Five University of Michigan faculty members have been recognized for their outstanding teaching and service with one of U-M’s most prestigious honors: the Distinguished University Professorship.
The Board of Regents approved the appointments July 20 for Kevin C. Chung, Mark J. Kushner, Bhramar Mukherjee Kon-Well Wang and Patricia J. Wittkopp. They begin Sept. 1, last throughout the recipient’s period of active service at the university and may be retained after retirement.
Each professorship bears a name determined by the appointed professor in consultation with their dean. Newly appointed Distinguished University Professors are invited to give an inaugural lecture.
The Board of Regents established the Distinguished University Professorships in 1947 to recognize senior faculty members with exceptional scholarly or creative achievements, national and international reputations for academic excellence and superior records of teaching, mentoring and service.
Kevin C. Chung
William C. Grabb Distinguished University Professor of Surgery
Chung also is the Charles B. G. de Nancrede Professor of Surgery, and professor of surgery and of orthopaedic surgery in the Medical School.
In their recommendation letter to the regents, Laurie McCauley, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and Michael Solomon, Rackham Graduate School dean and vice provost for academic affairs, said Chung is a renowned researcher whose advancements in plastic surgery have broken ground in the development of patient treatments.
He specializes in the repair and rebuilding of the hand and arm caused by congenital anomalies, trauma or destructive arthritic conditions.
“Dr. Chung has had an indelible effect on students, residents, fellows and faculty through mentorship, clinical teaching, and in the operating room. … He introduced evidence-based medicine to the field of plastic surgery and continues to contribute innovative and influential research to the field,” they wrote.
Mark J. Kushner
William P. Allis Distinguished University Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Kushner also is the George I. Haddad Collegiate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and professor of electrical engineering and computer science, of nuclear engineering and radiological science, and of chemical engineering in the College of Engineering.
Kushner’s research on low-temperature plasma has been foundational in the creation of plasma-based energy systems. His research is defined by his commitment to deciphering the physics of complex systems to create technologies that will provide societal benefit.
He founded the Michigan Institute for Plasma Science and Engineering to support plasma science and engineering at U-M.
“Professor Kushner has focused international attention on U-M as a leading institute in plasma science. … Bridging the academic-industry divide, (his) accomplishments have drawn international recognition from the world of industry and technology transfer,” Solomon and McCauley wrote.
John D. Kalbfleisch Distinguished University Professor of Biostatistics
Mukherjee also is the John D. Kalbfleisch Collegiate Professor of Biostatistics, and professor of biostatistics, of epidemiology, and of global public health in the School of Public Health.
Mukherjee researches the development and application of statistical methods in epidemiology, environmental health and cancer research. She is known for her pioneering contributions in data integration techniques, and she has done path-breaking work in precision health, the joint analysis of genetics, environment and real-world health care data.
Solomon and McCauley said Mukherjee’s COVID-19 study group that brought together researchers in Michigan and India “captures the collaborative method and social impact that are hallmarks of Professor Mukherjee’s pathbreaking research.”
“A prodigious and prominent researcher, Professor Mukherjee has excelled in teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels … and is also distinguished by her career-long efforts to diversify science and welcome more women into its ranks,” they wrote.
A. Galip Ulsoy Distinguished University Professor of Engineering
Wang also is the Stephen P. Timoshenko Collegiate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering.
Wang is an internationally renowned scholar in the field of structural dynamics and controls. His ground-breaking research centers on emerging adaptive structures and material systems that can alter their properties in real time, impacting a broad range of engineering functions, including vibration and noise mitigation, wave control, damage identification and energy harvesting.
“Never one to be limited by a narrow definition of his field, Professor Wang has led the way in harnessing knowledge from biology and nanotechnology, looking to plant cells and skeletal muscle as inspirations to launch transformative new fields in creating adaptive structures with new features and exceptional performances,” Solomon and McCauley wrote.
Patricia J. Wittkopp
Deborah E. Goldberg Distinguished University Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Wittkpp also is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, the Sally L. Allen Collegiate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and of molecular, cellular and developmental biology in LSA.
A world-renowned evolutionary geneticist, Wittkopp’s research program addresses fundamental questions in evolutionary biology, including the molecular mechanisms controlling variation in gene expression and the underlying phenotypic differences within and between populations and species.
Studying fruit flies and baker’s yeast, she has investigated how the evolution of gene regulation processes drives organismal and species-level differentiation. Wittkopp’s research has been influential in understanding how previously unappreciated elements of the genome influence gene expression and phenotypes.
“Professor Wittkopp’s scholarly acumen has been widely recognized … and her service shows a dedication to improving the institutions that will cultivate the next generation of scientists,” Solomon and McCauley wrote.