Joyce J. Fernandes, Ph.D., Director of Undergraduate Research and Professor Department of Biology

Professor Joyce Fernandes

Dr. Joyce Fernandes, Professor of Biology, is responsible for the overall vision and direction for the Office of Research for Undergraduates, with guidance from the ORU steering committee. Dr Fernandes received a Ph.D in Developmental Biology from the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research in Mumbai India, and joined Miami University in 1999 having completed Post-doctoral training in Developmental Neurobiology at Yale University. Dr Fernandes’ research uses the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a genetic model system to study reorganization of motor systems and neural circuits during metamorphosis that give rise to adult specific behaviors. Several research projects in the lab are designed to investigate cellular interactions among neurons, motor neurons and glia that result in developmental patterning of adult tissues. Each year at least 8-10 undergraduates work in the Fernandes lab, and students have co-authored manuscripts, developed research thesis, and presented at National and Regional conferences. Dr. Fernandes’ research has been funded by the National Science Foundation as well as the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Fernandes was part of the team that developed and implemented FYRE- First Year Research Experience, through a successive series of Faculty/Staff Learning Communities. She is one of three faculty who piloted a 2 semester course-based version of FYRE in 2016-17, as a model to include first year students in authentic research. Dr. Fernandes teaches undergraduate courses in Cell Biology, Developmental Biology and Neurobiology, as well as graduate seminars in her fields of interest- Neurobiology and Science Education. She has served as Principal Investigator on Institutional awards funded by the National Science Foundation to increase minority representation in the Biological Sciences, through a focus on undergraduate research and mentoring, as well as a Major Research Instrumentation award. More recently, Dr Fernandes has been involved in improving retention in first year courses, through collaborative projects with graduate student instructors.

Dr. Fernandes serves on the education committee of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), is a Councilor in the Biology Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research, co-chairs the Advocacy Committee for the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), and serves as an Advisory Board member of Ohio-PKAL network (STEM focus at AACU).  Dr. Fernandes served (2012-2014) as Program Officer at the National Science Foundation, in the Division of Biological Infrastructure, where she managed programs in Major Research Instrumentation and Instrument Development for Biological Research.

Martha E. Weber, M.S., Coordinator of Undergraduate Research

Martha Weber Coordinator of Undergraduate Research
Ms. Weber supports the vision and mission of the Office of Research for Undergraduates. She supports these ORU sponsored undergraduate research programs: First Year Research Experience (FYRE), Doctoral Undergraduate Opportunities in Scholarship (DUOS), the Undergraduate Summer Scholars (USS) programs. In addition, Martha directs the annual spring Undergraduate Research Forum to showcase student research projects and other creative activities. She serves as Miami's liaison to The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).

In 2007 Martha earned her Masters of Science degree from Miami’s College Student Personnel Program. Before joining Miami University in 1988, Martha developed proposals for an international construction company in Atlanta. During the first seven year of her career, she lived in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg working for Cargolux Airlines, which gave her the opportunity for extensive world travel to over 40 countries. She obtained a B.A. in French from Miami in 1972 and also speaks a smattering of German and Luxembourgish. Martha has presented at Miami’s Lilly Conference on College Teaching in partnership with Dr. Christine W. Heilman and at the Council of Undergraduate Research with Dr. Joyce J. Fernandes.