Patricia Champion

Mentors Champion

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. I was born and raised in New Jersey. Growing up I was captivated by art, language and science. I earned a BS in Biological Sciences with a Chemistry Minor from Carnegie Mellon University. I earned my Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University, and then pursued postdoctoral training in bacterial pathogenesis at the University of California San Francisco. I joined the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame as an Assistant Professor. I have taught classes in Molecular Genetics and Bacterial Interactions and Pathogenesis, and am excited to teach Introductory Biology to freshman and sophomores in the Fall of 2019. I am the faculty advisor for Expanding Your Horizons, a student organization which organizes a career conference in STEM for middle school aged girls. I also participate in mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and young faculty.

My lab is focused on understanding the fundamental biology underlying the human disease, tuberculosis. The bacteria that causes tuberculosis is the leading cause of death by an infectious agent globally. We study how mycobacteria transport, modify and use proteins to cause disease in the host. Our goal is contribute to an understanding of the basic molecular biology of mycobacterial disease, which will serve as a foundation for the development of new diagnostics and therapies to treat and prevent tuberculosis. My lab is a made up of a diverse, vibrant and engaged group of students who share this goal.

My husband, Matt Champion (also a Notre Dame Faculty member) and I have three daughters, ranging from pre-school to middle school age. We enjoy spending time together as a family and taking road trips. I like to spend time outdoors running and bike riding. I enjoy reading with a particular interest in fiction, and playing and listening to music.

Yamil Colon

Mentors Colon

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I left the island when I was 17 years old to study at the University of Notre Dame, where I obtained a BS in chemical engineering. Here I was first exposed to research in an academic setting and I fell in love with it; I decided to follow an academic career where I could do research and teach and mentor students. I earned my Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Northwestern University in 2015 and I pursued postdoctoral training in molecular engineering at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Labs. I joined my current department in 2018. I have taught Separations and Numerical Methods. I will be teaching Numerical Methods again this upcoming fall.

The research in my lab focuses on the computational discovery and design of materials for energy applications. We research how porous materials can adsorb and separate different molecules. We look to apply our research for water harvesting, energy storage, ion transport, and others. The results of our computational research could have profound technological implications to address some of society’s most pressing issues like water scarcity, energy efficiency, etc.

In my spare time I like to spend time with my wife and my two dogs. I also enjoy watching college football and playing video games.

Adam Czajka

Mentors Czajka

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and a Concurrent Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering here at the University of Notre Dame. My research focuses on biometrics and security, especially on human-driven methods of detecting unknown types of presentation attacks driving a biometric system into incorrect decision. In general, I am fascinated by wide spectrum of research topics in computer vision, pattern recognition and machine learning. Together with my wife, Agnieszka Marczak-Czajka, who is a Software Development Manager the Notre Dame Computer Research Center, we are exploring the use of visual signals generated by artificial neural networks in stimulation of emotions and mental healing processes.

In the classroom, I enjoy teaching graduate- and undergraduate-level Computer Vision (CSE 40535/60535/40536/60536), Biometrics (CSE 40537/60537) and Neural Networks (CSE 40868/60868) courses. The aim of computer vision courses is to introduce methods that allow computers to “see” and “understand” what they see. Biometrics course is a great hands-on experience class, where computer vision, biology, electronics and machine learning play together to construct fair, privacy-aware and efficient methods of human identification.

I am originally from Poland. I received my M.Sc. in Computer Control Systems and Ph.D. in Biometrics from Warsaw University of Technology (WUT), both with the highest honors. Recently, I have been awarded a D.Sc. degree ("habilitation") in Computer Science, also from WUT. Before coming to Notre Dame, I was the Chair and co-founder of the Biometrics and Machine Learning Laboratory in the Institute of Control and Computation Engineering at WUT, the Head of the Postgraduate Studies on Security and Biometrics, the Vice Chair of the NASK Biometrics Laboratory, the Chair of the Polish Standardization Committee on Biometrics, an Assistant Professor in NASK – national research institute, and a member of the NASK Research Council. I keep my contacts with NASK and serve as an Advisor to the Deputy Director for Research there. I am a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), an active member of the European Association for Biometrics (EAB), a member of the International Association for Identification (IAI) and an expert of ISO/IEC Sub-Committee 37 on Biometrics.

I am an amateur musician (classical guitarist), a licensed glider pilot and a licensed yacht skipper. When time permits, I grab dry pastels and paint what I see.

Juan DelValle

Instructors DelValle

I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and took an early interest in science with the help of childhood chemistry kits and an inspirational AP chemistry teacher in high school. The puzzle-solving logic and architectural beauty of undergraduate organic chemistry (Carleton College) convinced me that I wanted to pursue a career in academia. Graduate school (UC San Diego) and a postdoctoral stint (University of Montreal) provided training as I progressed toward my goal of leading my own research laboratory. I started my independent career at New Mexico State University and moved to the University of South Florida where I was promoted to Associate Professor. We (myself, my wife, 2 kids, 4 graduate students, 1 postdoc, and a cat) moved to Notre Dame in July 2019.

I am currently the William K. Warren Family Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. My research team and I are interested in the chemical synthesis of protein mimics and peptide natural products with unique biological activities. Our designs are then evaluated in the lab for their effects on cellular pathways that drive cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. What continues to excite me about organic chemistry is the ability to dream up and build molecules that the universe has never seen before, and to use these to directly impact human health. Outside of research, I am passionate about undergraduate teaching and showing students that organic chemistry is actually fascinating and fun.

My wife (who is also faculty in the Department) and I have two sons, and we have enjoyed getting to know our new environment over the past year. When I am not in the lab or classroom, I am most likely playing in the yard with my kids, watching/playing soccer, travelling, or exploring new museums and restaurants with the family.

Susan DelValle

Mentors Susan DelValle

I am a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Over the years, I have taught a full range of freshman chemistry classes, from Introductory Chemistry for non-science majors, to Advanced Chemistry for Health Professionals.

I became interested in science as a little kid, drawing clouds and building rockets. In high school, my interests evolved towards the health sciences. In my freshman chemistry class at the University of Florida, I began to value chemistry because it reflected all of my science classes, from physics to biology. When I study chemistry, I feel like I am putting together the pieces of a puzzle, solving new problems, and understanding the way the world works.

I received my PhD from the University of California, San Diego, studying DNA by using fluorescent markers to detect base-pair mismatches. At the University of Montreal, my post-doctoral work focused on peptide structure and function. Stepping out of the lab, I worked for the American Chemical Society’s journal, Organic Letters, for about ten years before returning to the freshman chemistry classroom as a professor.

As a first-gen college graduate turned professor, my goal is to help students find excitement and inspiration in their own studies. I also advise the ND Chemistry Club, where students explore the world of science, both inside and out of the classroom.

In my free time, I strum on a guitar or learn a new song on the piano. I love to be outside, either boating or hiking. Along my academic journey, I met and fell in love with my husband, Juan Del Valle (also a professor at Notre Dame). We have two young boys who busy us with trips to the library, their love of cars and racing, and their ridiculous, made-up games that keep us chasing and tickling them in the backyard.

Margaret Dobrowolska

Mentors Dobrowolska

I am the Rev. John Cardinal O’Hara, C.S.C. Professor in the Department of Physics, and also the director of the Science and Engineering Scholars program. I teach Introductory Physics for life sciences majors, usually taken by sophomores and juniors.

I was born in Poland, where I graduated from Warsaw University. I completed my Ph.D. in Condensed Matter Physics in the Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences. I came to the US more than 30 years ago, to Purdue University to carry out postdoctoral research. There, I met my husband Jacek and, instead of going back to Poland, we both moved to Notre Dame. My husband is also a physicist, and currently teaches Scientific Literacy, a course that he designed for non-science majors. As you may imagine, we talk a lot about physics at home, so our son Michael never wanted to be a physicist, and is graduating from medical school this May, instead.

I am an experimental condensed matter physicist exploring a class of new materials referred to as quantum matter that may be used in information processing in the form of a single integrated chip. With this in mind, our specific goal is to design, create and explore materials at the crossroads of semiconductor physics and magnetism. The techniques which I use for this purpose are electrical and optical measurements in the presence of magnetic field. This research has recently been recognized by the Division of Materials research of the National Science Foundation in the form of a generous Creativity Award.

In my spare time I like to play tennis and I like to run. I also like reading and watching TV shows about courtroom drama or anything medical, like ER. I also love to watch TED talks.

Mary Galvin

Mentors Galvin

I am the William K. Warren Foundation Dean of the College of Science and a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  My love of science and research developed during my time as a graduate student at MIT where I designed plastics that conduct electricity.  From there I went on to conduct research in this field of organic electronics at Bell Laboratories and the University of Delaware.  I have also been part of a technology leadership team in industry and been a Division Director at the National Science Foundation. I am a first generation college graduate who marvels at how much this career has enriched me intellectually and with travel and friendships around the world.  One of my goals is to enable others to have this experience.

As a mother of a 28-year-old son, who is a Captain in the Army, I am amazed at the wisdom and energy that comes with youth.  My favorite times as a Dean revolve around my opportunities to interact with students.  I gain more from their excitement and experiences than I could ever give back.

In my spare time I love to walk, read and snorkel, although I must admit South Bend isn’t ideal for the snorkeling. This means I take vacations in warm sunny spots on the ocean.

Holly Goodson

Mentors Goodson

I am a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and a concurrent professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.  My laboratory focuses on the cytoskeleton, the dynamic network of protein fibers and associated molecular motors that enable cells to move, divide, and organize themselves. In our studies, we use a range of approaches including cell biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, and computational modeling.  We also have some collaborative projects that involve developing biosensors and studying evolution.

In the classroom, I enjoy teaching Chemistry10122, “Biological Chemistry for Engineers and Physical Scientists.” The goal of this course is to introduce non-biologists to key biological ideas (e.g., what biological materials are, why they behave the way they behave, how energy and information are stored and transduced) while also conveying key concepts of chemistry (e.g., kinetics and thermodynamics).  The goal is to prepare students to apply these biological ideas in fields such as nanotechnology, material science, biomedical engineering, and sustainability. Other classes I teach include “Principles of Biochemistry” and “Practical Bioinformatics: Protein Structure and Function.”  In addition, I am part of the team of three faculty who teach the upper level undergraduate elective “Chemistry of Fermentation and Distillation.”

I am originally from rural Indiana (near Greencastle). I became interested in science because I enjoyed poking around in the creek that runs through our 55 acre farm, picking up rocks to look for fossils and to see what creatures were hiding underneath. This experience gave me a strong love for the living world, as well as a drive to study it (which we do through our work on the cytoskeleton) and protect it (as we are trying to do through our environmentally-focused biosensor work).

After attending a local public high school, I went to Princeton for my undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and Stanford for my PhD in Biochemistry. My post-doctoral work was in Cell Biology at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.  After all this traveling, I am thrilled to be back home in Indiana!  Because I went to a high school that lacked AP classes or calculus and had very weak science, I am very sympathetic to Notre Dame students from similar backgrounds. 

My husband Mike Hildreth (also Notre Dame faculty) and I have one son who attended Notre Dame and is now is graduate school in California. We enjoy traveling, music, and spending time outside. I also like to read, and particularly enjoy science fiction. As a hobby, I serve as consulting biochemist for the local South Bend Ironhand winery and participate in various aspects of winemaking.

Alan Hamlet

Mentors Hamlet

Having lived for most of my life in Seattle, WA and earned three degrees at the University of Washington, my family and I moved to South Bend in 2013. I am married to Carys Kresny, who is a theater professor and director at ND. We have two adult children, one just graduated from college and the other in the middle of college. We have two giant greyhounds: Giri and Rosie, who cause no end of trouble. I enjoy boating, camping, photography, and playing the guitar, and especially freighter canoeing in the coastal ocean and wilderness lakes.

At ND, I am an Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, where I teach undergraduate and graduate classes in surface and groundwater hydrology. I am a specialist in the integrated computer modeling of climate, hydrologic systems, water resources systems, and ecosystems. These activities include construction of historical hydrometeorological data sets, statistical and dynamic downscaling of climate model output, large- and small-scale hydrologic modeling of surface and groundwater systems, analysis of hydrologic extremes (floods, droughts), water resources modeling (simulation and optimization of reservoir operations), and ecosystem modeling of oceans, rivers, estuaries, wetlands, and lakes. Over the last 20 years I have been involved extensively in integrated modeling studies in North America (e.g. in the western, central, and southeastern U.S.) as well as at the global scale. Recent large-scale efforts include climate change impacts assessment for the entire Midwest and Great Lakes region, and scenarios supporting the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment.

Donny Hanjaya Putra

Mentors Putra

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Bioengineering Graduate Program, and a concurrent Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Notre Dame. I teach Introduction to Bioengineering and Biomaterials for undergraduate students, as well as Stem Cell Engineering class for graduate students. I also serve as a faculty mentor for the Building Bridges Mentoring Program.

I was born and grew up in Indonesia. I spent one year as an exchange student in Fort Wayne, Indiana, before entering the University of Notre Dame as a first year undergraduate student where I lived in Fisher Hall. I graduated from Notre Dame in 2007 with a bachelor degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. I then earned my Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and subsequently pursued a postdoctoral training in vascular surgery and translational medicine at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2017, I returned to Notre Dame as an Assistant Professor. At Notre Dame, my research team and I work at the interface of engineering and medicine, with a motivation on making stem cell and molecular therapies as an effective method to model and treat diseases.

My wife Editha Andriputri and I have one daughter, who is four years old. In our free time, we enjoy traveling, watching movies, and exploring new restaurants.

Tyvette Hilliard

Mentors Hilliard

I am a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. I was born and raised in Chicago. I knew at the tender age of 8 that I wanted to be in the medical field while watching The Cosby Show, one of my favorite television shows. It wasn't until I was an undergraduate student at Chicago State University that I was exposed to academic research. I knew I liked laboratory classes but it wasn't until I participated in a summer program entitled Training in Laboratory Techniques that I fell in love with working in the lab. I began my undergraduate research career as a synthetic chemist. As a double major, I earned a BS in Biology and a BS in Chemistry at Chicago State University. I attended the University of Illinois at Chicago where I earned my Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry. I then pursued postdoctoral training in the experimental therapeutics program at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. I extended my postdoctoral training in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry here at the University of Notre Dame before being promoted to Research Assistant Professor.

My research is focused on understanding how host factors, including diet, age and gender, regulate peritoneal metastasis. Using several rodent models, we explore the role of maternal diet on ovarian cancer metastasis in offspring, how host mesothelin expression regulates ovarian cancer metastasis and how age and gender impact malignant peritoneal mesothelioma development and progression.

I have routinely mentored undergraduate students in the lab demonstrating the process of planning experiments, data analysis, and communication of scientific data.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family in Chicago, attending concerts, reading and watching basketball.

Shaun Lee

Mentors Lee

I am the Monahan Family Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Growing up I had wide-ranging interests in both art and science, and I obtained a dual degree B.A. from the University of California Berkeley in Molecular Cell Biology and Architecture. I then received my Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology from Oregon Health Sciences University. Following my Ph.D. I completed my postdoctoral training at University of California San Diego in the Department of Pharmacology, and joined the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame as an Assistant Professor. I have taught classes in both medical microbiology and advanced bacterial pathogenesis, and I am excited to begin teaching a new Introductory Biology course in the Fall of 2018.

Our lab’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms behind bacterial disease and how we can develop new therapies to combat bacterial infections. We study how bacteria use a family of diverse peptide compounds known as bacteriocins, to produce disease in their hosts, as well how they are used by many bacteria to compete against other microorganisms in their environment. Our goal is ultimately aimed how our understanding of these bacteriocins produced by pathogenic microorganisms can guide the design of better antimicrobial compounds for therapeutic use. Our lab received an Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health to study these bacteriocins in more detail.

In my spare time, I play guitar in a rock band with my fellow Notre Dame faculty! We are known as the “Standard Deviants” and have played at many places around Notre Dame and South Bend.

David Leighton

Mentors Leighton

I am a Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. My primary research interests have been in the area of transport phenomena, specifically in the area of suspension mechanics, but pretty much any problem where you can connect mathematics to physical phenomena. I've been teaching transport to both undergraduates and graduate students for over three decades, as well running an experiment in junior and senior lab - so if you are planning to major in Chemical Engineering you will likely see me in class or lab!

I received a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton and my Masters and PhD from Stanford. After a post-doc at the University of Cambridge I came to ND, where I've been ever since.

I grew up in Arlington, Virginia (just across the river from Washington, DC) and got interested in science research through intensive participation in science fairs (about 20 by the time I graduated from high school). At Notre Dame I've been director of judging at the Northern Indiana Regional Science & Engineering Fair for the last decade or so - and I may be asking you to be a judge next spring! My primary activities outside of teaching and research are biking (about 3000+ miles/year) and taking our inflatable kayaks down the local rivers. I also fence a bit - although my wife is much more serious about it, as she manages the local fencing club and has made the US National Veteran's Team twice.

Neil Lobo

Mentors Lobo

I am a research professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.  My laboratory focuses on mosquito borne diseases like malaria in disease endemic countries. Though centered primarily on entomological drivers of transmission, my research integrates entomology with other key aspects of transmission including interventions present, epidemiology and human behavior, and weather. I have worked on transgenics and genomics, as well as vector species compositions and behaviors, vector population biology, control and elimination strategies, and human behavior – including large scale entomological and epidemiological trials examining multiple intervention paradigms, in multiple geographies across the world. My research examines these transmission systems towards informing decision making strategies and policies towards protecting the world’s most vulnerable people.

In the classroom, I teach in the Masters of Science in Global Health program (my class is open to undergraduates) where we try to understand the local aspects and drivers of global health issues.

I grew up in India, surrounded by nature and a large, mixed and very loud family, with multiple pets including dogs, parrots, snakes, iguanas and crocodiles (to name a few). I questioned everything – which often got me into trouble, and still does.   

My partner and I enjoy gardening, cooking, reading and traveling. I often try to replicate the many crazy-delicious foods I experience on my work-related travels across the world. Our pet squirrel prefers to just eat nuts. We are both close to our families and find this important. 

Agnieszka Marczak-Czajka 

Mentors Marczakczajka

I was born and educated in Poland. I graduated in Romance Philology and Psychology. Since 2012 I have been a certified life and business coach with numerous courses accomplished in Europe and in the U.S. At the beginning of my coaching career I was passionate about working on methods to increase self-esteem and self-value. With time, I developed a passion related to understanding the role of human emotions and ways to influence them.I’m a Software Development Manager at the Center for Research Computing. I work with two teams of developers and support putting their research into IT products like mobile apps, webpages, and surveys.

For the last two years, I have been exploring the use of visual signals generated by artificial neural networks in the stimulation of emotions and mental healing processes. This is a joint effort led be me, Dr. Michael Vilano (Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology) and Christopher Sweet (Associate Director of Cyberinfrastructure Development at the CRC), and my husband, Adam Czajka (Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering).

In my spare time I like to learn about traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda medicine’s approach to human emotions. My favorite ways to relax are gardening, flying gliders, sailing, hiking, and taking pictures. 

Leo McWilliams

Leomcwilliams 250

I am the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Direct the Minority Engineering Program at Notre Dame. I have had the opportunity to experience Notre Dame as an undergraduate student, graduate student, faculty member and in the college leadership. Prior to returning to Notre Dame as a faculty member, I enjoyed a very successful career in the aerospace industry for 16 years. These experiences have afforded me a rare perspective and credibility which I have willingly shared with students at Notre Dame.

I am the faculty advisor for a number of student organizations which include Tau Beta Pi, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers  at Notre Dame. As a faculty member, I have taught and am a member of the first year engineering course leadership since 2001 which has included teaching, content development and coordination. Much of the effort in first year engineering has focused on managing the transition of students from high school to college.

Ronald Metoyer


I am an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and work in the general area of Human-Computer Interaction with an emphasis on Information Visualization where I focus on designing visual representations of abstract data sources to aid users in understanding and analyzing their data.

I am originally from southern California where I completed my undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. I then obtained my Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology where I worked in the Graphics, Visualization and Usability Center.  In 2001, I joined the faculty at Oregon State University where I taught and conducted research for 14 years.   I joined the University of Notre Dame as an Associate Professor and Assistant Dean in the College of Engineering in 2015.

In my free time, I love to play basketball and golf and hang out with my family.  My wife, Felicia, and I live here in South Bend with our three children: Alexis (16), Reid (14) and Savannah (11).  They keep us busy with ballet, band, and gymnastics events throughout the year.

Michael Niemier

Mentors Niemier

I am an Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame. My research interests include designing, facilitating, benchmarking, and evaluating circuits and architectures based on emerging technologies. Currently, my research efforts are based on new transistor technologies, as well as devices based on alternative state variables such as spin. I am the recipient of an IBM Faculty Award, the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Notre Dame, as well as the Department of Computer Science and Engineering Teaching Award at the University of Notre Dame.

I grew up in South Bend, Indiana and I am a "triple Domer" — receiving my BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees from Notre Dame in 1998, 2000, and 2004 respectively. Before returning to Notre Dame, I was a faculty member at Georgia Tech. My wife is also an ND graduate. We have two daughters aged 7 and 9. I enjoy running, biking, swimming, hiking, and cooking.

Sylwia Ptasinska

Mentors Ptasinska

I am an Associate Professor of Physics and joined the University of Notre Dame in 2010 as a faculty member of the Radiation Laboratory and the Department of Physics. I completed my Master of Science degree in physics at the University of Maria Curie-Sklodowska in Lublin, Poland (my home country). I obtained my PhD in 2004 in Innsbruck, Austria and then I was a researcher in Canada (2006) and the United Kingdom (2007-2010).

In my research laboratory, my interdisciplinary team performs experimental investigations which address fundamental questions; however, our goal is to apply this research in areas such as energy, medicine, and industry. I enjoy teaching undergraduate courses from general physics to more specialized courses like biological physics. I received the Reverend Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2019 and was awarded the College of Science Teaching Initiative grant in 2014.

As a listener, I love listening about different cultures, traditions, languages and dialects, and in general about life experiences.

Paul Rumbach

Mentors Rumbach

I teach laboratory courses in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. If you major in AME and Notre Dame, you will have to take AME20216 – Lab I and AME20217 – Lab II from me during your sophomore and junior years. You might also consider taking my automation and controls lab during your senior year.

As an undergraduate, I majored in physics and mathematics at Indiana University in Bloomington. My real passion is designing and building practical devices, so I did a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Notre Dame. I spend a lot of time building equipment for my lab course and working on other projects in the machine shop.

When I am off campus, I enjoy growing plants in my garden, working on oil paintings, and fishing for steelhead trout in the St. Joe River.

Jennifer Schaefer

Mentors Schaefer

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. I was born and raised in rural upstate New York. In high school, I enjoyed math and science classes. I earned a B.S. in Chemistry and B.Ch.E. and M.Eng. in Chemical Engineering from Widener University in southeastern Pennsylvania. Then I moved back to upstate and earned a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at Cornell University, where the focus of my research was on materials and batteries. I moved with my family to Maryland for a postdoctoral research associateship position at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Material Science and Engineering Division. In the summer of 2015, I joined the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Notre Dame as an Assistant Professor. I teach Introduction to Chemical Engineering Analysis, the first core course in the chemical engineering curriculum, as well as Energy, Economics, and Environment, an elective course for seniors. I am the faculty advisor for the ND CBE Graduate and Postdoctoral Women’s Group, and I also participate in the mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students

My lab is focused on understanding ion transport and interfacial phenomena of relevance in devices such as batteries and fuel cells. Our goal is to contribute to the development of new materials and devices to enable a clean energy future.

My husband and I have three children. They keep us busy! We enjoy spending time outside.

Zach Schafer

Mentors Schafer

I am the Coleman Foundation Associate Professor of Cancer Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences. I run a laboratory focused on understanding how cancer cells survive during metastasis and also teach classes in tumor cell biology and advanced cell biology. Next year, I will begin teaching our revamped introductory biology course (entitled Biology I: Big Questions) to freshmen and sophomores.

I am originally from Springfield, Illinois and completed by undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at Notre Dame. I did my Ph.D. in Molecular Cancer Biology at Duke and then did postdoctoral research at Harvard. I came back to Notre Dame to join the faculty in 2009. My wife Veronica is also a Notre Dame graduate. We live in Granger with our 5 children: Noah (11), Ethan (9), Claire (6), Ava (4), and Simon (2 months).

I am a cell biologist who works on better understanding how cancer cells regulate cell death and cell metabolism pathways to enable their survival. We primarily utilize breast cancer cells and models for our research, but our work has implications for variety of distinct cancers. Our hope is that the information we learn from our work can be utilized for the development of novel therapeutics that specifically eliminate cancer cells.

I am a huge sports fan! Particularly Notre Dame football and Notre Dame basketball where I go to virtually every game. Having such a large family, I spend the majority of my free time with my kids where I am often found coaching/watching soccer games, fighting with light sabers, watching Harry Potter, playing with princesses, or attending dance recitals.

Michael Seelinger

Mentors Seelinger

I am the Dunn Family Teaching Professor of Engineering in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. I teach a variety of classes for undergraduate aerospace and mechanical engineering students such as Mechanics. I also teach in the Introduction to Engineering Systems program for first year students.

I was born on a naval base in Connecticut, though I grew up mostly in south Florida. I entered Notre Dame as a first year student in the Fall of 1990. I earned my B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Notre Dame. During my undergraduate years I lived in Cavanaugh Hall. My doctoral research focused on vision-guided robotics. Towards the end of my tenure as a graduate student I joined my friend (and fellow Triple-Domer), John-David Yoder in his start-up company, Yoder Software, Inc. (YSI). Together we worked on a variety of automation projects including working with NASA-JPL on the development of visual control software for the Mars Rovers program. Through my work in graduate school and YSI I am an inventor on 14 patents. In addition to my work with YSI, I was also on the faculty at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from 2002-2006. I returned to South Bend in 2006 and joined Notre Dame’s faculty in 2009.

I greatly enjoy being an educator. What I treasure most are the friendships I form with my students. In the classroom I try to teach students more than simply the technical content of the courses. Many students enjoy what they refer to as “Story Time with Professor Seelinger.” With some frequency I start class with a story intended to introduce a “life lesson” such as how to be a more efficient learner, how to get the most out of a summer internship, and how to build good professional relationships.

I have helped to run many educational and service programs. From 2011-2016 I served as the Head Advisor for the Midtown Summer Program which helps low-income urban youth in Chicago develop academic excellence, virtuous habits, and life skills. I have led several week-long service trips to impoverished areas of Cuba and Ecuador.

When I find free time I enjoy cycling and golf. I serve as the advisor for Notre Dame’s Cycling Club. I am an amateur photographer. I suppose my love of engineering also manifests itself in that I enjoy learning how to fix things.

Arnaldo Serrano

Mentors Serrano

I’m an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. My lab’s research focuses on the development and application of nonlinear optical methods for studying biological systems in real time. Recent advances include our development of a super-spatial-resolution approach to performing infrared imaging, and using two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy (2DIR) for probing chemical and dynamical changes to peptides and proteins in complex (and more physiologically relevant) environments. My teaching interests include aiding students in making connections between mathematical methods they may already know (e.g quadratic formula) to real world applications they may not have anticipated (e.g. quantum mechanical coupling of molecules). I try to introduce my students to modern research examples (published within the past several months) of these topics wherever possible. I also like to assign extra credit TV or movie viewing when applicable.

I was born and raised in Northern New Jersey to recent transplants from Puerto Rico. My interest in science grew out of a love for science fiction, positive feedback from excellent high-school Biology and Physics teachers, and from reading about giants of 20 century science such as Richard Feynman. I obtained my BA in Chemistry from Rutgers-Newark, my PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, and completed postdoctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my wife, playing guitar, and practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Antonio Simonetti


I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. I am a geologist that specializes in isotope geochemistry research, and thus I can combine my passions for both geology and chemistry! Essentially, you can think of me as a forensic scientist that investigates a variety of natural and manufactured materials to determine their source or origin. For example, my research group and I have been conducting forensic investigations of nuclear materials so as to enhance and improve methods for determining source attribution, in particular if these represent interdicted and illicit samples trafficked by bad actors.

I have taught several departmental undergraduate courses that include Planet Earth and Earth Materials. I also lead a 1-week geological field during Spring Break, where I take undergraduates to national parks, such as Death Valley (California) and Big Bend (Texas).

I’m originally from Montreal, Canada and obtained my BSc and MSc degrees at McGill University in Montreal (Quebec), and my PhD degree at Carleton University in Ottawa (Ontario). I then spent a few years in Germany conducting research as a NSERC postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Geochemistry in Mainz. This is where I met my lovely wife, Dr. Stefanie Simonetti (who is also faculty at ND), in 1996 and we have been together ever since. We have 2 sons and a daughter; the eldest son is in the last year of his business degree at IU, and our middle son is beginning his degree in computer science and engineering at ND this Fall semester! Our daughter will be staring high school in the fall.

In my spare time, I enjoy cooking my mom’s favorite Italian recipes, which the kids thoroughly enjoy! You’ll also find me working out in the Smith Gym at the Duncan Student Center on most days.

Emily Tsui

Mentors Tsui

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. I teach Chemistry Across the Periodic Table for chemistry and biochemistry majors. My group studies new reactions of sulfur in both bioinorganic and nanomaterials contexts.

I grew up in Maryland and went to college at MIT. I did my PhD in inorganic chemistry at Caltech followed by postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. I came to Notre Dame in 2017.

In my free time, I enjoy baking, hiking, escape rooms, and playing with my dog.