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Named positions celebrate the contributions of professors as researchers, scholars, and teachers.

Several faculty members at the University of Rochester have been appointed to named professorships during the second half of 2023. An honor designed to recognize the national stature of a professor’s work, the named positions are part of a long-standing tradition to celebrate the work of Rochester’s faculty as researchers, scholars, and teachers.

Thomas Diekwisch, a professor of dentistry, has been jointly appointed as the Margaret and Cy Welcher Professor in Dental Research and as chair of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences in the Eastman Institute for Oral Health.

Diekwisch’s interests include craniofacial research; tooth enamel evolution and development; epigenetics, chromatin, and microRNAs; orthodontics; and periodontal research.

The professorship was established in 1966 by a gift from Marvin (Cy) Welcher, a retired oral surgeon, and his wife.

Alexander Kobrin, an associate professor of piano, has been jointly appointed as the Wentworth Family Professor.

Kobrin, an active guest soloist with the world’s leading orchestras, is acclaimed for his emotional, technically inspired performances.

The professorship was established by University Trustee Tim Wentworth, and his wife, Robin Wentworth, University parents and supporters, to recognize a dedicated piano faculty member at Eastman.

Margot Mayer-Proschel, a professor of biomedical genetics, has been jointly appointed as the Martha M. Freeman, M.D. Professor in Biomedical Genetics. Mayer-Proschel retains her joint appointment as a professor of neuroscience.

Mayer-Proschel’s research interests are based on the identification of different stem and precursor cell pools in the central nervous system that are critical for identifying ideal transplantable cells for therapeutic cell replacement approaches or are targets for insults leading to developmental pathologies.

The late Martha Mann Freeman ’44, ’45N, ’51M (MD) made provisions in her will that helped establish the professorship.

Jacques Robert, a professor of microbiology and immunology, has been jointly appointed as chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and as the Albert and Phyllis Ritterson Professor. Robert retains his joint appointment as a professor of environmental medicine.

Robert’s lab uses a comparative biology approach to advance developmental immunology, immunotoxicology, non-polymorphic MHC, and innate T cell biology.

The late Phyllis Ritterson ’55M (MS) made provisions in her will that helped establish the professorship, which supports a faculty member in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Nick Vamivakas, a professor of optics, has been jointly appointed as the Marie C. Wilson and Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Optical Physics. Vamivakas retains his joint appointments as dean of graduate education and postdoctoral affairs in Arts, Sciences & Engineering and as a professor of physics.

Vamivakas’s research focuses on light-matter interaction at the nanoscale. He is particularly interested in using optics to interrogate and control both artificial and naturally occurring solid-state quantum emitters.

The Marie Curran Wilson and Joseph Chamberlain Wilson Professorship Fund has supported professorships that have historically included disciplines ranging from biology, economics, history, political science, medicine, and optical physics. Directed by the University’s Board of Trustees, the fund is named for Joe Wilson ’31, founder of Xerox, and his wife, Marie (Peggy) Wilson, a former member of the board.

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