President Vanessa Quinn

  • Professor of Biology, Purdue University Northwest
  • Ph.D., Indiana State University

Dr. Quinn has published 17 peer-reviewed journal articles about animal behavior and global climate change. Dr. Quinn has authored a book chapter on ecosystems. Her current research interests include understanding how ecotourism can affect endangered wildlife. Vanessa has served as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Science Education Section, Junior Research Grants Committee member, Science and Society Committee member, and as a judge for the Academy Science Talent Search Youth Program.

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Immediate Past President Alice Long Heikens

  • Professor of Biology, Franklin College
  • Ph.D., Southern Illinois University

Dr. Heikens teaches field biology, botany, and conservation courses. A faithful member of IAS since 1991, she and her students have presented papers on rare plants, invasive species, floristic and population ecology studies, and quantitative plant ecology studies of the barrens and glades in southern Indiana. Named a fellow in 2014, Dr. Heikens chairs the Junior Grants Subcommittee. Her passion is mentoring her undergraduate students in research on native plants and quantitative studies of natural areas.  She has received the Franklin College Faculty Excellence, Teaching, and Scholarships awards.

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President-Elect Eric "VJ" Rubenstein

  • Associate Professor of Biology
  • Ph.D., Univ. of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Eric “VJ” Rubenstein is Associate Professor of Biology and Co-Director of the Biotechnology Certificate program at Ball State University, where he has been a faculty member since 2012. At Ball State, Dr. Rubenstein teaches Cell Biology courses and investigates conserved mechanisms of protein quality control in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Discoveries in his lab have potential implications for neurodegenerative conditions and cholesterol-related pathologies. Dr. Rubenstein and his students have shared their research in 18 presentations at the Indiana Academy of Sciences Annual Meetings, in presentations at international conferences, and in peer-reviewed journal articles. Dr. Rubenstein has previously served as Chair and Vice Chair for the Cell Biology section of the Academy. A former amateur competitive eating champion, Dr. Rubenstein enjoys running, hiking, reading, and watching television in his spare time.

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Secretary Jessique Haeft

  • Assistant Professor of Soil Science, Ball State University
  • Ph.D., University of Kentucky

Dr. Ghezzi is the creator and director of the Ball State Student Farm, where students perform research on production methods for over 179 varieties of produce. She also volunteers for a number of student professional development organizations and looks forward to helping students prepare for successful careers in STEM/Agriculture. Dr. Ghezzi has served the Indiana Academy of Science as Vice Chair and currently Chair of the Earth Science Section and Proceedings Editorial Board Member.

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Treasurer Michael S. Finkler

  • Professor of Biology, IU-Kokomo
  • Ph.D. Miami University

Dr. Finkler has presented at the Annual Meeting, been awarded an IAS Research Grant, organized the Annual Meeting at IU Kokomo in 2009, and was Zoology Section Chair. He served as Budget Committee Chair and was President in 2012-2013.  In June 2015, he accepted the duties and responsibilities of Treasurer. Mike brought public visibility to the Academy as President when he appeared on “Inside Indiana Business”. Mike is also active in Community Service, as a Biology instructor for “Science Rocks”, a summer science camp program for middle school-aged students from underrepresented groups.

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Chair, Foundation Tom Dolan

  • Biology Professor Emeritus, Butler University
  • Ph.D., University of Georgia

Dr. Dolan recently retired from the Dept. of Biological Sciences, Butler University, after 33 years of teaching and research. He regularly taught courses in genetics and evolution as well as organismal courses in mycology and phycology.  Research interests focus on the biology of the Oomycota. Dr. Dolan joined Butler in 1985. His background in budgeting and fiscal administration led him to consecutive terms as department chair, followed by extensive service on university committees and work groups focused on university budgeting and capital allocation.  Dr. Dolan has served IAS since 2012 as an Academy Foundation Trustee.

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Chair, Research Grants James D. Mendez

  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry, IUPUC, Columbus
  • Ph.D. Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Mendez's research interests focus on the extraction and isolation of chitin from underutilized sources. Chitin is the second most abundant natural polymer on the planet, and its slightly modified version, chitosan, have found uses in a wide variety of fields, ranging from agriculture to medicine. His research group is currently modifying existing procedures for the isolation of chitin from these conventional sources to use with other abundant materials, such as crawfish shells, cicada sloughs, mealworm exuviae, and lobster shells. J.D. was elected to the Research Grants Committee in 2015.


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Executive Director Delores Brown

  • Executive Director, IAS
  • Ph.D., Indiana State University

With over 30 years of executive level experience in organizational management, higher education administration and community partnership, Delores has done an excellent job recruiting new members, bringing corporate and community sponsorship to our IAS Annual Meetings, and has raised the professional profile of IAS. Previously, she was the Dean of Admissions for Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine; Co-principal investigator on a National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NIH) grant; and founding Director of Health Education for the Howard University Cancer Center.

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Council Member-at-Large Patrick Motl

  • Assistant Professor of Physics & Associate Dean School of Sciences, Indiana University Kokomo
  • Ph.D., Purdue University

Dr. Motl's current academic interests include interacting binary stars, relativistic binary systems and stellar astrophysics as well as education and public outreach through his role as director of the IUK Observatory. Dr. Motl received the Faculty Research Award from IUK in 2012. He is the current Chair of the Physics and Astronomy Section, has served as Vice Chair of the Physics and Astronomy Section, and a Proceedings Editorial Board Member.

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Council Member-at-Large Dean Wiseman

  • Associate Professor of Biology
  • Ph.D., Purdue University

Dean Wiseman is Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Indianapolis. His expertise is in physiology, cell biology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. Dr. Wiseman has contributed to the Annual Academy Meeting for the last few years, recruiting and managing volunteers who are mostly made up of freshman and sophomore aspiring scientists. Resulting from his efforts, the volunteers continue to present a participant- friendly feel at the Annual Meeting. Dr. Wiseman is currently studying the role of protein changes in the development of diabetes and cancer. Also, outside the lab, he is involved in research collaborations involving cave-related research: Water quality, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and cave-dwelling animals. Dr. Wiseman has worked in tracking down the mechanism of action of a family of chemicals call isoprenoids--found in many foods and consumer products. These isoprenoids have anti-cancer activity, and by delineating the mechanism of action he hoped to pair these drugs up as adjuvants to frontline cancer drugs. 

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