the most prestigious honor bestowed by the Society, reflecting the objectives and standards of the Society. It is awarded to a person whose eminence is based on advancement of knowledge in paleontology."

Susan has advanced knowledge in the field on many fronts, but a common theme has been understanding how the fossil record forms, and its implications for how we study the history of life on Earth and the record of sedimentary environments.

For more information, please see the announcement on CEB's website.


Congratulations to Assistant Professor A. Murat Eren (Mircrobiology) who has been named as a 2020 Sloan Fellow for showing promise as an early career scientist. 

Meren's research focuses on understanding the ecology and evolution of microbial populations through computational strategies and molecular approaches. He and his group also work to develop anvi'o, an open source platform that provides analytical tools and visualizations to allow for a better understanding of the data about microbiology.

Learn more about his award and research at UChicago News


Congratulations to Professor Cathryn Nagler (Immunology) who has been selected as a distinguished  fellow of the American Association of Immunologists.

Nagler is known for her contributions as one of the first immunologists to identify the link between intestinal bacteria and the regulation of immunity. She now works on treating food allergies by developing microbiome-modulating therapeutics.

Learn more about her award and research on the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering website.


Sliman Bensmaia has been named the James and Karen Frank Professor in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and the College. Bensmaia’s research is focused on the study of sensory information and how it is encoded in the nervous system. This research has exciting implications for the development of prosthetic limbs that have the potential to recreate the sense of touch for patients who have lost it. 

Lucy Godley has been named the first Hospira Foundation Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Human Genetics. The Godley lab researches bone marrow malignancies, including leukemias, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma. Godley’s research is providing new insights into her patient’s diseases and thus offering them new treatment options.

Diane Lauderdale has been named the Louis Block Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences and the College. Lauderdale is the Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences and her research focuses on epidemiology. Specifically she looks at how behavioral and social factors influence health. Recently she has focused on sleep and how it affects middle aged adults based on their racial, socio-economic, and gender disparities. 

Matthew Stephens has been named the Ralph W. Gerard Professor in the Departments of Statistics and Human Genetics and the College. Stephens works at the interface between genetics and statistics, his group develops novel methodologies, including software tools and statistical models that are widely used in the field.

Learn more about their accomplishments at UChicago News


Congratulations to Professor Tatyana Golovkina (Microbiology) and Melina Hale (William Rainey Harper Professor in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy; the College; and a Vice Provost at UChicago) who have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Tatyana Golovkina researches the immune system and was elected for "distinguished contributions to the field of resistance and susceptibility to retroviruses using mouse genetics to identify novel genes and the role of the microbiome."

Melina Hale focuses on neuroscience and biomechanics and was elected for "contributions to biomechanics and sensorimotor integration, particularly for innovative studies of neural circuits, proprioception and mechanosensation, as integrated in vertebrate locomotion and behavior."

Learn more about their award and contributions at UChicago News.


Assistant Professor Xiaochang Zhang (Human Genetics) has received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director's New Innovator Award for 2019. Zhang's research focuses on neocortex development. More specifically, he and his lab work to understand how brain cells change under neurological conditions and how they are specified over time. 

Learn more about his award and research at the Forefront.

Joy Bergelson 07/17/2019

Joy Bergelson, the chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolution, has been named the James D. Watson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution and the College. 

Her research lab is known for its work in eco-evolutionary dynamics, for dispelling the belief that arms-race dynamics typify the evolution of plant resistance to microbial pathogens in nature, and was one of the first to experiment using genetically manipulated plants to disentangle the mechanisms driving observed evolutionary dynamics. 

Learn more about her work and award at UChicago news. 


We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 Distinguished Faculty Awards, which were awarded at the annual Awards Ceremony held Wednesday, June 26, 2019.


Professor Stephen J. Kron (Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology) received the Francis Straus Mentorship award, recognizing his exceptional mentorship of trainees.

Professor Matthew Stephens (Human Genetics) received the Distinguished Investigator award. Dr. Stephen’s uses quantitative approaches to address key problems in genetics.

Professor Erin Adams (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) received the Distinguished Educator and Mentor Award for her outstanding mentorship of both students and postdocs.

Assistant Professor Demet Arac-Ozkan (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) received the Distinguished Investigator award. Dr. Arac-Ozkan’s research uses the tools of protein biochemistry and structural biology to investigate the mechanistic underpinnings of neurodevelopmental disease.


Learn more about the various awards on the Biological Sciences Division website.


Professor Joe Thornton (Ecology and Evolution, Human Genetics) has been awarded a Friend of Darwin Award. The National Center for Science Education gives these awards to those they wish to honor for their contributions to evolution education. 

Read more about Thornton's acomplishment at The Forefront


Albert Bendelac, A.N. Pritzker Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Pathology and Committee on Immunology has been recognized with a Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.  Bendalac teaches Immunology in an accessible way that allows undergraduate students to be engaged and excited without being overwhelmed with the complex details of the field. 

Read more about his accomplishment and teaching strategies at UChicago News.

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