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Provost Solutions Fellows

The Provost Solutions Fellows comprise faculty experts from across the University who partner with external organizations to address societal challenges, build research and scholarship, and create experiential learning opportunities for Drexel students. A joint initiative of the Provost’s Office and the Drexel Solutions Institute, the program expands on the University’s 100-year legacy of cooperative education and charts the course for a reimagined approach to higher education.

Each class of Fellows serves to highlight the research and teaching capabilities of Drexel to external partners, deepen collaboration across disciplines and unite the core activities of the University — research, teaching and external engagement — to improve student success and address industry and societal challenges

Goals

In focusing on the integration of teaching, research and external partnership, Fellows serve as catalysts to:

  • Build scholarship and enhance innovation and impact in research and teaching.
  • Provide impactful experiential learning opportunities for students.
  • Design comprehensive, custom solutions to address industry and societal challenges.
  • Create more interdisciplinary, solutions-focused curricula and programming.
  • Foster a culture of external engagement across the University.

2022-2023 SOLUTIONS FELLOWS

Hasan Ayaz HeadshotHasan Ayaz, PhD

Associate Professor

School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems

 

Hasan is pioneering the field of neuro-ergonomics — the study of the human brain in relation to everyday tasks — with applications ranging from aerospace to healthcare. His research includes neuro-engineering in human-computer interactions, as well as clinical and field applications of optical brain imaging. His accomplishments have included the development of continuous wave, functional near-infrared sensors and enabling software for brain monitoring instruments. He also led the development of the handheld InfraScanner device, which utilizes near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to detect hematoma in head trauma patients. His research has been funded by federal agencies, corporate partners and foundations, and widely shared through over 200 publications.

 

Faculty Profile

Eric Brewe HeadshotEric Brewe, PhD

Associate Professor of Physics and of Science Education

College of Arts and Sciences

School of Education

 

Eric’s research focuses on the teaching and learning of physics, leading inquiries into promoting student learning and enhanced attitudes toward science and equity. He studies the role of participation in learning using quantitative measures including network analysis and applications of machine learning and natural language processing. A 2019 Fellow of the American Physical Society, Eric has also been involved in preparing future physics teachers through workshops on modeling instruction — a guided-inquiry approach to science teaching — and as co-editor of a PhysTEC-sponsored textbook.  

 

Faculty Profile

Shannon Capps HeadshotShannon Capps, PhD

Associate Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

College of Engineering

 

Shannon models outdoor air quality to estimate the influences of emissions sources on health. Her research on climate impacts of pollutants uses satellite-based observations to improve models and explore means of addressing climate change. Recently, she studied the concentration of nitrogen dioxide — a byproduct of a fossil fuel combustion found in vehicle exhaust — during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shannon was awarded the New Investigator Program Award from NASA and the CAREER award from National Science Foundation. She also held a postdoctoral position at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.   

 

Faculty Profile

Lauren Dinnocenzo HeadshotLauren D’Innocenzo, PhD

Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Management

LeBow College of Business

 

Lauren’s research focuses on how to create effective teams by leveraging team competencies, developing critical team behaviors, engaging in productive leadership, and building environments to support team functioning. She has worked across a variety of industries including healthcare and pharmaceutical — with Fortune 500 companies, governmental agencies, and hospitals — in both applied research and executive education capacities. Notably, her recent research has helped to identify drivers of surgical team effectiveness including patient safety and operating room efficiency, which she has also used to train medical professionals and students. Lauren was recently named to Poets&Quants’  Best 40 Under 40 Professors.

 

Faculty Profile

Jon Deutsch HeadshotJonathan Deutsch, PhD, CHE, CRC

Professor of Food and Hospitality Management

College of Nursing and Health Professions

 

Jonathan is a certified research chef and hospitality educator as well as the founding director of the Drexel Food Lab, a food product development and culinary innovation lab focused on applying culinary science to improve the health of people, the planet and economies. He has led a national curriculum effort on food waste reduction as a James Beard Foundation Impact Fellow and was named a Food Waste Warrior by Food Tank. He is also the founding president of the Upcycled Food Foundation and the author or editor of eight books.  

 

Faculty Profile

Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili HeadshotRose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, RN

Professor of Nursing 
College of Nursing and Health Professions

 

Rose Ann’s research focuses on integrating nutrition and novel technologies to improve health outcomes and quality of life for older adults. A geriatric nurse scientist, Rose Ann led a team of engineers on the development of a patented, wireless device to track and monitor fluid intake. She serves as the principal investigator of the Cell2Society Aging Research Network, leading a team of 30 faculty to create a novel ecosystem for the pursuit of use-inspired aging research, and is part of the administrative core of the AgeWell Collaboratory. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program and Pennsylvania Non-Formula CURE program, among others.

 

Faculty Profile

Robert Field HeadshotRobert Field, JD, MPH, PhD

Professor of Law and of Health Management and Policy
Thomas R. Kline School of Law
Dornsife School of Public Health

Rob is a nationally recognized expert in health care regulation and its role in implementing public policy. He brings an interdisciplinary background in law, public health and psychology to issues such as provider consolidation, vaccine mandates and genetic discrimination. Much of his recent work has been with international partners, comparing hospital collaboration in the U.S. and France and developing a healthy eating initiative in New Zealand. He has published two books on health policy and regulation and is quoted often by national and international media outlets. In prior work, he led physician practice acquisitions for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, represented major teaching hospitals at a large Philadelphia law firm, and analyzed public policy developments for Cigna Corporation.

Faculty Profile

Aroutis FosterAroutis Foster, PhD

Associate Professor of Learning Technologies/Creativity & Innovation 

School of Education

 

Aroutis is a leader in learning and identity exploration in games and virtual learning environments. With a multifaceted background at the intersection of digital media, psychology, computer science and education, he is a designer of experiences that aid learners in transforming themselves to become more adaptable, reflective and flexible. He has developed pedagogical models for games-based learning and learning theories to support lifelong learning and development for all learners, especially minoritized learners — preparing them to remain competitive in a 21st century career environment. Aroutis has won awards for his research on technology in teaching and learning and game-based learning, including the National Science Foundation's CAREER award.

 

Faculty Profile

Simon_GiszterSimon Giszter, PhD

Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy

College of Medicine

 

Simon’s research is at the intersection of neuroscience and engineering. He directs Drexel’s interdisciplinary Marion Murray Spinal Cord Research Center — a premier spinal cord injury research center — where his work focuses on the impact of therapeutic strategies on promoting recovery following neural trauma. His patented microbraided filament technology uses flexible, braided electrodes that enable long-term recordings in difficult-to-reach brain and spinal cord sites, with minimal tissue inflammation. Simon frequently collaborates with biomechanical and neuro engineers, computational neuroscientists, physical therapists and clinicians on projects.

 

Faculty Profile

Lin Han HeadshotLin Han, PhD

Associate Professor

School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems

 

As the principal investigator of the Nanobiomechanics Lab at Drexel University, Lin’s research uses minor regulatory collagens and proteoglycans to develop novel therapeutics and regenerative biomaterials. His work has helped improve treatments for wound healing, osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases. His lab specializes in atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based biomechanical tests of tissues, cells and biomolecules at micrometer and sub-micrometer length scales. Lin is a recipient of the 2018 NSF CAREER Award as well as the 2021 Kappa Delta Young Investigator Award from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. 

 

Faculty Profile

nick jushchyshynNick Jushchyshyn, MFA

Professor of Virtual Reality and Immersive Media 

Westphal College of Media Arts and Design 

 

Nick’s work focuses on the development and application of immersive media formats including virtual reality, augmented reality and immersive projection, spanning areas including education, training, cultural heritage, medicine and narrative experiences. His background in computer graphics includes extensive work in image acquisition, computational photography, 3D modeling and animation, real time graphics, virtual production, motion/performance capture and software/hardware integration. Nick’s two decades of professional experience includes his work on several major feature films such as “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” “I Am Number Four,” “Let Me In,” “The Last Airbender” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

 

Faculty Profile

Alison Kenner HeadshotAlison Kenner, PhD

Associate Professor of Politics

College of Arts and Sciences

 

Alison’s research focuses on human-environment relations in late industrialism, particularly how people inhabit their homes and experience environments at work. She uses experimental and collaborative ethnography in her work. Her latest research, funded by the National Science Foundation, investigates energy vulnerability in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region that extends her past work published in her monograph “Breathtaking: Asthma Care in a Time of Climate Change.” Alison also co-organized Climate Ready Philly and led the Philadelphia Health and Environment Ethnography Lab, which facilitated collaborative projects between Drexel students, nonprofit partners and community organizers.

  

Faculty Profile

Jennifer KolkerJennifer Kolker, MPH

Clinical Professor of Health Management and Policy
Dornsife School of Public Health

With over 25 years’ experience working in urban public health in Philadelphia, Jennifer focuses her research on assessing need for public health and safety net services, public health infrastructure development, community health needs assessments and strategic planning, working closely with governmental, nonprofit and health system partners. Her recent work includes co-developing the Dornsife School’s COVID-Equity Dashboard, completing a strategic assessment of the 30 largest health departments and developing a policy tool for cities in partnership with the Big Cities Health Coalition. She is also on the leadership team of Dornsife’s Urban Health Collaborative, a research and practice center focused on urban health.

 

Faculty Profile

Antonios Kontsos HeadshotAntonios Kontsos, PhD

Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics

College of Engineering

 

Antonios’ work examines the engineering mechanics and mechanical behaviors of materials, with emphasis on investigating the mechanical behavior of materials across time and length scales. Using sensing, testing and computing methods in plasticity, fracture and fatigue investigations, he examines the role that multiscale material architecture plays in the deformation and failure mechanisms of advanced materials. He has also used these advanced computing methods to forecast materials’ behavior in cutting-edge engineering applications. Antonios directs the Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Group at Drexel, and his research is supported by a state-of-the-art 3,000-square-foot laboratory that he co-designed in 2016.

 

Faculty Profile

Sandhya KortagereSandhya Kortagere, PhD

Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

College of Medicine

 

Sandhya is a molecular pharmacologist with over 20 years’ experience in preclinical drug discovery and pharmacology of the brain’s Dopaminergic neurotransmitter system. Her research is focused on developing therapies for Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. In addition to her academic appointment, Sandhya is co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of PolyCore Therapeutics LLC, where her efforts have led to a drug, currently undergoing IND-enabling studies for FDA approval, for treating Levodopa-induced dyskinesia (involuntary muscle movements). She has developed a platform technology to design small molecule modulators to a variety of therapeutically relevant protein targets and holds 11 international patents for molecules developed through this technology.

Faculty Profile

Raja Schaar HeadshotRaja Schaar, MA

Innovation Fellow 

Assistant Professor of Product Design

Westphal College of Media Arts and Design

 

Raja is a transdisciplinary industrial designer, educator, Afrofuturist and design activist whose projects examine social and environmental disparities in design and innovation. Her current work revolves around developing frameworks for design ethics and climate futures and creating participatory design programs for underrepresented youth. Raja is the co-founder of Black Girls STEAMing Through Dance, a community-based research and after-school program for engaging Black girls and underrepresented minorities in STEAM through culturally sustaining pedagogies. Raja also serves on the councils of several national design advocacy groups including the Industrial Designers Society of America. 

 

Faculty Profile

Christopher Wright HeadshotChristopher Wright, PhD

Associate Professor of STEM Education

School of Education

 

Christopher’s research program on STEM education examines learning environments that affirm the cultural, intellectual and linguistic resources that young people draw upon while engaging in engineering and science. He has focused on identity development and experiences of Black youth in grades K-12, along with educators facilitating learning and development in those contexts. Christopher is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award and the 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on early-career scientists and engineers. 

 

Faculty Profile

ENGAGE WITH US

The Drexel Solutions Institute is a gateway for industry leaders to connect with research-active faculty and our University community. To learn how to get involved, faculty, students and prospective industry partners are encouraged to contact us DSI@drexel.edu.