Gulbransen, Maiti invested as MSU Foundation Professors

  • Oct 12, 2017
  • Teaching, Outreach, Research, Endowed Professor, Faculty, Award
  • Homepage Hero, Faculty & Staff, Neuroscience, Physiology

Michigan State University’s Brian Gulbransen and Tapabrata (Taps) Maiti were honored as MSU Foundation Professors on Oct. 9 at an investiture ceremony held at MSU’s Wharton Center.

The professorships, established in 2014, are part of an initiative to attract and retain highly successful faculty members. Each of the recipients receives five years of supplemental research support and holds the MSU Foundation Professor designation permanently.

MSU Foundation Professors

MSU Foundation Professors Brian Gulbransen (third from left) and Taps Maiti (center) pose with (left to right) Doug Gage, vice president, Office of Research and Graduate Studies; Lee Cox, chair, Department of Physiology; Jim Galligan, director, Neuroscience Program; Dave Washburn, executive director, MSU Foundation; and Jim Kirkpatrick, dean, College of Natural Science.

“We are very fortunate to have these two outstanding faculty members as part of our team,” said R. James Kirkpatrick, College of Natural Science (NatSci) dean. “Their research productivity, innovative thinking, quality teaching and leadership place them at the very top of their fields. Their distinction as MSU Foundation Professors is well-deserved.”

Gulbransen, an associate professor jointly appointed in the NatSci Department of Physiology and MSU’s Neuroscience Program is conducting research focused on understanding interactions between the immune and nervous system that cause neuroinflammation. He is particularly interested in identifying the fundamental rules that govern cell-to-cell communication in the enteric nervous system and how inflammation alters gastrointestinal function and sensation. His goal is to develop new therapies for gastrointestinal motility and sensation disorders.

Gulbransen received his B.S. in zoology and physiology from University of Wyoming and his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Colorado Anshutz Medical Campus. Prior to joining MSU in 2012, he completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Calgary, where he received several awards to support his research including the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada Individual Fellowship, the Achievers in Medical Science Postdoctoral Scholarship, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research/Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Individual Fellowship.

Gulbransen said that being selected as an MSU Foundation Professor is a huge honor.

“I am very grateful to the MSU Foundation for their support of our research,” he said. “My team and I are excited about this opportunity and look forward to tackling some of the tough issues in the field. I’d like to thank my entire lab team for making our program what it is today and my colleagues for their support and making MSU such a great place to be."

Maiti, professor and graduate director in the NatSci Department of Statistics and Probability, develops cutting-edge statistical theory and methods connecting to diverse research fields, from business analytics to medical bioinformatics, biomedical engineering and analyzing data from the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at MSU. Maiti also holds a joint appointment with the Department of Marketing and is the co-director for the Center for Business and Social Analytics at Eli Broad College of Business at MSU.

Maiti received his Ph.D. from the University of Kalyani, West Bengal, India, while working at the Indian Statistical Institute in nearby Kolkata and had a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. He then went on to hold tenure system positions at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Iowa State University before joining MSU in 2008. His internationally recognized work has led to professional positions throughout the world, including serving as a research fellow at the Indian Statistical Institute Kolkata, senior research fellow at the U.S. Census Bureau, special government employee at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and various academic positions in Australia, China and the UK. Maiti has also served in the editorial board for number of prestigious journals. He is the recipient of several honors, including fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.

 Maiti said that he is very humbled and happy to be an MSU Foundation Professor.

“It’s an immense honor for my department, my students and most importantly an acknowledgement of my work, what I do at MSU,” he said. “It means more responsibility for me at a time when our department is playing a critical role in expanding and enhancing statistics and data science on campus.”

These scientists join 30 other MSU researchers who have been named MSU Foundation Professors over the past four years (2014-2017), and brings the total number of NatSci MSU Foundation Professors to 19.

Photo credits: Harley Seeley