Department of Mathematics welcomes new faculty members


In August, the Department of Mathematics at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign welcomed eight new tenure-stream faculty members representing wide breadth of research topics:

Amanda Young, assistant professor, uses analytical tools to investigate the spectral and dynamical properties of quantum lattice systems. Young was a Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at the Munich Center for Quantum Science and Technology, where she studied the spectral gap and low-lying excitations for fractional quantum Hall (FQH) systems. She holds a PhD in mathematics from the University of California, Davis.

Daniel Cooney, assistant professor, is a mathematical biologist who models evolutionary biology using partial differential equations, dynamical systems, and stochastic processes. Before coming to Illinois, Cooney was a Simons postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Mathematical Biology; there, he used mathematical models to study multi-level selection and multi-level symbiosis—concepts arising in evolutionary game theory. He holds a PhD in applied and computational mathematics from Princeton University.

Felix Janda, assistant professor, is an algebraic geometer who studies moduli spaces. Most recently, Janda was an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame, where he organized a workshop for graduate students on the topic of matrix factorizations. In 2023, Janda received an NSF Career Grant to develop techniques that could help prove mathematical predictions that arose in theoretical models of the universe. He holds a PhD in mathematics from ETH Zürich.

Jake Rasmussen, Robert and Ann Canary professor, studies problems in knot theory and low-dimensional topology. Over the course of his twenty-year career, Rasmussen has been a professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, and a visiting professor at Princeton University. He holds a PhD in Mathematics from Harvard University.

Pei-Ken Hung, assistant professor, studies problems in geometry through an analytic lens. Most recently, Hung was an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, where he made contributions to the field of general relativity. Hung was also a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds a PhD in mathematics from Columbia University.

Sarah Rasmussen, assistant professor, is a low-dimensional topologist also trained in physics. Rasmussen comes to Illinois after completing fellowships at the University of Cambridge and the Institute for Advanced Study. In the last few years, Rasmussen became involved with mathematical epidemiology and advocacy work related to the COVID-19 pandemic. She holds a PhD in mathematics from Harvard University.

Tolulope Fadina, assistant professor, works in theoretical finance and insurance, focusing on asset pricing and risk measures. Until this fall, Fadina was a lecturer at the University of Essex, supervising both graduate and undergraduate students in financial mathematics and actuarial and data science. There, she became heavily involved with various climate, equity, and inclusion initiatives that provide support and guidance to students and early-career faculty members. She holds a PhD in mathematics from Bielefeld University.

Xuan Wu, assistant professor, solves problems in probability; in particular, those that crop up at the intersection of random matrix theory, stochastic systems, and statistical physics. Wu was the L.E. Dickson Instructor at the University of Chicago from 2020–2023. She holds a PhD in mathematics from Columbia University.

Shelby Koehne


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