Tip sheet

Wayne State University scholars are available to comment on trending topics for March

Let us help you cover the news. Our public relations team can connect you with faculty experts and scholars, as well as guide you to the latest Wayne State University news. Each month, our PR team compiles a list of university experts who can speak about trending topics and significant milestones. Links to our expert profiles contain detailed biographical information to help you find the most relevant expert for your story needs. If you are a journalist, please inform us of deadline requests and we will respond promptly.

To reach an expert, please send an email to Bill Roose.


Our experts can explain how more opportunities than ever are available for girls in science and engineering fields, and why this is important.

  • Carolyn Harris, Ph.D., professor of chemical engineering and materials science, is ready to discuss opportunities available to women pursuing engineering careers.
  • Harini Sundararaghavan, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering and faculty advisor for the Society of Women Engineers, is prepared to talk about the importance of girls pursuing STEM disciplines such as engineering.

One in 24 people will be diagnosed with CRC in their lifetime, but you can make a difference today. Every March, National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month spotlights this disease and inspires more people to get checked starting at age 45.

  • Hayley Thompson, Ph.D., professor of oncology, can discuss colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the United States. Colorectal cancer affects people in all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in those 50 and older. If everyone aged 50 and older was screened regularly, six out of 10 deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented. Communities, health professionals and families can work together to encourage people to get screened.

Our dietitians can explain the key elements of a healthy diet and present some little-known facts about what many Americans are lacking nutritionally.

  • Diane Cress, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, can address the issue of access to healthy food, which is necessary for improving health and addressing the obesity epidemic.
  • Cathy Jen, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, is an expert in the areas of dietary factors in obesity and diabetes, obesity prevention and intervention in adolescents, and obesity and chronic diseases in minority populations.

The most significant factor that influences a child's early-education success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school.

  • Kathleen Crawford-McKinney, Ph.D., associate professor of reading, language and literature, can discuss the College of Education's High Five Literacy Program, which provides free tutoring in reading and writing to first- through eighth-grade students. She can also explain the important impact of reading as a foundation for academic, career and personal success.

Though social work has not always been a formal profession, some practice of it has long been in place in the form of charity work. However, the profession is quite scientific. Overall, it's an exciting interdisciplinary profession that requires a background in psychology and sociology.

  • Sheryl Kubiak, Ph.D., dean of the School of Social Work, can explain the important roles that social workers play and discuss the need to support the current behavioral health workforce and grow the profession. 

From women's suffrage to the feminist movement, the last 100 years have seen some of the most momentous events in women's history. Our experts can talk in detail about who led these movements and how the trajectory of women's history brought us to where we are today.

  • Janine Lanza, Ph.D., associate professor of history and director of the Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program, has expertise in women of early modern and Revolutionary France and Europe and the history of the feminist movement.
  • Betsy Lublin, Ph.D., associate professor of history, specializing in women and gender in Japan and East Asia.
  • Liette Gidlow, Ph.D., a professor of history, is an expert on women's history, especially woman suffrage and the Nineteenth Amendment, voting rights and voter turnout.

World Kidney Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

  • Noreen Rossi, M.D., professor of internal medicine with a focus in nephrology, is able to speak about kidney disease, a chronic problem estimated to affect nearly 26 million adults — an increase from 20 million just a few years ago. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure and a family history of kidney failure, you are at a higher risk for kidney disease and should be tested.

Moving our clocks forward one hour on March 12 seems like a relatively minor adjustment to our day; after all, we're only losing one hour over the next eight months, until we turn our clocks back an hour in November, right? Why do we have daylight saving time? Are there specific economic reasons to observe daylight saving time? Are there potential health repercussions? Are our physical bodies really affected by changing our sleep patterns a bit?

  • M. Safwan Badr, M.D., chair of internal medicine and founding director of the Wayne State University Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program, is prepared to discuss if, and how, daylight saving time affects our bodies and our ability to function at an optimal level.

Sleep deprivation and poor sleeping habits are often cited as growing problems in today's fast-paced and ever-changing society. How important is the eight hours of sleep recommendation? Do we really need structured sleep times in terms of when, how and where we sleep?

  • M. Safwan Badr, M.D., chair of internal medicine and founding director of the Wayne State University Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program, is available to talk about the significance of sleep deprivation and how the interruption of sleep patterns may affect a person's health. An internationally known sleep disorders researcher and research mentor, Badr is a past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Pi (the Greek letter "π") is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter), which is approximately 3.14159. Our expert can tell you how he is able to express pi up to thousands of digits and why, as an irrational and transcendental number, pi will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern.

  • Dan Isaksen, Ph.D., professor of mathematics, can address various mathematics topics including PI discussions.

Brain Awareness Week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the organ that is critical to mental health. Knowledge about the brain and neuroscience is ever changing as new discoveries are found through research. What is new in the field of neuroscience? What steps can we take to keep our brain healthy and sharp?

  • Tom Fischer, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and director of the undergraduate neuroscience program, can discuss neuroscientists in Detroit and how their research benefits the public at large.
  • Vaibhav Diwadkar, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences and co-director of the brain imaging research division, can explain the relevance of brain network dysfunction for psychiatric illnesses and its precursors. His research interests include schizophrenia, mood disorders, adolescent risk for psychiatric disease, borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and brain network function.

In 1979, the Camp David Accord ended 30 years of warfare between Israel and Egypt. Israel Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed the treaty of mutual recognition and peace, fostered by U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

  • Liette Gidlow, Ph.D., a professor of U.S. history in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State, is comfortable talking about the Carter presidency and sharing a few little-known anecdotes about the 39th President of the United States.

More than 37.3 million Americans — or about 11.3% of the U.S. population — have diabetes. About 1 in 5 Americans living with diabetes, or 8.5 million people, are unaware that they have the disease.

  • Berhane Seyoum, M.D., associate professor, is able to speak about various aspects of diabetes including the importance of early detection and treatment.

Hardly anyone looks forward to going to the doctor, but most can agree on the integral role they play in our personal health and in our national health care system. Our medical expert can talk about the differences a doctor can make in someone's life.

  • Diane Levine, M.D., clinical professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and vice chair of education, can explain what makes a good doctor, what to look for in a doctor and how Wayne State University prepares students to be exemplary doctors.


Researchers from the SMART Labs at Wayne State University are exploring interpretations and effects of anti-Asian online hate speech in the context of COVID-19. They are investigating how communication is being used for the performance of harmful speech acts on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

  • Stephanie Tong, Ph.D., associate professor of communication, can report on the results of several studies that examine the startling increase of incidents of online harassment against Asian Americans that has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since launching in late 2022, ChatGPT has been an extraordinary hit. The AI program can churn out answers to the biggest questions in life, and draw up school essays, fictional stories, and much more. But there are mounting global concerns over the impact on education, and potential for plagiarism, with its ability to produce high-quality essays with minimal human input.

  • Jared Grogan, Ph.D., an associate professor of teaching in the English Department at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Chris Susak, an assistant professor of teaching in the English Department, are both available to discuss ChatGPT as a writing aid and a potential equity tool in higher education.
  • Ke Zhang, Ph.D., professor of learning design and technology in the College of Education at Wayne State, is available to discuss e-learning, mobile learning, emerging learning technologies (e.g., VR, AI, etc.), mobile health technologies, problem solving, and national and international policies regarding e-learning and mobile learning.

The Michigan Poison & Drug Information Center at the Wayne State University School of Medicine advises all Michiganders to be prepared and safe during the challenges that may come with winter weather, especially in regard to carbon monoxide.

  • Varun Vohra, M.D., a clinical toxicologist and managing/academic director of the Michigan Poison & Drug Information Center, is available to talk about the warning signs that some people may experience when exposed to carbon monoxide.

Flooding and mudslides grew as winter storms battered California residents up and down the Golden Coast in January. The storms, which began on New Year's Eve and lasted a few weeks, killed at least 17 people, and led to evacuation orders for nearly 100,000 residents across the state. What role did climate change play in this "conveyer belt" of storms?

  • Donna Kashian, Ph.D., a professor and director of Environmental Science in the Department of Biological Sciences at Wayne State, is available to discuss anthropogenic changes to our climate. She is also a visiting scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • Bill Shuster, Ph.D., a professor and chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering at Wayne State, is available to discuss flooding in urban centers related to climate change.
  • Matt Seeger, Ph.D., a distinguished professor in the Department of Communication at Wayne State, can talk about crisis and emergency risk communication, warning systems, alerts, and informational needs in disasters.
  • Yaoxian Huang, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering at Wayne State, can discuss atmospheric chemistry, climate change and pollutants.
  • Tam Perry, Ph.D., an associate professor in the School of Social Work at Wayne State, can talk about climate change impacts on an aging population.

Investors are grappling with the stunning implosion of FTX, one of the biggest and most powerful players in the cryptocurrency industry.

  • Sudip Datta, Ph.D., is a professor of finance at Wayne State University's Mike Ilitch School of Business and holds the T. Norris Hitchman Endowed Chair. He is an expert in valuation of executive and employee stock options, valuation of shareholder damages due to stock price manipulation, insider-trading related damages, private company valuation, and much more.

Former President Donald Trump has announced his 2024 presidential bid. Could his status as a presidential candidate limit his exposure in several continuing legal battles, particularly his handling of presidential records; past business practices; any involvement in Jan. 6 riot; and attempts to change state election results?

  • James Townsend, J.D., director of the Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School, is a former representative for the State of Michigan who served in Washington, D.C. as a legislative director. He is available to discuss potential legal issues regarding the 45th president.

The Internal Revenue Service is encouraging taxpayers to take important actions to help them file their 2022 federal tax returns. What steps should taxpayers take now to make tax filing easier in 2023? What's new and what key items do taxpayers need to consider before they file next year?

  • Hillel Nadler, J.D., an assistant professor of law, focuses his research on taxation and financial regulation.

As global populations increase, concerns about food scarcity and prices arise as every night an estimated 828 million people go to bed hungry, according to the World Food Program, a United Nations organization focusing on providing food assistance globally.

  • Diane Cress, Ph.D., is a registered dietitian and an associate professor in Wayne State's Department of Nutrition and Food Science. The work she does aims to address issues of access to healthful food, a basic human right. A nutrition expert both in the community and in the classroom, she is working to create change through food policy programs, food access programs, and nutrition education programs.

Modern Israel will celebrate its 75th Independence Day on April 25. But many fear Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "legislative blitz" and the massive protests it has triggered, could mark the beginning of the end to the Israeli experiment and bring total destruction to the Jewish State.

  • Howard Lupovitch, Ph.D., a professor of history and the director of the Cohn-Haddowe Center for Judaic Studies at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State University, is available to talk about the current political climate in Israel.

The coronation of King Charles III will take place on May 6 at Westminster Abbey in London. During the ceremony, the King will be crowned alongside Camilla, the Queen Consort. But what, exactly, is a coronation?

  • Janine Lanza, Ph.D., a professor of European history and gender studies at Wayne State University, is ready to discuss the symbolic and religious ceremony during which a sovereign is crowned and the physical act of placing a crown on a monarch's head.

Shootings in schools and in public spaces such as movie theaters, grocery stores, shopping malls and dance halls continue to dominate the news. They have commanded public attention on a disturbingly frequent basis across America. But what is being done to stop the carnage?

  • Pontus Leander, Ph.D., professor of psychology and chair of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, can talk about public reactions to and the social psychology of mass shootings, as well as the psychology of hate crime denial.

At least 45,000 people have been killed and thousands more trapped beneath rubble after two powerful earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6. The death toll is expected to rise, with search and rescue operations under way across the region as many buildings have collapsed.

  • Scott Burdick, Ph.D., assistant professor of geology and expert seismologist in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State, is available to discuss the 7.5-plus magnitude tremors.
  • Mark Baskaran, Ph.D., a professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Geology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, can talk about the cultural and historical context of the Turkey/Syria earthquakes.
  • Kristin Taylor, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at Wayne State, can discuss the politics of disasters, seismic mitigations, and vulnerable populations in hazards and disasters.

On Feb. 3, a train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, a village of approximately 4,700 residents about 50 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. The train was carrying chemicals and combustible materials, including vinyl chloride, a toxic flammable gas. A huge fire erupted from the derailment, sending thick billowing smoke into the sky. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimates the spill also affected more than seven miles of streams and killed some 3,500 fish.  

  • Judy Westrick, Ph.D., director of the Lumigen Instrument Center at Wayne State University, is an analytical chemist who has experience with Ohio River chemical spills.
  • Donna Kashian, Ph.D., director of Environmental Science at Wayne State, is available to discuss the human and environmental health hazards to further our understanding of contaminants in the environment.

Postpartum depression, which impacts women and men, is not a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it's simply a complication of giving birth. In fall 2023, Wayne State will launch the Social Work Family Clinic (SWFC), which will be housed at 400 Mack next to Wayne Pediatrics. SWFC will be the only perinatal mood and anxiety disorders clinic in Detroit.

  • Carolyn Dayton, Ph.D., associate professor and expert in infant mental health and fathering in urban environments, and Social Work Family Clinic Implementation Coordinator Beverly Weathington are working with Wayne Pediatrics in putting in place an integrated model of care that meets both the physical and mental health needs of mothers and their young children. This team approach will include pediatricians, mental health clinicians and students, as well as community organizations all working together to meet the needs of families with young children who are challenged with depression, anxiety and trauma responses.

One of four U.S. presidents to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize, former President Jimmy Carter, the longest living president in American history, has entered hospice care at his Georgia home. During his four years in office, Carter sought to restore trust in government following the Vietnam War and Watergate, and he negotiated the Camp David accords making peace between Israel and Egypt. But his post-presidency, on a series of philanthropic causes around the world, like helping to renovate 4,300 houses for the poor, and promoting human rights, eventually earning him the Nobel Prize.

  • Liette Gidlow, Ph.D., a professor of U.S. history in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State, is comfortable talking about the Carter presidency and sharing a few little-known anecdotes about the 39th President of the United States.

Chaos and potential migrant surge could soon be triggered by an imminent policy shift at the southern U.S. border. The expiry of a Trump-era order that exploited public health justifications during the pandemic to turn away thousands of migrants is expected to severely strain an already stretched border, immigration and asylum system.

  • Sabrina Balgamwalla, J.D., an assistant professor of law and the director of the Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic at Wayne State, is available to discuss gender, race, and citizenship in immigration policy and enforcement.

U.S. officials have long warned of a potential national security threat because the wildly popular social video platform TikTok is owned by a Chinese company.

  • Elizabeth Stoycheff, Ph.D., an associate professor in Wayne State's Department of Communications, is an expert in online surveillance, digital privacy, Internet censorship, democratization, public diplomacy, large-scale survey and experimental design/analysis.


According to the FDA, a national shortage of different medications, including Amoxicillin, a common antibiotic, is expected to last several months. It is a common antibiotic that we use to treat a variety of childhood infections, including ear infections, strep throat, and pneumonia

  • Susan Davis, Ph.D., associate dean for Pharmacy at Wayne State's Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, is a relevant expert on pharmacy practices.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends adults get seven hours of sleep every night. There's evidence that getting less than that not only makes people feel sleepy and fatigued, but also, over time, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

  • James Rowley, M.D., professor of pulmonary and critical care and sleep medicine at Wayne State University and president-elect of AASM, is available to discuss sleep as essential for health.

Tensions between the U.S. and China are on the rise again after the Pentagon said it tracked a suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon across the United States before the U.S. military shot it down over the Atlantic Ocean, six miles off the South Carolina coast.

  • Gregory Fox, J.D., is a professor of law and director of the Program for International Legal Studies at Wayne State. He is a widely cited authority on international law and international organizations and a leader in a variety of academic and professional organizations. 

During a Monday Night Football game, Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin suffered what many experts believe was a cardiac episode known as commotion cordis, caused by a blunt trauma to the chest. Medical experts noted how very important it was that medical personnel were able to restart Hamlin's heart on the field while giving him CPR immediately after he suffered a cardiac arrest on Jan. 2.

  • Cynthia Bir, Ph.D., a professor and chair of biomedical engineering in WSU's College of Engineering, is a national expert who has done work with the NFL. She has developed a surrogate that has been validated for predicting commotion cordis in youths, which is the population where this injury most often occurs.
  • Phillip Levy, M.D., M.P.H., is the Edward S. Thomas Endowed Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Wayne State University. He is a leading cardiovascular disease researcher and a fellow of multiple professional societies including the American Heart Association.
  • Brian O'Neil, M.D., chair of Wayne State's Department of Emergency Medicine, is available to talk about the importance of CPR.

For the first time in a century, Congress failed to name a speaker of the House on a first ballot. On Jan. 3, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) did not receive the necessary number of votes needed to become speaker. Three separate votes, on the first day of the 118th Congress, yielded the same results.

  • Jeffrey Grynaviski, Ph.D., an associate professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is a specialist in legislative politics who can give a historic perspective on what is occurring in Washington, D.C.

The House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol referred former President Trump to the Justice Department on charges of insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

  • James Townsend, J.D., director of the Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School, is a former representative for the State of Michigan who served in Washington, D.C. as a legislative director. He is available to discuss potential legal issues regarding the 45th president.

Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious disease from the same family of viruses as the smallpox virus. 

  • Laurie Lauzon Clabo, Ph.D., dean of the College of Nursing and Chief Wellness Officer, is prepared to discuss the virus, its transmission and campus health protocols.
  • Patricia Wren, Ph.D., M.P.H., chair of the department of public health, is available to speak about the virus, its transmission and how messaging can shape public health.

Scientists at a federal research facility recently achieved a breakthrough in their work on nuclear fusion, long seen as a potential source of clean, virtually limitless energy. So, is nuclear fusion the answer to our energy needs?

  • Chen Shun, Ph.D., an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Wayne State, is ready to discuss this incredible achievement by nuclear scientists and engineers.

With more and more people returning to their offices and classrooms after three years of working or going to classes remotely, there can be some significant re-entry challenges, both personally and professionally.

  • Matthew Piszczek, Ph.D., assistant professor of management at the Mike Ilitch School of Business, is an expert in work-life issues, remote work, workforce aging, commuting, strategic HRM, employee/labor relations, and offers a wide range of solutions.

With the Supreme Court's repeal of Roe v. Wade, there are several legal, ethical and medical issues that require clarity. Wayne State offers several experts who can provide incisive analysis.

Law/Ethics/Precedent/State/Federal Issues

  • Lance Gable, J.D., M.P.H., professor of law, can talk about bioethics and the law and public health law.
  • Christopher Lund, J.D., professor of law, can talk about matters related to constitutional laws and religious liberty.

Medicine/Public Health

  • Megan Hicks, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Social Work, can talk about risk and protective factors influencing health disparities among Black youth.
  • Ijeoma Nnodim Opara M.D., is a double-board certified assistant professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. She can talk about health equity and justice in medicine.

As a supply chain crisis unfurled during the pandemic many business leaders were ready to say goodbye to a problematic 2021 and 2022. However, supply chain operations are far from normal, and now may not be the time to declare victory.

  • Kevin Ketels, a lecturer in global supply chain management at the Mike Ilitch School of Business, can offer perspective and insight about this complicated issue impacted by climate change on our supply chains.

Doctors across the country are worried about what could be a long winter. Early on, hospitals saw big spikes in RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) cases, the respiratory virus that primarily affects children. Adding that to increases in COVID-19 cases as well as a peak flu season, and concerns about a tripledemic mounted.

  • Eric McGrath, M.D., is board-certified in both pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases. He diagnoses and treats medical conditions caused by infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungus, or parasites.
  • Paul Kilgore, M.D., co-director of the Wayne State Center for Emerging and Infectious Diseases, is available to discuss expectations of an additional surge of viral illness after the holidays that will put additional pressure on already-stressed hospitals.

  • Teena Chopra, M.D., M.P.H., professor of Infectious Diseases at Wayne State University, is an expert with the Center for Emerging and Infectious Diseases.

GM, Ford and other companies have said they will continue to hit pause on paid advertising on Twitter while it evaluates the social media platform's new direction under Elon Musk.

  • Marick Masters, Ph.D., a professor of management at the Mike Ilitch School of Business, has studied social media platforms for a future book. He is available to discuss the future of the social site and whether a new social medium will pop up to replace Twitter one day.

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