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Fresno State RISE Program

RISE Team 

RISE Program Director

Dr. Krish Krishnan (Chair)

  • Office Location: Science Building Room 248
  • Office Phone: 559.278.7944 
  • E-mail:

RISE Program Coordinator

Ms. Brandy White (Murray), MS

RISE Program Manager

Ms. Lilia DeLaCerda, MPH

RISE Program Co-Principle Investigators

Current & Previous RISE Mentors 

  • Molecular genetics of programmed cell death (PCD) in plants
  • Use of PCD in plant biotechnology
  • PCD during sex determination in plants
  • Transgenic plant development and plant biotechnology
  • Biofuels and other metabolites

For more information visit: Dr. Alejandro Calderon-Urrea's faculty website page.

  • Cell biology
  • Cancer biology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular biology
  • Biomedical research

For more information visit: Dr. Jason Bush's faculty website page.

  • Neuroethology and neurobiology
  • Adaptive behaviors and neural plasticity
  • Insect cognition
  • Behavior and neural mechanisms underlying spatial processing, learning and memory, and navigation

For more information visit: Dr. David Lent's faculty website page.

  • Mycology and evolutionary biology of mycorrhizal
  • Systematics, taxonomy, ecology,, phylogeography, and evolution of fungi
  • Phylogenomics/phylogenetics, metagenomics, comparative genomics, transcriptomics, and bioinformatics

For more information visit: Dr. Alija Mujic's faculty website page.

  • Research spans areas of evolutionary biology, from sexual selection to ecological immunology

For more information email: Dr. Joel Slade

  • Ecological and evolutionary physiology
  • Thermal biology
  • Global change biology
  • Ecological developmental biology
  • Herpetology

For more information visit: Dr. Rory Telemeco's faculty website page.

  • Phylogenetics and population genetics of plants
  • Agricultural weed invasions and herbicide resistance evolution
  • Native California plant taxonomy
  • Natural history collections, especially the Fresno State Herbarium

For more information visit: Dr. Katherine Waselkov's faculty website page.

  • Development of macrolide-based microtubule stabilizing agents for the treatment of multi-drug resistant cancer
  • Development of improved analogs of natural dietary products for the treatment of advanced metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

For more information visit: Dr. Qiao-Hong Chen's faculty website page.

  • Role of instructional technologies to support enhanced student ownership and understanding of scientific concepts
    • Simulations
    • Virtual laboratories
    • Online science learning environments
  • Other research interests:Curriculum development and evaluation
    • Professional development of teachers
    • Power dynamics in science classrooms
  • Check out Dr. Donnelly-Hermosillo's website for current research projects!

For more information visit: Dr. Dermot Donnelly-Hermosillo's faculty website page.

  • Computing the electronically excited states of atoms and molecules and their degradation mechanisms
    • Developing better approaches for modeling electronic excitations and critical points along the degradation pathways
    • Applying the currently available methods to systems ranging from a single molecule to nanoparticles

For more information visit: Dr. Kristi Closser's faculty website page.

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - Parkinsonism dementia complex (ALS-PDC): Proteomic, electrophysiological and behavioral approach
  • Interaction of specific proteins involved in the abnormal proteolytic processing in Alzheimer's disease
  • Oxidative stress and transition metal ion homeostasis investigations in fruit flies as a model of aging

For more information visit: Dr. Joy Goto's faculty website page.

  • Plasma modification 
  • Naturally-derived polymers
  • Surface analysis
  • Biomedical devices
  • Check out The Hawker Lab website to learn about current projects

For more information visit: Dr. Morgan Hawker's faculty website page.

  • Building peptidomimetic biomolecules (peptoids, peptomers) and investigating their potential to function as biomaterial, therapeutics and sensors.
  • Design solid-phase bound catalysts for asymmetric allylic alkylation.
  • A two-prong approach on remediation of waste water by growing algae and subsequently screening their oil content for biodiesel.

For more information visit: Dr. Kalyani Maitra's faculty website page.

  • Alzheimer’s disease drug discovery
    • Seeking to modulate three proteins including apolipoprotein E (apoE)
  • Development of DEET pest repellent analogs

For more information visit: Dr. Santanu Maitra's faculty website page.

  • Develop new reactions and strategies for organic synthesis.
    • Free radical-mediated reactions
    • Processes at the intersections of chemistry with biology and material science

For more information visit: Dr. Hubert Muchalski's faculty website page.

  • Utilization of protein cages as platforms for making functional nanoparticles
  • Construction of three-dimensional array materials self-assembled form protein building blocks

For more information visit: Dr. Masaki Uchida's faculty website page.

  • Human motions, biomechanics, assistive device
  • Dynamic system modeling and control, automation, robotics
  • Smart materials and mechanisms, intelligent actuation and sensing
  • Mechanics, kinematics, machine design
  • Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH)

For more information visit: Dr. The Nguyen's faculty website page.

Medical and biological applications of x-ray fluorescence (XRF).

XRF is a non-invasive analytical method capable of detecting chemical elements in bulk or trace concentrations (parts per million level). Following x-ray irradiation in vivo measurements of certain elements in the human body are possible with minimal radiation dose. For the past three decades the most important medical XRF application was the in vivo measurement of lead (Pb) in the tibia bone. XRF investigations of the distribution, accumulation mechanisms, and metabolic role of other elements such as iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), arsenic (As), selenium (Se), or strontium (Sr) in healthy and pathological human tissues were also pursued by various research groups. I am particularly interested in the research and development of novel in vitro and in vivo XRF measurement techniques using modern x-ray optics instrumentation and techniques. The microbeam XRF laboratory I built features an integrated x-ray tube and polycapillary x- ray lens capable of producing an x-ray beam with a focal spot of 15 μm. This XRF system is suitable for in vitro XRF microscopy studies and the research of novel medical applications in this field.

For more information, visit: Dr. Mihai Gherase's faculty website page.

  • Judgement and decision making
  • Risk communication and judgement
  • Informal quantitative reasoning
  • Social and health-related judgement

For more information visit: Dr. Paul Price's faculty website page.

  • Forgetting; Implicit inference (influences on forgetting that occur outside of awareness)
  • Improving students' efficiency (applications of cognitive psychology psychology to note-taking procedures, test-taking strategies, and studying procedure)

For more information visit: Dr. Karl Oswald's faculty website page.

  • Perception of virtual reality
  • Video gaming behavior
  • Perception of spoken language
  • Psycholinguistics

For more information visit: Dr. Lorin Lachs's faculty website page.

  • Impact of context (i.e. housing, community, neighborhood, and culture) on children's development.
  • Implicit focus on immigrant children and families

For more information visit: Dr. Rosa Toro's faculty website page.

  • Neuropsychology
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Prediction of cognitive impairment
  • Memory and executive abilities, everyday functioning
  • Aging, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia

For more information visit: Dr. Ellen Woo's faculty website page.

Don't see a faculty mentor you would like to work with in this list? Any faculty member that actively does research on-campus within the College of Science and Mathematics or the Lyles College of Engineering can be a potential RISE faculty mentor! If you have questions, please email the RISE program coordinator, Brandy White (Murray), at for more information.