Faculty Mentors and their Research | STAMPS


Science, Technology and Math Preparation Scholarships

Faculty Mentors and their Research

Dan Royall, Associate Department Head, Professor of Geography, Environment and Sustainability

Email: pdroyall@uncg.edu

Website: https://ges.uncg.edu/person/royall/

Recent research projects relate to sediment budgets, erosion and sedimentation records preserved in lakes, the recovery of watersheds from disturbance, soil loss measurement and prediction, and the influence of biota on watershed processes.  In addition to geomorphological interests, Dr. Royall has a research background in Quaternary paleoecology and geology.

Jerry Walsh, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Email: jlwalsh@uncg.edu

Website: https://chem.uncg.edu/person/jerry-walsh/

Field: Inorganic Chemistry

Dr. Walsh’s research includes projects in chemical education directed toward professional development programs for teachers and enhancement of science education.

Dr. Walsh’s scientific laboratory research involves synthesis of ligands, synthesis of metal coordination complexes, characterization of the species formed, investigation of spectral and photochemical properties of the coordination complexes, and electrochemical characterization of these species.  Research objectives were directed toward development of coordination complexes that were efficient light absorbers that are capable of multiple electron transfer events and could be used as dye sensitizers or photoredox catalysts.  Redox active ligands that showed synergistic interaction with the metal center were studied.

Kim Petersen, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Email: kspeters@uncg.edu

Website: https://chem.uncg.edu/petersen/

Field: Organic Chemistry, Asymmetric Methodology Development

Dr. Petersen’s research group is focused on solving important synthetic problems using basic principles of organic chemistry.  In particular the research group is interested in the development of new methods for the asymmetric synthesis of biologically important molecules and in the design and synthesis of new drug targets.


Lee Phillips, PhD, Director – Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creativity Office in the University Teaching and Learning Commons

Email: plphilli@uncg.edu

Website: https://utlc.uncg.edu/ursco/

Dr. Lee Phillips joined UNCG in August 2013 as Director of the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creativity Office.  He has a strong commitment to student learning through faculty engagement, especially as it involves undergraduates in research and/or creative inquiry.  Lee earned the B.S. and M.S. in Geology from UNC Wilmington.  After a brief teaching interlude at Western State Colorado University, he attended the University of Iowa to earn the Ph.D. in Geoscience.  Lee helped develop the undergraduate research program at UNC Pembroke, where he was also an Associate Professor of Geology prior to joining UNCG.  He serves as an Executive Board member and Chair of the Geosciences Division for the Council on Undergraduate Research, an international faculty development organization.  He also chairs of the UNC System Undergraduate Research Program Directors Consortium.

Liam Duffy, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Email: liam_duffy@uncg.edu

Website: https://chem.uncg.edu/duffy/

Field: Physical Chemistry

Dr. Duffy’s Research is in Molecular Reaction Dynamics Probed Via Pure Rotational Spectroscopy.  Dr. Duffy and his students have designed, built and tested a unique instrument for probing molecular reaction dynamics via pure rotational spectroscopy. The technique takes advantage of high frequency microwave sources in the millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelength region to probe the products of gas phase reactions.  The ultimate goal of this research is to deduce the molecular electronic states involved in the transition state of a chemical reaction by measuring the speed, direction and internal energy of the products, much the same way an officer attempts to determine the cause of a car accident by studying the wreckage.

Malcolm Schug, Associate Professor of Biology

Email: mdschug@uncg.edu

Website: https://biology.uncg.edu/people/malcolm-schug/

Dr. Schug’s research interests are in the field of evolutionary genetics and animal behavior. He studies a variety of animals and use genetic, behavioral, and molecular methods to test hypotheses aimed at understanding the mechanisms of natural selection in natural populations. Presently his research is focused on the effects of natural selection on molecular genetic variation in a species of fruitfly, Drosophila ananassae, from the South Pacific Islands and Asia. He is interested in the interactions between natural selection, migration, genetic drift, and chromosomal crossing-over during adaptation and speciation.

Maya Chhetri, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics

Email: m_chhetr@uncg.edu

Website: https://sites.google.com/uncg.edu/mchhetri/

Dr. Chhetri studies nonnegative solutions of nonlinear boundary value problems, both ODEs and PDEs. Study of coupled system of Elliptic PDEs with Dirichlet boundary conditions, where reaction terms are asymptotically linear or superlinear at infinity, using bifurcation theory has been the recent focus of Dr. Chhetri’s work. Dr. Chhetri has also been working on extending existence/uniqueness/multiplicity results that are known for positone problems in bounded domains to so called exterior domains. Dr. Chhetri is also learning how to apply optimal control theory in population models.

Prashanti Manda, Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Email: p_manda@uncg.edu

Website: https://compsci.uncg.edu/faculty/manda-2/

Dr. Manda’s research interests primarily include natural language processing, bioinformatics, and ontologies. Her research program at UNCG focuses on developing efficient and scalable methods to mine scientific literature and recognize key biological concepts described in relevant ontologies. Her work introduces novel deep learning algorithms that have been shown to outperform traditional machine learning algorithms at the task of ontology-based literature tagging. She is also interested in mining large volumes of scientific literature in various domains such as bioinformatics, and honey bee health, to understand and uncover trends of research topics. With funding from Microsoft Azure research in 2017, she is conducting a Big Data analysis of approximately 155 million publication records to quantify the impact of scientific research across domains. Dr. Manda’s prior work has focused on developing algorithms for data mining and data analytics applied to large data stores of biological ontology data.

Promod Pratap, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy

Email: prpratap@uncg.edu

Website: https://physics.uncg.edu/faculty-staff/faculty/

Over the past 30 years, Dr. Pratap’s research has focused on the energetics of membrane ion transporters – specifically, the sodium and potassium pump. This membrane protein converts chemical energy into electrochemical potential energy stored in transmembrane gradients of sodium and potassium. In a human at rest, this pump uses approximately 25% of the body’s total energy budget. The pump is also the target of digitalis, a drug administered to increase the strength of heart muscle contractions.  Pratap uses various spectroscopic techniques (ensemble fluorescence and FTIR spectroscopy, and single-molecule fluorescence fluctuations) to examine various steps in the pump’s reaction cycle with the overall goal of determining the pump’s energy conversion efficiency.

Steve Tate, Professor of Computer Science

Email: srtate@uncg.edu

Website: https://www.uncg.edu/cmp/faculty/srtate/index.html

Dr. Tate’s research is in the area of computer security, with recent projects in both hardware-assisted security and mobile agent security. Recently he has begun looking at issues in software security, and in particular looking at secure and robust implementations for cryptographic and security-oriented software – the goal of this work is to respond to the rash of security vulnerabilities we have seen lately (such as Heartbleed, the Apple “goto fail” bug, and the GnuTLS vulnerabilites) by developing tools and techniques for detecting and eradicating these vulnerabilities.

Joseph Santin, Assistant Professor of Biology

Email: jmsantin@uncg.edu

Website: https://biology.uncg.edu/people/joseph-santin/

Dr. Santin answers both applied and basic questions about how the nervous system helps animals survive in their environments. On the applied side, he studies animals that evolved ways to avoid damage to the nervous system. We focus most of our efforts on challenges to the nervous system that tend to be big problems in many human diseases. These include inactivity of neuromuscular systems (think, “if you don’t use it you lose it”) and impaired oxygen transport (think, brain damage in stroke and cardiac arrest). By learning from animals that already “know” how to get around these problems, we up our chances of finding new solutions. On the basic side, Dr. Santin uses this approach to make new discoveries about how nervous systems use plasticity to help animals adapt to their environments. To do this, he takes fundamental concepts about plasticity that were developed outside of real-life contexts (e.g., cell culture, lab settings, modeling, etc.) and tests how they work in situations where animals may need them to survive. This allows him to put together new ideas about how these processes are important for behavior and why they may have evolved.

Dave Remington, Associate Professor in Biology

Email: dlreming@uncg.edu

Website: https://biology.uncg.edu/people/david-remington/ 

Dr. Remington conducts research on the genetics of life history evolution in plants. The genes responsible for evolution of complex patterns of growth form and resource allocation have key roles in shaping how plants respond to new environments such as those brought about by changing climates. However, these processes have received much less study than those regulating other important adaptive traits such as flowering time. He has been using the rock cress Arabidopsis lyrata as an experimental organism for this research. He has discovered that A lyrata is highly variable in resource allocation properties, and its extensive genomic resources make it uniquely valuable for studying these traits. Mapping of genes affecting variation in complex traits (quantitative trait loci, or QTLs) has provided insights on genetic co-regulation of resource allocation traits and their relationship to fitness in different environments. He has been making and testing models of trait networks in order to gain insights on the cause-effect mechanisms by which QTLs coordinately regulate developmental processes, and thus give rise to correlated patterns of variation in multiple traits.

Ramji Bhandari, Assistant Professor of Biology

Email: rkbhanda@uncg.edu

Website: https://biology.uncg.edu/people/ramji-bhandari/

Dr. Bhandari’s research interests are to elucidate mechanisms underlying gene environment interactions and developmental origins of adult-onset and transgenerational health abnormalities. He takes comparative, molecular, cellular, and bioinformatics analysis approaches and utilizes cell/tissue culture and animal models (fish and rodents) in research. Current projects include epigenetic programming of embryo, germ cells and somatic cells, crosstalk between environment and epigenome and between epigenome and phenotype, epigenetic inheritance of phenotypic traits, CRISPR-dCas9-mediated epigenome editing, epigenetic responses to environmental stressors, mainly pharmaceuticals, pesticides, plasticizers, cannabinoids, and engineered nanoparticles.