Appointment of New University and Distinguished Professors

Dear USC Community,

We are excited to honor this year’s exceptional members of our faculty with University and Distinguished professorships, USC’s highest academic honors. We present these annually to select outstanding faculty who have brought great distinction and honor to our university through their work. Their research enlightens and enriches collective understandings outside of USC and contributes to the advancement of society. 

It is my pleasure to announce that this year we have appointed Dana Goldman, Petros Ioannou, and Peter Kuhn as University Professors, and Ricky Bluthenthal, Sofia Gruskin, Surya Prakash, and Gale Sinatra as Distinguished Professors. 

Please join President Folt and me in congratulating these extraordinary individuals on this well-deserved recognition. We look forward to celebrating their achievements at the annual Academic Honors Convocation in April. 

As we do every year, we will seek nominations from the USC community for next year’s honorees at the start of the Fall semester. For an updated list of all USC University and Distinguished Professors, please visit this web page.

Andrew T. Guzman
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

University Professors

Dana Goldman is the dean and C. Erwin and Ione L. Piper Chair of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. He also co-directs the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, ranked as the 4th leading research institution globally in its field. 

Dean Goldman is a nationally-recognized scholar. He is the author of more than 300 articles in medicine, health policy, economics, and statistics; and his work has been cited more than 23,000 times according to Google Scholar. He pioneered a “Netflix model” to improve access to prescription drugs and the value of reduced copayments for the chronically ill.    He has raised over $150 million in funding from external sources—including more than $50 million from NIH. 

He has served as a health policy advisor to the Congressional Budget Office, Covered California, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute, and National Institutes of Health and many journal editorial boards. His research and opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Stat, Forbes, Business Week, U.S. News & World Report, The Economist, NBC Nightly News, PBS NewsHour, CNN, NPR, and other media.

He has mentored many scholars in his field.  He founded and led for many years USC’s Minority Aging and Health Economics Research Center, funded by National Institutes on Aging, to support careers of junior scholars in aging from underrepresented groups.  Dean Goldman is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and the National Academy of Public Administration.  In 2016, he was appointed a Distinguished Professor at USC in recognition of bringing the university “special renown.” He is a past recipient of the USC Mellon Mentoring Award, USC Associates Award, and several other teaching and research awards.

Petros Ioannou is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and Industrial and Systems Engineering, and the Director of the Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies at the Viterbi School of Engineering. He also holds the A.V. ‘Bal’ Balakrishnan Chair in Engineering. 

As a member of the USC faculty community since 1982, Professor Ioannou’s research expands upon robust adaptive control and its application to transportation and logistical systems. He was recently inducted into the National Academy of Engineering and made a Fellow of the European Academy of Science. He is also a member of the Academia Europaea and a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He has served as Director of the Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies in Viterbi since 1992 and on the executive committee of USC’s METRANS Transportation Consortium since 1999. 

Professor Ioannou developed the master’s program in Financial Engineering by collaborating with the Marshall School of Business in 2008, which has become one of the most successful master’s programs in the Viterbi School of Engineering. He has published 9 books, over 170 journal articles and book chapters, nearly 250 conference papers, and holds 3 patents. 

Peter Kuhn is Professor of Biological Sciences, Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and Urology in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, Keck School of Medicine, and Viterbi School of Engineering. He serves as Dean’s Professor of Biological Sciences, and Director of the Convergent Science Institute in Cancers. 

At USC since 2014, Professor Kuhn’s research focuses on cancer evolution from its earliest moments to its lethal metastatic stage, developing models and toolsets for personalized patient treatment. He is the founding director of the Convergent Science Institute in Cancer within the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, and founded Epic Sciences, Inc. in 2009 to develop cancer diagnostic products. 

Professor Kuhn is a physicist and entrepreneur who has established translational science programs at multiple institutions. He has published 270 peer-reviewed articles and has had 16 patent applications licensed for commercialization. His grant portfolio includes funding from the Department of Defense, NIH, as well as other foundations and philanthropy, averaging $5M/year and over $150M over the last 20 years. Professor Kuhn also serves a member of the USC Innovation Council. 

Distinguished Professors

Ricky Bluthenthal is Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences, and Associate Dean for Social Justice at the Keck School of Medicine. 

Since joining USC in 2010, Professor Bluthenthal has provided extraordinary research and expertise in the convergence of clinical psychology, sociology, harm reduction, and community-based behavioral interventions to mitigate health disparities. His work includes qualitative and quantitative research with unhoused people who inject drugs, examining the impact of intensive case management for those individuals. As Associate Dean for Social Justice, he leads the Keck School’s Justice through Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Well-Being and Social Transformation (JEDI-WeST) program, a $2M investment which empowers faculty, staff, and students to build an inclusive culture. He was appointed as Associate Director for USC’s Institute for Addiction Science and as Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in his department. 

Professor Bluthenthal has authored or co-authored 180 manuscripts in peer-reviewed scientific journals and serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Drug Policy, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, and Annals of Medicine. He has received the Senior Scholar Award from the Drugs and Society Section of the American Sociological Association and the Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Public Interest Award from the Society of Addiction Psychology of the American Psychological Association 

Sofia Gruskin is Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences and Law at the Keck School of Medicine and Gould School of Law. She is also the Director of the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health. 

Professor Gruskin’s research involves broad health and human rights challenges including HIV and sexual and reproductive health, child and adolescent health, gender-based violence, and non-communicable disease. In recent years, she has been awarded the United Nations Global Citizen Award and the Max Hayman Award from the Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice. Professor Gruskin serves as Director of the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject more than 100 times. She has served on the board of directors for the Guttmacher Institute and on several advisory committees for the United Nations, where she evaluates global HIV/AIDS programs and the human rights of women, children and adolescents. She has completed 74 research grants, published 156 peer-reviewed articles, and served on more than 20 thesis committees. 

In addition to her research institute duties, Professor Gruskin is the primary convener of the USC Law & Global Health collaboration, sits on the USC Academic Senate Executive Board, and has partnered with LA Mayor’s Office of International Affairs. 

Surya Prakash is Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and Viterbi School of Engineering. He is also George A. and Judith A. Olah Nobel Laureate Chair in Hydrocarbon Chemistry. 

Professor Prakash’s expertise is in hydrocarbon, synthetic, and organic chemistry. His research innovations have led to fundamental breakthroughs in the areas of fossil fuel alternatives, energy storage for batteries, carbon capture, and recycling technologies. For over a decade, he has served as Director of the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute. Professor Prakash’s trailblazing work has seen him elected as a member of the European Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the American Chemical Society, Foreign Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His awards include three American Chemical Society awards in Fluorine, Hydrocarbon and Organic Chemistry, and the Tolman Medal. In 2013, he shared (with the late George Olah) the inaugural $1M Eric and Sheila Samson Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels for Transportation.   

Professor Prakash has published more than 830 peer-reviewed scientific papers, 14 books, and holds 119 patents. Nearly 60 students have received their doctoral degrees under his tutelage, and he has directed the research of more than 60 postdoctoral and visiting scientists. 

Gale Sinatra is Professor of Education and Psychology at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and Rossier School of Education. She holds the Stephen H. Crocker Chair and is the Associate Dean for Research. 

Professor Sinatra’s work focuses on educational psychology, including the cognitive, motivational, and emotional processes that lead to attitude change, conceptual change, and successful learning in STEM disciplines, particularly in climate science. Her research has awarded her 14 grants, including 4 from the National Science Foundation. She was elected as a member of the National Academy of Education in 2022. Additionally, she serves as Associate Dean for Research in the Rossier School of Education and is taking on a new role with USC’s Center for Generative AI. 

Professor Sinatra has published around 90 peer-reviewed articles, 24 book chapters, 4 books via authorship and editorship, and edited numerous special journal issues. She has taught 19 courses on learning and cognition, and her research lab has supported at least 6 PhD students who have gone on to successful careers as professors at major universities.  She is an American Educational Research Association and American Psychological Association Fellow, and recently served as the President of the American Psychological Association Division 15.