The Duke UCEM has recruited faculty champions from each of the nine UCEM-affiliated academic departments. They work closely with Graduate School staff and co-PIs of the UCEM to help integrate the Sloan Scholars into the research community.
- Computer Science
- Statistical Science
- Biomedical Engineering
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
- University Program in Materials Science and Engineering
Michael Fitzgerald received a B.S. degree with honors in Chemistry from Davidson College, and a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduate school he was a postdoctoral fellow and then senior research associate at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California before joining the Duke Chemistry faculty in 1998. He has also been a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry in Duke University’s School of Medicine since 2001. While at Duke, Professor Fitzgerald has been actively involved in graduate research and mentoring activities. He has directly supervised over 30 Duke graduate students in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, he has served on Duke University’s Executive Committee of the Graduate Faculty, and he has participated in several NIH-funded graduate training programs including the Pharmacological Sciences Training program and the Center for Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering Training Program. Over the years, he has mentored a diversity of graduate students in his research program including many under-represented minorities in STEM (e.g., many women, Hispanic- and African American scientists). He is currently the Director of Graduate Studies in the Chemistry Department at Duke, a position that he has held since 2017. Professor Fitzgerald’s research interests include the development and application of protein mass spectrometry methods for the large-scale and high-throughput analysis of protein folding and ligand binding using amide hydrogen/deuterium exchange and other chemical modification strategies. These new methodologies are currently being used to characterize and diagnose disease phenotypes and study drug action.
Jiyong Hong received a B.S. and M.S. from Seoul National University (South Korea), and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Scripps Research Institute where he later held a postdoctoral research associate position. While at Duke, Professor Hong was the Director of Graduate Studies of the chemistry department (2013-2017) and has been the Co-director of GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need, US Department of Education) Fellowship Program since 2015. He is also a Member of Duke Cancer Institute and Duke Pharmacological Sciences Training Program funded by NIH, and was a Member of Duke NSF REU: Chemistry and Applications of Smart Molecules and Materials (CASMM). He has a long track record of mentoring female and African-American graduate students (8 and 2 out of 14 since 2005, respectively), and of actively including undergraduate researchers in his research program. He is also faculty in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and has served as the associate Chair of Chemistry at Duke since 2019. Hong’s research interest includes synthesis and study of mechanisms of action of natural products, identification of small molecule modulators for biological processes, and development of synthetic methods for rapid construction of molecular complexity.
Jeffrey S. Chase is a Professor of Computer Science at Duke University in Durham, NC. His research with Duke’s Network and Internet Computing Lab deals with efficient and reliable sharing of information and resources in computer networks ranging from clusters to the global Internet. Dr. Chase is an alumnus of Dartmouth College. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Washington in 1995.
Dr. Chase has published over 80 technical papers in refereed conferences and journals on topics including network storage, I/O prefetching, end-system networking, active storage, utility computing, Internet content distribution, massive-data computing, and automated management of large-scale server infrastructures. He has served on program committees for leading technical conferences in operating systems, distributed computing, file and storage technologies, and Web content delivery.
Before moving to academia, Dr. Chase spent seven years as a Senior Software Engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation, working primarily as a Unix kernel developer in the areas of file systems and networking. Among his contributions at Digital he was a principal developer of Digital’s first implementation of Sun’s Network File System (NFS), Digital’s first Unix kernel for symmetric multiprocessors, and the first version of the Polycenter hierarchical file system. Polycenter manages magnetic disks as a cache over a magneto-optical jukebox, providing the illusion of a single disk containing a massive data store.
Adam Levine is an associate professor at Duke University. His research is in low-dimensional topology, with a focus on Heegaard Floer homology, Khovanov homology, and their applications to knot theory, concordance, surfaces in 3- and 4-manifolds, and other areas. He is also the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the mathematics department.
Colleen Robles received her Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in 2003 under the supervision of David Bao (University of Houston) and Richard Froese. Following a postdoctoral position at the University of Rochester, she joined Texas A&M University. Dr. Robles has held visiting positions at the University of Utah and the Institute for Advanced Study. She is a differential geometer. Her research interests have included Finsler geometry (which is a generalization of Riemannian geometry), calibrated geometry (the study of special classes of minimal submanifolds), and various rigidity questions for both rational homogeneous varieties and Schubert varieties. Her recent work addresses questions in complex geometry and representation theory that are motivated by Hodge theory.
Phillip S. Barbeau’s research interests are predominantly in the fields of neutrino and astroparticle physics. His efforts are focused on (but not limited to) three major areas of research: work towards the first observation of coherent neutrino-nucleus scattering; novel searches for the dark matter in our universe; and searches for zero neutrino double beta decay. The unifying aspect of the work is the common need for new and creative detector development in order to solve some of the “hard” problems in low-background rare-event detection.
Roxanne Springer is a Professor of Physics. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Physics and Chemical Physics from Rice University, and her Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in Theoretical Particle Physics. She works on weak interactions (the force responsible for nuclear beta decay) and quantum chromodynamics (the force that binds quarks into hadrons and generates the mass of protons and neutrons). She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS). She has served as chair of the Southeastern Section of the APS and on the Executive Committee of the Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP) of the APS. She is the chair of the DNP Allies program, the first APS Division to develop vetted and trained APS members to attend every DNP professional meeting to address biased interactions in real time. She has participated in several visits/reviews of US physics departments and laboratories to help them create a culture of inclusion (sponsored by the APS Committee on the Society of Women in Physics and the APS Committee on Minorities). She has served as the faculty sponsor of Duke’s Bouchet Society (which advocates for underrepresented graduate students in the sciences), organized recruitment visits of HBCU science undergraduates to Duke, and mentored Black physics students. She is currently the chair of the Advisory Committee for the Sloan Foundation’s Duke University Center for Exemplary Mentoring.
Dr. Springer contributes recruitment expertise to the UCEM. She was instrumental in the development of Duke’s UCEM proposal.
Merlise Clyde is a professor of statistical science at Duke University and has served as chair of the Department of Statistical Science at Duke since 2013. She received her Ph.D. in 1993 from the University of Minnesota and joined the faculty at the Institute of Statistics and Decision Sciences (now the Department of Statistical Sciences) at Duke University in the fall of 1993. She is a past president of the International Society of Bayesian Analysis (ISBA), and an elected Fellow of ISBA and the American Statistical Association. She received the Zellner Medal from ISBA in 2016. Her research focuses on Bayesian solutions to the related problems of feature/variable selection, model selection and prediction using an ensemble of models to account for model uncertainty using Bayesian Model Averaging, with an emphasis on prior choice and computation.
Jerry Reiter graduated from Duke with a B.S. in mathematics in 1992. After working for two years as an actuary, he earned his Ph.D. in statistics from Harvard University in 1999. He landed back at Duke in the Department of Statistical Science in fall 2002. Between 2010 and 2015, he was the Mrs. Alexander Hehmeyer Professor of Statistical Science, having been appointed as a Bass Chair in recognition of “excellence in undergraduate teaching and research.” He was the recipient of the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award for 2007. This annual award is given by Duke undergraduates to a member of the Duke faculty. He was also the recipient of the Outstanding Postdoc Mentor award for 2016. Dr. Reiter has supervised 14 Ph.D. dissertations and 8 master’s theses in statistical science. He participates in both applied and methodological research in statistical science and is most interested in applications involving social science and public policy. His methodological research focuses mainly on statistical methods for protecting data confidentiality, for handling missing data, and for modeling complex data, including methods for causal inferences.
Joel Collier’s lab designs biomaterials for a range of biomedical applications, with a focus on understanding and controlling adaptive immune responses. Most materials investigated are created from molecular assemblies: proteins, peptides or bioconjugates that self-organize into useful structures such as nanofibers, gels, and particles. These biomaterials are being developed as novel treatments for infectious diseases, cancer, wound healing, and chronic inflammation. Additionally, as these strategies are developed, basic insights into how materials engage the immune system are uncovered. Dr. Collier also serves as the Director of Doctoral Studies for the Biomedical Engineering Department, and he was awarded the 2020 Lois and John L. Imhoff Distinguished Teaching Award in recognition of his undergraduate teaching.
Samira Musah’s lab is interested in understanding how molecular signals and biophysical forces can function either synergistically or independently to guide organ development and physiology, and how these processes can be therapeutically harnessed to treat human disease. Given the escalating medical crisis in nephrology as growing number of patients suffer from kidney disease that can lead to organ failure, the Musah Lab focuses on engineering stem cell fate for applications in human kidney disease, extra-renal complications, and therapeutic development. Dr. Musah’s research interests include stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, molecular and cellular basis of human organ development and disease progression, organ engineering, patient-specific disease models, biomarker identification, therapeutic discovery, tissue and organ transplantation, microphysiological systems including Organ Chips (organs-on-chips) and organoids, matrix biology, mechanotransduction and disease biophysics.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Fred Boadu received his B.S. (Hons) in Geological Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Applied Geophysics from McGill University, and his Ph.D. in Environmental and Engineering Geophysics from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1994. Dr. Boadu’s research focuses on the areas of exploration, engineering and environmental geophysics. Current research involves characterizing the transport and storage properties of porous media such as fractured rocks, soils and human tissue. The work involves modeling, laboratory, and field experiments. Recently, his research has involved the use and mismanagement of used motor oil by auto-mechanics in Ghana and impact on their Health and the Environment. Dr. Boadu has run several Bass Connections and Duke Engage programs addressing occupational health and environmental challenges in Africa, Ghana. In addition, Dr. Boadu has been involved in research regarding nitrate contamination in groundwater and implications on the health of babies in Ghana. Addressing these challenges have involved research, education and awareness creation programs. He has served as a mentor for several minority students in Pratt School of Engineering.
Akhenaton-Andrew Dhafir Jones, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Akhenaton-Andrew Dhafir Jones’ research focuses on addressing global challenges in water and bacteria using engineering and policy analysis. On the microscale this has included efforts exploring how bacteria and bacterial biofilms form and function under fluid, chemical, electrical, and nanomaterial stress. On the human scale this has included systems engineering analysis on how material technology systems can be deployed to increase equity.
Electrical and Computer Engineering
In addition to her faculty appointments, Nan Jokerst is the Executive Director of the Duke Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility, a Duke shared cleanroom and characterization facility. She received her B.S. in Physics from Creighton University in 1982, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1984 and 1989, respectively. Dr. Jokerst is a Fellow of the IEEE and has served as an elected member of the IEEE LEOS Board of Governors and as the VP for Conferences and as the VP Technical Affairs. She is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and has served as Chair of the OSA Engineering Council. Her awards include an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, an IEEE Third Millennium Medal, the IEEE/HP Harriet B. Rigas Medal, and the Alumni in Academia Award for the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering. She has served on the National Academies Board on Global Science and Technology. She has published more than 200 refereed journal and conference publications, and has six patents.
In addition to her faculty appointments, Helen Li is the Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Co-director of NSF IUCRC for Alternative Sustainable and Intelligent Computing (ASIC). She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Tsinghua University, both with early graduation, and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2004. Earlier in her career, she was with Qualcomm, Inc., Intel Corporation, Seagate Technology, the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include neuromorphic computing systems, machine learning acceleration and trustworthy AI, emerging memory technologies, circuit and architecture, and low power circuits and systems. She has authored or co-authored more than 250 technical papers in peer-reviewed journals and conferences and a book entitled Nonvolatile Memory Design: Magnetic, Resistive, and Phase Changing (CRC Press, 2011). She was a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE CAS society (2018–2019) and is a distinguished speaker of ACM (2017–2020). Dr. Li is a recipient of the NSF Career Award, DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA), TUM-IAS Hans Fischer Fellowship from Germany, and ELATE Fellowship. Dr. Li is a fellow of ACM and IEEE.
Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Sophia Santillan will work with the First Year Design experience for first-year engineering majors. As a STEM teacher and professor, she is interested in the effect of emerging technology and research on student learning and classroom practice. After earning her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Duke, Dr. Santillan taught at the United States Naval Academy as an assistant professor. Recently, she worked at the high school level, where she taught across the four-year math curriculum, including advanced courses. She also designed, proposed, and taught two introductory engineering courses for high school students.
In addition to his faculty appointment, Stefan Zauscher is the Director of the Research Triangle Materials Science and Engineering Center (RT-MRSEC). He received his Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000. He is an expert in (bio)surface and interface science, where a large portion of his research is focused on fabrication and characterization of surface-confined biomolecular and polymeric micro- and nanostructures and the necessary methodologies to manipulate these structures at the nanoscale. He has authored more than 150 scientific papers, proceedings, and book chapters. He is the recipient of an NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award, the ICCES Outstanding Young Investigator Award, the 2012 Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research. Dr. Zauscher is a Fellow of the Bass Society at Duke University. In 2016, he received the Dean of the Graduate School Award for Inclusive Excellence in Graduate Education.
University Program in Materials Science and Engineering
Gleb Finkelstein is an experimental physicist interested in inorganic and biologically inspired nanostructures: carbon nanotubes, graphene, and self-assembled DNA “origami.” These objects reveal a variety of interesting electronic properties that may form a basis for future detectors and sensors, or serve as individual devices in quantum information processing.
Adrienne Stiff-Roberts brings experience in mentorship, outreach, and program development for engineering graduate students to the committee. She holds Duke’s Julian Abele Award for Graduate Mentor of the Year (2016), serves as the director and instructor for the Student Engineering Network: Strengthening Opportunities in Research (SENSOR) Saturday Academy for 8th and 9th graders in Durham Public Schools, and is the faculty advisor for the Duke University Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). She also serves as the Director of Graduate Studies for the University Program in Materials Science and Engineering. Dr. Stiff-Roberts received both the B.S. degree in physics from Spelman College and the B.E.E. degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1999. She received an M.S.E. in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in applied physics in 2001 and 2004, respectively, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. Stiff-Roberts joined Duke in August 2004. Her research interests include the synthesis of multi-component and hybrid (organic-inorganic) materials using a novel approach for organic-based thin film deposition that combines solution and vacuum-processing.