Faculty Honors & Awards

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.


Congratulations to Francisco Bezanilla the Lillian Eichelberger Cannon Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Professor Mercedes Pascual (Ecology and Evolution) who have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The award was given to 214 individuals across several sectors including academia, business, government, and public affairs. Those who receive the award have work that advances the public good and informs policy. 

Francisco Bezanilla's work deals with understanding voltage channels in excitable cells. His work lead to use of light to stimulate nerve and muscle known as "optocapacitance".

Mercedes Pascual deals with climate change and how it effects diseases such as cholera and malaria. As humans continue to change the world around them and thus effect climate change, it will be important to understand how these changes will influence public health. 


To learn more about Bezanilla's and Pascual's nomination and work see Louise Lerner and Jack Wang's article at UChicago News.


Congratulations to Assistant Professors Mengjie Chen and Matthew Kaufman for each receiving a Sloan Research Fellowship. Only 126 researchers receive this a year, and it is awarded to those seen to have "distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field," as stated by the Sloan website. 

UChicago news' Louise Lerner reports:

"Four University of Chicago faculty members have earned prestigious Sloan Research Fellowships, awarded to early-career scholars whose achievements and potential mark them as the next scientific leaders."

To learn more about these great faculty members, read the rest of the article at UChicago News.


David Freedman, Professor in Neurobiology and Chair, Graduate Program in Computational Neuroscience, has been selected as a recipient of the 2018 Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentorship.

Read more and hear a short interview with Dr. Freedman on the UChicago News website.


Peggy Mason, Professor in Neurobiology and the College, has been awarded the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell  award, believed to be the oldest award for undergraduate teaching in the nation.

Read the full story and hear an interview with Dr. Mason on the UChicago News website

Headshot of Bana Jabri 01/03/2018

Bana Jabri has been named the Sarah and Harold Lincoln Thompson Professor in the Department of Medicine and the College.

Jabri, vice chair for research in the Department of Medicine and director of research at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, is a gastroenterologist and an expert in human immunology. She has followed a career interest in celiac disease, autoimmune disorders and inflammatory bowel disease. Read more at the UChicago News site.



Carole Ober (Human Genetics; Genetics, Genomics and Systems Biology) has been named the Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor in Human Genetics and the College.

Ober is chair of the Department of Human Genetics. Her research focuses on the genetics of complex human phenotypes, with particular emphasis on traits related to reproduction and asthma susceptibility. Read more at the UChicago News site.

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