Initiative Leads

Each of our 7 initiatives affiliated with the Mansueto Institute is led by one or more faculty members. See their bios below.

Luc Anselin

Luc Anselin

Faculty Director, Center for Spatial Data Science

Luc Anselin is the Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago. He is the founding director of the Center for Spatial Data Science (CSDS), a joint initiative of the Social Sciences Division and the Computation Institute, to advance computational and statistical methods of dealing with spatial data. Anselin also serves as a Senior Fellow of NORC and chairs the Committee on Geographical Sciences. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2008 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011. His honors include the Walter Isard Award, the William Alonso Prize and the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) Research Award.

Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Faculty Lead, Urban Cognition Lab

Marc Berman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and is involved in the Cognition, Social and Integrative Neuroscience programs. Understanding the relationship between individual psychological and neural processing and environmental factors lies at the heart of his research. In his Environmental Neuroscience Lab, researchers utilize brain imaging, behavioral experimentation, computational neuroscience and statistical models to quantify the person, the environment and their interactions.

Luis Bettencourt

Luis Bettencourt

Faculty Lead, Kreisman Initiative for Housing Law and Policy, Million Neighborhoods

Luís M. A. Bettencourt is the Inaugural Director of the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation and Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, as well as an External Professor of Complex Systems at the Santa Fe Institute. He was trained as a theoretical physicist and obtained his undergraduate degree from Instituto Superior Técnico (Lisbon, Portugal) in 1992, and his PhD from Imperial College (University of London, UK) in 1996 for research in statistical and high-energy physics models of the early Universe.  He has held postdoctoral positions at the University of Heidelberg (Germany), Los Alamos National Laboratory (Director’s Fellow and Slansky Fellow) and at MIT (Center for Theoretical Physics). He has worked extensively on complex systems theory and on cities and urbanization, in particular. His research emphasizes the creation of new interdisciplinary synthesis to describe cities in quantitative and predictive ways, informed by classical theory from various disciplines and the growing availability of empirical data worldwide. He is the author of over 100 scientific papers and several edited books. His research has been featured in leading media venues, such as the New York Times, Nature, Wired, New Scientist, and the Smithsonian.

Bill Brown

Bill Brown

Faculty Lead, Urban Architecture and Design

Bill Brown’s research—at the intersection of literary, visual and material cultures—has tracked how objects form and transform human subjects, and, most recently, how the arts can contribute to social theory. His focuses include popular literary genres such as science fiction and the Western; on recreational forms such as baseball and kung fu; and on the ways that mass-cultural phenomena from roller coasters to Kodak cameras impress themselves on the literary imagination. He teaches on Walt Whitman, “Urban Fiction and American Space, 1880-1910” and on “Modernity and the Sense of Things.” 

As well as serving as the Faculty Lead for the Urban Architecture and Design,  Brown is a fellow of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory and co-editor of Critical Inquiry.

Charlie Catlett

Charlie Catlett

Director, Array of Things

Charlie Catlett is the founding director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data, UrbanCCD, which brings social, physical, and computational scientists together with artists, architects, technologists, and policy makers to explore science-based approaches to opportunities and challenges related to the understanding, design, and sustainable operation of cities. To this end, UrbanCCD brings expertise, tools, and resources to bear from computational modeling, data analytics, and embedded systems. He is also a Senior Computer Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, Lead Investigator of the Array of Things, and a Senior Fellow at the Computation Institute of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. From 2007 to 2011, Charlie was the Chief Information Officer at Argonne National Laboratory, and from 2004 to 2007 he was Director of the National Science Foundation’s TeraGrid initiative – a nationally distributed supercomputing facility involving fifteen universities and federal laboratories. Before joining the University of Chicago and Argonne in 2000, Charlie was Chief Technology Officer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Recognized in 2014 as one of Chicago’s “Tech 50” technology leaders by Crain’s Chicago Business, Charlie is a Computer Engineering graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Tom Miles

Tom Miles

Faculty Lead, Kreisman Initiative for Housing Law and Policy

Professor Miles is a leading scholar of criminal justice and judicial behavior and an expert in a wide range of contemporary issues such as race and immigration enforcement. He has been widely published in economics and legal journals, with extensive expertise on such varied topics as judicial diversity, immigration, mail fraud, and wiretapping. His work makes creative use of the tools of law and economics — an approach that originated at the Law School, which maintains leadership in the field through such initiatives as the Coase-Sandor Institute for Law and Economics. Frequently, Miles’ work uses the methods of law and economics to investigate social questions not conventionally thought to fall within that field, such as his recent work with Adam Cox at New York University School of Law that examined how African-American judges tended to decide voting rights cases differently than white judges and that the presence of an African-American judge on a judicial panel also tended to influence how white judges decided the case. Their research was the first to find robust statistical evidence that the racial identity of judges matters in how judicial panels decide cases, and highlighted the importance of diversity on the bench.

Elisabeth Moyer

Elisabeth Moyer

Faculty Lead, Environmental Frontiers

Elisabeth Moyer is an Associate Professor in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences and an affiliate with the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. She co-directs the Center for Robust Decision-making on Climate and Energy Policy, an NSF-funded interdisciplinary center focused on open-source tools to support decisionmaking. Moyer’s research spans atmospheric science, climate statistics, and energy and climate policy analysis. Her climate research focuses on the statistics of evolving climate states; her atmospheric science research focuses on the processes that control the distribution of water vapor and formation of cirrus clouds in the upper troposphere and stratosphere.

Sabina Shaikh

Sabina Shaikh

Faculty Lead, Environmental Frontiers

Dr. Sabina Shaikh is Director of the Program on Global Environment and a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies and Public Policy Studies in the College, and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.  She is also the founder and director of the Environment, Agriculture and Food (EAF) working group, the faculty advisor for the Frizzell Learning and Speaker Series and the academic director of the Chicago Studies Quarter and associated activities. As an environmental economist, her research and teaching focuses on the economics of environmental policy and natural resource management, including market-based mechanisms for pollution control and the economic valuation of ecosystem services.  Her research ranges from urban environment and health outcomes to water management and land use in the developing world. Her collaborative research on water sustainability in the Mekong Basin of Cambodia has been funded by the National Science Foundation and recently through a Faculty Fellowship from the Center for International Social Science Research at the University of Chicago.