Presidential Society of STEM Post-Doctoral Mentors will help co-design the future of the program, alongside the President, Provost, and Deans, seeking to build a community of eight scholars a year. This three-year experience will allow Fellows to engage in research with key mentors, eventually moving into grant support with those mentor scholars by year three of the term. At the end of the three years, the Fellows will have taught STEM introductory courses, continued their research trajectories, built research partnerships across disciplines and into the community, published in their fields, and gained an understanding of how great researchers are also great teachers. Along the way, they will also be change agents at the university, building a culture that breaks boundaries, both visible and invisible.
Below are a list of Presidential Society of STEM Post-Doctoral Mentors from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Department of Biology
I am a theoretical ecologist with broad interests including: (1) consequences of random variation in the processes that govern ecological populations and communities; (2) spatial synchrony and the spatial scaling of ecological patterns; and (3) the interplay between positive and negative feedbacks in ecological communities. Students and postdocs in my lab work on these and other questions, united by a shared desire to use mathematical tools to uncover novel ecological insights.
Our research is focused on skin and skull bone development and spans the developmental period of cell fate selection through the diseases of skin and bones. We are currently using tissue specific transgenic mice to address questions of cranial bone and skin cell specification and differentiation in development. We are interested in how cell differentiation and function is altered in disease of the skin and bone. Currently most of our projects fall in the following two categories: 1) Skull bone development and growth and how it is dysregulated in defects of the calvaria roof of the skull. 2) Understanding how Wnt signaling activation and its downstream mediators cause skin fibrosis and loss of dermal adipocytes. What are some relevant cellular and molecular mechanisms that can be used to reverse established skin fibrosis?
Microbes perform half the world’s photosynthesis, fix a third of the world’s stock of organic nitrogen, and shape human, animal, and plant health through symbiotic and antagonistic interactions—and a changing environment changes how they do all these things, in ways we do not yet understand. The Bagby Lab (bagby-lab.github.io) uses field, lab, and computational methods to study microbial and viral physiology, acclimation, and adaptation in model systems and natural ecosystems. With the NSF-funded EMERGE Biology Integration Institute and the DOE-funded VirSoil collaboration, we focus on microbial and viral communities in thawing permafrost peatlands.
The Burns Lab studies the intersection of plant evolutionary history and ecology to address pressing global problems in invasive species biology, restoration ecology, and global climate change. Opportunities in the lab include broad comparative studies of plant growth in response to changing climate, studies of plant-soil interactions in restoration ecology in the field, and collaborative high throughput sequencing work to characterize the soil microbial community.
How do animals adjust their behavior from moment to moment to achieve their goals? To understand the mechanisms of adaptive behavior at the level of neural circuitry and biomechanics, we study feeding behavior in the marine mollusk Aplysia californica. The research has led to new devices for controlling neurons, new biologically-inspired robots, and new approaches to understanding complex motor behavior in animals and humans.
Research in the Crown lab focuses on the molecular genetics of meiotic recombination in Drosophila melanogaster. We use a combination of imaging, next generation sequencing, and traditional Drosophila genetics to understand how the steps of recombination are regulated to result in specific types of repair outcomes.
We forecast organismal responses to global climate change and land-use change. Using physiological acclimation capacity and evolutionary potentials, we identify climatic winners and losers, providing the basis for targeted conservation and management planning. We are especially interested in rapid evolutionary responses to contemporary climate change at global and local scales, including in response to localized urban heat island effects.
The Dixon lab research program employs an arsenal of diverse tools to model neurological diseases, replicate nervous system architecture and organization, and create health-monitoring sensors inspired by central and peripheral nervous system physiology. Ongoing research efforts involve the development of nerve pathway-on-chip for toxicity studies and olfaction-on-chip for chemical sensing studies. Research platforms include the use of nervous system cells and tissues from both vertebrate and invertebrate organisms and coupling to perfusion and electronic components.
Research in the Fox lab focuses on the neurobiology and behavior of insects. Specifically, we are interested in understanding how insects use mechanical and visual information to control complex behaviors like takeoff and flight.
My lab investigates the biology of infectious parasites with a focus on: 1) transcriptional and translational control of schistosome worms during development and in host invasion, 2) identification and characterization of lncRNAs in schistosomes and protozoan trypanosomes, 3) characterization of novel drug candidates, and 4) molecular and genetic tool development.
My research is focused on understanding how biotic interactions and environmental variation drive natural selection, adaptive evolution and diversification. My lab investigates these topics using observational and experimental studies, primarily in arthropods and amphibians, and carries out meta-analysis to evaluate the generality of empirical results. A recent focus of the lab is the use of cities as arenas to test evolutionary questions.
I am a theoretical ecologist interested in the effects of stochasticity. Lately, my work has been focused in two areas: 1) Understanding the relative contributions of traits and stochasticity (luck) to variation in lifetime success between individuals, and 2) Developing computational methods for understanding how environmental variation in time and space affects species coexistence.
My lab investigates the evolution and function of learning and memory brain structures. We use 2-photon functional imaging, electrophysiology, histology, and behavioral assays to interrogate arthropod neural circuits.
Department of Chemistry
Research in my group focuses on reaction processes of relevance to biology, renewal energy, photonic materials, and the environment with the chief aim of understanding their mechanistic aspects at the molecular level. Currently, there are three major areas of research: 1) excited-state dynamics and photochemistry of DNA/RNA monomers and polymers for understanding the chemical origins of life during the prebiotic era, 2) design, synthesis, and investigation of sensitizers for applications in photodynamic therapy, photomedicines, and photonic materials, and 3) excited-state dynamics and photochemistry of environmental pollutants and of organometallics for energy conversion processes.
The Gray research group at Case Western Reserve University makes fundamental discoveries in organotransition metal chemistry. Current, funded projects seek phosphorescent gold complexes as nonlinear optical chromophores and dopants for organic light-emitting diodes, and volatile organometallic precursors for the chemical vapor deposition of ultrahigh temperature ceramics, especially early transition metal borides and carbides.
The Parker group is a theoretical and computational photochemistry group in the Chemistry department at CWRU founded in 2019. We develop excited-state quantum chemistry methods and nonadiabatic molecular dynamics methods for simulating photochemical reactions from first-principles. Our methods are then used to discover the mechanisms of complex ultrafast photochemical reactions.
The Sauve group synthesizes new pi-conjugated materials and study their structure-property relationships. We are currently investigating novel hybrid organic/inorganic functional molecules for printable photovoltaics and conjugated polymers with improved mechanical properties. Future directions include sustainable electroactive polymers and hybrid polymers for hydrogen production.
Our main research interests are in the area of electrochemical surface science, with emphasis on experimental and theoretical aspects of physical electrochemistry and electrocatalysts. Our focus is on the development and implementation of optical techniques for the study of interfacial reactivity and dynamics, with a major focus on femtosecond laser based spectroscopies endowed with interface specificity and, particularly, second harmonic and sum frequency generation. Also included in these efforts is the design of electronic circuitry capable of achieving control of the potential across the interface in the tens of nanoseconds range.
I direct a diverse research team (Tolbert group) whose broad interests are to understand fundamental principles by which RNA interactions contribute to viral gene expression and to translate this knowledge into novel strategies to inhibit viral replication through the selective modulation of essential gene regulatory complexes. We are funded by multiple NIH grants to investigate host-virus complexes that regulate HIV transcription, HIV splicing and Enterovirus translation. More recently, we expanded our scope to include projects on SARS-CoV-2 and related beta coronaviruses. We have used emerging knowledge generated in the lab to leverage the discovery of novel strategies to inhibit viral replication and to test new paradigms of viral gene expression. Thus, our science and the process by which we do it has broad implications for RNA viruses that pose serious threats to human health and for training the next generation of diverse scientific leaders.
Department of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, and Statistics
I work on mathematical and computational predictive models, with a special interest in various aspects of human brain, including electrophysiology hemodynamics and the intricacies of cerebral cellular metabolism. One of my ongoing projects seeks to design a computational tool that integrates different brain function in a unified framework. My mathematical interests include the integration of a number of different areas, in particular numerical analysis, mathematical modeling, Bayesian inverse problems, and mathematics of data science. My ability to combine theoretical investigations and robust and efficient programming has played a big role in, e.g., my rather accurate forecasting of the spread of the current pandemic, as well as shedding some light on how mediation affects brain functions.
My research is in computational and applied mathematics with specialty in imaging and inverse problems. I focus on developing mathematical algorithms and models to solve various problems related to images of various dimensions. Examples include image denoising (to remove noise for better visualization), image de-blurring (to sharpen images), image segmentation (to isolate regions of interest such as tumors out of medical images), image super resolution (to enhance resolutions of images such as those from satellites) and image reconstruction (to create high quality images from noisy, incomplete measurements).
My research involves statistical methodologies and their applications to different areas of sciences and engineering. My core research areas include Bayesian methodology, inverse problems, spatial statistics, remote sensing, uncertainty quantification, Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods, and infectious disease modeling.
I work in the area of computational inverse problems with a particular emphasis on Bayesian methods, combining probabilistic methods with the theory of partial differential equations, with applications in areas like medical imaging and computational life sciences. My monographs on Bayesian methods in inverse problems have had a deep impact and contributed significantly to the paradigm change that the field of inverse problems has undergone in the past decades. My current interests include functional brain imaging, integration of models with different scales, e.g., to understand brain functions, and analysis of model discrepancies in computational inverse problems.
I use mathematical modeling and simulation to quantify how the material properties of the cell, such as the liquid cytoplasm and elastic membrane, affect the shape and motion of the entire cell. I am particularly interested in intra- and extracellular hydrodynamics and how it affects the cell’s ability to migrate and interact with the external environment.
My primary field is Functional Analysis, more specifically Geometry of Banach Spaces, Convexity and, particularly, their combinatorial and probabilistic aspects. This area is often subsumed as Asymptotic Geometric Analysis. I am also interested in those aspects of other fields such as Mathematical Physics, Computer Science, Operator Theory, Approximation Theory, or Operation Research that appeal to convexity and/or exhibit probabilistic or geometric flavor including, but not limited to, Random Matrices and Quantum Information Theory.
I use computational and analytical tools to study principles of communication and control in complex adaptive biological systems. My current projects include studying the role of sensory feedback in motor control in the marine mollusk Aplysia californica (funded by the National Institutes of Health), and studying efficient and accurate methods for reduced-dimensional descriptions of stochastic systems arising in ecology and neuroscience (funded by the National Science Foundation). My mathematical interests include dynamical systems, stochastic processes, control theory, and information theory. My biological interests include neuroscience, cell biology, and ecology.
My research is in high-dimensional convex geometry. High-dimensional systems are frequent in mathematics and applied sciences, and understanding of high-dimensional phenomena has become an increasingly important topic. It is relevant in applications to e.g., computer science, tomography, algorithms and quantum information theory.
Department of Physics
Pavel Fileviez Perez
My research includes particle physics and cosmology, physics beyond the standard model of particle physics, theories for dark matter, neutrino physics and unification of fundamental forces.
The Gao lab is interested in the discovery and understanding of new
quantum physics in nanoscale electronic/quantum devices or materials.
Through nanodevice fabrication and electron or energy transport
measurement, we hope to gain insights on the electrical, thermal, and
magnetic properties of emergent quantum materials (e.g. atomically thin
2D materials, topological materials) that may be exploited in the next
generation electronic devices or energy conversion technology.
My research group uses statistical physics to investigate a variety of phenomena in living systems. We are interested in both fundamental aspects of biological processes (cellular adhesion, signaling, evolution of drug resistance) as well as the ways in which modeling these processes can inform novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.
My research group develops and applies single molecule microscopy to study materials. I seek postdoctoral researchers excited about interdisciplinary research. Projects in my lab have relevance to biophysics, physical and analytical chemistry, chemical and biomedical engineering, and signal processing.
My research is focused on understanding and predicting novel materials properties from first principles, with emphasis on excited state, strongly correlated electrons from which new functionalities can arise, while recognizing the importance of defects in realistic materials. I have ongoing research projects in ultra-thin two-dimensional materials with novel topological band structure aspects, complex oxides, and ultra-wide band gap semiconductors.
My research is broadly in experimental astroparticle physics. I am interested in building novel detectors and instrumentation to detect neutrinos, dark matter, and rare events like neutrinoless double beta decay, with a side interest in novel telescopes and technology for optical astronomy. A particular focus of my lab is the Project 8 experiment, an international collaboration trying to apply a new radiofrequency spectroscopy technique called CRES to a tritium-decay-based measurement of the neutrino.
I am a theoretical physicist focusing on cosmology, but asking a wide range of questions within that field. Currently, I am leading a small collaboration of cosmologists around the world investigating the anomalous large-scale patterns of the cosmic microwave background, and the possibility that they are due to the universe having interesting topology. At the same time, we have proposed that gravitational waves emitted by merging pairs of black holes will scatter off the dimples in space caused by stars, that we can detect those scattered waves, and ultimately use them to map out the matter in the universe, much as radar or sonar are used to map structures on Earth.
Our group is interested in the science and technology of fields and waves at the nanoscale. We are exploring a variety of research scenarios in light-matter interaction, with particular emphasis on healthcare and quantum technologies. Our research projects are based on key enabling technologies: Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology, Advanced Manufacturing & Processing and Artificial Intelligence.
My research interests concern the large-scale structure of the Universe and its connections to both galaxy formation and cosmology. I explore the interface of theory and observations using data from state-of-the-art numerical simulations and large galaxy surveys. I am primarily involved with studying the clustering properties of galaxies, their implication for cosmological models, galaxy formation and evolution, and the relation between galaxies and their host dark matter halos.