» Life and Environmental Sciences Faculty

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photo of Marco Bisoffi, Ph.D.
Marco Bisoffi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Molecular Biology
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Bisoffi’s research program encompasses two major domains: First, the study of field cancerization, in particular in prostatic tissues. Specific projects include the elucidation of molecular mechanisms of field cancerization in cell and animal models; the use of markers of field cancerization as indicators of disease; and the exploration of mediators of field cancerization as therapeutic targets. Second, the testing of natural product based experimental therapeutics with a focus on reactive oxygen species generation and target protein degradation in cancer cell and animal models.
photo of Georgiana Bostean, Ph.D.
Georgiana Bostean, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Environmental Science, Health and Policy
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Bostean’s research is in the area of population health and health disparities, focusing on the social determinants of health. Her research has examined issues such as how family relationships impact health, and reasons for race-ethnic and nativity disparities in health. Recent publications explore the roles of selective migration, and socioeconomic factors, in explaining differences in health behaviors and outcomes between the U.S.-born and immigrants. Dr. Bostean has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and UC Office of the President, and her research published in journals including Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, Annals of Epidemiology, and Cancer Prevention & Control.
photo of Warren de Bruyn, Ph.D.
Warren de Bruyn, Ph.D.
Professor, Chemistry
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Current research is focused on the oceanic cycling of sulfur species and oxygenated hydrocarbons into or out of the troposphere which have implications for global climate change and the oxidative capacity of the troposphere. This work involves instrument development, laboratory kinetic measurements, coastal field measurements and open ocean measurements.
photo of Hesham El-Askary, Ph.D.
Hesham El-Askary, Ph.D.
Professor, Remote Sensing and Earth System Sciences
Director, Computational and Data Sciences Program
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. El-Askary’s research interests center studying the interactions and ongoing processes between the Earth’s various spheres, namely atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and cryosphere. Specific projects under investigation include the impact of natural and anthropogenic aerosols on: cloud microphysics, hurricanes, human health, local climate as well as change detection analysis of different marine habitats stressed by local climate variability, studying global impacts on a local scale spatially and temporally with emphasis on using dimension reductions algorithms to asses handling big data.
photo of Douglas Fudge, Ph.D.
Douglas S. Fudge, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Fudge’s research aims to understand the biophysics of marine animals, with a focus on processes such as predator defense, feeding, and locomotion. Current projects aim to understand predator-prey interactions between hagfishes and sharks, the function and biogenesis of hagfish slime, and the development of biomimetic applications inspired by hagfish slime.
photo of Jennifer Funk, Ph.D.
Jennifer Funk, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
Director, Biological Sciences Program
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Funk’s research explores how plant biochemical and physiological traits drive ecological processes such as invasion, community assembly, and nutrient cycling. Her current research projects focus on identifying characteristics of invasive plant species and using that information to restore native plant communities. She is particularly interested in how invasive species out-compete native species for resources in arid and nutrient-poor habitats. She has worked extensively in Hawaii and her current research focuses on comparing native and invasive species in all five Mediterranean-climate ecosystems including Western Australia.
photo of Gregory  Goldsmith, Ph.D.
Gregory R. Goldsmith, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and Director of the Grand Challenges Initiative (fall 2017)
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Goldsmith’s research interests are focused on understanding the implications of climate change for tropical forest function, particularly with respect to water and carbon cycling. His research uses observational and experimental approaches from plant physiological, community and ecosystem ecology, as well as stable isotope biogeochemistry. Goldsmith also has a longstanding interest in implementing and assessing innovative approaches to engaging broader audiences in science through educational technology.
photo of Rosalee Hellberg, Ph.D.
Rosalee Hellberg, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Food Science
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Hellberg’s research is focused on food safety and mislabeling. On the food safety side, she investigates the effects of climate change on food safety, specifically with regard to food microbiology, and she works on the development of molecular methods for the identification and differentiation of foodborne pathogens. On the food mislabeling side, she develops and applies molecular methods to identify instances of species substitution or misbranding in a variety of food items. Specific projects underway include modeling the relationship between climatic factors in Orange County and human illness from Salmonella, examination of Listeria isolates for the presence of a gene important in virulence, investigation of game meat mislabeling, and development of a primer set to perform DNA barcoding on canned fish.
photo of Jeremy Hsu, Ph.D.
Jeremy Hsu, Ph.D.
Instructional Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences
TEACHING AND RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Hsu is excited to teach various courses on evolution, ecology, and molecular and population genetics at Chapman. He is enthusiastic about teaching and science education, and he is looking forward to working with others in Schmid College to incorporate active learning and evidence-based instructional practices in the classroom. His teaching is grounded from his background and interests in the lab. As an evolutionary biologist, he is broadly interested in exploring how intrinsic factors (e.g. differences in behavior and demography) and extrinsic factors (e.g. environmental perturbations and ecological differences) impact the evolution and dynamics of populations over time. His two major research projects in the past have focused on the population genetics of the monarch butterfly and the tuco-tuco, a rodent from South America.
photo of Menas Kafatos, Ph.D.
Menas Kafatos, Ph.D.
Professor, Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics
Director, Center of Excellence in Earth Systems Modeling and Observations
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Interdisciplinary Earth system science; Natural hazards and climate change; Aerosols and pollution; Vegetation and climate change coupling; Tropical cyclones; Distributed data information system architecture; Content-based Earth science data browsing; Black holes, active galaxies and quasars; Cosmological redshifts; Foundations of quantum theory; Quantum theory and brain dynamics.
photo of Jason Keller, Ph.D.
Jason Keller, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
Head of Life and Environmental Sciences Faculty
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Keller’s research explores wetlands ecosystems ranging from northern peatlands to the salt marshes of southern California. He is particularly interested in how global change influences wetland carbon cycling and greenhouse gas dynamics. Ongoing research focuses on soil carbon in restored salt marshes, anaerobic decomposition in peatland ecosystems, and the role of organic matter in microbial respiration.
photo of Christopher Kim. Ph.D.
Christopher Kim. Ph.D.
Professor, Chemistry
Associate Dean, Academic Programs
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Particle size dependence on trace metal(loid) concentration, distribution and speciation in mine wastes; Bioaccessibility and bioavailability of toxic metal(loid)s in contaminated soils and sediments; Iron oxyhydroxide nanoparticle growth, aggregation, and reaction mechanisms in aqueous systems; Synchrotron-based spectroscopic and microscopic methods for mineralogical/geochemical analysis.
photo of Patricia Lopes, Ph.D.
Patricia C. Lopes, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences (fall 2017)
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Lopes is interested in understanding the causes and consequences of animal social behavior, with an emphasis on disease transmission. Her research integrates several levels of biological organization, including genes, hormones, the brain, the individual, and ultimately the dynamics of a whole social group. In her work, Dr. Lopes combines field and laboratory manipulations, and makes use of behavioral sensors and tracking technology, as well as a range of molecular and histological techniques.
photo of Cassandra Medvedeff, Ph.D.
Cassandra Medvedeff, Ph.D.
Instructional Assistant Professor in Biological Sciences
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Medvedeff’s research interests include understanding mechanistic regulators and interactive controls on anaerobic microbial decomposition in wetland ecosystems.
photo of Walter H. Piper, Ph.D.
Walter H. Piper, Ph.D.
Professor, Biological Sciences
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Piper is a behavioral ecologist who studies aggressive behavior, use of space, and habitat selection among territorial birds in the field. He has previously investigated aggressive interactions among wintering sparrows in North Carolina and cooperative-breeding wrens in Venezuela. Since 1993, Piper has conducted a longitudinal study focusing on territory establishment, territory defense and habitat selection in a large, color-banded population of common loons (migratory, diving birds weighing 4-5 kg) in northern Wisconsin.
photo of Melissa Rowland-Goldsmith, Ph.D.
Melissa Rowland-Goldsmith, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Molecular Biology
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Rowland-Goldsmith’s research interests center around studying human pancreatic cancer which is the 4th leading cause of cancer related death in the United States. The ability of pomegranate juice extract (PJE) to stimulate apoptosis (programmed cell death) and inhibit cancer cell invasion in several cancer types has been attributed to its high polyphenol content. Caffeine has also been shown to induce apoptosis in several cell types. Specific projects under investigation include the study of natural products (PJE and caffeine) to reduce pancreatic cancer cell proliferation and migration as well as promoting cell adhesion.
photo of Carolyn Sherff, Ph.D.
Carolyn Sherff, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences
photo of Ramesh Singh, Ph.D.
Ramesh Singh, Ph.D.
Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Singh has carried out extensive studies related to the dynamics of atmospheric pollution in the northern parts of India and Northeastern parts of China and their impacts on the Hydrological cycle, Monsoon, Himalayan Glaciers, and Natural Resources. He found emissions from the Coal based power plants, dust transports from Arabia peninsula and Crop residue burning impact regional climate systems in India and Asia. Detailed analysis of satellite data carried out by one of the Undergraduate students, observed a declining trend in emissions from US coal power plants.
He has used Indian, European and NASA satellite and ground data to understand the Earthquake processes and coupling between Land, Ocean, Atmosphere and Meteorological parameters associated with the Natural Hazards (Cyclones/Hurricanes/Typhoons), Earthquakes, Droughts, Floods and Dust events in India and China. His recent efforts to study Hydrological response on seismicity observed in China, Mid and Eastern parts of US.
photo of Lilian Were, Ph.D.
Lilian Were, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Food Science
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Were’s current research is focused on determining the preservative properties of phenolic and melanoidin coffee compounds, with the overall goal of enhancing the shelf life of food. With coffee being the most traded agriculture commodity globally, coffee provides a readily available source of natural bioactive ingredients. The laboratory work involves characterizing bioactive compounds in plant based foods e.g. coffee and determining their effect on chemical and microbial shelf life extension in food. Dr. Were’s specific training was in protein chemistry having worked on protein based edible films, plasminogen activators in milk, and antimicrobial encapsulation in liposomes for enhanced efficacy against bacteria.
photo of William Wright, Ph.D.
William Wright, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Biology
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Wright’s research interests center around marine invertebrate behavior. Specific projects include evolution of learning and memory in a gastropod lineage; territorial behavior, tenacity, and the role of heat events in an intertidal gastropod; chemical defense in a predator-prey system; effect of marine reserves on predator behavior.
photo of Susan  Yang, Ph.D.
Susan Yang, Ph.D.
Professor, Biological Sciences, Physics, Computational Science and Engineering
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Computational and Experimental Biology/Neuroscience; Electrophysiology; f-MRI modeling; Bioinformatics; Health and Pollution.