New Tenure Line Faculty 2018

African American Studies & Anthropology

Mario Jacques LaMothe (Northwestern University, PhD) joins the Departments of African American Studies & Anthropology as an Assistant Professor. Most recently, Dr. LaMothe was a postdoctoral associate at the African-American Cultural Center at UIC. Dr. LaMothe’s research interests focus on theories of Caribbean performance traditions and African diaspora health cultures, and involves embodied pedagogies of Afro-Caribbean religious rituals, and the intersections of spectatorship, queerness and social justice in Black Atlantic sites.

Biological Sciences

Alexander W. Shingleton (University of Cambridge, PhD) has joined LAS as an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Prior to UIC, Professor Shingleton was an associate professor at Lake Forest College.  His research integrates molecular biology, physiology, and evolutionary biology to generate a synthetic understanding of why animals are the size and shape that they are.


Ying Samuel Hu (Rice University, PhD) comes to the Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor. Most recently, Dr. Hu has worked for the Salk Institute for Biological Studies as a Research Associate in both the Nomis Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, as well as the Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center. He is pursuing multidisciplinary research that combines optical microscopy, material science, and biochemical and computational techniques. His research develops innovative supperresolution imaging techniques to investigate dynamic single-cell systems. He is particularly interested in ways to visualize spatiotemporal coordination of protein molecules and their functional relevance in immune and other mammalian cells.

Chemistry & Physics

Huan-Xiang Zhou (Drexel University, PhD) has joined the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as an LAS Science Endowed Chair in the Departments of Chemistry and Physics. Professor Zhou comes to LAS from Florida State University, where he established a vibrant research group in computational biophysics. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) in 2010 and is a recipient of the prestigious Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA or R35) from the National Institutes of Health. In the College, Dr. Zhou will work to build a joint program in biophysics between the Departments of Chemistry and Physics, uniting into a single virtual group our collective nascent strengths in computational sciences, biochemistry, chemical biology, and drug discovery. His research focuses in the areas of computation, along with a quantitative understanding of biological processes in the cellular context, based on physical principles.

Criminology, Law, and Justice

Liat Ben-Moshe (Syracuse University, PhD) will join the Department of Criminology, Law, and Justice in January of 2019. Dr. Ben-Moshe currently works as an assistant professor in disability studies at the University of Toledo, and prior to that she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Disability and Human Development at UIC.    Her research and teaching interests include disability studies; mad studies; incarceration and decarceration; critical prison studies; social theory (feminist, queer, critical race); sociology of disability; activism and resistance; and inclusive pedagogy. 

Alana J. Gunn (University of Chicago, PhD) is joining the Department of Criminology, Law, and Justice as an Assistant Professor. Professor Gunn was most recently an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work, College of Community and Public Affairs at Binghamton University. Her research interests include incarceration and re-entry services research; the intersection of incarceration and other social problems (sex work, substance use) and shame; maternal incarceration and parenting during reentry; as well as ethics-specific implications of researching marginalized populations.

Rahim Kurwa (University of California, Los Angeles, PhD) joins the Department of Criminology, Law, and Justice as an Assistant Professor. Professor Kurwa’s research interests include race, policing, neighborhood effects, urban sociology, stratification, and inequality.

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Kimberly Van Meter (University of Waterloo, PhD) comes to LAS in January of 2019 as an  assistant professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Most recently, Dr. Van Meter was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo. Her research interests include the ways in which climate, land use, and management practices impact groundwater and surface water quality in anthropogenic landscapes; as well as the interactions and feedbacks between human and natural systems. She is further interested in the development of parsimonious modeling frameworks to explore biogeochemical nutrient dynamics across a range of scales, to link watershed, lake, and coastal systems, and to explore short-and long-term impacts of nutrient legacies on water quality within both rural and urban landscapes. Dr. Van Meter’s recent work has focused on the long-term impacts of intensive agricultural practices on water quality.


So Yoon Ahn (Columbia University, PhD) joins LAS this fall as an assistant professor in the Department of Economics. Dr. Ahn specializes in labor economics, family economics, applied microeconomics, and has additional interests in development economics, and gender economics. 

English & Latin American and Latino Studies

Daniel Borzutzky (School of the Art Institute of Chicago, MFA), joins LAS this fall as an Associate Professor in the English department. Recently, Professor Borzutzky worked at Wright College of the City Colleges of Chicago and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Professor Borzutzky is a poet and translator, and his work often addresses issues related to immigration, worker exploitation, political corruption, and economic disparity. His collection The Performance of Becoming Human won the 2016 National Book Award. 

Gender and Women’s Studies & Communication

Kishonna L. Gray (Arizona State University, PhD) will join the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and the Department of Communication this Fall as an assistant professor. Dr. Gray has recently been an assistant professor at Arizona State University as well as a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests focus on marginalized identities (race, gender, class, sexuality, etc.) and new media. 

Hispanic and Italian Studies

David Thomas Miller (University of Reading, PhD) is  joining the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies as an assistant professor. He has recently been the PhD student manager of the University or Reading Psycho- and Neuro-linguistics Lab, as well as an assistant editor for the journal Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism.  His research focus includes language acquisition, development and processing; neurolinguistics (EEG/ERP); and Romance languages. He also specializes in multilingualism and heritage speaker bilingualism.


Hayley Negrin (New York University, PhD) joins the History department as an assistant professor. Dr. Negrin’s research focuses on Native American history, women and gender, and the Atlantic world.

Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science

James Freitag (University of Illinois at Chicago, PhD) now holds the rank of assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science. He was most recently a research assistant professor at UIC and has previously held a postdoc at the University of California, Los Angeles and received a National Science Foundation Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship.  Professor Freitag’s research interests include model theory, commutative algebra and algebraic geometry, and number theory.

William Perkins (New York University, PhD) is joining the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science as an Assistant Professor. Professor Perkins has most recently worked as a Birmingham Fellow at the University of Birmingham, School of Mathematics. His research interests include a mix of probability, statistics, computer science, and combinatorics.

Wouter Van Limbeek (University of Chicago, PhD) is coming to the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science as an assistant professor. Most recently, he has worked as the Donald J. Lewis Research Assistant Professor at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Professor Van Limbeek’s research interests include differential geometry, geometric structures on manifolds, geometric topology, and discrete subgroups of Lie groups.

Ping-Shou Zhong (Iowa State University, PhD) is joining the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science as an Associate Professor. Previously, he worked in the Department of Statistics and Probability at Michigan State University. His research focuses on statistical inference for high dimensional data; statistical analysis for longitudinal and functional data; empirical likelihood method and its applications; missing data and measurement error problems; and applications in genomics and neuro-imaging data.


James A. Unwin (University of Oxford, DPhil) now holds the rank of assistant professor in the Physics department. He was most recently a research assistant professor at UIC and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford. Professor Unwin conducts research on topics in theoretical physics, in particular astroparticle and high energy physics, and also focuses on models of physics beyond the standard model.


Margaret C. Wardle (University of Illinois at Chicago, PhD) joins the Psychology department as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Wardle was previously with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.  Her research is centered on the role of emotional and motivational functioning in addiction.


Jennifer A. Jones (University of California, Berkeley, PhD) is coming to the Sociology Department this fall as an Assistant Professor. Prior to joining UIC, Dr. Jones was in the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame and was a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Latino Studies.  Her areas of specialization include race and ethnicity, immigration, political sociology, Latinx studies, Afro-Latinx studies, and Latin America and the Caribbean. She seeks to examine the social construction of race by exploring three distinct sources of change in the contemporary racial landscape—immigration, the growing multiracial population, and shifting social relations between and within racial groups.

Mahesh Somashekhar (Princeton University, PhD) joins the Department of Sociology as an Assistant Professor. Up until this Fall, Professor Somashekhar was a postdoctoral researcher associate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Washington.  His research interests include urban studies, international migration, race and ethnicity, and spatial demography. He studies the effects of retail change on communities in the context of immigrant entrepreneurship, gentrification, and health disparities.