Expert Directory

alcohol tolerance, Alcohol Consumption, genetics and addiction, Neurobiology

Professor, Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO.

Research has focused on neural mechanisms of adaptation to alcohol, including tolerance and dependence.  Identified a  role of peptide hormones and brain growth factors to modify alcohol tolerance.  

Discovered that one subtype of glutamate receptor, the NMDA receptor, is very sensitive to alcohol, and that increases in NMDA receptor function are involved in alcohol dependence.  This work has led to many further studies by others that focus on the role of the brain  glutamate systems in addiction to alcohol and other drugs.  

Currently focus on systems genetic analysis, using "big data" to understand the genetic contribution to alcohol-related and other complex behaviors.

Older Adults, Falls, Gerontology

Dr. Hoffman is a health services researcher with interests in older adult health. His research focuses on quality of care and policies affecting older adults. Specific interests include the prevalence of and outcomes associated with fall injuries, implications of informal and formal caregiving for older adult prevention and health, dyadic relationships between family caregivers and care recipients, and how pay-for-performance programs influence care patterns, injuries, and health outcomes for older adults and their caregivers. Dr. Hoffman's work has been published in leading journals such as JAMA Network Open, the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Medical Care, Medical Care Research and Review, Health Services Research, and The Gerontologist.

Philip J. Horner, PhD

Scientific Director for the Center for Neuroregeneration

Houston Methodist


Philip J. Horner received a Ph.D. in physiology from Ohio State University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Horner's research is focused on the interaction between glial and neural cells following central nervous system challenge. His area of expertise is in regenerative medicine for multiple sclerosis, neural trauma, stroke and more.

Gender Equality, Gender Equity, Multicultural Education, Privilege, Oppression

Emmy Howe is a co-director of the National SEED Project, a peer-led professional development program of the Wellesley Centers for Women that creates conversational communities to drive personal, organizational, and societal change toward greater equity and diversity. Howe trains educators and community leaders to facilitate experiential, interactive exercises and conversations that explore issues of systemic privilege and oppression. 

Agriculture, Economics, Agribusiness, Cotton, Policy Research, Trade, Behavioral Economics

Darren Hudson is a professor and the Larry Combest Endowed Chair for Agricultural Competitiveness and Director of the International Center for Agricultural Competitiveness and the Cotton Economics Research Institute at Texas Tech University since 2008. Hudson’s research interests include agricultural policy and trade, economic development, marketing and consumer demand, and behavioral economics.  He participates in the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute consortium producing annual baseline projections for cotton for the group. Hudson is a past-President of the Southern Agricultural Economics Association an also is a member of the American Agricultural Economics Association. Hudson earned his bachelor's degree in Agribusiness from West Texas A&M University and his master's and doctoral degrees in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Texas Tech University.  

Sociology, Political Economy, China, China - U.S Relations, Hong Kong, Protests, Coronavirus

Ho-Fung Hung is a professor of Political Economy at the Johns Hopkins University's Sociology Department and the Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. His scholarly interest includes global political economy, protest, nation-state formation, social theory, and East Asian Development. He received his bachelor's degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, his master's degree from SUNY-Binghamton, and his doctorate in Sociology from Johns Hopkins. Prior to joining the Hopkins faculty, Hung taught at the Indiana University-Bloomington.

Ho-fung Hung is  the author of the award-winning Protest with Chinese Characteristics (2011) and The China Boom: Why China Will not Rule the World (2016), both published by Columbia University Press. His articles have appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review, Development and Change, Review of International Political Economy, Asian Survey, and elsewhere. His research publications have been translated into seven different languages, and are recognized by awards from five different sections of the American Sociological Association, Social Science History Association, and the World Society Foundation of Switzerland. His analyses of the Chinese political economy and Hong Kong politics have been featured or cited in The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, BBC News, Die Presse (Austria), The Guardian, Folha de S. Paulo (Brazil), The Straits Times (Singapore),  Xinhua Monthly (China), People’s Daily (China), among other publications.

Rebeca Hwang

Professor of Practice at Thunderbird and the Faculty Director for Thunderbird's new Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship

Thunderbird School of Global Management

Technology, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Invention

Ms. Hwang is a venture capital investor who has collected experiences as an innovator and inventor, founder and entrepreneur, social entrepreneur, educator, and ecosystem builder.  Most recently, she co-founded Kalei Ventures, which invests in early-stage technology startups from Latin America. Prior to Kalei, she was co-founder and Managing Director at Rivet Ventures, which focuses on companies targeting women-led markets where female usage, decision-making, and purchasing are crucial to company growth. Ms. Hwang is also co-founder of the San Francisco-based startup YouNoodle, which helps companies and governments engage with communities of entrepreneurs for open innovation and co-creation of products and services.

Ms. Hwang has been very active in creating and scaling ecosystems for innovators and entrepreneurs in several countries. Rebeca co-founded Cleantech Open, Startup Malaysia and Startup Nations Summit. She also serves on the Global Board of Kauffman's GEN, Imagine H2O, TEDx Rio de la Plata Accelerator (the largest TEDx event in the world), and was a member of the WEF's Global Council on the Future of Migrations, as well as co-lead the Access to Capital Committee of the Mexico-U.S. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council. Rebeca has worked closely several national startup programs, including initiatives in Malaysia, South Korea, Spain, Iceland, Chile, Peru, and Mexico.

Ms. Hwang was born in Seoul, raised in Argentina and educated at MIT and Stanford, and has been recognized as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and as one of the top 35 under 35 Global Innovators by MIT Tech Review and was a TED speaker in Vancouver, in TED en Espanol in NYC, as well as TEDx Cordoba in 2018.

Tobacco, Tobacco Control, tobacco policy, Epidemiologic, Public Health, e-cigarretes, vaping

Chair of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Areas of expertise:  Tobacco, tobacco control, tobacco policy, epidemiology, public health, e-cigarettes, vaping

Sickle Cell Disease, Hemophilia, Blood Cancer, Blood Disease

Modupe Idowu, MD, treats patients with sickle cell anemia, myeloproliferative neoplasm, thrombotic disorders, and hematologic malignancy including lymphoproliferative disorders, plasma cell dyscracias, and leukemias. Her research interests in clinical and translational investigations involve sickle cell anemia and thrombotic disorders. She is the medical director of the UT Physicians Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center.

Dr. Jennifer Irvin, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Associate Professor - Director, MSEC Program

Texas State University

Electroactive polymers, Energy Storage, Sensors, Static Dissipation Synthesis, Dominate Ion

Dr. Jennifer Irvin is the Director of the Materials Science, Engineering, and Commercialization Program as well as an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Texas State University. Her research focuses on electroactive polymers, that is, polymers that change their properties in the presence of an electric field. Projects include synthesis of novel n-doping polymers with enhanced stability, using electroactive polymers to develop energy storage devices as alternatives to traditional batteries and capacitors, using electroactive polymers to detect and treat cancer, using processing approaches to enhance electroactivity, developing nanocomposites for water purification, and preparing, modifying, and characterizing nanoparticles. Dr. Irvin received a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Florida under the guidance of Dr. John R. Reynolds prior to spending two years as a post-doctoral fellow at Sandia National Laboratories. Dr. Irvin then spent eight years as a Research Chemist and Head of Analytical Chemistry in the Chemistry and Materials Division of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, CA. In 2008 Dr. Irvin joined the faculty at Texas State University as an Assistant Professor; she was promoted to Associate Professor in 2014. Dr. Irvin has more than 40 publications, 19 patents issued, and over 100 technical presentations. She is a member of the American Chemical Society.

Rachel Issaka, M.D.

Assistant Professor, Gastroenterology and Hepatology Clinical Research Division

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Colon Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Health Disparities, Racial Disparities, Gastroenterology, Digestive Disease, structural racism

Dr. Rachel Issaka is a gastroenterologist and clinical researcher focused on decreasing the mortality associated with colorectal cancer, with a special focus on medically underserved populations. Dr. Issaka’s research includes identifying, measuring and recommending new and improved approaches to screening and follow-up both in Seattle and across the U.S.

The roots of Dr. Issaka’s research lie in a tale of two clinics. The first was at Northwestern University’s McGaw Medical Center, a few blocks from Chicago’s glittering “Magnificent Mile” commercial district. The second was at a federally qualified health center on the city’s South Side, several miles and another world away.

Issaka worked at both clinics early in her medical career. She soon noticed a striking difference between the two. Her mostly white, middle- to upper-class patients at Northwestern faithfully followed whatever the doctor ordered. That included getting screened for colorectal cancer, the second-deadliest cancer in the U.S.

But it was different on the South Side. Her mostly African-American and Latino patients there, when encouraged to schedule screening for colorectal cancer, often declined.


Issaka has never stopped asking why disparities exist and how to achieve health equity in colorectal cancer screening. The questions aren’t academic. Screening can prevent colorectal cancer by detecting and simultaneously removing precancerous polyps, small lesions that over time can grow and become cancerous.

But despite clear evidence that screening for colorectal cancer saves lives, rates aren’t where they should be. The screening goal for the U.S. population, according to the American Cancer Society and National Colorectal Cancer Round Table, is 80 percent. The actual rate is about 63 percent across all populations, with even lower rates among racial minorities and those of lower socioeconomic status.

Closing that gap, Issaka noted, could save 200,000 lives over the next 20 years. And it could lessen the socioeconomic inequalities that linger — or stubbornly grow — in cancer care and mortality.

“Screening is a way to not only prevent disease but reduce racial and economic disparities,” said Issaka, who is on the faculty of the Hutch’s Clinical Research Division and the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research, which is based in the Public Health Sciences Division. “We need to close that gap so that every citizen can benefit from the advances in cancer care and prevention.”

Maria C. E. Jacobs, Radiation Oncology

Director, Radiation Oncology at Mercy

Mercy Medical Center

Radiation Oncology, Radiation, Oncology, Radiation Therapy, IORT

Maria C.E. Jacobs, M.D., leads the Radiation Oncology team at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. She places top priority on quality patient care, medical excellence and helping her patients get the best possible radiation therapy treatment. Dr. Jacobs brings passion, enthusiasm and a heart for caring to her patients. In her role as Director of Radiation Oncology at Mercy, Dr. Jacobs oversees all radiation therapy and radiotherapy services for the hospital.

Dr. Maria Jacobs works in close collaboration with the cancer surgeons in The Breast Center at Mercy to coordinate post-surgical treatment for breast cancer patients. Intraoperative Radiotherapy (IORT) is a state-of-the-art technology that allows patients to get treated in one single radiation therapy session – a notable advantage over the many multiple visits required prior to IORT.

Patients are afforded other advantages because of the single session IORT treatment. Preservation of more healthy tissue and reduced side effects from the radiation are benefits many patients experience.

Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Neil Friedman, Medical Director at The Breast Center, were the first team of doctors in the state of Maryland to use Intraoperative Radiotherapy (IORT).

Dr. Jacobs and her team of Radiation Oncology specialists also use TrueBeam™ technology for the delivery of targeted radiation. This safe, faster, more precise cancer treatment option represents an immense leap forward in the speed and accuracy in which the radiation can be delivered. Dr. Jacobs sees this as a decided advantage for most patients. Cancer cells are attacked by an aggressive beam of radiation while minimizing the impact on surrounding tissue.

Dr. Jacobs beams with pride when she talks about the advances that have been made in radiation technology, treatment plans, and research. But like most top-rated doctors, Dr. Jacobs believes treating the patient means more than treating the disease. It’s about caring for the person…that unique, one-of-a-kind individual who has family and friends, hopes and dreams … and a life beyond cancer.

The Mercy spirit surrounds you when you’re anywhere near Dr. Jacobs. She laughs easily, hugs abundantly and shares her vast depth of knowledge with patients and their families in the most engaging way.

vaping, e-cigarettes, Smoking, Lung Disease

In the Lone Star State, the Texas Health Department has confirmed that a teen got lung disease after vaping. Pushan Jani, MD, assistant professor of pulmonary and sleep medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston, has been keeping up with the rise of tobacco substitutes such as e-cigarettes and is available to comment on this development. E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products—flavorings, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Users inhale this aerosol into their lungs. Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales into the air. Jani, who is also affiliated with Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and UT Physicians, has several issues with the tobacco substitutes. According to published research data, the flavoring agents used in vaping products can cause inflammation and damage to the lungs. While there is no tobacco, users are still getting nicotine. The impact of vaping to bystanders is not known. In practice since 2007, Jani is a full-time interventional pulmonologist and bedside educator. Jani’s clinical expertise is in procedural care, including electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy, endobronchial ultrasound-guided biopsies (EBUS), transtracheal oxygen catheter insertions, and percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy.

immigration, migrants, Mexico, reintegration into school, adolescent migrants

Julián Jefferies is assistant professor in the Department of Literacy and Reading Education at California State University, Fullerton. He is interested in the daily lives of immigrant youth in schools and their representation in the media. Focusing on the experiences of undocumented youth, his research uncovers how society as a whole and schools in particular deal with the migration status of their students and how meritocratic ideologies work to justify the opportunity gaps for Latina/o youth in education. He has published on the framing of immigrant youth in public opinion and is currently working on research that alerts educators in K-12 institutions and policymakers on how to best serve undocumented youth in their schools. He is also interested in the pedagogy of international and experiential learning opportunities and coordinates a summer program in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, where he investigates how students gain cross-cultural competence and re-think their national, gender, ethnic and cultural identities.

Assistant Professor of Literacy and Reading Education
Director, Puerto Rico International Education (PRIE) Program
Director, Guadalajara Transnational Migration Program
Faculty Coordinator, Elevar Scholars, SOAR Grant

Clifford Jeng, M.D., Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Medical Director, The Institute for Foot and Ankle

Mercy Medical Center

Orthopedic Surgery, Arthritis, Athletic Injuries, Reconstructive Surgery

Clifford L. Jeng, M.D., is Medical Director of The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy Medical Center and an award-winning foot and ankle surgeon. Patients from Baltimore and across the Mid-Atlantic region come to Dr. Jeng for his expertise in foot and ankle injuries and conditions.Dr. Clifford Jeng leads a talented team of surgeons who offer innovative treatments for complex foot and ankle issues as well as comprehensive treatment for common foot and ankle conditions. As a long-standing member of the physician team, Dr. Jeng has invested over a decade in The Institute and continues to carry on the legacy of excellence as its Medical Director. Built on a foundation of continued education and innovation to benefit patient care, The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy remains a leading Center of Excellence in complete foot and ankle care including treatment for ankle injury and Achilles tendon problems, foot injury and conditions, big toe and smaller toe problems, heel injury and diabetic foot conditions.Dr. Jeng and his team offer comprehensive initial visits as well as second opinions. Physicians and patients alike value Dr. Jeng's expert opinion and hopeful patients have been known to travel long distances to be evaluated and cared for by Dr. Jeng.
Various media outlets and television stations also rely on Dr. Jeng to provide thorough analysis and explanation of foot and ankle conditions as well as information on the latest technologies and techniques offering new hope to patients with complicated foot and ankle injuries or problems.
Dr. Jeng has been recognized as a Top Doc by Baltimore magazine multiple times. Board Certified, Dr. Jeng has specialized training in advanced surgical techniques, including minimally invasive surgery and arthroscopy. Dr. Clifford Jeng established the prestigious Foot and Ankle Fellowship program at Mercy and has trained peers and elite orthopedic surgeons.
Following the spirit and mission of the Sisters of Mercy, Dr. Clifford Jeng is dedicated to providing foot and ankle care to the less fortunate in the Baltimore community. Dr. Jeng, along with fellow surgeons Dr. John Campbell and Dr. Rebecca Cerrato, has volunteered foot care services during an annual event for homeless men who find refuge at Baltimore’s Helping Up Mission. Additionally, Dr. Jeng has regularly participated in Baltimore's Run to Remember, running alongside colleagues, patients and Baltimore residents to honor the heroes of 9-11 and raise money for The Baltimore City Police Foundation and The Baltimore City Fire Foundation.

Pathology, Laboratory Medicine, Anatomy, Cell Biology

Roy A. Jensen, M.D. earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry from Pittsburg State University in 1980. He graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1984, and remained there to complete a residency in Anatomic Pathology and a Surgical Pathology fellowship under the direction of Dr. David L. Page. Following his clinical training he accepted a biotechnology training fellowship at the National Cancer Institute in the laboratory of Dr. Stuart Aaronson. He returned to Vanderbilt in 1991 and was appointed an assistant professor in the Departments of Pathology and Cell Biology. In 1993 Dr. Jensen was appointed as an investigator in the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and assumed the management of the Human Tissue Acquisition and Pathology Shared Resource.  Dr. Jensen was promoted to associate professor of Pathology and Cell Biology in 1996, and was appointed as an associate professor of Cancer Biology in 2001.

In 2004, Dr. Jensen returned home to Kansas and was appointed the William R. Jewell, M.D. Distinguished Kansas Masonic Professor, the director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, the director of the Kansas Masonic Cancer Research Institute, professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He also holds appointments as a professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Kansas-Lawrence and as professor in Cancer Biology at The University of Kansas Medical Center. Dr. Jensen is currently serving as president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) and is a member of several scientific and professional societies including the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society for Cell Biology, the American Society for Investigative Pathology, and the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology. He currently has over 150 scientific publications and has lectured widely on the clinical and molecular aspects of breast cancer pathology. Dr. Jensen's research interests are focused on understanding the function of BRCA1 and BRCA2 and their role in breast and ovarian neoplasia; and in the characterization of premalignant breast disease both at the morphologic and molecular levels. His laboratory was instrumental in demonstrating the role of BRCA1 in the growth control of normal and malignant cells and in how loss of functional BRCA1 contributes to the development of breast cancer.

Since becoming director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center in 2004, he has recruited a world-class leadership team and successfully led that team in achieving designation for The University of Kansas Cancer Center as a National Cancer Institute designated cancer center.

Surgery, Breast Surgery, Breast Cancer, Breast Diseases

Jennifer Joh, M.D., FACS, is a full-time, dedicated breast surgeon at The Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy in Downtown Baltimore. Dr. Joh also sees patients at select Mercy Community Physician Sites. Devoted to the care of her breast cancer patients, Dr. Joh offers a specialized focus not provided by most breast centers.

As a Board Certified breast cancer doctor with a caring spirit, Dr. Joh treats breast cancer and benign breast conditions with compassion, keeping a patient’s personal concerns a top priority. Dr. Joh’s friendly and energetic personality is appreciated by her patients, who easily recognize that patient care is a true commitment and deep source of fulfillment for her. To her patients, Dr. Joh is approachable and easy to communicate with, making the hurdles of breast disease a little more bearable.

Dr. Joh is committed to providing patients with personalized, innovative treatment plans to treat breast diseases. Dr. Joh works with the renowned plastic surgeons at Mercy to offer a full array of breast cancer treatments and breast reconstruction procedures. This team of breast doctors provides an individualized approach to breast surgery so patients are left with a more natural look and shape.

With medical training from the renowned H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Florida, Dr. Joh has a leading edge knowledge base of breast cancers and comprehensive breast cancer treatment.

A published medical expert, Dr. Joh has received recognition by the Annual Multidisciplinary Symposium on Breast Disease for her research on tumor pathology and by the Annual Peter Cyrus-Rizzo III Scientific Seminar for her research on techniques of sentinel lymph node examinations. 

Marriage, Intimacy, Dating, Sex, Couples, family studies

Johnson’s research interests include marriage and family functioning. He can discuss an array of issues related to relationships. 
Johnson’s most recent research investigated the success rate of government-funded education programs designed to promote healthy marriages, among couples in this same category. He is the author of “Great Myths of Intimate Relationships: Dating, Sex, and Marriage” and has provided discussions on the developmental course of marital distress and dissolution, particularly among young couples and people of color. 

Cancer, Cancer Research, Vitamin D, immunotheraphy, Cancer Vaccines, Genomics, Personalized Medicine, Cancer Therapies, Medical Research

President & CEO, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Areas of expertise: cancer research, vitamin D, immunotherapy, cancer vaccines, genomics, personalized medicine, cancer therapies, medical research

Aging and the Life Course Dementia Studies Family, Global Perspective, Sociology, Gerontology, Dementia, Aging, Elderly

Dr. Christopher J. Johnson received his Ph.D. in Sociology with a major in Aging and Family and minor in Social Psychology from Iowa State University, Sociology with major in Aging and Family. He earned his M.A. from University of Northern Iowa in Sociology with major in Aging. He earned his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Denver. In research, besides procuring over 3 million dollars in grant and private funding, his interests are in dementia and marriage, design for dementia, suicide, thanatology and religiosity and aging. At his previous university, he was twice awarded “Researcher of the Year” in the School of Arts and Sciences.  He has conducted a state-wide needs assessment of elderly in Iowa but specializes in oral histories. He was awarded an, Endowed Professorship in Gerontology based upon his outstanding teaching and research skills.