New faculty arrive on Brandeis campus

A total of 19 new faculty members and visiting professors have been welcomed to the Brandeis campus this fall.

The College of Arts and Science has introduced 17 faculty members, including two visiting professors, and the Brandeis International Business School welcomed two faculty members, one being a visiting professor. 

“The knowledge, teaching expertise and research these new faculty bring will enrich our campus and beyond,” Provost Lisa Lynch said. “I encourage everyone in the Brandeis community to extend a warm welcome to this group of accomplished teachers and scholars.”

Here is a look at the newest members of the Brandeis faculty:

College of Arts and Sciences 

African and Afro-American Studies 

Salah Hassan (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1988), Madeleine Haas Russell Visiting Professor in African and Afro-American Studies in 2016-17, and Professor in African and Afro-American Studies and Fine Arts starting in 2017-18. Professor Hassan is also the Goldwin Smith Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture in the Africana Studies and Research Center and in the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University. Professor Hassan is also a curator and art critic. Prior to his appointment at Cornell, he served on the faculty at the State University of New York at Buffalo, the University of Pennsylvania, and the College of Fine and Applied Art in Khartoum, Sudan. Professor Hassan is founder and editor of NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art. 

Carina E. Ray (Ph.D., Cornell University, 2007), Associate Professor of African and Afro- American Studies. Since receiving her Ph.D., Professor Ray has served as Assistant Professor and Associate Professor at Fordham University. She is recognized as an important young scholar in African history and African diaspora studies with an impressive publication record. Her research interests include her book, Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana, was published last year by Ohio University Press, and she has begun work on her second book, Somatic Blackness: A History of the Body and Race- making in Ghana. 


Amy Si-Ying Lee (Ph.D., Harvard University, 2012), Assistant Professor of Biology.
Dr. Lee’s research focuses on a process called translation, which is fundamental to the production of proteins, one of the building blocks of cells. Her interdisciplinary approach combines bioinformatics, biochemistry and mechanistic experiments, and has implications for several aspects of biology including the study of cancer. Upon completion of her Ph.D. from the Program of Virology in the Division of Medical Sciences at Harvard, Dr. Lee moved to the University of California at Berkeley, to pursue postdoctoral training. She has been awarded graduate research fellowships from the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation, and a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Cancer Society. 

Classical Studies 

Joel Christensen (Ph.D., New York University, 2007), Associate Professor of Classical Studies. Dr. Christensen’s research interests span Greek Epic and Archaic poetry, rhetoric and literary theory, linguistics, and myth. He has a number of publications forthcoming, including a second book, Homer’s Thebes: Epic Rivalries and the Appropriation of Mythical Pasts, which is co-authored with Elton Barker of the Open University, UK. Another book project, currently in progress, is tentatively entitled Many- Minded Man: The Odyssey, Psychology and the Therapy of Epic. A Brandeis alumnus, Dr. Christensen returns to Brandeis after several years at the University of Texas at San Antonio. His courses this fall include “Leadership in Ancient Greece and Rome” and “Greek Prose Authors.” 


Tymon Słoczyński (Ph.D., Warsaw School of Economics, 2014), Assistant Professor of Economics. Since receiving his Ph.D., Professor Słoczyński has served as Assistant Professor at the Warsaw School of Economics. His research interests include microeconometrics and applied microeconomics, with particular emphasis on program evaluation, and economic history. 

Shameel Ahmad (Ph.D., Yale University, 2016), Florence Levy Kay Fellow in Economic History with the rank of Lecturer. Dr. Ahmad received his Ph.D. this year with a dissertation titled, “Demography and Development in Colonial India.” Dr. Ahmad is an economic historian with interests in the fields of demography, development, and international trade. 

English/Comparative Literature and Culture 

Jennifer Reed (Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2015), Florence Levy Kay Fellow in Eighteenth-Century Studies, and Lecturer. Dr. Reed holds a B.A. in English from the University of Cambridge and an M.Sc., also in English, from the University of Edinburgh. Her dissertation, “Mapping Sympathy: Sensibility, Stigma, and Space in the Long Eighteenth Century,” examines the relationship between sympathy and stigma from Richard Steele to James Boswell. Her research has been supported by a Digital Humanities Fellowship from the University of Virginia’s Scholars’ Lab, and by a Visiting Graduate Student Fellowship at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. In 2013, her teaching was recognized by an Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award from the University of Virginia’s Teaching Resource Center. 

English/Creative Writing 

Rebecca M. Frank (Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, 2012), Jacob Ziskind Poet-in- Residence. Dr. Frank holds an M.F.A. from Emerson College. She is the author of two collections of poems: Little Murders Everywhere, a finalist for the 2013 Kate Tufts Discovery Award and The Spokes of Venus, which was published in February 2016 by Carnegie Mellon University Press. Her work has involved interdisciplinary and multi- media collaborations with a filmmaker for an adaptation of a poem for Motionpoems and with composers on digital music and art song. Dr. Frank comes to Brandeis from the University of Southern Mississippi where she was assistant professor of creative writing and literature at the Center for Writers for four years. 


An Huang (Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley, 2011), Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Dr. Huang’s research focuses on two main areas: the problem of computing period integrals in algebraic geometry via D-module techniques; and discovering unexpected connections between graph theory, number theory, and topology. Following completion of his PhD, Dr. Huang moved to Harvard University where he was a postdoctoral fellow for three years, and where he was appointed a research associate in 2014. 

Konstantin Matveev (Ph.D., Harvard University, 2016), Instructor in Mathematics.
Dr. Matveev’s research interests include probability, mathematical physics, interacting particle systems, algebraic combinatorics, and symmetric functions. Upon graduating from the University of Toronto, he moved to Harvard University for his doctoral studies, where he received his PhD in May. Dr. Matveev is the recipient of a Postgraduate Scholarship-Doctoral Award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). 

Omer Offen (Ph.D., Columbia University, 2002), Visiting Associate Professor of Mathematics. Dr. Offen’s research interests include automorphic forms, representation theory, and trace formula. Since completing his doctorate at Columbia University, he has held postdoctoral fellowships at academic institutions in France (the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques), in Germany (the Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik, and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and in Israel (at the Weizmann Institute of Science). In 2008, Dr. Offen was appointed assistant professor at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology where he was promoted to associate professor in 2013. 


Karen Desmond (Ph.D., New York University, 2009), Assistant Professor of Music. Professor Desmond’s research focuses on the intellectual and aesthetic experience of music in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Her monograph, Ars nova in Music and Medieval Thought: Making it New, 1300-1350 (under contract with Cambridge University Press), explores the cultural and intellectual contexts that saw the emergence of new music-theoretical currents in fourteenth-century France. 

Andrea Segar (D.M.A. State University of New York at Stony Brook, 2013). Andrea Segar joins the Lydian String Quartet as first violinist and Associate Professor of the Practice. Professor Segar enjoys a varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. Her competition awards include first prizes in the Washington International String Competition and the American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition. 

Near Eastern and Judaic Studies 

Laura Jockusch (Ph.D., New York University, 2007), Albert Abramson Assistant Professor of Holocaust Studies. Dr. Jockusch undertook her academic training in Jewish studies programs at universities in Germany, the United States, and Israel. Her research centers on the Holocaust and the postwar period, focusing on the social, cultural, political, and legal histories of Holocaust survivors from a transnational and comparative perspective. Her first book, Collect and Record! Jewish Holocaust Documentation in Early Postwar Europe (Oxford University Press, 2012), was winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for the Holocaust category, and of the 2013 Sybil Halpern Milton Book Prize. For the past four years, Dr. Jockusch was a postdoctoral fellow at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she was working on her second book, Beyond Vengeance: Jewish Conceptions of Retributive Justice after the Holocaust.

Jacqueline Vayntrub (Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2015), Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies. Dr. Vayntrub’s research centers on the philological and historical-critical study of the Hebrew Bible from within its ancient Near Eastern context. Following completion of her Ph.D., she took an appointment as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. Her first book, The Limits of Biblical Poetry, considers definitions of biblical poetry in successive generations, from Jewish medieval scholarship to the present. It applies insights from Classics, folklore studies, narratology, and speech-art theory, and thereby aims to advance a new approach to the study of biblical poetry. 


Hannah Snyder (Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2012), Assistant Professor of Psychology. Since receiving her Ph.D., Professor Snyder has served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Denver. Professor Snyder’s research investigates executive function (the cognitive processes that allow control of thoughts and behaviors), and how it is affected by and affects mental health across development, with a focus on adolescence and young adulthood. 


Gowri Vijayakumar (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2016), Assistant Professor of Sociology. Professor Vijayakumar received her Ph.D. this year with a dissertation titled, “Viral Politics: Sex Worker Activism and HIV/AIDS Programs from Bangalore to Nairobi.” Her research interests include gender, sexuality, sex work, development, labor, feminist theory, HIV/AIDS, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. 

International Business School 

Anna Scherbina (Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2003), Visiting Associate Professor of Finance. Prior to joining Brandeis, Professor Scherbina worked at the University of California, Davis and Harvard Business School. Her primary area of research is behavioral finance and asset pricing, covering a variety of topics, such as: why seemingly sophisticated mutual fund managers may hold on to stocks with poor prospects; how investor disagreement about firm values affects future stock returns; and what happened to real estate prices during the Great Depression. She is now working on documenting how personal attributes (such as gender, age, and education) influence mutual fund managers’ career outcomes. She is teaching “Investments” and “Introduction to Finance” in the fall semester. 

Yang Sun (Ph.D., MIT, 2014), Assistant Professor of Finance. Dr. Sun joins Brandeis after working as an Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong for two years. Her primary research interests have a two-fold focus. Her research on household finance studies the behavior of consumers in financial product markets, and how frictions in such behavior affect the outcome of the financial sector. Her research on corporate finance examines issues in corporate governance and payout policy. In her first year at Brandeis, she is teaching a graduate course in Corporate Finance in the spring semester.

Faculty arriving in fall 2017

Sebastian Kadener (PhD, The University of Buenos Aires, 2002), Visiting Associate Professor of Biology

Max Mishler (PhD, New York University, 2016), Assistant Professor of History


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