Henry Russel lecturer, award winners named for 2023


Karin Muraszko, a professor born with spina bifida who specializes in developing new therapies for brain tumors and congenital anomalies in children, has been selected as the University of Michigan’s 2023 Henry Russel Lecturer.

The lectureship was announced at the July 20 Board of Regents meeting. Muraszko will deliver her lecture in the winter term of 2024.

The Henry Russel Lectureship is the university’s highest honor for senior faculty members, and is awarded annually for exceptional achievements in research, scholarship or creative endeavors, as well as an outstanding record of distinguished teaching, mentoring and service to U-M and the wider community.

Also announced were four recipients of the Henry Russel Awards, the university’s highest honor for early or mid-career faculty members. They are:

  • Alison R. Davis Rabosky, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and assistant curator of the Museum of Zoology, LSA.
  • Oliver Haimson, assistant professor of information, School of Information; and assistant professor in the Digital Studies Institute, LSA.
  • Justin Heinze, associate professor of health behavior and health education, School of Public Health.
  • Elliott Rouse, associate professor of robotics and of mechanical engineering, College of Engineering.
Karin Muraszko
Karin Muraszko

Muraszko, the Julian T. Hoff Professor of Neurosurgery, professor of surgery and of plastic surgery in the Medical School, has spent her career breaking barriers. She was head of the Department of Neurosurgery from 2005-22, becoming the first woman to chair an academic neurosurgical department in the United States.

She has directed the Pediatric Brain Tumor Clinic at the Rogel Cancer Center and co-founded Project Shunt, which provides neurosurgical care to children in need in Guatemala.

At the Medical School, she was elected vice chair of the U-M Health System Hospital Executive Board and chair of the Children and Women’s Hospital Executive Committee. She also has chaired the Medical School’s Advisory Committee on Appointments, Promotions and Tenure, and has served on the Medical School Executive Committee and the Bioscience Initiative Executive Committee.

Muraszko has served as president of the Society of Neurological Surgeons, and been a member of the Physician’s Advisory Committee of the Spina Bifida Association and the March of Dimes.

She was the first woman to serve as Director of the American Board of Neurological Surgeons, and the first woman to serve as a member of the Neurosurgery Residency Review Committee, which oversees all neurosurgery training programs in the United States.

A 2020 inductee into the National Academy of Medicine, Muraszko has won the Inspirational Physician Award from the American Medical Association, the Distinguished Service Award from the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, and the Humanitarian Award from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Yale University in 1977 and medical degree from Columbia University in 1981.

Muraszko was appointed assistant professor of surgery at U-M in 1990 and assistant professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases in 1991, was promoted to associate professor of surgery in 1996, of pediatrics and communicable diseases in 1999, and added appointments as associate professor in neurosurgery and plastic surgery in 2001 and 2003, respectively. She was appointed professor in 2004.

Alison R. Davis Rabosky
Alison R.
Davis Rabosky

Davis Rabosky’s findings on her research of mimicry have comprehensively revised, updated and innovated upon the evolutionary ground rules as previously understood. Her investigation into coral snakes and their non-venomous mimics was the first to show mimicry in natural populations as a complex evolutionary process.

One of two curators of amphibians and reptiles at the Museum of Zoology herpetological collection, she has improved the museum’s inclusion and outreach by making the world-class biodiversity information in its database freely available on the web and by participating in a National Science Foundation-funded 3D project.

Oliver Haimson
Oliver Haimson

Haimson’s research provides empirical insights into marginalized individuals’ and communities’ experiences presenting and exploring identity via technologies, particularly during identity changes. He has investigated equitable social media content moderation for transgender people, racial minorities, and other marginalized groups, created a comprehensive taxonomy of major life transitions and events.

A founder of the subfield of Trans Human-Computer Interaction, which considers HCI through a lens of transgender theory and issues, his work has contributed an in-depth intellectual understanding and conceptualization of “trans technology.”

Justin Heinze

Heinze’s scholarship focuses on factors that moderate growth and adaptation during adolescence by investigating two related themes: how youth exposure to substance use, mental duress and violence affects educational and development outcomes and future risk behavior, and whether interpersonal and community resources mitigate these effects.

His work emphasizes structural features of school context and policies that perpetuate inequity in violence and firearm outcomes, and how these institutions can serve as settings for prevention and health promotion.

Elliott Rouse
Elliott Rouse

Rouse’s research has changed the way scientists understand the mechanics of the human leg, opening new diagnostic and therapeutic options for patients with leg damage from trauma and for people with disabilities.

By illuminating new descriptions of how the nervous system controls the stiffness of leg joints during locomotion, Rouse’s work has important implications in basic biomechanics, assessments of neuromotor diseases, and development of bio-inspired assistive technologies such as prosthetics and exoskeletons.



  1. Katrina Schill
    on July 26, 2023 at 7:22 am

    Thank you Dr. Muraszco for pioneering therapies for individuals born with nervous system congenital conditions. As a nurse with Chiari Malformation working to develop my career with pain and associated comorbidities, you give me hope that one day soon, individuals like you and I may have evidence based treatments and cures! Awareness and inclusion for persons with disabilities are developing because of inspirational leaders like yourself. Thank you!

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