A MacArthur ‘Genius’ Winner, Emmys, Tonys, and More Awards Go to Columbians

Here’s a roundup of awards and milestones granted to Columbians from September 1 to October 13, 2021.

October 13, 2021

Columbia News is launching a new biweekly newsletter (subscribe here!) and web series that features a roundup of recent awards and milestones that Columbia faculty, staff, and students have received. To kick off the series, we’re going all the way back to September 1. 

Have an award or milestone you’d like to have featured in the newsletter or an article online? Please email [email protected]. Note that we’ll be running this series every other week. 

You can take a look at past accomplishments on our Awards & Milestones page here. And you can subscribe to receive the newsletter in your inbox here


Lila Abu-Lughod, Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science, is the recipient of the 2021 GAD Prize for Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship.

Daniel Alarcón (CC'99), Assistant Professor of Journalism, was named a 2021 MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Gergely Baics, Associate Professor of History and Urban Studies and Director of Urban Studies at Barnard; Rebecca Kobrin, Russell and Bettina Knapp Associate Professor of American Jewish History; Laura Kurgan, Professor of Architecture; Leah Meisterlein, Assistant Professor in Urban Planning; and Mae Ngai, Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies, Professor of History, and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, are principal investigators working to create a digital, interactive atlas of historic New York City. The mapping project received a major grant from the Gardiner Foundation.

Partha Chatterjee, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies won Columbia University Press's 2021 Distinguished Book Award for his work, I Am The People. 

Karl Jacoby, Allan Nevins Professor of American History, was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for his book project, The War with Mexico and the Birth of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1846–1924.

Suresh Naidu, Professor in Economics and International and Public Affairs, and Adam Reich, Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of Sociology, along with economist Arindrajit Dube of UMass Amherst, have been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

Marilyn Ness, Adjunct Assistant Professor, and Maureen A. Ryan, Associate Professor and Chair of the Creative Producing Concentration, co-produced Dick Johnson Is Dead, which won 2021 Emmy Awards. You can find the full list of Columbians who won Emmys here. 

Michael Passaro, Associate Professor of Professional Practice, Theatre, received a Tony Award as part of the team that won Best Musical for Moulin Rouge! You can find the full list of Columbians who won Tony Awards here. 

Mabel O. Wilson, Nancy and George E. Rupp Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, is the 23rd recipient of the National Building Museum’s annual Vincent Scully Prize.


Jean-Marie Bruzzese, Nursing Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology, was awarded $4 million from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Rui Costa, Anne Nigra, Hemali Phatnani, Nikhil Sharma, Mijo Simunovic, and Ai Yamamoto received NIH High-Risk, High-Reward grants given to researchers proposing unconventional, but potentially high-impact, research. 

William D'Andrea, Associate Research Professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, was awarded $196,357 for research on the socio-economic patterns, public perceptions, and climate vulnerabilities of water resources and quality through the National Science Foundation’s Build and Broaden program

Maureen George, Professor of Nursing, was awarded a $2.45 million National Institute of Nursing Research grant

Sidney Hankerson, Co-Director of the Columbia Wellness Center, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and Adult Psychiatrist at the New York-Presbyterian Charles B. Rangel Community Health Center, was named an Emerging Leader in Health and Medicine by the National Academy of Medicine and appointed as a new member to the New York City Board of Health.

Judy Honig, Dorothy M. Rogers Professor of Nursing and Vice Dean, Academics & Dean of Students, has been inducted into the National League for Nursing’s Academy of Nurse Educators.

Brenda Janotha, Associate Professor of Nursing and Director of the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program, has been inducted as a fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Bianca Jones Marlin, Herbert and Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Cell Research and the Principal Investigator of the Marlin Lab at the Zuckerman Institute, was named to Popular Science’s Brilliant 10 list of the most innovative up-and-coming minds in science.

Silvia Martin, Mailman School of Public Health Associate Professor, has received the 2021 National Award of Excellence in Mentorship from the National Hispanic Science Network for her work on Hispanic drug abuse.

Maribeth Massie, Program Director of the Columbia University Nurse Anesthesia Program,  was selected to be a Fellow in the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology's inaugural cohort.

Muredach P. Reilly, Director, Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, was awarded a $61.7 million research grant from the National Institutes of Health, one of the largest grants ever given to Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Rebecca Schnall, Mary Dickey Lindsay Professor of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (in Nursing), Professor of Population and Family Health, and Associate Dean, Faculty Development, has been elected to the American College of Medical Informatics.

Ezra Susser, Mailman School of Public Health Professor and Director of its Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program has received the 2021 Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research.

Maxim Topaz, Elizabeth Standish Gill Associate Professor of Nursing, will receive the American Medical Informatics Association’s New Investigator Award for 2021.

Harris Wang, Associate Professor of systems biology and of pathology & cell biology at Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, was awarded a 2022 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science for his development of synthetic biology tools that can be used to better understand the human microbiome and create new microbial systems to improve human health, create energy and food, and clean the environment. 

Cheng-Chia Wu, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, has been recognized as a Hannah's Heroes St. Baldrick's Scholar.


Katayun Barmak, Philips Electronics Professor of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and Materials Science and Engineering, and colleagues won a four-year $1.8 million National Science Foundation award for microstructure by design.

José McFaline-Figueroa, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, is one of 11 early career genomics researchers chosen by the National Institutes of Health for an Innovator Award

Michal Lipson, Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering and Professor of Applied Physics, has been elected 2021 Vice President of the Optical Society; she will serve as President of the society in 2023.


Carsten Peter Willem Barnes, Chloe Capetanos, Claire Renee Choi, May Louise Dittel, Kate Dorlan, Daniel Harrich, Ahmad Arman Al-bin Sakir Husein, Shloka Venkata Janapaty, Marla Zoe Rinck, Benjamin Sherbakov, Silas Swanson, Ronald Yi Xiu Wu, and Jung Ha Yoo were named to the 2021 class of Millennium Fellows, a program run by the United Nations Academic Impact and Millennium Campus Network.

Jake Fisher, Shomik Ghose, and Tamarah Wallace, alongside alternate Addis Boyd, beat USC to win the newly revived College Bowl quiz show on NBC

Anastasia Aguiar, Alden A. Bush, Mollie Hobensack, Janine Inez, Sarah Leonard, and Eleanor Turi were chosen as Jonas Nurse Scholars for 2021.