Markus Berli

Dr. Markus Berli’s research interests focus on modeling and measurement of soil structural dynamics affecting fluid flow and solute transport. Key issues are the connection of hydraulics and mechanics of soils at the micro-scale and upscaling physical soil behavior from pore to sample- and eventually field-scale.

Further areas of interest are: New methods for in-situ characterization of soil hydraulic and mechanical properties; improved characterization of soil pore geometry using X-ray-Micro-Tomography and pore water flow employing Neutron-Tomography; improved methods to assess and predict soil deterioration due to mechanical impacts.

His vision is that micro-scale coupling of soil hydraulics and mechanics with chemical and microbial processes will provide a conceptual framework for an improved understanding of fluid flow, contaminant fate and transport in the vadose zone, to sustain soil productivity and to secure water resources of sufficient quality and quantity world-wide.

Helen J. Wing

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.

Peter Weisberg

Dr. Weisberg is interested in the causes and consequences of landscape change, including natural disturbances, effects of anthropogenic land use, ungulate-landscape interactions, and invasive species.  His research often considers past landscape change as a guide to understanding present and future condition, and integrates field studies, GIS, remote sensing and simulation modeling.  Ongoing research projects within his lab group address disturbance ecology, woodland expansion, post-fire succession, and ecological restoration in Great Basin pinyon-juniper woodlands; fire history and ecology of mountain big sagebrush communities; fire ecology of the Sierra Nevada (Lake Tahoe Basin); and the ecology of tamarisk invasions along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon.

Charles Coronella

Waste to energy conversion, biomass pre-treatment for bioenergy, applications of fluidization and chemical looping combustion.

Jeffery Shen

Dr. Shen’s research focuses on development of databases and bioinformatics tools for genome analyses and gene annotations, predictions of genes responsive to environmental/developmental cues, and predictions of gene functions (subcellular localization, and protein motifs). Another focus of my research is the molecular mechanism controlling plant responses to abiotic stresses, seed dormancy and germination. He is also interested in the mechanism underlying tissue-specific and developmentally-regulated gene expression.

The recent accomplishment in sequencing the genomes of thousands of organisms, including human being and important crops such as rice, is leading to a revolution in scientific research, medicine discovery, and improvement of the quality of our food. His lab is interested in developing (adopting, modifying, and inventing) bioinformatics tools for genome analyses and gene ontology studies. Gene ontology addresses: Biological Process (Why is this, such as cell enlargement, being done?), Molecular Function (What kind of molecule is this? Enzymes or transcription factors?), and Cellular Component (Where is this located? Nuclei or Mitochondria?).