September 29, 2006
Eleven new faculty members join College of Science
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The College of Science at Southern Illinois University Carbondale welcomed 11 new faculty members this year.
"The most important investment a university can make to ensure excellence for its future is to hire and retain high-quality faculty," said Jack Parker, dean of the college. "This year, the College of Science at SIUC has recruited and hired an absolutely outstanding and diverse group of new faculty members. Their credentials are outstanding and many have hit the ground running."
New faculty include:
Kelly Bender, assistant professor, Department of Microbiology
Bender received her doctorate from SIUC in 2003 and was winner of the Outstanding Dissertation award as a student. Her research interests include the physiology and genetics of sulfate-reducing bacteria and their involvement in toxic uranium immobilization and ferrous metal corrosion. She also has interest in the ecology and diversity of bacteriophage and the role the virosphere plays in host population structure and genome evolution.
Bender grew up in Pinckneyville. She completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Missouri Columbia. She also worked for a local bioremediation company as a project manager.
Matt Geisler, assistant professor, Department of Plant Biology
Geisler received his doctorate in 1999 from Ohio State University. His interests include bioinformatics, which uses database software and other methods to analyze DNA and protein sequences. Before coming to SIUC, Geisler served a postdoctoral fellowship at Umea University, Sweden and in an adjunct faculty postdoctoral position at the University of Western Ontario and the Schulich School of Medicine, Canada.
Kara Huff Hartz, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Hartz received her doctorate in 2002 from Purdue University. Her research interests include environmental pollution by organic particulate matter and developing analytical chemistry tools to investigate that issue. Before coming to SIUC, she was a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Postdoctoral Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where her research involved the formation, thermodynamics and cloud physics properties of the organic fraction of atmosphere aerosol.
Henry Hexmoor, assistant professor, Department of Computer Science
Hexmoor received his doctorate in 1996 from State University of New York at Buffalo. His research interests include artificial intelligence, multi-agent systems, cognitive science, mobile robotics and knowledge representation and reasoning.
Hexmoor has received strong funding for his basic research on cognately inspired models and has pioneered interdisciplinary research that builds on social science models as tools for validation of large agent-based systems in use in space, as well as U.S. military applications.
Prior to joining the SIUC faculty, Hexmoor was an assistant professor of computer science and computer engineering at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
Brian Lee, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Lee received his doctorate in 1997 from the University of Maryland Graduate School Baltimore. He worked as a research scientist at the Scripps Research Institute from 1997 to 2003 and 2004-2005 prior to arriving at SIUC. His research interests include structural biochemistry of translational regulation through protein-nucleic acid and protein-protein interactions.
Gabriela Pérez-Alvarado, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Pérez-Alvarado received her doctorate in 1995 from the University of Maryland Graduate School Baltimore. Before coming to SIUC, she worked as a scientific associate at the Scripps Research Institute from 2004 to 2005 and as a lecturer in the chemistry department at San Diego State University in 2004. She also worked as a senior postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute from 1995-2003 and in various fellowships for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society from 1997 to 2003.
Her research interests include the application of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, molecular biological, biochemical and biophysical techniques to characterize the structure, dynamics and molecular interactions of multidomain proteins involved in normal cell regulation and cancer metastasis.
Michael Sears, assistant professor, Department of Zoology
Sears received his doctorate in 2001 from the University of Pennsylvania. Before coming to SIUC, he was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Nevada-Reno and a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow in biological informatics.
His research interests include physiological ecology, behavioral ecology, and population biology of reptiles and small mammals. His work seeks to explain distribution patterns of animals by understanding the basic physiologies and behaviors of individuals.
Leonardo Silbert, assistant professor, Department of Physics
Silbert received his doctorate in 1998 from the University of Cambridge. Prior to coming to SIUC, he served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the James Franck Institute at the University of Chicago. He also worked at Sandia National Laboratories.
His research interests include theoretical soft condensed matter physics, particularly the behavior and properties of complex fluids and amorphous materials, where wet paint and dry paint are respective examples. He uses computers to numerically calculate or simulate the behavior of a variety of such systems under different conditions.
Issa Tall, assistant professor, Department of Mathematics
Tall received a doctorate in 2000 from Institut National des Sciences Appliquees de Rouen. Prior to coming to SIUC, Tall conducted research and taught at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss.
Tall's research interests include analysis of control systems, feedback classification of control systems, normal forms, canonical forms, and their symmetries.
Dashun Xu, assistant professor, Department of Mathematics
Xu received his doctorate in 2004 from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Prior to arriving at SIUC, he was as a research assistant professor from 2004 to 2006 in the mathematics department at Purdue University.
Xu's research interests include mathematical biology and epidemiology. He applies differential equations and dynamical systems to analyze problems including identifying strategies to control infectious diseases,
Mengxia Zhu, assistant professor, Department of Computer Science
Zhu received her doctorate in 2005 from Louisiana State University. This is her first appointment.
Her research interests include remote visualization systems, distributed high-performance computing, bioinformatics and distributed sensor networks.
"Faculty are, of course, a long-term investment and the new hires in Science this year at SIUC will ensure an excellent education for our students long into the future," Parker said.
Recruiting and retaining high-quality faculty, offering strong hiring packages and passionately recruiting candidates from diverse backgrounds are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.