CIMERA Faculty Members

Ruth Ballard

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.

Robert W. Crawford, Ph.D.

Robert W. Crawford (website): Professor Crawford currently investigates host/microbe interactions, primarily focused on skin microbiota. Including dysbiosis of the chronic wound asscoiated microbiota. Previous reseach includes pathogenesis of Salmonella Typhimurium and gastroenteric disease specifically focused on molecular and cellular mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis and immune responses during inflammatory infections.


Shannon Datwyler

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. 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.

Lani Gleason (website): Professor Gleason's research focuses on how changes in gene sequence and expression generate patterns of individual and population differentiation in marine organisms. Especially in how environmental conditions such as frequent heat stress in the rocky intertidal zone affects these patterns of differentiation.  My main study organisms are the black turban snail Chlorostoma funebralis and the intertidal mussel Mytilus californianus.

Christine Kirvan

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

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.

Susanne Lindgren

Susanne Lindgren (website):  Professor Lindgren's scholarly interests are in medical microbiology.  She studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis in a variety of bacterial pathogens, including Salmonella and pathogenic E.coli.  Her current research focuses on development and use of molecular systems to survey food, clinical specimens, agricultural environments and products for the presence of Enterohemorrhagic E. coli, and viability of this pathogen under a variety of environmental conditions.  Additionally, Dr. Lindgren is interested in continuing her work on the development of an oral-attenuated vaccine against both E. coli and Salmonella.

Mary McCarthy-Hintz

Mary McCarthy-Hintz (website): Professor McCarthy-Hintz’ research interests include the investigation and characterization of ethnopharmacological medicines used against cancer and the investigation of the effects of Vitamin D 24-Hydroxylase amplification in Breast Cancer Cells.

Katherine McReynolds

Katherine McReynolds (website): Professor McReynolds’ research interests involve the development of novel multivalent carbohydrate-based drugs aimed at inhibition of HIV entry into host cells. Research in Dr. McReynolds’ lab focuses on the design and synthesis of the target drug molecules using organic synthetic methodologies, followed by assessment of biological activity of the drugs.


Justin Miller-Schulze (website): Professor Miller-Schulze's research is focused on the development and/or adaption of analytical methodology to quantify chemical tracers in environmental or biological matrices. These tracer chemicals are typically small organic molecule tracers that are indicative of a specific activity (for example, caffeine in a river as a tracer of human wastewater).

Kimberly Mulligan (website): Professor Mulligan’s laboratory is interested in understanding how non-heritable environmental factors can cause neurodevelopmental disorders, like autism spectrum disorders (ASD), in genetically susceptible individuals. ASD are a group of heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorders defined by mild to severe impairments in communication, behavior, and social interactions.  Her lab utilizes the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to identify and examine candidate environmental chemicals to determine if they can impair neural development in flies that have genetic mutations associated with ASD. It is estimated that 75% of the genes associated with human disease are conserved in Drosophila, and they have already served as a model organism for the study of genes implicated in ASD in humans. Indeed, mutating  ASD susceptibility genes in flies can cause measurable social and behavioral deficits in the mutant flies.ASD is a highly heritable complex disorder. Some estimates suggest that 400 to 1,000 genes may contribute to the development of ASD. There is also mounting evidence that ASD is a multifactorial disorder that is often caused when multiple genes and environmental factors converge to affect the normal neurodevelopmental program during prenatal brain development. The identification of environmental factors that confer risk to ASD and analysis of their molecular mechanisms could provide measures to prevent or decrease the severity of ASD. 

Thomas PeavyThomas Peavy (website): Professor Peavy’s research interests are on the molecular mechanisms that mediate sperm and egg interactions during fertilization in vertebrates. His research focuses on understanding how the molecular components of the egg extracellular matrix (zona pellucida/ vitelline envelope) facilitate successful species-specific fertilization, and how their structure and function have evolved in different vertebrate species. The answers to these questions have potential application towards clinical diagnoses of infertile couples, assisted reproductive technologies, contraceptive strategies, and conservation biology.

Andrew Reams (website): Professor Ream's bacterial genetics lab is working primarily on DNA rearrangement pathways and genetic adaptation, using bacteria as model organisms.As well he is running a Forensic Biology lab (CSI-TRU) focusing on a variety of unsolved problems in forensics.

Linda Roberts

Linda Roberts (website): Professor Roberts is interested in the structure-function relationships of apolipoprotein A-I (apo A-I) from different organisms. Apo A-I is the major protein component of HDL (high density lipoprotein, the “good” cholesterol). Dr. Roberts is currently focusing on the amino-terminal region of the protein, using both molecular biology and biophysical techniques to delineate residues involved in the conformational switch properties of this region of the protein. She is also comparing the properties of apo A-I proteins from different organisms to evaluate the conservation of particular structural elements among distantly related species. Both of these projects are funded through a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Thomas Savage

Thomas Savage (website): Professor Savage’s research addresses how plant central metabolic pathways provide precursors for compounds important for human and animal nutrition. He is currently focusing on how expression of isozymes of pyruvate kinase controls metabolic flux through glycolysis in different plant tissues.

Rosalee Carter

Rosalee Sprowls (website): Professor Sprowl'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.


Clayton J. Visger (website): Professor Visger's research interests are in the evolutionary role of polyploidy, or whole-genome duplication, and how it functions as a speciation mechanism. He investigates the impact of polyploidy in flowering plants using genomic and bioinformatics methods, while drawing from the fields of physiology and ecology to place the findings into an evolutionary and ecological context.

CIMERA Staff Members

Ruth Ballard

Sulie Ober: Instructional Support II

Jaime Fuentes

Jaime Fuentes: Lab Manager,  M.Sc. Molecular and Cell Biology- Dr. Robert Crawford Lab