School of Humanities and Sciences
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Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences
BioDavid Donoho is a mathematician who has made fundamental contributions to theoretical and computational statistics, as well as to signal processing and harmonic analysis. His algorithms have contributed significantly to our understanding of the maximum entropy principle, of the structure of robust procedures, and of sparse data description.
My theoretical research interests have focused on the mathematics of statistical inference and on theoretical questions arising in applying harmonic analysis to various applied problems. My applied research interests have ranged from data visualization to various problems in scientific signal processing, image processing, and inverse problems.
Provost, James and Anna Marie Spilker Professor and Professor in the School of Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Professor of Physics
BioPersis Drell, Provost
Drell is a physicist who has served on the Stanford faculty since 2002. She is the James and Anna Marie Spilker Professor in the School of Engineering, a professor of materials science and engineering, and a professor of physics. She is the former dean of the Stanford School of Engineering and the former director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford.
Drell received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from Wellesley College in 1977, followed by a PhD in atomic physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1983. She then switched to high-energy experimental physics and worked as a postdoctoral scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She joined the physics faculty at Cornell University in 1988.
In 2002, Drell joined the Stanford faculty as a professor and director of research at SLAC. In her early years at SLAC, she worked on the construction of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. In 2005, she became SLAC’s deputy director and was named director two years later. She led the 1,600-employee SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory until 2012. Drell is credited with helping broaden the focus of the laboratory, increasing collaborations between SLAC and the main Stanford campus, and overseeing transformational projects.
During Drell’s tenure as director, SLAC transitioned from being a laboratory dedicated primarily to research in high-energy physics to one that is now seen as a leader in a number of scientific disciplines. In 2010, the laboratory began operations of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). LCLS is the world’s most powerful X-ray free electron laser, which is revolutionizing study of the atomic and molecular world. LCLS is used to conduct scientific research and drive applications in energy and environmental sciences, drug development, and materials engineering.
After serving as the director of SLAC, Drell returned to the Stanford faculty, focusing her research on technology development for free electron lasers and particle astrophysics. Drell was named the dean of the Stanford School of Engineering in 2014.
As dean of the School of Engineering, Drell catalyzed a collaborative school-wide process, known as the SoE-Future process, to explore the realms of possibility for the future of the School of Engineering and engineering education and research. The process engaged a broad group of stakeholders to ask in what areas the School of Engineering could make significant world-changing impact, and how the school should be configured to address the major opportunities and challenges of the future.
The process resulted in a set of 10 broad aspirational questions to inspire thought on the school’s potential impact in the next 20 years. The process also resulted in a series of actionable recommendations across three areas – research, education, and culture. Drell’s approach to leading change emphasized the importance of creating conditions to optimize the probability of success.
As dean, Drell placed an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. She focused on increasing the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in engineering. She also sought to ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment for students of all backgrounds in the school.
In addition to her administrative responsibilities, Drell teaches a winter-quarter companion course to introductory physics each year for undergraduate students who had limited exposure to the subject in high school.
Drell is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society. She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award.
Justin Du Bois
Henry Dreyfus Professor in Chemistry and Professor, by courtesy, of Chemical and Systems Biology
BioResearch and Scholarship
Research in the Du Bois laboratory spans reaction methods development, natural product synthesis, and chemical biology, and draws on expertise in molecular design, molecular recognition, and physical organic chemistry. An outstanding goal of our program has been to develop C–H bond functionalization processes as general methods for organic chemistry, and to demonstrate how such tools can impact the logic of chemical synthesis. A second area of interest focuses on the role of ion channels in electrical conduction and the specific involvement of channel subtypes in the sensation of pain. This work is enabled in part through the advent of small molecule modulators of channel function.
The Du Bois group has described new tactics for the selective conversion of saturated C–H to C–N and C–O bonds. These methods have general utility in synthesis, making possible the single-step incorporation of nitrogen and oxygen functional groups and thus simplifying the process of assembling complex molecules. To date, lab members have employed these versatile oxidation technologies to prepare natural products that include manzacidin A and C, agelastatin, tetrodotoxin, and saxitoxin. Detailed mechanistic studies of metal-catalyzed C–H functionalization reactions are performed in parallel with process development and chemical synthesis. These efforts ultimately give way to advances in catalyst design. A long-standing goal of this program is to identify robust catalyst systems that afford absolute control of reaction selectivity.
In a second program area, the Du Bois group is exploring voltage-gated ion channel structure and function using the tools of chemistry in combination with those of molecular biology, electrophysiology, microscopy and mass spectrometry. Much of this work has focused on studies of eukaryotic Na and Cl ion channels. The Du Bois lab is interested in understanding the biochemical mechanisms that underlie channel subtype regulation and how such processes may be altered following nerve injury. Small molecule toxins serve as lead compounds for the design of isoform-selective channel modulators, affinity reagents, and fluorescence imaging probes. Access to toxins and modified forms thereof (including saxitoxin, gonyautoxin, batrachotoxin, and veratridine) through de novo synthesis drives studies to elucidate toxin-receptor interactions and to develop new pharmacologic tools to study ion channel function in primary cells and murine pain models.
Assistant Professor of Statistics and of Electrical EngineeringOn Leave from 09/01/2019 To 08/31/2020
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy work spans statistical learning, optimization, information theory, and computation, with a few driving goals: 1. To discover statistical learning procedures that optimally trade between real-world resources while maintaining statistical efficiency. 2. To build efficient large-scale optimization methods that move beyond bespoke solutions to methods that robustly work. 3. To develop tools to assess and guarantee the validity of---and confidence we should have in---machine-learned systems.
Maria Theresa Dulay
Physical Sci Res Scientist
BioReceived PhD from University of Texas at Austin, Department of Chemistry with Marye Anne Fox
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University in Richard N. Zare's research lab, Department of Chemistry