Skip to Main Content

Women in STEM: Women in STEM at Duquesne

Women in STEM at Duquesne

Jelena Janjic

Dr. Jelena JanjicDr. Jelena Janjic is an associate professor of Pharmaceutics at Duquesne. Dr. Janjic holds a pharmacy degree from Belgrade University, S.R. Yugoslavia and a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry/Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy.  She is the founder and co-director of Duquesne's Chronic Pain Research Consortium, which takes a multidisciplinary approach to research and education on chronic pain. She was inducted into Duquesne University's Research Hall of Fame in 2018, and received the 2018 Pittsburgh Business Times Innovator award for pain nanomedicine work.

She is part of the leadership team at WIS@DU since its founding.

Learn more:

Lauren O'Donnel

Dr. Lauren O'DonnelDr. Lauren O'Donnell is an Associate Professor in the School of Pharmacy at Duquesne.  She received her BS in Agriculture from the University of Delaware and her PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Fox Chase Cancer Center in viral immunology, Lauren started her laboratory at Duquesne University. Her research laboratory studies how viruses alter the course of brain development, with an emphasis on understanding the neuroimmunology of neonatal and pediatric infections.  She was awarded Duquesne University’s Creative Teaching Award in 2014 and 2018, and the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2019.  Visit her website at

Fatiha Benmokhtar

Dr. Fatiha BenmokhtarDr. Fatiha Benmokhtar is an experimental physicist and an Assistant Professor at Duquesne University’s Bayer School of Natural & Environmental Sciences. She earned her Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Rutgers University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Benmokhtar does most of her research work using a particle accelerator at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, which allows her to collaborate with scientists from all around the world. Her research expertise is in the field of short-range correlations in light nuclei, electro-weak interaction and the physics beyond the Standard Model and the spin structure of the proton.

Learn more:

Research articles 

Wenqi Zhou

Dr. Wenqi ZhouDr. Wenqi Zhou is an Associate Professor of Information Systems Management in Duquesne University’s School of Business. She received her Ph.D. in Business Administration with a concentration in Information Systems from the George Washington University. Through various data analytics techniques, her works have gained insights on gender stereotype in online social media, motivations behind and sales outcome of online customer reviews, and the monetary impact of vendor’s online self-boosting and bad-mouthing behaviors. Her research has been recognized by Best Paper Awards at conferences, the Excellence in Research Award at SOBA, and the Beard Research Fellowship in Ethics. Visit her website here.

Rehana Leak

Dr. Rehana LeakDr. Rehana Leak is an Associate Professor in the School of Pharmacy at Duquesne. She was trained in neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh and Barnard College. Dr. Leak directs a research laboratory focused on 1) the surprising benefits of exposure to mild stress, and 2) a family of fatal conditions known as Lewy body disorders. The primary goal of this work is to boost natural resilience against brain disorders. She received the Duquesne University President's Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 2018 and was inducted into Duquesne’s Research Hall of Fame in 2016.

Learn more:

Lyndsie Ferrara

Lyndsie FerraraLyndsie Ferrara has been an instructor in the Forensic Science and Law program at Duquesne since 2014. She received both her BS and MS from Duquesne, and worked in the US Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory as a biologist. She was also a forensics specialist for the Department of Justice. She collaborates regularly with the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence.

She is currently working on her PhD in healthcare ethics and her research focuses on improving ethics education for forensic scientists.

Rachael Neilan

Dr. Rachael Miller Neilan is an assistant professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Duquesne. She received her BS from Drexel, and her MS and PhD from the University of Tennessee. Her research interests are multidisciplinary and include agent-based models to evaluate the effects of policies on populations in an environment. Dr. Neilan also works to predict the effects of ocean dead zones on fish and to prevent the spread of diseases using mathematical models.

She is part of the leadership board for WIS@DU. Visit Dr. Neilan's website here.

Learn more:

Anna Haensch

Anna HaenschDr. Anna Haensch is an assistant professor of Mathematics at Duquesne. She earned her PhD in math from Wesleyan, and since earning her PhD she has worked as a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics and the University of Hong Kong. Dr. Haensch also collaborated on the L-functions and Modular Forms Database, a database that shows connections among L-functions and that will be important to cryptography and cyber security. Dr. Haensch is particularly interested in communicating with the public about math and in 2013 worked at National Public Radio's Science Desk as an AAAS-AMS Mass Media Fellow. Her most recent grants include an American Institute of Mathematics SQuaRE grant and Brown University's Collaborate@ICERM. Visit her website here.

Learn more:


WIS@DU logo Women in Science at Duquesne University is a forum for Duquesne's women in STEM. It provides mentorship, recognition, and networking. See their website for info on upcoming events and to sign up for the listserv.

Dr. Plaxedes Chitiyo

Dr. Plaxedes ChitiyoDr. Plaxedes Chitiyo is currently an Assistant Professor at the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at Duquesne for the Center for Environmental Research and Education as well as the Internship / Capstone Coordinator for the Environmental Science & Management graduate program. She received her BS in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management from Africa University and  PhD. in Environmental Resources and Policy from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Her scholarly interests are in the areas of sustainable agriculture in developed and developing regions, urban green space development, environmental justice and policy, sustainability, and community development. 

Dr. Kristin Klucevsek

Dr. Kristin KlucevsekDr. Kristin Klucevsek earned her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. Dr. Klucevsek has been a Teaching Assistant Professor of Scientific Writing in the English department of Duquesne University since 2013. In 2017-2018, she received both the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts Award and the Duquesne University President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Prior to her work at Duquesne, Dr. Klucevsek wrote and edited educational science videos, assessments, and other digital content for Shmoop and Currently, her research focuses on the role of publishing in scientific literacy, peer review, and the scholarship of teaching and learning

Learn more:

Recent research

Melissa Kalarchian

Dr. Melissa KalarchianDr. Melissa Kalarchian is the Associate Dean for Research in the School of Nursing and Professor of Nursing and Psychology at Duquesne. She received her BA in Psychology from Dartmouth College and earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Rutgers University. Her research is focused on adapting evidence-based lifestyle interventions to meet the needs of vulnerable populations. Most recently, she has been Principal Investigator on several National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Foundation funded studies geared to helping patients achieve maximal weight loss and optimal psychosocial functioning after bariatric surgery. She was awarded the Duquesne University President's Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 2019.

Jennifer Elliott

Dr. Jennifer ElliottDr. Jennifer Elliott is an Associate Professor in the School of Pharmacy at Duquesne University. Elliott has spent her entire career creating and implementing programs in pursuit of health equity.  She has developed cross-sector collaborations to improve the health of children, families and communities through education, research, outreach and advocacy.  An award-winning educator and researcher, Elliott received the Creative Teaching Award in 2011 from Duquesne University's the Center for Teaching Excellence, was inducted into Duquesne's Research Hall of Fame in 2016, and she was recognized by Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP as a 40 under 40 honoree in 2018 and the Incline's Who's Next: Education in 2019.

Learn More:

Tiffany Hatcher

Dr. Tiffany HatcherDr. Tiffany Hatcher is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Pharmacy  at Duquesne. She received her PharmD from Hampton University and completed residency training with University of Arkansas Medical Sciences and Walmart Health and Wellness. Licensed in six states, Dr. Hatcher is highly adaptable and has an array of diverse experiences in teaching, training, and providing pharmaceutical and patient care services. Dr. Hatcher remains active in numerous professional organizations to continue advocating for patients, pharmacists, and students. Research interest include exploring social determinants of health and chronic disease state management

Khlood Salman

Dr. Khlood SalmanDr. Khlood Salman is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at Duquesne University. She earned her master in nursing and a doctoral in Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh. Her scholarly work focuses on population health with specific focus on breast and cervical cancer prevention among diverse women. She serves as an advisory council member for the Department of Human Services (DHS) in the Allegany County, a member in the Immunization Coalition of the Allegheny County, and work closely with the refugee resettlement agencies in the city of Pittsburgh. In 2016, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship for six months to share expertise in nursing education and conduct research focuses on women’s health in the Kingdome of Saudi Arabia.

Learn more:

Recent publications

Misook Heo

Dr. Misook Heo is a professor in the School of Education at Duquesne. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include information visualization, motivation, and knowledge sharing. As a Fulbright Scholar she traveled to Pusan National University in South Korea, where she studied Koreans' reluctance to contribute to co-creative knowledge sharing sites (like Wikipedia). Dr. Heo has received multiple grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea. She is also a member of the WIS@DU leadership.

Nancy Trun

Dr. Nancy Trun is an associate professor in Biology at Duquesne. She received her BS in microbiology from Ohio State, and her PhD in molecular biology from Princeton.

She is currently studying microbes' ability to detoxify contaminated water, by doing research on the settling ponds at Wingfield Pines in Western Pennsylvania. Dr. Trun has won several teaching awards, including the 2016 Spirit of Learning Award, and is a member of the Duquesne University Office of Research Hall of Fame. She has also been awarded multiple grants from the National Science Foundation.

Learn more about her award-winning teaching pedagogy, Application Based Service Learning, here and here.

Sarah Woodley

Dr. Sarah Woodley is an associate professor of Biological Sciences at Duquesne. After receiving a BS in Biology and a BA in French at Indiana University, she received an MS in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Chicago and then earned her PhD in Biology at Arizona State University. She has received many awards for her teaching, including the 2016 award for Creative Teaching from Duquesne's Center for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Woodley's research is currently centered on the effects of environmental stressors on amphibians. Additionally, she studies the vomeronasal organ (an olfactory organ) in salamanders to better understand sex differences. She uses the Application Based Service Learning pedagogy in her classes.