New Faculty 2021-2022

The heart of Arts & Science is our faculty, who closely link undergraduate and graduate education with training and research. Faculty members are responsible for designing curricula and teaching in both the College of Arts and Science (CAS) and the Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS). In this way, students at all levels have the opportunity to interact with leaders in their respective fields and to participate in their research.

Assistant Professors

Claudia Avalos

Claudia Avalos

Claudia Avalos is Assistant Professor of Chemistry. She holds a B.S. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from California State University, Chico and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of California, Berkeley.
 
Avalos’ research interests include solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy and nitrogen-vacancy center magnetometry development and application. At the University of California, Berkeley, she investigated spin coupling interactions between defect NV centers in diamond and explored the use of these systems for sensitive magnetic field sensing and NMR signal enhancement applications. During her postdoctoral work she developed dynamic nuclear polarization methods for improving the NMR detection sensitivity for 19F nuclei and investigated structural phase transitions in perovskite ferroelectric materials using solid-state magic angle spinning NMR. While in Lausanne, she also investigated optically induced spin polarization transfer in a number of novel pentacene-radical compounds using transient EPR. Now at NYU, Avalos is interested in pursuing research focused on using optical and magnetic resonance spectroscopies to better understand the spin physics, structure and function of photoactive materials such as ferroelectrics, perovskites and organic chromophores.
 
Prior to joining NYU, Avalos was a postdoctoral scholar at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering.

Fanny Gribenski

Fanny Gribenski

Fanny Gribenski is Assistant Professor of Musicology. She studied musicology and history at the École Normale Supérieure of Lyon, the Paris Conservatory, and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, where she earned her Ph.D.

Gribenski's first book, L’Église comme lieu de concert. Pratiques musicales et usages de l’espace (Paris, 1830–1905), analyzed the role of music in the production of sacred spaces. She is currently working on her next book project, Tuning the World: Acoustics, Aesthetics, Industry, and Global Politics, dedicated to the history of pitch standardization in 19th and 20th century Europe and the United States.

Prior to joining NYU, Gribenski was a Fondation Thiers Fellow, a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow and visiting scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Dibner Fellow in the History of Science and Technology at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. She was also a Research Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, and at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Paris. She is a book review editor for the Revue de musicologie.

Stefano Martiniani

Stefano Martiniani

Stefano Martiniani is Assistant Professor of Physics. He holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry and an M.Phil. in Scientific Computing from the University of Cambridge, and a B.Sc. in Chemistry from Imperial College London.

Martiniani’s research program revolves around the statistical physics of disordered and complex systems, focusing on the development of novel theoretical and computational frameworks to address problems spanning (i) the fundamental physics of nonequilibrium systems, such as amorphous and active matter systems; (ii) the development and mathematical analysis of cortical circuit models, exploring cognitive/perceptual phenomena such as sensory processing, attention, and working memory; (iii) the integration of machine learning and sampling methodologies for molecular design and discovery, e.g., for the prediction and exploration of protein fitness landscapes, or for the design of exotic material structures. He has pioneered the development of techniques that enable the accurate determination of the volume of high-dimensional basins of attraction, which has led to the elucidation of their puzzling geometric structure and to the first direct test of the Edwards conjecture, a 30-years old packing hypothesis stating that all jammed packings occur with equal probability.

Prior to joining NYU, Martiniani was an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Previously, he held a postdoctoral position in Physics at NYU. Currently, he holds a Simons Foundation Faculty Fellowship, and his previous awards include the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, St. John’s College Benefactors’ Scholarship, and an Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis Award from the University of Cambridge.

William McGrath

William McGrath

William McGrath is Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religious Studies. He received a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Religious Studies and a B.Sc. in Biochemistry, all from the University of Virginia.

McGrath’s research interests include Buddhism in East and Central Asia, the intersections of religion and medicine, and Tibetan language and history. He has published academic articles, translations, and book chapters on the history of Tibetan medicine, the imbrication of pulse diagnosis and divination rituals, a cultural history of surgical instruments in Tibet, and explanations of epidemics in Tibet and Central Asia, among other subjects. He also has edited a volume for Brill’s Tibetan Studies Library series, and a special issue of Asian Medicine focusing on Buddhist medicine. He is currently writing a monograph on the Black Death in Tibet.

Prior to joining NYU, McGrath taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Manhattan College and at Coe College. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the International Association for Tibetan Studies, and the International Association for the Study of Traditional Asian Medicine, among other academic associations.

Alessandra Peter

Alessandra Peter

Alessandra Peter is Assistant Professor of Economics. She holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a B.A. from the University of Vienna.

Her research interests lie at the intersection of macroeconomics and development. She combines quantitative modeling with micro-data to address questions related to housing markets, wealth inequality, and firms' market power. In her development research, Peter studies specific challenges facing entrepreneurs in low-income countries.

Prior to joining NYU, Peter was a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University and at the Institute of International Economic Studies at Stockholm University.

Zach Samalin

Zach Samalin

Zach Samalin is Assistant Professor of English. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the City University of New York, Graduate Center, and a B.A. in English from the Johns Hopkins University.

Samalin’s research and teaching focus on British literature and culture of the 19th century, with a special emphasis on the history of affect and the emotions. His first book, The Masses Are Revolting: Victorian Culture and the Political Aesthetics of Disgust, is forthcoming from Cornell University Press, and explores the outsized, volatile role the emotion of disgust played in the emergence of modern British society. Samalin also specializes in the cultural history of literary and critical theory, with a particular interest in studying how the legacies of 19th century British imperialism continue to shape the production of humanistic and social scientific knowledge in the present. He recently edited a special issue of the journal Criticism on this topic, titled “Theories of the Nineteenth Century,” and has published in a variety of other scholarly journals as well, including New Literary History, boundary 2, and Victorian Literature and Culture.

Prior to joining NYU, Samalin was Assistant Professor of English at the University of Chicago.

Sonali Thakkar

Sonali Thakkar

Sonali Thakkar is Assistant Professor of English. She received her Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and her B.A. in English, International Relations, and Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Toronto.

Thakkar researches and teaches in the areas of postcolonial literature and theory, critical race studies, Jewish studies, gender and sexuality studies, and human rights. Her current book project is titled The Reeducation of Race: Jewishness and Plasticity in Postcolonial Politics, and tells the story of how postwar attempts to redefine race in the aftermath of the Holocaust made ideas about Jewishness and Jewish difference central to anticolonial and postcolonial thought. Her writing has appeared in Social Text, the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, WSQ, the Cambridge History of World Literature, and other venues. Her research has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Prior to joining NYU, Thakkar was Assistant Professor of English at the University of Chicago, where she helped develop new core curricula in human rights and in gender and sexuality studies for the College; she was also the recipient of the Neubauer Faculty Development Fellowship, for excellence in teaching.

Yifan Wang

Yifan Wang

Yifan Wang is Assistant Professor of Physics. He received a Ph.D. in Physics from MIT and a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Toronto.

Wang’s research focuses on non-perturbative aspects of quantum field theory and string theory, with applications to the dynamics of strongly coupled quantum systems that arise in both high energy and condensed matter physics. One central theme of his research program is to explore the power of symmetries, by identifying generalized symmetry principles and anomalies with ideas from mathematics, as well as constraining and solving strongly coupled theories with non-perturbative tools such as conformal bootstrap and supersymmetry. More recently, he is working on fundamental properties of extended defect operators in quantum field theory.

Prior to joining NYU, Wang was a joint postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Mathematical Sciences and Applications and the Center for Fundamental Laws of Nature at Harvard University, and previously held a postdoctoral research position at Princeton University.  

Alexander Williams

Alexander Williams

Alexander Williams is Assistant Professor of Neural Science. He holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and a B.A. in Neuroscience from Bowdoin College.

Alex Williams runs the Laboratory for Neural Statistics, which develops statistical models and open-source computational tools to extract insights from neural data. The lab is particularly interested in characterizing flexibility and variability in neural circuits—e.g., how the dynamics of large neural ensembles change over the course of learning a new skill, during periods of high attention or task engagement, or during development and aging. His past projects have explored the use of tensor decomposition as a model of trial-by-trial gain modulation, time warping models to account for trial-by-trial timing variability, spontaneous remapping of spatial coding in entorhinal cortex, and neural sequence detection methods through convolutional matrix factorizations and Bayesian nonparametric mixture models.

Prior to joining NYU, Williams was a postdoctoral fellow in Stanford's statistics department. He has also interned at Google Brain, and held research appointments at Sandia National Laboratory and Brandeis University.

Professors

Joy Bergelson

Joy Bergelson

Joy Bergelson is the Dorothy Schiff Professor of Genomics in the Department of Biology. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Washington, an M.Phil. from the University of York (UK) and a B.Sc. from Brown University.

Research in Bergelson’s lab is best known for dispelling the long-held belief that arms-race dynamics typify the evolution of plant resistance to microbial pathogens in nature. An early researcher in research on the plant Arabidopsis thaliana​, particularly from an evolutionary and ecological perspective, Bergelson and her group completed the first experiments using genetically manipulated plants to disentangle the mechanisms driving observed evolutionary dynamics. They have also pioneered research at the interface of ecology and evolution, namely eco-evolutionary dynamics. Through her international collaborations, Bergelson has been instrumental in developing genome-wide association mapping in Arabidopsis, providing resources to the community and ultimately leading to the 1001 Genomes project. Current projects extend studies of coevolutionary dynamics to the microbiome, sets of co-occurring hosts, and the importance of ecological context in functional biology.

Prior to joining NYU, Bergelson was the James D. Watson Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, where she served as the Chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolution. She currently serves on many Science Advisory Boards, including the Novo Nordisk Foundation (Denmark), TULIP INRAE  (France), MiCROP (The Netherlands), The Blavatnik Foundation (NYC), and CEPLAS (Germany). She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Science, the American Society of Arts and Sciences and the American Society for the Advancement of Science. Earlier awards include Marshall Scholarship, Packard Fellowship and Presidential Faculty Fellow Award.

Sylvaine Guyot

Sylvaine Guyot

Sylvaine Guyot is Professor of French Literature, Thought & Culture. A former student at the École normale supérieure in Paris, she holds a B.A. and an agrégation in Classics from the Sorbonne, and a Ph.D. in French Literature and Performance Studies from Sorbonne Nouvelle University.

Her academic research focuses on early modern French theater, with particular emphasis on the representation of the body, the history of emotions, and the politics of theatricality. She is the author of two books on Racine, as well as the co-editor of a special issue of Littératures classiques, a new edition of Racine’s complete theater, a two-volume Festschrift for Alain Viala, and an online volume on theater history and digital archives. She has also published recent articles on the contemporary French stage. Her new book, under contract with Garnier, is devoted to the regimes of scenic spectacularism in 17th century France. Stationing herself at the crossflow of critical thinking, digital humanities, and creative practice, she is a co-leader of the Comédie-Française Registers Project and a theater director.

Prior to joining NYU, Guyot was Professor in the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures at Harvard University, where she also served as the Chair for Theater, Dance & Media. She was a 2018-19 Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Paris.

Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine is Professor of Creative Writing. She holds a B.A. from Williams College and an MFA from Columbia University.

Rankine is the author of five books of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; three plays, including HELP, which premiered in March 2020 (The Shed, NYC), and The White Card, which premiered in February 2018 (ArtsEmerson/ American Repertory Theater) and was published by Graywolf Press in 2019; and numerous video collaborations. Her recent collection of essays, Just Us: An American Conversation, was published by Graywolf Press in 2020. She is also the co-editor of several anthologies, including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind.  

Prior to joining NYU, Rankine taught at Yale University, the University of Houston, Case Western Reserve University, Barnard College, and Pomona College. A former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Rankine co-founded The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII) in 2016. Among her numerous awards and honors, she is the recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, and the National Endowment of the Arts.

Full-Time Continuing Contract Faculty

Michael Gerald Datcher

Michael Gerald Datcher

Michael Datcher is Clinical Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies. He did his undergraduate work at University of California Berkeley, his Master's at UCLA, and his Ph.D. at  University of California, Riverside in English Literature.

A writer and engaged scholar, Datcher is the author the Ferguson-area historical novel Americus, the critically-acclaimed New York Times Bestseller Raising Fences, and the 2020 Pulitzer Prize nominee Animating Black and Brown Liberation: A Theory of American Literatures. Datcher's work often interrogates the intersection of knowledge production and social justice.

Prior to joining NYU, Datcher taught at the University of California Santa Barbara and Loyola Marymount University.

 Cristina-Ioana Dragomir

Cristina-Ioana Dragomir

Cristina-Ioana Dragomir is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies. She received her Ph.D. in Politics from The New School for Social Research, her M.A. in American Studies, and her B.A. in Philosophy from Babes Bolyai University.

Employing a critical feminist perspective, Dragomir’s work navigates the fields of social justice, human rights, subaltern studies, immigration and environmental justice. During her doctoral studies, she worked with immigrant soldiers serving in the American military, analyzing the impact of gender, class, and race/ethnicity upon their integration processes, and outlined how marginalized and migrating groups access social justice through institutionalized practices. Her upcoming book Power on the Move analyzes how traditionally mobile communities of Adivasi (India) and Roma (Romania) - labeled as “Gypsy” – engage in diverse formal and informal practices, striving to achieve social justice. Based on this fieldwork she also developed a new project that investigates global environmental crises and their impact on vulnerable communities. Dragomir currently analyzes new environmental policies, specifically related to air pollution/ eco-systems’ sustainability, and their impact forced mobility.

Prior to joining NYU, Dragomir was faculty at Queen Mary University of London, Columbia University, and State University of New York. She was a Visiting Fellow at University of Pennsylvania, Center for Advanced Study of India, and a postdoctoral fellow at Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute, SUNY Albany. Her work has been supported by The Die Ziet Stiftung/ Bucerius Foundation, Melon Research and Travel Fund, The Global Network Grant/ Open Society Institute, among others.

Jess Row

Jess Row

Jess Row is Clinical Professor of English and the Director of the Undergraduate Creative Writing Concentration in the Department of English. He received his B.A. from Yale University and his MFA from the University of Michigan.

Row is a novelist and essayist whose work explores questions of identity, belonging, and justice. His most recent book, White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination, was published in 2019; his other books are a novel, Your Face in Mine, and two collections of short stories, Nobody Ever Gets Lost and The Train to Lo Wu. He's currently at work on a novel, The New Earth, as well as a new collection of short stories and a collection of essays about men and masculinity.

Prior to joining NYU, Row taught at The College of New Jersey for 15 years. He's also been a faculty member at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, the Bread Loaf School of English, the City University of Hong Kong, and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.