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Spring semester begins Monday, January 25, with a mix of in-person instruction and expanded online classes. Visit Mason’s Safe Return to Campus Plan for COVID-19 updates.

Atmospheric science

Welcome New Faculty

Since January, 2020 the College of Science has announced the appointments of the following new faculty across a variety of domains. Members of this group were recently invited to a virtual welcome session with the College’s leadership to officially connect the cohort, share resources, and highlight opportunities to engage across the college and at Mason.

Join us in welcoming them!

Taylor Anderson, Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Geography and Geoinformation Science

Taylor Anderson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science. She received her PhD in Geography from Simon Fraser University, Canada. Dr. Anderson’s research focuses on developing and implementing novel spatial modeling and simulation approaches. These approaches are applied to simulate insect infestation, disease spread, and segregation and provide useful tools to enhance decision-making processes.

Patrali Banerjee, Assistant ProfessorChemistry and Biochemistry

Patrali Banerjee earned her PhD in Organic Chemistry from JNU, India. After earning her PhD, she worked for almost 12 years as a patent professional along with teaching chemistry at the university level. Dr. Banerjee’s interests in chemistry include bioorganic chemistry, total synthesis, and carbohydrate chemistry. While currently a term assistant professor, she would be willing to have her own research lab in Mason one day.  

Dr. Patrali Banerjee

Harrison Bray, Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Mathematical Sciences

Harrison Bray is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. 

Milton Brown, Professor of PracticeCollege of Science

Milton L. Brown, MD, PhD, FNAI is recognized as a pioneer in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), being the first African American PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) and in addition earned a medical degree from the University of Virginia (UVA).  He is currently Professor of Practice in the College of Science and Director of the Center for Drug Discovery at George Mason University, where his research and educational focus is in translational medicine and therapeutics discovery for emerging infectious diseases (COVID-19), radiation countermeasures (GI-ARS and lung fibrosis), oncological diseases and chronic kidney disorders.  

Milton Brown

Rocio Caballero-Gill, Postdoctoral FellowCollege of Science

Rocio Caballero-Gill is a Postdoctoral Fellow for the College of Science.

Phillip Cigan, Senior ResearcherDepartment of Physics and Astronomy

To me, the magic of my work is looking for things no one has seen before.  I try to be a jack of all trades in observational astronomy - from taking and processing data from a wide variety of telescopes, to writing code to analyze them and explain the underlying physics. 

Phillip Cigan

Andre Clayborne, Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Andre Z. Clayborne is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at George Mason University. Prior to joining Mason, he has held positions at Howard University, University of Missouri-Kansas City at the Assistant Professor level, postdoctoral positions at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland), Argonne National Laboratory, and Kansas State University. He has received ~600K from various science organizations including the NSF, Academy of Finland, and the NSFC. Prof. Clayborne’s research aims to develop materials by understanding the underlying physical and chemical properties of the building blocks at the nano- and micro-scale using computation/simulation. Specific research areas include investigating the electronic, magnetic, and optical properties of molecules, clusters, and nanoparticles; understanding molecular reactions in metal and metal-oxide substrates; and applying machine learning in chemistry to accelerate material discovery. He has mentored various undergraduate and graduate students, and fellow researchers at different stages in their careers.

Andre Clayborne

Aisha El-khatib, Research Technical StaffDepartment of Physics and Astronomy

Aisha El-khatib is a Research Technical Staff member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Elisabeth Epstein, Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Biology

Dr. Elisabeth Epstein earned her PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2008. Her dissertation research focused on elucidation of the molecular details of secretion and assembly of curli fiber proteins – a structural component of some bacterial biofilms. Her current teaching and research interests are in microbial diversity and its functional significance in natural communities, as well as how the common origin of all life underlies the usefulness of model organisms. Dr. Epstein teaches courses in biodiversity as well as teaching and coordinating the introductory biology series (BIOL103/106/107) at Mason.

Dr. Elisabeth Epstein

Yassaman Erfani, InstructorBiomedical Science Program

Yassaman Erfani is an Instructor in the Biomedical Science Program

Yassaman Erfani

Daniel Hanley, Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Biology

Dr. Daniel Hanley is Assistant Professor of Biology at George Mason University. He studies visual perception, cognition, and decision-making in wild birds. By quantifying the diversity of colors found in nature (particularly birds’ eggs), his laboratory addresses fundamental questions about how selection pressures shape the evolution of phenotypes, and how those phenotypes govern species interactions. His work has been published in more than 40 peer-reviewed journals such as Nature Ecology & Evolution, Proceedings of the Royal Society, the American Naturalist, and Biology Letters and is frequently highlighted by the popular press (e.g., as Audubon, the BBC, and Science magazine). In August 2020, Dr. Hanley was awarded Elective Membership at the American Ornithological Society for significant contributions to ornithology and the society. 

Daniel Hanley

Sijia He, Postdoctoral FellowNational Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases

Dr. Sijia He received her PhD in clinical laboratory diagnostics from China Medical University in Shenyang, China. She has conducted research in immunology, virology, and molecular biology, with a particular interest in HIV infection and human immune responses. Dr. He is currently conducting research as a postdoctoral research fellow in the NCBID at George Mason University. She continues her research on cell signal transduction involved in latent HIV infection and the antiviral mechanisms of host restriction factors that how PSGL-1 hinders HIV infection of target cells.

Sijia He

Keziah Hernandez, Research Technical StaffNational Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases

Keziah Hernandez is a Research Technical Staff member in the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases. Southern California native with a BA and BSc degrees from California State University Fullerton in Philosophy and Biology.  Obtained an MPA with a concentration in Homeland Security from University of Texas at El Paso.  Technical expertise in protocol implementation/optimization and laboratory management. 

Keziah Hernandez

Sara Ibrahim, InstructorBiomedical Sciences Program

Sarah Ibrahim is an Instructor in the Biomedical Sciences Program. She grew up in northern Virginia. She earned her BS in Neuroscience at the College of William and Mary followed by her MS in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University. Currently, she is an instructor for the George Squared Advanced Biomedical Sciences Program.

Sara Ibrahim

Keri Kodama, Postdoctoral FellowCenter for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies

Keri Kodama is a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies. 

Raj Koju, Postdoctoral FellowDepartment of Physics and Astronomy

Raj Koju is interested in modeling the kinetic and mechanical properties of materials. He currently uses Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics methods to perform atomistic simulations. He has worked on investigation of mechanical strength and thermal stability of Cu-Ta alloys, solute drag effect in Cu-Ag alloys, diffusion in Al-Mg alloys, and grain recrystallization and refinement in severely deformed Al.

Raj Kiran Koju

Yali Kong, Senior ResearcherCollege of Science

Yali Kong is a medicinal chemist with more than fifteen years of experience in drug discovery and development. Before joining Mason, Dr. Kong was a postdoctoral fellow and research faculty at the University of Virginia, then worked for Georgetown University as an Assistant Professor. Her research focuses on drug discovery and development, she is the co-inventor for 10 US issued patents and the author for nearly 30 peer-reviewed research publications.

Dr. Yali Kong

Hai Lan, Senior ResearcherGeography and Geoinformation Science

Yunyao Li, Research Technical StaffCenter for Spatial Information Science and Systems

Yunyao Li is a Research Scientist at George Mason University. Her research focuses on convective storms, wildfire emission, chemical transport modeling, and data assimilation. Dr. Li received her PhD from University of Maryland in 2018 on deep convective transport of trace gases. She then worked a postdoc at the University of Maryland on data assimilation in the GDAS/GFS system. Later she continued the atmospheric modeling research with Daniel Tong on biomass burning emission and air quality modeling.

Dr. Yunyao Li

Lingquan Li, Postdoctoral FellowDepartment of Physics and Astronomy

Lingquan Li is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. 

Siqi Ma, Postdoctoral FellowCenter for Spatial Information Science and Systems

Siqi Ma is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems. 

Shannon Macken, Research Projects AdministratorCenter for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies

Shannon Macken is a Research Project Administrator in the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies.

Amy Macrina, Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Mathematical Sciences

Amy Potrzeba Macrina is originally from Central New York.  She is married, has a five-year-old son, and currently resides in Springfield, VA. She earned her PhD in 2013 from the University at Albany.  Her research interests include spectral analysis and forecasting with applications to atmospheric variables.  Amy is passionate about teaching mathematics and statistics and has been teaching for over 14 years.  In her free time, she loves to read, cycle, travel and spend quality time with her family. 

Dr. Amy Macrina

Adam Meares, Postdoctoral FellowCollege of Science

Adam Meares is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the College of Science.

Elizabeth Onderko, Postdoctoral FellowCollege of Science

Dr. Onderko has a PhD in Biochemistry from Penn State University, where her work focused on elucidating the factors governing Cytochrome P450 catalysis, an enzyme that is a key player in many natural product synthesis pathways. As a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory, she worked with a biofilm-forming marine bacterium, Marinobacter atlanticus. As part of her work at NRL, she co-invented the biofilm bioreactor technology that is being commercialized by the start-up company she co-founded, Capra Biosciences, Inc.  

Elizabeth L. Onderko

Akwum Onwunta, Postdoctoral FellowDepartment of Mathematical Sciences

Akwum Onwunta is a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence (CMAI), George Mason University, Fairfax. Before joining CMAI, he had worked as a postdoc  at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP),  Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg, Germany as a scientific researcher  and  Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt, as a Marie Curie research fellow / quantitative risk analyst.  He holds a PhD in Mathematics from Otto von Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany.

Akwum Onwunta

Edward J. Oughton, Assistant ProfessorGeography and Geoinformation Science

Edward Oughton is known for developing decision-support models of digital infrastructure, having carried out 5G assessments for countries around the world. His work provides evidence on effective strategies to connect more people to a faster internet. Such information is vital for ensuring sustainable economic development as most new technologies require internet connectivity. The open-source 5G assessment software he has developed has been used to support national and international policy decisions. 

Dr. Edward J. Oughton

James Parks, Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Physics and Astronomy

Dr. J. Rob Parks is an Assistant Professor and Deputy Observatory Director at George Mason University.  For over 14 years, Dr. Parks has brought astronomy into the lives of both college students and the general public.  During his years of service, he has taught hundreds of students, mentored students through research projects, and hosted numerous public outreach events at observatories and planetariums.  Dr. Parks is excited to be a part of the GMU and looks forward to sharing his love of astronomy with its community.


Kavery Poonacha, InstructorBiomedical Science Program

Kavery Poonacha is an Instructor in the Biomedical Science Program. 

Kavery Nivana Poonacha

Kaiqiang Qin, Postdoctoral FellowCollege of Science

Kaiqiang Qin is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the College of Science.

Dale Rothman, Associate ProfessorDepartment of Computational and Data Sciences

Dale Rothman is a new Term Associate Professor in the Department of Computational and Data Sciences, with an emphasis on Computational Social Science. Prior to this, he was an Associate Professor in the Josef Korbel School of international Studies at the University of Denver. He also worked with the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Macaulay Institute, the University of Maastricht, Columbia University, and the World Resources Institute. Dr. Rothman earned his undergraduate degree from MIT; his PhD from Cornell; and did a joint post-doc with the University of British Columbia and Environment Canada. Dr. Rothman’s current research focuses on the use of scenario development and integrated modeling as applied to social-ecological systems. His recent work focuses on applying these two issues related to climate change economics and policy, including new technologies for greenhouse gas removal and solar radiation management. 

Dale Rothman

Cameron Rutt, Postdoctoral FellowDepartment of Biology

Cameron Rutt is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biology.

Tanmoy Samanta, Postdoctoral FellowDepartment of Physics and Astronomy

Tanmoy Samanta is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Adam Schneider, Senior ResearcherDepartment of Physics and Astronomy

Adam Schneider is a Senior Researcher for the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Peter Siegfried, Postdoctoral FellowCollege of Science

Peter Siegfried is a Postdoctoral Fellow for the College of Science.

Aaron Smith, Postdoctoral FellowCollege of Science

Aaron Smith graduated as a dual student athlete with his B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2006.  After graduation he worked as technical director for Chemspec, Inc. in Baltimore Maryland, before joining the graduate program in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Maryland Baltimore where he obtained his PhD  Before arriving at George Mason University, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Duke University Medical School. His research interests center around microbial pathogens and host-pathogen interactions, and specifically, how transition metals influence the pathogenesis of microorganisms.

Aaron Smith

Youhua Tang, Senior ResearcherCenter for Spatial Information Science and Systems

Youhua Tang is a Senior Researcher in the Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems.

Petrus Van Oevelen, ProfessorCenter for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies

Petrus Van Oevelen is a Professor in the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies. 

Kan Wang, Senior ResearcherCollege of Science

Kan Wang is a Senior Researcher in the College of Science.

Mahamadi Warma, ProfessorDepartment of Mathematical Sciences

Dr. Warma teaches advanced courses in Mathematics such as graduate and undergraduate Partial Differential Equations, Real, Complex and Functional Analysis, Advanced Calculus. He has advised six PhD students and has been the mentor of several undergraduate and graduate students.

Mahamadi Warma

Janice Yoon, Research StaffNational Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases

Janice Yoon is Research Staff for Dr. Aarthi Narayanan and Dr. Yuntao Wu. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University with Biotechnology major and worked as a Research Scientist at The George Washington University for past 2 years. Her research at Mason focuses in HIV infection of human CD4 T cells and expression plasmid for VEEV nsP1 sequence. 

Janice Yoon

Fernande Vervoort, Research AdministratorThe Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies