Public Health Faculty & Staff

Program Director
Christopher Stobart
Christopher Stobart
Associate Professor, Biology


Background

Dr. Stobart is a microbiologist specializing in virus structure, stability, and function. He received his B.S. degrees in biology and chemistry from Xavier University (Cincinnati, OH) in 2008 and his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) in 2013. His doctoral thesis was titled "Structural and Functional Analysis of Coronavirus Cysteine Protease nsp5" and was completed in the laboratory of Dr. Mark Denison. He continued his research in virology by completing a postdoctoral research fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Martin Moore at Emory University (Atlanta, GA) where he played a central role in the development of a live-attenuated vaccine candidate for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a major human pathogen among infants and the elderly. Concurrent with his research training, he taught MCAT and DAT test-prep courses with The Princeton Review and was an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Life and Earth Science at Georgia State University – Perimeter College (Dunwoody, GA) before joining the Butler University Department of Biological Sciences in the Fall of 2016.


Research

The Stobart lab aims to identify the fundamental structural and functional determinants that govern RNA virus environmental stability, infectivity, and replication. Studies in the lab focus on 3 different RNA virus systems: respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human metapneumovirus (hMPV), and mouse hepatitis virus (MHV). 

Pnuemoviruses – RSV and hMPV

RSV is a pneumovirus with a negative-strand RNA genome that is associated with upper and lower respiratory disease in young infants and the elderly. To date, RSV is a leading cause of viral mortality worldwide for children under age 1. Although RSV is a human pathogen, it rarely causes clinical disease in healthy adults due to pre-existing immunity. Despite over 50 years of research, there remains no commercially-available vaccines and considerable work is currently underway to develop one. We recently showed substantial differences in the stability of RSV strains to temperature and that the stability was dependent upon the virus attachment protein (F). Preliminary study of RSV identified mutations in the RSV fusion (F) protein that govern virus thermal stability and contribute to stabilizing the prefusion conformation, which is required for infectivity.  Current research projects on RSV will focus on examining the environmental stability of reconstituted RSV clinical strains and site-directed mutagenesis to identify key regulatory regions governing RSV stability and replication.

HMPV is a pneumovirus that is very closely-related to RSV and is also associated with upper and lower respiratory disease in young infants and the elderly. Discovered in 1989, very little is known regarding its environmental stability and there remain no vaccines available for the prevention of hMPV disease. Current research projects on hMPV will focus on examining the environmental stability of a panel of hMPV clinical isolates. These studies may provide new insight into mechanisms to create stable live-attenuated vaccine candidates and novel approaches to limit hMPV spread in high risk environments.


Coronaviruses

MHV is a viral model for coronavirus biology. Coronaviruses are associated with upper and lower respiratory disease and are the 3rd leading cause of the common cold. Recent outbreaks of SARS-CoV,  MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 (causative agent of COVID-19), three emerging coronaviruses, highlight the pathogenic potential of coronavirus evolution. Our work focuses on understanding the relationship between structure and function of the coronavirus protease nsp5. This work aims to identify key molecular determinants that are critical for coronavirus replication and may be targeted for antiviral or inhibitor design.

Students interested in doing research in the Stobart lab are encouraged to contact Dr. Stobart directly.


Stobart Lab Website

Dr. Stobart’s ResearchGate Profile


Program Faculty and Staff
Kendra Damer
Kendra Damer
Associate Professor and Director, Introductory Experiential Education – Pharmacy

Dr. Kendra Damer is an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and the Director of Introductory Experiential Education at Butler University. She received her PharmD from Butler University in 2004 and completed a PGY1 and PGY2 Specialty Residency in Infectious Diseases at Clarian Health Partners (now IU Health) in Indianapolis. Dr. Damer joined Butler University as faculty in 2008. She currently directs and teaches the pharmacokinetics course series in the PharmD program. In addition, she teaches in the therapeutics and the interprofessional education and professional development course series. In her experiential education role, she facilitates the preparation, scheduling, and oversight of the required Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) rotations for first-year and second-year PharmD students. Dr. Damer was awarded the Terry L Hageboeck Award in 2019. She serves the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) and the American College Health Association (ACHA) as an active member and the AACP Experiential Education Section as chair of the Awards Committee. Her research interests and experience include infectious diseases, antimicrobial stewardship, public health, vaccines, and immunization practices.

Chad Knoderer
Chad Knoderer
Professor – Pharmacy Practice

Chad Knoderer, PharmD, FPPA is a Professor in the Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. After graduating with his PharmD from Butler University in 1999, he completed 2 years of residency training, specializing in pediatrics. After practicing with the pediatric cardiovascular surgery and pediatric infectious diseases sections at Riley Hospital for Children he joined the Butler University faculty in 2008 as a co-funded faculty member. Dr. Knoderer established the Pediatric Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Riley Hospital for Children and served as stewardship program director and directed Riley’s PGY2 Pediatric Pharmacy Residency until moving to his current campus-based faculty role in 2011. Dr.  Knoderer currently teaches pediatric pharmacotherapy and biostatistics in Butler’s Doctor of Pharmacy program where he also coordinates the patient care research concentration and he offers Analytical Reasoning and Social World courses in Butler’s Core CurriculumHe completed the AACP Academic Leadership Fellow Program in 2014 and served as chair of the Butler faculty senate from 2016 to 2020. He publishes and presents on a variety of pediatric topics and is a recent Board member of the Pediatric Pharmacy Association (PPA). Dr. Knoderer is also a past Chair of the PPA Research Committee, contributes to the PPA Preparation Program for the Pediatric Pharmacy Specialty Certification Exam as a section lead, and served as program Co-Chair from 2016 to 2021.

Katherine Novak
Katherine Novak
Professor – Sociology

Dr. Katherine (Kate) Novak is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology where she teaches courses in criminology, mental illness, social psychology, research methods and statistics. She holds a B.A  in sociology and in psychology, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology, with a concentration in criminology, and a Ph.D. minor in Criminal Justice from Indiana University-Bloomington. 

Much of Dr. Novak’s current research focuses on adolescent and college student substance use and delinquency and has been published in academic journals such as Crime & Delinquency, Addictive Behaviors, Journal of Criminal Justice, Sociological Inquiry, Journal of Social Psychology, The Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, The Journal of Family Issues, The Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education, and The Journal of Primary Prevention. She is the co-author of two textbooks- Individual and Society:  Sociological Social Psychology (with Lizabeth A. Crawford) and Applied Communication Research (with Judith M. Buddenbaum).  Additionally, Dr. Novak has collaborated with other faculty on research projects focusing on homelessness in Indianapolis, perceptions of crime and safety in the local community, immigrants’ perceptions of prejudice and discrimination, faculty work-load satisfaction, and student learning in a topically-focused introductory sociology course. She has published several class assignments and activities in TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology and serves on the advisory board for the Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Dr. Novak regularly mentors students, supervising internships and directed research projects, and serving as the faculty advisor for department and university honors theses. Her students have presented their research at college and sociology conferences and to organizational leaders and administrators and have published papers in peer-reviewed research journals. 

Dr. Novak has received many internal grants for both research and teaching, and she has won a number of university awards.  She received the Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence in 2016 and the Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Faculty Award in 2010 and 2003.


Recent Publications:

Crawford, Lizabeth A. and Novak, Katherine B.  2013.  Individual and Society: Sociological Social Psychology. Routledge/Taylor& Francis. [2nd edition released March 2018]  https://www.routledge.com/Individual-and-Society-Sociological-Social-Psychology-2nd-Edition/Crawford-Novak/p/book/9781138284692

Crawford, Lizabeth A. and Novak, Katherine B. 2023. “Beliefs About Alcohol and the College Experience as Determinants of Academic and Social Outcomes Among Undergraduate Students.”  College Student Journal 56(4):371-381.

Kowalski, Jennifer R., Lineweaver, Tara L., and Novak, Katherine B.  2021.  “DevelopingIntegrative Thinking in Undergraduate Students through an Interdisciplinary General Education Course on Mental Illness.”  College Teaching.  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/87567555.2021.1982856\

Crawford, Lizabeth A. and Novak, Katherine, B.  2020.  "College Student Activities, Social Capital, and Drinking Behavior."  Journal of Alcohol and Drug Eductation 64(1):9-32.

Crawford, Lizabeth A, Novak, Katherine B, and Rasitha R.Jayasekare.  2019. “Volunteerism, Alcohol Beliefs, and First-Year College Students’ Drinking Behaviors: Implications for Prevention.”  The Journal of Primary Prevention. Advanced On-line Publication.  https://link.springer.com/epdf/10.1007/s10935-019-00558-z?author_access_token=VsSE7FJJx4odI99TFRd2z_e4RwlQNchNByi7wbcMAY5U0p0vLjEfjXTWGPJg3fnUs7hDFpqWDQBu-3S9HNrZBdSXHQeiJNHtTScfiJScXxZnrFgi8YqhWDnMn4l9SXYNcCZl9aE9GpZQl-UpIAGxcA%3D%3D

Crawford, Lizabeth A. and Novak, Katherine B.  2018. “Being with Friends and the Potential for Binge Drinking During the First College Semester.”  Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition 30(2):79-96.

Crawford, Lizabeth A., Novak, Katherine B., and Foston, Amia K. 2016 (online)/ 2018 (print).“Routine Activities and Delinquency: The Significance of Bonds to Society and Peer Context.”  Crime & Delinquency 64(4):472-509.

Howard, Jay R., Novak, Katherine B., Scott, Marvin B. and Cline, Krista M.C.  2014. “Another Nibble at the Core: Student Learning in a Topically-Focused Introductory Sociology Course.”  Teaching Sociology 42(3):177-186.

Crawford, Lizabeth A. and Novak, Katherine B.  2013. “The Effects of Public Self-Consciousness and Embarrassability on College Student Drinking: Evidence in Support of a Protective Self-Presentational Model.”  The Journal of Social Psychology 153(1):109-122.

Crawford, Lizabeth A. and Novak, Katherine B.  2011.  “Beliefs about Alcohol and the College Experience, Locus of Self, and College Undergraduates’ Drinking Patterns.”  Sociological Inquiry 81(4):477-494.

Crawford, Lizabeth A., and Novak, Katherine B.  2010. “Beliefs about Alcohol and the College Experience as Moderators of the Effects of Perceived Campus Drinking Norms on Levels of Alcohol Use among College Undergraduates. Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education. 54(3):69-96.

Novak, Katherine B.and Crawford, L. A.  2010.  “Routine Activities as Determinants of Gender Differences in Delinquency. Journal of Criminal Justice 38(5):913-920.

Menendez-Alarcon, Antonio V. and Novak, Katherine B.  2010. “Latin American Immigrants in Indianapolis: Perceptions of Prejudice and Discrimination.”  Latino Studies. 8:93-120.

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Amy Peak
Amy Peak
Associate Professor, Department Chair, and Program Director – Health Sciences

Dr. Amy Peak is the Director of the Health Science and Healthcare & Business programs, and Chair of the Health Science department at Butler University.   She has over 20 years experience in higher education and is a clinical pharmacist, certified wellness coach, and group fitness instructor.  She obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy from Butler University, completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at St. Vincent Hospitals and Health Services, and was a Visiting Scientist at Eli Lilly and Company. She is a past president of the Indiana College of Clinical Pharmacy as well as the founder and a past president of the Drug Information Practice and Research Network within the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.  Her primary practice, research, and interest areas are related to community health, vaping/electronic cigarettes, CBD & cannabis, providing health services to the uninsured, and improving the mental health of students, faculty, and clinicians in health professions.  She is well-published and has provided a myriad of presentations on these topics at local, state, and national levels.  

Marabeth Pereira
Marabeth Pereira
Administrative Specialist, Interdisciplinary Programs

Marabeth joined Butler’s Interdisciplinary Programs in August 2022. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Michael’s College and a Master of Arts from Sacred Heart University. She previously worked for Hamilton Southeastern Schools Corporation and has three children, the youngest of whom currently attends Butler University.

Carol Reeves
Carol Reeves
Professor – English

Carol Reeves, Rebecca Clifton Reade Professor of English,came to Butler from Texas in 1989 after receiving her Ph.D. from TexasChristian University.

Professor Reeves investigates how language and rhetoric shapeour knowledge and understanding of our world, ourselves, and others.  In particular, she examines how language bothenables and disables the growth of knowledge and consensus surroundingscientific claims, both inside science and in the public.  Her publications on the AIDS epidemic, MadCow Disease or Prion Disease, agricultural chemicals, addiction, and climatechange all demonstrate the tenuous relation between “reality” and the languagewe use to represent that reality.  Bias,context, and limited data inevitably lead to imperfect definitions,descriptions, labels, and visuals representations that can easily come to“stand in” for an unexplored or unknown totality.  She also explores the struggles scientistsface when they attempt to describe and establish new phenomena, engage incross-disciplinary debates over the nature of a phenomenon, when they areentrenched in high stakes disagreements over threats to the environment andhuman health, when they need to communicate risk to the general public, andwhen they want to change perceptions of stigmatized conditions. 

Professor Reeves’ teaching fields include courses in MedicalHumanities, Political Rhetoric, Scientific Rhetoric, Professional Writing abouthealth and the environment, and Literature.  

Professor Reeves has also made contributions to severalorganizations in Indianapolis and Indiana that have provided opportunities forher students.  Working with CAFO Watch,Indiana to increase regulatory oversight for Concentrated Animal FeedingOperations, Reeves has brought many students into the organization as internswho learn about the legislative process and environmental policymaking.  She and students worked with the RileyHospital Ryan White Pediatric Infectious Disease department to plan a campaignto create awareness of pre- and peri-natal HIV transmission and the importanceof testing.  She and her students alsowork with Women for Change Indianapolis and Planned Parenthood to help buildopportunities for women to access educational opportunities and healthcare and tocombat discrimination. 

View CV

Julie Searcy
Assistant Professor – Anthropology
Mike Trombley
Mike Trombley
Senior Lecturer, Biological Sciences

Educational Experiences

In 2015, I earned my Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology with a minor in Life Sciences from the Indiana University School of Medicine, where I was a graduate student in Dr. Margaret Bauer’s lab.  My thesis research focused on how pathogenic bacteria were capable of evading the immune response by specifically studying the sexually transmitted infection Haemophilus ducreyi.  We discovered and characterized multiple genes and mechanisms involved in this bacterium’s ability to escape destruction by the human innate immune system, which is ultimately ineffective in controlling this infection.

I completed my undergraduate education at Butler University in 2009 with a B.S. in Biology and a Chemistry minor.  As a student at Butler, I was involved in a number of campus organizations and activities, including but not limited to the Student Government Association, the Butler University Student Foundation, Greek Life, the Dawg Pound, and the Biology Department as a Lab Assistant and Tutor. I was a member of the Butler University Football Team for a portion of my undergraduate years and continued participating in a number of intramural activities after.  Lastly, I partook in several years of undergraduate research in Dr. Villani’s Lab, and I participated in the 2008 Butler Summer Institute.

Prior to my time at Butler, I grew up in the Cincinnati area and attended Archbishop McNicholas High School.

Courses Taught and University Service

As an instructor, I aim to provide a high quality of education by promoting an intellectually stimulating environment, developing a foundation of critical thinking, and demonstrating a personal interest in all students.  The main courses I teach are Principles of Immunology (BI 323) in the fall and Principles of Pathogenic Microbiology (BI 325) in the spring.  I also am heavily involved in the Biology Fundamentals series, specifically teaching Genetics (BI 210).  I will also occasionally teach Biology and Society (NW 200-BI) and the senior Biology Capstone class (BI 480).

As a faculty member, I actively serve as a committee member or faculty advisor to a number of campus organizations.  I currently serve as the Pre-Health Professions Advisor, and I am a member of the Faculty Development Advisory Committee, the Butler University Undergraduate Retention and Success Task Force, the LAS Essay Contest Committee, and chair of the Biology Website Renovation and Maintenance Committee to name a few.  I currently serve as a faculty advisor for the Pre-Dental Club, the Butler University Club Hockey Team, the Sigma Nu Fraternity, and the Butler Cru Campus Ministry, and I participate every year at Bulldogs into the Streets.

I have previously served on the Butler Advance Faculty Steering Committee, Butler University Council for Independent Colleges Consortium for Instructional Excellence and Career Guidance, the LAS Teaching and Peer Review Guidelines Taskforces, the Top 100 Selection Committee, and I have informally served as a volunteer member on the Butler University Young Alumni Board.

Research Interests

Summative focus: Studying microbial resistance to antimicrobial agents, including components of the immune system, chemicals used to disinfectant, and antibiotics used for treatment

Current Projects

1.)  Do we find potential pathogens on common surfaces we interact with on a daily basis, and what percentage of these microbes are antibiotic resistant?  Are the disinfectants used to clean effective against these potential pathogens, and how long after disinfection do microbes recolonize the surface?  These questions may tell us more about how common drug resistance may be on common surfaces as within the everyday microbes.  Additionally, with so many products being advertised as effective against various microbes, it is important to actually put them to the test and see how effective they may be.

2.)  Do we find potential fecal coliforms within water ways such as the canal and/or the White River, and is this influenced by different times of the year and different amounts of rain?  Do these fecal coliforms harbor resistance to antibiotics?  These questions may tell us more about the impact that the combined sewer system of Indianapolis as well as the impact of northern septic systems and agricultural livestock on is having on our water systems.

Former Projects

1.)  We studied antimicrobial peptide resistance in two bacterial plant pathogens, Pseudomonas syringae and Erwinia amylovora.  By examining their ability to evade both plant defenses and the human immune system, we have found the potential presence of mechanisms that appear to confer resistance to a wide range of host antimicrobial peptides. This suggests the presence of conserved virulence mechanisms found among inter-kingdom bacterial pathogens, which could potentially have large implications on antibiotic resistance and human health.  Studies have shown that animal pathogens can transfer resistance genes to common human pathogens; by demonstrating the presence of these same or similar resistance genes in plant pathogens, we hope to further our understanding of the evolutionary development of antibiotic resistance as well as the possibility that how we treat our agricultural pathogens may have an impact on human bacterial pathogens.

2.)  We examined the microbial flora found on the Butler University squirrel population. In collaboration with Dr. Carmen Salsbury, we live-trap squirrels and swab their ears, feet, and abdomen for microbes.  We have seen not only the presence of a wide variety of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes, but there appears to be the presence of Staphylococcus aureus, commonly found as part of the human microbiota.  Additionally, initial findings have shown that there is also the presence of drug-resistant S.aureus, indicating that squirrels could be a vector for human pathogens such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant S. aureus). It is well known that rodents such as rats can carry human diseases, and previous research has shown that small mammals such as dogs have been found to not only carry MRSA, but also potentially spread it to humans.  Our research is further evidence that animals which commonly interact with human environments are capable of becoming vectors to human diseases, and even more troubling, may be contributing to the spread of antibiotic-resistance microbes that have become a significant burden on human healthcare in the last 40 years.

3.) I also collaborated with Dr. Berthrong and some of his students in their efforts to examine the microbial recolonization and presence of MRSA on cellphones, determine the presence of bacterial contamination in various water sources, and study the microbial diversity among various environments found on Butler’s campus.

Personal Life

In addition to my time spent here at Butler, I very much cherish my role as a husband to my wife Amanda and as a father to my daughter Olivia.  We love the Indianapolis Zoo, the Children’s Museum, going to the park,walking our 120 lb American Bulldog named Duke, and anything related to Disney!  When I’m not spending time with my family, I enjoy many different fitness activities, reading a good book, and I am an avid, although not outstanding, golfer.  I also find myself heavily involved with Butler Athletics, and you can probably find me at basketball or football games. Go Dawgs!