Faculty Research Interests


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Christina Henson 260x300

My research agenda focuses on ‘The Business of Healthcare’ and encompasses several key content areas:

  1. Expenditures, financial and economic impacts 
  2. Health policy and public administration (including ethics)
  3. Pedagogy and teaching.

These concepts provide full breadth and depth of the healthcare administration, business administration and public administration (specifically health policy) industries, with common elements of each captured in my research. Supporting research on these topics will include the analysis of management functions such as planning, decision making, organizational design and resource management as well as the exploration of influences on these content areas.

Chelsea Abbas

My general research interests lie in border studies, migration and the anthropology of conflict and violence in the Central American context. Within the U.S., my work focuses on issues central to Latino communities and advocacy, such as Latino representation in mainstream media, immigrant rights, language and education. Most recently, my dissertation work examines the dynamics of an international border dispute between Costa Rica/Nicaragua and how this conflict affects the lives of local villagers in the region. Over the course of summer 2018 & 2019, I will be traveling to Nicaragua on a Fulbright grant to teach and help develop an interdisciplinary research agenda on migration in Central America at the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua.

aylin acun

Aylin Acun

Assistant Professor

I am interested in understanding the inter-organ communication with relation to age-related systemic diseases. I aim to study organ-organ interactions through developing healthy and diseased 2-D and 3-D tissue models representing young vs. aged, and healthy vs. diseased phenotypes of different organs. My primary interest is to develop heart and liver tissues as these two major organs have many co-pathologies yet the effect of one organ's disease conditions on the other is not well-known.

Treya T Allen 260x300
  • Black women and Education
  • Black Education in the Southwest
  • Black women in Education Leadership
  • Foundations of Black Education in the Southwest
Bretton T. Alvaré

I am an ethnographer whose research focuses on Afro-Caribbean worldviews and faith-based political participation in the Anglophone Caribbean. I have been conducting fieldwork with grassroots, faith-based NGOs in Trinidad and Tobago since 2005. I am also interested in studying urban issues related to institutional racism, and I'm currently collaborating with a local community partner on an ethnographic study of the barriers to academic success facing students at Chester High School.

Luke Ayers

Luke W. Ayers

Chair, Psychology Department

“Mens sana in corpore sano – to have a sound mind in a sound body” 

As a behavioral neuroscientist, I try to understand the relationships between behavior, physiological processes of the body, and mental states. My work specifically focuses on the topics of fear, anxiety, stress, hunger, and habit-like behavior. I also have expertise in learning & memory, psychopharmacology, hormonal influences on behavior, addiction, and compulsive behaviors. 

I also truly value the opportunity to mentor students who are interested in research. All of my projects involve undergraduate research assistants, who gain first-hand experience in designing, implementing, and conducting empirical research experiments. 

Jeremy Backstrom

My primary research interests are in the fields of international relations and comparative politics, which focus broadly on three concepts- political violence, state repression and human rights, and authoritarian political institutions. I am particularly interested in disaggregating concepts and processes regarding political violence in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the causal mechanisms and dynamics that influence decision-making in different institutional contexts. More specifically, I seek to understand the actions and behaviors of non-state and state actors, determining the conditions and factors that contribute to the outbreak of dissent, terrorism, and civil conflict as well as methods to deter and quell these forms of political violence.

Paul Baker

Paul T. Baker

Assistant Professor of Physics

I am a physicist interested in detecting and characterizing gravitational waves.  My data analysis research combines methods from physics, astronomy, computing, and statistics.  As a member of the NANOGrav and IPTA collaborations, I contribute to the search for low-frequency gravitational waves created by merging super massive black holes.

More generally, my research interests include gravitational wave data analysis, Bayesian statistical techniques, astrophysics, astrostatistics, and general relativity.

Hilary Barnes

Hilary Barnes

Director, Nursing DNP Program

I am a health services researcher and nationally-recognized expert on the nurse practitioner workforce. My work examines the role of the nurse practitioner to improve care delivery and outcomes within the contexts of an evolving healthcare system and policy reform. I am also interested in role transition for the novice nurse practitioner and finding ways to support new nurse practitioners as they enter clinical practice.

I direct the DNP Program and teach in the DNP and PhD programs. I am passionate about mentoring students to explore their interests as the develop their own clinical and research scholarship.

I have expertise in secondary data analysis using large data sets, primary data collection, advanced statistical methods, and instrument development. I have published and presented my research widely for nursing and interdisciplinary audiences. I completed an NINR T32 post-doctoral research fellowship in the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

Carla R Barqueiro

Carla R Barqueiro

Assistant Professor, Political Science and International Relations

I have an active research agenda dedicated to human security. Much of my research work has focused on the principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P). This global norm was developed in 2001 when the global community was faced with questions surrounding its moral and legal obligations of the international community to prevent and respond to the most egregious mass atrocity crimes, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, often at the hands of state governments. I have published several co-authored books, policy papers, op-eds, and journal articles in this area. More recently, I have begun examining the relationship between the concepts of kinship, race, gender, and state repression both along and inside territorial borders. Kinship as a concept has largely been used in the fields of Anthropology and Sociology and refers to a typology of human relationships centered around family, identity, and community networks.

Loyd D. Bastin

My research with Widener undergraduate students focuses on the development of greener syntheses of pharmaceuticals. Currently we are working on the greener synthesis of isoxazole and maleimide derivatives. We look to 'green' the synthetic process by reducing waste, using greener reagents, and designing for energy efficiency.

Rachel Batch

My research interests are immigrants, workers, and working-class cultures in the 20th century U.S. It was as an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University when I learned the value of social history ("history from the bottom up"), the importance of cultural identity, and became fascinated by the histories of immigrants and labor. I focused on both fields in my graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania, and my dissertation took up industrial relations in the coal mining industry, welfare capitalism, and migrations of southern and eastern European immigrants to a 'model' town in western Pennsylvania in Finding Stability in a Company Town: A Community Study of Slickville, Pennsylvania1916-1943

My current research focuses on Croatian Americans during the Great Depression, World War II, and the early Cold War, and just how they used transnational networks to conjure ethnic and class-based activism for economic justice at home (in the U.S.) and for political freedom abroad (in the former Yugoslavia).

Jvawnna D Bell

Jvawnna D Bell

Adjunct Professor
  • Diversity and Culture in Healthcare 
  • Public Health 
  • Health Policy 
  • Health Economics and Outcomes Research 
  • Cost Effectiveness of Treatments 
  • Population Health 
  • Health Services Research
Linda E. Benavides

My research interests have always been guided by my desire to contribute to the practice literature in the area of family violence. During my work with survivors of family violence, I was struck by the resilience of children and adolescents, who despite being exposed to the most harrowing of circumstances, were not just moving forward but in many cases were thriving. This has guided my research on resiliency and protective factors for children and adolescents exposed to violence, focusing on spirituality as a strength individuals possess. I am interested in spirituality not only as a protective factor for children and adolescents but also the process of spiritual development from childhood to adolescence. I have published scholarly articles and presented at international and national conferences on my research interests.

Tom Benedetti

Thomas K. Benedetti

Associate Professor of Italian and Spanish

My research interests include mythological theater of 16th and 17th centuries in Spain and Italy, missionary theater, theater of colonization, meta-theater, Italian cinema, time and space in theater and cinema, and Spanish Golden Age literature.

Krishna Bhat

My research interests are to develop new greener synthetic routes to pharmaceutically relevant organic molecules and study their thermodynamic properties. Current efforts are focused on resveratrol and boronic acid derivatives.