Feedback and Response

3.7.1  The institution employs competent faculty members qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the institution. When determining acceptable qualifications of its faculty, an institution gives primary consideration to the highest earned degree in the discipline. The institution also considers competence, effectiveness, and capacity, including, as appropriate, undergraduate and graduate degrees, related work experiences in the field, professional licensure and certifications, honors and awards, continuous documented excellence in teaching, or other demonstrated competencies and achievements that contribute to effective teaching and student learning outcomes. For all cases, the institution is responsible for justifying and documenting the qualifications of its faculty.  (Faculty competence)

Findings of the Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee

The institution has aligned its review of faculty teaching qualifications with SACSCOC Faculty Credentials Guidelines. Their hiring policy practices emphasize the recruitment of academically qualified faculty throughout teaching ranks. The institution did not provide the “modified” roster cited in the narrative. The narrative states that the modified roster would include a designation next to each instructor of record (Clearly Meets Credential Guidelines, Justified with Other Relevant Qualifications, Justified After Corrective Action Was Taken to Reassign, Corrective Action Was Taken to Terminate Employment); these designations are not included. If present these designations might have helped clarify questions that arose during the review of the roster. In total, 27 instructors of record did not clearly comply with the university’s faculty teaching qualifications policy; in most cases due to insufficient evidence provided in the roster (see Request for Justifying and Documenting Qualifications of Faculty.)

Response and Actions Taken

Credentials Resolution for Faculty


College of Business Administration

Faculty – Hesham Abdel-Rahman 

Courses in question - ECON 1203 Principles of Microeconomics, QMBE 6280 Math in Financial Economics, ECON 6203 Microeconomic Theory

Comment - Unclear how a Ph.D. in Regional Science qualifies the faculty member to teach economics courses



Professor Abdel-Rahman’s Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania is in Regional Science, but his dissertation is pure Economics. His area of expertise is Urban and Regional Economics. All of his many publications are in Economics journals.   


Faculty - W. Michael Easley

Courses in question - QMBE 2786 Intermediate Business & Economics Statistics, QMBE4400 Statistics for Managers

Comment - Only qualifying degree listed is MS in Mathematics. Business/economics background?



M.S. in Mathematics

Mr. Easley teaches exclusively the subject of Statistics: QMBE 2786, 2787 and 4400. Our statistics sequence for undergraduate business majors is composed of three courses: MATH 2785, QMBE 2786 and QMBE 2787. The first two courses use the same text with the first half of the course taught in the Math Department and the second half by the Economics and Finance Department. The third course in the sequence is a 1 hour lab teaching students how to use Excel to do statistical problems. 

A Master of Science degree in Math is an appropriate background for teaching a math course that has business applications.  


Faculty - Harsha E. Chacko

Course in questions - HRT 4000 Policy Issues Tourism & Hospitality, HRT 4319 Wines of the World, HRT 6203 Marketing Applications for Hospitality & Tourism Industry, HRT 6207 Work Experience in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry, HRT 6301 Hospitality & Tourism Industry Strategic Management, HRT 6491 Independent Study In Hospitality & Tourism, HRT 6495 Special Topics in Hospitality & Tourism

Comment - Does faculty member have an MS in the discipline? Other experience scholarly/activity in the field?



Dr. Chacko has completed both Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration.

Terminal Degree - when he began his Ph.D. in 1983 there was only one Ph.D. program in Hospitality Management in the United States - at Cornell University.  At that time most faculty in programs in Hospitality Management had terminal degrees in other fields.

Since the completion of his Ph.D., he has also completed two certifications. The first is the Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) from the American Hotel and Lodging Association and the second is the Certified Specialist of Wine CSW) from the Society of Wine Educators. He also received the Lauded Professor of the Year award from the Society of Wine Educators in 2008.


Dr. Chacko has authored 20 refereed publications in hospitality and tourism journals, along with three book chapters.  In addition, he was the coauthor of an 825 page textbook on hospitality marketing.

He has over 30 paper presentations at major hospitality and tourism industry conferences and received the best paper award three times at the CHRIE conference which is the premier conference for educators in his field.

Professional Experience

Dr. Chacko has six years of fulltime hospitality industry experience at hotels in India, Egypt, the United States, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 


Faculty – Kim Williams

Courses in question - HRT 2000 Introduction to Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Administration, HRT 2020 Hotel Operations, HRT 3017 Service Organization Management in Hospitality, HRT 3295 Independent Study in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Administration, HRT 6001 Survey of the Hospitality & Tourism Industry

Comment - Ph.D. in Urban Studies and an MBA listed. Background in hospitality?



Ph.D. in Urban Affairs completed in May of 2006.  Dissertation was entitled, “A Comparison of Travel Behaviors of African American and White Travelers to an Urban Destination: The Case of New Orleans.”

Professional Experience

Dr. Williams has worked in the hotel industry for three companies (LaPavillon, Hilton, Radison) in sales, banquet services, coordination of housekeeping and sales management.

After receiving her Ph.D. in 2006, Dr. Williams worked on a joint contract with Louisiana State University and the University of New Orleans to teach hotel and computer courses to participants from 2006-2007.  Her responsibilities included designing the lodging and computer curriculum, interviewing participants, and teaching courses.  She also helped students with their hotel job search, interviewing techniques, and résumé preparation.   Additionally, she coordinated fieldtrips to local hotels and casinos to reinforce lodging concepts. 


Dr. Williams’ scholarly research, conference participation, and conference/journal reviewing addresses the College of Business’ mission to deliver quality business education through research.   Her research in the field of hospitality and tourism includes 10 publications, 2 additional publications that have been accepted, and 23 conference proceedings at international and domestic conferences.  Journals in which she has published include: the Journal of Education for Business, Journal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism, Journal of Product & Brand Management, Tourism Planning and Development, Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism, and Advances in Hospitality and Leisure.

Dr. Williams serves as a reviewer for submissions to the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, ICHRIE conferences, Annual Graduate Research Conference, and EuroCHRIE.  She has served as a Moderator for the CHRIE conference as well. 

Dr. Williams received the Best Paper Award in Education at the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Education in July 2010 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Shannon Brown

Course in question - MANG 6497 Special Topics in Management (this course was an EMBA course focused on Business Communications).

Comment – Ph.D. and M.A. in English.  Background in management?



Dr. Brown has a Ph.D. in English, a terminal degree appropriate for teaching business communications. 

Professional Experience

Dr. Brown has over 10 years of experience in the area of business communications.  This experience has focused on the following:

  • Creating and editing market research reports for national market research firm, Packaged Facts (a subsidiary of 
  • Analyzing sales data and industry reports on specialized topics to develop overviews of consumer-based markets. 
  • Researching packaged goods markets using online resource and custom survey data and prepare thorough reports, presenting analysis textually and graphically. 


Faculty - Richard E. Santora

Course in question - BA 6097 Special Topics in Business Administration (this course was a Healthcare Law course in our EHCM program)

Comment - Only listed qualifying degree is a JD. Missing faculty member background in business administration.



Mr. Santora has a J.D. which is considered to be a terminal degree in the Business Law discipline.  He teaches legal courses in our M.S. in Healthcare Management program (both traditional and executive style formats). 

Professional Experience

Mr. Santora is a Partner in the Healthcare and Corporate Departments at Milling Benson Woodward L.L.P.  His professional experience can be summarized as follows:

Health Care Law:

Representation of health care providers including hospitals, large and small physician groups, physicians, advanced nurse practitioners, nurses, independent diagnostic testing facilities, durable medical equipment providers, and home health agencies in the interpretation, application of, and compliance with relevant federal laws including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act "HIPAA", the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, the physician self-referral law and commonly referred to as the "Stark Law", and the federal anti-kickback statute. Representation includes working with providers in connection with the negotiation and drafting of transaction documents among health care providers such as physician recruitment agreements, employment agreements, practice sale and purchase agreements, medical director agreements, exclusive services agreements, physician-hospital organizations, independent practice associations, partnerships and joint ventures between physicians, nurse practitioners, clinics and hospitals. Responsibility for significant projects such as preparation of HIPAA compliant business associate agreements to routine matters such as simple contract review and advice. Creation of various types of entities, including corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, cooperative endeavor agreements and special services agreements.

General Business:

Representation before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, developers and owners in land acquisition, financing, negotiation, and preparation of architect's and contractor's contracts for multi-million dollar medical office buildings and parking garages, and applications for re-subdivision, re-zoning and zoning variances before municipal and parish governmental regulators. Often provide advice to clients in the creation of new businesses in a variety of endeavors including physician practices, durable medical equipment providers, air conditioning, automobile, restaurants, and non-profit corporations. Provide representation in day to day general representation of various local businesses in matters that include the preparation of leases, employment agreements, and shareholder agreements. Represented health care providers in negotiations and acquisition of electronic medical records system and back office integrated hardware and software.


Faculty - Lisa A. Palumbo

Courses in question - MKT 3501 Principles of Marketing, MKT 3505 Consumer Behavior, MKT 3540 Promotion Management

Comment - Only MBA listed, no specialization in marketing identified



Ms. Palumbo received her MBA from UNO in 2001.  She has worked as an Instructor in the Department of Marketing & Logistics since 2002, first as an adjunct and then as a full-time instructor. 

Professional Experience

She has over 20 years of marketing experience both in healthcare marketing and entertainment marketing where she had primary responsibility for developing marketing, advertising and promotional strategies, brand development, visual arts (i.e., graphic design, copy, layout), trade show promotions, and personal selling. 

She is well-qualified to teach any of our undergraduate marketing courses including, but not limited to, Principles of Marketing, Consumer Behavior, and Promotion Management.


College of Engineering

Faculty - Vesselin P. Jilkov

Courses in question - ENEE 2582 Digital System Design, ENEE 3533 Classical Control System Design, ENEE 4535 (and G) Introduction to Digital Signal Processing, ENEE 6001 Electrical Engineering Graduate Seminar, ENEE 6530 Linear Systems

Comment - Ph.D. - Technical Sciences, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.  M.S. Mathematics - Operations Research, University of Sofia.  Electrical engineering background?



Dr. Jilkov's Ph.D. is from a foreign institution with different terminologies reflecting a different education system. His Ph.D. is in Technical Sciences (something equivalent to Engineering Sciences) and includes Electrical and Civil engineering. In particular, Dr. Jilkov's doctoral studies were in Electrical Engineering (the specific code name was Automated Systems Processing of Sensor Information and Control, and his dissertation was in Algorithms for Secondary Radar Data Processing Systems).


Another indication of his Electrical Engineering background is the fact that he worked in Bulgaria in the past as an equivalent to Assistant and Associate Professor in the Laboratory "Signal" which specialized on Sensor Data Processing.

He has published more than 100 publications in the area of Electrical Engineering in journals such as IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, etc.


Faculty - Pamela J. Pilaroscia

Courses in question - NAME 4170 Marine Design, NAME 4175 Marine Design Project

Comment - Highest degree is an MS in engineering.  Professional experience in nautical/marine engineering?


Professional Experience

Pam Pilaroscia is an independent naval architect and president of Keel Design Inc. She has 20+ years design experience serving the marine industry of the Gulf Coast Region.


Faculty - Linda A. Sins

Course in question - ENMG 6111 Quantitative Analysis of Engineering Management I

Comment – Ms. Sins has a JD and an MBA.  In addition to being an attorney, is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA); has professional experience as an accountant, and was employed as the Senior Field Manager for Research Projects for Abt Associates, Inc.  Background in engineering management?


Ms. Sins will no longer be hired to teach this course. 


College of Education and Human Development

Faculty - Jane C. Chauvin

Courses in question - EDCI 3160 Materials and Methods in Elementary School Social Studies, EDCI 4260 (and G) Methods and Materials of Secondary Social Studies, EDCI 4261 Materials and Methods in Secondary School Social Studies II, EDCI 6260 Studies in the Teaching of Social Studies in Secondary Schools

Comment – Ph.D. in Special Education, "30 year of research productivity in education"

Experience in teaching secondary social studies?


Dr. Chauvin is no longer being hired to teach these courses.


Faculty - Penelope R. Speaker

Course in question - EDUC 6008 Master of Arts in Teaching Performance Assessment - Social Studies

Comment – "Reading specialist -- K-adult; Anthropology coursework at San Diego State (21 semester hours) and UNO (6 graduate semester hrs); Social studies and research coursework at UNO (18 graduate semester hours)."  Highest degree MA in education.

What is the specific justification for teaching a graduate course in social studies?


Although Ms. Speaker typically teaches undergraduate coursework , she taught EDUC 6009, a zero (0) credit assessment course for the Master of Arts in Teaching program of study. The MAT program is a graduate level program designed to support teacher candidates in earning their initial teacher certification (license) in Louisiana. The course taught by Ms. Speaker is designed to support teacher candidates to develop their pre-student teaching/capstone internship portfolio artifacts which serve as evidence of meeting Louisiana requirements for initial teacher certification as well as national standards in social studies education.


Ms. Penelope Speaker holds a M.A. degree in Education from California State University – Stanilaus and has completed 18 credits of graduate level coursework in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of New Orleans.

Professional Experience

Ms. Speaker has over 35 years of experience as a teacher at the elementary and middle school levels. She holds teacher certification in Louisiana in elementary and middle school social studies. Her experience, in addition to graduate level preparation, provides her with the qualifications to support the zero credit assessment seminar in social studies.


Faculty - Thomas D. Wright Jr

Courses in question - EDCI 4140 Strategies for Teaching of Elementary School Mathematics, EDCI 4240 (and G) Secondary Math Methods, EDCI 4241 Secondary Math Methods II, EDCI 6240 Studies in the Teaching of Mathematics in Secondary Schools

Comment – Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Specialization in teaching math?



Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, focused on mathematics education

Dissertation Title: Investigating Teachers' Perspectives on the Impact of the Lesson Study Process on Their Mathematical Content Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge, and the Potential for Student Achievement


Faculty - Cynthia L. Ybos

Courses in question - EDCI 3140 Materials and Methods in Elementary School Mathematics, EDCI 3310 Developmentally Responsive Curriculum and Instruction for Adolescents, EDCI 3311 Field Experience: Developmentally Responsive C & I for Adolescents, EDCI 3340 Methods for Developing Algebraic and Geometric Thinking, EDCI 5545 Development of Logico-Mathematical Knowledge

Comment – Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Specialization in teaching math?



Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, Concentration in Mathematics Education. 

Dissertation Title: Investigating Teachers' Perspectives on the Impact of the Lesson Study Process on Their Mathematical Content Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge, and the Potential for Student Achievement


Faculty - Brian R. Beabout

Courses in question - EDAD 6890 Seminar in Educational Administration, EDAD 6980 Independent Study in Educational Administration, EDAD 6940 Power and Politics in Educational Administration, EDAD 6997 Research Seminar in Educational Administration

Comment – Ph.D. in Instructional Systems.  Educational administrative experience?



Ph.D. Instructional Systems, concentration in Educational Leadership, 18 hours of coursework in Educational Leadership- Penn State University  


12 refereed journal articles and 5 book chapters in the areas of educational leadership, educational change, and education policy   

Member of AERA (since 2007) and UCEA (since 2008)    

Professional Experience

Founding board member Morris Jeff Community School / Charter School Reviewer National Association of Charter School Authorizers

Six years of full-time teaching & administrative experience in K-12 schools.

Pennsylvania-state certified as School Principal 


Faculty - Kenneth P. Farizo

Courses in question - EDCI 4432 (and G) Teaching Reading in Content Areas, EDUC 2204 Introduction to Secondary Education, EDCI 5220 Materials and Methods in Secondary School English, EDCI 5432 Teaching Reading in Content Areas, EDUC 6210 Human Development

Comment – Ph.D. and M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, no demonstrated specialization in the content areas.



Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction

B.A. English, 1985; Certification Secondary English, 1986; M.A. English, 1993 (coursework in literacy, language, linguistics, reading development); Ph.D. Curriculum & Instruction, 2004 (coursework in literacy, language, linguistics, reading development); Secondary English Teacher, 1987-1998; Curriculum Specialist, 1998-2008 (responsible for all content areas, middle and secondary)

Professional Experience

Co-director, LSU Writing Project, 2005-2008; Literacy Redesign Committee, St. Charles Parish Schools, 2004-2008 (responsible for planning and delivering professional development on literacy across content areas, promoting writing to learn, reading across the curriculum, disciplinary literacy in secondary schools, and other literacy related issues).


College of Liberal Arts

Faculty - Ashlye M. Keaton

Course in question - AADM 6502 Arts Administration: Legal and Business Application

Comment - Has JD specializing in environmental law.  Background/professional experience in the arts?



Ms. Keaton obtained a Juris Doctor in Law in May of 2003. Simultaneously, she received a certificate in Environmental Law. Therefore, her degree is not a specialization in environmental law; rather she has separate additional certification in Environmental Law. One can see the certificate is noted as separate from her degree at both the beginning and end of her law school transcript.


Ms. Keaton has published three journal articles related to arts copyright law and educating future lawyers specifically to the music industry.

Professional Experience

Since her graduation, Ms. Keaton has worked extensively in Arts Administration focused law. In addition to teaching AADM 6502, Arts Administration Legal and Business Applications, at UNO since 2011, she has taught Entertainment Law at Tulane since 2010 while also serving pro bono as the Supervising Attorney at the Entertainment Law Legal Assistance (ELLA) Program at Tulane's School of Law Public Interest Programs. ELLA is also supported by The Arts Council of New Orleans, The Tipitina’s Foundation, Louisiana Bar Foundation, and the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

Her law firm, Ashlye M. Keaton, Attorney at Law, focuses on music licensing and transactions arising primarily from copyright, trademark and contractual issues within the arts industry. Ms. Keaton routinely serves as a panelist and presenter on entertainment and copyright law issues at national and regional conventions.

Since 2009, Ms. Keaton has held various positions on the Board of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS or Grammys) while also being annually selected to serve as an Official Grader with the Grammy Foundation Entertainment Law Initiative. Affiliation with such a notable organization is a true mark of honor and distinction within the music business. Additionally, Ms. Keaton continually volunteers her legal services to various local musicians assistance organizations, including the New Orleans Musicians Clinic (since 2008), New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation (since 2008), Louisiana Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (at the Arts Council of New Orleans) (since 2002), and the Tipitina's Foundation (since 2004).


Faculty - William J. Peneguy

Course in question - JOUR 2700 Introduction to Journalism

Comment - "Mr. Peneguy has substantial professional experience as a professional journalist, which speaks to SACS-COC Comprehensive Standard 3.7.1 (related work experience in the field and other demonstrated competencies and achievements are to be considered in addition to the academic degree held by the faculty member)."

Highest degree is a bachelor's in Journalism and Public Relations.  Specific professional experience in journalism?


Professional Experience

From 1975 to 1981, Mr. Peneguy served as Assistant Editor and Columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune; he supervised a journalistic staff of 23 full-time writers and wrote a weekly column. 

From 1964 to 1975, Mr. Peneguy served as Columnist, Desk Editor, and Writer for the New Orleans Times-Picayune.  During these years, he designed an award-winning sports section and covered NFL, NBA, and NCAA sports events.   In his 21-year career in journalism, Mr. Peneguy won 26 first-place awards in major writing, editing, and design competitions.


Faculty - Clifton M. Meynard

Course in question - ITAL 1001 Basic Italian I

Comment - Two masters in romance languages; one with a specialty in French and the other with a specialty in Spanish.  Expertise in Italian?


This instructor, although fluent in Italian, does not hold the formal credentials and will not teach this course in the future.


Faculty - Anna E. Hackman (Transcript provided for Graduate Teaching Assistant)

Course in question - URBN 3002 Introduction to Urban Studies

Comment - GTA enrolled in doctoral program in Urban Studies, however, major of master's degree is missing on roster.



Ms. Hackman holds an M.A. in Mexican American Studies.

Prior to teaching URBN 3002, Anna Hackman had completed 33 credits towards her Ph.D. in Urban Studies at UNO (excluding methods and research design courses). In addition, Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary subject. URBN 3002 had a significant focus on race and ethnicity, the subject of Anna's M.A. degree.

Ms. Hackman is no longer employed as a Graduate Teaching Assistant.


Faculty - Alvaro B. Alcazar

Course in question - PADM 4224 (and G) Nonprofit Leadership

Comment - PhD in Curriculum and Instruction. Background in nonprofit sector?


Dr. Alcazar is no longer hired to teach this course.


Faculty - Philip A. Moses

Courses in question - POLI 4990 Special Topics in Political Science, POLI 5990 Special Topics in Political Science

Comment – Mr. Moses has over 40 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, and has taught with the close supervision of the chair.  MS in Petroleum Engineering.  Are the special topics courses related to the petroleum industry?


The special topic title that Phil Moses teaches is the Politics of Oil. 

Professional Experience

Phil Moses has for forty plus years been involved with and authored numerous studies assessing company investments around the world. A significant element of these assessments included what we call political risk analysis.  This is a subfield of political science. What makes his experience unique, and hence of especially great value to our students both graduate and undergraduate, is that this experience was in the real world, not the general sort of assessments that are attempted in academia.

Additionally, these assessments combined sophisticated understanding of the technical elements of the oil industry with an equally sophisticated understanding of the political context of the investments, a skill that few if any academics can offer.  Mr. Moses’ level of knowledge in conducting these risk assessments was significantly augmented by time spent in the field—again a rare experience for most academics.

He also worked in groups in making these assessments, and as his career progressed he led these groups, mentoring younger colleagues. Unfortunately, all documentation of these activities is proprietary within the corporate sector, and thus not open to public scrutiny.


Faculty - Robert M. Worth (Transcript provided for Graduate Teaching Assistant)

Courses in question - POLI 2151 American Government, POLI 4310 US State Politics

Comment - GTA enrolled in doctoral program in Political Science, however, major of master's degree is missing on roster.



Mr. Worth has an M.A. in Political Science from UNO. He has 36 hours of graduate credit in political science from UNO, including nine hours of methodology and 18 hours in his major, U.S. government.


Faculty - Maja M. Holzinger  (Transcript provided for Graduate Teaching Assistant)

Course in question - FTCA 1620 Intro to Film Arts

Comment - Enrolled in interdepartmental MFA Program in Creative Writing. Completed 51 graduate credit hours prior to the fall semester. Specific courses completed listed in table at the end of document.  Grad hours in MFA program are missing/not documented.



This graduate teaching assistant was not enrolled in the Creative Writing Program, but was enrolled in the MFA in film Production. Ms. Holzinger has graduated with an MFA in Film Production. She is no longer hired to teach at UNO since she completed her degree.


Faculty - Andrea. Kuehnel (Transcript provided for Graduate Teaching Assistant)

Course in question - FTCA 2510 Beginning Film Production

Comment - Enrolled in interdepartmental MFA Program Creative Writing. Completed 42 graduate credit hours prior to the spring semester. Specific courses listed at end of document.  Graduate hours in MFA program are missing/not documented.



 Ms. Kuehnel was incorrectly listed as being a student in the M.F.A. Creative Writing Program.  She is in the M.F.A. Film Production Program.  She completed 28 graduate credits in film studies prior to the Fall 2013 semester and 42 graduate credits prior to the Spring 2014 semester. Her graduate coursework qualifies her to teach an undergraduate lower division course.

College of Sciences

Faculty - Christopher M. Summa

Courses in question - CSCI 1581 Software Design Lab I, CSCI 1583 Software Design I, CSCI 2120 Software Design II, CSCI 2121 Software Design Lab II, CSCI 4670 Game Development, CSCI 5670 Game Development, CSCI 6595 Advanced Topics in Bioinformatics

Comment - 5 Year postdoc at Stanford University during which has developed extensive experience in Programming, graphics and Bioinformatics.  Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. Need more information regarding experience in computer science.



Doctoral Thesis: "Computational Methods and their Applications for de novo Functional Protein Design and Membrane Protein Solubilization” 2002

Relevance:  As a graduate student, Dr. Summa wrote code for his Ph.D. laboratory in Fortran77, C++,  Perl, and C-shell scripting - this work was the beginning of development of protCAD, an object-oriented software system for computational protein structure prediction, analysis, and design that his lab still develops and uses, consisting of roughly 86,000 lines of C++ code.  This codebase is cross-platform, highly modular, and uses a CMake-based build system that automatically detects and compiles optimized openCL variants of code modules that have been written to benefit from GPU-based calculations.


Paper: Summa CM, Lombardi A, Lewis M, DeGrado WF, “Tertiary Templates for the Design of Diiron Proteins,” Current Opinion in Structural Biology 1999 (9) 500-508.

Relevance:  In this paper, Summa wrote a Fortran 77 program in order to read in the 3-dimensional coordinates of snippets of protein structure, produce symmetrized models based on a set of geometric parameters, and superimpose those models onto real proteins by minimizing the root-mean-squared-distance between atoms in the model and the real protein.  The geometric parameters were optimized by a genetic algorithm to produce models that best represented the actual protein.

Paper: North B, Summa CM, Ghirlanda G, and DeGrado WF, “Dn-Symmetrical Tertiary Templates for the Design of Tubular Proteins,” Journal of Molecular Biology 2001 (311) 1081-1090

Relevance:  In this paper, the Fortran code written by Summa for optimizing geometry using a genetic algorithm (see above) was applied to an expanded and more complex set of protein structure data from a family known as "tubular" proteins.

Paper: Summa CM, Rosenblatt M, Hong JK, Lear, JD, DeGrado WF, “Computational de novo Design, and Characterization of an A2B2 Diiiron Protein,” Journal of Molecular Biology 2002 (321) 923-938

Relevance:  In this paper, another program, also written in Fortran, a genetic algorithm was written by Summa to produce a protein with a specific set of electrostatic interactions between amino acids that was energetically favorable, while concurrently designing unfavorable interactions for a specific set of unwanted conformations.

Paper: Slovic AM, Summa CM, Lear JD, DeGrado WF, “Computational Design of a Water-Soluble Analog of Phospholamban,” Protein Science 2003 (12) 337-348

Relevance:  In this paper, a variant of the electrostatic design program (see above), also written in Fortran by Summa was used to design a variant of protein that is water soluble, in contrast to the parent, which can only exist in the cellular membrane.

Paper: Summa CM, DeGrado WF, and Levitt M “An Atomic Environment Potential for use in Protein Structure Prediction” Journal of Molecular Biology 2005 (352) 986-1001

Relevance:  Summa began writing protCAD in order to produce this paper - statistics for atomic pairings and distances were generated from a large database of known protein structures, and these statistics were used to produce a scoring function that was applied (again, in code written by Summa) to a large database or non-native protein structure decoys (i.e. proteins in the "wrong" conformation).  This involved not only development of the program to generate the statistics, but another program to score each of the many hundreds of proteins in the decoy database, as well as a significant number of perl and shell scripts to automate the process.

Paper:  Summa CM and Levitt M “Near Native Structure Refinement Using in vacuo Energy Minimization” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 2007 (104) 3177-3182

Relevance:  In this paper, Summa and Levitt used Summa's protCAD to derive a scoring function that was distinctly different from the one in the paper above.  Then Summa and Levitt modified Levitt's molecular dynamics program, Encad, written in Mortran, to be able to use a quintic-spline fit to the distance-dependent discrete scoring function such that numerical derivatives could be calculated and it could be used with a Broyden-Fletcher-Goldfarb-Shanno optimization protocol on the 3D coordinates of the protein atoms.

Paper:  Chopra G, Summa CM, and Levitt M “Solvent Dramatically Affects Protein Structure Refinement” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 2008 (105) 20239-20244

Relevance:  This paper is an extension of the paper above, but this time with an emphasis on quantifying the effect of implicit solvent models on protein structure refinement.

Paper:  Craig RB, Summa CM, Corti M, and Pincus SH “Anti-HIV Double Variable Domain Immunoglobulins Binding Both gp41 and gp120 for Targeted Delivery of Immunoconjugates” PLoS ONE 7(10) : e46778. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046778 (2012)

Relevance:  This paper represented a large step forward in the development of the protCAD codebase - a model of the HIV gp160 protein was produced with new modules in protcad allowing for symmetric application of protein "manipulator" objects therefore allowing modeling, manipulation, and design of proteins with strictly enforced symmetry.

Paper: Liu S, Wu Y, Lin T, Abel R, Redmann JP, Summa CM, Jaber V, Lim NM and Mobley DL “Lead Optimization Mapper: Automatic free energy calculations for lead optimization “J Comput Aided Mol Des 2013 Sep;27(9):755-70 doi: 10.1007/s10822-013-9678-y.

Relevance:  Dr. Summa, together with an undergraduate student, designed and implemented a series of Python modules to implement a graph-theory-based algorithm for optimizing a graph (maximum weight, minimum path length, minimum edges) to solve a large-data problem in computational chemistry.  This module is now part of a commercial software product distributed by Schrödinger, Inc.

Other Activities :

              Scientific programming competitions (evidence of ability to train programmers):




Faculty - Laura V. Scaramella

Courses in question - PSYC 6050 Seminar on Professional Problems, PSYC 6101 Fundamentals of Applied Developmental Psychology I

Comment - Ph.D. Family and Consumer Resources - Sociology University of Arizona. Professional experience or scholarly activity in psychology?



Although transcripts indicate that Dr. Scaramella completed a graduate degree in Family and Consumer Resources, the major concentration was in Family Studies and Human Development (FSHD) with the following coursework: FS573 Family Development, PSYC Developmental Psychology, FS607 Topics in Family (Adolescent Development), FS607 Topics in Family (Social-emotional Development), and FS567 Theory of Human Development.


Dr. Scaramella has over 40 publications addressing developmental theory and developmental processes. She has been a frequent and regular presenter at the Society for Research on Child Development conference. She has been awarded over 3 million dollars in research grants from the NIH and NSF to study basic developmental processes within family contexts. Finally, she is a standing member on the NIH, Center for Scientific Review Committee, Psychosocial.


Supporting Documents

Document Description
Document IconFR_Abdel_Rahman_Hesham_VitaeAbdel_Rahman_Hesham_Vitae
Document IconFR_Alvaro_Alcazar_VitaeAlvaro_Alcazar_Vitae
Document IconFR_Andrea_Kuehnel_Transcript_RedactedAndrea_Kuehnel_Transcript_Redacted
Document IconFR_Anna_Hackman_Transcript_RedactedAnna_Hackman_Transcript_Redacted
Document IconFR_Ashley_Keaton_VitaeAshley_Keaton_Vitae
Document IconFR_Brian_Beabout_VitaeBrian_Beabout_Vitae
Document IconFR_Christopher_M_Summa_VitaeChristopher_M_Summa_Vitae
Document IconFR_Clifton_M_Meynard_VitaeClifton_M_Meynard_Vitae
Document IconFR_Cynthia_Ybos_VitaeCynthia_Ybos_Vitae
Document IconFR_Harsha_E_Chacko_VitaeHarsha_E_Chacko_Vitae
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