- 2015: Vadim Backman
- 2014: Kalyan Raman
- 2013: James Spillane
- 2012: Anna Shapiro
- 2011: Adam Galinsky
- 2010: Dorothy Roberts
- 2009: Harold H. Kung
- 2008: George C. Schatz
- 2007: Barbara J. Newman
- 2006: J. Larry Jameson
Vadim Backman, the Walter Dill Scott Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been named the tenth recipient of the Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship Award.
Backman’s research encompasses a wide array of disciplines in the areas of engineering, biology, and medicine. He has pioneered the development of new technologies in biophotonics and biomedical optics, utilizing light to understand the structure and function of cells and tissues at the nanoscale. Such technologies include partial wave spectroscopy (PWS or nanocytology) and low-coherence enhanced backscattering (LEBS) to “offer non-invasive tissue analysis, depth resolution, and unique sensitivity to tissue microarchitecture.”
Through his research, Backman has discovered new approaches to examining cell nanoarchitecture and molecular events in carcinogenesis. In turn, innovations such as these translate to the conception of new methods for detecting, screening, and diagnosing cancer, potentially making it possible to eradicate the disease before the patient begins to display symptoms.
In addition to his lab research, Backman is the chairman and co-founder of Nanocytomics, LLC and American BioOptics, two startups dedicated to the advancement of his groundbreaking work. He also serves as Program Leader in the Cancer and Physical Sciences Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University.
Kalyan Raman - professor of integrated marketing communications at Medill, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Feinberg School of Medicine, and affiliated professor in the Kellogg School of Management - is the 2014 recipient of the Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship.
Raman's work encompasses an unusual combination of disciples that has allowed him to excel both as a teacher and researcher nationally and internationally. Described as a man who connects disciplines and dots, Raman specializes in marketing mix optimization, optimal budgeting and resource allocation problems in marketing.
He created a mathematical algorithm called a nonlinear feedback controller to automatically regulate the intracranial pressure which, when implemented in a medical device called a shunt, could potentially revolutionize neuroscience. This work, and other research in neuroscience, has been praised at leading institutions, including Harvard University and Brown University medical schools. He has recently expanded his research into a new field of marketing research called neuromarketing, which uses cutting-edge technology, high-level mathematics and modeling to better understand the psychology of marketing.
With Feinberg Professor Hans Breiter and Medill Associate Dean Frank Mulhern, Raman recently co-founded the Collaborative Neuromarketing Group at Northwestern. The group -- which is expected to produce important research on drug and gambling addictions -- not only includes research collaborations among Northwestern’s Medill, Feinberg and Kellogg schools. It also partners with faculty and staff at Harvard Medical School, Wayne State University’s department of electrical engineering, the University of Michigan’s department of marketing and Massachusetts General Hospital.
James P. Spillane, the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor in Learning and Organizational Change at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy (SESP), has been awarded the 2013 Ver Steeg Research Fellowship. An expert on school policy implementation, Spillane is internationally known for his work on distributed leadership, a framework for studying school leadership and management involving formal and informal leaders and followers.
Spillane gives workshops and lectures around the world to researchers and educators about the day-to-day practice of leadership and the impact that distributed leadership can have on teachers’ practice and instruction. His work explores the policy implementation process at the state, school district, school and classroom levels and focuses on intergovernmental and policy-practice relations. In 2007, Spillane co-edited “Distributed Leadership in Practice,” an influential volume in the Critical Issues in Education Leadership Series from Teachers College Press. His recent research projects include an examination of the preparation, recruitment and retention of school principals.
Prof. Spillane was the principal investigator of the Distributed Leadership for Middle School Mathematics Education Study, a four-year National Science Foundation research program to develop and validate instruments for identifying and measuring mathematics leadership in middle schools. He is an elected fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), served as a member of Chicago Public School’s Professional Development Steering Committee in 2001, and is a 2006 recipient of the School of Education and Social Policy’s Outstanding Professor Award from students. In 2010, he co-founded Social Interaction and Organizing at Northwestern (SION) with colleagues in SESP, the Kellogg School of Management and the School of Communication. A truly multidisciplinary group, SION explores how organizations both shape and are shaped by the interactions of people, communities and markets.
Anna Shapiro, the Marjorie Hoffman Hagan, Class of 1934 Chair in Theatre has been awarded the Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship. Shapiro, who also is director of the Master of Fine Arts Directing Program in the School of Communication, is the seventh Northwestern scholar to receive the prestigious fellowship.
Since joining Northwestern’s theatre department in 2002, Shapiro has helped to create what is arguably the nation’s most exciting and attractive graduate program in directing. At the same time, she has continued to have an extraordinary impact on contemporary American theatre through her own artistic work as a director. She has directed dozens of plays, many of them world premieres, since 2000. In 2008 she was awarded the prestigious Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play for her work on “August: Osage County.” Written by Tracy Letts, this play about a dysfunctional Oklahoma family earned five Tony Awards that year. It premiered at Steppenwolf before traveling to Broadway and London and is now on national tour.
She was nominated for a second Tony Award in 2011 for her direction of “The Motherfu**er with the Hat,” a drama by Stephen Adly Guirgis that has been described as “a high-octane verbal cage match about love, fidelity and misplaced haberdashery.”Affiliated with Steppenwolf Theatre since 1995, Shapiro served as the original director of the theatre company’s New Plays Initiative and later joined the artistic staff as resident director. Shapiro’s Steppenwolf credits include “I Never Sang for My Father,” which featured John Mahoney, and the world premieres of “Man from Nebraska” and “Purple Heart” by Pulitzer Prize-winning Northwestern alumnus Bruce Norris. She also directed “The Drawer Boy,” “Side Man” and “Three Days of Rain.”
Currently serving as an associate artist at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Shapiro has leveraged her connections and worked tirelessly to create an opportunity for third year Northwestern students to present their MFA thesis project at the Steppenwolf. This remarkable partnership has served to further raise the profile of Northwestern’s theater program.
Adam Galinsky, the Morris and Alice Kaplan Professor of Ethics and Decision in Management, has been awarded the Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship. He is the sixth scholar to receive the Ver Steeg fellowship, the university’s first endowed award for excellence in research by a faculty member. Galinsky’s teaching and research focus on leadership, negotiations, decision making, innovation and the development of organizational values and culture.
Widely cited by the media, Galinsky’s research explores a wide range of topics relating to how individuals make sense of and participate in their social and organizational worlds. He has shown how power affects basic psychological processes; why low-status consumers overspend; how first offers impact negotiations and auctions; why people develop superstitions; the ways in which people find meaning in their lives; why living abroad makes people more creative; and the most effective strategies for reducing stereotyping and prejudice.
He has published more than 110 scientific articles, chapters and teaching cases in the fields of management and social psychology. A study that he co-authored in the April issue of Psychological Science, for example, confirms that personal control is central to happiness, especially in the workplace. A Forbes story offered a pithy summary of the study: “What they found was that it wasn’t salary that kept the cogs of the country working happily — it was how much personal control they felt over their day-to-day tasks.” The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker and ABC News also are among the major media that have featured Galinsky’s work. Galinsky has received multiple best-paper awards and has been invited to present lectures at universities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He is also a member of the editorial boards of several major journals.
Dorothy Roberts is Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Northwestern University School of Law and a faculty fellow at the University's Institute for Policy Research. Roberts, a prolific scholar, writes about the interplay of gender, race and class in legal issues concerning reproduction, bioethics and child welfare.
Roberts is the author of "Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty" (Pantheon, 1997), which received a 1998 Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America, and "Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare" (Basic Books, 2002), which received research awards from the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African-American Community and the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.
She also is the co-editor of "Sex, Power and Taboo: Gender and HIV in the Caribbean and Beyond" and casebooks on constitutional law and women and the law. Roberts has published more than 70 articles and essays in books and scholarly journals, including Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, Signs, and Social Text.
Roberts has been a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University and Fordham University, a Fulbright scholar, and a fellow at Harvard University's Program in Ethics and the Professions and Stanford's Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. She serves on the board of directors of the Black Women's Health Imperative, the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform and Generations Ahead. She was a member of the inaugural executive committee of Cells to Society: The Center on Social Disparities and Health at Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research. She also serves on a panel of five national experts overseeing foster care reform in Washington state and on the Standards Working Group of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
She has lectured extensively in the United States and abroad and is currently completing a book on race consciousness in biotechnology, law and social policy for which she received awards from the National Science Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Kung is a world leader in the field of heterogeneous catalysis research and the development of novel materials and processes. He applies his expertise to the critical areas of sustainability, renewable energy and environmental chemistry.
Currently Kung and his research group are focused on the synthesis of novel nanomaterials for catalytic applications to minimize energy consumption and environmental impact and on new lithium-ion battery technologies, such as new forms of electrodes for improved electrical energy storage.
During his career Kung has made significant contributions in various areas of heterogeneous catalysis, starting with seminal work that demonstrated the relationship between surface atomic structures of an oxide and its chemical and catalytic properties. He has led the field in studying oxide-based catalysts for the removal of the atmospheric pollutant nitric oxide by reduction with hydrocarbons in an oxidizing atmosphere. More recently, Kung became the first to synthesize an internally functionalized hollow nanosphere that can be used to trap and bind molecules and metal complexes.
Kung has brought his interest in pressing societal issues into the classroom with a course for engineering and science students, “Sustainability, Technology and Society,” which emphasizes interaction among technology, human behavior, policy and business strategy and practice. He is developing a new course, “Energy for a Sustainable Future,” which will be offered to students across the University.
Kung was one of the drivers behind the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern, which was established last year. He is director of the Center of Energy Efficient Transportation, which is dedicated to developing the science base and technology to achieve sustainable energy-efficient transportation systems.
Kung served as director of the Center for Catalysis and Surface Science (1993-1997) and chair of the department of chemical engineering (1986-1992). He has received numerous honors and awards, including the Cross-Canada Lectureship from the Catalysis Division of the Chemical Institute of Canada, the Robert Burwell Lectureship of the North American Catalysis Society, the Herman Pines Award from the Chicago Catalysis Club and the Paul H. Emmett Award from the Catalysis Society.
George C. Schatz, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry, is a preeminent researcher in theoretical and computational chemistry who has contributed to a wide range of interdisciplinary topics that connect chemistry with physics, biology and engineering. Schatz has been honored with membership in two of the nation's most prestigious academies — the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2005.
Schatz conducts research in two general areas: nanotechnology and chemical dynamics. In the nanotechnology area he has developed electrodynamics theories for describing the optical properties of metal nanoparticles of use in chemical and biological sensing, and he has modeled the statistical mechanics of thin film deposition, DNA structures, the fracture of nanomaterials, and molecular self-assembly. Much of the optical property work is concerned with classical electrodynamics, where he has developed new methods for describing light scattering, absorption and nonlinear optical processes, and he has also developed electronic structure theory methods for describing the interaction of light with molecules and nanoparticles.
His studies of chemical dynamics have included molecular dynamics studies of polymer erosion mechanisms important in low earth orbit satellites, of DNA melting, and of reactions important in combustion and atmospheric chemistry. Schatz has actively worked on the development of quantum theories of chemical reaction dynamics, especially tunneling and electronically nonadiabatic processes.
A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society, Schatz has been the recipient of a Max Planck Research Award, the Fresenius Award, the Bourke medal of the Royal Society, and fellowships from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In 2001 he was elected to the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences.
Schatz is co-author of three books and author of more than 500 publications. His research is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Institute of Health, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Defense Research Advanced Projects Agency.
Barbara J. Newman, professor of English, religion and classics and John Evans Professor of the Latin Language and Literature, is a preeminent scholar in medieval religion and comparative literature.
Newman is known for her work on medieval religious culture and women's spirituality. She is the author of "God and the Goddesses: Vision, Poetry, and Belief in the Middle Ages," a monograph that makes a strong argument about the feminine divine and the ways that allegorical goddess figures deepened the Christian concept of God.
Newman's most recent book is "Frauenlob's Song of Songs: A Medieval German Poet and His Masterpiece," published last year by Penn State University Press. This book introduces the poet-minstrel Frauenlob to English-speaking readers with a fresh translation of his masterpiece, a poem in praise of the Virgin Mary, and includes a performance on CD by the early music ensemble Sequentia.
She is also the author of "From Virile Woman to Woman Christ: Studies in Medieval Religion and Literature" and three works on Hildegard of Bingen: an edited volume, "Voice of the Living Light: Hildegard of Bingen and Her World"; an edition and translation of Hildegard's collected songs, "Symphonia Armonie Celestium Revelationum"; and "Sister of Wisdom: St. Hildegard's Theology of the Feminine." The prize-winning "Sister of Wisdom" was a landmark in medieval women's studies and an important contribution to the broader study of religion.
In 2005, Newman was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the oldest learned society in academia. Election to the academy, which was founded in 1780, recognizes those who have made preeminent contributions to their disciplines and to society at large.
Newman, who served as chair of the department of English from 1993-96, has been a Fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Bellagio Center (Rockefeller Foundation) and the Alice Berline Kaplan Center for the Humanities at Northwestern.
J. Larry Jameson, the Irving S. Cutter Professor of Medicine and chair of the department of medicine in the Feinberg School of Medicine, is internationally recognized for his research, which has defined the genetic basis of more than a dozen different endocrine disorders.
He has a long-standing interest in the genetics of endocrine tumors and possible approaches to their treatment. He has published more than 250 scientific articles including reports in top-ranked journals such as the New England Journal Medicine, Nature Genetics, Science, and the Journal of Clinical Investigation, as well as several specialty journals in endocrinology.
He is widely recognized as the standard bearer for molecular medicine in the field of endocrinology. He is co-editor of the fourth and the forthcoming fifth editions of the authoritative text, "DeGroot and Jameson's Endocrinology." His book, "Principles of Molecular Medicine" received the Best Health Science Book of 1998 award. He has served as an editor for the 15th and 16th editions of Harrison's and is an editor of Harrison's Online. Dr. Jameson has trained more than 50 scientists, many of whom have risen to leadership positions in endocrinology.
He served as president of The Endocrine Society, an organization with more than 10,000 members. Dr. Jameson has been the recipient of several awards including the Oppenheimer Award from the Endocrine Society and the Van Meter Award from the American Thyroid Association, and has served as a visiting lecturer at leading institutions around the world. He has been elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and most recently, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Jameson received his MD and PhD degrees in 1981 from the University of North Carolina before performing clinical training in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
He rose through the faculty ranks at the Harvard Medical School to become associate professor of medicine and chief of the Thyroid Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital before moving to Northwestern in 1993 as chief of the division of endocrinology, metabolism, and molecular medicine. He became chair of the department of medicine in 2000.Back to top