Cal State L.A. - MORE Programs - Research Training Faculty

Research Training

The science faculty members below are available as research directors for the conduct of Scholar research. More information on any faculty member and his/her research areas may be obtained at the faculty member's web page by double-clicking on his/her name.

Andres Aguilar

Radi Al-JishiProfessor, (Ph.D., 1982, Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Physics. Theoretical condensed matter physics. Theoretical studies of tubular structure of molecular  dimensions.

Olajide N. Bamishigbin Jr., (Assistant Professor of Psychology, Ph.D.).  In my research lab, the Stress and Health lab, my interests are focused broadly on the associations between stress, resilience, mental health, and physical health in understudied populations. Specifically, my research has explored a) stress and its association with depression in Black and Latino fathers, b) the antecedents and consequences of adolescent fatherhood for adolescent males and their families, and c) spirituality and depression in Black and Latino cancer survivors. Recent projects include a mixed-methods investigation of stress and health in college students with dependents as well as qualitative study to examine the psychological experience of ghosting in relationships.

Susan Cohen, Assistant Professor(BS, University of California, Santa Barbara, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The Cohen lab seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms by which the cyanobacterial circadian clock functions in the context of the three-dimensional cell. Using a variety of techniques including cell and molecular biology as well as genetics and biochemistry we aim to understand what cellular factors the clock interacts with in order to in order to synchronize with its external environment and execute programs of cellular physiology.

Jessica Dennis, Assistant Professor (Ph.D., 2003, University of California Riverside). Developmental and multicultural psychology, specifically acculturation, family relationships, identity formation, and academic behaviors in late adolescence and early adulthood.

Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Psychology, Ph.D. 1997 - UCLA).   Health and clinical psychology , specifically the role of psychopathology and personality disorders on health and risk behaviors in persons infected with and at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. 

Mitchel Eisen, Ph.D. (Professor of Psychology, Director, Forensic MS program).  Dr. Eisen is Director of the Forensic Psychology Graduate Program here at Cal State L.A. Dr. Eisen is also the Research liaison for the Partnership between CSULA and the Juvenile Court, and a member of the Coordinating Council for the California Forensic Science Institute (CFSI). In addition, Dr.  Eisen serves on the panel of experts for the Los Angeles County Superior Court in the area of eyewitness memory.

Krishna Foster, Assistant Professor, (Ph.D., 1998, University of Colorado, Boulder). Physical Chemistry. Studies on the effects of freezing on aqueous phase reaction kinetics
and photochemistry relevant to atmospheric chemistry.

Michael Hayes,  Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Biochemistry, Ph.D 2008 - Cornell).  Biochemical processes and protein machinery that modify and controls ribonucleic acids (RNAs).  An improved understanding of the regulation of RNA metabolism will lead to the development of new biotechnolotical tools

Yangyang Liu, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Chemistry, Ph.D. 2014 - Texas A&M University).  Design and synthesis of nanoporous materials (e.g. Metal-Organic Frameworks) for applications including energy storage, gas separation, carbon capture, catalysis, sensing, drug delivery and semiconductors. Our group is also interested in exploring new hybrid materials and studying the structure-property relationship through collaborations with computational scientists and industry.

Patrick Krug, using a combination of molecular, chemical, and behavioral techniques to study how planktonic stages of marine animals locate and colonize good habitats, and connect populations genetically. My lab also studies coevolution of marine herbivores and algae, testing how adaptation to novel host algae may fuel speciation in the sea.

Nathan Lanning

Alison McCurdy, Assistant Professor, (Ph.D., 1995, California Institute of Technology). Organic Chemistry. Synthesis of organic molecules designed to mimic calcium signaling
in cells by binding and releasing calcium ions in response to light. Investigation of the energetics of amino acid side-chain interactions in simple artificial proteins.

Jamil Momand, Assistant Professor, (Ph.D., 1989, University of California, Los Angeles). Biochemistry. Redox regulation of signal transduction pathways with an emphasis on
the p53 tumor suppressor protein. Effect of redox changes on DNA binding proteins. Development of new assays for quantitative and qualitative analysis of oxidation reactions of protein amino acid residues.

Robert M. Nissen, Associate Professor, (Ph.D., 2000, University of California, San Francisco). Developmental Genetics. The neural crest are an embryonic stem cell population that give rise to diverse adult cell types and structures such as the melanocytes (pigmentation), enteric nervous system, craniofacial bones and teeth. We employ molecular genetic and cell biological approaches to identify and study the genes required for neural crest cell development using the zebrafish as a model organism.

Hyunsook Park

Edith Porter, Assistant Professor, (M.D., 1989, University of Mainz, Germany). Innate host defense mediated by natural antibiotic peptides and phagocytes on our body surfaces. Interaction between first line defense and the invading pathogens. Proteinchemistry, immuno assays, antimicrobial assays, phagocytosis, tissue culture, recombinant DNA techniques.  

Pamela Regan, Professor (Ph.D. Psychology and Ph.D. Minor Statistics, 1994, The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN).  Psychology.  Primary research focus is in interpersonal relationships.  Recent work includes studies of attraction and mate preference, courtship, and both “positive” (love, satisfaction) and “negative” (jealousy, infidelity) relationship experiences.  Secondary research focus is in human sexuality, with a particular emphasis on the role of hormonal processes in motivational aspects of human sexual response (i.e., sexual desire).  Tertiary research focus is in health psychology, with a particular interest in psychosocial adjustment and neurocognitive function in HIV+ adults and in disordered eating and weight control behavior among ethnic minority populations.

Amelia Russo-Neustadt, Assistant Professor, (M.D., 1990, Ph.D., 1998, University of California, Irvine). Neurobiology. Physical activity, antidepressants and BDNF induction.

Tina Salmassi, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences (Ph.D. 2001, California Institute of Technology). Environmental Microbiology. Microbial Ecology. Environmental Chemistry.

Matthias Selke, Assistant Professor, (Ph.D.,1994, University of California, Los Angeles). Organic Chemistry. Chemistry of singlet oxygen as a tool to model oxygen activation
by transition metals in enzymatic processes.

Olaseni Sode, Assistant Professor of Chemistry (Ph.D., 2012, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).  Theoretical chemistry; computational approaches including electronic structure theory, molecular dynamics simulations and machine learning are employed to study multiscale chemical phenomena

Linda M. Gutierrez Tunstad, Associate Professor, (Ph.D., 1990, University of California, Los Angeles). Organic Chemistry. Design, synthesis, physical and binding properties
of host molecules with preorganized cavities of molecular dimensions. 

Robert L. Vellanoweth, Assistant Professor, (Ph.D., 1988, University of California, Berkeley). Biochemistry. Characterization of biochemical and molecular genetic events
in the programmed aging of leaf tissue in Arabidopsis; ROS-mediated signal transduction in the initiation of the senescence program.

Yixian Wang, Assistant Professor of Chemistry (Ph.D.).  Nanoscale electrochemical imaging/analysis. Interested areas: imaging single catalytic nanoparticles and relating the catalytic efficiency to structures; studying drug-protein interaction from single cell analysis; developing electrochemical sensors for environmental and food safety.

Xin Wen, Assistant Professor, (Ph.D., 2005, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY). Biophysical Chemistry. Our research interests are at the chemistry-biology interface. We aim to understand the relationships between protein structure, dynamics, and function upon the ligand binding by biological, chemical, biophysical, and structural methods. We are currently working on two biological systems to: 1) Identify highly efficient enhancers of antifreeze proteins and address fundamental questions in enhancement mechanisms for their final biomedical applications; 2) Investigate the interactions between toxic metal ions and zinc finger proteins for a better understanding of metal (ion) carcinogenesis.

H. Howard Xu- Assistant Professor of Microbiology (Ph.D., 1992, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities). Microbial Genomics, Medical Microbiology, Biotechnology. Research focus is the discovery of novel antibiotics using molecular biology, biochemistry, microbial physiology, genomics and High Throughput Screening (HTS) approaches.

Feimeng Zhou, Assistant Professor, (Ph.D., 1993, University of Texas, Austin). Analytical Chemistry. Characterization of chemically and biologically modified electrode surfaces using voltammetry, quartz crystal microbalance, and scanning probe microscopy DNA biosensor development. Electron and metal transfers in electroactive proteins.

Cecilia Zurita-Lopez, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry (Ph.D., 2011, UCLA).  Assessing the functional role of protein arginine methylation including the effects of methylation with respect to other modifications such as phosphorylation function.