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Faculty Highlights

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dedicated scholar-teachers are the heart of a St. John’s education. This edition of the President’s Newsletter features some of those faculty members.


Sandra Schamroth Abrams, Ph.D., associate professor of curriculum and instruction in The School of Education (SOE), wrote “Supporting Practice with Emerging Technologies” for the October 27 issue of Edutopia, a site sponsored by the George Lucas Educational Foundation. She recently published her book, Integrating Virtual and Traditional Learning in 6–12 Classrooms: A Layered Literacies Approach to Multimodal Meaning Making (Routledge, 2015), as well as the co-edited volume Bridging Literacies with Videogames (Sense Publishers, 2014). Abrams is co-author of three forthcoming books: Conducting Qualitative Research of Learning in Online Spaces (Sage Publications), Videogames in Libraries: Learning beyond the Stacks (VOYA Press), and Managing Educational Technology: School Partnerships and Technology Integration (Routledge).

Abrams, who teaches courses in New Media, Virtual Environments, and 21st-Century Learners and The Art of Writing for Educators, earned her Ph.D. in education from Rutgers University in 2009.


Joan Ball, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing in The Peter J. Tobin College of Business (TCB), and Neil Feinstein, assistant professor of mass communication in the College of Professional Studies (CPS), co-taught a yearlong, six-credit, experiential learning course preparing students for the annual National Student Advertising Competition. This year, the team, comprising students from TCB and CPS, placed first nationwide for its marketing communications plan briefing book, and third overall. The competition is sponsored by the American Advertising Federation.

Ball earned her Ph.D. in international business management from the International School of Management in 2012. She teaches courses in Marketing of Services, Consumer Behavior, and Innovation and Creativity, among others.

Feinstein earned his M.S. in Direct and Interactive Marketing from New York University. He teaches Consumer Research and Creative Strategy.


Katie Lebel, Ph.D., assistant professor of sport management in the College of Professional Studies (CPS), presented research to the European Association for Sport Management that examined the digital engagement of audiences on Instagram. Receiving a $10,000 grant to study social media education and policy development, she recently presented her work at the Social Media and Society conference in Ontario, Canada. Last spring, her classes worked on two projects for the New York Mets, collaborating with the team’s director of social media and making recommendations for its Pinterest and Twitter accounts.

Lebel received her Ph.D. in kinesiology in 2013 from the University of Western Ontario. She teaches Social Media in Sport and Sport Communication.


Jagannath Muzumdar, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacy administration and public health in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (CPH), is among 15 recipients nationwide of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy 2015–16 New Investigator Award. The competition, open to new faculty from 135 US colleges and schools of pharmacy, provides funding for new research projects. Muzumdar is the first SJU faculty member in 15 years to win this award.

Muzumdar received his Ph.D. in social and administrative pharmacy from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2010. Muzumdar teaches Communication Techniques in Pharmacy Practice and Pharmacy and US Healthcare.


Jeremy Sheff, J.D., a professor in St. John’s School of Law, was elected to the board of the Association of American Law Schools’ (AALS) Intellectual Property Law Section at its annual meeting in January. The association, a nonprofit organization comprising 178 law schools, serves as the learned society for the more than 9,000 law faculty at member institutions. Sheff teaches Trademarks and Unfair Competition and Patent Law. He also directs St. John’s Intellectual Property Law Center.

Sheff earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2002. In addition, he specializes in Intellectual Property and First Amendment: Freedom of Expression.


Yong Yu, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences in St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (SJC), received a $495,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his work on Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD), one of the most common genetic disorders. The goal of Yu’s research, which focuses on ion channel proteins on cell membranes, is to make a significant impact on developing new therapeutic strategies for ADPKD. Yu’s lab studies the structure and function of cell membrane ion channels and receptors and their roles in human diseases.

Yu earned his Ph.D. in botany from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2001. He teaches Introduction to Neurobiology and Laboratory Techniques and Applications.


Rachel Zufferey, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences in St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (SJC), was recently awarded a $495,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s Support of Competitive Research (SCORE) Program. The grant will help further Zufferey’s study of the parasite leishmania, which causes the disease known as leishmaniasis, primarily in tropical and subtropical regions. Worldwide, two million cases of leishmaniasis are reported every year, notes Zufferey, who has been studying the parasite for almost 20 years.

Zufferey received a Ph.D. in microbiology in 1997 from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland. She teaches General Microbiology and Introduction to Molecular and Cell Biology.