Two faculty members receive prestigious Chancellor's Professor designation

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar has bestowed the prominent appointment of Chancellor's Professor on two outstanding faculty: Benzion "Ben" Boukai, professor of mathematical sciences in statistics in the School of Science, and Kenneth White, professor of medical and molecular genetics in the Indiana University School of Medicine.

The Chancellor's Professor appointment recognizes senior faculty members with an extensive record of accomplishment and leadership in teaching, research and service. Recipients retain the title throughout their appointments at IUPUI and comprise a special group of mentors and advisors for colleagues.

"Professors Boukai and White are exceptional professors who have distinguished themselves among our world-class faculty," Paydar said. "Their appointments as Chancellor's Professors honor their remarkable records of scholarship and service, with more surely to come in the years ahead."

Chancellor's Professors are faculty members who have consistently contributed at a high level and in concrete, demonstrable ways to the development of IUPUI as an academic community of exceptional quality and integrity and to their disciplines through the creation and application of knowledge.

Both Boukai and White have compiled outstanding records of achievement in teaching, research and service at IUPUI. Through their leadership and service in their departments, in their schools and across campus, they have contributed significantly to IUPUI's mission and vision.

Ben Boukai

Boukai, a professor of statistics in the Department of Mathematical Sciences in the School of Science, works in the general area of mathematical statistics, where he develops parametric and nonparametric frameworks for various statistical inference problems. In sequential analysis, his primary area of expertise, he studies the properties of statistical procedures involving inference or estimation based on sequential sampling schemes and associated stopping rules.

As IUPUI itself has grown over the past quarter-century, so have Boukai's contributions to his department and university. When he arrived on campus in 1990 as an assistant professor of statistics, he helped build a new master's program in applied statistics at a time when the department had just one faculty member in the general area of probability-statistics and two courses. Over the next decade, the applied statistics program became a mainstay of the department's graduate offerings.

In 1999, Boukai began his appointment as chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences and embarked on a strategic plan to improve retention and undergraduate mathematics service courses. Today, the department's Math Assistance Center has become a national model for student learning support centers.

Boukai's other contributions to the profession at large include serving as associate editor of several leading journals; as reviewer and referee on numerous scientific publications, external theses and dissertations, and external promotion and tenure cases; and as an expert-witness statistician for the U.S. Department of Justice and in federal court.

Boukai has served IUPUI with great dedication on numerous faculty committees as a member or chair, always advocating for the improvement of the campus and its academic programs as well as the welfare of the faculty. He remains one of the most effective and conscientious teachers on campus, generous with his time for students and with his teaching material for colleagues.

Though his teaching responsibilities are primarily in the graduate programs of statistics and biostatistics, he continues to insist on teaching at least one undergraduate course per year. His enthusiasm for learning and teaching has made him one of IUPUI's most beloved professors.

Kenneth White

White, the David D. Weaver Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics in the IU School of Medicine, has spent his career studying the molecular genetics of metabolic bone diseases. He played an instrumental role in the positional cloning of the fibroblast growth factor-23 -- or FGF23 -- gene and in determining that missense mutations in FGF23 are responsible for the human phosphate wasting disorder autosomal dominant hypophosphatemic rickets, or ADHR.

One colleague called White a "marvel" and said, "His contributions have been truly seminal to one of the most innovative physiological discoveries of our time, the phosphate/FGF23 axis."

In recognition of his innovative research, White was one of four inaugural IU School of Medicine Showalter scholars, recognizing his strong research program as well as evidence of collaboration both within and outside of the university.

White has an extensive publication record of 81 publications, 30 as senior author, with manuscripts published in the top-ranked Journal of Clinical Investigation and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His ability to convey the clinical significance of his basic science observations has allowed him to draw in clinical collaborators and publish manuscripts in journals with the highest impact.

In addition to his research excellence, White has displayed significant accomplishment and leadership in teaching and mentoring. His trainees are extremely well-regarded and have received numerous awards from IU, from professional societies and from the National Institutes of Health in the form of individual fellowship awards, and they have published extensively during their training with White. He has also mentored other faculty members as well as trainees in other laboratories.

In recognition of that service, White was selected as one of the first IU School of Medicine Independent Investigator Incubator mentors, a role in which he mentors three junior faculty members on campus, meeting weekly to provide career advice, read manuscripts and grant applications, and help them identify opportunities for their laboratory research programs. This substantial commitment reflects White's devotion to the success of others.