The Romnes awards recognize exceptional faculty members who have earned tenure within the last four years. Selected by a Graduate School committee, winners receive an unrestricted $50,000 award for research, supported by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).
The award is named for the late H. I. Romnes, former chair of the board of AT&T and former president of the WARF board of trustees.
This year’s L&S recipients are:
Anthony Auger, psychology, studies how genes control typical and atypical brain development and social behavior, including ways in which modifications to DNA can alter gene expression without changing the underlying DNA code. His research is unraveling how early-life experiences interact with steroid hormones to induce subtle effects in the brain that can have enduring consequences on behavior and health.
Jill H. Casid, art history, is a historian, theorist of visual culture, author and practicing artist in photo-based media. Her interests include productive tensions between theory, archives and writing of history; gender, race and sexuality; hybridity and chimerism; and performative and processual aspects of visual objects and imaging. Casid helped found the UW–Madison Center for Visual Cultures and served as its first director.
Scott Gehlbach, political science, specializes in the post-communist transition in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Combining formal modeling, statistical analysis and fieldwork, he has leveraged his deep regional understanding to make seminal contributions to the field of political economy. He is a research associate of the Centre for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) at New Economic School in Moscow.
Jonathan Gray, communication arts, teaches and writes extensively on the social, cultural and political uses of media entertainment, including satire and parody, textual theory and contemporary television. He is single author of three books and multiple articles and chapters, co-editor of three collections and a journal, and has served on multiple departmental committees and in leadership positions in academic organizations.
Karsten Heeger, physics, studies neutrinos, highly abundant elementary particles that may hold clues about why we live in a matter-based universe. He works on several international collaborations and is a U.S. leader for the Daya Bay reactor experiment in China to measure neutrino oscillation. Heeger is the 2011 Chair of the Committee of International Scientific Affairs of the American Physical Society.
Katherine Magnuson, social work, researches the well-being and development of economically disadvantaged children and their families, examining disparities in socioeconomic status and the role of policies and programs such as early childhood education. She is associate director of research and training at the UW–Madison Institute for Research on Poverty and recently worked with the Wisconsin Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council.
Martin Zanni, chemistry, Meloche-Bascom Professor, specializes in two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy and its application to topics in biophysics and material science, such as insulin loss in type 2 diabetes and electron generation in solar cell materials. He has received extensive recognition for his research and teaching, including a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and numerous other awards.