Assistant Professor, Earth Sciences
Broxton Bird joins the School of Science at IUPUI as an assistant professor of earth sciences. He most recently worked at the Ohio State University, where he served as a postdoctoral fellow in earth sciences and paleoclimatology.
Bird’s research expertise involves the relationship between climate change and water resources in various climates.
He served as a postdoctoral fellow with the Byrd Polar Research Center at OSU since 2009. While there, he studied hydroclimates of the Tibetan Plateau as well as the Himalayas. He has done field research in Asia, South and North America, Antarctica, Indonesia and Iceland.
Bird also has earned research grants from the National Science Foundation as well as the Geological Society of America, Paleolimnology Division. He has been published in a variety of scholarly journals, such as the Boreas, the Journal of Paleolimnology and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“I am a firm believer that place-based field investigations coupled with laboratory experiences are essential components for any geoscience education,” Bird said. “Field experiences provide opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge as well as personally engage with scientific investigation and discovery.”
Bird earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.S. from California State University and a B.A. from Hamilton College in New York.
Associate Professor, Psychology
Cristine Czachowski joined Indiana University in 2007 with a cross-appointment in psychiatry (School of Medicine) and psychology. She recently accepted a full appointment in the Department of Psychology at IUPUI.
Czachowski’s research focuses on alcohol as a reinforcer in rodent models of drug seeking and drug taking and the underlying neural circuitry that controls these behaviors. Her work explores the behaviors that precede a drinking binge from the drinking itself and attempts to develop possible treatments for alcohol abuse that specifically target craving and help keep people from “falling off the wagon.” She has identified both brain neurotransmitter functions and drug treatments that distinctly regulate alcohol seeking versus alcohol drinking. Her research is funded by the National Institute of Health and has yielded more than 30 peer-reviewed research studies.
In addition to research, Czachowski has a passion for teaching and mentoring students. She is a member of the Indiana Alcohol Research Center, the Stark Neuroscience Research Institute and is involved in the new undergraduate Neuroscience Program at IUPUI. She currently has four graduate students and three undergraduate psychology students working in her lab, and has mentored students through their Ph.D. and M.S. degrees at IUPUI.
“I love watching students first tentatively work on a research question, then develop their own individual approach and curiosity about solving that question and finally grow into an independent scientist,” she said. “That’s almost more satisfying than solving a research question of my own!”
Czachowski earned her B.A. from Douglass College at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before coming to IUPUI, she was on the faculty in the Physiology and Pharmacology Department at Wake Forest University and most recently served on the psychiatry faculty at Brown University in Rhode Island. She joined IU as an assistant professor, and was promoted to associate professor in 2010.
Assistant Professor, Chemistry
Lisa Jones, an assistant professor of chemistry, is a biochemist with expertise in analytical and biophysical methods that characterize protein interactions in macromolecular complexes. Her research uses mass spectrometry to investigate the structure and function relationship of viral proteins.
She said she hopes to develop a graduate level course in mass spectrometry at IUPUI, while also mentoring graduate and undergraduate students in meaningful research experiences. She is a member of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.
“I believe it is important for undergraduates to have a research experience. The opportunity for them to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real world problems, not standard systems used in lab classes, is invaluable,” she said.
Before coming to IUPUI, Jones taught anatomy and physiology at Missouri College. Her research has been published in Analytical Chemistry and Protein Science. She has presented at conferences and universities on several topics, including the structural biology of macromolecules, protein footprinting and proteomics.
Jones earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry and her M.S. in chemistry from Georgia State University. She earned her undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Syracuse University in New York. She also served as a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Chemistry at Washington University and in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Instrumentation and Academic Specialist, Earth Sciences
Renata Lafler joins the Department of Earth Sciences as its lead coordinator for equipment and technology used in research and teaching. Her primary duties also include maintaining research labs and their instrumentation as well as developing lab safety policies.
Lafler, who has previous teaching experience in physical geology, paleontology and mineralogy, joins IUPUI after serving as an adjunct instructor in geology at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Ill.
She earned her M.S. in geoscience and mineralogy from the University of Arizona and a B.S. in geology from St. Norbert College in Wisconsin. She is a member of the Mineralogical Society of America, the Geological Society of America and the Association for Women Geoscientists.
Milena Petrovic joins the department as a lecturer in psychology. She earned her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology/human factors from Miami University in Ohio, where she taught several courses in research processes and statistics as a graduate teaching assistant.
“My research draws on principles from ecological psychology, which allow me to conceptualize a range of phenomena including cognitive aspects of how humans interact with technology and other man-made items in their environment,” Petrovic said.
She specializes in cognitive psychology and her work has been published in several scholarly journals, including Behavior Research Methods and Studies in Perception and Action. She also has presented at the International Conference of Perception and Action and the annual meeting of the Society of Computers in Psychology in Chicago.She earned an M.A. in psychology from Miami University and her B.A. in psychology from Berea College in Kentucky.
Tamiko Porter joins the department as a lecturer in chemistry with several years of experience teaching both general chemistry and biochemistry at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
She earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from Texas A & M University, where her research focused on protein structures and function. She also has a B.S. in biochemistry from Michigan State University.
Porter began as a research assistant with the Department of Chemistry at Texas A & M before moving to its Department of Veterinary Pathobiology as a postdoctoral research associate. She joined the chemistry department again as a visiting professor and later an associate professor.
Porter is a member of the American Chemical Society. Her research has been published in Biochemistry and she has presented her work at several conferences and symposiums on the topics of enzymes and bioinorganic chemistry.
Assistant Professor, Physics
Pressé comes to IUPUI as an assistant professor of physics after serving as a postdoctoral fellow in biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco. His ongoing research is at the interface of biophysics and condensed matter physics, specifically extracting and interpreting kinetic models from data to gain mechanistic insight in chemistry, biophysics and biology.
“We need a better way to extract models in chemistry, biology and physics,” Pressé said of his research. “My goal is to extract models—and not just fit models—in a way which is unbiased, with no adjustable parameters and driven by the data structure and limitations.”
Pressé is member of the American Chemical Society, American Physical Society and Biophysical Society. His past research has been published in several scholarly journals, including The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, PNAS and The Journal of Chemical Physics.
He earned his B.S. degree in bioorganic chemistry from McGill University in Canada. At McGill, Pressé obtained numerous awards including the Society of Chemical Industry Merit Award and the R.F. Robertson Award in Physical Chemistry.
He studied chemical physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he earned his Ph.D. While an MIT student, Pressé received an Outstanding Teacher Award from the MIT Chemistry Department. He also received doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships from a variety of Canadian agencies (NSERC, FQRNT).
Assistant Professor, Psychology
Michael Sliter, whose past research efforts have centered on workplace behavior and emotional labor, joins the Department of Psychology as an assistant professor. He recently earned his Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
“My interest areas lay broadly in Occupational Health Psychology (OHP)—a specialty area in which researchers focus on characteristics of the workplace that impact the health and well-being of workers,” Sliter explained. He said he hopes to expand his research to the topic of “cyber-loafing,” the practice of using the Internet to waste time at work
Sliter has studied counter-productive workplace behavior, the emotions and stressors experienced by service and professional workers and incivility in a variety of workplace environments.
He has been published in scholarly journals such as the Journal of Organizational Behavior, the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology and Personality and Individual Differences. He currently has several manuscripts under review for publication, including those on topics such as the relationship between the social environment of the workplace and employee mistreatment as well as how emotional intelligence affects age and emotional labor strategies.
Sliter earned his M.A. in industrial/organizational psychology from Bowling Green State University and his B.A. in psychology from Hiram College in Ohio, where he graduated with honors.
Corrine Ulbright joins the Department of Biology as a lecturer in biology. She has been an adjunct instructor for University College at IUPUI since 2002. She has won numerous teaching awards during her career and her research has been published in several scholarly journals.
“Currently, my biology teaching responsibilities are Embryology, Human Biology, and Introductory Principles of Genetics,” Ulbright said. “Although my undergraduate degree was in botany and my doctoral field was plant physiology, my post-doctoral training and research was in medical and molecular genetics, showing the importance of adaptability and diversity in biology,” Ulbright said.
She also serves as an academic advisor in University College and helps to develop courses that assist students making the transition to college.
Ulbright earned her Ph.D. in plant physiology from Washington University in St. Louis, an M.A. in botany from the University of Texas and a B.A. in botany from Washington University.
Assistant Professor, Earth Sciences
Lixin Wang joins the Department of Earth Sciences as an assistant professor after having most recently served as a vice chancellor research fellow at the University of New South Wales in Australia. He brings to IUPUI his expertise in ecohydrology gained from diverse climates across the world.
Prior to his research fellowship in Australia, Wang spent three years as a researcher in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University.
Wang’s expertise is in isotope biogeochemistry, and he has focused much of his research on how dryland ecosystems respond to climatic change. He has researched climates in several global locations, including the United States, Australia, Africa and Asia.
“My research addresses the relationships between rainfall variability, soil biogeochemistry and plant adaptation responses in dryland ecosystems,” Wang said. “In the future, I expect to approach the interactions of climatic change, water and soil biogeochemical cycles in various ecosystems.”
His research has appeared in Science, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Hydrological Processes, Plant and Soil, the Journal of Geophysical Research and other scholarly publications. He also serves as an associate editor of Geophysical Research Letters.
Wang said he “enjoys being an educator and scientist at the same time” and has mentored several students in research efforts. His past teaching and research awards include the Maury Prize and the Award for Excellence in Scholarship in the Sciences and Engineering from the University of Virginia.
Wang earned his Ph.D. in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia. He also earned an M.S. in biology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a B.S. in biology from Hebei University in China.