2015-2016 College Fellows

Lukas BaneLukas Bane, Molecular and Cellular Biology

I specialize in protein biochemistry and structural biology with emphasis on membrane proteins.  My research interests include the family of metal transporters responsible for dietary iron absorption in humans.  I use xray crystallography as well as functional reconstitutions of purified protein to probe the biochemical and biophysical properties underlying the mechanisms of transport.

[No Photo Available]:  Marina Bilbija, English

Mara Block, Religion

My research and teaching engage the deeply entangled relationship between religion, sexuality, and medicine in the modern West. I am currently working on a book project on the medical roots of modern Christian “care for the soul” that illustrates the decisive significance of psychological vocabulary and psychiatric practice in contemporary debates on religion and sexuality.

Max BohnekampMax Bohnenkamp, East Asian Languages and Civilizations

My research focuses upon conceptions of folk, popular and mass cultures in modern China, particularly addressing the adaptation of folklore for modern literature and performing arts, the reception of Western and Soviet literary and dramatic aesthetics in China in the 1930s and '40s, and the relationship of literature and performance to politics and critical social theory. My current project on the history of the famous revolutionary music-drama The White-Haired Girl reexamines the long-standing claim that the work was originally based on oral lore and explores the intersection of cultural nationalism, Communist politics and modernist aesthetics in its artistic development during the Second World War. I teach courses on conceptions of folk culture and authenticity in twentieth-century China, the fantastic in modern Chinese literature, the relationship between revolution and literature in China and Chinese cinema.

Jessica Cerezo RomanJessica Cerezo-Román, Anthropology

I specialize in the study of highly fragmented and cremated human remains, mortuary practices, bioarchaeology, and forensic anthropology. My research interests include both method and theory in modern populations, and in ancient populations of the American Southwest, Mexico, and Northern Europe. I am particularly interested in deconstructing funeral rituals in emerging complex societies to understand cultural practices related to identity(ies) intersections, personhood, and embodiment.

Amy DentAmy Dent, Psychology

Formally trained in developmental science, my two main areas of research reflect its cross-pollination with educational and quantitative psychology. My substantive research attempts to integrate the many theoretical and methodological approaches to self-regulation by exploring its academic context and consequences. I do so primarily through meta-analysis, for which I developed a new method that overcomes common conceptual obstacles when integrating research in the behavioral sciences. I welcome both substantive and methodological collaborations that apply these complementary lines of inquiry.

Holger DroesslerHolger Drössler, History

My teaching and research revolve around the global history of the nineteenth century, especially U.S. and European imperialism in the Pacific. I am also teaching U.S. international relations and labor history. In my current book project, Islands of Labor: Community, Conflict, and Resistance in Colonial Samoa, 1889-1919, I explore the crucial role of workers in the making of empire in the South Pacific. Drawing on oral histories, court depositions, and maps, I argue that workers in colonial Samoa resisted Euro-American demands by transcending racial boundaries and creating new forms of community.

[No Photo Available]:  Adam Hart, Visual and Environmental Studies

Robert HolmsherRobert Homsher, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

I am an archaeologist specializing in the ancient Near East and Eastern Mediterranean, with a focus on the Bronze and Iron Age Levant. Much of my current research involves paleoclimate reconstructions and addresses human responses to environmental change, while also using archaeological sciences to analyze several categories of material culture. I conduct regular fieldwork as Assistant Director of the Jezreel Valley Regional Project and senior staff member of the Megiddo Expedition. 

Dania HueckmannDania Hueckmann, Germanic Languages and Literatures

I am a scholar of modern German literature and cultural narratives. My work focuses on discourses of law in literature and film and on the poetics and politics of memory from German Classicism to the present. In my first book project, I explore how figures and plots of vengeance in 19th century German Realism threaten the nascent civil society. To avert the threat of this extra-legal mode of justice, novellas by Fontane, Gotthelf, Heyse, and Droste-Hülshoff emulate the modern legal system: They frame vengeance as an unjust excess of violence and individual pathology. My current research explores representations of violence in Post -1945 literature and aims to develop a theory of grammar as linguistic testimony to historical crises and catastrophes.

Olivia KangOlivia Kang, Psychology

Poets, artists, and philosophers throughout history have marveled at the power of the eyes to reveal the inner workings of the mind. But is this intuition grounded in biological truth? My research uses eye-tracking technology to investigate human thinking, feeling, and interaction as it unfolds from moment to moment. Most recently, my work has shown that pupil dilation patterns can be used to identify which song individuals are attending, and how well they are connecting with another person.

Sachiko KawaiSachiko Kawai, East Asian Languages and Civilizations

I specialize in premodern Japanese history with a focus on women and their gender roles in the medieval period (c. 1100-1600). My recent study explores how royal women inherited a number of estates, and how they used their landholdings to wield political, economic, religious, and military influence. While examining these women’s power, I also discuss the limitations of that power, by investigating their challenges and coping strategies. I believe that such effort to explain complex relations between authority (socio-politically acknowledged rights) and power (actual ability to influence) is important for women’s and gender history. 

Gregory KestinGregory Kestin, Physics

What are the fundamental laws of nature, and how do they govern the universe and all the phenomena around us? These big questions underlie my research interests, from  particle physics and dark matter to cosmology and black holes. My recent work focuses on the development of an effective quantum field theory for calculations crucial to the discovery of physics beyond the standard model at the Large Hadron Collider and future accelerators. I am also committed to communicating science beyond the walls of the research lab; I have produced popular science videos for the public at large and am developing and investigating the most engaging uses of media in and out of the classroom.

Evan KleimanEvan Kleiman, Psychology

There is an alarmingly high number of individuals that die by or are at risk for suicide every year. The goal of my research is to examine factors that might reduce suicide risk. To date, my research has investigated gratitude, grit, social support, and optimism as suicide residence factors. My most current research involves real-time prediction of iminent suicide risk and resilience.


Oleh KotsyubaOleh Kotsyuba, Slavic Languages and Literatures

I specialize in Ukrainian and Russian 20th century literature with focus on the Soviet and post-Soviet period. I also work on Polish 20th century literature and on German language and literature of the 20th century. My research examines the way writers engage with oppressive political regimes and how the literary process functions in totalitarian and post-totalitarian societies. I teach courses in contemporary and 20th century Slavic literatures and cultures. I am also the Chief Online Editor of Krytyka, an independent Ukrainian intellectual journal (www.krytyka.com). More information is available here: http://scholar.harvard.edu/kotsyuba

Nicole LegnaniNicole Legnani, Romance Languages and Literatures

My research and writing lie at the intersection of Latin American history and literature, post/colonial studies, indigenous studies, and cultures of capitalism, insurgency and apostasy. I analyze the contributions of Spain’s imperial enterprises to modernity while underscoring the agency of indigenous peoples in their negotiations with the invaders. The Drawing Conclusions website, a collaboration with Sarah W. Searle,  explores contact zones between modern and non-modern subjects in the Americas and offers other media for scholarly discourse about peoples supposedly “without history.” Drawing Conlusions is funded by the Lasky-Barajas Dean’s Innovation Fund for the Digital Arts and Humanities at Harvard.

Christine LooserChristine Looser, Psychology

Despite lacking direct access to the minds of others, people easily thread together observed actions and inferred intentions to weave rich mental lives for those around them. This ability is crucial, but exactly how mind perception is accomplished has remained elusive. My research draws on methods from social psychology, vision science, and neuroscience to elucidate how visual information can be successfully (and mistakenly) transformed into social knowledge.

 Leah LowthorpLeah Lowthorp, Folklore and Mythology

My work is fundamentally interdisciplinary, spanning the fields of Folklore, Anthropology, South Asian Studies, and Performance Studies. Broadly examining how changes in artistic cultural practice reflect wider social and political changes over time, I take a postcolonial approach to cosmopolitanism, UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, and the politics of culture in India through the lens of Kutiyattam Sanskrit theater of Kerala state. As an artist scholar, I studied and performed Nangiar Koothu, the female solo form of Kutiyattam, as part of my research. I teach on a wide range of topics, including globalization and the arts, ethnographic fieldwork methods, South Asian folklore, gender and expressive culture, and social justice and the arts.  For my next project, I am interested in examining the relationship between arts patronage and processes of commodification in India.

Zarin MachandaZarin Machanda, Human Evolutionary Biology

My research areas include primate social behavior, chimpanzee behavioral ecology, sex differences in behavior and the evolution of life history patterns. Specifically my research questions examine the development of wild chimpanzees to understand how baby chimpanzees grow up to be adults and how social and environmental factors affect these developmental pathways. This research leads to a better understanding of the variation that we see among adult chimpanzees, especially the differences between males and females. Ultimately my goal is to use data from chimpanzees to better understand the development of human gender differences and the evolution of human life history patterns.

Danilo MandicDanilo Mandic, Sociology

My research focuses on social movements, nationalism, ethnic relations, civil war and organized crime. I am currently developing a manuscript on the role of organized crime in separatist movements in Kosovo/Serbia and South Ossetia/Georgia after the Cold War. I am interested in conceptualizing organized crime as a neglected non-state actor and in understanding the interrelations of states, social movements and illicit flows of people, goods and ideas in regions with separatist disputes.

Ruxandra PaulRuxandra Paul, Government

 I specialize in comparative politics. My research interests include international migration, cyberpolitics, democratization, citizenship, and European integration. My book manuscript Citizens of the Market: New Forms of International Migration and their Consequences for People, Parties and Political Systems examines the political effects of high-mobility migration in migrant-sending countries. Apart from political science, teaching and advising, I really enjoy music (piano, guitar, vocal), writing, long-distance running, art, and foreign languages.

Katherine PowersKatherine Powers, Psychology

As a social species, our brains have developed to be highly attuned to social context. My research combines behavioral and neuroimaging techniques to understand how social and emotional cues in our environment influence cognition, and to identify the neural systems responsible for integrating this information to produce adaptive and flexible behavioral responses.  My most recent work has focused on characterizing the motivational properties of social cues and contributions of the neural reward system to social interactions.

Neil RoachNeil Roach, Human Evolutionary Biology

I study the evolution of human behavior and the physiological, social and ecological forces that shaped that behavior through time. I am particularly interested in the origin of our own genus, Homo, nearly two million years ago. My research combines laboratory studies of uniquely human behaviors, such as throwing and stone tool making, with fieldwork in northwestern Kenya, investigating our ancestors’ ecology and social organization. For more information, please visit: http://scholar.harvard.edu/ntroach/home

Benjamin SosnaudBenjamin Sosnaud, Sociology

I study the relationship between institutions and social inequality. My research and teaching interests include social stratification, health disparities and population health, social policy, and research methods. My dissertation explores sociodemographic inequalities in infant mortality in the United States. My other research projects include an analysis of disparities in under-5 mortality in developing nations and an examination of linkages between class inequalities and voting behavior.

Chiara SupertiChiara Superti, Government

I am political scientist working on comparative politics. My research investigates individuals' dissatisfaction with politics by focusing on unconventional voting, like blank and null voting, protest voting, and non-conformist voting, as well as minorities' political attitudes.  I am currently working on a number of projects on protest voting in Southern Europe, non-conformist voting in Cuba and immigrants' political attitude in Israel. I draw from diverse theoretical and methodological traditions, ranging from contemporary political theory to political economy and statistics.

Edwin TsaiEdwin Tsai, Linguistics

My research interests include theoretical syntax, semantics, and their interaction. I have particular interests in a variety of quantificational phenomena in Mandarin and syntactically similar languages. My recent focus is on the interpretations of numeral phrases and non-interrogative wh-phrases in Mandarin, and how they associate with several preverbal quantificational particles in this language.

Mary WahlMary Wahl, Molecular and Cellular Biology

Family histories can be used to predict an individual's risk of heritable illness, but have traditionally been limited by patient recall of their ancestors' and relatives' ailments. My research investigates how aggregation of genealogical records and public health data can improve the inference of disease risk through automated construction of an ultra-large family history. I also study how online genetic genealogy databases can be used to identify individuals through DNA segments shared with their relatives. For more details, please visit http://scholar.harvard.edu/mwahl/home

Julian YollesJulian Yolles, Classics

I study the Latin literature written during the Middle Ages, viewing it as a highly artificial form of communication with implications of cultural and political capital. Specifically, I focus on the Latin literature composed in the so-called Crusader States established in the Levant in the wake of the First Crusade. In the absence of existing traditions and established literary models, how do authors and institutions use the medium of Latin to portray themselves and others, to appropriate the past, and to realize political and economic objectives? I also study medieval Latin traditions on the life of the prophet Muḥammad and the development and enduring influence of medieval polemical literature on Islam.