Paul Verburg

I am a broadly trained soil scientist with an interest in applying fundamental knowledge about soils to assess effects of natural and anthropogenic perturbations such as climate change, acid rain and land management on terrestrial ecosystems. I have worked in a variety of ecosystems including boreal forest, tallgrass prairie, Mojave deserts, and Sierra Nevada forests. In my research I use a combination of field, laboratory and modeling approaches to obtain a better mechanistic understanding of how soils and ecosystems function and respond to external stressors.

Beth Newingham

Dr. Newingham is a Research Ecologist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Reno, NV, and adjunct faculty at UNR. Her research interests include plant community ecology, soil ecology, ecosystem ecology, fire ecology, restoration ecology, and climate change. She is particularly fascinated about linking plant and soil processes.

Joanna Blaszczak

I study the transformations and transport of nutrients, carbon, and contaminants through watersheds and the streams that drain them at the University of Nevada, Reno. My lab uses a combination of field (environmental sensors), lab (analytical chemistry and mesocosm experiments), and modeling (mechanistic time-series models) approaches to address the questions we are most excited about!

Bernhard Bach

I am involved in the support and development of various research programs. At the Nevada Terawatt Facility I am involved in the development of optical and x-ray diagnostics for two research programs. As a Co-Pi for the American Climber Science program I am involved with the development of optical instrumentation for field measurements of snow and ice.
Prior to my employment as Undergraduate Lab Director at the University of Nevada, I was owner and/or founder of two optical manufacturing firms. As a business owner I worked closely with various university research programs as well as foreign (ESA, DESY) and national laboratories (NASA, NIST, LBL, etc.). Optics that I have had a hand in designing and or fabricating have seen use in space flight programs –– Scimachy, Venus Express Missions and the James Webb Telescope, for example ––and in synchrotron beamlines, SRC, ALS, NSLS and DESY. . I still maintain close ties with industry, consulting with aerospace firms developing optical elements for space flight and aiding high-tech firms in developing novel optical instrumentation. From 2004-2005 I sat on the industrial advisory board for NSF’s Engineering Research Center For Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology’s

Maryam Raeeszadeh-Sarmazdeh

Maryam Raeeszadeh-Sarmazdeh joined the University of Nevada, Reno in July 2019 as an assistant professor. Dr. Sarmazdeh was a senior research fellow in the Department of Cancer Biology at Mayo Clinic, Florida from 2017 to 2019 at Dr. Radisky’s lab, 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 at Prof. Wilfred Chen’s lab for 2.5 years. Dr. Sarmazdeh earned her Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville under Prof. Eric Boder’s supervision. There, her research was focused on generating site-specific protein immobilization on the surface and protein engineering using yeast surface display and directed evolution.

Iain Buxton

The Buxton lab is exploring contraction-relaxation coupling in the uterine myometrium in order to better understand and develop treatments for the problem of preterm labor. Preterm delivery of an underdeveloped fetus is a global problem. Babies delivered prior to full development at term have multiple medical problems that plague these individuals throughout their lifetime. Prematurity explains 75% of all fetal morbidity and mortality. Thus, beyond the tragic and costly fact of their prematurity, is the major impact on individuals and societies long-term. There are no effective (or FDA-approved) medications that prevent contractions of the uterus in patients who enter labor preterm (PTL). What is used is ineffective at allowing the fetus to remain in the womb until term. Drugs employed to prevent PTL (tocolytics) are only evaluated for an ability to prevent labor for 48 hours, a time during which treatments can ready the fetus to breath air. PTL leads to preterm delivery (PTD) in over 50% of cases. Spontaneous PTL (sPTL, no explanation such as infection) accounts for the majority of PTL.

The approach to sPTL we are pursuing is based on the non-canonical pathway by which NO relaxes myometrium. Our approach hypothesizes specific S-nitrosation differences in the protein fingerprint of sPTL compared with laboring myometrium. What is needed to investigate sPTL is to know the specific proteins that are post-translationally S-nitrosated and their abundance and/or unique presence and the impact of their S-nitrosation in pregnancy, labor and sPTL.

We have discovered particular unique proteins that are deferentially S-nitrosated and are pursuing their role in mediating relaxation on pregnancy and labor. One such protein is a channel called TREK-1. This channel is stretch-activated. We discovered genetic variants of the channel associated with PTL in women. Electrophysiological measurement of these gene variant channels suggests that their expression in women may constitute a mechanism to explain PTL in these patients. Drug discovery is in process to generate therapeutics to treat this form of PTL.

In a second thrust, the Buxton lab is looking for therapeutic targets in breast cancer. Tumor cells migrate to distant sites in the body before they are capable of forming aggressive metastases and thus remain dormant. We do not know the cellular behavior of disease we label latent but attracting a blood supply may be an early property that precedes and is required for those lesions that become malignant in women. Breast cancer specific mortality is almost exclusively a function of metastasis. Growth of tumor cells as metastases dictates that tumor cells must first develop a capillary blood supply or risk necrosis. Metastatic tumor cells have already attracted a blood supply, a hallmark of cancer. What activates dormant cells at metastatic sites to move from a quiescent to aggressive phenotype is not known. It is critical to determine the effect of a kinase we discovered to be released from cancer cells because every indication is that it produces a blood supply for cells that can later become malignant, an event that cannot take place unless a blood supply is available. Our current experiments are focused on the actions of the kinase that permit intravasation and extravasation of tumor cells that permit their passage to distant sites in the body where they can lodge and remain undetected for years. We have developed an inhibitor of the kinase and hope to demonstrate its potential a breast cancer prophylactic.

Hyeun Joong Yoon

Dr. Yoon’s current research is to develop advanced bioMEMS tools for understanding cell trafficking in cancer through isolation, characterization, and study of circulating tumor cells in the peripheral blood of cancer patients. His goal is to create cutting edge engineering solutions to clinical problems with novel translational biomedical research tools. He has published more than 40 journal and conference papers, including Nature Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials, ACS Nano, Analytical Chemistry, Sensors and Actuators A, B, etc.

Sid Pathak

Marian Berryhill

My research falls in the domain of cognitive neuroscience. I study how we hold on to a few items in working memory and use them for immediate task demands. My lab investigates what factors matter in getting information into working memory, how we maintain and manipulate information, and how well we retrieve it. For example, we are currently investigating the consequences of familiar and unfamiliar distractor items on older adults’ working memory performance. We use a range of experimental techniques in human participants, some with brain lesions. These include fMRI, fNIRS, tDCS/tACS, and HD-EEG.

John Cushman

John Cushman, a Foundation Professor and Director of the Biochemistry Graduate Program in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, joined the University of Nevada in Reno, Nevada in 2000. He earned a Ph.D. degree in Microbiology from Rutgers University. He was awarded an NSF postdoctoral fellowship in Plant Biology and conducted research at the University of Arizona on the induction of Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) by environmental stress. He then moved to Oklahoman State University moving up through the academic ranks until moving to the University of Nevada. Professor Cushman’s research is focused on plant responses to abiotic stress with an emphasis on cold, salinity, drought responses and mechanisms of desiccation tolerance. More recently, his laboratory is seeking to exploit engineered tissue succulence and crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) to improve the water-use efficiency of potential feedstocks for expansion of food and biofuels production in marginal or abandoned agricultural lands. Until recently, he served as the biomass/biofuels group leader within the UNR Renewable Energy Center. He currently serves as an associate editor of The Plant Journal.