Faculty Profiles

In the Faculty Profiles series, we have in-depth conversations with faculty on topics beyond their current research and teaching. Learn about pivotal moments in their careers, what inspires them, what challenges they face, and what they do when they're not on campus.

Head shot of Daniel Alarcon looking off to the right. He is wearing a blue shirt.

Daniel Alarcón, MFA
Assistant Professor of Journalism

"Limeños in particular are very sharp and witty, and I really like the spectacle and the fireworks of the spoken word, but it wasn’t just because it was hard and different; it was also exciting and illuminating."
Head shot of Ellie Hisama wearing a multicolored red orange scarf and white sweater

Ellie Hisama, PhD
Professor Emerita

"I was deeply affected as an Asian woman who has often experienced the sort of stereotypes that haunt us throughout our lives. I thought, we need more conversation."

Melanie Brucks, PhD
Assistant Professor of Business
Columbia Business School

"My research finds that being face-to-face is best for generative and expansive tasks. However, there are cases where we could – or even should – actually stay online."

Raymond Givens, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

"So many people are talking about equity, diversity, and inclusion, but what's missing is metrics—the science, the measurement. This is what has been frustrating for me."

Augustin Chaintreau, PhD
Associate Professor of Computer Science
School of Engineering and Applied Science

"People like me, white males who had all of the possible privilege in developing an interest and confidence in STEM, have not done our share in solving the problem."

Lydia Chilton, PhD
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
School of Engineering and Applied Science

"I try to make people more productive on hard creative tasks by making the design process a little bit more concrete."

Brian Smith, PhD
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
School of Engineering and Applied Science

"The grand vision is to make it possible for a blind person to go to a public space such as a grocery store or a metro station and navigate around that space the same way that a sighted person would, and to do so in a self-directed way."



Giorgia Piacentino, PhD
Daniel W. Stanton Associate Professor of Business
Graduate School of Business

"How does the economy allocate capital from investors who have money but no ideas to entrepreneurs with ideas but no money? What frictions prevent capital from being allocated efficiently? And what financial arrangements arise to improve capital allocation in the presence of these frictions?"

Allie Obermeyer, PhD
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
School of Engineering and Applied Science

"I've been interested in the interface between chemistry, biology and engineering: how can we use our understanding of chemical matter to change or alter or understand biological systems? I think there's a lot of power in that."


Andres Bendesky, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology

"Since I came to Columbia, I’ve been following the work on parental behavior from both a genetics and a neurobiology perspective. We have expanded to studying aggression, first in chickens, in which we are going to try to identify a genetic basis of their aggression in chickens bred for fighting for hundreds to thousands of years."

Eliza Zingesser, PhD
Assistant Professor of French and Romance Philology
Faculty of Arts and Sciences

"People think of medieval literature as a really dusty, boring discipline, as sort of buttoned-up and heavily influenced by the Church, and it really couldn’t be farther from the truth. Medieval literature is actually zany, weird, wonderful. It’s so exuberant and bizarre and I love that students come away shocked by what they find."


Nikhar Gaikwad, PhD
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Faculty of Arts and Sciences

"Elected officials should become more cognizant and responsive to the needs of enfranchised migrants because they now face clear electoral incentives to furnish migrants with basic amenities and benefits. This ties back to my broader research agenda on the role of electoral competition in shaping economic policy outcomes."

Faculty Profiles are a project of the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement.