Advisory Board - California State University, Los Angeles



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Emily L. Allen, Ph.D. is Dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology at California State University, Los Angeles. She joined Cal State LA in 2013, bringing a record of initiating and managing materials research, curriculum development, and student success programs with significant funding from corporate partners, private donors, and federal sources. She believes in a collaborative, student-centered approach to technical research, engineering education and academic administration and leadership. Previously to her position at Cal State LA, she was Associate Dean and Professor of Materials Engineering at San José State University, as well as director of the Northern California regional affiliate of Project Lead the Way. She earned her BS in metallurgy and materials science from Columbia University, and her MS and PhD in materials science and engineering from Stanford University.


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Eric A. Bullard, Ph.D.

Dr. Bullard currently serves as the Dean of the College of Professional and Global Education and Senior International Officer for the campus at California State University, Los Angeles.  In this role, he leads all extended and international education initiatives.  Dr. Bullard is an active member of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) and the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE).   Dr. Bullard currently serves on the Board of Directors for the ACHE and on the Editorial Board of the Journal for Continuing Higher Education (JCHE), a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to research and scholarship in continuing higher education.  He has over 15 years of experience in continuing higher education and has previously held administrative positions in continuing higher education at California State University, Long Beach, California State University, San Marcos, and California State University, Bakersfield.


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Mitchell Eisen, Ph,D., Director, Forensic Psychology Graduate Program

Dr. Mitchell Eisen is a professor of Psychology at California State University at Los Angeles where he serves as the Director of their graduate program in Forensic Psychology.  Dr. Eisen’s research examines memory and suggestibility in children, eyewitness memory in adults and juror decision making.  In addition to his work at the University, Dr. Eisen frequently serves and an expert for the courts. 

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Colleen Friend, Director, Child Abuse and Family Violence Institute

Colleen Friend, PhD, LCSW, teaches at CSULA, where she is the Director of the Child Abuse and Family Violence Institute and the Partnership between CSULA and the Los Angeles County Juvenile Court.  She teaches two of the required classes for the CSULA Child Maltreatment and Family Violence Certificate.   Her practice experience and research publications are in child welfare training, intimate partner violence, risk assessment, adolescent relational aggression after multidisciplinary teams and child sexual abuse interviewing.  She has been a trainer for the LA County Department of Children and Family Services' new worker academy and  she was part of the invited team for training their workforce on “Engaging to Meet the Mental Health Needs of Children and Families,” as part of the Katie A. legal settlement.  

Placeholder Photo for Dr. Frank Gomez


Frank Gomez, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Gomez' research group is engaged in developing fundamental and applied research in the area of microfluidics.  Specifically, designing and developing new microfluidic devices (MDs) for use in point-of-care (POC) diagnostics as well as developing the chemistry and biochemistry required within the POC devices.  Current work involves the development of paper microfluidic and bead-based assays, enzyme microreactors, surface plasmon resonance (SPR) on chips, microfluidic fuel cells (methanol, formic acid, and hydrogen), novel materials for microfluidics, and chromatography on chips.  Specific projects involve the development of simple and inexpensive glucose (diabetes), lactic acid (sepsis), and bone turnover marker (for osteoporosis) assays.  They also employ response surface methodology (RSM) and artificial neural networks (ANN) to experimentally optimize conditions in microfluidics.  The members of the Gomez group include undergraduate and graduate students, high school students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scientists from the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, mechanical engineering, physics, biology, forensic science, and mathematics.  Specific interests within forensic sciences include instrumentation development for trace analysis, and methods development.

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Denise Herz, Ph.D., is Professor and Director at the California State University—Los Angeles in the School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics.  Her primary area of research is in juvenile justice, with particular emphasis on integrating systems to improve outcomes for youths at-risk for delinquency and for youths who have entered the juvenile justice and/or child welfare systems.    


Since 2004, Dr. Herz has worked with Los Angeles Superior Court, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, and the Los Angeles County Probation Department to document the characteristics and needs of crossover youth and to evaluate the 241.1 Multidisciplinary Team.  Since 2011, she has also served as Research Director for the Los Angeles Gang Reduction and Youth Development Office (GRYD).  In this capacity, Dr. Herz co-authored the GRYD Comprehensive Strategy, served as a liaison to the national evaluator, assisted in the transition of prevention and intervention services, and built data collection systems to collect on-going program data for GRYD prevention and intervention programs. 


Dr. Herz received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Criminology from the University of Maryland at College Park.  

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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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Alison McCurdy, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Alison McCurdy has a B.S. in Biological Chemistry and a Ph. D. in Physical Organic Chemistry, and is currently a Professor of Chemistry at CSU Los Angeles.  Her research area with both undergraduate and graduate students focuses on the design and synthesis of organic photoswitches to model biological signals, and requires the use of synthetic and purification techniques, and a variety of analytical instrumentation.  While never having had training in forensic science, she has always been interested in this discipline and hopes to both contribute to and learn from the work of the California Forensic Science Institute.

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Parviz Partow-Navid, Associate Director of Semester Conversion

Dr. Partow-Navid has been at California State University, Los Angeles since 1983.  As associate director of Quarter to Semester conversion, his responsibilities include supporting and facilitating conversion of curriculum, advisement, and information technology processes. A professor of Information Systems, he has served as acting associate dean of undergraduate studies (January 2012 – August 2013), acting associate dean of College of Business and Economics (Sept. 2010-June 2011), director of student services for the College of Business and Economics (2006-2010), and chair of the Department of Information Systems (2000-2006). His research interests are in cyber security, intelligent systems, e-commerce, and distance learning. Partow-Navid earned his Ph.D. and MBA from the University of Texas, Austin, in operations research

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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. 

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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.




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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.


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Howard Xu, Associate Professor, Department of Biology and Microbiology

Dr. Howard Xu is an Associate Professor of Microbiology with research interests in pathogenic microbiology, agents of bioterrorism and microbial forensics.  The research conducted by Dr. Xu’s laboratory has been supported by agencies such as U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health.  Several former students trained by Dr. Xu are now engaging in DNA forensics work in the Scientific Investigations Division of Los Angeles Police Department or the Scientific Services Bureau of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.