Meet Our Researchers
Mariah D.R. Evans , Ph.D.
has identified the best times of day for college-age students to learn.
Mariah D.R. Evans is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Coordinator of the Applied Statistics Program. She has published widely in social statistics, survey design and methods, social psychology and culture, social stratification (with special reference to home and school influences on education), comparative methods, and demography. Her 2017 study in partnership with The Open University in the UK on the best times of day for college-age students to learn in class received nationwide media coverage through National Public Radio and the Wall Street Journal, among others.
Eric Rasmussen, Ph.D.
is a world-renowned Shakespeare expert who has verified rare First Folios in Europe.
Eric Rasmussen, a Foundation Professor and chair of the English department at the University of Nevada, has been called "the Robert Langdon of the Shakespearean world" by the Washington Post. He received the Falstaff Award for Best Shakespearean Book of the Year from PlayShakespeare.com in 2007, 2012, and again in 2013. He is currently a general editor of the MLA's New Variorum Shakespeare and of the Internet Shakespeare Editions Project, and serves as the U.S. representative on the advisory board for the 2016 World Shakespeare Exhibition at the British Library in London.
Trudy Larson, M.D.
successfully treats HIV-positive mothers to prevent passing on HIV/AIDS to children at birth.
As a pediatric infectious disease specialist, “Dr. Trudy,” as she is known, has spent her career focusing on HIV/AIDS research, education and service. As a founder and current Medical Director of the HOPES clinic, Trudy and her team provide life-saving healthcare to those with HIV/AIDS. Trudy frequently speaks to healthcare providers and the public on AIDS, vaccinations, disease outbreaks, bioterrorism, and sex education. In 1999, she received the Distinguished Physician award from the Nevada State Medical Association and in 2008 was honored as a Healthcare Hero for Lifetime Achievement for her work with HIV/AIDS.
Zong Tian, Ph.D.
engineers traffic control systems to reduce congestion, fuel consumption, and emissions.
Dr. Tian’s research focuses on various aspects of traffic engineering and intelligent transportation systems, including traffic signal system and operations, freeway ramp metering, integrated freeway/surface street system operations, highway capacity, video image system, and large-scale transportation network modeling.
Dave Croasdell, Ph.D.
helps students develop innovative solutions to business challenges, fostering entrepreneurship and opportunity.
As the Charles and Ruth Hopping Professor of Entrepreneurship and an Associate Professor of Information Systems in the Department of Accounting and Information Systems, Dave and his team engage students to encourage and develop innovative ideas to pressing business problems. He serves as the Director for the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition; as co-director of the Governor's Cup Business Plan competition; as faculty advisor to the Entrepreneurship club; and Academic Director for the Mandela Washington Fellows Initiative for Young African Leaders.
Christine Aramburu Alegria, Ph.D.
works to educate nurses and doctors about the special healthcare needs of transgender and obese individuals.
Following a career in nursing, Christine became a professor to further her understanding of the healthcare issues facing minority populations. Her research interests include identity, relationships, and health promotion in marginalized populations, in particular the transgender and obese populations; as well as qualitative research, global health and nursing, and the role and potential of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree in today’s dynamic healthcare environment.
Brad Ferguson, Ph.D.
is screening chemical compounds from plants to identify those that protect the heart — for a healthier Nevada.
Brad’s research focuses on turning basic discoveries in laboratory research into potential therapies for heart and metabolic disease. In his laboratory, Brad and his team work to understand the signaling and gene regulatory mechanisms that link metabolic disease such as obesity and diabetes to enlarged hearts and fibrosis, which can lead to heart failure. His research into plant compounds as a means to positively impact the heart through gene expression is an exciting new realm with deep potential for human health and longevity.
Adrian Harpold, Ph.D.
explores the science of water’s flow from snow on a mountain top to the consumer’s tap — for secure water supplies for Nevada’s future.
Adrian’s resaerch interests include quantifying catchment and basin-scale water and solute budgets and the linkages between hydrology, hydrochemistry, geomorphology, and ecology in montane forested systems. Mountain ecosystems are the major water source and carbon sink in western North America, and they are subject to changes in climate and other disturbances. Better understanding these complex ecohydrological processeses has the potential to improve water resource management in Nevada and worldwide.
Craig Vincze, Ph.D.
earned a doctorate in biomedical engineering and went on to found a successful bioscience startup, Clickbio®.
Craig is an example of positive University of Nevada, Reno outcomes — a biomedical engineering Ph.D. who first worked in industry and then ventured out to create a dynamic new startup company — Clickbio®. His company innovates in the labware space to design and manufacture more efficient tools to help researchers develop lifesaving drugs — and bring them to market faster. With support from The University of Nevada’ Reno’s Innevation Center powered by Switch, Clickbio® is manufacturing and on its way to profitability.
Krishna Pagilla, Ph.D.
works to maximize sustainable water resources to benefit the economy, environment and social well-being.
Dr. Krishna Pagilla is a professor and director of the environmental engineering program at the University of Nevada, Reno. He works with other environmental engineers to develop economic and management policies to maintain the sustainability of the Truckee River watershed. He is also involved in water treatment, environmental biotechnology, the water-economy nexus, resource recovery and sustainability.
Mehmet Tosun, Ph.D.
researches public finance, particularly state and local fiscal policies and taxation.
Mehmet Tosun is a professor of Economics and Chair of the Department of Economics in the College of Business. Tosun is recipient of the Barbara Smith Campbell Distinguished Professor of Nevada Tax Policy.
Helping the private sector understand tax policy, develop information resources and up-to-date practices at the state and local level is one of Tosun’s research areas. He has worked as a consultant for the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Cities and Local Governments, and two United Nations agencies.
works to foster a sense of community on campus so all feel welcome, valued and empowered to succeed.
Blane Harding, director of The Center – Every Student. Every Story. is committed to increasing student success, retention and graduation rates through cultural competency. His studies find students leave school for a variety of reasons, and not all are academic.
If students do not feel welcome and accepted they might be compelled to remain enrolled. His focus is to build relationships across the University and weave diversity, multiculturalism and social justice into a wider range of employee, student and faculty programs.
Kostas Alexis, Ph.D.
designs robots to navigate, explore and inspect complex areas such as disaster sites or industrial facilities.
Kostas Alexis, professor of computer science and engineering in the College of Engineering. His research interests lie in the fields of control, navigation, optimization and path-planning focusing on aerial robotic systems with multiple and hybrid configurations. He has participated in and organized several large-scale multi-million dollar research projects with broad international involvement and collaboration. Together with his collaborators, they have achieved world records in the field of solar-powered flight endurance.
Dave Au Coin, Ph.D.
developed a test to quickly diagnose melioidosis, a tropical disease that kills an estimated 100,000 people every year.
Dave Au Coin is an associate professor and chair of microbiology & immunology at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. His research focuses on developing rapid ways to diagnose infectious diseases, particularly those that affect underserved areas of the world.
His laboratory has developed a novel platform technology termed "In vivo Microbial Antigen Discovery" or InMAD, to identify such secreted antigens. InMAD is currently being utilized to identify candidate diagnostic antigens secreted during infection with Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis), Aspergillus fumigatus (invasive aspergillosis) and Francisella tularensis (tularemia).
Peter Sebaaly, Ph.D.
studies ways to recycle used tires and pavements into new engineered asphalt.
Peter Sebaaly is a professor of civil engineering and director of the Western Regional Superpave Center (WRSC) at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has more than twenty years of experience in pavement design, materials and vehicle-pavement interaction. He focuses on laboratory and field evaluation of modified asphalt binders and asphalt mixtures, water sensitivity of asphalt mixtures, pavement instrumentation, pavement performance studies and rehabilitation and maintenance-design procedures.
Bridget Walsh, Ph.D.
works to empower parents with tools and techniques to be their child’s first teacher.
Bridget Walsh is an associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Education. She is committed to exploring and to examining ways to promote family involvement and engagement in children's learning. Her research focuses on family involvement and engagement, home visiting, and vocabulary acquisition in the context of shared storybook reading.
Wei Yan, Ph.D.
targets gene mutation in the treatment of infertility and adult onset diseases.
Wei Yan is Foundation Professor of Physiology and Cell Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. His research studies the affects abnormal sperm and egg development play in adult onset diseases and infertility.
Male infertility affects one out of 20 adult men worldwide. One cause of male infertility is headless sperm or “acephalic” sperm. Yan and his team solved the long-standing mystery of headless sperm in both humans and animals with fertility problems. An evolutionarily conserved gene called Spata6 is essential for sperm neck assembly inside the testis. When Spata6 gene is mutated, the sperm neck either lacks or becomes fragile, leading to separation of the head from the tail.
Steven Hayes, Ph.D.
developed ACT therapy to help people move beyond suffering toward a promising life.
Steven Hayes is a foundation professor of psychology and author of 38 books and more than 530 scientific articles. His career has focused on an analysis of the nature of human language and cognition and the alleviation of human suffering.
He is the developer of Relational Frame Theory and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that uses mindfulness, acceptance and values-based methods to foster psychological flexibility: opening up to experience, and connecting with our sense of meaning and purpose to move beyond suffering toward a promising life.
Heather Holmes, Ph.D.
uses satellites and weather models to study air pollution, so all Nevadans can breathe a little easier.
Heather Holmes has a passion for understanding air pollution and its effects on human health. Her current research combines numerical weather prediction, chemical transport modeling, and field experiments to investigate pollutant accumulation, transport and mixing and provide data to epidemiologists for health and public policy assessments.
Professor Holmes' work is yet another example of how new knowledge brought to light by University of Nevada, Reno researcher effects real change in science and public policy, both here in Nevada and around the globe.
Amilton de Mello, Ph.D.
saves lives by reducing Salmonella in ground meat and poultry.
Amilton de Mello is an assistant professor of Nutrition and Veterinary Science and Food Safety Program Leader for the University of Nevada, Reno. His research spans "from farm to table" and encompasses animal nutrition, animal handling, harvest, fabrication, and processing.
de Mello and his team have reduced Salmonella in ground meat and poultry by 90 percent by using bacteriophages, naturally occurring bacteria predators that are harmless to plants, humans and other animals. Salmonella is estimated to cause a million foodborne illnesses in the U.S. annually, with 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths.
Mehdi "Saiid" Saiidi, Ph.D
is keeping cities and people moving after devastating earthquakes.
Mehdi "Saiid" Saiidi, Foundation Professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering, is leading a revolution in the field of bridge engineering. Over his three-decade career, Saiidi has remained at the forefront of earthquake engineering for bridges.
Using innovative materials such as nickel titanium, rubber, and reinforced polymers, Saiidi designed a bridge that can withstand severe shaking and still be usable after an earthquake. With Federal Highway Administration funding, Saiidi's research is being implemented in a showcase bridge in Seattle.
Teruni Lamberg, Ph.D.
works with teachers across Nevada to help kids be better at math and problem-solving.
Teruni Lamberg is an Associate Professor of Elementary Mathematics Education whose interests include children's mathematical thinking, teacher education and integrating technology in teaching. Her work involves understanding how to support teachers who teach math so their students will learn.
She is the author of Whole Class Mathematics Discussions: Improving in-depth Mathematical Thinking and Learning. She currently works with every school district in Nevada to improve math learning and teach kids how to become better problem-solvers.
Shamik Sengupta, Ph.D.
works to create intelligent, secure networks to keep you and your information safe.
Shamik Sengupta is a computer science and engineering professor at the University of Nevada, Reno who is developing new smart radio communications and new ways to improve the safety and efficiency of wireless networks. Today’s technologies depend on secure and reliable Internet access from almost anywhere, but our reliance on wireless networks also can make us vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Sengupta and his research team are working to make intelligent secure networks that will keep you and your information safe.
Dan Ruby, M.S.
helps kids build space rovers and inspires their love for science, technology, engineering and math.
Dan Ruby is the director of the Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center, and he’s spent a lot of time gazing at stars and studying space. He was among 26 educators from across the U.S. selected to be Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors, working with research teams aboard SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy), where he flew at the edge of the atmosphere aboard a modified Boeing 747SP jetliner equipped with a telescope slightly larger than the Hubble Space Telescope.
He works with students to inspire their love for STEM, and many of them go on to study science and engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno.
John Cushman, Ph.D.
grows solutions for climate change to transform the future of dryland agriculture.
Professor John Cushman is leading an international team in a race to improve the water efficiency of food- and biofuel-producing crops. If successful, these plants will grow with less water in semi-arid and arid climates, and help meet the need for an estimated 60-120 percent increase in agricultural production to provide sustainable food and fuel for a global population expected to exceed 9 billion people by 2050.
Professor Cushman’s work is just one example of how the University of Nevada, Reno is cultivating new knowledge and new technologies for Nevada’s agricultural sector — and making crop production systems more resilient in a warming world.
Ian Buckle, Ph.D.
saves lives by engineering buildings to withstand devastating earthquakes.
Professor Ian Buckle is reducing the consequences of earthquakes on bridges and other large-scale structures throughout the United States and the world. In the highly competitive world of the seismic performance of large-scale structures, few researchers in the world carry with them a greater reputation for results and success than Buckle.
He has been a driving force in the $18.7 million expansion of the University's Large-Scale Structures Lab, which is now the largest and most versatile earthquake simulation lab in the U.S. and is another example of how the University of Nevada, Reno is shaking up the civil engineering world to save lives and sustain structures both in Nevada and worldwide.
Zeb Hogan, Ph.D.
is saving the last river giants and protecting river and aquatic life worldwide.
between humans and their environments, especially as it relates to endangered freshwater fish. Through his research and outreach he focuses on the most threatened and endangered of the largely forgotten and misunderstood megafish -- fish longer than six feet and larger than 200 pounds.
The need for healthy freshwater ecosystems is ever increasing while the threats to those very structures accelerates. Hogan is driven to use education and his Nat Geo TV Show, Monster Fish, to raise world-wide attention to the urgency of this cause.
David Sanders, Ph.D.
works to make bridges more resilient so earthquakes don't destroy economies.
With expertise in the behavior and design of structural concrete, Sanders conducts large-scale experimental work on the University’s shake tables as well as detailed computer analysis of bridges to understand how an earthquake impacts key parts of a bridge. His research focuses on better understanding the seismic performance of different types of bridge columns and connections, including bridges built using novel construction techniques that save both time and money.
Professor Sanders’ work is just one way civil engineers at the University of Nevada, Reno are exploring innovative techniques to build safer, sustainable infrastructure in Nevada and around the world.
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