COSAM » Departments » Outreach » All Programs » SSI » Meet the Professors

Meet the SSI Faculty


Biology


Paul Cobine

Paul Cobine

Research and Teaching Interests:
My research is focused on the mechanisms for recruitment and distribution of metals. Metal availability is a limiting factor for cell survival, therefore mechanisms to maintain the appropriate metal concentration have been highly conserved. We are especially interested in 1) how metals are distributed, stored and used in mitochondria; the majority of these studies use the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae and 2) the metal requirements of the phytopathogen Xylella fastidiosa in infection and the subsequent development of disease. Generally our studies combine direct metal-binding analysis with assessment of physiological outcomes, using protein chemistry, spectroscopy and genetics.

Education:
University of Utah, Postdoctoral Fellow (2007)
The University of Queensland, Australia, Ph.D. (2004)
The University of Queensland, Australia, B.S. (1996)


Shawn Jacobsen

Shawn Jacobsen

Research and Teaching Interests:
Vertibrate Biodiversity and Ecology.

Education:
Texas A&M University, B.S. (1987)
Auburn University, M.S. (1992)


Debbie Folkerts

Debbie Folkerts

Research and Teaching Interests:
Insect-pitcher plant interactions and arachnology.

Education:
University of Georgia, Ph.D. (1992)


Wendy Hood

Wendy Hood

Research and Teaching Interests:
Research in the Hood lab is broadly focused on understanding the interactions between nutrition, physiology, and individual variation in performance. Within this context we have focused on 3 areas: 1) what factors contribute to individual differences in reproductive performance, 2) how maternal effects impact the phenotype and reproductive performance of young, and 3) intra- and interspecific difference in milk composition and the evolution of lactation. Our recent research subjects have included mice, bats, ground squirrels, seals, finches, bluebirds, and hummingbirds.

Education:
Boston University, Ph.D. (2001)
Boston University, M.A. (1998)
University of California, Santa Cruz, B.A. (1993)


Mark Liles

Mark Liles

Research and Teaching Interests:
My research group has an interest in three primary areas: 1) Metagenomic Analysis of Bacterial and Viral Assemblages. My lab has used a microbial community genomic approach (a.k.a.“metagenomic”) to study complex microbial assemblages in natural and man-made environments. These studies have different biological questions that drive the research question and exact experimental approach including the study of a) Natural Product Discovery from Soil Metagenomes, b) Viral genomes and virally-encoded natural products, and c) Microbiome studies in which plant or animal-associated microorganisms are impacted by biotic or abiotic factors. 2) Biological Control of Disease. Research to identify and apply biological control agents such as beneficial bacterial “probiotics” within the genus Bacillus in order to prevent and control disease in aquaculture farmed fish and in agriculturally important crop species. 3) Pathogenesis and control of virulent Aeromonas hydrophila. Our studies have led to the development of diagnostic methods and a vaccine for a virulent strain of Aeromonas hydrophila that is responsible for severe epidemic outbreaks of disease in farmed fish in the United States and in China. My lab is studying the pathogenesis of disease and the control of disease using both biological control agents and an attenuated vaccine.

Education:
Northwestern University, Ph.D. in Microbiology, NIH Predoctoral Fellow (1998)
Tulane University, New Orleans, B.S. in Biology (1991)


Chemistry


Anne Gorden

Anne Gorden

Research and Teaching Interests:
Organic synthesis, molecular recognition, coordination chemistry, actinide chemistry and nuclear chemistry Although Professor Gorden teaches organic chemistry, her research interests have always overlapped with inorganic chemistry in the design of organic compounds that can be used to selectively remove or detect metal ions in the environment. In addition, her research group looks at catalysts that can replace more toxic or expensive catalysts to speed up organic syntheses and reduce environmental impacts. She is a co-author on more than thirty publications and an inventor of record for four patents. In addition to her research, Prof. Gorden is also the faculty advisor for the Auburn University Association of Women in Science.

Education:
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Seaborg Center Postdoctoral Fellow (2003-2005)
The University of California, Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2002)
The University of Texas, Ph.D. (2002)
Emory University, B.S. (1996)


John Gorden

John Gorden

Research and Teaching Interests:
Inorganic & organometallic synthesis, coordination chemistry, catalysis, actinide chemistry, X-ray crystallography. Dr. Gorden is the General Chemistry Coordinator for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as well as the Honors College Instructor for General Chemistry. His research focus is concerned with the chemistry of electrophilic and/or Lewis acidic molecules with special interest on the discovery of new structures, bonding modes and reactivates of Main Group and Actinide elements. In addition to synthesis, his research also involves extensive use single crystal X-ray diffraction. He is co-author on over twenty research publications and a frequent reviewer for General Chemistry textbooks and multimedia.

Education:
The University of California, Postdoctoral Research Assoc. (2003-2005)
The University of California, Adjunct Faculty (2003)
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Postdoctoral Research Assoc. (2001-2003)
The University of Texas Austin, Ph.D. (2001)
The University of Texas Arlington, B.S. (1995)


Steven Mansoorabadi

Steven Mansoorabadi

Research and Teaching Interests:
Our laboratory utilizes a combination of bioinformatic, biochemical, and biophysical approaches to identify and characterize novel biosynthetic pathways, secondary metabolites, and biocatalysts. The systems under study in our laboratory are chosen for both their biological importance and their potential for employing unusual and interesting enzyme chemistry. Below is an overview of several research projects in our laboratory that are focused on tetrapyrrole biosynthesis. Tetrapyrroles, the ‘pigments of life’, are an important class of biomolecules that function as coenzymes and prosthetic groups. As such, they play essential roles in several fundamental biological processes, such as oxygen and electron transport (heme), photosynthesis (chlorophyll and bacteriochlorophyll), methanogenesis (coenzyme F430), nitrite (heme d1) and sulfite (siroheme) reduction, and fatty and nucleic acid metabolism (cobalamin).

Education:
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D. (2006)
The University of Texas at Austin, Postdoctoral Fellow (2006-2012)


Konrad Patkoswki

Konrad Patkowski

Research and Teaching Interests:
Intermolecular interactions are everywhere. A network of intermolecular hydrogen bonds determines the properties of liquid water and aqueous solutions. Hydrogen bonds as well as other effects (like stacking interactions of aromatic side chains) govern the structure of proteins and the catalytic abilities of enzymes. Even the least reactive species like rare gas atoms exhibit weak mutual attraction due to a phenomenon called dispersion. In fact, this attraction is the very reason why rare gases form liquids and solids at low temperatures. In a computational study of the interaction between two atoms or molecules, the key quantity is the potential energy surface (PES). This surface represents the electronic interaction energy of the dimer as a function of the intermonomer distance and of the relative orientation of monomers. Once the PES is known, we can calculate various quantities (spectra, virial coefficients, liquid and crystal parameters) that can be compared to experimental predictions.

Education:
University of Warsaw, Poland, M.S. (1999)
University of Warsaw, Poland, Ph.D. (2004)
University of Delaware, Postdoctoral Fellow (2003-2010)


Bradley Merner

Bradley Merner

Research and Teaching Interests:
The central theme of our group’s research program is target-oriented chemical synthesis (vide infra). Under this vastly defined area, our group will concentrate on the synthesis of architecturally complex molecules that are relevant to medicinal chemistry and nanoscale science. We are interested in the synthesis of natural products, analogues thereof, nucleic acid modifications that can be used as gene silencing therapeutics, and curved aromatic systems that will serve as molecular templates in the bottom-up chemical synthesis of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Deeply rooted in all of the synthesis projects carried out in our laboratories will be the development of new synthetic technologies that address current weaknesses that exist in the arena of chemical synthesis. It is hoped that this vision will facilitate the discovery of new, powerful synthetic disconnections that can ultimately be used to streamline synthetic approaches to bioactive compounds, enable analogue synthesis of more potent medicines, and improve the current state of the art for CNT synthesis.

Education:
Memorial University, Ph.D. (2010)
Universityé de Montrealéal, Postdoctoral Fellow (2013)


Geosciences


Chandana Mitra

Chandana Mitra

Research and Teaching Interests:
Chandana Mitra’s teaching responsibilities largely reflect her interests in urban growth, GIS and climate science. The courses she offers include GIS, climatology, physical geography, urban geography and Asia. Dr. Mitra’s primary research interests are in the field of urban climate, urban land cover, urban land use change, growth dynamics in developing countries, urban growth models, mesoscale weather processes and modeling, climate change, satellite remote sensing and GIS. She has extensively used GIS/remote sensing techniques and urban growth models to better understand the dynamics of human - environmental interactions. She and her students are using the WRF mesoscale climate model to discern land-atmosphere interactions and impacts. Dr. Mitra's present research projects are related to quantifying land use, land cover change, converting digital numbers to degree temperatures to delineate urban heat island magnitude and estimating evapotranspiration for agricultural and urban areas. Her current research projects focus on South Asian countries and the US. Another of her present research initiatives is to create 'urban sustainability maps'. These maps will potentially help global cities make decisions and policies towards a more sustainable future based on their individual topography, structure, climate and several other inputs. In future she wants to expand her research to other parts of the world, along with environmental planning, plan for greener cities, and examine different ways of mitigating urban heat islands. Mitra is passionate about Climate change communication to the masses. She believes the first step to climate change mitigation is educating the general population and them taking ownership and responsibilities to mitigate the risks. She is a member of 'Climate Voices - Science Speakers Network', a new climate communications initiative of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the United Nations Foundation. Her academic research always ties in with dissemination of knowledge whether it is through K 12 education or using mass media to communicate or simply through her class lectures.

Education:
University of Georgia, Ph.D. (2011)
University of Calcutta, M.A. (1994)
University of Calcutta, B.A. (1992)

Physics


Dean Nicholas Giordano

Dean Nicholas Giordano

Research and Teaching Interests:
Transport properties of disordered systems, fabrication of microstructures, behavior of one and two dimensional metals, low frequency noise, superconductivity in one dimension, mesoscopic systems, nonfluidics, musical acoustics, physics of the piano, computational biophysics, science education, scientific computation, aerocoustics.

Education:
Ph.D., Yale University (1977)
B.S., Purdue University (1973)


Allen Landers

Allen Landers

Research and Teaching Interests:
Professor Landers joined the Auburn faculty in 2003. He is interested in physics problems that deal with fundamental atomic and molecular phenomena that he explores through interactions of molecules with ionizing radiation. In addition to experiments in his laboratory at Auburn, he regularly does experiments at the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. He has a wide variety of interests that include playing piano, chess and basketball (although not simultaneously!).


Uwe Konopka

Uwe Konopka

Education:
Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany, Ph.D. (2000)
Ruhr- University, Germany, Diploma in Physics (1996)
Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany, Intermediate Diploma in Mathematics (1991)
Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany, Intermediate Diploma in Physics (1991)


Mike Fogle

Mike Fogle

Research and Teaching Interests:
Dr. Fogle’s primary interests are studying how electrons and photons interact with atoms, molecules and ions. An understanding of these interactions helps to interpret and model what happens in plasma environments such as in space and in laboratory plasma devices. These studies also help us to understand the details of chemical systems, such as the structure and dynamics of molecules.

Education:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2004-2008)
Stockholm University, Sweden, Ph.D. (2004)
Stockholm University, Sweden, Licentiate Degree (2002)
East Carolina University, M.S. (2000)
East Carolina University, B.S. (1997)


Dave Maurer

Dave Maurer

Research and Teaching Interests:
My chosen area of study is magnetically confined plasmas, in particular, those for application for the generation of fusion energy. Magnetic confinement physics is a fundamental part of plasma physics, important over a broad range of applied science. Since coming to Auburn University my main research goals have been to advance the nderstanding of three dimensional shaping of confined plasmas on the Compact Toroidal Hybrid (CTH) device. In particular, to answer the question: how can 3D stellarator magnetic fields be used to explicate and suppress disruptive plasma terminations events that give rise to sudden loss of confinement for axisymmetric plasmas such the tokamak configuration. To date, my group working on CTH has been able to suppress and ameliorate several major types of catastrophic plasma termination observed on tokamaks: (i) suppression of vertically unstable motion, (ii) suppression of high current terminations, and (iii) extension of the operational density limit (Greenwald limit). I plan to continue this important area of research in future proposals by beginning a more systematic study of the detailed causes for the observed performance enhancement with strong magnetic shaping already observed on CTH. This entails substantial diagnostic upgrades of our ability to measure CTH plasma equilibria to be able to explore changes in plasma stability with the addition of stellarator fields that lead to our observed disruption suppression. In addition, I am actively trying to expand my research effort internationally. I am in the process of attempting to start a collaboration on the Wendelstein-7 Experiment (W7-X) at the Institute of Plasma Physics at Griefswald, Germany. This will hopefully lead to additional external funding, with tentative plans to have a post-doc and two graduate students on-site at W7-X studying edge island divertor physics. We also have plans to begin a new research thrust on CTH exploring edge plasma transport and flow physics in the presence of a magnetic island structure which has a strong overlap with planned physics goals of the W7-X device when it begins first operations in 2015. The encouraging results we have achieved on CTH disruption behavior also motivate plans for a possible new experimental device as a follow-on experiment in the future. Currently, CTH operates with rather large non-axisymmetric components to its magnetic field. We plan to attempt to run axisymmetric tokamak plasmas in our next proposal given available funds for vertical field control and plasma breakdown initiation. These experiments would be a first step in the direction of motivating the construction of a new device that could explore the full range of magnetic configurations from an axisymmetric tokamak plasma to a quasi-symmetric or fully 3D current carrying plasma. Design of such a new experiment has already been discussed with Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) physicists who would be an active participant in the computational design. New avenues for funding of the design phase of a follow-on experiment along these lines are being pursued in collaboration with PPPL. This research would be first of kind in the world and have application to both tokamak and stellarator confinement physics and would impact optimization of future magnetic confinement systems for fusion.

Education:
Columbia University, Ph.D. (2000)
Columbia University, M.Phil. (1998)
Columbia University, M.S. (1993)
University of Wisconsin, B.S. (1991)


Mathematics


Chris Rodger

Chris Rodger

Research and Teaching Interests:
Discrete Mathematics: Combinatorics; Graph Theory; Design Theory

Education:
Ph.D., University of Reading, England (1982)
M.S., University of Sydney, Australia (2002)
The University of Texas, Ph.D. (1979)
BS.c, University of Australia (1977)



Last Updated: 10/27/2016