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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 contact: Dr. Alejandro Calderon-Urrea

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

For more information contact: Dr. Jason Bush

  • 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 contact: Dr. David Lent

  • 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 contact: Dr. Alija Mujic

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

For more information contact: Dr. Joel Slade

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

For more information contact: Dr. Rory Telemeco

  • 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 contact: Dr. Katherine Waselkov

  • 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 contact: Dr. Qiao-Hong Chen

  • 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 contact: Dr. Dermot Donnelly-Hermosillo

  • 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 contact: Dr. Kristi Closser

  • 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 contact: Dr. Joy Goto

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

For more information contact: Dr. Morgan Hawker

  • 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 contact: Dr. Kalyani Maitra

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

For more information contact: Dr. Santanu Maitra

  • 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 contact: Dr. Hubert Muchalski

  • 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 contact: Dr. Masaki Uchida

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

For more information contact: Dr. Paul Price

  • 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 contact: Dr. Karl Oswald

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

For more information contact: Dr. Lorin Lachs

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

For more information contact: Dr. Rosa Toro

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

For more information contact: Dr. Ellen Woo

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.