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2010-2011 Faculty

Simon Atkinson, Professor and Chair, Biology

With a background spanning science, medicine and business, Simon Atkinson is prepared to expand programs and explore new avenues for the biology department to capitalize on its location in Indiana's life and health science hub.

The new biology chairman holds a doctorate in molecular biology from the University of Cambridge in England and completed postdoctoral work on cell structure at Johns Hopkins University. He comes to the School of Science from Indiana University School of Medicine where he holds appointments in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Nephrology and in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Atkinson is an internationally respected researcher who applies the tools of basic science to the study of acute kidney injury with the goal of developing strategies to prevent the sudden decrease in function that can result in the need for dialysis or organ transplantation. His current research focuses on cellular strategies to prevent or treat injuries to the kidney that can be caused by heart failure, cardiac surgery, toxins such as some antibiotics, and even certain contrast agents administered for diagnostic tests. He and fellow researchers hope to identify viable drugs to prevent harm and also promote recovery if injury occurs.

While on the medical school faculty, he directed the medical biophysics doctoral program and was the recipient of a prestigious IU Trustees Teaching Award. He also served as president of the IUPUI Faculty Council. Atkinson also is a founder and manager of INphoton, an IU start-up company that provides florescent microscopy services to the biotechnology industry. The work provided by INphoton could lower the cost of drug development substantially by helping identify which potential therapies have a minimal likelihood of being successful.


Kevin Mandernack, Professor and Chair, Earth Sciences

Climate change. Deep ocean drilling. Water pollution. These are all areas impacted by the work of Kevin Mandernack, PhD, who recently joined the School of Science as chair and professor of earth sciences.

An internationally respected researcher, Mandernack was previously a faculty member at the Colorado School of Mines, where he held a joint appointment in the department of chemistry and geochemistry and the department of geology and geological engineering. From 2008 to early 2010, Mandernack served as program director of the Ocean Drilling Program at the National Science Foundation. He earned a doctorate in marine biology, with emphasis on marine biogeochemistry, at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography after graduating with bachelor of science degrees in geology and zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mandernack’s current research focuses on the emerging fields of geomicrobiology studying interactions between the biosphere, the chemosphere and the lithosphere. He has extensive experience in the biochemical cycles bacteria use for processing carbon dioxide and other organic substances in the environment. He has investigated ocean systems devoid of oxygen, the frigid waters of Antarctica, deep crustal aquifers and minute bacteria visible only under high-powered microscopes.

A geomicrobiologist and biogeochemist, Mandernack has authored more than 25 peer-reviewed studies, including publications in Science and Nature. He received research funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Air and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, among others.

Kevin Mandernack,

Mohammad Al Hasan, Assistant Professor, Computer & Information Science

With a desire to witness the latest advances in computer technology at work in industry, Mohammad Al Hasan made a strategic decision to gain experience in the private sector before pursuing a career in academia. His time working for both IBM and eBay Research Labs makes him uniquely qualified to teach and conduct research as part of the School of Science’s computer science faculty.

Working with very large data sets, Hasan specializes in the fields of data mining, database systems, machine learning, medical informatics and bioinformatics. His doctoral dissertation concentrated on Frequent Subgraph Mining (FSM), a core task in the field of knowledge discovery and data mining. In his dissertation, he addressed the scalability problem in FSM through a novel sampling paradigm, named Output Space Sampling (OSS). Instead of complete enumeration of all the frequent subgraphs, OSS adopts a sampling mechanism to output only those that are interesting based on user-defined criteria. This work is theoretically sound and has the potential to dramatically improve the performance of currently available tools in subgraph mining.

Most notably, Hasan won the prestigious Association for Computing Machinery SIGKDD dissertation award (http://www.sigkdd.org/awards_dissertation.php), recognizing excellence in research by doctoral candidates in the field of data mining and knowledge discovery. He has achieved other successes in research, including a 2009 best paper award in PAKDD (Pacific-Asia Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining) for his work on a novel clustering algorithm.

In other work, Hasan and his colleagues proposed the first linear time algorithm for arbitrary shape clustering problem, which they used for a cancer image segmentation task. With IBM Almaden research center, Hasan and others proposed a ranking method to assess patent value by using patent text data. IBM submitted this work in a patent application, which is currently pending. In the area of bioinformatics, Hasan proposed a method named ContextShape to find protein-protein docking using complementary shape matching. He has published more than twenty research articles in prestigious journals and conferences related to database and data mining.

Hasan has a BSc (Engineering) degree in computer science and engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology in Dhaka. He earned a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and holds a doctorate in computer science from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. In addition to his industry experience at eBay Research Labs in a senior research scientist role, Hasan was a lecturer in computer science at North South University (Dhaka, Bangladesh); a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota and both a teaching assistant and research assistant at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a frequent reviewer of Journal of Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, Journal of Machine Learning Research, VLDB Journal and IEEE Transactions of Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining. He also served as program committed member for the 2010 PAKDD and the 2009 SIGKDD conferences.

Mohammad Al Hasan

Clyde Counts, Lecturer, Mathematics

Clyde Counts began teaching at IUPUI part time from 1971-1974, he returned in 2003 as a visiting lecturer and begins this semester as a full-time lecturer.

Counts has spent much of his teaching career teaching mathematics in the Indianapolis Public School system. Shortly after beginning his career, he joined Washington High School where he worked for 31 years— first as a teacher and then as a department chairman. While chairman, Counts implemented the Saxon Mathematics Program, which helps students master mathematics material through incremental development of topics and continuous review of previous problems. He joined Arsenal Technical High School in 1995, where he taught mathematics until 2003.

Counts graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 1963 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, he then went on to earn his M.A.T. in mathematics from Purdue University in 1970.

Clyde Counts

Giovanna Guidoboni, Associate Professor, Mathematics

A visiting faculty member, Giovanna Guidoboni currently teaches in the IUPUI Department of Mathematics. Guidoboni joined the School of Science in January of 2010. Her research explores Applied Mathematics, with a focus on the mathematical modeling of fluid flow in deformable domains, such as blood flow in arteries (fluid-structure interaction) and coating flows (free capillary surface flows). Guidoboni hopes to devise new mathematical models for industrial and biological applications, and then to study their mathematical well-posedeness and to find an optimal strategy for their numerical solution.

As a native of Italy, she earned her master’s in Engineering of Materials and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Ferrara. In 2003, Guidoboni completed the Marie Curie Training Fellowship at the University of Surrey, UK, where her research focused on pattern selection in Faraday waves. She was also a recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Research Scholarship in 2004. At the University of Houston, Guidoboni has been a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics since 2007.

Giovanna Guidoboni

Adam Hirsh, Assistant Professor, Psychology

Focusing on the biopsychosocial aspects of pain, Adam Hirsh’s primary research involves the use of novel virtual human technology to investigate how providers make decisions about pain assessment and treatment. His clinical research also examines pain and functioning in individuals with chronic pain secondary to a physical disability (e.g., spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis). In his laboratory-based studies, Hirsh utilizes experimental stimuli to examine the influences of fear and catastrophizing on the experience of pain.

In August of 2010, Hirsh joined the IUPUI Department of Psychology as an assistant professor. He holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical and Health Psychology from the University of Florida, and completed his postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Washington Department of Rehabilitation Medicine in Seattle, Wash.

Adam Hirsh

Andrew Kusmierczyk, Assistant Professor, Biology 

Most recently a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University, Andrew Kusmierczyk, PhD, is eager to be a part of the School of Science’s growth and vision. The fact that the school is expanding, hiring and forging new directions during an economic downturn is particularly appealing to Kusmierczyk.

As a biologist and research scientist, Kusmierczyk defines his research focus, in lay terms, as “exploring how cells take out the trash.” In reality, Kusmierczyk’s work involves protein quality control and macromolecular assembly. During his fellowship, Kusmierczyk began investigating the assembly of eukaryotic proteasome using yeast as a model organism. The proteasome is essential for life in all eukaryotes that have been examined, and has recently emerged as an important drug target in the treatment of several cancers.

One of Kusmierczyk’s most exciting projects involves the development of a novel fluorescence-microscopy-based assay to study the proteasome in living organisms. Kusmierczyk is intrigued by the possibility of one day using this assay to screen chemical libraries for compounds that inhibit proteasome assembly in live organisms. It’s clear, based on the success of one proteasome active site inhibitor, Velcade, which is used to treat multiple myeloma, that the proteasome is a promising target for pharmaceutical development. Longer term, Kusmierczyk is interested in analyzing the mechanisms by which cells ensure quality control among their protein components.

Kusmierczyk earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and his doctorate in biology at Brown University in Rhode Island. He spent six years as an associate research scientist and post-doctoral fellow in Yale’s Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. He is the author of nine journal articles and a number of conference presentations.

Andrew Kusmierczyk

Christopher Lapish, Assistant Professor, Psychology

Christopher Lapish knew after just weeks of research in neuroscience that he had found his passion. “Completely fascinated by the field,” Lapish has spent the past several years exploring how cognition is compromised in mental illness, especially schizophrenia. Using animal models of schizophrenia and addiction, Lapish examines how dopamine modulates prefrontal cortex networks from a behavioral and electrophysiological perspective in order to develop and test novel treatment strategies targeting this system. He applies cutting-edge analysis techniques to multi-electrode recordings in freely moving rodents which make tangible links between clinical and pre-clinical data – ultimately advancing the understanding of cognition.

Through his research, Lapish explores how cognition is used, how it is compromised, and finally – whether mental illnesses can be treated with procognitive drugs that target the prefrontal cortex dopamine system. While at IUPUI, he hopes to seek out collaborations with researchers using human subjects, which will help bridge the gap between preclinical studies using animal models and humans. Experiments in this arena could provide powerful diagnostic tools for characterizing the underlying physiological pathologies associated with schizophrenia and to assess the effectiveness of a wide range of treatment strategies.

Lapish has an excellent publication track record and currently holds grants from NARSAD (National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression) and the Michael Smith Foundation, which funded his previous position in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. Lapish holds a bachelor of science degree in microbiology from Clemson University and a doctorate from the Department of Neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia before being named research associate professor. 

Christopher Lapish

Jason Meyer, Assistant Professor, Biology

With research interests in developmental neuroscience and regenerative medicine, Jason Meyer brings to the School of Science’s biology department a wealth of experience studying induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells and embryonic stem cells. This research harnesses the power of pluripotent stem cells to serve as a model system of human developmental biology – of particular interest as pluripotent stem cells can be utilized to study cell fate decisions at stages of human development that would not otherwise be accessible to scientific investigation. Specifically, Meyer’s work is focused on lines of IPS cells developed to study recessive, monogenic diseases of the retina, with the hope of gaining a better understanding of these disorders.

Additionally, Meyer’s research involves the use of IPS cells as a model system for the study of disease pathology and small molecule drug screening. When derived from a patient with a known genetic disorder, human IPS cells can serve as an in vitro model system for cellular and molecular studies of human disease progression, as well as a tool for pharmacological screening. As they come from skin fibroblasts, human IPS cells do not harbor the ethical considerations and government restrictions typically associated with embryonic stem cells. This makes them an important vehicle for investigation. 

Meyer has strong background and interest in teaching. He successfully completed the teacher certification program while an undergraduate student at Colgate University and taught junior high science for a year in his hometown before applying to graduate school. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in biology from Colgate, Meyer earned his doctorate in biological sciences (field of study: neuroscience) from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He completed three fellowship programs at the University of Missouri before joining the Waisman Center’s Stem Cell Research Program at the University of Wisconsin – first as a postdoctoral research associate and most recently as an assistant scientist.

Meyer received several research awards for travel to symposia and annual meetings, has authored a number of journal articles and papers and has received grant funding for his research from Sigma Xi. 

Jason Meyer

Catherine Mosher, Assistant Professor, Psychology

In August of 2010, Catherine Mosher joins  the IUPUI Department of Psychology after having  finished her postdoctoral fellowship in psycho-oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center this summer. After earning an M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University at Albany, State University of New York, she is now finishing her postdoctoral fellowship in psycho-oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Mosher’s research focuses on the development and evaluation of interventions to reduce negative psychological and physical sequelae (e.g., distress, pain, fatigue) following a cancer diagnosis. She has recently studied the health effects of written emotional disclosure for women with metastatic breast cancer. Her research also concerns interventions to reduce family caregiver burden in cancer care. Mosher and her team are currently assessing the psychosocial and practical needs, barriers to psychosocial service use, and psychosocial service preferences of primary family caregivers of lung cancer patients. Results from this study will inform conceptual models of psychosocial service use and the development of more feasible and accessible interventions for lung cancer patients’ caregivers.

Dr. Mosher earned her B.A. in psychology from Youngstown State University in 2002. She earned her M.A. in psychology in 2004 and doctorate in clinical psychology in 2007, both from the University at Albany, State University of New York.

Catherine Mosher

Elizabeth Poposki, Assistant Professor, Psychology

Elizabeth Poposki studies how individuals navigate the challenge of balancing multiple life roles. Although research in this area has typically focused on the roles of work and family, Poposki aims to broaden that emphasis and explore other areas of life such as friendships, health, and leisure.  Another major focus of her work involves examining how social and demographic factors influence the process of balancing work and non-work goals. Finally, she is interested in investigating the extent to which navigating work-non-work challenges impacts job acquisition, retention, and advancement — particularly for low-income individuals, professionals, academics, and women.

A new study led by Poposki provides a definition of workplace multitasking, explores polychronicity – the preference for working on multiple tasks simultaneously - and presents a tool to measure this trait.  Poposki and co-author Frederick L. Oswald, Ph.D. of Rice University report on the conceptualization and design of the Multitasking Preference Inventory (MPI) in a study published in the current (July 2010) issue of the journal Human Performance.

Poposki earned her B.S. in psychology from Central Michigan University in 2003, her M.A. in industrial/organizational psychology in 2008 and her doctorate in 2010, both from Michigan State University. She joined the Industrial/Organizational Psychology program at IUPUI as an assistant professor in August of 2010.

Elizabeth Poposki

Jingzhi Pu, Assistant Professor, Chemistry & Chemical Biology 

After completing nearly five years of post-doctoral training at Harvard University, Jingzhi Pu joins the IUPUI School of Science faculty during a period of significant growth in the field of computational biochemistry and biophysics. Rapidly evolving computer technology has made powerful computations and complicated simulations possible, enhancing the insight and value of Pu’s earlier work with small molecule dynamics. His research, which focuses heavily on using computer simulations to understand how biomolecular motors work, is closely tied to the life sciences and has implications for rational design of new drugs that may treat a variety of diseases associated with dysfunctions of these tiny motors. This work represents a new direction for the School of Science’s department of chemistry and chemical biology.

While at IUPUI, Pu aims to develop an interdisciplinary research program centered on theoretical/computational chemistry. One of his main focus areas is exploration of the coupling mechanisms that dictate the structure/function relationship, conformational dynamics and the conversion between chemical and mechanical energy in ABC-transporter-mediated biological transport processes. He also seeks to develop a suite of new computational tools to study electron transfers in biological systems, such as DNA-photolyases, which recognize and repair damaged DNA caused by radiation.

In addition, Pu looks forward to working closely with IU’s supercomputer resources and will be involved in developing local computing facilities for the School of Science at IUPUI.

Pu earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Peking University in Beijing, China, and a PhD in chemistry from the University of Minnesota. Prior to coming to IUPUI, he served as a research associate in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. Before that assignment, he was a teaching assistant, research assistant and research associate at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Jingzhi Pu

Michelle Salyers, Associate Professor, Psychology

Michelle Salyers joined the IUPUI Department of Psychology as an Associate Professor in January of 2010. She is also the co-director of the Indiana ACT Center of Indiana, a Regenstrief Institute Investigator, and a Research Scientist at the Roudebush VA Medical Center. She conducts research in Illness Management and Recovery (IMR), a program to help people to learn better ways to cope with the effects of having a mental illness. Her research helps clinicians learn about evidence-based practices and how to work more closely with consumers in making treatment decisions. More recently she has been working on research that helps clinicians to learn ways to prevent burnout in the mental health field.

At the ACT Center, Salyers and her team provide training and consultation, measure program implementation and consumer outcomes, and work with policymakers to help establish funding that will encourage evidence-based practice. Her research on ACT programs and their success with the severely mentally ill has contributed to the evidence base that is making ACT of growing interest to state governments, advocacy organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and families of the severely mentally ill.

Dr. Salyers earned her B.S. in psychology from Purdue University in 1989, a M.S. in clinical rehabilitation psychology from Purdue in 1996, and doctorate from IUPUI in 1998. 

Michelle Salyers

Rajesh Sardar, Assistant Professor, Chemistry & Chemical Biology

Once an aspiring physics major who disliked chemistry in high school, Rajesh Sardar now spends his time in a chemistry lab – making nanoparticles and studying their structural, physical and electrochemical properties – in the hopes of finding practical applications in the fields of energy science and nano-biotechnology. It was his introduction to the possibilities of nanoparticle research that turned the would-be physicist into an accomplished analytical chemist.

Sardar’s research, studying the fundamental properties of a wide range of nanomaterials using various analytical techniques, could have implications for uncovering alternative energy sources and treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically in regard to energy, Sardar investigates the capacity of certain nanoparticles to store an electric charge. His nanoparticle studies in biology center on the detection of toxic metals or gases – especially those that have been linked to certain diseases.

Sardar completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before moving to Chapel Hill, he served as a faculty intern at the University of Utah. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from The University of Calcutta, in India, and a master’s in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India. In the United States, Sardar earned his PhD in chemistry from The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, where he also served as a graduate research assistant.

With more than a dozen journal publications, Sardar has co-authored four papers with undergraduate students including the cover highlights in a reputable international journal. Interested in all aspects of teaching, he believes strongly in opening his laboratory to undergraduates eager to learn and participate in cutting-edge research. 

Rajesh Sardar

Fei Tan, Assistant Professor, Mathematics

Joining the School of Science’s mathematics department in fall 2010, Fei Tan looks forward to continuing her research in biostatistics at IUPUI.

Fei Tan studies survival model with free-knot spline and investigates the asymptotic properties of such models, which can be used to estimate the optimal risk factor range in J-shaped or U-shaped relationships frequently seen in medical or public health studies. Her research also includes semi-parametric inference in exchangeable models which has applications to cluster data arising from areas such as medical research, dairy science, biological science, and etc.

In addition to biostatistical methodology, Tan has a strong interest in applying survival models and generalized linear mixed models to real life data. In collaborations with researchers from health sciences, she studies effects of individual behavior, community, and environmental factors on late-stage diagnosis of prostate cancer and mortality.

Tan attended Florida State University (FSU), earning both master’s and doctoral degrees in statistics. She received a bachelor’s in mathematics at Nanjing University in China. With extensive experience as a researcher and teaching assistant at FSU, Tan was most recently an assistant professor at Florida A&M University. 

Fei Tan

Gavriil Tsechpenakis, Assistant Professor, Computer & Information Science

Collaboration is important to the work of many scientists. Gavriil Tsechpenakis, PhD, who joins the IUPUI School of Science in fall 2010, says collaboration is crucial to his research in computational biology – and one of the factors driving his decision to continue his career in the Department of Computer and Information Science at IUPUI.

Tsechpenakis’ research focuses primarily on computational biology, medical image computing and computer vision and learning. His work is geared toward handling data uncertainties in classification, modeling and prediction in the life and cognitive sciences with a specific emphasis in neuroscience. Two of his most recent projects include using microscopic imaging applications to study how neurons develop and investigating the association between respiratory cycles and brain activity. Some of Tsechpenakis’ work in the area of respiration and brain function is aimed at uncovering potential therapies for disorders such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

In the field of medical vision, Tsechpenakis has collaborated with groups at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute to analyze Optical Coherence Tomography data. This work contributes to greater understanding of conditions such as dry age-related macular degeneration, human tear dynamics and retinal disorders.

Prior to his appointment at IUPUI, Tsechpenakis was a research assistant professor and a lead research scientist in the visualization group at the University of Miami Center for Computational Science. He is the author or co-author of more than 35 journal articles and conference presentations. Tsechpenakis earned his doctorate in Information and Computer Sciences from the National Technical University of Athens Greece in 2003. Prior to his position at the University of Miami, Tsechpenakis spent three years working as a fellow in the Center for Computational Biomedicine Imaging and Modeling at Rutgers: The State University of New Jersey.

Gavriil Tsechpenakis