Advancing the Art of Science Communication

Science Stars

Tara Alvarez

Tara Alvarez, PhD is currently a tenured full professor within the Department of Biomedical Engineering at NJIT. She founded and currently directs the Vision and Neural Engineering Laboratory (VNEL). The mission of the VNEL is to mechanistically understand the neural-behavior relationship of oculomotor learning. She has concentrated on the following two oculomotor applications: vision therapy and vergence adaptation of aging. Dr. Alvarez has developed tools and collaborations to quantitatively study a common vision dysfunction called convergence insufficiency (CI), which is present in 4% of the general population and up to 40% in the civilian and military traumatic brain injury populations. She has over 120 peer reviewed publications and 4 patents.

Martin J. Hicks

Martin J. Hicks is an assistant professor and principal investigator in the Department of Biology at Monmouth University where his lab is developing new strategies to deliver the genetic sequences of RNA molecules directed against transcripts and proteins involved in cancer. Current strategies include anti-sense RNA molecules to alter pre-mRNA splicing and the use of natural miRNA structures to reduce the expression of proteins that mediate growth and proliferation of tumor cells. As a PhD candidate in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics in the laboratory of Klemens J. Hertel at the University of California, Irvine, he investigated regulatory elements of splice sites and the coupling of transcription and pre-mRNA splicing. He worked in the development of vaccines and gene transfer strategies to target small molecule drugs of abuse while a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Genetic Medicine in the laboratory of Ronald G. Crystal at Cornell Medical College. As a junior faculty researcher and instructor at Cornell Medical College, he worked on novel research approaches in the treatment of cancer using gene transfer of antibody therapeutics to the tumor microenvironment.

Judith A. Neubauer

Dr. Judith A. Neubauer is a professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and associate vice president for Research and Regulatory Affairs for the university. Her research has focused on understanding how hypoxia modulates the central respiratory and sympathetic pattern generators at the integrative, as well as cellular and molecular level. She has been engaged in research on the neurobiology of respiratory control particularly as it relates to Sleep Apnea Syndrome and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome throughout her academic career. Dr. Neubauer’s laboratory discovered that the pacemaker region of the respiratory network, the pre-Bötzinger Complex, serves as a central oxygen sensor and together with the C1 sympathoexcitory region is essential for autoresuscitation. Current studies are directed at understanding the mechanism of hypoxic transduction of these medullary regions with a particular focus on heme oxygenase as the critical oxygen sensor in these neurons. Clinical studies in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea are planned to determine whether heme oxygenase is a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of OSA.

Jonathan Ouellet

Dr. Jonathan Ouellet is an assistant professor at Monmouth University where he teaches biochemistry and general chemistry as well as conducting research projects with undergraduate students in the field of RNA structure. Dr. Ouellet received his PhD in biochemistry in the laboratory of Dr. Jean-Pierre Perreault at the University of Sherbooke, Québec (Canada) working on the structure of a ribozyme derived from the hepatitis delta virus. He then undertook his post-doc studies in the lab of Dr. David Lilley in Dundee, Scotland (United Kingdom) elucidating the structure of several functional RNAs by small angle X-ray scattering and single-molecule FRET as well as working on riboswitches at the National Scientific Research Institute at Laval, Québec. His research led to several publications (publication list; tinyurl.com/mfn4j7k) as well as to presentation to numerous conferences such as the annual meeting of the RNA Society.

Kathryn Uhrich

Dr. Kathryn Uhrich is a professor of Chemistry at Rutgers, and also holds graduate appointments in Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Pharmaceutics. She received her BS degree from the University of North Dakota, and PhD degree from Cornell University. She has trained nearly 200 junior and senior researchers in polymer chemistry and biomaterials, whose research accomplishments have been disseminated in hundreds of publications, patents/filings, and several start-up companies. Dr. Uhrich recently served as dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and National Academy of Inventors.