Doron Levy has been named chair of the University of Maryland’s Department of Mathematics for a three-year term, effective July 1, 2020. Levy served as interim chair for the past year while Scott Wolpert took a sabbatical, and then Wolpert decided to retire this summer.

“Doron has been an outstanding leader over the past year, even during extremely challenging times caused by the novel coronavirus,” said Amitabh Varshney, dean of UMD’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS). “He has received overwhelming support from the faculty, staff and students in the department to continue in this leadership role, and I am looking forward to celebrating his accomplishments over the next three years.”

Levy joined the department as an associate professor in 2007, was promoted to professor in 2011, and served as the associate chair for undergraduate studies from 2012 to 2016 and 2018 to 2019. He also holds a joint appointment in the Center for Scientific Computation and Mathematical Modeling.

As chair, Levy oversees academic, administrative and budgetary matters for the department, which has over 100 tenured/tenure-track and professional-track faculty members, nearly 800 undergraduate majors and 200 graduate students, and teaches about 10,000 students a semester.

“I would like to thank Dean Varshney for his strong support and commitment to the Math Department. It has been a great pleasure to work with him over the past year. I thank him for his leadership, and I am looking forward to working with him in the years to come,” Levy said. “I am also thankful to all my colleagues—students, staff, and faculty—for believing in me and for working as a team to better our department. We are facing great challenges ahead and I am confident that we will emerge stronger and better.”

Levy’s year as interim chair has been a busy one. He hired four faculty members, including Bassam Fayad, who will be the inaugural holder of the Michael and Eugenia Brin Distinguished Chair of Mathematics. He also boosted the department’s fundraising efforts, securing the largest single gift in department history: a $6.5 million estate gift from Carol Fullerton, daughter of the late Nobel Laureate Herbert A. Hauptman (Ph.D. ’55, mathematics). The gift establishes the Herbert A. Hauptman Endowed Graduate Fellowship Program.

Levy also expanded the department’s K-12 outreach program and role in the new CMNS-led Science Academy, which offers professional master’s degree programs in data science and machine learning. He also increased the department’s communications efforts, launching a biannual e-newsletter that features department news along with stories about faculty, students and alumni.

Since mid-March, Levy has been leading the department’s shift to online teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a monumental task for the department, which teaches more students than any other unit on campus.

During his term as department chair, Levy plans to launch several initiatives. The expected wave of faculty retirements will provide opportunities to recruit top talent to the department. By launching new K-12 programs that support diverse communities in the state of Maryland and beyond, he hopes to increase the department’s outreach and inclusion efforts.

In addition, Levy intends to overhaul the department’s undergraduate honors program, with the goal of attracting the best math students to UMD by offering unique educational opportunities. He also plans to continue his fundraising efforts, with goals of expanding the department’s postdoctoral fellow programs and establishing a Math Research Center that will provide a vibrant research environment for pure and applied mathematics and statistics.

An active leader in the mathematics community, Levy serves on the board of governors for the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications and the board of directors for the Society for Mathematical Biology.

Among his many distinctions, Levy was named a 2017-18 fellow in the Big Ten Academic Leadership Program, a Pauli Fellow of the Wolfgang Pauli Institute in Vienna and a Guggenheim Fellow. In 2013, he was named a UMD Distinguished Scholar-Teacher.

Levy’s research focuses on biomedical applications of mathematics with a particular interest in cancer dynamics, drug resistance, immunology, imaging and cell motility. He is a member of the Maryland Biophysics Graduate Program and the Applied Mathematics, Statistics, and Scientific Computation Graduate Program, and he serves as a co-director of the NCI-UMD Partnership for Integrative Cancer Research.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from Tel-Aviv University in 1991, Levy received both his master’s degree and Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Tel-Aviv University in 1994 and 1997, respectively. He then held visiting and faculty positions at the École Normale Supérieure (Paris), UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Stanford University.

During Wolpert’s time as chair from 2013 to 2019, the department hired eight assistant professors and 15 long-term lecturers. The department also experienced a nearly 20% increase in undergraduate enrollment and an increase in the number of department-funded postdoctoral fellows.

As chair, Wolpert secured a five-year visiting professor appointment for Michael Rapoport, who currently holds the department’s Michael and Eugenia Brin E-Nnovate Endowed Chair in Mathematics. Wolpert also served as the campus lead on the Ithaka S+R Adaptive Learning in Statistics (ALiS) project, which was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project aimed to improve student learning in elementary statistics through a partnership of seven two-year and four-year public institutions in Maryland.

Also during his term as chair, the university named the math building William E. Kirwan Hall, and Wolpert oversaw the renovation of the department’s colloquium room, Herbert Hauptman Hall, inside the building.


Kimbra Cutlip contributed to this article.

Media Relations Contact: Abby Robinson, 301-405-5845, 

Roohollah Ebrahimian was selected to receive the Provost’s Excellence Award for Professional Track Faculty in recognition of his outstanding contributions and accomplishments in service.  The selection committee recognized his extraordinary service to the Math Department which includes his outreach activities - from elementary, middle and secondary school students, to undergraduate students.  The committee particularly noted leadership roles Roohollah played in the Maryland High School Math Competition and the Putnam Competition. 

Congratulations to Scott Wolpert who was appointed as a senior consultant for TPSE, a grant funded organization with the mission to promote change in mathematics education.

The article featuring more information about Scott's appointment can be read following this link: TPSE Wolpert

The University of Maryland's College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS) announced its 2020 employee award recipients on May 6, 2020. Congratulations to all!  Justin Wyss-Gallifent recieved the 2020 CMNS Dean’s Outstanding Lecturer Award. 

The other awards can be viewed here:

Congratulations to our teams for their success in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) and Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM) 2020 competition. Maryland participated with three teams competing in the MCM. All teams were mentored by Radu Balan. The results are:

Meritorious Winner: Lily Northcutt, James Shen, Zifan Yu
Honorable Mention: Naveen Raman, Clarissa Xia, Sally Zhao
Successful Participant: Daniel Kraft, Matthew Marks, Aravind Ramakrishnan

Statistics of participation:
13749 teams worldwide participated in the MCM competition this year. Teams got to choose one out of three problems. Our top two teams competed in Problem A, where 3851 teams participated. The third team competed in Problem B together with 2453 other teams. All our 3 teams participated in the MCM competition.

Congratulations to all teams for their achievements and to many thanks to Radu for his dedicated service to the Math outreach program.

Karin Melnick of the University of Maryland, College Park, has been awarded the AMS Joan and Joseph Birman Fellowship for Women Scholars for the 2020–2021 academic year.

Melnick’s research is on differential-geometric aspects of rigidity. This work comprises global and local results relating the automorphisms of a differential-geometric structure with the geometric and topological properties of the space. Melnick also works in smooth dynamics, in which an invariant differential-geometric structure plays an important role in the proof of rigidity theorems. Melnick is a leader in research on the Lorentzian Lichnerowicz conjecture, a statement about conformal transformations of compact Lorentzian manifolds. Together with collaborators, she has developed new techniques in the setting of Cartan connections that have facilitated progress on this problem, as well as many results for other differential-geometric structures and general parabolic Cartan geometries.

Brief Biography of Karin Melnick:

Melnick received her PhD at the University of Chicago in 2006 under the direction of Benson Farb. With an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, she went to Yale University as a Gibbs Assistant Professor. She received a Junior Research Fellowship from the Erwin Schrödinger Institute in the spring of 2009 and that fall began at the University of Maryland, where she is now an associate professor. Previously, Melnick has been awarded an AMS Centennial Fellowship and an NSF CAREER grant. She divides her time between the U.S. and Germany with her partner and their young child, and is very grateful for the flexibility provided by the Birman Fellowship and the opportunities it provides to advance her research and career goals.  

About the Fellowship:

Established in 2017, the AMS Joan and Joseph Birman Fellowship for Women Scholars seeks to give exceptionally talented women extra research support during their mid-career years. The primary selection criterion for the Birman Fellowship, which carries a stipend of US$50,000, is the excellence of the candidate’s research. Read an interview with Joan Birman about her decision to create the Fellowship with the goal of "helping more women mathematicians to develop their creative voices." See more information about the Fellowship.