Dr. Christina King Smith, Program Director
Christina King Smith earned a B.S. in Biology at Bucknell University and an M.S. in Marine Studies (Marine Biology/Biochemistry) at the University of Delaware. She completed a Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Biological Sciences, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Her research focuses on the cytoskeleton and cell motility. She joined the faculty at Saint Joseph's University in 1996, and has continued to study the cytoskeleton and regulation of organelle motility with undergraduate and M.S. students. Her current research also addresses mechanisms of mammalian cell migration.
Dr. King Smith has received extramural grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and has mentored more than 40 undergraduate students in research. Her students have been co-authors of published papers and presentations at professional meetings, and have gone on to pursue Ph.D., M.D., or M.D-Ph.D. degrees. In addition to directing the McNulty Scholars Program, Dr. King Smith is also Program Director of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Science Education grant awarded to the Biology and Physics departments at Saint Joseph's University in 2009. She teaches freshman cell biology and genetics courses, and an upper-division course in Advanced Cell Biology.
Dr. Usha Rao, Associate Director
Dr. Usha Rao obtained an undergraduate degree in Geology from St. Xavier’s College of the University of Bombay, India, prior to coming to the United States to earn a Ph.D. in Geochemistry at the University of Rochester. She was an Environmental Research Council post-doctoral fellow in Geological Sciences and Environmental Engineering at Northwestern University. Dr. Rao joined the Department of Chemistry at St. Joseph’s University in 2000, where she is currently an Associate Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Geochemistry. Dr. Rao’s classroom teaching at St. Joseph’s has been recognized by a merit award for “exceptional achievement in teaching”
Dr. Rao’s research interests lie in the study of the presence of environmental pollutants in bodies of water, soil and sediment. At SJU, she and her students have evaluated the sources of salinity in a spring water system at Saratoga Springs, NY, and analyzed the bottom sediments of Lake Ontario for the presence of iodine radionuclides released during nuclear fuel reprocessing. More recent areas of research in Dr. Rao’s lab have included a study of the distribution of metals that were released to Pennsylvania’s streams during coal mining, and the study of atmospheric acid rain deposition-induced weathering in limestone headstones at Philadelphia cemeteries. Dr. Rao’s research has been funded by grants from the American Chemical Society-Petroleum Research Fund, the Lindback Association, Purdue University’s PRIME Laboratory, and multiple SJU Faculty Development Grants.
Dr. Rao serves as a Board Trustee of the Ardmore Library of the Lower Merion Library System, ranked as one of the best library systems in the country. She has a long-standing involvement in projects promoting children's literacy and scientific literacy, providing invited reviews of approximately 100 new books each year and developing projects to enhance children's reading activities.
Maureen Gallagher, Administrative Assistant
Maureen Gallagher, an Administrative Assistant in the Dean's Office in the College of Arts and Sciences, handles administrative assistant duties for the John P. McNulty Scholars Program for Excellence in Science and Math.