Academic Consultant Members

Photo of F. Gomez


Frank A. Gomez, Ph.D.

Frank A. Gomez is Professor of Chemistry and is the university Faculty Research Liaison at Cal State LA where he has been since 1994. He received his B.S. (1986) and Ph.D. (1991) in Chemistry from Cal State LA and UCLA, respectively. From 1991-1994 he was a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Research Fund Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University. Since 1994, he has received over $18 million in research funding and has published over 125 technical articles and two books on his research. His research group is engaged in developing fundamental and applied research in the area of microfluidics and, specifically, point-of-care (POC) diagnostic devices, fuel cells and batteries. He has mentored over 124 undergraduate, masters, and high school students and 12 postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists in his laboratories resulting in over 180 student presentations. In 1997 he was awarded a NSF CAREER Award and in 2007 he received the CSUPERB Biotechnology Faculty Research Award. Gomez was a member of the Montebello Unified School District Board of Education (1997-2001), and the Montebello City Council (2009-2013) and was Mayor from 2011-2012. He currently serves on the boards of directors of the Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR) and the Blind Children’s Learning Center (BCLC) in Tustin.


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Donald Johnson, M.S., Associate Professor, School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics

Prof. Johnson has a keen interest in all aspects of the forensic sciences, but his strengths are in forensic biology and crime scene investigation.  He is currently examining the use of tissue-specific microRNAs to further characterize non-specific bloodstain patterns for crime scene reconstruction.  Additionally, he is a research collaborator on:  1) the development of an imaging system for the on-site analysis of the area of origin of bloodstains (with Dr. David Raymond, CSULA Engineering); 2) a study on the effects of skin elasticity in bitemark comparisons (with Dr. Cheri Lewis, General Dentistry); 3) investigations on the use of the OxyVu Hyperspectral Imaging System as a non-invasive and on-site method to determine time of death (with Dr. Aksone Nouvong, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center); and 4) investigations on a questionable piece of sports memorabilia (with Questioned Documents Examiner Melvin Cavanaugh, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department).  Two of the projects are based on an animal model, which has been developed in collaboration of Dr. Ray de Leon (CSULA School of Kinesiology).


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David E. Raymond, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Raymond’s specialty is the field of injury biomechanics.  Dr. Raymond began his career in automotive safety for General Motors where he specialized in occupant protection and airbag system performance.  He has carried out numerous studies on airbag systems and has extensive full-scale vehicle crash testing experience.  Dr. Raymond also has experience in computer simulation of impact events. Dr. Raymond began his forensic career in 2002 and has been involved in over 500 cases involving injuries to the human body; testifying in both civil and criminal courts.  Since joining CSULA in 2011, he has established the Applied Injury Biomechanics Lab and currently co-advises undergraduate and graduate students on forensic-focused projects with his colleagues in the department of Criminalistics and Anthropology.

Dr. Raymond has published peer-review journal articles on such topics as collision-induced seat belt markings, the determination of seat belt usage in automotive collisions, biomechanical response of the head to blunt impacts, skull fracture tolerance and injury risk assessment in falls.  Dr. Raymond has presented original research at the SAE World Congress, American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Bioengineering Conference. 



Photo of Patrick Sharp


Patrick B. Sharp is Professor and Chair of Liberal Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. He is the founding Series Editor of the New Dimensions in Science Fiction with the University of Wales Press, and his books include Savage Perils: Racial Frontiers and Nuclear Apocalypse in American Culture (University of Oklahoma Press 2007) and the edited anthologies Darwin in Atlantic Cultures (Routledge 2009) and Women’s Work in Early Science Fiction (Wesleyan University Press 2015). He has also published articles on the interchange between science and culture in journals such as Twentieth Century Literature and Science Fiction Film and Television. His professional presentations include "Modern Television Procedurals as Science Fiction" to the California Association of Criminalists Seminar in 2013.

Photo of Jay R. Vargas














Jay R. Vargas

Assistant Professor

  • University of Utah, 2011, Ph.D., Pharmacology & Toxicology
  • Northern Arizona University, 2002, B.S., Chemistry with Forensics & Criminalistics Emphasis

Dr. Vargas’ research interests broadly include the development of analytical techniques used in forensic science, neurotoxicology, and neurobiology. Prior to coming to the School of Criminal Justice, Dr. Vargas began his career at the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office in Phoenix, AZ as a forensic chemist performing routine analysis on post-mortem tissue samples in the toxicology laboratory. Dr. Vargas’ graduate and post-doctoral research activities investigated the role of non-neuronal cell types in the normal and diseased brain with the ultimate goal of discovering new pharmacological targets and treatments for difficult to treat neurological conditions.

Photo of H. Xu



Professor Howard Xu received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from University of Minnesota, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at The Ohio State University. After engaging in discovery of novel antibiotics in the biotechnology industry for seven years, Professor Xu joined the biology faculty at Cal State LA in 2004. His research group is pursuing discovery of novel antibiotics and elucidation of mechanisms of pathogenesis of bacterial pathogens with funding from federal, state agencies and the campus. Since January 1, 2015, Professor Xu serves as the Director of Incubator Development and Programming, leading university initiatives in elevating a regional ecosystem for bioscience innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization. He was honored with California State University (CSU) system-wide 2011 Andreoli Faculty Service Award and 2018 Faculty Research Award by CSUPERB (California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology).