Maryam Sarmazdeh

Maryam Raeeszadeh-Sarmazdeh joined the University of Nevada, Reno in July 2019 as an assistant professor. Her research group is focused on biomolecular engineering and synthetic biology to develop novel biotechnology tools and products to solve major issues in human health, sustainability and environment. Dr. Sarmazdeh was a senior research fellow in the Department of Cancer Biology at Mayo Clinic, Florida, during which her work was focused on engineering novel protein-based therapeutics based on natural enzyme inhibitors. Prior to her appointment at Mayo Clinic, she was a postdoctoral scholar at the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the University of Delaware where her research was focused on enzyme and metabolic pathway engineering. Dr. Sarmazdeh earned her Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. There, her research was focused on generating site-specific protein immobilization on the surface and protein engineering using yeast surface display and directed evolution.

Cindy Lancaster

Cynthia Lancaster is an associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research focuses on traumatic stress and anxiety-related disorders. Three areas of specific focus include:
1) identifying factors that increase and decrease risk for PTSD,
2) identifying mechanisms and augmentation strategies for exposure-based therapies for PTSD and other anxiety disorders, and
3) identifying the impact of social factors in the development and treatment of anxiety and stress-related disorders.

She completed her undergraduate degree at Trinity University, served as a research assistant at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (STRONG STAR Consortium), completed her doctoral degree at the University of Texas as Austin in 2017, and completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship at the Charleston Consortium.

Meeghan Gray

My research interests have focused on the behavioral ecology of large mammals, particularly the interactions between males and females, especially in the context of sex and reproduction. I have always been fascinated with why individuals mate with certain individuals and how those decisions impact levels of parental investment, offspring survival, and future conflict between the sexes. The majority of my research has stemmed from management based projects that I use to examine major themes in behavioral ecology. Currently, I am studying bobcat health and presence in suburban West Reno.

Steve Frese

Dr. Frese’s research is centered on the human gut microbiome and its inhabitants. Our work at the University of Nevada, Reno examines how diet, food science, and biotechnology can be leveraged to meaningfully improve human health and nutrition.

Shengjie Zhai

Dr. Shengjie (Patrick) Zhai is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His research expertise is centered around five key areas: 1) Novel nanomaterials and patterning techniques for bioelectronics, optoelectronics, and photovoltaics, 2) Plasmonic-enhanced biosensors for single-molecule biomedical analysis, 3) Micro/Nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS), 4) Physiological organ biomimetic systems built on microfluidic chips and multi-external driven, scaffold-free engineered human tissue models, and 5) Artificial intelligence-assisted health assessment.
His research contributions include the development of micro-engineered multichannel organ-on-a-chip devices, AI-reinforced biomimetic biosensors, and novel biomaterials for low-noise, comfortable personal health wearable monitor bioelectronics (PHWMB). Dr. Zhai has authored over 20 peer-reviewed articles published in respected journals such as Advanced Optical Materials, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, and IEEE COMPSAC, and holds nine patents in his field.
Among his accolades, Dr. Zhai is a recipient of two National Science Foundation Fund Awards (2021, 2019), the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development Fund Award (2020), the NASA-Colgate Funding Award (2019), and a Department of Energy Research Award (2022). He has also served as an editor for the Journal of Renewable Materials and as a contributing reviewer for the Royal Society of Chemistry Advances. His academic services extend to numerous other academic journals, and he has participated as a panelist for NSF, DOE, and NASA grant review processes.

Mohamed Trabia

Dr. Mohamed Trabia is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering since 2000 at UNLV. His research interests include design and optimization of mechanical systems, characterization of material properties under dynamic loading, system identification and control of smart actuators. Dr. Trabia has been the author of more than 200 technical journal and conference papers. He was involved in multiple funded research projects. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

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.

Scott Morrison

Scott has served as WNC’s Accreditation Liaison Officer with NWCCU since 2017 and as an NWCCU evaluator since 2015. Scott’s recent accomplishments include partnering with colleagues and communities on dual credit to build WNC’s Jump Start College Program, expanding cohorts to support underserved populations, revising WNC’s learning outcomes and assessment practices to align with institutional goals, and helping to lead a full revision of the Western’s strategic plan.

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.