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Research Mentors


Research Area & Summary

Michael Burin

Applied Physics & Fluid Dynamics

Dr. Burin's research is focused on the dynamics of fluids and magnetized plasmas, where he is interested in the transition to turbulence along with applications of turbulent transport to astrophysics and fusion energy. He has a particular interest in laboratory experiments where flows are affected by significant rotation and/or magnetic fields. 

Tracey Brown

Dr. Brown’s research projects have focused on various aspects of reptile biology ranging from physiological ecology to conservation and management.

Nancy Caine

Dr. Caine's research is focused on the behavior and social organization of nonhuman primates. Her area of specialization is comparative psychology.

Dustin Calvillo

Dr. Calvillo's area of expertise is Cognitive Psychology. His research interests include human reasoning, judgment, and decision-making.
Kimberly L. D'Anna-Hernandez
Dr. D'Anna-Hernandez' area of specialization is behavioral neuroscience. She completed his predoctoral  work at Michigan State University and postdoctoral training with the Developmental Psychobiology Research Group at the University of Colorado Denver. Among her research interests are the role of stress/arousal peptides on maternal behavior in mice and the role of acculturation and other psychosocial measures on the biological response to stress in pregnant women, particularly Mexican and Mexican-American women.
Charles De Leone

Current projects include implementation and study of non-traditional introductory physics curriculum for students in the biological sciences.

Gerardo Dominguez

Dr. Dominguez is interested in a wide variety of problems in environmental science, atmospheric chemistry, astrophysics, and planetary science. He approaches these topics from both an experimental and theoretical perspective.

Matthew Escobar

Dr. Escobar is primarily interested in plant molecular biology, plant pathology, and plant biotechnology, with a particular emphasis on perennial crop species. Previous research projects have focused on resistance to crown gall disease and the regulation of alternative respiratory pathways in plants.

Denise Garcia

Dr. Garcia’s expertise is in genetics using molecular tools, with research interests in genome restructuring after viral pathogenesis and genetic factors controlling important traits in animals.
Gerardo Gonzalez            Psychology Dr. Gonzalez' area of specialization is clinical psychology. Among his research interests are multicultural mental health issues (particularly for the Spanish-speaking), computerized clinical assessment, and the cognitive treatment of depression.
Sharon Hamill

Dr. Hamill's area of specialty is developmental psychology. Her current research focuses on multigenerational family relationships and the development of individual family members.

Sajith Jayasinghe            Chemistry

Dr. Jay is interested in biochemistry of protein structure and folding, specializing in amphipathic helix structure formation in membrane-bound and membrane-soluble

Julie Jameson
Dr. Jameson's lab investigates how obesity and type 2 diabetes impacts the immune system causing increased susceptibility to infection and tissue repair problems. Our previous studies indicate that diets with a high fat composition lead to obesity and complications that include alterations in T cell function. T cells normally play roles in fighting infection, maintaining tissue barriers and regulating other cell types, however these roles become disrupted in obesity. Currently, the lab is investigating the mechanisms responsible for this immune dysfunction and defining ways to restore function in patients
James Jancovich

Dr. Jancovich studies Ranaviruses (family Iridoviridae, genus Ranavirus) are large, double-stranded DNA viruses that infect economically and ecologically important freshwater cold-blooded vertebrates including fish, amphibians and reptiles. In spite of the global impact ranaviruses have on these important hosts, our current understanding of the mechanism(s) of RV evolution and pathogenesis is extremely limited. This  research focuses on beginning to understand the genomics and host-pathogen interactions that influence the evolution, host-range and pathogenesis of these important pathogens of cold-blooded vertebrates.

Deborah Kristan
 Dr. Kristan's research interests include physiological ecology (especially the effects on chronic parasite infection on ability of small rodents to respond to other environmental demands such as cold exposure, lactation, and caloric restriction), biology of aging, and effects of domestication on morphology and physiology.
Heike Mahler
Dr. Mahler's areas of specialization are health psychology and social psychology. Dr. Mahler's current program of research focuses on how various psychosocial factors (e.g., perceived personal control, coping style, social support) may affect recovery from major surgery.
Jose Mendoza

Dr. Mendoza is interested in deciphering how cells are protected by the "stress proteins".  These proteins protect cells from the adverse effects of stressful conditions (i.e. heat, oxidation, acid, etc.).  He is currently investigating the roles of the stress proteins in the survival of Helicobacter pylori in the stomach acidic environment.

Bianca Mothe
Dr. Mothe's areas of specialization are immunology and virology, with research interests in designing novel vaccines for rapidly mutating pathogens, including HIV and SIV.
Karno Ng-Alson
Analytical Chemistry.
Brian Norris
Dr. Norris' area of specialization is neurophysiology with research interests in neural networks that produce simple behaviors in invertebrates.
Edward Price

Dr. Price's research interests include curriculum development and the impact of technology on the classroom environment. This work includes studying how tools mediate group interactions, students’ use of representations, and student learning.

Kimberley Pulvers
Dr. Pulvers' areas of interest are disease prevention and health promotion; addiction and relapse prevention, particularly smoking cessation, weight management, and body image; and positive psychology, particularly the study of hope. Her program of research focuses on how psychological factors impact health behavior change.
Betsy Read
Dr. Read's area of specialization is Molecular Cell Biology. She is the founder/initiator of the Biotechnology program at CSUSM and teaches core courses for the major. Currently, she is working on the molecular mechanisms of calcification and coccolithogenesis in the marine algae, Emiliania huxleyi, and her general research interests lie in the area of functional genomics. 

Michael Schmidt

Dr. Schmidt is interested in the process of biomineralization—the process by which organisms make mineral tissues like bones and seashells. His research focuses on calcium carbonate biomineralization, and in trying to study the formation of amorphous precursor phases, or premineral “goop,” and how this goop transforms into crystalline structures.
Wesley Schultz

At a general level, Dr. Schultz  research involves the application of social psychological theory and methods to the understanding and solution of social problems. At a theoretical level, he is interested in social cognitive processes, individual differences in social cognition, and social influence. Recent projects have included laboratory experiments on implicit environmental attitudes, lab and field research on stereotypes and stereotype threat, field research on environmental programs, studies on normative social influence, and cross-cultural research on the relationship between culture, attitudes, and behavior.

Miriam Schustack
Her area of specialization is cognitive psychology. Among Dr. Schustack's research interests are skilled reading and the development of literacy, reasoning and problem solving, language, and human-computer interaction.
Thomas Spady
Dr. Spady's current research is to empirically characterize the physiologic bases underlying how bears are capable of producing litters of mixed paternity (multiple sires of the same litter).
Jacqueline Trischman
Dr. Trischman's research interests are in the ecology of secondary metabolite production and in the search for novel molecules from marine organisms.
Keith Trujillo
Dr. Trujillo's current research focuses on behavioral and neural effects of psychoactive drugs, including drugs of abuse (such as opiates, amphetamine and cocaine) and psychotherapeutic drugs (such as antidepressants and antipsychotics).
Stephen Tsui

Dr. Tsui is an experimental condensed matter physicist with primary interest in electronic conduction phenomena in various materials. His research interests span the areas of resistive random access memories, nanoscience, and materials physics.

George Vourlitis

Dr. Vourlitis’ research interests lie in quantifying how human activities, including atmospheric N pollution, climate change, and deforestation, alter the carbon, nutrient, and water cycles of diverse terrestrial ecosystems.  Dr. Vourlitis’ research utilizes field and laboratory experiments, mathematical modeling techniques, and satellite-based data sets to help understand how to human activities alter terrestrial C, nutrient, and water cycling over widely varying spatial and temporal scales.  Current research focuses on how chronic N pollution alters southern California chaparral ecosystems and how climate variation and deforestation affect C and nutrient cycling of Brazilian savanna ecosystems.