New Science Professors Include Homegrown Biochemist, Physicist

Dr. Bruce Novak

Dr. Bruce Novak

Two UT Dallas alumni recently joined the ranks of the University’s tenure-track faculty in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Dr. Sheel Dodani, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received a BS in chemistry from UT Dallas in 2007. She earned her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology. 

Dr. Russell Stoneback, who earned his bachelor’s degree from UT Austin, completed graduate studies at UT Dallas, earning master’s and doctoral degrees in physics in 2006 and 2009, respectively. He was a research scientist at the William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences before joining the center and the physics faculty as an assistant professor. 

“It’s a testament to our faculty and our campus resources that students who trained here now want to be a part of the faculty, conduct research and contribute to the education of a new generation of students,” said Dr. Bruce Novak, dean of the school and Distinguished Chair in Natural Sciences and Mathematics. 

The School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics comprises six departments: biological scienceschemistry and biochemistry, geosciencesmathematical sciencesphysics, and science and math education.  

The biology and chemistry departments recently moved into the new Bioengineering and Sciences Building, occupying administrative suites, offices and laboratories on the first, second and third floors. Labs and faculty from neuroscience and bioengineering are also in the building. 

“This is a remarkable facility, specifically designed for encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration,” Novak said. “The building only recently opened and already new research partnerships are forming. It’s an exciting time for our faculty, postdocs and students.” 


New Tenure-Track Faculty

Dr. Sheel Dodani

Dr. Sheel Dodani

Dr. Sheel Dodani, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry

Previously: postdoctoral fellow, California Institute of Technology

Research interests: bioinorganic chemistry, protein engineering

Quote: “Anions such as chloride and iodide, like cations, are known to be essential in biology, but we lack a molecular picture into the how, when, where and why of what anions are actually doing in living systems. My research team will develop molecular technologies based on small molecules and proteins to gain insights into how anions are used to control biological function and can even contribute to diseased states, with the ultimate goal of developing anion-targeted diagnostics and therapeutics. Part of the reason I’m excited to join the UT Dallas faculty is that I can go one floor up (in the Bioengineering and Sciences Building) and meet a biochemist, on other floors interact with neurobiologists and bioengineers. I’ve already had several collaborative meetings with colleagues to develop and explore new research projects. I think that’s a unique advantage of UTD’s research environment.” 

Dr. Russell Stoneback

Dr. Russell Stoneback

Dr. Russell Stoneback, assistant professor of physics, William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences

Previously: research scientist, UT Dallas

Research interests: space weather, ionospheric electrodynamics and irregularities, magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, satellite hardware and software

Quote: “I’m interested in investigating space weather and the dynamics of Earth’s magnetosphere and ionosphere. Influences from everyday weather in our lower atmosphere actually propagate up to impact with the ionosphere, and phenomena from space, such as the sun’s solar wind, filter down to the ionosphere. In effect, the ionosphere is the intersection of inputs from everywhere, and because it’s so complicated, many subdisciplines and high-level physics come together, and I like having my hands in different areas.”


New Faculty Series

News Center is publishing profiles of tenured and tenure-track professors who have recently joined the University. The following school profiles have been published:

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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