The University of New Mexico announces the recognition and promotion of six faculty to the rank of Distinguished Professor. The rank of Distinguished Professor is awarded to faculty who have demonstrated exceptional achievements and are nationally and internationally renowned scholars. This is the highest title that UNM bestows upon faculty.

The faculty promoted to Distinguished Professors include Ivan Deutsch, Pavel Lushnikov, Jennifer Rudgers, C. William Shuttleworth, Felisa Smith and John Stormont. 

“UNM has outstanding faculty, and this year’s Distinguished Professors are some of the best of our amazing cadre of colleagues,” said UNM Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs James Holloway. “I am inspired by their work, and know that they will continue to positively impact our students and create the knowledge that is the heart of human progress.

2023 Distinguished Professors

Ivan Deutsch DP

Ivan Deutsch - Physics and Astronomy, College of Arts and Sciences
Professor Ivan Deutsch is a renowned figure in the field of quantum information science, where he focuses on developing the theoretical foundations for experiments in quantum computing. One of his notable contributions is his original proposal to construct quantum computers using neutral atoms in optical lattices. This proposal has garnered significant recognition, being cited nearly 1,000 times in academic literature. He played a pivotal role in establishing and managing the Center for Quantum Information and Control (CQuIC) at UNM, taking over as director in 2018.

Throughout his career, he has authored 94 articles and 15 book chapters, earning recognition and citations on more than 7,500 occasions. He has led 32 completed grants as the Principal Investigator (PI) and contributed to six more as a co-PI. Currently, he serves as the PI for seven grants from esteemed institutions like the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Deutsch has been honored as a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has been a Fulbright Scholar in Barcelona, Spain.

Pavel Lushnikov

Pavel Lushnikov - Mathematics and Statistics, College of Arts and Sciences
Professor Pavel Lushnikov is a mathematician who works at the boundaries of applied mathematics and theoretical physics. His research encompasses various fields including fluids, optics, plasmas and mathematical biology.

His contributions have been extensive, spanning topics including the interactions between lasers and plasmas,  the dynamics of fluids that involve free surfaces studying phenomena such as wave collapse, Bose-Einstein condensation of dipolar gases, pattern formation in photo-refractive crystals, and the mathematics of aggregation and collapse of bacterial colonies. 

One of his notable achievements is a solo-authored article titled “Structure and Location of Branch Points for Stokes Wave on Deep Water.” This publication reportedly solved a long-standing problem of 130 years and has been celebrated as a remarkable breakthrough in the field. 

Lushnikov has a substantial publication record including 61 articles in peer-reviewed journals, one book chapter and 15 conference proceedings and other publications. He holds a prestigious position as a lifetime Professor at the Russian Academy of Science and was granted a Doctor of Science degree from Landau Institute of Theoretical Physics in Moscow in recognition of his achievements.

Jennifer Rudgers

Jennifer Rudgers - Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
Professor Jennifer Rudgers is an ecologist specializing in the study of microbial fungal ecology,  plant-soil interactions, and dryland community ecology. Her research focuses on understanding the interactions between species that benefit each other and have broader effects on ecosystems. These interactions are particularly important in the context of climate change and their relevance to New Mexico. 

Rudgers has a prolific publication record with over 140 peer-reviewed articles including publications in esteemed international journals. Her work has been widely recognized and cited over 8,000 times, indicating its significant impact on the field. She has also secured over $13 million in research funds, in a field that generally receives limited funding. 

Her contributions extend beyond research as she has played a crucial role in shaping the future direction of the Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Monitoring site, leading to new NSF funding supporting innovative research endeavors at the site. Furthermore, her contributions to the field of ecology led to her being recognized as an Eminent Ecologist by the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station.

Bill Shuttleworth

C. William Shuttleworth - Neurosciences, School of Medicine
Professor C. William Shuttleworth is a Ph.D. physiologist who focuses on understanding the fundamental mechanisms of neuronal injury and repair following strokes. His research utilizes advanced optical and electrophysical methods to investigate these processes. His work sits at the intersection of several disciplines including biochemistry, cell biology, electrophysiology and imaging. It also has strong connections to cognitive neurosciences and neurology.

The impact of Shuttleworth’s findings extends beyond the realm of research. His work has played a crucial role in enhancing the standard of care in neurosurgical Intensive Care Units (ICUs). Specifically, his research has contributed to reducing the risk of spreading depolarizations, often referred to as “brain tsunamis,” in patients with acute neurological injuries. Shuttleworth’s scholarly contributions include more than 100 published articles, 92 invited lectures and 100 scientific abstracts. Moreover, he has been at the helm of grant funding exceeding $60 million to support his research program.

Shuttleworth’s leadership extends to his role as the inaugural director of the Brain and Behavioral Health Institute at The University of New Mexico. Through this institute, he has brought together multidisciplinary teams to address brain health in New Mexico fostering collaboration across various fields.

Additionally, he has secured external support to establish a new research facility, the Integrated Substance Use and Brain Injury Research Facility. Currently under construction at UNM, this facility will further enable research into substance use and its effects on the brain, showcasing Shuttleworth’s commitment to advancing knowledge in this critical area.  

Felisa Smith DP

Felisa Smith - Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
Professor Felisa Smith is a distinguished paleoecologist who investigates the impact of climate change on body size in mammals, the involvement of early humans in past extinctions of large animals, the influence of megafauna extinctions on methane concentrations and global temperatures, and the ecological consequence of historical episodes of “re-wilding” and ecological recovery.

Smith has an extensive publication record including over 110 articles and chapters, as well as two co-edited books. She also solo-authored a book titled “Mammalian Paleoecology.” While her primary focus is on mammals, she has also conducted research on dinosaur metabolism and population structures resulting in publications in prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journals such as Nature and Science.  She was named a Fellow of the Paleontological Society and has received the C.H. Merriam Prize from the American Society of Mammologists. This esteemed award honors her exceptional research accomplishments sustained over a decade.

Beyond scholarly publication, Smith is actively engaged in promoting science education in K-12 schools and writing on paleoecology topics for general audiences, making scientific knowledge accessible to wider audiences. Additional contributions to the field have garnered her recognition and accolades.

She has contributed to the discipline through her leadership in professional associations, editorial and journal reviewing, and strong and effective advocacy for women and scholars from underrepresented groups in Biology.

John Stormont

John Stormont - Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering
Professor John Stormont is a geological engineer whose research emphasizes two areas: unsaturated soil mechanics, and measurement and repair of fractures in cement well casings. His research findings have had significant implications for waste management and environmental protection.

One important aspect of his research is the construction of capillary barriers, including the development of “dry barrier” techniques for covering waste landfills in arid and semi-arid regions. Stormont’s groundbreaking work has revolutionized waste management practices in these areas. He demonstrated that carefully selected layered and graded cover materials can effectively reduce water intrusion into landfills, promote the degradation and stabilization of waste materials and minimize threats to water resources.

In recent years, his focus has shifted to addressing the issue of wellbore leakage in natural resource production wells, and wells used for carbon dioxide sequestration. This research tackles the challenge of preventing leaks and ensuring the integrity of these wells, both of which are vital to addressing climate change.

Stormont’s contributions are well recognized in his field having published more than 71 peer-reviewed papers and chapters, which have been cited 2,600 times highlighting the significance and impact of his work. He has also shared his research widely presenting at numerous peer-reviewed conferences and delivering invited presentations both within the United States and abroad.

His research has been supported by numerous grants serving as Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI on about 60 grants. These grants have primarily come from esteemed institutions such as the Department of Energy (DOE) and Sandia National Laboratories. Currently, he is leading a $2.04 million DOE grant dedicated to the study of porosity in geothermal wells. In addition to his publications and grants, Stormont holds patents based on his research, and has seven others pending, demonstrating both his innovative approach and the applicability of his research to practical problems.

For a complete list, visit UNM Distinguished Professors