Jeffrey Ebersole

Dr. Ebersole received a BA in Biology from Temple University and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh. He then did a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Immunology at The Forsyth Institute and remained on the faculty at Forsyth and Harvard School of Dental Medicine until 1985. From 1985-2000 he was a Professor in the Department of Periodontics and Microbiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. From 2000-2017 he was the Alvin L. Morris Professor of Oral Health Research, Director of the Center for Oral Health Research and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Dentistry at the Univeristy of Kentucky. Since 2017 he has been a Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine. In 1983 he received the IADR award for Basic Oral Science Research and in 2000 the IADR award for Basic Research in Periodontal Disease. He served as the President of the American Association for Dental Research in 2011-2012. He directed a major COBRE grant from the NIH supporting the Center for the Biologic Basis of Oral/Systemic Diseases at the Univeristy of Kentucky. His CV contains over 300 publications, reviews and book chapters in the microbiology and immunology of oral diseases.
Dr. Ebersole’s laboratory focuses its research efforts on the immunobiology of oral infections. The research emphasizes in vitro, and in vivo studies of host-pathogen interactions using animal and human models of oral disease(s). The COBRE center supported research projects extending over a range of oral-systemic disease studies, including HIV, pregnancy, gestational diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as genetic and environmental challenges that increase the risk of these diseases. The lab was also a part of a major NIDCR effort to identify and validate the potential for point-of-care salivary biomarkers as diagnostic tools for oral and systemic diseases. Research in this area with engineers at Rice University/University of Texas/NYU focused on salivary biomarkers of oral and systemic diseases.

Barrett Welch

My research focuses on understanding how chemical exposures from our environment can influence the immune system, particularly during pregnancy. I gained interest in this field through experiences working with a cohort in Bangladesh, in which my research showed that heavy metal exposure during pregnancy may impair children’s ability to mount effective vaccine responses. My current research assesses how maternal inflammation may mediate the influence of exposure to chemicals found in everyday consumer products. The goal of my ongoing work is to use innovative technologies and biostatistics to provide evidence about the maternal immune system responds to such chemical exposures, as well as how immunity influences pregnancy outcomes.

Tim Grigsby

Dr. Tim Grigsby is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Health. He completed his PhD in Preventive Medicine (Health Behavior Research) from the University of Southern California in 2016. His primary research interests are on the health effects of childhood trauma, the conceptualization, measurement, screening, and prevention of substance misuse, and identifying sources of health disparities in Hispanic/Latinx communities. His secondary interests are in the dissemination of novel research and analytic methods in public health research. His work explores the role of family- and community-based trauma exposure as risk factors for substance use, misuse, and related health outcomes in minority populations. Specifically, his work has identified adverse childhood experiences and perceived discrimination as important risk-factors of substance use, violence, and adverse health outcomes in minority populations.

Manoj Sharma

Manoj Sharma, MBBS, Ph.D., MCHES® is a public health physician and educator with a medical degree from the University of Delhi and a doctorate in Preventive Medicine (Public Health) from The Ohio State University. He is also a Master Certified Health Education Specialist certified by the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing. He is currently a tenured Full Professor & Chair of the Social & Behavioral Health Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the School of Public Health. He is a prolific researcher and as of June 2023 had published 15 books, over 375 peer-reviewed research articles, and over 500 other publications (h-index 51, i-10 index over 200, and over 13,000 citations) and secured funding for over $10 million. He is ranked in the top one percentile of global scientists from 176 subfields by Elsevier.His research interests are in developing and evaluating theory-based health behavior change interventions, obesity prevention, stress-coping, community-based participatory research/evaluation, and integrative mind-body-spirit interventions.

Derek Kauneckis

Dr. Derek Kauneckis is an affiliated associate research faculty in the Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at the Desert Research Institute and associate professor of environmental studies at Ohio University. His research focuses on regional environmental governance, how people interact with environmental resources, and the emergence of cooperative institutions. He has examined behavioral and institutional components of resilience planning, climate policy networks, and the role of technology in the science/policy interface. His research has been published in the Journal of Coastal Management, Simulation & Gaming, Environmental Management, Studies in Comparative International Development, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, among others. Dr. Kauneckis currently serves as an Advisory Committee Member for the Department of Homeland Security’s Resilient Investment Planning and Development Working Group, and leads the Advisory Group on Professional Education for the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP). Dr. Kauneckis’ research has been sponsored by Fulbright, National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceans and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Monika Gulia-Nuss

The long-term interest of my research program is to understand the biology of disease vectors to identify novel strategies for vector control and pathogen transmission. My lab focuses on two arthropod vectors of human diseases: mosquitoes and ticks. Our research spans multiple disciplines, including ecology, biochemistry and physiology, genetics, genomics, and computational biology, to investigate questions related to arthropod biology. We employ techniques that encompass molecular, cellular, and organismal levels of studies. Since setting up my lab at UNR in 2016, the most significant research contributions of my program have been 1) pioneering an embryo injection protocol for ticks, 2) the first successful use of CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing in ticks, 3) producing the first chromosome-level genome assembly for a tick species, and 4) adapting and optimizing a RADseq protocol (Rapture) for genome-wide markers to understand population genetic structure of mosquitoes and ticks. In addition, we have recently initiated a project for the identification of biomarkers for early diagnostics of Lyme disease.

M. Rashed Khan

Khan Lab@UNR aims to study, design, and develop soft materials, unconventional processes, and reconfigurable micro/nanodevices that can be harnessed and optimized further for advanced biochemical, biomedical, and physicochemical applications. The lab is also keen to establish a multidisciplinary smart-manufacturing research group, including researchers from various backgrounds. Through short and long-term active collaboration, Khan Lab@UNR would like to address fundamental challenges associated with soft micro-device fabrication, 3D/4D (bio)printing, and patterning, advanced hybrid sensor manufacturing, biomedical device development – which are still unnoticed and under-explored, and need further investigation.

Additionally, our group also focuses on computational neuroscience and neurobioengineering. Under this research direction, we study human brain, brain functions, brain structure so that the established knowledge can be broadly applicable to general biomecical science and knowledge of the brain and brain-diseases.

Edwin Oh

We are a research group that thrives on collaboration. Through our interactions with collaborators, public health labs, and patients we have developed a research program that interrogates the following themes:

1) Wastewater genomics and COVID-19

Wastewater testing has been used for years to investigate viral infections, to study illicit drug use, and to understand the socioeconomic status of a community based on its food consumption. While tools are in place in many states to evaluate the presence of specific viral strains, the community has not needed previously to collaborate on a global scale to standardize procedures to detect and manage COVID-19 transmission. In response to this challenge, our laboratories in Arizona, Nevada, and Washington have developed collection techniques and genomic and bioinformatic approaches to harmonize and visualize the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection and viral mutation rates in communities populated by local citizens and international tourists. Our findings will contribute to the development of best practices in sampling and processing of wastewater samples and genomic techniques to sequence viral strains, an area required for environmental surveillance of infectious diseases, and has the strong potential to improve the clinically predictive impact of the viral genotype on patient care and vaccine utility.

2) Rare neurological conditions

An association between the 16p13.2 copy number variation deletion and seizures has suggested that a) systematic suppression of each of genes in the loci might yield similar neurological phenotypes seen in the 16p13.2 deletion; and b) such genes might be strong candidates for harboring rare pathogenic point mutations. Through these studies, we discovered USP7 as a message capable of inducing abnormal neurological activity in brain organoids, cultured neurons, and loss-of-function mouse models. Together with collaborators at the Foundation for USP7-Related Diseases (, our studies are centered on the mechanism by which USP7 gene dosage and rare variants can induce pathology. In addition, we have also identified other gene loci that mimic USP7-related disorders in human and animal models.

3) Ciliary biology and neurodevelopmental conditions

Large-scale studies have begun to map the genetic architecture of Schizophrenia. We now know that the genetic contribution to this condition arises from a variety of lesions that include a) rare copy number variants (CNVs) of strong effect; b) common non-coding alleles of mild effect; and c) rare coding alleles that cluster in biological modules. The challenge that has emerged from these studies is the requirement for large sample sizes to detect significant genetic signals. These findings intimate that SZ is genetically heterogeneous and manifesting potentially as a clinically heterogeneous group of phenotypes with discrete physiological drivers. To address this challenge and to complement the ongoing sequencing effort of cross-sectional SZ, we propose to sample individuals with extreme phenotypes (i.e., resistant to treatment: TRS) to potentially discover an enrichment of causal rare variants which would have otherwise not been observed or been difficult to detect in a large, random sampling of SZ. In addition, we will focus on the role of a specific biological module, the pericentriolar material (including the centrosome, basal body, and primary cilium) and how it relates to the development of the brain and behavior through the genomic and functional dissection of PCM1.