5 Assistant Professors “Excellent Junior School” at IU Bloomington: IU Information: Indiana College

Assistant Professors in International Studies, Photography, Psychology and Brain Sciences, Intelligent Systems Engineering, and Kinesiology receive University’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Award 2021.

Display a print-quality imageFive Assistant Professors at Bloomington have been named Junior Faculty of Excellence. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

The award identifies promising tenure-track faculties that have not yet been awarded a term of office and provides resources to further develop their research programs or creative activities. It is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. The recipients are:

  • Hussein Banai, Department of International Studies, Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.
  • Elizabeth M. Claffey, Eskenazi School of Art, + Design (Photography), College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Emily Fyfe, Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Feng Guo, Department of Intelligent Systems Engineering, Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering.
  • Keisuke Kawata, Department of Kinesiology, School of Health-Bloomington.

Each will receive a $ 15,000 grant to support future research. A reception will take place in her honor at a later date.

Hussein Banai

Banai’s research is at the intersection of political theory and international relations, with a particular interest in liberalism, democratic theory, modern intellectual history, diplomatic studies, Iranian political development, and US-Iran relations.

A large project in which Banai was involved as a participant, interviewer and co-host is the Critical Oral History Project for US-Iran relations at MIT, where he is a research partner. Colleagues from MIT and George Washington University are involved in this joint research.

Funded by Carnegie Corporation’s International and Peace Security Program, the project has partnered with former policy makers, academics and journalists to examine the nature and persistence of the hostility between the US and Iran since the Iranian revolution in 1979. This meeting of academics and practitioners allows not only for the testimonials of former civil servants, but also for journalists and academics to question the reasons for certain political decisions and attitudes.

To date, the project the largest archive of interviews, oral reports and conference reports on US-Iran relations since the Iranian revolution. The collaboration has produced two important publications.

Banai has his Ph.D. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in Political Science in 2012. He previously served on the Faculty of Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College. He was also visiting professor at Brown University and the US Naval War College.

Elizabeth M. Claffey

Claffey’s work in the field of photography is highly regarded as it brings her unique perspective, which includes compassion for the human condition, to her visions of identity, kinship, isolation, issues of the body, family history, care, and cultural / institutional practices. Her creative research visualizes the inner workings and cultural contexts with the intent of having meaningful, in-depth conversations on both topics.

Claffey’s photo series “Matrilinear I & II” addresses embodied memory and its relationship to personal, family and cultural identity. Her paintings examine family folklore, ritual and mnemonic objects that have been passed down through generations of women. Her work is meant to represent the disruption of forms of power that are often passed down through patriarchal inheritance lines.

The traditions of storytelling and object sharing passed down by women have profoundly influenced family history and personal identity and perception of the body. The artist seeks to transform the normative cultural narratives and induce a broader collective memory and a more global story of the past. Claffey wishes to illustrate the importance of the many roles women play, the deep knowledge base they develop, and point out the critical nature of women’s experiences in the larger context of history.

Claffey’s work “Matrilinear” was selected by Kim Sajet, director of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, as one of the Director’s Choice Awards for the Center Santa Fe, a distinguished administrator of contemporary photography in the United States.

Claffey received a Masters of Fine Arts from Texas Woman’s University in 2011 as well as a diploma in women’s studies. Claffey recently received the IU Trustees Teaching Award.

Emily Fyfe

Fyfe is a psychologist whose work includes cognitive science, developmental psychology, and math classes. Their innovative work brings these disciplines together to develop new fields of study. Her focus is on how children think, learn, and solve math problems.

Her work in conducting experimental research has theoretical implications for the cognitive development of children as well as practical implications for the design of the educational environment. Fyfe has become an international expert on the theory of learning known as “concreteness fading”. This technique starts with concrete symbols (e.g. a number of blocks to represent quantity) and “fades” to generalize the concept to abstract symbols (e.g. numbers). She has authored several pieces outlining the verifiable predictions that can be made from this learning theory. This work has been cited over 400 times.

Fyfe also focuses on the role of feedback in problem solving. Her research into predicting when feedback is helpful or inconvenient has produced a novel way to conduct research in classrooms.

Working with others, Fyfe initiated the ManyClasses project, the aim of which is to test the benefits of educational practices in many different classes in different contexts, course formats and student populations. Her research serves as a model for cognitive scientists whose interests lie at the intersection of psychology and education. This project has already been recognized for its novelty and its potential impact on teaching and learning practices that could extend into the future.

Fyfe received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology in 2015 from Vanderbilt University. She received several awards for outstanding teaching.

Feng Guo

Guo’s research efforts include the development of groundbreaking “acoustic fluidic” technologies used in cancer, immunology, neuroscience, and virology. These technologies combine surface acoustic waves and microfluidics for extensive micro / nano-scale manipulation at the interface between engineering and life sciences.

Guo defined the working principle of acoustic fluidics on the basis of sound waves with a standing surface and invented the first “3D acoustic tweezers”. This technique enables individual cells and particles to be captured and moved along three mutually orthogonal axes in a marker-free, non-contact and highly biocompatible manner using a tiny device.

He has developed a new field that encompasses a wide variety of successful applications of this technology in the areas of single cell analysis, cell enrichment, clinical sample processing, cancer screening, tissue engineering, drug screening, and protein crystallography. Guo established a “single cell virology platform” to carry out kinetic analyzes of viral infections in thousands of single cells.

His research group explores the mechanism, detection, biomarker discovery and development of the treatment of multiple sclerosis. He received the New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health Director 2020 for further developing an intelligent system for multiple sclerosis diagnostics.

Guo has his Ph.D. He studied engineering and mechanics at Pennsylvania University in 2015. He was Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University’s School of Medicine before moving to Luddy School.

Keisuke Kawata

Kawata’s research focuses on traumatic brain injuries with a special focus on subgroup neurodegeneration. As director of the Clinical Neurotrauma Lab, one of the leading research laboratories in the country, he has carefully designed his research projects to investigate whether and to what extent repetitive subconcussive headbuttings affect short- and long-term brain health.

Research conducted by Kawata and his colleagues suggests that even light headbuttings can cause acute impairment of eye movement and balance, as well as elevations in blood biomarkers for neural injury. These minor head butts, when repeated, can cause cumulative deficits in the brains of high school and college athletes, and concussions can lead to substance abuse and mental disorders.

His research also suggests that athletes with attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder may have decreased resistance to subconcessive head butts. Kawata and colleagues have published 30 papers on concussion and subconcussion research in the past four years.

Kawata and his have also managed to translate civilian brain trauma problems into the military environment. As part of the largest military convention in the world, he took first place in the Young Investigator Competition in 2018. Kawata believes his work “has the potential to change the paradigm of sport and military service by maintaining the brain health of athletes and soldiers while maintaining the joy of exercising and commitment.”

Kawata received his Ph.D. He studied kinesiology and clinical neuroscience at Temple University in 2016. He then moved to the School of Public Health in Bloomington. He is also a faculty member of the Neuroscience Program at the College of Arts and Sciences.

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