CELS adds four assistant professors to faculty

The College of the Environment and Life Sciences added four assistant professors to its faculty over the summer.

Jodi Camberg, who is listed as a faculty member of both Cell and Molecular Biology and Nutrition & Food Sciences, received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the George Washington University where she student the mechanism of Type 2 protein secretion in Vibrio cholera.

Her research addresses the biochemical mechanisms and physiological roles of energy-dependent molecular machines in complex cell processes such as cell division pathway in bacteria.

After receiving her degree, she went to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, as a postdoctoral research fellow. She studied in the laboratory of Sue Wickner, investigating molecular chaperone protein function, protein degradation and the cell division process in the Escherichia coli. Her research and teaching interests include protein biochemistry, microbial physiology and bacterial pathogeneses.

Nancy E. Karraker has joined the faculty in the Department of Natural Resources Science. Her research involves studying the consequences of environmental change for wetland and animal populations.

She completed her PhD in conservation biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. She moved for a postdoctoral fellowship to the University of Hong Kong and then became an assistant professor there. Over the past five years, she examined the effects of pollutants, forest degradation, disease and invasive species on amphibians and reptiles in China, Thailand and Malaysia.

Her research program now includes Southeast Asia and the Northeastern U.S. Her primary teaching interests are wetland ecology, herpetology and conservation biology.

Alison Tovar has been named to the faculty of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science. As a postdoctoral research fellow at the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Prevention in the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University, she worked on a community-based participatory intervention to prevent weight gain in recent immigrant mothers.

As part of this project, she explored the area of feeding styles and how they influence a child’s dietary intake and weight status. Her research interests focus on working across the disciplines of nutrition, psychology and community-based participatory interventions to prevent obesity at early stages in life, in particular among ethnic minority populations.

She received her doctorate in nutritional biochemistry and metabolism from the School of Nutrition Sciences and Policy and her Masters of Public Health in epidemiology and biostatistics from the School of Medicine at Tufts. She received her Bachelor of Science degrees in psychology from Northeastern University.

Kimberly Fournier is a shared faculty member between the Department of Kinesiology and the Department of Biosciences. She is teaching courses in Biomechanical Basis of Human Movement and Human Anatomy.
She has her B.S. in Exercise Science/Athletic Therapy, from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, her M.H.K. Human Kinetics/Biomechanics, from the University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada, and her Ph.D. Human & Health Performance/Biomechanics, from the University of Florida. She had a
Post-Doc position in Postural Control in Autism Spectrum Disorders at the University of Florida before coming to URI.

Dr. Fournier’s research focuses on the interactions between musculoskeletal biomechanics and sensory motor control of lower extremity function with particular emphasis on the coordination of balance and locomotion. More specifically, her research involves the application of biomechanical and neurophysiologic principles to gain insight into motor impairments observed in neuro-developmental disorders (Autism Spectrum Disorders for example) with the intent of contributing to the knowledge base regarding the etiology and rehabilitation of these disorders.

Dr. Fournier’s work crosses multiple disciplines, including biomechanics, motor control and neurophysiology, and has the common goal of identifying general principles of neuro-mechanical control.