New Faculty—2010-2011

Maria Carolina Caetano

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Assistant Professor of Economics

Carolina Caetano is an Assistant Professor of Economics. This is her second year at Rochester, having served as a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Economics during the 2010 academic year. Carole recently completed her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, having held numerous fellowships during her graduate career. She also holds a Masters degree in Statistics from Berkeley and an undergraduate degree in Economics from the Universidade de Brasilia. Carole’s expertise is in econometrics, with a particular interest in econometric theory, and is currently working on a nonparametric test of endogeneity which does not require instrumental variables. She has additional research interests in applied econometrics and has combined her applied interests in joint work with her husband, Gregorio Caetano, also an Assistant Professor of Economics at Rochester. When not working as an econometrician, Carole finds relaxation as a gourmet cook.

William J. FitzPatrick

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Associate Professor of Philosophy

William J. FitzPatrick received his PhD from UCLA and joins the University of Rochester as an associate professor of philosophy after eleven years at Virginia Tech (preceded by three years as a lecturer at Yale), where he was associate professor and director of graduate studies in philosophy. His research addresses a variety of topics in moral philosophy. At the more abstract end of the spectrum are questions about the foundations of ethics: Can ethical judgments be literally true or false, and if so, what grounds ethical truths? How might moral properties such as wrongness fit into a scientifically informed understanding of the world? Under what conditions are we morally responsible for our actions? He also takes up questions at the intersection of ethical theory and the sciences, such as whether evolutionary biology has implications for the nature and status of ethics: How do ‘explanations of ethical behavior’ offered by evolutionary biologists, cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists relate to philosophical inquiry into ethics? Do they cast doubt on the rationality or objectivity of ethics? Finally, at a more applied level he explores such issues as the moral status of embryos and the ethics of stem cell research and cloning, or the nature of our obligation to future generations in connection with climate change.

Douglas Haessig

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Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Doug received his BS in mathematics at UC Santa Barbara in 1998, with a specialization in Functional Analysis. This led him to UC Irvine where he became interested in the interactions between number theory, geometry, and analysis. During this time, Doug was awarded an ARCS scholar fellowship between 2000 - 2002, a Harbur Fellowship between 2003 - 2004, and the James M. Connelly teaching award in 2005. After Irvine, Doug came to the University of Rochester as a postdoc in number theory.

Currently, much of Doug’s research focuses on understanding connections between the dynamics of certain geometric phenomena and number theory. Although extremely far from being understood, the philosophical template coming from these connections may often be glimpsed in the background of the proofs of many deep theorems in mathematics. This possible unity motivates many of Doug’s research projects.

Dahpon David Ho

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Assistant Professor of East Asian History

Dahpon David Ho studies the history of modern China and East Asia and has published variously on topics such as: “Night Thoughts of a Hungry Ghostwriter” (Modern Chinese Literature and Culture); “The Men Who Would Not Be Amban” (Modern China); and “To Protect and Preserve” (The Chinese Cultural Revolution as History). Anything from the 17th to the 20th century is fair game. His first book project, called Sealords Live in Vain: Fujian and the Making of a Maritime Frontier in 17th-century China, examines piracy, Chinese seafarers, and the Qing state’s drastic decision to depopulate the entire coast of southeast China from 1661-1683. He teaches classes on China, Tibet, and modernity through East Asian eyes.

Alex Iosevich

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Professor of Mathematics

Alex Iosevich was born in Lvov, USSR on December 14, 1967. In September of 1979 he moved to United States with his parents, younger brother and two grandmothers. In 1985, Alex graduated from Roycemore School in Evanston, Illinois, followed by a graduation from the University of Chicago in 1989 with a B.S. in Mathematics. In 1993, he earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California-Los Angeles under the direction of Christopher Sogge. The thesis title is, "Maximal averages over families of finite type curves and surfaces". Over the past 17 years, Professor Iosevich held position at McMaster University in Canada, Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. His research focuses on connections between harmonic analysis, analytic number theory, additive number theory, geometric combinatorics and geometric measure theory. In 2005 he authored a book for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students, entitled "A view from the top: analysis, combinatorics and number theory", published by the American Mathematical Society. In 2010 he coauthored, with Julia Garibaldi and Steven Senger the book, entitled" The Erdos distance problem", also to be published by the American Mathematical Society. In addition to his research and writing activities, Alex Iosevich has advised four Ph.D. students and is currently advising three others. He is continually interested in the training of undergraduate and graduate students as well as talented high school students who are interested in careers in science and mathematics.

Bethany Lacina

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Assistant Professor

Bethany Lacina received her PhD in political science from Stanford University in 2010, where her dissertation focused on language conflicts in India. She is now turning this dissertation into a book and other projects on the determinants of civil violence and civil war in the international system. Bethany also manages a data project on conflict deaths in contemporary and historic conflicts which is hosted by the Centre for the Study of Civil War in Oslo. Her teaching interests are security and civil conflict, ethnic politics, and international responses to civil war.

Ryan Michaels

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Assistant Professor of Economics

Ryan Michaels is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester having pursued his graduate training in Economics at the University of Michigan. Ryan holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations from Georgetown University. He has also worked at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Ryan’s research interests are in the fields of labor economics and macroeconomics. His dissertation combines these two fields in a series of essays that examine labor market frictions. Ryan has also worked on projects regarding employee benefits and cyclical unemployment, and has published work appearing in the American Economic Journal. Ryan will be teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses in macroeconomics.

Jong-Hoon Nam

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Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering

Jong-Hoon Nam received his B.A. and M.S. degree from Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea and attended Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia where he received his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2005. During doctoral course he was fascinated with bioengineering—applying engineering principles to solve problems in life science. In pursuit of his interest, he studied hearing science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a postdoctoral researcher. In 2010, he joined University of Rochester as an assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. He will continue to study how we can hear and orient which is closely relevant to understanding how some people cannot. His study incorporates various topics in engineering and life science such as nanoscale structural acoustics, micro-fluidics, micro-electromechanical systems and cellular electrophysiology. During leisure time he likes to ride a bike along trails with his kids and play tennis. Of course he plans to get accustomed to winter activities to better enjoy his life in Rochester.

John Osburg

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Assistant Professor of Anthropology

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, John Osburg received his BA in anthropology from Columbia University in 1997. After spending a year teaching English in China, he went on to pursue a PhD in cultural anthropology. For his dissertation research, he conducted nearly three years of ethnographic fieldwork with a group of newly rich entrepreneurs in southwest China, examining the formation and reach of elite networks composed of businessmen and government officials in post-reform urban China. He received his PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2008. After receiving his PhD, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Chinese Studies at Stanford University (08-09) and spent a year as a visiting professor at the College of William and Mary (09-10). His current book project, Anxious Wealth: Money, Morality, and Social Networks among China’s New Rich, analyzes practices of network building and deal-making among wealthy businessmen and government officials in urban China and documents the changing values, lifestyles, and consumption habits of China’s new rich and new middle classes. His research also examines changing gender relations in Post-Mao China and the ways in which money and material wealth intersect with ideologies of love and feelings in people’s social, marital, and romantic relationships. John’s research is broadly concerned with the relationship between market economies and systems of cultural value, affect, and morality. For his next research project, he is planning on examining the rise of devotion to Tibetan Buddhism among wealthy Han Chinese. In addition to his academic interests, John is an avid cyclist and four-season bike commuter.

Oleg Prezhdo

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Professor of Chemistry

Oleg Prezhdo was born in Kharkov, Ukraine in 1970. He obtained Diploma in Theoretical Chemistry with Honors from Kharkov National University in 1991. His thesis work was on focused on the optical properties of molecules and was performed under supervision of Prof. Anatoly Luzanov. From 1991 to 1993, he developed a for interaction of molecules with liquids, guided by Prof. Stanislav Tyurin in Kharkov Polytechnic University. Having moved to USA in the fall of 1993, he completed his PhD on chemical reaction dynamics in solution under Peter Rossky at UT-Austin in 1997. After a brief postdoctoral fellowship with John Tully at Yale, where he worked on electron transfer at surfaces, he moved to the University of Washington in Seattle in 1998. In 2002, he was promoted to Associate Professor and in 2005 to Full Professor. In 2008 he became a Senior Editor of the Journal of Physical Chemistry. In 2010 Oleg Prezhdo was offered and accepted a Senior Professorship position at the University of Rochester. Oleg Prezhdo is married to Marina Prezhdo since 1990. They have 2 children: Eugenia born in 1991, and Natalie born in 2004. Oleg Prezhdo’s research interests range from the fundamental aspects of chemical reaction dynamics in gas phase, solution and on surfaces, optical properties of molecules and energy losses to heat, to the applied problems in energy harvesting and storage, molecular electronics and computing, lasers, flat screen displays, electro-optic polymers, protein-protein interactions in biology, etc.

William Schaefer

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Assistant Professor

William Schaefer, Assistant Professor, received his Ph.D. from The University of Chicago. He has previously taught at the University of Minnesota and the University of California, Berkeley. His research and teaching interests include modern Chinese visual culture and literature; histories and theories of photography in China; image and medium theory and history; modernism; landscape representation and geographies of literature; and comparative studies of literary, ethnographic, and historical narrative. He recently completed a book manuscript, “Shadow Modernism: Photography, Writing, and Space in Shanghai, 1925-1935.” His most recent publications are "Poor and Blank: History’s Marks and the Photographies of Displacement" (Representations 109 [Winter 2010]), “Shadow Photographs, Ruins, and Shanghai’s Projected Past” (PMLA 122:1 [2007], and “Shanghai Savage” (Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique 11:1 [2003]). He is also the guest editor of a special issue, “Photography’s Places,” of Positions (18:3 [2010]). His new research concerns the intersection of documentary, abstraction and the historicity of surfaces in contemporary Chinese photography, and Chinese photography and image theories during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Andei Seluanov

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Assistant Professor

Andrei received his PhD in Life Sciences from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, followed by postdoctoral training at McGill University and Baylor College of Medicine. Andrei first joined the University of Rochester in 2004 as Research Assistant Professor working as a team with his wife Vera Gorbunova (an Associate Professor of Biology). Andrei and Vera had worked together for over 10 years studying the biology of aging. In addition to enjoying science together, they are proud parents of three sons Michael, Moshe, and Aron.

Andei Seluanov’s research is focused on aging and cancer. He uses a comparative approach where he compares short- and long-lived animal species to understand the mechanisms that determine longevity. Closely related mammalian species can differ tremendously in their life spans. Understanding what allows a grey squirrel to survive to the age of 24, while a mouse can only live to the age of 3 has a potential to have an impact for extending human lifespan. Also the focus of Andrei’s studies has been the naked mole rat, an unusual rodent, which has a maximum lifespan of 28 years and does not develop cancer. Andrei received a New Scholar Award from the Ellison Medical foundation to study anticancer mechanisms in Long-lived rodents. Andrei’s paper on anticancer mechanisms in the naked mole rat, received the Cozzarelly prize from the National Academies of Science. The award recognizes papers of “outstanding scientific excellence and originality.”

Elya Zhang

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Assistant Professor

Elya Zhang grew up in Southeast China and went to college at Renmin University in Beijing. She moved on to sunny San Diego and got her doctorate at that branch of the University of California in 2008. After a year of postdoctoral training at Harvard University, she started teaching at Fordham University in New York City. And Rochester has now opened a new door for her, behind which lies a path toward becoming an economic historian. Her primary book project, titled Webs of Power, focuses on the personal networks of three governors who led the Chinese empire through its transition to a nation. Her side project takes on the theme of sovereignty and solvency, examining China’s three defaults of foreign loans from 1900 to 1949. Elya has published essays on the Chinese imperial bureaucracy and the Chinese Cultural Revolution.