Introducing new faculty members

The following are among the new faculty members at Washington University in St. Louis. Others will be introduced periodically.

BanerjeeParag Banerjee, PhD, joins the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science as assistant professor after earning a doctorate at the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to his doctoral studies, Banerjee was a process engineer at Micron Technology Inc. in Boise, Idaho, for six years, where he worked on D-RAM, S-RAM and FLASH devices. His research interests are the synthesis of nanomaterials with tunable properties using principles of self-assembly and self-limited reactions and the integration of those materials in biomedical sensors, energy storage and energy harvesting devices.

Danielle Dutton, PhD, joins the Department of English in Arts & Sciences as assistant professor. She earned a doctorate from the University of Denver in 2007 and holds degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is author of Attempts at a Life (Tarpaulin Sky, 2007) and S P R A W L (Siglio, 2010), which was shortlisted for the 2010 Believer Book Award and was featured in Harper’s Magazine. Most recently, she taught fiction and literature classes in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University and was book designer for Dalkey Archive Press. She continues as editor of Dorothy, a publishing project, which has published books by Renee Gladman, Barbara Comyns and Manuela Draeger.

Josh Jackson, PhD, joins the Department of Psychology in Arts & Sciences as assistant professor. His research examines how personality develops across the lifespan and the effects that personality has on important life outcomes, such as educational attainment and health status. His work also examines different methods to best measure personality and assess personality across time and contexts. He earned a doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011 with his dissertation titled “The Effects of Educational Experiences on Personality Trait Development.”


Kristina Kleutghen, PhD, joins the Department of Art History and Archaeology in Arts & Sciences as assistant professor. She specializes in cross-cultural perspectives on late imperial, modern and contemporary Chinese art, and her research examines the lives and afterlives of Qing dynasty (1644–1911) imperial objects. She is revising a manuscript titled Imperial Illusions: Crossing Pictorial Boundaries in Eighteenth-Century China. Most recently, she was visiting assistant professor at Dartmouth College and was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend for 2011.

Charlie Kurth, PhD, joins the Department of Philosophy in Arts & Sciences as assistant professor. His research interests are ethics, moral psychology and metaphysics. His recent work focuses on questions about moral objectivity, moral reasoning and judgment, questions about the nature of promises, and debates about the metaphysics of color. He earned a doctorate from University of California, San Diego, in 2010 with his dissertation “Rethinking the Objectivity of Ethics,” which defended a broadly constructivist account of moral reality. Some of his research has been published in Philosophical Studies. He was awarded Outstanding Paper Prizes by the American Philosophical Association in 2008, 2010 and 2011. Most recently, he was associate instructor at the University of California, San Diego.

Zhao Ma, PhD, joins the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures in Arts & Sciences as assistant professor. His research interests include modern China, urban culture, women and gender, and political and legal history. He earned a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University in 2007 with a dissertation titled “On the Run: Women, City, and the Law in Beijing, 1937-1949.” Previously, he was assistant professor at SUNY Fredonia. Most recently, he was a postdoctoral fellow in China studies at Washington University from 2009-11.

Paulo Natenzon, PhD, joins the Department of Economics in Arts & Sciences as assistant professor. His research interests include economic theory, decision theory and behavioral economics. He earned a doctorate from Princeton University in 2011. As a doctoral student, he was awarded the Stephen Goldfeld Research Fellowship, the Bernard Marcus Fellowship from the Institute for Humane Studies, and the Department of Economics Towbes Prize for Outstanding Teaching. He earned his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of São Paulo and a master’s degree in mathematics from the Instituto de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (Rio de Janeiro).

Jay Ponder, PhD, joins the Department of Chemistry in Arts & Sciences as associate professor. An expert in computational chemistry, his research focuses on developing and applying molecular simulation and computational tools for problems in structural biology, organic chemistry and materials science. His laboratory produces and distributes software packages that allow for the prediction and modeling of structural chemistry and the relation of structure to molecular properties. He earned a doctorate in organic chemistry from Harvard University. He holds courtesy appointments in the biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences and in biochemistry and molecular biophysics at the School of Medicine.

Elizabeth Quinn, PhD, joins the Department of Anthropology in Arts & Sciences as assistant professor. Her research interests include breastfeeding, breast-milk composition, cross-cultural parenting, intergenerational influences on human biology and health, human growth and development, developmental plasticity, and infant-feeding beliefs and practices. Her work also includes methodological applications, specifically the development of new techniques for the study of human milk and continued research into natural variation in milk composition within and between individuals. She earned a doctorate from Northwestern University in 2011 with a dissertation titled “Life Course Influences on Milk Composition in Filipino Women.”

Lucia Strader, PhD, joins the Department of Biology in Arts & Sciences as assistant professor. Her research interests include the study of the roles of phytohormones on plant development in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Her work has been published in The Plant Cell, Molecular Plant and The Plant Journal, among others. She earned a doctorate in molecular plant sciences from Washington State University in 2004. Most recently, she was a postdoctoral research scientist at Rice University from 2004-11.