College of Science Leadership Bios

 

Office of the Dean

Dean Ata

Ata Sarajedini, Ph.D.

Dean, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Ata Sarajedini is the Dean of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. Before coming to FAU in January of 2017, he served as Associate Dean for Natural Sciences and Mathematics as well as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida. Before that, he was Associate Chair and Acting Chair of the Department of Astronomy. After receiving his Ph.D. in Astronomy at Yale in 1992, he spent seven years as a postdoctoral researcher and a Hubble Fellow at Kitt Peak National Observatory and San Francisco State University. Dr. Sarajedini spent two years at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT as an Assistant Professor before moving to the University of Florida in 2001. He received an NSF CAREER award in 2001, a University of Florida Research Professor award in 2006, and was the principal investigator of a large Treasury project with the Hubble Space Telescope starting in 2014.

His research is focused on resolved stellar populations in Local Group galaxies. These include field stars, open and globular clusters in the Milky Way, M31, M33, the Magellanic Clouds, and the numerous nearby dwarf galaxies. When we resolve individual stars in these systems, we can apply our knowledge of star formation and stellar evolution to understanding the process of galaxy formation and evolution.

Deans Assistant: Margaret Flood, 561-297-3288, mflood1@fau.edu 

 

Deans Assistant

Margaret Flood

Assistant to the Dean 

 

Margaret Flood began as Dean Ata Sarajedini’s Assistant in 2017.  Margaret joined FAU with a great deal of experience as the Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the College of Science and Allied Health at Sacramento City College in California.  Before that, she served as the Executive Assistant to two Deputy City Managers in the City of Coral Springs, Florida.

 

She is a native of Canada, where she earned her degree from the University of Toronto.

 

Associate Deans and Directors

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Evonne Rezler, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Student Services, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science 

Dr. Rezler serves as Associate Dean for Student Services in the College of Science. She leads the College of Science advising team to help students achieve their academic and timely graduation goals. In 2016-17, she also served as Special Assistant to Provost for student success leading the development and promotion of curricular and advising strategies to improve student success FAU-wide. Dr. Rezler received her B.S. with Honors (1996) and Ph.D. (2001) degrees in Chemistry from the University of Sydney, Australia. In 2002, she accepted a Postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Dr. Laurence Hurley at the Arizona Cancer Center, where she carried out research investigating the formation and structure of G-quadruplexes in the promoter regions of oncogenes and their putative role in the onset and progression of various cancers. In 2004, Dr. Rezler joined the research group of Dr. Gregg Fields at FAU, where her research involved: developing drug delivery systems targeted to cellular receptors in metastatic melanoma cells, and investigating the mechanism of drug delivery by cell selective cell penetrating peptides (CPPs).

For her research in the Fields’ Lab Dr. Rezler was recognized with BioFlorida’s Legacy in Life Science Award. Dr. Rezler joined FAU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2006, teaching Organic and Inorganic Chemistry lab and lecture courses, and conducting Chemical Education research. Her current research focuses on the adaptation and incorporation of novel spectroscopy-based approaches into the undergraduate curriculum to enhance active participation and increases student engagement in the learning process. Dr. Rezler was recently a PI of a NSF Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science (TUES) grant: “Vertical Integration of Raman Spectroscopy into the Chemistry Curriculum” that successfully incorporated a 'spectroscopy-to-learn' approach in the chemistry curriculum at FAU. She is also currently co-PI of the NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation-Catalyst (IT-Catalyst) project: “Transforming Faculty Gender Diversity at Florida Atlantic University”.

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Warner Miller, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Research, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Warner A. Miller is the Associate Dean for Research Dean of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and served for over twelve years as Chair of the Department of Physics. Before coming to FAU in January of 2003, he served as Chair of the Theoretical Astrophysics Group in the Theoretical Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Before that, he was a J. Robert Oppenheimer Fellow and Technical Staff Member at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Warner Miller served in the USAF for 28 years and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. In the USAF, he received the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, was awarded an Ira C. Eaker Fellowship, and was the 1998 recipient of the 1989 USAF Basic Research Award. He was commander of the operating location at Los Alamos AFRL/OLAL. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Texas at Austin under the mentorship of John Archibald Wheeler.

He has had consistent federal funding for his research. He has supervised four Ph.D. students and one Master's student, and currently, has two Ph.D. students. His research is focused on discrete geometry and its applications to Einstein’s geometric theory of gravitation. He is currently collaborating with Professor Shing-Tung Yau of Harvard University on discrete Ricci flow and on a measure of quasi-local mass in general relativity. He is also exploring general relativistic effects on global quantum communication networks with Professor Doyeol Ahn of the University of Seoul.

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Charles Roberts, Ph.D. 

Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Charles came to FAU in 1990 and received his Ph.D. from the Department of Geography at the Pennsylvania State University in 1992. He served as a graduate and undergraduate advisor to the Department of Geography and served on the committee that created the Environmental Science MS degree. His areas of expertise are the remote sensing of land-use transitions and the historical geography of regional transformation. As such he has chaired and served on over 50 urban, environmental and geoscience student research projects, thesis, and dissertations. He was the college nomination for teacher of the year and has won many teaching awards. He has been a leader in online education and has won an award for innovations in e-learning. He has been the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies since 2011 and has taken a University level leadership role in innovations such as the Masters along the Way, and the Combined BS/MS degree programs.

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Lianfen Qian, Ph.D.

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Lianfen Qian is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, Professor and Statistics Supervisor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. She is a Project NExT Fellow from 1997-1998 chosen by the Mathematical Association of American. She received her Ph.D. in Statistics from Michigan State University in 1996, her M.S. degree in Statistics in 1989 and B.S. degree in Mathematics in 1984 from Zhejiang University in China. She was a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at Zhejiang University from 1984 to 1991. Dr. Qian's research focuses on the detection and estimation of structural changes in various types of data such as time series, survival data, environmental data, financial data and genomic data via the parameter and nonparametric approaches.

She has published about fifty refereed journal papers in statistics and serves as a Math Appliance mentor and a member of editorial boards for several statistics journals, a reviewer for the American Mathematical Reviews and Technometrics. She has successfully mentored the first place award in US 2015 Undergraduate Statistics Research Project Competition sponsored by ASA/CAUSE and many MS and Ph.D. students.

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Steven Bressler, Ph.D.

Interim Director and Professor of the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Dr. Steven Bressler is Interim Director and Professor of the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), where he leads the Cognitive Neurodynamics Laboratory. He is also Professor of Psychology at FAU. He received his BA from Johns Hopkins, his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, and his postdoctoral training at the EEG Systems Laboratory in San Francisco. He has made substantial contributions to the field of large scale neural networks in the brain, with papers cited over 10000 times in leading research journals. His papers have been published in Nature (1993), Science (1983, 1987, 2012), and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA (2004).

He served on the Board of Governors of INNS from 2009 to 2011, and the editorial board of Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience from 2011 to 2017. He has also been Action Editor for Neural Networks since 2009. He has been principal investigator on research grants from NSF and NIH, and has organized or co-organized several conferences on large-scale brain networks, including the 2007 NSF Conference on Brain Network Dynamics, the 2009 Symposium on Top-Down Mechanisms of Visual Attention, the 2010 NSF Conference on Neurocognitive Networks, the 2011 IJCNN Special Symposium, From Brains to Machines, and the 2017 ICCN Symposium on Cognitive Dynamics of Large-Scale Brain Circuits. His research is focused on the dynamics of large-scale brain networks in cognition. His expertise is in the field of functional brain network connectivity, and he is recognized as a leader in the study of directed functional connections in brain networks.

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Dale Gawlik, Ph.D.

Director of the Environmental Sciences Program, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Dale Gawlik is Director of Florida Atlantic University’s Environmental Science Program and a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. His research focuses on waterbird ecology and conservation, wetland and intertidal ecosystems, restoration ecology, and the use of birds in aquatic ecosystem management. He has published over 70 papers, many focused on how hydrologic processes control wading bird populations in the Everglades of Florida. He and his students have developed heron, stork, and ibis habitat models that link bird populations to the hydrologic management and restoration of the Everglades. Dale serves on the Steering Committee for the IUCN Heron Specialists Group, and he is a member of the IUCN Stork, Ibis, and Spoonbill Specialist Group and of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wood Stork Working Group. Dale is currently the Secretary of the Association of Field Ornithologists and is a Councilor for the Wilson Ornithological Society and for the Waterbird Society.

Department Chairs

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Gregg Fields, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Gregg B. Fields is a Full Professor and the Chair of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute/Scripps Florida. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from the University of Florida and Florida State University, respectively, and was a Postdoctoral Scholar with Professor Ken A. Dill at the University of California at San Francisco. His honors and awards include a University of Minnesota McKnight-Land Grant Professorship, a National Institutes of Health Research Career Development Award, an Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities Excellence Award in Peptide Synthesis Research, a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Imperial College London, a Texas Higher Education Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention Award, a Robert A. Welch Foundation Distinguished University Chair in Chemistry, and election as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The Fields research group has focused on collagen-mediated diseases, with particular attention paid to tumor metastasis. The metastatic process requires tumor cells to migrate through tissues that are high in collagen content. Tumor cell invasion through collagen is facilitated by a family of enzymes known as the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). The Fields laboratory has provided the first molecular description of collagen destruction by MMPs, and developed the first generation of collagen-mimic inhibitors that have provided high affinity and unique selectivities not observed previously in the MMP field. Dr. Fields has over 250 publications.

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Rainer Steinwandt, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Rainer Steinwandt serves as Chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Before joining FAU in 2005, he was with the Univ. of Karlsruhe in Germany, where he completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science in 1998 and 2000, respectively, researching topics in computer algebra. Today, his research focus is in cryptology, including quantum cryptanalysis and quantum-safe cryptography. He currently serves as director of FAU's Center for Cryptology and Information Security and is a managing editor of de Gruyter's J. of Mathematical Cryptology. Dr. Steinwandt's research has been funded through the Air Force Research Laboratory, the German Federal Office for Information Security, the National Science Foundation, and the NATO Science for Peace and Security program.

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Rod Murphey, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Dr. Murphey is Chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences, Director of the Graduate Program in Integrative Biology and Director of the FAU Jupiter Life Science Initiative. In the past, Dr. Murphey has served as Program Director for Developmental Neuroscience at the National Science Foundation and has served on numerous federal grant advisory panels at NSF and NIH. As Chairman he has guided the development of the largest Department at FAU as it has doubled in size in the last decade to a total of 3000 majors. He has hired 10 of the present 30 faculty and established focal points of research in Environmental Science, Marine Biology, and Neuroscience. He Established an Undergraduate Mentoring and Research Program at FAU, funded by an NSF grant, which has grown into the Department’s Honors Program. Appointed Director of the Jupiter Life Science Initiative (JLSI) in 2013, he coordinated the move of a group of neuroscience faculty from Boca Raton to a newly renovated building adjacent to The Scripps Research Institute and the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience on the Jupiter campus. The JLSI has served as the foundation for the growth of FAU’s life science research presence on the Jupiter campus. The JLSI also serves as the educational hub of the FAU effort on the Jupiter campus and Murphey has worked to establish a joint graduate program called Integrative Biology and Neuroscience that includes faculty from all three institutions and this has fostered the development of an International Max Planck Research School jointly with FAU, MPFI, University of Bonn and the Center of Advanced European Studies and Research as well as a variety of undergraduate courses and a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates.

The primary focus of Dr. Murphey’s research lab is the development and degeneration of synapses in the central nervous system. He combines molecular genetics, cellular neurophysiology and confocal microscopy to study these issues in model genetic systems. His focus in recent years has been to assess the function of axon guidance molecules and their new-found roles as synaptogenic molecules in Drosophila.

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Robert Stackman, Ph.D.

Interim Chair, Department of Psychology, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

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Luc T. Wille, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Physics, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Luc T. Wille is the Chair of the Physics Department. He holds a B.S. (1980) and Ph. D. (1983) in Physics from Ghent University (Belgium). He subsequently earned an M.S. in Computer Science (1985). He was a postdoctoral researcher at Daresbury Laboratory (UK) and the University of California at Berkeley. He came to FAU in 1989 as an Assistant Professor, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1991, and to Professor in 1995. He has won three awards for excellence in teaching, including the Distinguished Teacher of the Year award (1996), and one award for excellence in undergraduate advising. His research covers a wide range of topics, all centered around the collective behavior of complex systems. Some recent examples include synchronization of oscillators, protein folding, DNA denaturation, and magnetic nano structures. He has published over 160 papers and edited 11 books.

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Zhixiao Xie, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Geosciences, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Administration

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  Mary Beth Wiggins, B.S.

Interim Director of Development, Coordinator of Communications and Special Events, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Mary Beth has had the pleasure of serving the Charles E. Schmidt College since 2009. She is a native of South Florida and brings a gift for translating science into everyday language for a lay audience and close interdisciplinary working relationships to fund raising. She began her career in FAU’s Florida Center for Environmental Studies and was fortunate to work directly with the Center’s Director on issues related to Everglades Restoration, sea level rise, and educational outreach. A highlight of this position was the opportunity to meet the many partners involved in the broad scope of this center and to contribute to Senate and EPA testimonies and awarded grants. She joined The Charles E. Schmidt College of Science in 2014.

Mary Beth graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a Bachelor’s of Science and honors. She is the co-author of Federal Style Patterns 1780-1820, published by John Wiley & Sons.

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Dominique Blanchard

Business Manager, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science  

Dominique Blanchard is the Business Manager of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. Before joining the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, Dominique was the Associate Director of Research Accounting and served the Division of Research for 13 years. She received her MBA at Florida Atlantic University in 2014

Information Technology

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Jay Paredes

Director of Information Technology, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Jay Paredes has served as the Director of Information Technology for the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science since November 2006. Prior to joining FAU, he spent more than a decade in Healthcare Information Technology helping to implement the new HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) guidelines. Earlier in his career, Mr. Paredes worked for the Design and Human Factors division of IBM; designing operating system user interfaces and testing assistive computer technologies for people with disabilities.

He is also a nature photographer and has provided images for conservation and governmental agencies such as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and FAU research.

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Kristen Morano

Webmaster, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Kristen Morano has recently been assigned as the Webmaster for the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. Coming from the University of Florida in Gainesville as a media coordinator, Kristen has helped manage several departments on campus as well as events throughout the whole college. She has a bachelors degree in Telecommunications and specializing in production. However, her background includes everything from producing videos to building websites, capturing events through photography, and creation of web content. Kristen plans to bring more than just updates, she plans on utilizing her skills to tell stories that will help engage students, faculty, staff, and an even greater audience.