Faculty Honors & Awards

Sally Horne-Badonovic 05/20/2021

Dr. Sally Horne-Badonovic, Cell and Molecular Biology and Development Regeneration and Stem Cell Biology, was awarded the Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. 

A developmental biologist by training, Horne-Badovinac strives to inspire the same sense of awe she felt when she first learned about the subject, which is the science of how cells divide and differentiate to form tissues, organs and organisms. “I remember it was a mind-opening experience,” she said.

Horne-Badovinac hopes to elicit similar feelings from her own students: “I want them to come away with a sense of wonder about development."


Zeresenay “Zeray” Alemseged, Evolutionary Biology and Integrative Biology, has been elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Alemseged is a paleoanthropologist studying human evolution. His research methods span extensive fieldwork and cutting-edge imaging techniques to discover and analyze the processes and mechanisms that led to the emergence of Homo sapiens. While leading the Dikika Research Project in Ethiopia, Alemseged discovered and analyzed the fossilized remains of a 3.3-million-year-old child of the species Australopithecus afarensis—the most complete skeleton of a human ancestor discovered to date. This and other findings by Alemseged represent major advancements in our understanding and have changed the textbooks on human evolution.

Dr. Alemseged will join other American Academy members from around the world in arts and sciences, business, philanthropy and public affairs, to collaborate on advancing the public good. Please join us in congratulating him on this important honor.

Maryellen Giger 01/09/2021

Maryellen Giger Medical Physics has been named the A.N. Pritzker Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Radiology and the College.

Giger conducts research on computer-aided diagnosis, including computer vision, machine learning and deep learning, in the areas of breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, lupus and bone diseases. She is now using these image-based phenotypes, “virtual biopsies” in imaging genomics association studies for discovery. She has now extended her AI in medical imaging research to include the analysis of COVID-19 on CT and chest radiographs, and is principal investigator on the NIBIB-funded Medical Imaging and Data Resource Center.

She is a cofounder, equity holder and scientific advisor of Quantitative Insights, Inc., which started through the New Venture Challenge at the University of Chicago. QI produces QuantX, the first FDA-cleared, machine-learning-driven system to aid in cancer diagnosis.

She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and was awarded the William D. Coolidge Gold Medal from the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, the highest award given by the AAPM. In 2013, Giger was named by the International Congress on Medical Physics as one of the 50 medical physicists with the most impact on the field in the last 50 years. She has served as president of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and as president of the International Society of Optics and Photonics and was the inaugural editor-in-chief of the SPIE Journal of Medical Imaging.

Tamara Konetzka 01/09/2021

Tamara Konetzka Public Health Sciences has been named the Louis Block Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences and the College.

Konetzka is an internationally recognized expert in the health economics of long-term and post-acute care. Her research focuses on the incentives created by health care policy, including payment policy, and their effects on quality of care. She has been the principal investigator on numerous major federal research grants, leading to significant advances in knowledge of the drivers of nursing home quality, how public reporting of quality changes the behavior of providers and consumers, and the unintended consequences of home-based long-term and post-acute care. This year, she testified before the U.S. Senate on COVID-19 and nursing homes.

Konetzka serves on several editorial boards and is editor-in-chief of Medical Care Research and Review.

Raphael Lee 01/09/2021

Raphael C. Lee Integrative Biology has been named the Paul and Allene Russell Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Medicine.

Lee is a surgeon and biomedical engineer who has focused his research efforts on characterizing the molecular mechanics of trauma injuries, including burns and ionizing radiation. He directs the Laboratory for Molecular Regeneration, which is focused on developing therapeutics that accelerate and improve functional recovery following disabling trauma. He is also working with the National Academies toward strategies to incorporate engineering control systems pedagogy into medical education. He is a member of the Committee for Molecular Medicine and a fellow of the Pritzker School for Molecular Engineering.

Lee has received the American College of Surgeons Schering Scholar, MacArthur Fellow and Searle Scholar awards. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and past president of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Lee is the recipient of the Pierre Galletti Award for leadership in trauma therapeutics.

Lucia Rothman-Denes 01/09/2021

Lucia B. Rothman-Denes, Cell and Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Genetics, Genomics and Systems Biologyhas been named the Haig P. Papazian Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology and the College. Dr. Rothman-Denes is the Program Director of the NIH T32 Genetics and Regulation Training Grant.

Combining genetic, biochemical, biophysical and structural approaches, her work on a bacteriophage system has yielded fundamental insights into viral-host interactions and identified new mechanisms for regulating gene expression at the transcriptional level. Her laboratory also focuses on further elucidating these viral-host interactions and exploiting them to discover new targets for antibacterials.

She is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology.

Jing Chen 01/09/2021

Jing Chen, Cancer Biology has been named the Janet Davison Rowley Professor in Cancer Research in the Department of Medicine. This new professorship honors Rowley, whose pioneering research on the links between genetics and cancer earned her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Chen works to understand the signaling interplay between metabolic and cell signaling networks for a better understanding of cancer metabolism and improved clinical outcomes. In particular, his research seeks to determine metabolic and signaling functions of intracellular metabolites and circulating “blood chemicals,” which affect how tumors evolve, grow and respond to treatment; and to decipher the links between diet and particular cancer mutations.

He is director of the Cancer Metabolomics Research Center at UChicago Medicine.

His awards include the American Cancer Society Basic Research Scholar Award, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Career Development Program Scholar Award, and the Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar Award.


Professor Anita S. Chong (Immunology, Metabolism) was named a 2020 AAAS Fellow. Anita Chong , Professor of Surgery, focuses her research on the immunology of how the body tolerates organ transplants, with a particular interest in understanding how inflammation, previous rejection or pregnancies affect tolerance.


Professor Yamuna Krishnan (Computational Neuroscience) was named a 2020 AAAS Fellow. Yamuna Krishnan, Professor of Chemistry, is a groundbreaking chemist who crafts tiny “machines” out of DNA that can be used to monitor and explore how cells work at the microscopic level. She was recognized for “the development of DNA-based fluorescent reporters and quantitative imaging of the ionic and chemical contents of sub-cellular organelles in live cells and animals.”


Professor Rima McLeod (Immunology) was named a 2020 AAAS Fellow. Rima McLeod, Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science and Pediatrics, is internationally recognized for her expertise and extensive research in toxoplasmosis—a disease caused by one of the world’s most common parasites.She specializes in the comprehensive care of congenital toxoplasmosis and other Toxoplasma gondii infections, and works to develop more effective screening, detection and treatment strategies for the disease.

She was recognized for “distinguished contributions to understanding the medical consequences of Toxoplasma gondii infection, the molecular mechanisms contributing to these consequences, and potential treatments.”

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