President Horia Petrache

  • Associate Professor, Physics Department, IUPUI
  • Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Petrache teaches introductory general physics and mathematical physics. He conducts research on biological membranes using x-ray scattering and NMR spectroscopy. Dr. Petrache has created a strong record of Academy involvement and was inducted as a Fellow in 2015. He has served as Chair of the Physics and Astronomy Section and has served on both the Science and Society Committee and the Senior Research Grants Committee. He helped to organize several Academy sponsored projects and has attended and participated in several Academy sponsored community events.

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President Elect 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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Immediate Past-President Darrin L. Rubino

  • Professor of Biology, Hanover College
  • Ph.D. Ohio University

Darrin has been a member of IAS since 2002 and has served as Chair and Vice Chair of the Academy’s Botany Section. He became a Fellow of the Academy in 2012. Darrin is a forest ecologist and studies wood decay, vascular plant community composition, non-native plants, and woody debris (dead and down trees). His main research interest is dendrochronology, the study of tree-rings. He uses patterns of tree rings to understand the influence of historic human impacts and natural processes on forest structure, function, and composition.

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Secretary Vanessa Quinn

  • Associate Professor of Biology, Purdue North Central
  • 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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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 Stan Burden

  • Professor of Chemistry, Taylor University
  • Ph.D., Indiana University

At Taylor University, Dr. Burden twice received the Distinguished Professor Award and received the Dedicated Service Award, Science Division. He has served as IAS Treasurer, President, and Council member. He was Chair, Speaker of the Year Committee, served on the Science and Society Committee, and Chair of the Chemistry Section. Stan’s service on the Foundation Committee began in 1992. He was named a Fellow in 1981 and received the Distinguished Service Award in 2015.

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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
  • ABD, Indiana State University, M.S., University of Illinois, M.Ed., Syracuse 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 Sarah Mordan-McCombs

  • Associate Professor of Biology, Franklin College
  • Ph.D., University of Notre Dame

Dr. Mordan-McCombs has been a member for six years, serving as chair of the Cell Biology section and was elected to serve as a Council Member-at-Large (2016-2018). She has been a member of the PIAS Editorial Board since 2012. Sarah has served on the IAS Junior Grant Review Committe, and received an IAS Senior Research Grant. At the 2014 Annual IAS Meeting she gave an oral presentation entitled “Research on the Cheap.” This presentation was part of an ICBTA workshop on undergraduate research.

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Council Member-at-Large Luke Jacobus

  • Assistant Professor of Biology, Indiana University Purdue University-Columbus
  • Ph.D., Purdue University

Dr. Jacobus has served on the Research Grants Committee, and as chair in 2013, he evaluated committee operations, recommended changes to the grants application and review process, and proposed a change to the IAS Bylaws to help expedite the committees’ functioning. As Chair of the Research Grants Committee, Luke also served on the Budget Committee and the Academy Council. He regularly presents at the annual meeting and publishes in the Proceedings. Dr. Jacobus is a former graduate research fellow for both the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency. He was named a Fellow of the Academy in 2014.

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