A committee voted to grant tenure to two professors shortly before Commencement, bringing the total number of tenure appointments this year to 11.

Bryan Garsten, an associate professor of political science, and Priya Natarajan, an associate professor of astronomy, received tenure at the May 21 meeting of the Board of Permanent Officers, a body composed of the full professors in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Both were promoted to full professor.

The committee also voted to promote Frank Slack, an associate professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, who already had tenure, to full professor.

Garsten, who received his doctorate from Harvard, studies the history of political thought and contemporary political theory and serves as the director of undergraduate studies for the Program in Ethics, Politics and Economics. His first book, titled “Saving Persuasion: A defense of rhetoric and judgment,” was published in 2006 and won several awards.

Natarajan is a theoretical astrophysicist whose research interests include cosmology and black hole physics. She was on leave from Yale this academic year to serve as the Emeline Bigelow Conland Fellow and Bunting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for the 2009-’10 academic year. Natarajan attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an undergraduate, received her doctorate from the the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge and was a research fellow at Cambridge’s Trinity College.

Granted tenure in December 2007, Slack runs his own lab, focusing on micro-RNA molecules and their potential applications in cancer therapy. He also looks at the effects of these molecules on the timing of aging. Slack received his doctorate from the Tufts University School of Medicine and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the medical schools of both Harvard and Stanford universities.

Earlier in May, the University granted tenure to Richard Yang of the Computer Science Department and Jun Korenaga of the Geology and Geophysics Department. Korenaga became a full professor, while Yang retained his title of associate professor.