Dr. Buck is an anthropologist and educator. He has been involved in archaeological and anthropological projects in a wide variety of contexts in western North America and Egypt for almost 30 years. His research interests include:
• Prehistoric human adaptation to arid environments of western North America,
• the transition from food collecting to food producing economies in the Southwestern U.S. and Egypt,
• the impact of technological change on prehistoric cultures, and
• applications of remote sensing and geoarchaeology to prehistory.
In addition to his research efforts, Dr. Buck has been involved in a number of science education projects and other efforts to promote science inquiry in a variety of scientific fields, including archaeology. He was the Principal Investigator of the Shadow Ridge High School/Tule Springs Earth Science Education Project, funded by NSF to develop a new earth science honors course based on authentic research for 9th grade students (NSF award #0331249). He was the lead education consultant for development of the environmental education curriculum for 5th grade students at the Red Rock Desert Learning Center residential outdoor science school planned to open in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area near Las Vegas. He directed the Nevada Science Teacher Enhancement Project, a three year in-service teacher enhancement project program funded by the National Science Foundation’s Teacher Enhancement Program (grant number ESI-9731285). Buck was Project Director for the NSHE’s K-12 education/outreach program as part of an NSHE $15 million 5 year EPScoR RTIII award.
Dr. Buck is also committed to involving a greater diversity of students in math and science. As Director of the Increasing Diversity in Science in Nevada program (a part of the NSHE’s previous NSF EPSCoR grant), he led after school science enrichment programs for middle school and high school students, prepared freshman minority students for college in the NSHE, and provided support for freshman students at UNR and UNLV.
Helen J. Wing is an Associate Professor of Molecular Microbiology in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Birmingham (UK) in 1997, where she studied transcriptional gene regulation in Escherichia coli. She worked with both Prof. Stephen J.W. Busby and Prof. John R. Guest in her first post-doctoral position, where she employed biochemical approaches to study transcription. In 2000, Helen moved to the U.S. to take a post-doctoral position with Marcia B. Goldberg M.D. at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. It was here that she became interested in the transcriptional regulation of Shigella virulence genes and antimicrobial peptides. She joined the faculty at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2005.
The primary focus of my research laboratory is virulence gene expression in the bacterial pathogen Shigella flexneri, the causal agent of bacillary dysentery, which is estimated to kill over 1 million people each year. All four species of Shigella harbor a large virulence plasmid, which carries most of the genes required to cause disease in the human host, including those required for invasion, type III secretion and actin-based motility, a process that allows bacteria to spread from one human cell to another. We are interested in the environmental cues, the timing and the molecular events that trigger the expression of virulence genes. We are particularly interested in the complex interplay between nucleoid structuring proteins, proteins that facilitate the packaging of DNA into tiny cells, and the transcriptional regulators of virulence in Shigella VirF and VirB.
Dr. Buck’s research focuses on medical geology – in particular how geological materials impact health. Currently, her work focuses on dust and hazards associated with dust exposure including those from asbestiform minerals, arsenic, and other carcinogens. She also performs research to better understand and quantify arid soil processes so that this knowledge can be applied in land use decisions, radionuclide and heavy metal contamination, biologic soil crusts, paleoclimate interpretations, landscape evolution, soil genesis, geomorphic hazards, and other applications.
Dr. Obrist’s research interests include atmospheric chemistry, transport, and biogeochemistry of pollutants and quantification of surface exchange processes of atmospheric constituents between soils, plants, and the atmosphere. A special emphasis includes cycling of mercury in the environment and how global change and disturbances affect these processes. Current research projects include (i) systematic quantification of mercury loads in forest across the United States to assess atmospheric loadings sequestered in terrestrial systems; (ii) study of biogeochemical processes of mercury sequestered in soils and litter to assess it’s fate during organic carbon decomposition; (iii) assessment of long-range transport of atmospheric pollutants (e.g., Asian pollution events) and tropospheric oxidation of mercury at DRI’s high-elevation research Station, Storm Peak Laboratory in the Rocky Mountains; (iv) development of a novel real-time sensor based on Cavity-Ring-Down spectroscopy to measure atmospheric mercury concentrations; and (v) study of mercury depletion events in the halogen-rich atmosphere at the Dead Sea, Israel to determine oxidation pathways and kinetics for mercury oxidation in temperate areas. Other interests include effects of wildfires and global change (e.g., elevated CO2, increasing tropospheric ozone) on hydrology and carbon and nutrient cycling processes in terrestrial ecosystems.
Dr. Pohll’s major research interest is in numerical simulation of hydrologic systems. Evaluation of complex hydrologic systems requires tools from the traditionally fragmented fields of surface water hydrology, groundwater hydrogeology, and statistics. He is specifically interested in the development and application of numerical models that allow the end users to better understand the system and to make decisions within an uncertain environment. He uses state-of-the-art numerical tools to evaluate the all of the uncertainties inherent in the modeling environment so the end users understand how to quantify the worth of the modeling results in relation to the ramifications of the decision.
Dr. Grzymski is the Senior Director of the Applied Innovation Center and an Associate Research Professor of microbiology and computational biology. He holds adjunct positions in molecular biosciences and hydrology at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is co-founder of the companies Evozym Biologics, Inc and EMS Genomics, LLC. His academic research focuses on adaptations in microbes to extreme environments using methods from biophysics, molecular biology, informatics and microbiology. Joe received his BA in philosophy and biology from Bowdoin College. He was a Fulbright Scholar before attending Rutgers University where he received a Ph.D in Oceanography. In his spare time, Joe plays tennis, runs, cooks and enjoys spending time with his family. He has been at DRI and lived in Nevada for 12 years. He is passionate about improving Nevada’s economy through the promotion of DRI’s incredible science.
Dr. Acharya’s research involves aquatic and biological stoichiometry, the study of balance of energy and multiple chemical elements. He is particularly interested in how human management of watersheds affects aquatic invertebrate community structure in aquatic environments. Aquatic invertebrates face special evolutionary challenges in these systems due to factors such as hydroperiod, flow or anthropogenic effects. My specific studies involve observational and experimental studies at various scales, including laboratory cultures (zooplankton, algal chemostats), short-term field experiments and sustained whole-ecosystem manipulations. His other research interests are nutrient cycling, wastewater treatment systems, groundwater management, and ecological modeling. Recently completed studies include role of zooplankton populations in large river (Ohio River) food webs, impact of changes in hydrological conditions (e.g., excessive rainfall or drought conditions) in riverine biota via changes in nutrient and food conditions.
Dr. Nicholas Lancaster is one of the world’s foremost experts on desert sand dunes. He has worked in deserts in Africa (Namib, Kalahari, northern and western Sahara), Antarctica, and the western United States (Mojave and Sonoran Deserts). His current collaborative research focuses on: (1) Dune dynamics and morphology; (2) Application of remote sensing to assess aeolian transport potential and paleoenvironments in arid regions; (3) Ground penetrating radar (GPR) and optical dating of dune deposits; (4) Impacts of climatic change on desert regions; and (5) Aeolian processes on planetary surfaces.
Dr. Louis works in Genetic Algorithms, Evolutionary Computing and their applications to Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Optimization. His current work investigates adaptive AI for RTS-games, interaction design for controlling large numbers of heterogeneous, semi-autonomous entities, and generating real-time micro for game and real-world agents. The Evolutionary Computing Systems Lab (ECSL), which I direct, has investigated new techniques for machine learning using Case-Injected Genetic AlgoRithms (CIGAR), new techniques for playing to learn to play computer games, and new techniques for evolving Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game micro and macro.