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CIMERA Faculty Members 2007-2009

Ruth Ballard (website): Professor Ballard’s area of expertise is human molecular genetics, with a specialty in DNA forensics and paternity testing.  Ballard has research collaborations with the California Department of Justice, the Sacramento County Laboratory of Forensic Services, and Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She is also a consultant for the County of Sacramento and local attorneys on criminal and civil cases involving DNA evidence. 

Rosalee Carter (website): Professor Carter's primary research experience has centered on the mammalian sensory system and a neuronal prosthesis.  The prolonged implantation and stimulation of neurons raises several questions regarding microelectrode material, its biocompatibility of physical implantation and long-term stimulation.  The effects of prolonged stimulation on neurons and neuroglia across the distance of stimulus and the time duration are essential to the clarification of the appropriate design for long-term neuronal prosthetic devices.By investigating the effects of stimulating electrodes on the brains relay centers an intracranial prosthesis will some day help individuals with sensory deficits.
Wendy Cunningham (website): Professor Cunningham's research has revolved around the impact of nutrition on energy balance, obesity and disease related risk factors.  Given the growing epidemic of overweight and obesity in society giving rise to higher rates of heart disease, type II Diabetes Mellitus, hypertension, morbidity and mortality. Her current research studies include looking at weight loss diets on insulin resistance, body composition, energy intake, energy expenditure and hormonal responses in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and investigating the impact of health education in the public school system on lifestyle health behaviors and health risk factors over time. 
Shannon Datwyler (website): Professor Datwyler’s interests are broadly in the areas of plant systematics and evolution.  Of particular interest is how breeding systems, pollination ecology, and floral morphology are involved in the process of speciation.  She is also interested in the use of molecular markers for plant genotyping. 


Nicholas Ewing (website): Professor Ewing’s interests are in plant cell and molecular biology.  His research focuses on dissecting the roles of individual members of the plant plasma membrane H+-ATPase gene family in controlling plant growth and development.  These ion pumps use up to 30% of all energy expended by plants and play key roles in a range of physiological processes. As Department Chair Dr. Ewing’s interest have expanded to include participation as a board member of the American River Watershed Institute with the goal of increasing research and field course opportunities for faculty and students to aid in the understanding and protection of the watershed of which CSUS is a part.
Dianne Hyson (website): Professor Hyson’s research is focused on determining the effects of dietary composition on biomarkers and mechanisms related to risk of cardiovascular disease.  Her primary interest is on the effects of dietary phenolic compounds in fruits and vegetables on oxidative and inflammatory processes in humans with an emphasis on these parameters during the postprandial period.  Dr. Hyson has an interest in the effects of adopting a Westernized diet on risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in Asian populations and is currently working on a project to investigate the predictors of myocardial infarction in subjects in Sri Lanka; past work has involved outreach in cardiac rehabilitation in Thailand. 

Christine Kirvan (website): Professor Kirvan is currently investigation mechanisms of antibody-mediated pathogenesis in post-streptococcal, neurological disorders.  The two neurological disorders under investigation are Sydenham’s chorea and a group of related neurological disorders known as PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcus) that include obsessive-compulsive disorder, pediatric tic disorder, and forms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Thomas Landerholm (website): Professor Landerholm’s laboratory studies the cell and molecular biology of the cardiovascular system as it develops in the embryo, with a particular emphasis on the coronary arteries that feed the heart. Blockage of the coronary arteries due to atherosclerosis, or coronary artery disease, is the single greatest killer of Americans today. This blockage is largely the result of vascular smooth muscle cells (vSMC) from the walls of the artery leaving their contractile adult state, migrating into the inner endothelial layer of the artery and secreting extracellular matrix materials, as though they were forming a scar. Migration and high levels of matrix secretion are normal activities for vSMC early in arterial development in the embryo but are not common in the adult artery. The vSMC found in the diseased artery also express many genes that are normally expressed only by embryonic vSMC. These apparent reversals of normal development make an understanding of coronary vSMC differentiation imperative to our understanding of the disease process.