From Interim Dean Michael Hildreth to the College of Science community:

March 22, 2021

I would like to acknowledge and congratulate several members of the College of Science Faculty who have recently received new appointments:




Chair of Preprofessional Studies and the director of the Center for Health Sciences Advising, Fr. Foster has been appointed Associate Dean. Fr. Foster joined Preprofessional Studies in 1997 and was appointed chair in 2005. Fr. Foster has a B.S. in biology from the University of Notre Dame and an M.D. from the University of Illinois Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine. He completed his training in internal medicine and infectious diseases at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. Fr. Foster was ordained a Congregation of Holy Cross priest in 1995.





Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics, Phillips has been appointed Assistant Dean and will work closely with Associate Dean Sr. Kathleen Cannon. Phillips joined the Department of Physics in 2009. Her work has led her to develop tools to find and characterize structure, specifically filaments, clusters and voids, in large scale simulations and large data sets, from vasculature in the brain to the cosmic web. Phillips founded a physics program, complete with labs, at the Westville correctional facility for the Moreau College Initiative. She has a B.Sc. in physics from McGill University and a Ph.D. in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University.




Professor in the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics (ACMS), Hauenstein has been appointed Chair of the Department of ACMS, effective July 1, 2021. Hauenstein joined the Department of ACMS in 2014. A computational and applied mathematician, his research focuses on developing numerical methods for solving nonlinear equations, which has been implemented in the software package Bertini and applied to a variety of science and engineering problems. Hauenstein graduated with a B.S. summa cum laude in mathematics from the University of Findlay, an M.S. in mathematics from Miami University, Ohio, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame.




Chair of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Baker has been named the Coleman Professor of Life Sciences, a University Chair. Baker joined the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry in 2001 and was most recently the Rev. John A. Zahm Professor of Structural Biology. His work focuses on molecular recognition, communication, and function in the general areas of cellular immunity and bacterial antibiotic resistance. Baker obtained his B.S. in biochemistry from New Mexico State University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Iowa. 

I would also like to acknowledge and congratulate two extraordinary faculty members who received appointments to University Chairs last year. These announcements were inadvertently missed due to the sudden COVID-19 pause in March 2020. Please join me in belated congratulations to:



1200x630 Besansky


Formerly the O’Hara Professor in the Department of  Biological Sciences, Besansky was named the Gillen Professor of Biological Sciences. Among her numerous awards, Besansky was elected into the National Academy of Sciences in 2020. Her research centers on the evolutionary, ecological, and functional genomics of Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria. In particular, she studies those species responsible for the majority of malaria cases and deaths on the African continent. Besansky has a B.A. in biology from Oberlin College and an M.S., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in genetics from Yale University.




A Professor in the Department of  Mathematics, Putman was named the Notre Dame Professor of TopologyHis research focuses on geometric and topological properties of infinite groups. He is particularly interested in mapping class groups of surfaces, automorphism groups of free groups, and lattices in semisimple Lie groups. These groups lie at the juncture of a tremendous number of different areas of research and can be studied using a wide range of tools. Putman has a B.A. in mathematics from Rice University and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago.

Please join me in congratulating each of our faculty colleagues on their achievements. 


Mike Hildreth
Interim Dean, College of Science
Professor of Physics |