McKnight Presidential Fellows

The McKnight Presidential Fellows Program is a three-year award given to the most promising individuals who have been granted both tenure and promotion to associate professor in an academic year. It recognizes recipients who are recommended by their college dean and chosen at the discretion of the executive vice president and provost based on excellence in research and scholarship, leadership, potential to build top-tier programs, and ability to advance University of Minnesota priorities.

2019-20 to 2021-22


Tony Low

Electrical & Computer Engineering 
College of Science & Engineering

Light-matter interactions in two-dimensional atomic crystals

Tony Low has made significant contributions to the fundamental understanding of plasmonic and optoelectronic properties in the exciting class of atomically thin two-dimensional materials. His internationally recognized theoretical research provides original blueprints on the use of these materials to manipulate light, particularly in the mid-infrared spectrum. These materials offer the promise of key breakthrough applications in the mid-infrared spectrum, such as nanophotonics, biosensing, beam forming, and thermal detectors.


Annie-Laurie McRee

Medical School

Improving health by promoting adolescent vaccination and preventive services

Widespread vaccination against human papillomavirus has the potential to prevent several types of cancer, yet many young people are not receiving it. Annie-Laurie McRee’s research centers on addressing this gap. She seeks to advance behavioral, public health, and health services approaches to increasing adolescent vaccination and improving adolescents’ receipt of preventive services, particularly around sexual and reproductive health. Her scholarship is characterized by close collaboration with interdisciplinary colleagues and has helped shape current best practices in the field.


Soumya Sen

Information & Decision Sciences
Carlson School of Management

Designing systems and pricing solutions for a sustainable Internet ecosystem

Advances in information technologies, such as mobile, cloud, and AI, hold promise for transforming our society. But their successful implementation depends on our ability to holistically address technical, economic, and social issues. Sen’s interdisciplinary research accounts for these factors in designing IT systems and incentive schemes that help businesses and users make optimal decisions. His pioneering work on “smart data pricing” explores ways to reduce Internet congestion and realize affordable data plans for wider access.


David M. Vock

School of Public Health

Right treatment for the right patient at the right time

David Vock develops methods for causal inference — a set of statistical tools used to determine the effect of an intervention from observational data – and dynamic treatment regimes, which are used to evaluate and advance personalized treatment strategies. His work has contributed to understanding the survival benefit of lung transplantation and he developed novel statistical methods for evaluating approaches to distributing cadaveric organs to those awaiting transplantation. He is currently developing methodology for tobacco regulatory science to gauge the impact of potential product regulation.


Terrion L. Williamson

African American & African Studies
College of Liberal Arts

Social life, serialized death, and engaged black feminist praxis

Terrion Williamson is an interdisciplinary black feminist scholar. A native of Peoria, Illinois, her first book, Scandalize My Name: Black Feminist Practice and the Making of Black Social Life (2017) uses her hometown as a primary site of interrogation. Currently, she serves as the founding director of the Black Midwest Initiative and is working on both an edited volume about blackness in the Midwest and a book titled We Cannot Live Without Our Lives, a study of black women and serial murder in the U.S.


Jason J. Wolff

Educational Psychology
College of Education & Human Development

Pre-symptomatic detection and intervention for autism spectrum disorder

Early intervention can dramatically improve outcomes for children with autism. However, a significant challenge has been the identification and treatment of such children as early as possible. Wolff’s research addresses this issue through the prospective, longitudinal study of early behavioral and brain development. Currently, he is investigating precursors of maladaptive sensory and repetitive behaviors associated with autism, developing novel approaches to infant intervention, and refining ground-breaking methods to detect autism in infancy. 


Rui Zhang

Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems
College of Pharmacy

Discovering pharmacovigilance using artificial intelligence on biomedical big data

Dr. Zhang investigates how artificial intelligence can help discover novel pharmacovigilance knowledge from biomedical big data. He has created an innovative translational informatics framework, which enables the generation of hypotheses about clinical issues by mining the biomedical literature and by validating the findings in electronic health record data from large healthcare systems. This signal-generating system accelerates the rate of recognizing new patterns (e.g., drug-supplement interactions, pharmacogenomics-drug relationships) and consequences for health care.

2018-19 to 2020-21


Daheia J. Barr-Anderson

College of Education & Human Development

Daheia Barr-Anderson's research focuses on physical activity, sedentary behaviors, and obesity prevention in children and adolescents, especially African-American females. Her research examines multi-level factors that influence physical activity among youth and is testing the efficacy of community- and family-based interventions designed to increase physical activity and improve nutrition among sedentary individuals. Professor Barr-Anderson is also exploring how factors within the home activity and food environments interact with individual and interpersonal factors to contribute to overweight and obesity in children, adolescents, and their families.

Gordon Burtch

Information & Decision Sciences
Carlson School of Management

Gordon Burtch does pioneering work on the topic of online crowdfunding. His research explores and quantifies the influence and economic impact of social mechanisms on individual participation in, and contributions toward, online venues. His work has explored the antecedents and economic consequences of peer influence and individual anonymity amongst contributors, as well as the impact of supplying users with website anonymity features. His work on user-generated content (UGC) has explored the impacts of platform policy and design interventions that interact with social mechanisms, like social norms and social presence, to influence the volume and characteristics of UGC, such as online reviews.


David J. Flannigan

Chemical Engineering & Materials Science
College of Science & Engineering

David Flannigan is the leading inventor and pioneer of time-resolved, ultrafast electron microscopy (UEM), a technique that is revolutionizing our understanding of the atomic scale structure of materials. One of his important breakthroughs is the direct imaging of lattice phonons (vibrations) in semiconductors. Phonons are responsible for acoustic and thermal energy transport in materials. Flannigan’s UEM allows them to be visualized for the first time, opening up the possibility of directly probing how nanoscopic defects such as dislocations, inclusions, and grain boundaries – which are ubiquitous in real materials – impact the flow of energy.


Michael Gallope

Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature
College of Liberal Arts

Michael Gallope has established a distinguished record of academic achievement for his work in the areas of music, philosophy, and the cultural history of the avant-garde. Professor Gallope’s recent book, Deep Refrains: Music, Philosophy, and the Ineffable (2017), has been described as an “impressive tour de force” and as reframing “music's contribution to critical discourse and humanistic inquiry.” By examining modern European philosophers’ writings on music in a way that spans traditional boundaries, Professor Gallope’s work elucidates the surprising centrality of music and sound to twentieth-century critiques of modern life.


William C. K. Pomerantz

College of Science & Engineering

Will Pomerantz’s research addresses a longstanding question in chemical biology, which is whether protein-protein interactions (PPIs), which play an essential part in biological processes and human disease, can be affected by drugs.  His research program seeks to understand the details of PPIs, with a focus on improving our knowledge of macromolecular recognition events. Professor Pomerantz uses a multi-pronged approach to inhibit PPIs and develop new synthetic molecules to both image and disrupt harmful PPIs, with applications to the treatment of cancer.

2017-18 to 2019-20


Rafael Fernandes

John R. Fieberg

Tania Mitchell

Francis X. Shen

Chun Wang

Physics & Astronomy/CSE

Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Biology/CFANS

Organizational Leadership, Policy & Development/CEHD

Law/Law School


2009-10 to 2011-12


Jacques Finlay

Timothy Griffin

Nathan Kuncel

Frances Vavrus

Hui Zou

Ecology, Evolution & Behavior/CBS

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics/CBS


Organizational Leadership, Policy & Development/CEHD


2008-09 to 2010-11


Michael Gaudio

Joseph Gaugler

Lee Penn

Kathleen Vohs

Yuhong Xiang

Art History/CLA



Marketing & Logistics Management/CSOM


2007-08 to 2009-10


Wilma Koutstaal

Chris Leighton

J. Michael Oakes

Marco Peloso

Andrew Scheil


Chemical Engineering & Materials Science/IT

Epidemiology & Community Health/Public Health

Physics & Astronomy/IT


2006-07 to 2008-09


Ezra Miller

Ben Munson

Beth Stadler

Kathleen Thomas

David Treuer

George Weiblen


Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences/CLA

Electrical & Computer Engineering/IT

Institute of Child Development/CEHD


Plant Biology/CBS

2005-06 to 2007-08


Michael Goldman

Krishnan Mahesh

Fernando Porte-Agel

Claudia Schmidt-Dannert

Theodore Schoen


Aerospace Engineering/IT

Civil Engineering/IT

Biology, Molecular Biology, & Biophysics/CBS


2004-05 to 2006-07


Paulo Kufiji

Erika Lee

Tian-jun Li

Melanie Wall

Neuroscience/Medical School



Biostatistics/Public Health

2003-04 to 2005-06


Paul Crowell

Robert Krueger

Kariuki Njenga

Yong-Zhong Quian

Kirt Wilson

Physics & Astronomy/IT


Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences/VetMed

Physics & Astronomy/IT

Communication Studies/CLA

2001-02 to 2003-04


Cathy Carlson

Wei Chen

Mats Heimdahl

Richa Nagar

Chris Uggen

Veterinary Population Medicine/VetMed

Cancer Center/AHC

Computer Science /IT

Women's Studies /CLA