Faculty and Staff Notables | October 2023

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The administration building is seen up close, with the top of Willet Hall seen in background through the trees.
Photo by Andrea Honaker

College of Education

Dr. Katherine Perrotta, assistant professor of middle and secondary education; Katlynn Cross, curriculum and instruction doctoral student; Irene Sanders, executive director of Student Leadership Johns Creek; Julie Maurer, education director of CUNY Gotham Center K-12, Shruthi Balachandar, Student Leadership Johns Creek alumna; and Sana Fatima, Student Leadership Johns Creek participant, presented the professional development session “Same Storm, Different Boats: Documenting the Living History of the COVID-19 Pandemic” for the National Council for the Social Studies Institutes and Webinar Series.

College of Health Professions

Dr. Lisa Fraher, visiting assistant professor of physical therapy, conducted a webinar presentation “Preventing Falls for Babies and Young Children” for Georgia Department of Health Services as part of the Falls Free Fridays series on Sept. 22.

Dr. Nick Orton, clinical assistant professor of physical therapy, presented “Cultivating Growth: The Role of Self-Awareness in Enhancing Learning and Clinical Practice within Physical Therapy” at the American Physical Therapy Association Georgia Student Conclave on Sept. 9 in Suwanee.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences  

Dr. Heather Bowman Cutway, professor and chair of the biology department, was awarded a grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources as part of the Fish and Wildlife Services Recovery Challenge Grant. The purpose of this grant is to safeguard 14 federally endangered plants by sampling, growing and establishing new populations in protected locations. With these funds, Dr. Bowman Cutway will propagate fringed campion on campus, study pollinator behavior and seed production, and track new plantings.

Dr. Alexis Chauchois, assistant professor of French, had three articles published in the journal of Contemporary French and Francophone Studies. The first two articles are titled “Les ondes musicales de Michaël Ferrier” and “Ferrier, le blanc pour redonner des couleurs à la mémoire (forthcoming),” co-authored with Gilles Glacet and JoungHwa Woo, respectively. The third article is a solo-authored piece titled “Michaël Ferrier, le romancier des ondes (forthcoming).”

Dr. Wallace Daniel, Distinguished University Professor of History, has been appointed to the Council of Management (Trustees) of the Keston Institute for the Study of Religion, Politics and Society, in London.

Dr. David A. Davis, professor of English, gave the talk “Hale County and the Visual Rhetoric of Sharecropping” for the Institute of Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina on Sept. 14.

Dr. Phoebe Moon, assistant professor of political science, presented her research paper titled “When the Target Fights Back” at the 2023 American Political Science Association Annual Meeting in Los Angeles. She also served as a chair for a panel titled “COVID’s Political and Psychological Impact” and a discussant for two panels respectively titled “Gender, Livelihoods and Leadership” and “Empowering Women: Women’s Rights and Reproductive Rights.”

Chelsea Rathburn, associate professor of English and creative writing and poet laureate of Georgia, presented remarks at the 2023 Diversity Symposium at Georgia Tech, serving as respondent to poet Santee Frazier on a panel titled “Empathy and Cultural Competency: Building an Intertribal Community in an Academic Environment.”

Tennille Shuster, associate professor of graphic design, is one of 33 American women artists invited to participate in the 112th Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art “Back to Front: Artists’ Books by Women” at the Maier Museum of Art in Lynchburg, Virginia, opening Oct. 22. The exhibit will feature Shuster’s artist book titled Please Wear This Book, which will be on display through March 24.

Dr. Laura Simon, assistant professor of sociology, and Dr. Phoebe Moon, assistant professor of political science, participated in the Bridging Differences in Higher Education Learning Fellowship offered by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. This initiative aims to bring faculty and staff in higher education together in fostering “more constructive dialogue and understanding across group lines on college campuses in the United States, including lines of race, religious faith, politics or beyond.”  

College of Nursing

Dr. Seongkum Heo, professor, coauthored with R.H. Slocumb and P. Troyan “Factors associated with utilization of student-centered pedagogy by nurse educators” in the Journal of Professional Nursing.

Dr. Andra Opalinski, associate professor, had her coauthored article “A Unitary Caring Theory Perspective of Adolescent and Young Adult Experiences of Resilience,” accepted for publication in Nursing Science Quarterly. She also received a one-year, $4,000 Religion and Health Curriculum Grant from Interfaith America as a co-investigator on the project “Interfaith Spirituality, Health and Healing: An Interprofessional Education Approach,” and a one-year, $3,400 Mercer University Seed Grant as a co-investigator on the project “The Moderating Effect of Resilience and Spiritual Well-Being on Mental Health Outcomes among U.S. Clergy.”

College of Pharmacy

Dr. Ajay K. Banga, professor, received $507,265 in funding from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for his project, “In vitro tests to support bioequivalence determination when generic dermatological formulation has differences from the brand product formulation.”

Dr. Clinton Canal, associate professor, coauthored, with graduate student Richa Tyagi and Tanishka S. Saraf “The Psychedelic N,N-Dipropyltryptamine Prevents Seizures in a Mouse Model of Fragile X Syndrome via a Mechanism that Appears Independent of Serotonin and Sigma1 Receptors” on Sept. 30.

Dr. Mahavir Chougule, associate professor, and Dr. Mohammad Uddin, assistant professor, coauthored with graduate students Rama Kashikar and Arun Kotha “Instigation of the Epoch of Nanovaccines in Cancer Immunotherapy” in the May/June issue of Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology.

Dr. Martin D’Souza, professor, and Dr. Mohammad Uddin, assistant professor, coauthored with graduate students Keegan Braz Gomes, Sharon Vijayanand, Priyal Bagwe, Ipshita Menon and Akanksha Kale “Adjuvanted-SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein-Based Microparticulate Vaccine Delivered by Dissolving Microneedles Induces Humoral, Mucosal, and Cellular Immune Responses in Mice” in Pharmaceuticals in August and “Vaccine-Induced Immunity Elicited by Microneedle Delivery of Influenza Ectodomain Matrix Protein 2 Virus-like Particle (M2e VLP)-Loaded PLGA Nanoparticles” in International Journal of Molecular Sciences in June. 

Dr. Lori Dupree, clinical assistant professor, coauthored “Research and Scholarly Methods: Writing Abstracts” in Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy on May 30.

Dr. Raquibul Hasan, assistant professor, received the 2023 AAPS Best Abstract Award for his student Farzana Zerin from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists on June 6 and the 2023 College of Pharmacy Research Award from the Mercer University College of Pharmacy on May 12. He also received a two-year, $154,000 grant from the American Heart Association to further his drug-resistant high blood pressure research

Robert Lamb, director of finance and administration, received the 2023 Dedication in Service Award for the chair of the Administrative and Financial Officers Special Interest Group for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

Dr. Leisa Marshall, clinical professor, and Dr. Renee Hayslett, associate professor, coauthored “Dry Eye Disease: Focus on Prescription Therapy” in The Senior Care Pharmacist in June.

Dr. Susan Miller, professor, was appointed to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Academic Leadership Fellows Program Alumni 20th Year Publication Committee. (July 1, 2023-June 30, 2024). She was also awarded the Hood-Meyer Alumni Endowed Chair from the Mercer University College of Pharmacy.

Dr. Nader Moniri, professor; Dr. Raquibul Hasan, assistant professor; and Dr. Sherif Hafez, assistant professor, coauthored with graduate students Sreelakshmi Menon, Farzana Zerin, Emmanuella Ezewudo, Nimi Simon, Sreeranjini Menon, Morgan Daniel and Andrea Green “Neflamapimod Inhibits Endothelial Cell Activation, Adhesion Molecule Expression, leukocyte Attachment and Vascular Inflammation by Inhibiting p38 MAPKα and NF-κB Signaling” in Biochemical Pharmacology on July 8. Dr. Moniri also coauthored with graduate student Priyanka Karmokar “Free-fatty Acid Receptor-1 (FFA1/GPR40) promotes papillary RCC Proliferation and Tumor Growth via Src/PI3K/AKT/NF-κB but Suppresses Migration by Inhibition of EGFR, ERK1/2, STAT3 and EMT” in Cancer Cell International on June 24 and “Free-Fatty Acid Receptor-4 (FFA4/GPR120) Differentially Regulates Migration, Invasion, Proliferation and Tumor Growth of Papillary Renal Cell Carcinoma Cells” in Biochemical Pharmacology in July.

Dr. Pamela Moye, clinical professor, was appointed as chair of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Pharmacy Practice Section (July 2023-July 2024).

Dr. Maria Thurston, clinical associate professor, coauthored “FDA Approves New Therapy for Diabetes: Mounjaro (Tirzepatide)” in Georgia Society of Health-System Pharmacists Monthly Newsletter. She also coauthored “Monkeypox Vaccine Dose-Sparing” in Georgia Society of Health System Pharmacists Monthly Newsletter and was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Georgia Pharmacy Association (June 2023-June 2026). In addition, she and Dr. Katelynn Mayberry, clinical assistant professor, coauthored “Measuring and Assessing Well-Being: A Cross-Sectional Study of First- to Third-Year Student Pharmacists” in American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy in July. Also, Dr. Thurston; Dr. Susan Miller, professor; Dr. Lea Bonner, clinical associate professor; Dr. Nader Moniri, professor; and Dr. J. Phillip Bowen, professor, coauthored “Managing the ‘Three Cs’ of Academic Literature Authorship: Contributions, Credit and Conflict” in American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education in May.

Dr. Mohammad Uddin, assistant professor, coauthored “Novel Hydrolytic Degradable Crosslinked Interpenetrating Polymeric Networks (IPNs): An Efficient Hybrid System to Manage the Controlled Release and Degradation of Misoprostol” on Aug. 29; “Amikacin-Loaded Chitosan Hydrogel Film Cross-Linked with Folic Acid for Wound Healing Application” in Gels on July 6; “Effect of Polymeric Stabilizers on the Size and Stability of PLGA Paclitaxel Nanoparticles” in Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal in September; and “Remdesivir Nanosuspension for Potential Nasal Drug Delivery: Determination of Pro-inflammatory Interleukin IL-4 mRNA Expression and Industrial Scale-up Strategy” in Journal of Nanoparticle Research on June 7. Dr. Udin also coauthored with graduate student Sarthak Shah “Evaluating the Release of Different Commercial Orally Modified Niacin Formulations In Vitro” in Polymers (Basel) on July 14 and with graduate students Sarthak Shah and Devyani Joshi “The Autoinducer N-Octanoyl-L-Homoserine Lactone (C8-HSL) as a Potential Adjuvant in Vaccine Formulations” in Pharmaceuticals on May 8.

Dr. Kenric Ware, clinical associate professor, coauthored “Evidence2Practice (E2P): Leveraging implementation science to promote careers in HIV research among students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities” in J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr, which will be available Oct. 1. 

College of Professional Advancement

Dr. Awatef A. Ben Ramadan, assistant professor in health informatics, graduate faculty, submitted a proposal to be presented orally at the Annual Transforming STEM Higher Education Conference in November, sponsored by the American Association of Colleges and Universities. The proposal is titled “Innovative High-Impact Practices (HIPs) in 8-Week Online Graduate Research Methodology and Capstone Courses During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” She also submitted a manuscript to the Global Health: Science and Practice journal titled “Cross-Sectional Study: Assessment of Health and Digital Literacy among First-Generation Muslim Immigrant Women in Atlanta City during the Pandemic.” 

Dr. W. David Lane, professor of counseling, received the Gold Medal from the Pinnacle Book Awards in the category of Children’s Holiday Picture Book for I Have Questions, Lots and Lots of Questions: A True Story of Christmas (2022). The Pinnacle Book Awards honor some of the finest independently published and small press books in a wide variety of different categories

Dr. K. Lynn Pierce, assistant professor and program coordinator for the Ph.D. in counselor education, was first author on an article titled “Service Dogs: A Scoping Review of Interdisciplinary Research” in People and Animals: The International Journal of Research and Practice. She also presented an invited webinar for the National Board of Certified Counselors titled “Bridging the Gap in Multicultural and Diversity Approaches: Including Disability Justice and Anti-Ableism in the Conversation.”

Dr. Stefanie Sevcik, assistant professor of writing and interdisciplinary studies, presented “Mind the Gap: Undergraduate Research and Writing Center as Institutional Partners for Writing Across the Curriculum” with Dr. Joy Bracewell at the International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference in June. She also presented a Flash Talk for the ConnectUR conference for the Council on Undergraduate Research in June on collaborations between writing centers and undergraduate research programs. She started her three-year elected term to serve as a Division Representative for Undergraduate Research Programs on the Council for Undergraduate Research. She also authored a chapter titled “Service-Learning for Social Justice in General Education Courses” in the edited collection of Putting It All Together: Creating and Scaling Exceptional Learning, released in August.

Dr. Zipangani M. Vokhiwa, professor, under the Fulbright Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Travel Program presented during the XII UEM Scientific Conference on Sept. 21-22 at the University of Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, Mozambique. His presentation was titled, “The Interface of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and STEM Education.”

School of Engineering

Dr. Susan Codone, professor of technical communication and director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, delivered a presentation titled “Building AI-Resilient Academic Courses: Supporting Faculty to Preserve Pedagogy” at the inaugural Teach with AI Conference held at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, on Sept. 23-25. 

Dr. Philip B. Gallagher, assistant professor of technical communication, and Dr. Amro Khasawneh, assistant professor of industrial engineering, collaborated with students Lindsey Riley and Emily Jacobson to publish an article titled “Enhancing ADA Compliance for Websites and Online Applications: A Heuristic Evaluation Approach” at the Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s 67th Annual Meeting. The article provides a method for developing ADA compliance evaluations and demonstrates their use. Dr. Gallagher and Addison Garman, a recent technical communication graduate, presented research titled “Bridging the Gap from UX Students to UX Professionals” at the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication conference. The student-led presentation defined how to transition knowledgeable technical communication students into successful UX positions through training and applied learning of industry practices. 

School of Law

Gary J. Simson, Macon Chair in Law and former dean of the School of Law, has been named to the national board of Lawyers Defending American Democracy, a nonpartisan coalition of more than 14,000 lawyers. LDAD was founded in 2018 on “the conviction that constitutional and legal principles critical to American freedoms and democracy are under attack.” It “unites lawyers to speak out and take action to defend and uphold the rule of law”.

Scott Titshaw, professor, had his article “International Digital Nomads: Immigration Law Options in the U.S. and Abroad” accepted for publication later this year in Volume 38 of the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal.  

School of Medicine

Dr. Raghavan Chinnadurai, assistant professor of oncology, and four medical students published a new technology study “Effects of Atrazine exposure on human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells assessed by combinatorial assay matrix” in Frontiers in Immunology, an official journal of the International Union of Immunological Societies. This study evaluated the impact of controversial herbicide Atrazine, a confounder of rural health closer to the agricultural land, on regenerative stem cells as an essential representative component of human physiology and well-being. 

Dr. David Hollar, associate professor in the Department of Community Medicine, published “Stress, child-caregiver disability, and family dysfunction characteristics contributing to child abuse and maltreatment recurrence: a structural equation model” in Children’s Health Care online Sept. 21. The paper will be included in the journal’s upcoming special edition on Secondary Data Use in Pediatric Health Psychology Research: New Uses for Existing Data. He also completed a certificate short course on “Communication in Crisis” offered online through the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Crown College and KLOVE Crisis Response Care.

Dr. Ilana Chefetz Menaker, associate professor of pharmacology, published an invited review paper titled “Endometriosis: Cell Death and Cell Signaling Machinery” in Endocrinology. She also co-authored an article titled “Lived Experience-Led Research Agenda to Address Early Death in People With a Diagnosis of a Serious Mental Illness: A Consensus Statement” that was published in JAMA Network Open.

Dr. Don Nakayama, senior associate dean on the Columbus campus, published the article “The birth of evidence-based medicine in the London smallpox epidemic of 1721-1722” in the summer edition of The Pharos.

Dr. Allen Tindol, associate professor of internal medicine, and Paula Kamara, MPH, in the Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities, recently attended the North Georgia OPEN (Opioid Prevention and Education Network) to Recovery Symposium held Aug. 19 at the City of Refuge in Calhoun. The symposium was the culmination of Mercer University’s Rural Communities Opioid Response‐Implementation grant, funded through the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy of the Health Resources and Services Administration. Among other sustainable goals, the purpose of the symposium and grant was to increase access to naloxone and provide training on overdose prevention, establish year-round drug take-back programs, encourage school- and community-based prevention programs, identify community resources, and minimize stigma and other barriers to care for those individuals experiencing opioid use disorder in a four-county region of rural North Georgia. Unable to attend the symposium, but an integral leader in its conception and organization, was Sherrie Williams, licensed clinical social worker, the grant’s project coordinator.

Dr. Yudan Wei, professor of community medicine, and Dr. Georgia Wilson Pridgen, student and resident at Atrium Health Navicent, published a research article titled, “Exposure to p-dichlorobenzene and prevalent endocrine-related reproductive cancers among U.S. women,” in Environmental Science and Pollution Research. This research has been carried out since the summer of 2020 as a summer research scholar project.

School of Theology

Rev. Dr. David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, published his 28th book on Oct. 3 called, “Defending Democracy from its Christian Enemies” (Eerdmans). The book analyzes current threats to democracy that arise from an authoritarian and reactionary form of Christianity, and calls on Christians to retrieve pro-democratic resources from scripture and tradition. 

Staff and Administration

Carly Jessup, research services librarian at Jack Tarver Library, is now serving as the Georgia Library Association’s vice president for marketing and branding as well as chair of the association’s marketing and branding committee.