President Eric "VJ" Rubenstein

  • Associate Professor of Biology, Ball State University
  • 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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President-Elect Paul Doss

  • Professor of Geology, University of Southern Indiana
  • PhD, Northern Illinois University

Dr. Paul Doss earned his BS in Geology from IUPUI, and his PhD from Northern Illinois University with a multidisciplinary investigation of a wetland system in Indiana Dunes. He is Professor of Geology at the University of Southern Indiana (USI), where he guided the Department of Geology and Physics as Chairman for eight years. Doss served as the Supervisory Geologist for Yellowstone National Park and the NPS Coordinating Scientist for the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. He also worked in Indiana Dunes, Acadia, and Everglades National Parks. He was honored as the Integra Distinguished Professor at USI in 2007, was named IUPUI School of Science Distinguished Alumnus in 2016, delivered a TEDx talk in 2017, and received resource protection awards from the National Park Service (2001) and the US Forest Service (2008). Doss served two terms (1996 & 2016) as Chair of the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) National Committee on Geology and Public Policy, and was the GSA Visiting Scholar for Earth Science Policy in Washington DC in 2017. Doss is currently the Section Chair of Earth Sciences for the Indiana Academy of Science, and has served on regional resourcemanagement committees in Indiana, Illinois, Maine, and Montana. His current scholarship focuses on bedrock aquifers in Southern Indiana, and the impacts of commercial groundwater extraction, ecosystem restoration, and climate change on aquatic resources in Manistee National Forest, Michigan. He is a longterm instructor for the Yellowstone Institute and Indiana Master Naturalists. At USI, Doss teaches courses on Environmental Geology, Environmental Science, Geology of National Parks, and Water Resources, and directs student research. He is an active proponent of incorporating scientific and environmental knowledge into the daily lives of everyone, and into the development of sound public policy at local, state, federal, and international levels.

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Immediate Past President Vanessa Quinn

  • Professor of Biology, Purdue Northwest
  • PhD, Indiana State University

Dr. Vanessa S. Quinn is Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue Northwest, North Central Campus, Westville, Indiana. She also serves as Associate Dean of Honors, Purdue University Northwest. Dr. Quinn earned her B.S. in Psychology and Zoology at the University of Wisconsin, her M.S. in Biology at Northern Michigan University, and her Ph.D. in Life Science at Indiana State University. In 2016, Dr. Quinn was awarded the Department of Biology and Chemistry Chair’s Award for Grantsmanship, as well as the Department of Biology and Chemistry Chair’s Award for Scholarship. She has authored books, book chapters, technical reports, and many articles, and has been the recipient of numerous research grants. Vanessa has served the Academy for many years and in many ways. She has served on the Science Talent Search Committee, the Science and Society Committee, and the Junior Grant Committee. She has been elected vice chair and chair of both the Ecology Section and the Science Education Section, and previously served as Academy Secretary from 2015-2018.

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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 Dean Wiseman

  • Associate Professor of Biology, University of Indianapolis
  • 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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Member-at-Large Azeem Ahmad

  • Assistant Professor of Biology, Marian University
  • PhD, UC-Davis

Dr. Azeem Ahmad joined the department of biology at Marian University, College of Arts and Sciences, as an Assistant professor of microbiology in 2016. Dr. Ahmad earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the department of microbiology at University of Karachi, Pakistan. He received his Ph.D. in microbiology from University of California Davis. Prior to joining Marian University, Dr. Ahmad had a long academic and research career. Most recently, he was involved as a scientist to study plant pathogens of soybean and corn at Iowa State University. He also has industry experience working Dupont company Pioneer Hi-Bred International as a Research Scientist. He acted as the lead scientist for isolating and identifying novel lactobacillus species for silage fermentation. After finishing her Ph.D., Dr. Ahmad worked at Harvard University for three years as a postdoctoral fellow in the department of biological sciences. He then moved to University of British Columbia, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology where he was a research scientist examining the microbial ecology of ocean viruses and harmful algae. Dr. Ahmad has mentored several graduate and undergraduate students, served as judge for state-wide science fairs, and served on many committees for the advancement of science throughout his academic career. He has been a member of the American Society for Microbiology since 1992, and an active member of the Indiana Academy of Science. He served the Academy as chair of the Microbiology and Molecular Biology Section, and as member of the Proceedings Editorial Board. He continues to serve as a senior scientist mentor for teacher participants in the IAS/Indiana Department of Education STEM Program.

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