World of Wonder in Science Seminar Series

American Sign Language



Dr. Caroline Solomon

Dr. Caroline Solomon has been a faculty member at Gallaudet since 2000.  She also is an adjunct at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and serves on masters and doctoral committees for research on increasing participation of deaf and hard of hearing people in STEM and estuarine science especially in the areas of nutrient and microbial dynamics.

Her education background includes a B.A. in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard University, M.S. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D in Biological Oceanography from the University of Maryland.

Caroline Solomon | my.Gallaudet

Dr. Derek C. Braun

Dr. Derek C. Braun, Ph.D. is a professor at Gallaudet in the Department of Science, Technology, & Mathematics. He is director of the Biology Program and director of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory. As a graduate student at the University of Maryland, Dr. Braun was a NIH National Service Research Award (NRSA) fellow. His graduate research was on the genetics of lipooligosaccharide antigenic variation in the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, where he uncovered a novel mechanism for the regulation of gene expression in Neisseria. Dr. Braun then worked at the National Cancer Institute, NIH where he applied genetics tools to study signal transduction pathways important in cancer and pain. Dr. Braun was awarded a provisional patent for developing a fluorescent chimeric protein for high-throughput screening of potential anticancer drugs. His current research projects are in the population genetics of connexin deafness, cancer pharmacology, and improving outcomes for deaf students pursuing STEM careers.

Dr. Jess Cuculick

Dr. Jessica Cuculick is an Associate Professor who is Assistant Director of the NTID Research Center on Culture & Language; Director of NTID’s Deaf Health Laboratory, and Chair of the NTID Department of Liberal Studies. Research within the Laboratory focuses on preventative health, the deaf experience in the healthcare system, health knowledge, and health literacy in the deaf community.

Jessica Cuculick, Ed.D. | RISE (

Dr. Marie Coppola

Dr. Coppola studies language acquisition and language creation as well as the relationship between language and cognition, as revealed by D/deaf individuals who vary in their experience with language. She is particularly interested in how early exposure to language fosters typical development in social cognition and numerical cognition.

Marie Coppola, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences – Expert with University of Connecticut | ExpertFile

Dr. Matthew Dye

Dr. Matthew Dye is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Liberal Studies at RIT/NTID and Director of the SPaCE Center. He also has an affiliate appointment with the Department of Psychology at RIT. Matt was on the faculty in the Neuroscience Program and the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 6 years before joining RIT/NTID.

Matthew Dye | RIT

Dr. Peter C. Hauser

Dr. Peter C. Hauser is a professor and neuropsychologist who directs the NTID Center on Cognition & Language. He is the Director of the Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate program that prepares deaf and hard of hearing RIT graduate students for doctoral training in biomedical and behavioral science disciplines. In this presentation, Dr. Hauser will be describing his journey through high school, undergraduate studies, doctoral studies, and beyond – up to becoming a full professor. He will describe what the journey was like for him as a Deaf individual. He will also describe how he emerged as a researcher, the challenges he faced, and how his research topics evolved over time.

Dr. Regina Nuzzo

Dr. Regina Nuzzo was born with a hearing loss and got her first pair of hearing aids at age 6. She now has a cochlear implant, works as a journalist, and teaches statistics at Gallaudet University. Along the way, she got a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of South Florida and a Ph.D. in Statistics from Stanford University, did postdoctoral work in the Psychology Department at McGill University in Quebec, and studied science journalism at University of California at Santa Cruz. Her feature article for the journal Nature about statistical problems in scientific research won the American Statistical Association 2014 Excellence in Statistical Reporting Award and has been tweeted more than 11,000 times.

Dr. Shazia Siddiqi

Shazia Siddiqi, MD, MPH, is a postdoctoral fellow under the co-mentorship of Dr. Eva Pressman, MD, and Dr. Tim Dye, PhD, and in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Siddiqi earned Bachelor’s in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley, Master’s in Public Health from Dartmouth College, and Doctor of Medicine degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine. She has done research in breast cancer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, worked as community health educator/outreach specialist in Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program at Greater Los Angeles Agency of Deafness, and taught Medical Terminology at Gallaudet University. Dr. Siddiqi was the Executive Director of DAWN (formerly known as Deaf Abused Women’s Network) which provided advocacy services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking in the greater metropolitan area of Washington, DC for a few years before coming to Rochester. Her professional interests include global Deaf health, health disparities, preventive medicine, gender-based violence, trauma-informed care, and maternal and child health.

Dr. Tiffany Panko

Dr. Panko earned her MBA from RIT and her MD from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She is finishing up her last year as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Rochester Postdoc Program between the University of Rochester and RIT/NTID.

Her presentation will focus on her journey through the worlds of research, public health, and medicine, and how that lead her to become passionate about women’s health, reproductive justice, and deaf disparities.

Dr. Viet Le

Dr. Viet Le is an assistant professor and Biochemist in NTID’s Mathematics and Science Department. His research focuses on identifying the mechanism of cell death behind Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD is characterized by loss of dopamine-generating cells in the substantia ngira, a region of the midbrain. The causes of PD remain unknown and death of dopamine-generating cells in PD cannot be reversed. Therefore, identifying the molecular causes of the degeneration of dopamine-generating cells in PD has been a major objective for many years.

Dr. Wyatte C. Hall

Dr. Wyatte C. Hall, a postdoctoral fellow in the Clinical & Translational Science Institute at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Within the National Center for Deaf Health Research and the Public Health Sciences department, he is researching the relationship between early language experiences and lifespan health outcomes in deaf people with a focus on language deprivation and deaf health disparities. He received his undergraduate psychology degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2008 and his doctorate in clinical psychology from Gallaudet University in 2014. Wyatte believes in research advocacy and translating empirical evidence into practice to ensure the healthy development of deaf children.



Dr. Ann Dozier

Dr. Ann Dozier is a professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences. Dr. Dozier’s current research and fieldwork focus is program evaluation methods including integration of qualitative and quantitative research methods and on maternal child health (MCH) outcomes. The latter includes data analysis, evaluation and data driven program planning through work with a federally funded Healthy Start Project (reducing disparities in infant mortality/perinatal outcomes) and leading several federally funded breastfeeding program evaluations based in Monroe County. Her other MCH related work includes: faculty advisor to two distance learning programs to promote MCH data analytic capacity building among community based organizations and state health departments; oversight of the upstate New York Finger Lakes Region Perinatal Database containing extensive records on all births from 1998 to present from this nine county region; and a maternal micronutrient project in Tibet. In 2015 she received NYS Department of Health funding to establish a Maternal Infant Health Center of Excellence to serve over 40 programs across NYS that provide services to at risk women of childbearing age.

Dr. Dozier’s interest in program evaluation extends to assessing system level change. She served as the first evaluator for the National Center for Deaf Health Research (a CDC funded Prevention Research Center) and currently serves in a similar capacity for the URMC’s Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and Center for AIDS Research.

Research: Maternal Child Health; Perinatal outcomes; Breastfeeding Program Evaluation; Survey design and development; Global Health; Clinical Research Recruitment; Community Based Participatory Research


Ann M. Dozier, Ph.D. – University of Rochester Medical Center

Dr. Robert Pollard

Dr. Robert Pollard comes to NTID from University of Rochester’s School of Medicine where he is a professor of psychiatry and serves as founder and director of the Department of Psychiatry’s Deaf Wellness Center. His work has been recognized with many national and international awards and honors, and he has been a principal investigator on more than 50 federal, foundation, regional and local grants, totaling more than $6 million. He has published more than 90 articles and book chapters and has produced 15 films in American Sign Language.


Pollard’s research interests include psychopathology, psychological testing, sign language interpreting, forensic evaluation, intimate partner violence, and public health issues affecting the deaf population. He is active in several national organizations, including the American Psychological Association where he founded a special interest section on deafness.

Dr. Craig Morrell

Dr. Craig Morrell earned his undergraduate degree from Brown University in 1995. He then graduated from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2000 before beginning a comparative pathology fellowship at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. While at Hopkins Dr. Morrell concurrently completed a PhD in the laboratory of Dr. Charles Lowenstein in 2005 where he investigated molecular mechanisms of nitric oxide inhibition of platelet degranulation and received a K08 award. Dr. Morrell then established his own independent laboratory in the Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology at Hopkins from 2005-2009, before moving to the University of Rochester’s Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute. His current research interests include mechanisms of glutamate regulation of platelet activation and how platelets modulate and drive the immune response using transplant rejection and cerebral malaria models.

Research: Platelets have two major functions: homeostasis/thrombosis and an immune regulatory function. In our lab we actively study both important platelet functions. Our lab is also actively studying the role of platelets in cerebral malaria. Cerebral malaria is a complication of severe malaria, primarily in children, that has a vascular inflammation based pathogenesis. Using the mouse model we have established an important role for platelets and the platelet derived chemokine Platelet Factor 4 (PF4/CXCL4) in the development of experimental cerebral malaria. We are now dissecting the molecular signaling events between platelets and monocytes that promote the cerebral immune response. We are also exploring the role of platelets in stimulating the acute phase response very early in infection and how this may assist in clearing infected red blood cells.

Dr. Edith Lord

Dr. Edith Lord is a Professor of Microbiology & Immunology and Oncology. Dr. Lord received her BA degree in microbiology from the University of Kansas in 1970 and a Ph.D degree in immunology from the University of California at San Diego in 1975. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at San Francisco. As a faculty member since 1976, Dr. Lord has demonstrated excellence as a scientist and dedication to the training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

In her research, Dr. Lord focuses on the immune responses that can control tumor development and how immune cells function within the unique microenvironment of growing tumors. She has published, as author and co-author, more than 130 scientific articles and continues her passion for research today.

Dr. Jeremy Jamieson

Dr. Jeremy Jamieson’s research focuses on social stress and decision making, emotion regulation, and risk and uncertainty. The primary focus of Dr. Jamieson’s work seeks to understand how stress impacts decisions, emotions, and performance. He is particularly interested in using physiological indices of bodily and mental states to delve into the mechanisms underlying the effects of stress on downstream outcomes. Dr. Jamieson is also interested in studying emotion regulation. His research in this area demonstrates that altering appraisals of stress and anxiety can go a long ways towards improving physiological and cognitive outcomes.

Faculty : Department of Psychology : University of Rochester

Dr. Lea Michele

Dr. Lea Vacca Michel, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the School of Chemistry and Materials Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Currently, her work is focused on dual oriented bacterial lipoproteins and crystallin proteins, which are localized in the eye lens. Dr. Michel is the Chair of the Women in Science program at RIT, Director of the Rochester Project SEED program, and Director of the Research Strand for the HHMI-funded Inclusive Excellence program at RIT. She strives to increase the participation of women and underrepresented minorities (including those who are deaf and hard-of-hearing) in science and math. Dr. Michel was recently featured in an article that appeared in Nature (Nature 558, 149-151 (2018).

Lea Michel | RIT

Dr. Martin Zand

Dr. Martin Zand is Professor of Medicine and Medical Humanities in the Division of Nephrology. He is also Co-Director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Co-Director of The Center for Leading Innovation and Collaboration and Director of the Rochester Center for Health Informatics. His clinical practice is focused on the care of kidney transplant patients. His approach emphasizes holistic care of the whole person, mind and body. He brings to his practice of medicine an extensive experience in cutting edge clinical immunology, and a practical approach to wellness emphasizing exercise, diet, stress-reduction, and mindfulness. He has an active research program in the biology of antibody producing cells and their role in vaccine responses, transplant rejection, and health informatics.

Dr. Zand has a clinical practice in Transplant Nephrology and Transplant Medicine, and sees patients with kidney and other solid organ transplants. He is an internationally recognized expert in B cell immunobiology in solid organ transplantation. He directs an active NIH funded research program in B cell immunobiology, vaccine biology, and computational modeling of immune responses. He leads the Rochester Center for Health Informatics, which is focused on using advanced data science methods to analyze population health data to create a “living healthcare laboratory” which improves community health and healthcare delivery.

Dr. Zand’s research is focused in two areas: Understanding how B cells respond to vaccines and organ transplants to produce antibodies, and using graph theory to understand how we can understand and improve population health and healthcare delivery. His research groups use a similar core set of analytic methods in both areas, including high dimensional clustering methods, graph theory, differential equation and stochastic branching process modeling.

Martin S. Zand, M.D., Ph.D. – University of Rochester Medical Center

Dr. PJ Simpson-Haidaris

Dr. PJ Simpson-Haidaris’  major academic commitment is to serve as mentor to undergraduate, graduate, medical and resident fellows wishing to pursue academic research with the goal of fostering their desires to contribute to the scholarship and knowledge of the biomedical research disciplines and health professions. She has teaching commitments in both Pathology and Microbiology & Immunology at the graduate student level at the University of Rochester. Furthermore, her commitment to mentored-training is evidenced by her service since 2001 as a reviewer on the NHLBI Special Emphasis panels for mentored training awards including the K08, K22, K23, K24, K25 and K99/R00 award mechanisms, and since 2005 as a Scientist Reviewer for Department of Defense and Komen Foundation pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training grant awards.

Dr. Simpson-Haidaris’ research program at the University of Rochester includes both independent investigations and collaborative interactions with faculty members of the Departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology & Immunology on the pathogenic mechanisms of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and the host inflammatory response and wound repair in response to Photodynamic therapy of Candida infections, and in the Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry & Biophysics on the interactions of fibrinogen and fibrin at the vessel wall and the extracellular matrix. Additional collaborations with colleagues in the Cancer Center and Bioengineering are based on the role of fibrinogen in breast and prostate cancer, in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology and the Cardiovascular Research Institute on studies examining cellular responses to heparin binding growth factors, fibrinogen, fibronectin and heparan sulfate proteoglycans in the extracellular matrix, in the Center for Oral Biology on the pathogenesis of infective endocarditis caused by Streptococcus mutans invasion of human coronary artery endothelial cells, and in the Infectious Disease Division on the the direct and indirect effects of Dengue virus infection of the vascular endothelium and the molecular pathways that may contribute to the vascular leakage syndrome associated with dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome.

Patricia J. Simpson-Haidaris, Ph.D. – University of Rochester Medical Center

Sarah Latchney

Sarah Latchney is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She works in Dr. Martha Susiarjo’s laboratory, an assistant professor and member of the Environmental Health Sciences Center. With scientific training in environmental toxicology, Sarah is particularly interested in environmental influences on health and disease. Sarah also participates in mentored teaching opportunities at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Institute of Technology where she teaches courses in toxicology and scientific communications.

Sarah Latchney – Current Scholars – Rochester Partnership for Biomedical Research and Academic Career Training of Deaf Postdoctoral Scholars – University of Rochester Medical Center

Dr. Steve Barnett

Dr. Steve Barnett, MD, was born in Brooklyn, grew up in New Jersey, went to college in Philadelphia, attended medical school in New Jersey and did his residency in Wisconsin. He came to Rochester for the family systems medicine fellowship and stayed in the area doing research, locum tenens family medicine and rural emergency department work. He joined the UR Department of Family Medicine faculty in 2002 in the research division. Dr. Barnett’s primary academic focus is health and healthcare research with populations of Deaf American Sign Language (ASL) users and people with hearing loss, their families and communities. Dr. Barnett is the Director of the CDC-funded Rochester Prevention Research Center: National Center for Deaf Health Research, and is the Program Director at UR for the NIH-funded Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate program. He was also medical director (2002-2015) of the award-winning Strong Connections, the University of Rochester Medical Center’s pioneering Telehealth Sign Language Interpreter Services Program.

Steven L. Barnett, M.D. – University of Rochester Medical Center