Dr. David Schneider

Dr. David Schneider

Dr. David Schneider serves as Principle Investigator and director of UAB MERIT. Dr. Schneider earned his BS in microbiology and genetics from the University of Georgia and his Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Wisconsin. After postdoctoral training at the University of California-Irvine, he moved to Alabama and started his lab in the Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Department at UAB in 2007. His research focuses on the mechanisms by which RNA polymerase activity is controlled in nature and during disease progression. In addition to his roles as mentor and MERIT director, Dr. Schneider is also a Senior Associate Dean for Graduate and International Education. He serves as director of the Graduate Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program and co-director of the NIGMS supported UAB PREP post-baccalaureate program.

Dr. Brett Noerager

Dr. Brett Noerager

Dr. Brett Noerager serves as the Co-Director for Institutional Liaison at the University of Montevallo. Dr. Noerager received his B.S. in animal physiology and neuroscience from UCLA in 1993 and his Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics from the UAB in 2002. His dissertation was directed at developing a novel treatment for the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis. Dr. Noerager teaches anatomy, physiology introductory biology and principles of biology. He maintains a collaborative research program with the UAB Dept of Medicine investigating mechanisms of lung disease.

Dr. Kenneth LaiHing

Dr. Kenneth LaiHing

Dr. Kenneth LaiHing serves as the Co-Director for Institutional Liaison at Oakwood University. Dr. LaiHing earned his BS in Chemistry at City University of New York, a MS in Chemistry from Long Island University, and his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Georgia. He currently serves as Dean of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Chemistry; he has been at Oakwood University since 1982.

Dr. Farah Lubin

Dr. Farah Lubin

Dr. Farah Lubin has served as Co-Director for Research Training since Spring 2017. Dr. Lubin received her undergraduate degree from Alabama State University and her Ph.D. in Cell/Molecular Biology and Immunology from Binghamton University. Dr. Lubin completed two postdoctoral fellowships in Molecular Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and in the Department of Neurobiology at UAB. At UAB, Dr. Lubin is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology; Director of the NINDS-funded Neuroscience Roadmap Scholar Program; Associate Scientist in the Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging; Associate Scientist in the Comprehensive Neuroscience Center; and MERIT Research Mentor. Her research focuses on investigating the molecular and genetic basis of learning, memory and its disorders.

Dr. Scott Snyder

Dr. Scott Snyder

Dr. Scott Snyder serves as Evaluator of the MERIT Program. Dr. Snyder received his PhD in Child Development from Purdue University in 1985. Dr. Snyder was appointed Assistant Professor of educational measurement and research in the School of Education at UAB; he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1994. In 2000, Dr. Snyder was appointed Director of the UAB Center for Educational Accountability (CEA), which promotes the improvement of educational outcomes of students, schools, and agencies through responsive and valid data based decisions focused on reform. He previously served as Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education for the UAB School of Education, Interim Associate Dean for Research for the College of Arts and Sciences at UAB and Interim Director of the Ethics Center at UAB.

Dr. Tracey Wilson

Dr. Tracey Wilson

Dr. Tracey Wilson serves as the Co-Director for Institutional Liaison at Lawson State. Dr. Wilson holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Fisk University and a PhD in Physiology from Meharry Medical College; she completed her postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Wilson began her tenure at Lawson State in 2000 and currently serves as Chair of the Department of Natural Sciences. In this role, Dr. Wilson is directly responsible for ensuring the success and overall quality and delivery of the departmental curriculum, which leads to associate degrees in several biology-related areas, including but not limited to general biology, biology education, biomedical engineering, and biomedical science. In addition, Dr. Wilson serves as the principal investigator on a NASA Science and Engineering Grant and co-PI on an NIGMS-funded R25 Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program; both of these funding mechanisms focus on STEM education for underrepresented groups.

Dr. Stefanie Varghese

Dr. Stefanie Varghese

Dr. Stefanie Varghese has served as the Co-Director for Teaching Instruction since 2022. Dr. Varghese received her PhD in Vision Sciences from UAB in 2013; she also earned her MBA from UAB in 2021 while serving as Program Manager of the UAB Vision Sciences Graduate Program. In 2022, she joined the Office of Professional Studies and Experiential Learning in the UAB Graduate School as the Director of the UAB CIRTL Program; she also directs the Research Communication Certificate program. As director of this higher education teaching certificate program, she has implemented a curriculum redesign to highlight the process of learning and how that relates to common teaching methods that are rooted in pedagogy, and how to assess that learning is occurring to ultimately provide scholars the training and teaching experience needed to be an effective academician.

Internal Advisory Board

Members of the MERIT Program Internal Advisory Committee (IAC) are full-time faculty and/or administrators at UAB; they were invited to serve based upon their direct experiences in facilitating departmental and/or institutionaltraining programs that include underrepresentedgroups. Because of their leadership positions within the MERIT Program, the Program Director, the Co-Directors for Research and Teaching Instruction, the Co-Directors for Institutional Liaison with the Partner Institutions, and the Program Evaluator are de facto members of the IAC.

Dr. Steven Austad               Professor and former Chair of Biology (returning)

Dr. Paulette Dilworth           Vice President for Diversity Equity and Inclusion (returning)

Dr. Richard Dluhy                Professorand Chair of Chemistry (returning)

Dr. Mona Fouad                  Professor of Medicine; Co-Director of Benjamin-Carver Scientists Program

Dr. Marla Hertz                   Associate Professor of Libraries; MERIT Alumnae (’14) (new)

Dr. David Schneider            Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics; Director, UAB PREP

Dr. Michael Wyss                Professor of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Bio; Director, UAB BCC

External Advisory Board

Members of the External Advisory Committee (EAC) are faculty and/or administrators at other R1 institutions comparable to UAB. They were invited to serve based on their experiences directing, reviewing and/or participating in NIH IRACDA Programs.

Dr. Tabitha Hardy           AssVice Chancellor for GradEd at IUPUI; IRACDA-MERIT Alumnae(’13)

Dr. Andrea Morris           AssDean at The Rockefeller Univ; IRACDA-FIRST (Emory) Alumnae (’03)

Dr. James Skeath            Professor of Genetics at Washington University (St. Louis, MO)