College of Science Funded Research

The researchers listed below represent those who have active external funding in excess of $500,000.

Brian Benscoter, Ph.D.

Dr. Benscoter's research focuses on linkages between community and ecosystem ecology and the influence of natural disturbances, particularly wildfire and drought, on ecological systems and the influence of climate change on future disturbance regimes. Current research in the lab ranges from species controls on soil decomposition to the effect of drought and fire on carbon emissions from natural and experimentally manipulated wetland ecosystems. Dr. Benscoter is funded by organizations including the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the  U.S. Geological Society.

Leonard Berry, Ph.D.

Dr. Berry's work focuses on assessing the impact of climate change on sea level rise and on the salinity dynamics in the Greater Everglades. As the former Director of the Center for Environmental Studies, Dr. Berry became a trusted source of information with respect to sea level rise and he provided testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the hearing was to receive testimony on the impacts of sea level rise on domestic energy and water infrastructure. Dr. Berry's work is funded by sources including the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Florida and the FAU Foundation .

Steven Bressler, Ph.D.

Dr. Bressler's  Cognitive Neurodynamics Laboratory is a research group within the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences at Florida Atlantic University. The central goal of the laboratory is to understand the spatiotemporal dynamics of activity in the brain as it relates to cognitive function. Our theoretical and experimental studies focus on the investigation of large-scale networks in the cerebral cortex. Dr. Bressler's primary source of funding is Montana State University .

Donna Chamely-Wiik, Ph.D.

Dr. Chamely-Wiik's project is dedicated to bridging the gap between professionals in the fields of science, mathematics, engineering and technology and K-12 educators and students. GK-12 fellows are placed in the high-school classrooms to incorporate cutting-edge research and to implement curriculum-based materials into the school curriculum and work in collaboration with high-school teachers to enrich the K-12 curriculum. Dr. Chamely-Wiik is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Xavier Comas, Ph.D.

Dr. Comas investigates carbon cycling as related to climate change in a wide variety of peatlands including subtropical systems like the Everglades, tropical systems in Indonesia and boreal systems in North America and Europe. He researches spatial and temporal patterns of accumulation and the release of methane and carbon dioxide gases in peat soils and estimates the below-ground soil carbon storage. This research will help define the balance between carbon accumulation and losses in these peatland systems, and how disturbances such as climate change may potentially impact such a balance. Dr. Comas is funded by organizations such as the U.S. Geological Society, NOAA , and the University of Central Florida.

Predrag Cudic, Ph.D.

Dr. Cudic’s research interests are in the broadly defined fields of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry. His research team uses rational synthetic and combinatorial chemistry approaches to synthesize and elucidate the structure-activity relationship of novel cyclic peptides as lead compounds for drug discovery or as carrier systems for nose-to-brain drug delivery. Dr. Cudic’s research has implications for treatment of multi-drug resistant bacterial infections and treatment of central nervous system diseases. He is funded by  the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.

Gregg B. Fields, Ph.D.

Dr. Fields’ research group has utilized chemical approaches to better understand how protein three-dimensional structures influence cellular and enzymatic behaviors. More specifically, his research team has developed topological models to mechanistically dissect collagen-mediated diseases, such as tumor cell invasion and osteoarthritis, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) catabolism of the extracellular matrix. Dr. Fields’ research includes the design of new therapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer, arthritis, and neurodegenerative diseases. Research in the Fields laboratory is funded by the National Institutes of Health , Lustgarten Foundation , and the  US-Israel Binational Science Foundation .

Dale Gawlik, Ph.D.

Dr. Gawlik's research focuses on mechanisms by which prey in a fluctuating wetland become available to wading birds, the response of wading birds to prey limitations, and species-specific models of habitat suitability in the context of Everglades restoration efforts. Dr. Gawlik is funded by sources including the U.S. Army Reserve and Development Center.

Tanja Godenschwege, Ph.D.

Dr. Godenschwege uses the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model to understand brain development and function. In the nervous system, the function and signaling mechanisms of many genes are evolutionarily conserved from flies to humans. Her lab uses anatomical, electrophysiological, molecular and genetic tools to analyze the roles these genes play in the assembly of a neuronal circuit and how developmental processes are affected when they are mutated. These genes are of relevance to a variety of neurological disorders and diseases such as CRASH syndrome (split brain), regeneration & degeneration, cancer, and aging. Dr. Godenschwege is funded by the National Institute of Health .

Erika Hoff, Ph.D.

Dr. Hoff directs the Language Development Lab which comprises several projects aimed at identifying the human abilities and human experiences that contribute to language development. The lab's main focus is an NICHD-funded longitudinal study of English monolingual and Spanish-English bilingual children from the age of 2 ½ to 5 years. Her team looks for evidence of factors in children's early language experiences and early language development that predict successful oral language and preliteracy outcomes at the age children begin formal schooling. Dr. Hoff is funded by the National Institute of Health .

J.A. Scott Kelso, Ph.D.

Dr. Kelso's research aims to discover the dynamical principles and mechanisms at play both within and between human brains during a real-time social interaction. Successful achievement of this program will specify the neurobehavioral routes leading to improved social function. Given the vast number of pathologies with etiological or symptomatic ties to social behavior, such information will afford many translational opportunities for the compensation or remediation of deficits in diseases such as autism, schizophrenia, depression, and dementia. Dr. Kelso's research is funded by the National Institutes of Health .

Loisa Kerwin

As Assistant Director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies, Loisa Kerwin oversees the educational outreach programs funded by the South Florida Water Management District , including outreach programs at the Riverwood site and an online teacher education program called " The Great Water Odyssey Program ."

Marguerite Koch-Rose, Ph.D.

Dr. Koch-Rose's research focuses on nutrient cycling and primary production in tropical marine ecosystems and marine plant ecology and ecophysiology. Her current research focuses on biogeochemical changes in tropical marine ecosystems in response to climate change and their effects on marine plant communities. Dr. Koch-Rose is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Warner Miller, Ph.D.

Dr. Miller's research proposes to use Ricci flow algorithms to better understand, characterize and stabilize systems such as cell phones networks, the Internet, satellite communication, transportation scheduling, influenza spread, the global financial backbones, as well as social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Dr. Miller's research is funded by the U.S. Air Force.

Emmanuelle Tognoli, Ph.D.

Dr. Tognoli investigates the processes that organize neural oscillations dynamically during the performance of complex behavioral functions such as social behavior, perceptual and sensorimotor integration and brain-machine interactions. Her basic research aims at alleviating neurological, psychiatric and physical illnesses and improves human performance. She is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

Additional externally funded research in the Chemistry Department:

  1. Andrew Terentis, Ph.D.: Fulbright Foundation Award
  2. Deguo Du, Ph.D.: NIH
  3. Mare Cudic, Ph.D.: NIH
  4. Stephane Roche, Ph.D. : NIH
  5. Evonne Rezler, Ph.D.: NSF
  6. Salvatore Lepore, Ph.D. NIH
  7. J. William Lauda, Ph.D.: a) Walter and Lalita Janks Foundation and b) South Florida Water Management