New Faculty Spring 2023

Academic Year 2022-2023

NYU Abu Dhabi leadership and faculty are researchers, scholars, and artists of extraordinary distinction within and beyond their disciplines, and at the same time exceptional teachers, dedicated 
to supporting and challenging their students and to transforming them into intellectual colleagues. In addition to a growing cohort of full-time faculty, the University also draws talent from across NYU’s global network and hosts visiting faculty from outstanding universities around the world.

Today NYU Abu Dhabi has a faculty of more than 300 experts who are drawn to the University by the quality and passion of our students, by a very favorable research environment, and, as importantly, by the institution’s resolve to contribute significantly to the region and to shape a better world through education and research.

Arts and Humanities

Harshana Rambukwella, Visiting Professor, Literature and Creative Writing


Harshana Rambukwella is a comparative literature and cultural studies scholar with interests in the intersections between literature, history, aesthetics, and nationalism in South Asia. He is also a sociolinguist with an interest in critical sociolinguistics and discourse analysis. Harshana is the author of the Politics and Poetics of Authenticity (UCL Press 2018) and has published in journals such as boundary 2, Journal of Asian Studies and Interventions and is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Sociolinguistics and serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Harshana is currently working on a project on the 'cultural life of democracy' looking at democracy in 'everyday life' as expressed in cultural and aesthetic artifacts. This work is partly funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, and he also serves as a Project Fellow on the Reversing the Gaze team, an interdisciplinary multi-sited project attempting to interrogate how insights from the postcolonial world can be usefully employed in the analysis of populism and anti-democratic thinking in Europe.

PhD in English and Comparative Literature, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Visiting from: Director for Postgraduate Institute of English; Professor in English, The Open University of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka

Evi Mansor, Adjunct Associate Professor of Practice of Interactive Media


Dr. Evi has 10 years of teaching experience with both undergraduate and postgraduate students and an extensive background in supervising Master and PhD research work. She was the founder and head of the HCI Research Groups at Universiti Putra Malaysia and Prince Sultan University, KSA. She also has several years of experience working in the IT industry. Her work is interdisciplinary, combining research areas from Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Education, E-Commerce, Managing Technology & Innovation, Healthcare, Gamification, and Multimodal Interactive Technologies. Her research interests are in data visualization, personalized learning, learning analytics, user experience, mobile application development, chatbots, augmented reality, virtual reality, holographic applications, robots, tangible/wearable devices, and qualitative analysis.

PhD in Informatics (in the area of Human Computer Interaction), The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Visiting from: Associate Professor - MSc Business Analytics Program, Abu Dhabi School of Management, UAE

Reema Salha Fadda, Adjunct Lecturer of Art and Art History


Reema Salha Fadda is a writer, editor, and researcher at the University of Oxford, whose work engages with the political economy of artistic production. Her writing has been commissioned by leading international publications including Sternberg Press, Frieze, TANK magazine, Art Papers, Ocula, and Ibraaz, where she was the Commissioning Editor of Reviews. In addition to developing a lecture series on Arab visual cultures for The University of Oxford and Darat al Funun, she has programmed cultural events in Palestine, Cairo, and London. Her research provides an ethnographic account of artistic communities in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), at a time when political uncertainties and neoliberal agendas are shaping cultural intervention in the region. Fadda seeks to arrive at a detailed account of cultural production in oPt - shaped as it is by certain socio-economic discourses, accelerated political violence, and restrictive financial structures – and the strategies of artistic communities and Palestinian-led cultural interventions that are working to defy the artificial and violent constraints imposed on cultural life in Palestine.

MA in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK

Previously: DPhil researcher at the University of Oxford, UK

Jonathan Sharfman, Adjunct Lecturer of Writing


Jonathan coordinates CIE’s maritime and underwater cultural heritage (MUCH) programme. His research, focused on Africa’s maritime connections, has taken him across the continent and to the Middle East where he was engaged as a postdoctoral research associate in the Dhakira Centre for Heritage Studies at New York University Abu Dhabi. Jonathan was the head of the MUCH Unit at the South African Heritage Resources Agency from 2005 to 2013 after which he became director of CIE’s partner organization, the African Centre for Heritage Activities. He formed the African Centre for Heritage Activities (ACHA) in January 2013. ACHA was established as an institution through which heritage could be promoted through capacity building, training and awareness raising initiatives. ACHA’s goals are to utilize heritage as a driver for development and social cohesion. His current interests lie in mapping maritime connections in the Indian Ocean world and in developing academic strategy for maritime archaeology in Africa.

PhD in Heritage, Maritime Archaeology, Leiden University, Netherlands

Previously: Postdoctoral Associate, NYU Abu Dhabi, UAE; Director for African Center for Heritage Activities, Cape Town, South Africa


Ponisseril Somasundaran, Visiting Global Professor of Mechanical Engineering


Professor Ponisseril was appointed as the first La von Duddleson Krumb Professor in the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the first Director of the Langmuir Center for Colloids & Interfaces and founding director of the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Center for Advanced Studies in Novel Surfactants. Ponisseril Somasundaran’s research interests include the surface and colloid chemistry of minerals, materials, and microbes, molecular interactions at surfaces using advanced spectroscopy, polymer and surfactant adsorption, flocculation/dispersion, biosurface phenomena, environmental engineering (waste treatment), and enhanced recovery of oil and coal cleaning. The author or editor of 15 books and more than 700 scientific publications and patents, he is the honorary editor-in-chief of the international journal “Colloids and Surfaces.” He has served on many international, national, and professional committees as well as the National Research Council and University external panels and National Science Foundation Advisory Committees. He was the chairman of the Board of the Engineering Foundation (1993-95) and is currently on the board of the United Engineering Foundation. He currently serves on the Piermont Board of Appeals and previously on the Planning Board.

PhD, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Visiting from: Director of Langmuir Center for Colloids & Interfaces; La von Duddleson Krumb Professor of Mineral Engineering, Columbia University, New York, USA


Marwa Banna, Assistant Professor of Mathematics


Marwa Banna is a mathematician working on high-dimensional probability theory. This theory has gained lots of momentum in recent years as it provides new mathematical tools to analyze complex and high-dimensional data. Such tools are at the core of many advancements in data science, machine learning, and neural networks, wireless communication, image processing, finance, biology, etc.

Marwa Banna’s research lies, particularly in free probability theory, random matrix theory, matrix concentration inequalities, mathematical aspects of deep learning and neural networks and weak dependence. She obtained her Ph.D. from Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée in September 2015. She was then a CNRS postdoctoral associate at Télécom ParisTech before joining the free probability group at Saarland University as a postdoctoral researcher.

PhD in Mathematics, Université Paris-Est Marne-le-Vallée, France

Previously: Emerging Scholar/ Assistant Professor of Mathematics, NYU Abu Dhabi, UAE

Aleksander Rebane, Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in Chemistry and Physics


Aleksander Rebane’s research area is experimental biophysics, with focus on the self-organization and function of bio-molecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids  within living cells. He is particularly interested in assemblies found at neuronal synapses, which provide the molecular basis for brain function.
During his doctoral work, Aleksander used single-molecule optical tweezers to study the assembly of SNARE proteins, which constitute the core machinery for synaptic transmission. In 2016, he received the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Award from the National Institutes of Health. For his postdoctoral research, Aleksander worked with Prof. James E. Rothman at the Yale School of Medicine. He explored the exciting new hypothesis that the intricate architecture of the Golgi Apparatus, an essential organelle in all eukaryotic cells, could be generated and maintained by liquid-liquid phase separation of a family membrane proteins that are anchored to the Golgi surface.

In 2020, Aleksander joined the laboratory of Prof. Eric R. Dufresne at ETH Zürich to study the emergent properties of metabolically active droplets of phase-separated proteins. In 2021, he was awarded the Ambizione grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation and promoted to group leader.  His team studied the mechanics of lipid bilayer membranes that are bent into complex morphologies such as those found in the Golgi Apparatus.

PhD in Physics, Yale University, USA

Previously: Senior Research Assistant (Oberassistent), Department of Materials, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Hanan Salam, Assistant Professor of Computer Science


Hanan Salam is the co-founder and president of Women in AI, an international non-profit Do-Tank whose mission is to close the gender gap in the domain of Artificial Intelligence through education, research, and events.

After spending two years as a postdoctoral fellow and one year as a teaching and research assistant (ATER) at the University of Pierre and Marie Curie (Sorbonne), she spent one year in the industry where she was an R&D Engineer in AI and Robotics at A.I.Mergence, a startup specialized in intelligent autonomous robots for home security. Following, she worked as an independent consultant in AI and Data Science, in parallel with part-time lecturing at different French universities and engineering schools. She is currently an associate professor in AI at Emlyon Business School in Lyon, France.

She has published several international peer-reviewed conference and journal papers on social robotics and intelligent affective computing. Her scientific interests include Artificial Intelligence, Human-Machine Interaction, social robotics, computer vision, machine learning and affective computing. She is an advocate of technology for common good and an activist for women empowerment.

PhD Degree in Telecommunications, Information and Communication Sciences and Technologies, (STIC), Centrale Supélec, Rennes, France

Previously: Emerging Scholar/ Assistant Professor of Computer Science, NYU Abu Dhabi, UAE

Cecilia Cavaterra, Visiting Associate Professor of Mathematics


Cecilia Cavaterra is currently an Associate Professor of Mathematical Analysis at the Università degli Studi di Milano, where for more than thirty years, she has taught several courses for Bachelor, Master, and PhD degrees. In 2021, she obtained the Italian scientific habilitation as a Full Professor in Mathematical Analysis.

Her research interests mainly focus on the study of regularity, stability, and long-time behavior of solutions to nonlinear PDE systems arising from phase-field models (e.g., liquid crystal flow, solid tumor growth, chemical and mechanical degradation in cultural heritage). A further area of research concerns inverse problems like the identification of unknown coefficients and source terms in evolution equations or the determination of inhomogeneities and inclusions in spatial domains.

Cecilia Cavaterra is the author and co-author of more than thirty research papers and co-editor of four volumes on various topics in applied mathematics. She is responsible for an interdisciplinary research project on Cultural Heritage funded by the Università degli Studi di Milano. She has been a member of the scientific and organizing committees of several international conferences and workshops.

PhD in Mathematics, Università degli Studi di Bologna, Italy

Visiting from: Associate Professor in Mathematical Analysis, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy

Social Science

Leah Ruppanner, Visiting Professor of Social Research and Public Policy


Leah Ruppanner is a Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of The Future of Work Lab at the University of Melbourne. She was previously a Director of The Policy Lab at the University of Melbourne.

Her research investigates gender and its intersection to inequalities, technologies and policies. Professor Ruppanner is a leading expert on COVID-19 and its impact on gender inequality in US and Australia. Her book, Motherlands: How States Push Mothers out of Employment (2020) provides a typology of childcare and gender policies and their relationship to mothers' employment varies across US states. This has led to a range of high impact publications showing women have divergent experiences based on their state of residence. Finally, she is leading a project on gender bias in hiring algorithms to understand how gender bias limits women's access to employment. Ruppanner's research is published in Demography, Journal of Marriage and Family, Sociological Methods and Research, European Sociological Review and Social Science Research. She also has expansive media coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post and the Guardian and external grant success including the ARC DECRA, an ARC Discovery on sleep and an ARC Linkage on women in local government.

PhD in Sociology, University of California, Irvine, USA

Visiting from: Professor-Department of Sociology, University of Melbourne, Australia

Hamid Sabourian, Visiting Professor of Economics


Hamid Sabourian is a Professor of Economics and Game Theory at the University of Cambridge. He is a Fellow of King’s College Cambridge and a Visiting Professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He has also been the Chairman of the Faculty of Economics University of Cambridge from 2007 to 2011 and a Visiting Professor at Birkbeck College London University, the European University Institute, the London School of Economics, New York University, the University of California Los Angeles and Yale University. Professor Sabourian is a Fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory and an Associate Editor of two of the major economics journals: Journal of Economic Theory and Economic Theory. He received the Royal Economic Society UK Monograph Prize 1988 for the best monograph in Economics for UK Economists under 30 years old.

Professor Sabourian’s research interests include Economic Theory and Game Theory and their applications. In particular, Asset Prices with Asymmetric Information; Bounded Rationality; Evolutionary Game Theory; Implementation and Mechanism Design with applications to Auctions and Voting; Learning and Herd Behaviour in Financial Markets.

Professor Sabourian has made numerous contributions to Economic theory and Game theory and his work has been published in some of the major journals such as Econometrica and the Journal of Economic Theory, and he has been an invited speaker to very many academic institutions and international conferences.

PhD in Management and Business Ethics, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, USA;  Visiting from: Visiting Professor - IESEG School of Management, Paris

Simone de Colle, Visiting Associate Professor of Business, Organizations and Society


Simone de Colle is Associate Professor of Business Ethics & Strategy at IESEG School of Management, Paris, and Visiting Professor at the Bologna Business School, University of Bologna. His research focuses on business ethics, entrepreneurship and stakeholder theory, in particular around the concept of Responsible Capitalism, or a new way of conceiving business fully embracing stakeholder theory. He is currently working on the emerging research model of Humanistic Business Ethics, and the role of expressive rationality to explain the emergence of social entrepreneurship.  He has taught courses on business ethics and sustainability managing and reporting in Europe, USA and Asia, and delivered training programs to corporate executives in Italy, France, and Ireland. He has twenty-five years of experience in research, teaching and consultancy: in 1997-2000 he served as Council Member of the Institute of Social and Ethical AccountAbility, London, and as expert member of the ISO Working Group on Social Responsibility, contributing to the drafting of ISO 26000. He is a co-author of Stakeholder Theory: The State of the Art with R. Edward Freeman et al. (2010, Cambridge University Press), a reference publication in stakeholder theory, having received more than 5,000 citations (Google Scholar).

PhD in Management and Business Ethics, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, USA

Visiting from: Visiting Professor - IESEG School of Management, Paris

Raul Santaeulalia-Llopis, Visiting Associate Professor of Economics


Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis' background is in quantitative macroeconomics, where the careful aggregation of individual behavior is essential. His research broadly focuses on economic growth and macro development. He is interested in inequality, intellectual property products, and the macroeconomy Raul is also interested in the relationship between social insurance, resource (mis)allocation, and economic growth; part of his work in progress includes a field project on Social Insurance and Economic Growth (SIEG) in Southern Malawi. Finally, he is also interested in the determinants of the HIV epidemic and how these shape (and are shaped by) economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Fourth, he is also interested in the development of tools for policy evaluation. Some of his work has been published in journals such as Econometrica; Journal of Public Economics; Journal of Development Economics; Journal of Monetary Economics; AEJ: Macro; Journal of Demographic Economics; Plos One; etc. Raul is a Beatriz Galindo Senior Research Professor in Economics at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB).

PhD in Economics, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Visiting from: Associate Professor, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB), Barcelona, Spain

Beatriz Garcia, Adjunct Senior Lecturer of Legal Studies


Beatriz Garcia is an international environmental lawyer. Her  research interests include climate change law, carbon markets, forests, indigenous peoples' rights, as well as marine pollution and international shipping. She has worked in Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development branch of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Beatriz held positions as legal and policy advisor at government agencies in Brazil and at the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, the German Technical Cooperation, the Earth Council Geneva and several UN agencies. She is the author of "The Amazon from an International Law Perspective" (Cambridge, 2011). Since then she has published journal articles and chapters in books including in "Law, Tropical Forests and Carbon: the Case of REDD+" (Cambridge, 2013); in "Regional Environmental Law, Transregional Comparative Lessons in Pursuit of Sustainable Development" (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015), and in "International Natural Resources Law, Investment and Sustainability" (Routledge, 2017). She is a member of the IUCN Environmental Law Centre, and a Specialist Consultant for Forests Alive, a carbon developer company based in Sydney. Beatriz is a Lecturer at Western Sydney University. She is currently conducting research on "Biosphere Reserve Zonation in Asia and the Pacific," funded by UNESCO.

PhD in International Law, The Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland

Visiting from: Senior Lecturer, School of Law, Western Sydney University, Australia

Kathy Ingram, Adjunct Lecturer of Political Science


Kathy Ingram is a Fellow in the Program for Quantitative and Analytical Political Science (Q-APS).

Her research explores the international aspects of civil conflict. In her dissertation she arguea that states use aid to vie for influence over shared proxy groups. She uses formal models to study the competition that occurs between potential supporters of rebel groups. She is the recipient of  theFellowship Program in Quantitative and Analytical Political Science from the William S. Carpenter Fund in Politics. She has co-authored the policy paper titled "Indian State Counterinsurgency Policies: Brief Historical Summaries.” Report, Empirical Studies of Conflict Project at Princeton University (2017). She also held the positions of co-coordinator at the Princeton Women in Political Science (PWIPS) and reviewer in the Journal of Peace Research from 2018 through 2021.

MA in Politics, Princeton University, USA

Previously: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Politics, Princeton University, USA