Cory Rusinek

Professor Rusinek is interested in electroanalytical chemistry, sensor development, and materials technology. This includes development in both biological and environmental sensing where applications in neurochemical detection, wearable sensors, and environmental monitoring coalesce for tangible impact on society. Prof. Rusinek is also interested in electrochemical materials development for energy applications in CO2 reduction and nuclear power production. In Prof. Rusinek’s group, students are exposed to a multi-disciplinary environment, pulling from knowledge in chemistry, electrochemistry, chemical engineering, and materials science.

Allen Gibbs

My lab uses experimental evolution in the laboratory to study how physiological systems evolve. We subject populations of fruitflies (Drosophila) to stressful conditions and investigate how they evolve in response to stress over many generations. Our current major projects involve flies that have been selected for resistance to desiccation and starvation stress for >100 generations. To understand the relevance of this laboratory research to nature, we have also studied several other types of insects and their relatives, including grasshoppers, ants, desert fruitflies, scorpions, etc.

Shichun Huang

I study the elemental and isotopic compositions of basalts, peridotites, meteorites, and samples returned by NASA missions, and use them to understand the origins and the evolution of the solid Earth and the early Solar System.

Pradip Bhowmik

My interests focus on organic and polymer synthesis in general. More specifically, we are interested in developing novel light-emitting and liquid-crystalline polymers for their multitude applications in modern technology including biosensors. In another project, we are developing ionic liquids based on the concept of green chemistry, and liquid-crystalline and light-emitting organic salts to make them functional materials. Carbon nanotube-based composite materials based on ionic polymers are of significant interest in our group. In recent years, we are also actively pursuing for the development of cisplatin analogs for the development cancer therapy.

Erica Marti

Dr. Erica Marti’s main research interests are in water and wastewater treatment, especially in the area of transforming wastewater for a beneficial reuse (drinking water, irrigation water, etc.). Past work has included understanding the formation of unregulated disinfection byproducts (DBPs) and investigating different methods to prevent their formation. DBPs are created when water is disinfected with chemical oxidants like different forms of chlorine and ozone. We use the chemicals to inactivate pathogens (bacteria, viruses, etc.) but the chemicals can react with other dissolved organics and inorganics to create unwanted byproducts, some of which are toxic. Therefore, water treatment professionals must work carefully to provide the right amount of oxidant for disinfection while minimizing DBPs.
Future research topics include remediation of polluted groundwater, adsorption of heavy metals from wastewater using biochar made from agricultural waste products, uptake of DBPs in plants grown using treated wastewater, and optimizing toxicity assays for DBPs.
Dr. Marti also conducts research in the area of STEM education and has led several Teacher Professional Development programs for integrated STEM lessons and engineering design.

Shahab Tayeb

My research interests span communications, complex networks, and network security. I particularly plan to investigate network protocols (e.g. emerging wireless communications standards), big data analytics, the security and privacy of the Internet of Things and Cyber Physical Systems (e.g. Smart City).

Rochelle Hines

Rochelle Hines’ research is aimed at understanding neurodevelopmental processes under normal and pathological conditions, which include autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and developmental epilepsies. In particular, Rochelle’s studies focus on understanding the formation and stabilization of specific synapse types during development, with an emphasis on inhibitory synapses. Rochelle employs molecular genetics, biochemistry, confocal and electron microscopy, behavioral assessments and electroencephalography in mouse models to gain understanding of how inhibitory synapse function and dysfunction during development impacts brain signaling, circuitry and behavior. The ultimate goal of Rochelle’s research is to improve our understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders and to promote novel therapeutic strategies.

Rochelle earned her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada (2009), followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA (2015).

Dustin Hines

The brain operates as a complex orchestration that involves many different cellular players. Dr. Dustin Hines’ research is aimed at understanding the role that glial cells play under normal and pathological conditions, which include neuropsychiatric disorders (depression), traumatic brain injury, stroke and Alzheimer disease. In particular, Dr. Hines researches how astrocytes and microglia cells both talk and listen to neurons. Dr. Hines employs molecular genetics, biochemistry, confocal and two photon microscopy, electrophysiology and behavioral assessments in mouse models to gain understanding of how glia cells impact brain signaling, circuitry and behavior. Dr. Hines’ research ultimately is directed towards understanding how all of the cells of the brain are orchestrated into the precise symphony that we call behavior.

Paul Buck

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.

Hai Pham

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow working in the Division of Hydrologic Sciences (DHS), at the Desert Research Institute (DRI). I obtained my Ph.D. in Hydrology from LSU. Before I joined DRI in 2016, I worked as a postdoc fellow at LSU.

My research aims to reduce uncertainty in groundwater modeling with focus on developing computer programs for prediction of flow and contaminant movement in porous and fractured media, uncertainty assessment of hydrologic parameters, conceptual models, and scenarios, optimization, and experimental designs using high-performance computing systems. At DRI, I am developing computer models to predict flow and radionuclide transport through fractured rock aquifers at the Pahute Mesa of the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).

I enjoy conducting research and publishing, developing grant proposals as well as teaching university courses and mentoring students.