Three faculty awarded LAS Dean’s Professorships for their innovative research

Three professors in Iowa State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) have been honored with an LAS Dean’s Professorship, one of the college’s most prestigious recognitions of faculty excellence.

Funding for the professorships was provided by two extraordinarily generous anonymous donors. Their gift established the Transforming Liberal Arts and Sciences endowment which provides student scholarships, supports high-impact learning experiences and recognizes outstanding faculty.

Carol Chapelle, Distinguished Professor in the Department of English; Gustavo MacIntosh, professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology and Mayly Sanchez, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, will hold this professorship for at least three years.

Carol Chapelle
Chapelle’s research investigates teaching, learning and assessment of English as a second language with an emphasis on how digital technology can enhance language learning. Her current work, supported by the U.S. Department of State, includes developing and delivering teacher education courses for English language teachers around the world on the use of technology for English language teaching.

Headshot of Carol Chapelle
Carol Chapelle (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)

Chapelle is widely known for her 10-volume Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. This reference work is considered to be a groundbreaking and comprehensive research tool for the study of applied linguistics. Chapelle’s encyclopedia can be found in 1,000 libraries and professional organizations throughout 50 countries.

Her honors include a Fulbright Distinguished Research Chair award, the 2015 American Association for Applied Linguistics Distinguished Service and Scholarship Award and the 2012 Cambridge-International Language Testing Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Chapelle was the inaugural recipient of the Angela B. Pavitt Professorship of English at Iowa State University.

An accomplished scholar, Chapelle has published 13 books and over 100 peer-reviewed research papers which have garnered thousands of citations. She has served major professor for over 30 Ph.D. students since the launch of the doctoral program in 2006.

“Learning English as an additional language is a dynamic and important area of research and practice throughout the world,” Chapelle said. “English is critical to social mobility and job access and it’s important to understand how technology is impacting English language teaching and learning.”

Chapelle will use the award funds to support her research, in part by hiring a doctoral student who will contribute to a project investigating assessments in an online language teacher education course. The outcomes will improve understanding of assessment for learning in online courses.

Chapelle is honored to receive an LAS Dean’s Professorship award.

“It’s an incredible honor to receive the LAS Dean’s Professorship,” Chapelle said. “I am aware of the excellence of faculty across the College of LAS, so it is very exciting to be recognized in this way.”

Chapelle earned a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in applied linguistics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Gustavo MacIntosh
MacIntosh studies two primary areas of plant science. His fundamental research delves into the interactions between soybean plants and aphids, a common and destructive pest. This research has enabled key soybean-industry stakeholders to improve pest-management practices and selectively breed more pest-resistant plants.

Headshot of Gustavo MacIntosh
Gustavo MacIntosh (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)

“As aphids have become a widespread problem, farmers are using more pesticides,” MacIntosh said. “Our work can reduce pesticides by contributing to the development of aphid-resistant plants, which are better for farmers, pollinators and our environment.”

MacIntosh also studies how cells recycle their own structures, such as ribosomes, which influence disease development. This research provides insight into plant cellular mechanisms and helps us understand the causes of human diseases.

Internationally known for his plant science expertise, MacIntosh has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers. He was elected president of the American Society for Plant Biologists. MacIntosh is frequently invited to speak at international conferences and is the editor of Plant Direct, a journal of the American Society of Plant Biologists.

A tireless advocate for diversity issues in academia, MacIntosh is highly regarded as a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) thought leader. His efforts to diversify graduate plant science programs earned him funding from the National Science Foundation. MacIntosh served as chair of Iowa State University’s DEI committee for three years. He is a current member of the equity and inclusion committee for the Genetics Society of America.

MacIntosh is grateful to receive this award.

“This support from the LAS Dean’s Professorship allows me to explore research that is high-risk and a bit more radical,” MacIntosh said. “The funds will also help me to continue important DEI initiatives at Iowa State and around the world.”

MacIntosh joined Iowa State University in 2003. He earned a bachelor of science in biology from the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata in Argentina and a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Mayly Sanchez
Sanchez studies neutrino physics, a highly specialized branch of particle physics. Her research promotes a deeper understanding of how the universe works and has led to the development of new technologies that detect neutrinos, which are difficult to detect.

Headshot of Mayly Sanchez
Mayly Sanchez (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)

“Neutrinos are very quirky particles and they rarely interact,” Sanchez said. “Much of our research is about gaining insight into these particles, as well as creating very large detectors that allow us to better study them.”

Sanchez spearheads three neutrino experiments. Her NOvA (NuMl Off-axis νe Appearance) and DUNE (Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment) research analyzes the change in flavor or identity as neutrinos travel through long distances. The ANNIE (Accelerator Neutrino Neutron Interaction Experiment) experiments measure and study interactions of neutrinos with matter. This Iowa State-led experiment examines neutrino properties using novel photodetectors. Sanchez designed and co-developed the sophisticated equipment for ANNIE with fellow Iowa State researchers.

Sanchez has earned numerous awards for her research. She was elected a 2020 Fellow by the American Physical Society and received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Her Iowa State awards include an LAS Mid-Career Achievement in Research and an Early Achievement in Research.

An outstanding scholar, Sanchez’s research has secured highly competitive grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy and Argonne National Laboratory. Her studies have been published in many peer-reviewed journals.

Sanchez is honored to receive this award.

“I’m delighted that my work has received this wonderful recognition,” Sanchez said. “It’s such a privilege and the tremendous support from Iowa State University means so much and will allow me to further my research and hire a postdoctoral scholar.”

Sanchez earned her bachelor of science in physics from the Universidad de Los Andes in Venezuela and her Ph.D. in physics from Tufts University. She joined Iowa State in 2009.