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Faculty Steering Committee


Pedro Alvarez, Ph.D.

Pedro Alvarez is the George R. Brown Professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University.  His research focuses on environmental applications and implications of biotechnology and nanotechnology, including bioremediation of contaminated aquifers, phytoremediation, fate and transport of hazardous substances, and nanomaterial-bacterial interactions and related disinfection approaches. His teaching interests include principles and applications of environmental engineering and biological treatment processes.  He received a B. Eng. Degree in Civil Engineering from McGill University and MS and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan.



Rachel Kimbro, Ph.D.

Rachel Kimbro is Associate Professor of Sociology and Associate Director Urban Health Program, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University. Following her doctoral work at Princeton, Dr. Kimbro was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where she received interdisciplinary training in population health. Dr. Kimbro's research focuses on racial and ethnic health disparities and family influences on health behaviors and outcomes. Current work examines family and neighborhood influences on child obesity, food insecurity, and physical activity in low-income and immigrant families. Her work is funded by the Foundation for Child Development, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Active Living Program, Mississippi State University's Southern Rural Development Center, the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, Rice's Baker Institute for Public Policy Health Economics Program, and the Faculty Initiatives Program at Rice. Dr. Kimbro earned her Ph.D. in Sociology at Princeton and her B.A. in Sociology and Policy Studies at Rice University.



Maria Oden, Ph.D.

Maria Oden is Professor in the Practice in the Department of Bioengineering, Director of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen and Co-Director of the Rice 360 Institute for Global Health. She coordinates the technical design efforts of undergraduates participating in the Beyond Traditional Borders initiative and Global Health Technologies minor. She has developed and taught a two-semester Bioengineering Capstone Design course sequence, mentoring close to 1000 students and more than 200 design teams. Her student teams have filed for more than 10 patents on their inventions. Professor Oden’s prior research and teaching experiences were in the area of orthopedic biomechanics and computational modeling as a senior research associate at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an instructor at Harvard Medical School, and a faculty member at the UT Health Science Center at Houston.  She earned a B.S. and Ph.D. from Tulane University.

Doug Schuler, Ph.D.

Doug Schuler is Associate Professor of Business and Public Policy at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research focuses on business-government relations, globalization of business, and social enterprise. He also has taught Senior Engineering Design over the past two years in Rice’s Brown School of Engineering, directing two teams of mechanical engineers. With colleagues in engineering, Dr. Schuler works on projects related to the development and implementation of small-scale solar thermal technologies that can be used for medical instrument sterilization in off-grid locations. He and his colleagues have taken one such device to the field in Haiti, have published a peer-reviewed article about the device, and have been invited by the government of Sierra Leone and two health services NGOs to deploy the device into a governmental hospital located in an off-grid district.  Dr. Schuler studied at the University of California, Berkeley (B.S., Business Administration) and the University of Minnesota (Ph.D., Strategic Management, School of Management).



Tomasz Tkaczyk, Ph.D.

Tomasz Tkaczyk specializes in the development of modern optical instruments that combine advanced technologies in optics, opto-mechanics, electronics and software, and bio-chemical materials for the early detection and treatment of diseases, such as cancer. Tkaczyk’s basic, applied, and translational research is leading to the development of new imaging technologies that are compact, robust, portable, inexpensive, and adaptable to mass production. The compact optical imaging systems are ideal for point-of-care diagnostics in various clinical settings around the world.


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