Program Advisory Board Roles and Members

Given the breadth and diversity of student interests, experiences and needs, the Human Biology DMP has assembled an Advisory Board to ensure that the program delivers learning experience that is up to date and relevant. Thus, the Human Biology Advisory Board helps shape the program and its direction. Faculty members include representatives from the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities and are meant to represent a cross section of College /University with respect to academic interests, perspectives, and experiences. We believe that strong and broad representation of different social, cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds strengthens our intellectual diversity and enhances our ability to meet our educational goals.

The Advisory Board will provide support and advice to students on structuring individual academic programs to meet student needs and career goals, assist in the identification and development of new course offerings for students, and identify best-practice standards for the program. Advisory Board members will also serve as ambassadors to the program, providing a connection to and ongoing exchange of information and ideas with members of a broader academic community within the College and University. Specific duties of board members may include the following:

Assess the current curriculum requirements and make recommendations to help ensure that the program addresses the near and long-term educational needs of the students.

Advise the program to ensure students graduate with the skills needed for professional advancement.

Provide feedback, advice, and/or assistance to students on academic and research activities. 

Advise and to the extent possible assist in identification and acquisition (when appropriate) of external funding and resources to support the students and program (scholarships, program materials, and other resources).

Evaluate thesis projects and assist in determining levels of distinction at graduation.

Assist in the identification and recruitment of new students for the program.

Assist in the identification and recruitment of new faculty participants in the program.

Provide recommendations on the structure and activities of the advisory board.


Current Members of the Human Biology DMP Advisory Board

Natalie B. Aviles (Department of Sociology). Dr. Aviles is an Assistant Professor who specializes in Sociological Theory, Science and Technology Studies (STS), Cultural Sociology, Science and Innovation Policy, and Sociology of Health Care. Her research explores how federal laboratories in the U.S. National Cancer Institute have guided scientific and public policy innovation from the post-war period to the present day.

Ruth Gaare Bernheim (Public Health Sciences). The William Hobson Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences and the Director of the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life at the University of Virginia.  She is the founding director of the Master of Public Health Program at the University of Virginia and teaches courses on public health law, ethics and policy. Bernheim works on numerous community health projects at the local, state, and national level, and with public health leaders in practice across the country on policy, ethical and legal education, including developing educational modules for the CDC’s Public Health Law Program.

Nichole M. Flores (Department of Religious Studies). Dr. Flores researches the constructive contributions of Catholic and Latinx theologies to notions of justice and aesthetics to the life of democracy. Her research in practical ethics addresses issues of democracy, migration, family, gender, economics (labor and consumption), race and ethnicity, and ecology.

Jennifer L. Guler (Department of Biology and Division of Infectious Diseases). Research in the Güler Malaria Lab focuses on the human-infective malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Dr. Guler’s interdisciplinary work spans topics relevant to both basic biology and clinical disease. Molecular topics include how the parasite can adapt to changing conditions to evolve new traits such as drug resistance and host range. The group also develops tools to track parasite change in clinical infections.

Liana J. Richardson (Department of African American Studies, Carter G. Woodson Institute). Dr. Richardson is an interdisciplinary health disparities scholar whose research focuses on the social determinants and consequences of racial and gender inequalities in health within and across generations.

Paul J. Scherz (Department of Religious Studies). Dr. Scherz is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies and teaches courses supporting the College’s Health, Ethics, & Society program and does innovative work at intersections of science, technology, religion, and ethics, and algorithmic decision-making in health care settings.

Michael P. Timko (Department of Biology). Dr. Timko is the Lewis & Clark Professor of Biology and Professor of Public Health Science. His work focuses on the use of biochemical, molecular, and genomic approaches to understand plants and humans at the cellular and organismal level and how plants can be modified and used to generate therapeutics and nutraceuticals for the treatment of human disease.