March 27, 2024

Six faculty earn professorships

Six University of Nebraska-Lincoln professors have been awarded professorships from the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor.

Six University of Nebraska–Lincoln professors have been awarded professorships from the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor.

Six University of Nebraska–Lincoln professors have been awarded professorships from the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor.

Three faculty members were named Willa Cather/Charles Bessey professors. The professorship was established in 2001 to recognize faculty members with the rank of professor who have established exceptional records of distinguished scholarship or creative activity.

  • Ken Bloom will be Willa Cather professor in physics and astronomy. He is an international leader in the field of experimental particle physics. His research, which focuses on the interactions of the top quark and the Higgs boson and large-scale scientific computing, is part of the massive and highly collaborative Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at the international Large Hadron Collider, which has generated well over a thousand publications associated with more than one hundred thousand citations. Bloom co-leads the U.S. operations contributions to the CMS collaboration, which is a $40 million yearly enterprise involving scientists at 45 universities. Bloom has maintained continuous National Science Foundation funding since 2005 and is the principal investigator of the $51 million multi-year NSF grant supporting a major part of CMS operations. He is also a member of the Department of Energy’s High Energy Physics Advisory Panel and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
  • Oleh Khalimonchuk will be Willa Cather professor in biochemistry. He has established an internationally recognized program in research of mitochondrial function and relationships with cellular and human health, which continue to report results of their work in highly-ranked journals with numerous citations. His external funding includes National Institutes of Health R01 and Established Investigator’s MIRA awards. He holds a courtesy appointment as professor of genetics, cell biology and anatomy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is also director of the Redox Biology Center, and a member of the Center for Integrated Biomolecular Communication, Fred and Pamela Buffet Cancer Institute at UNMC, and the Center for Iron and Heme Disorders at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He was named American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow in 2023 for distinguished contributions to the field of mitochondrial biology, particularly for advancing the understanding of multiple mitochondrial functions in health, cellular stress and degenerative diseases.
  • Richard A. Wilson will be Charles Bessey professor in plant pathology. He has developed a world-class research program to help understand the molecular mechanisms of fungal infection of plants, providing a potential roadmap to suppress fungal infection at the subcellular level. His work has been highly recognized in the scientific community with publications in high impact journals including Nature Microbiology and Nature Communications, along with a ranking as one of the world’s top 2% most cited scientists by the Stanford University metrics study in 2022. He has obtained funding from the National Science Foundation, NASA, Department of Defense, and Department of Agriculture, most recently to investigate synthetic lichen for use in concrete repair and in biomineralization as a platform for habitat building on Mars. He was named American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow in 2023 for distinguished contributions to the understanding of the genetic and biochemical underpinnings that govern plant-microbe interactions, particularly those involving the devastating rice blast disease caused by a fungal pathogen.

Three faculty members were named Susan J. Rosowski associate professors. The professorship recognizes faculty at the associate professor level who have achieved distinguished records of scholarship or creative activity and who show exceptional promise for future excellence.

  • Nora Peterson will be Susan J. Rosowski associate professor of French. She has made outstanding research achievements in early modern French cultural studies with a focus on women's writing and religion, art history and early modern law, alongside impactful teaching contributions in French language, literature and culture. Among her published works are nine peer-reviewed articles, four peer-reviewed chapters, and editor or co-editor of two collections, one in the prestigious Modern Language Association Texts and Translation series. Completion of her second monograph, Sins, Crimes, and Bodies: Institutional Discourses in the Heptaméron, is expected next year. She has presented at numerous conferences, including keynotes. She has participated in the Big Ten Academic Alliance Department Executive Officers Program and UNL's Research Development Fellows Program. She has taught 19 different courses at UNL, including 13 that she designed. She is a former recipient of the Honors Program Distinguished Teacher award and the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching award, and she is part of the program faculty in Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies.
  • Massimiliano Pierobon will be Susan J. Rosowski associate professor in the School of Computing. He is a leading expert in information theory for biological communication systems, and his work is focused on laying a theoretical foundation for biological communication that can be used to understand and design complex biological systems. Recently, he has made significant contributions in the area of molecular communications, including applications to future wearable and implantable devices, and viral infections research, as well as in the theoretical understanding of how biological systems acquire and process information. He has been a principal investigator or a co-principal investigator on external projects with over $2.6 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, the Defense Medical Research and Development Program, and the National Institutes of Health. He has published more than 80 papers in top journals and conferences in his field, receiving multiple paper awards from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Association for Computing Machinery. He is a former recipient of the College of Engineering's Excellence in Research award. He was the co-organizer and chair of the NSF Workshop on Biology through Information, Communication and Coding Theory. He serves as the editor-in-chief of the Nano Communication Networks Journal, and he is a fellow of the National Strategic Research Institute.
  • Hope Wabuke will be Susan J. Rosowski associate professor of English. Her work is focused on creative writing, modernism, post-modernism, women's and gender studies, and African and African American literature. She authored the collection of poems The Body Family as well as the chapbooks her, The Leaving, and Movement No.1: Trains, and the forthcoming essay collection Please Don't Kill My Black Son Please. She has also published numerous poems and essays in high-visibility venues, including literary and cultural criticism for National Public Radio and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She has received many external fellowships and awards, including recognition by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulbright Foundation, the National Book Critics Circle, The New York Times Foundation, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Foundation, as well as UNL's Edgerton Junior Faculty Award and College Distinguished Teaching Award. She currently serves as a consulting editor for the African Poetry Book Fund.

Learn more about these professorships, including requirements for nomination and past recipients.