OVCR Search Committee

Search Committee for the Vice Chancellor for Research


Anthony J. Augustine

Associate Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation
Office of the Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation

As the Associate Vice President for Economic Development & Innovation, T.J. Augustine is responsible for providing strategic leadership in identifying potential public-private partnerships and enhancing connections among internal and external stakeholders to foster innovation and technology commercialization. His efforts will focus on developing national and international strategic plans to support our emerging initiatives.

Previously, T.J. was a Technology-to-Market Advisor and Acting Deputy Director for Commercialization at the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) where he helped prepare breakthrough energy technologies for transition from the lab to the marketplace. His key responsibilities included leading the commercialization strategy for the Reducing Emissions through Methanotrophic Organisms for Transportation Energy (REMOTE), Plants Engineered to Replace Oil (PETRO), and other ARPA-E programs in the area of liquid transportation fuels.

Before joining ARPA-E, T.J. was a Special Assistant to Secretaries Steven Chu and Ernest Moniz at the Department of Energy where he acted as the Secretary’s principal liaison to senior staff in the execution of policy and management directives in areas including energy technology development, environmental management, and national security.

Prior to working for the Department of Energy, T.J. was an OSA/SPIE/AAAS Science and Technology Fellow in the Office of Senator Richard Durbin. There he was an advisor for energy and environmental policies and developed legislative strategies for issues including the Department of Energy’s National Labs, the Clean Air Act, Great Lakes preservation, and federal investment in energy technology and environmental protection programs. He began his career with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he worked with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in preparation of the “Report to the President on Accelerating the Pace of Change in Energy Technologies through an Integrated Federal Energy Policy.” He also assisted in development of the Obama Administration’s Advanced Manufacturing Initiative.

T.J. is an alumnus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (BS in Chemistry), and he earned both a Master’s in Public Policy and PhD in Chemistry at Stanford University.

WonHwa Cho

Professor and Head
Department of Chemistry
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Wonhwa Cho is a pioneer and leader in the field of biomembranes and membrane binding proteins. His major scientific contributions include development of an innovative imaging technology for in situ cellular lipid quantification and discovery of new cellular regulatory function of cholesterol. His research has been funded by multiple NIH grants, including the prestigious R35 MIRA. He has received many awards, including 2018 Avanti Award in Lipid from Biophysical Society.

Lyndon F. Cooper

Professor and Head, Department of Oral Biology
Associate Dean for Research
College of Dentistry

Dr. Cooper formerly served as Program Director of Advanced Prosthodontics and Stallings Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics (ACP), a former ACP President and received the ACP’s 2004 Clinician/Researcher Award. He also was named the recipient of the 2009 International Association for Dental Research Distinguished Scientist Award for Prosthodontics and Implantology.

Dr. Cooper has one of the strongest international reputations for innovation, perspective, and patient-oriented research and clinical care in the world. He has led an innovative team in translational research evaluating the role of a variety of pro- and anti-inflammatory bio-markers as well as innovative medical device designs to create research-oriented clinical solutions for relevant patient care.

After earning his DDS from New York University, Dr. Cooper went on to earn a PhD from the University of Rochester, New York, and a Certificate in Prosthodontics from the Eastman Dental Center in Rochester. Later, he completed a two-year research fellowship at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in Bethesda, MD.

Shelby A. Cosner

Associate Professor
Department of Educational Policy Studies
College of Education

Shelby Cosner is an Associate Professor of Educational Organization and Leadership in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. Her research interests include organizational change, school reform and improvement, leadership for school improvement, and principal preparation/development/evaluation.

She is an applied qualitative researcher whose work draws heavily from the organizational sciences, sociology, social psychology, and management. Her recent work appears in such peer-reviewed journals as Educational Administration Quarterly, the Journal of Educational Administration, the Journal of School Leadership, Leadership and Policy in Schools, Urban Education, Educational Management Administration & Leadership, the Journal of Research on Leadership Education, and Planning and Changing.

Cosner has served as the Academic Program Director and Associate Program Coordinator for UIC’s Doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership. In these roles she co-led program redesign and implementation over a multi-year timeframe. This program has received major national awards and recognitions for its program quality including UCEA’s 2013 award as an Exemplary Leadership Preparation Program (one of two programs nationally to receive this designation in its inaugural year) and the 2012 Urban Impact Award from the Council of Great City Schools. She teaches a variety of leadership, school organization, and qualitative research methods courses for doctoral students in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. Cosner has received multiple awards for her teaching including UIC’s Council for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award in 2009 and UIC’s most prestigious Career Teaching Award, the Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2016.

Cosner is recognized as an expert related to educational leader preparation, development, and evaluation. She has been a curriculum developer and trainer of trainers for leadership development programs and institutes for state departments of education, regional educational offices, and state superintendent/principal associations. She supported the design and pilot implementation of Wisconsin’s state-wide principal evaluation system. She also consults with school districts throughout the US to provide development for senior/district-level leadership teams, school leadership teams, principals, and teacher leaders. Cosner is a former principal and district-level leader.

Martha L. Daviglus, MD, PhD

Edmund Foley Professor of Medicine, College of Medicine
Director, Institute for Minority Health Research
Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research

Dr. Daviglus, a UIC alumna (class of 1995), is a bilingual and bicultural physician/ epidemiologist of Hispanic origin (Bolivian) and the founding Director of the UIC Institute for Minority Health Research (IMHR). IMHR was established in 2012 as a campus-wide unit committed to promoting interdisciplinary research, training, policy development, and community partnerships to improve the health of vulnerable minority populations. Prior to joining UIC, Dr. Daviglus was a Professor of Preventive Medicine and Medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where she has been a faculty member since 1993 (Adjunct Professor since 2012).

Dr. Daviglus’ research activities have concentrated on the epidemiology and prevention of cardiovascular diseases and related chronic conditions, minority health, and health disparities. She has been involved in investigating associations of traditional cardiovascular and nutritional risk factors with long-term cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in middle-aged and older men and women, and has examined the benefits of favorable cardiovascular risk profile (low risk) earlier in life on health care costs and health-related quality of life in older age. She has received numerous grants and awards including the Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association (AHA) and has had continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1995. Currently, Dr. Daviglus is the principal investigator (PI) or multiple-PI on a number of NIH-sponsored longitudinal studies including the Hispanic Community Health Study/ Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) Chicago Field Center (the largest longitudinal study on Hispanics/Latinos to date) and the Illinois Precision Medicine Consortium (one of the sites that will enroll participants in the national All of UsSM Research Program, previously known as the Precision Medicine Initiative® Cohort Program). She also serves as PI for the UIC Cohort of Patients, Family, and Friends. Furthermore, she is the Director of an NHLBI T32 Pre- and Post-doctoral Research Training Program on Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Related Chronic Diseases in Minority Populations at UIC.

Dr. Daviglus is actively involved with the NIH and AHA. She serves on NIH research peer-review committees and study sections and is a spokesperson for AHA.

Nilda Flores-Gonzalez

Department of Sociology
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Nilda Flores-González is a professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Faculty Liaison of LAS’ Office of Social Science Research. Her work focuses on race and ethnicity, children and youth, identity, Latino sociology and education. Her current research explores the effects of racialization on the ways in which Latino youth understand national belonging.

Professor Flores-González is the author of Citizens but not Americans: Race and Belonging among Latino Millennials (NYU Press, 2017), and School Kids, Street Kids: Identity Development in Latino Students (Teachers College Press 2002), co-editor of Marcha: Latino Chicago in the Immigrant Rights Movement (University of Illinois Press 2010) and co-editor of Immigrant Women Workers in the Neoliberal Era (University of Illinois Press 2013). Additionally, she has published articles and book chapters on various topics such as race and Latino identity, youth and social justice, immigrant education, Puerto Rican high achieving students, extracurricular participation and retention, and the Puerto Rican community of Chicago.

Professor Flores-Gonzalez has received funding from the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation.

Wayne Giles

Professor and Dean
School of Public Health, Co-Chair

Wayne H. Giles, MD, MS was appointed as Dean of the School of Public Health on September 2017.  Prior to joining UIC, he served as the Director of the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He holds a BA (Biology) from Washington University, a MS (Epidemiology) from the University of Maryland, and an MD from Washington University, and has completed residencies in both Internal Medicine (University of Alabama at Birmingham) and Preventive Medicine (University of Maryland).

His past work experience has included studies examining the prevalence of hypertension in Africa, clinical trials evaluating the effectiveness of cholesterol-lowering agents, and studies examining racial differences in the incidence of stroke. Prior to running the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, he ran the Division of Population Health at CDC.  One of CDC’s most diverse divisions with programmatic and research activities in community health promotion, arthritis, aging, health care utilization, and racial and ethnic disparities in health. He has over 150 publications in peer reviewed journals and has authored several book chapters. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Charles C. Shepard Award in Assessment and Epidemiology and the Jeffrey P. Koplan Award.

Jacquelyn Jancius

Director of Conflict of Interest
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research

Jacquelyn Jancius is currently the Director of the Conflict of Interest office in OVCR.  She began her career at UIC in 2006 as the Conflict of Interest Coordinator.  Prior to joining UIC, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Romania working on non-for-profit institutional development (2004-2005).  Her previous work experience includes working for a law firm (2002-2004).  Prior to that, she served as the dean of instruction and an academic advisor for a major online university (2001-2002).

Since 2007 Jacquelyn has been a member of the UIC Chancellor Committee on the Status of Women where she has served as co-chair of the academic professionals sub-committee (2008-2010); co-chair of the CCSW (2010-2012); and currently serves as co-chair of the staff concerns sub-committee.  She also serves on the UIC Sustainability Strategic Thinking Advisory Committee (SSTAC); where she co-chairs the systems use sub-committee.

She holds a Master of Arts degree in Human Rights International Law from the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Elmhurst College.

Jerry Krishnan

Professor, College of Medicine
Associate Vice Chancellor for Population Health Sciences
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs

What is the best asthma treatment for African Americans?  How can we improve treatment of uncontrolled asthma in children visiting the emergency department?

How can we help patients stick to their treatment plans after they leave the hospital?

These are just some of the questions Dr. Jerry Krishnan, professor of medicine and public health and associate vice president for population health sciences at UI Health, hopes to answer through several ongoing clinical studies.

Krishnan is a physician-scientist with expertise in the care of patients with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other lung disorders. He is a principal investigator of multiple clinical trials supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute that focus on identifying the most effective treatments and educational and support programs to improve health outcomes for patients with pulmonary disorders.

Krishnan was chairman of the Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He is a member of the National Committee for Quality Assurance Respiratory Measurement Advisory Panel, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Clinical Trials Review Committee.

Julie C. Kong MEd, RD, CRA

Director of Research Services
School of Public Health

Julie C.  Kong, MEd, RD, CRA is Director of Research Services in the Dean’s Office at the School of Public Health.  Her research development office coordinates the submission of approximately 1/3 of all her College’s federal and non-profit proposals annually. In addition, Julie’s office searches and disseminates funding opportunities; provides faculty, staff, and student grant education workshops; manages the intramural SPH Seed Funding Program; coordinates the SPH Annual Research Poster Awards competition; and develops research metrics reports for the College.

Julie has been part of the UIC family for over 30 years as she graduated from the College of Applied Health Sciences in 1980 with a BS degree in Nutrition and Medical Dietetics, taught in the Nutrition Department and was the Administrative Director of the Cancer Center before joining the School of Public Health in 1996. Her research background and publications include lipid and food and nutrition clinical trials.

Mary Jo LaDu

Department of Pathology
College of Medicine

Dr. LaDu’s lab studies the pathology of Alzheimer disease (AD) by focusing on the structure/function interactions between the human isoforms of apolipoprotein E (apoE) and amyloid-β peptide (Aβ). A naturally occurring isoform of the APOE gene, apoE4, increases lifetime risk for AD 60-fold compared to the more common apoE3. Aβ, particularly oligomeric aggregates (oAβ), is considered a major cause of AD. Importantly, among APOE4 carriers, females have a greater lifetime risk for developing AD, an increased rate of cognitive decline and accelerated accumulation of Aβ compared to males. Our overall hypothesis is that apoE4 and oAβ act synergistically to compromise neuronal viability. Our mechanistic hypothesis is that aging, APOE4, female sex, and AD pathology interact to reduce apoE lipidation, impairing clearance of soluble Aβ, resulting in synaptic loss, memory/cognitive deficits, and dementia. We utilize an integrated approach to address the complexity of apoE/Aβ interactions, including biochemical, molecular biology, and cell biology methods using in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo models. Our goal is to develop oAβ and apoE/Aβ complex as “mechanistic biomarkers” and therapeutic targets as both are significant prior to neuronal damage.

Amanda Lewis

Associate Professor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy
College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs

How does race shape children’s experiences and outcomes in school? How do racial inequalities and stereotypes affect everyday interactions? These are questions sociologist Amanda Lewis examines by looking at the racial gap in academic achievement; how race shapes educational opportunities; and how ideas about race are negotiated in everyday life.

In her latest book, “Despite the Best Intentions: How Racial Inequity Thrives in Good Schools,” Lewis and co-author John Diamond describe their five-year study of a diverse suburban school. The findings defy common explanations of the racial achievement gap, and point to factors within the school that bring about the disparity.

Her award-winning 2003 book, “Race in the Schoolyard: Negotiating the Color-line in Classrooms and Communities,” studied the unconscious racism in schools. After a year of observing classes in three Southern California elementary schools, Lewis described how the curriculum communicates exposed and concealed racial lessons on a daily basis.

Lewis is also co-editor of “The Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity,” and co-author of “Challenging Racism in Higher Education: Promoting Justice.”

Henrika McCoy

Associate Professor
Jane Addams College of Social Work

As a researcher, Associate Professor Henrika McCoy has concentrated on the experiences of juvenile offenders with mental health needs, the violent victimization experiences of young Black men ages 18 to 24, and LGBTQ young people ages 16 to 24 experiencing homelessness. In her study, of juvenile offenders ages 11 to 18 at two Midwestern juvenile detention facilities, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she found significant histories of trauma.  In one facility, 84% of girls, 81% of boys, 81% of Black youth, and 79% of White youth reported having experienced trauma. Furthermore, regardless of gender or race, as the number of traumatic experiences increased, so did their feelings of anger and irritability. These results led to Dr. McCoy recommending that trauma history be considered during the adjudicatory process and youth be provided with tools to address their traumatic history as one strategy for interrupting a cycle that often leads to negative and risky behaviors.

Her current study, SURVIVE (Suburban, Urban, Rural Violence:  Investigating Victim Experiences) focuses on young Black males ages 18 to 24. The three-year nationwide study is funded by the National Institute of Justice. The project is designed to increase what is known about young Black males and their experiences being victimized by violence. The primary focus is on creating and pilot testing an instrument that measures such experiences. The two-phase project will include initial screenings, focus groups, cognitive interviews, and one-on-one interviews with more than 780 young men. Additional expertise will be provided by 15 key informants (e.g., grandmothers, mothers, sisters, spouses, friends, or significant others) who have a relationship with a Black male in the age range of the study and content experts in the fields of adolescent development, Black males, and minority crime victim experiences. Each study component is designed to gather data that can be used to create the final instrument and strengthen the instrument’s validity and reliability. Once a draft of the instrument has been created, it will be pre-tested and implemented in urban, suburban and rural areas throughout the country. The results will be widely disseminated through presentations and peer-reviewed publications.  It is also expected that the National Institute of Justice and Office of Victim Crime Services will use the study findings to inform the policies created and practices used by the criminal justice system when responding to young Black males who have been victimized violently.

Finally, Dr. McCoy just completed a project funded by the Administration for Children and Families, 3/40: Blueprint, which was created to respond to the needs LGBTQ youth and runaway and homeless youth. The project aimed to develop a blueprint over the 3 years of the project that could reduce the 40% of homeless youth who identify as LGBTQ. The study’s outcomes should help build the capacity of Transitional Living Programs who serve LGBTQ homeless youth and strengthen efforts to better understand and address their needs. The project was also focused on identifying the needs of LGBTQ homeless youth, and strategies to respond to those needs that could facilitate successful transitions to adulthood. Project findings, executive summaries, and infographics are provided on a website, available for the next 10 years, in order to help guide service provision for this vulnerable population.

Robin Mermelstein

Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Co-Director of Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences
Associate Director of Cancer Center Prevention Control
Director of Institute for Health Research and Policy, School of Public Health

Robin Mermelstein, PhD. is Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology, Director of the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and Co-Director of UIC’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

Dr. Mermelstein has been active in health-behavior research for over 25 years, with continuous NIH funding as a Principal Investigator on grants since 1986. Dr. Mermelstein’s research focuses on understanding the development of health-compromising and health-promoting behaviors and developing interventions to reduce health risks. Much of her work has focused on the role of mood regulation in the development, progression, and change in tobacco use behaviors in adolescents and young adults.

Peter Nelson

Dean and Professor of Computer Science
College of Engineering

Peter Nelson was appointed Dean of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) College of Engineering in July of 2008. Prior to assuming his deanship, Professor Nelson was head of the UIC Department of Computer Science. In 1991, Professor Nelson founded UIC’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, which specializes in applied intelligence systems projects in fields such as transportation, manufacturing, bioinformatics and e-mail spam countermeasures.

Professor Nelson has published over 80 scientific peer reviewed papers and has been the principal investigator on over $40 million in research grants on issues of importance such as computer-enhanced transportation systems, manufacturing, design optimization and bioinformatics. These projects have been funded by organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Transportation and Motorola.

In 1994-95, his laboratory, sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation, developed the first real-time traffic congestion map on the World Wide Web, which now receives over 250 million hits per year.

Professor Nelson has also served as principal dean for the UIC Innovation Center, a collaborative effort between the UIC Colleges of Architecture, Design and the Arts; Business Administration; Medicine and Engineering.

James Pellegrino

Distinguished Professor
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

James Pellegrino has helped shape how students learn in the 21st century.

For more than 30 years, he has produced influential research connected to issues of student learning, instruction and assessment. He applies a unique blend of expertise — combining knowledge of cognitive science, assessment, educational technology, instructional practice and educational policy — to design and deliver new, improved and equitable learning environments.

His goal is to better understand the nature of students’ knowledge in specific disciplines and the conditions that enhance deep understanding.  Pellegrino’s current research is focused on assessment of student learning in multiple areas of mathematics and science that span kindergarten through college.

Throughout his career, he has lead large-scale research and development projects for the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences and the Office of Naval Research. He was the principal investigator for a NSF grant to the College Board to redesign and improve the Advanced Placement science courses and assessments.

Pellegrino was elected to the National Academy of Education and named a fellow of the American Educational Research Association.

Vidyani Suryadevara

Graduate Student Council

Gregory Thatcher

UICentre Director
Hans W. Vahlteich Chair of Medicinal Chemistry
Professor and Assistant Head of Research
Department of Medicinal Chemistry & Pharmacognosy
College of Pharmacy

Dr. Thatcher’s area of research is on employing the tools of mechanistic organic chemistry and the ability to synthesize novel compounds, biomimetics are being developed as probes of biological systems. These mimetics have the capacity to further understanding of biological processes, chemical toxicology and in some cases to provide new drug candidates. This program is revealing new therapeutics for neurological disorders and for cancer.

Venkatakrishnan (Venkat) Venkatesan

Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering

Venkat Venkatakrishnan’s broad research interests are in computer security and privacy.  He is particularly interested in the security of software systems, in vulnerability analysis, attack prevention and security-conscious software design, development and verification.

He received his Ph.D. degree in computer science from Stony Brook University in 2004. He has published over 65 papers in leading security and privacy conferences.  He received the National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2009 and has received three best paper awards including a 2009 NYU-AT&T Best Applied Cybersecurity Paper Award. He has received over $14 million in research funding and his research is supported by NSF, DARPA, AFOSR, DHS and DoE.

In 2011, he led a group of 15 faculty to the creation of an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in cybersecurity at UIC that is cross-listed across four different colleges (Engineering, Business Administration, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Applied Health Sciences) and six departments and currently serves as lead-PI and director of this program (http://securityigert.uic.edu). The program has enrolled about 15 Ph.D. students and four recent graduates from the program went on to receive offers for tenure-track faculty positions at U.S. universities. For his research contributions, he received the University Scholar award in 2017, and for his contributions to computer security education, he was awarded the UIC Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015.