Fisher Endowed Chairs

Fisher Endowed Chairs are highly promising researchers in the early stages of their teaching and research careers, who exemplify distinction in their field, and who are committed to the engagement of undergraduate students in their research work. The appointment is normally for a three-year period.  Meet the current Fisher Endowed Chairs. 

herve nganguia
Dr, Hervè Nganguia

Dr. Hervé Nganguia, 2022–2025

Assistant Professor Hervé Nganguia joined the faculty of the Department of Mathematics in August, 2021. Dr. Nganguia holds a B.S. in Engineering Sciences from CUNY College of Staten Island, an M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University, an M.S. in Applied Mathematics from San Diego State University, and a Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Towson University, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Santa Clara University and an assistant professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Nganguia’s research utilizes neural networks – computational algorithms that seek to simulate the activity of a brain. These algorithms are used in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. Dr. Nganguia’s current focus using this approach is on modeling the behavior of simply viscous and shear-thinning fluids, and he has recently been awarded a major National Science Foundation grant entitled, “Mathematical modeling of targeted drug delivery: Unifying Lighthill and Taylor theories.”

Dr. Nganguia teaches calculus, linear algebra, mathematical models, and experimental methods. He also serves on the organizing committee for the undergraduate research conference at Towson University. Dr. Nganguia will use the endowed chair funds and his NSF funds to establish the Mathematical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, with a goal of involving as many underrepresented undergraduate students in the project as possible.

khanh-hoa tran-ba
Dr. Hhanh-Hoa Tran-Ba

Dr. Khanh-Hoa Tran-Ba, 2022–2025

Assistant Professor Khanh-Hoa Tran-Ba joined the Department of Chemistry in 2018. He earned his B.S. degree in Material Sciences from Justus-Liebig University, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Kansas State University. Prior to joining Towson University Dr. Tran-Ba was a post-doctoral researcher at Columbia University.

Dr. Tran-Ba conducts laboratory experiments to investigate molecular and particle dynamics at various liquid-solid interfaces and within complex soft matter systems like hydrogels and polymers. He has built a wide-field fluorescence microscope to carry out single-molecule tracking measurements here at Towson University, and his studies may be applied, for example, to the behavior of surfactants in oil-water-solid systems or to drug delivery and release. His research on the oil-water interface has received grant support from the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society.

Dr. Tran-Ba teaches general chemistry and physical chemistry, and has mentored 17 undergraduate students since joining TU. The Fisher endowment will be used to generate data necessary for a major National Science Foundation grant proposal and will support additional undergraduate student researchers.

michelle casey
Dr. Michele Casey

Dr. Michelle M. Casey, 2021–2024

Assistant Professor Michelle M. Casey joined the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences in 2019. She earned her B.S. degree in Geology with Honors from Macalester College, her M.S. degree in Geosciences from Virginia Tech, and her Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics from Yale University. Prior to joining Towson University Dr. Casey was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Kansas, and then an Assistant Professor at Murray State University in Kentucky.

Dr. Casey studies ecological responses to environmental disturbances, utilizing biogeochemical, stable isotopic, and other ecosystem data. Specifically, she and her students are studying the predation behaviors of certain marine snails, both today and in the fossil record. The research involves field work to collect live snails and laboratory feeding behavior studies, with the aim of understanding predation, cannibalism, and omnivory (deriving food from multiple trophic levels) within the living and fossil communities.

Dr. Casey teaches physical geology, historical geology, environmental geology, and paleoecology. She has mentored three undergraduate students at Towson and will engage four to six more with the Fisher Chair award. Dr. Casey demonstrates a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and recently completed the extensive National Science Foundation-sponsored Unlearning Racism in Geoscience curriculum.

weixian liao
Dr. Weixian Liao

Dr. Weixian Liao, 2021–2024

Assistant Professor Weixian Liao joined the faculty of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences in August 2018.  Dr. Liao holds a B.S. in Information Engineering from Xidian University, China; a M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Mississippi State University; and a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Case Western Reserve University.  His current research involves security and optimization in distributed machine learning, cyber physical systems, and wireless networks.

Dr. Liao has published eight conference papers, eight journal articles, and two book chapters since joining Towson University.  His research on a detection framework for unforeseen cyber attacks has received extramural support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Dr. Liao teaches courses in computer science, data mining, and big data analytics. Since joining TU he has involved more than 30 undergraduates, 10 M.S. students, and three doctoral students in his research team.

jing tian
Dr. Jing Tian

Dr. Jing Tian, 2021–2024

Dr. Jing Tian, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, joined the faculty of the Department of Mathematics in August 2017.  Prior to joining Towson, she was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of South Florida.  She earned a B.S. in Mathematics from the China University of Mining and Technology, a M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Texas - Pan American, and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the Texas A&M University.  Her research is in the theoretical analysis of partial differential equations and numerical analysis, including computational fluid dynamics and machine learning.  These topics provide many opportunities for research mentoring with undergraduate students in applied mathematics.

Since joining Towson University Dr. Tian has published nine journal articles and two conference papers.  She has made 11 conference or seminar presentations and has organized three sessions at international conferences.

Dr. Tian has taught calculus, differential equations, partial differential equations, real analysis, and asymptotic and perturbation analysis.  She was a 2018-2019 Diversity & Inclusion Faculty Fellow with a focus on mentoring women in mathematics.

kimberly corum
Dr. Kimberly Corum

Dr. Kimberly Corum, 2020–2023

Assistant Professor Kimberly Corum joined the faculty of the Department of Mathematics in 2017 after earning her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Virginia.  She holds a B.A. degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia, and a Master of Arts in Teaching (Mathematics) from Bard College.  Her research aims to understand and advance students’ mathematical thinking and to support the preparation of mathematics teachers.  Specifically, she plans to help future teachers develop their technological pedagogical content knowledge of digital resources such as makerspaces, successfully integrate these resources into their instruction, and ultimately help transform mathematics education.

Dr. Corum’s current research agenda focuses on two main questions: (1) how can makerspaces be utilized to support the teaching and learning of mathematics?, and
(2) how do we best prepare teachers to be able to integrate makerspaces into their classroom instruction?  She and her colleagues Diana Cheng, Kristin Frank and Sandy Spitzer established the Making and Modeling Lab in 7800 York, which provides students and faculty with access to 3D printers, robotics kits, circuitry tools, and craft materials.  She is also a Co-PI on an NSF-funded grant (Transforming Mathematics Teaching Through Making, Modeling, and Mentoring) which supports the redesign of an existing course offering (MATH 626: Technology in School Mathematics Teaching and Learning) to integrate emerging technologies commonly found in makerspaces (e.g., paper circuitry, 3D fabrication, coding, robotics, and Arduino).

Dr. Corum has published several peer-reviewed manuscripts and conference proceedings related to these questions, and has successfully engaged at least six students in these publications.  In 2018, she was accepted into the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators’ STaR (Service, Teaching, and Research) Fellows program – a nationwide program that accepted only 30 fellows into its 2018-2019 cohort.

Dr. Corum serves as the faculty co-advisor to the Mathematics Education Club, and she tutors mathematics in the Goucher College Prison Education Partnership.

anne estes
Dr. Anne Estes

Dr. Anne Estes, 2020–2023

Assistant Professor Anne Estes joined the Department of Biological Sciences in 2017. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Auburn University, and her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona.  Prior to joining Towson University Dr. Estes was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Institute for Genome Science, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Dr. Estes’ recent research addresses differences between the microbiomes of larval and adult dung beetles – insects that provide an important ecosystem service by breaking down and recycling animal waste.  Specifically, her research investigates whether the insect’s microbiome harbors antibiotic resistant microorganisms – a question that could have significant public health implications.

Dr. Estes has mentored at least six Towson University undergraduate students, providing them numerous opportunities to co-publish and co-present their research at professional meetings.  She is also very active in outreach activities, and maintains a Twitter account, @MostlyMicrobes, with more than 3,000 followers.

Previous Fisher Endowed Chairs are:

Dr. Lin Deng, 2019–2022
Dr. Jacqueline M. Doyle, 2019–2022
Dr. Lindsey-Kay Lauderdale, 2019–2022
Dr. Melike Kara, Department of Mathematics, 2018 – 2021
Dr. Wendy Nelson,  Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences,  2018 – 2021
Dr. Christopher Cornwell, Department of Mathematics, 2017 – 2020
Dr. Mary Davadas, Department of Chemistry, 2017 – 2020
Dr. Nathan McNew, Department of Mathematics, 2016 – 2019
Dr. Nam NguyenDepartment of Computer & Information Sciences, 2016 – 2019
Dr. Keith Reber, Department of Chemistry, 2016 – 2019
Dr. John Sivey, Department of Chemistry,  2015 – 2018
Dr. Elana Ehrlich, Department of Biological Sciences,  2014 – 2017
Dr. Petra Tsuji, Department of Biological Sciences,  2013 – 2016
Dr. Joel Moore, Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences,  2013 – 2016
Dr. Matthew Hemm, Department of Biological Sciences,  2011 – 2014
Dr. Meghan May, Department of Biological Sciences,  2012 – 2013
Dr. Elizabeth Duncan-Vaidya, Department of Biological Sciences,  2010 – 2011
Dr. Timothy Brunker, Department of Chemistry,  2009 – 2012
Dr. Jennifer Scott, Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences,  2007 – 2010
Dr. Joy Watts, Department of Biological Sciences,  2006 – 2009