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.


franzKatherine J. Franz, Ph.D.
Chair and Alexander Hehmeyer Professor of Chemistry

Katherine Franz will guide the committee in its mentoring efforts and program development. She has mentored more than 50 (combined) Ph.D., masters, and undergrad students and has served as a co-director of an NSF REU program; faculty affiliate for Duke’s BioCoRE program; advisory committee member for a Duke Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) grant; and activity leader for Duke’s Females Excelling More in Math and Science (FEMMES) program. Dr. Franz’s research focuses on elucidating the structural and functional consequences of metal ion coordination in biological systems.

hongJiyong Hong, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry

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, Prof. 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 at Duke. Prof. 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.

Computer Science


Ashwin Machanavajjhala, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Ashwin Machanavajjhala is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and an Associate Director at the Information Initiative at Duke (iiD). Previously, he was a Senior Research Scientist in the Knowledge Management group at Yahoo! Research. His primary research interests lie in algorithms for ensuring privacy in statistical databases and augmented reality applications. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Faculty Early CAREER award in 2013 and the 2008 Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Management of Data (ACM SIGMOD) Jim Gray Dissertation Award Honorable Mention. Dr. Machanavajjhala graduated with a Ph.D. from the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University and a B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

MaggsBruce Maggs, Ph.D.
Pelham Wilder Professor of Computer Science and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

In addition to his departmental appointments, Bruce Maggs is also a Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative. He received S.B., S.M., and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985, 1986, and 1989, respectively. His advisor was Charles Leiserson. After spending one year as a postdoctoral associate at MIT, he worked as a research scientist at NEC Research Institute in Princeton from 1990 to 1993. In 1994, he moved to Carnegie Mellon, where he stayed until joining Duke University in 2009 as a Professor in the Department of Computer Science. While on a two-year leave-of-absence from Carnegie Mellon, Dr. Maggs helped to launch Akamai Technologies, serving as its Vice President for Research and Development, before returning to Carnegie Mellon. He retains a part-time role at Akamai as Vice President for Research. Dr. Maggs’s research focuses on computer networks, distributed systems, and computer security. From December 2003 to February 2006, he served as a Member of the Board of the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania, an organization that provides support to mentoring programs. Dr. Maggs also served as a Big Brother to a minority child in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh program from January 1997 to June 2005, and was named Big Brother of the Year for Greater Pittsburgh in 2004.


ReedMichael Reed, Ph.D.
Professor of Mathematics

Michael Reed is engaged in a large number of research projects that involve the application of mathematics to questions in physiology and medicine. He also works on questions in analysis that are stimulated by biological questions. For recent work on cell metabolism and public health, see Dr. Reed has trained 22 Ph.D. students, 11 of whom have been women. They include Danielle Carr Ramdath, an African-American woman who is now Associate Dean of the Faculty at Smith College, and Freda Porter-Locklear, one of the few Native American women to receive the Ph.D. in Mathematics. Since 1999, Dr. Reed has mentored 11 postdocs. In this group, seven are female, two are African-American, and one is of Hispanic descent. For the past seven years, Dr. Reed has been the PI of an NSF Research Training Grant in Mathematical biology. This spring, the grant funded a 10 day workshop for 26 students from small colleges. Of the 26 students, 21 were women and nine were African-American. In 2016, Dr. Reed received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in mentoring.

RoblesColleen Robles, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Mathematics

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.


BarbeauPhillip S. Barbeau, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Physics

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.

SpringerRoxanne P. Springer, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics

Roxanne Springer has organized multiple recruitment efforts, including Duke campus visits by undergraduates from Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spellman College, and recruiting at the National Society of Black Physicists. She has also served as a Dean’s Graduate Fellowship reviewer; faculty sponsor of the Bouchet Society (supporting URM graduate students); and mentor to an African American physics graduate student. She has served as chair of the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society (APS) and on the Executive Committee of the Division of Nuclear Physics of the APS. Dr. Springer 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).

TeitsworthStephen W. Teitsworth
Associate Professor of Physics

Prof. Stephen W. Teitsworth’s research centers on experimental, computational, and theoretical studies of deterministic and stochastic nonlinear electronic transport in nanoscale systems. Three particular areas of current interest are: 1) stochastic nonlinear electronic transport phenomena in semiconductor superlattices and tunnel diode arrays; 2) complex bifurcations associated with the deterministic dynamics of electronic transport in negative differential resistance systems; and 3) strategies for stabilizing negative differential resistance systems against the formation of space-charge waves.

Statistical Science

MukherjeeSayan Mukherjee, Ph.D.
Professor of Statistical Science

Sayan Mukherjee’s research topics include statistical and computational methodology in genetics, cancer biology, metagenomics, and morphometrics; Bayesian methodology for high-dimensional and complex data; machine learning algorithms for the analysis of massive biological data; integration of statistical inference with differential geometry and algebraic topology; stochastic topology; discrete Hodge theory; and inference in dynamical systems.

Dr. Mukherjee is also a dedicated mentor at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels. He was the coordinator of the Masters in Statistical Science and developed outreach efforts to underrepresented minority students. He has also been involved in classes at North Carolina Central University, a historically black institution, and recruiting students from NC Central for summer research opportunities at Duke.

ReiterJerry Reiter, Ph.D.
Professor of Statistical Science

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 12 Ph.D. dissertations and four 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.

Biomedical Engineering

collierJoel Collier, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

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.

reichertWilliam M. Reichert, Ph.D.
Alan L. Kaganov Professor of Biomedical Engineering

William “Monty” Reichert graduated with a B.A. in biology and chemistry from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1975 before seeking a doctorate in macromolecular science and engineering from the University of Michigan. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1982, he was an NIH National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellow, a Whitaker Fellow, and an NIH New Investigator Fellow at the University of Utah in the Department of Bioengineering. He joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at Duke University in 1989, and is currently the Theo Pilkington Professor of Biomedical Engineering as well as Director of the Duke-Makerere BME partnership to accelerate the development of biomedical engineering in Uganda.

Dr. Reichert was the first member of the engineering faculty to receive the Clemson Award from the Society for Biomaterials. He has served as an elected Fellow of the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering, the American Council on Education, the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and the Biomedical Engineering Society. Dr. Reichert has also received recognition for his student mentoring, especially in the area of diversity, having received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring from The Graduate School and the Catalyst for Change Institutional Award from the Quality Education for Minorities Network. Dr. Reichert has received more than 30 years of uninterrupted NIH support from six different institutes and sustained support from the Medtronic Corporation.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

BoaduFred K. Boadu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Fred Boadu received his B.S. (Hons) in geological engineering from the University of Science and Technology, Ghana, a Post-Graduate Diploma in applied geophysics from McGill University, an M.S. in geophysics from the University of Calgary, and his Ph.D. 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. Fractal concepts and neural networks are used to interpret results. Recently, Dr. Boadu has been involved in research regarding nitrate contamination in groundwater, and as well, in education and awareness campaign of the implications in potential health hazards in Ghana.

GunschClaudia Gunsch, Ph.D.
Theodore Kennedy Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Claudia Gunsch obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, her M.S. from Clemson University and her B.S. from Purdue University. Currently, she serves as the Director for IBIEM (Integrative Bioinformatics for Investigating and Engineering Microbiomes), a joint graduate training program between Duke and North Carolina A&T State University. She was selected as a Bass Fellow in 2016 and currently serves as a Faculty Mentor for the University Scholars Program as well as a Faculty Participant in the University Program in Ecology and the Center for Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering. Since becoming a faculty member, she has served as the primary mentor for 15 graduate students (two master’s and 13 Ph.D.), 29 undergraduate students, and five high school students as well as three postdoctoral associates.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

JokerstNan M. Jokerst, Ph.D.
A. Jones Distinguished Professor of 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 currently serves 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.

LiHai (Helen) Li, Ph.D.
Clare Boothe Luce Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Hai (Helen) Li received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Tsinghua University, both with early graduation, and a Ph.D. from Purdue University. Before joining Duke in January 2017, she was an associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh. Earlier in her career, she was with Qualcomm, Inc., Intel Corporation, Seagate Technology, and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. Her research interests include brain-inspired computing systems and neuromorphic design, memory design and architecture based on conventional and emerging technologies, and device/circuit/architecture co-design for low power and high performance. She has published a book, book chapters, and more than 170 research papers in journals and refereed conference proceedings. Dr. Li is the associate editor of several journals including IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration Systems, IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, ACM Transactions on Design Automation of Electronic Systems, IEEE Transactions on Multi-Scale Computing Systems, and IET Cyber-Physical Systems. Dr. Li has also served on the technical and organization committees of more than 20 conferences.

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Santillan Sophia Santillan
Assistant Professor of the Practice, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (Fall 2017)

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.

ZauscherStefan Zauscher, Ph.D.
Sternberg Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

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.