Basic Sciences Faculty

Barb Puder, Ph.D.
Associate Professorand Chair
Dr. Puder has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and teaches medical neuroscience courses to students in various Samuel Merritt University programs. In addition to teaching, Barb has developed neuroscience community outreach programs designed for grades K-12 and the community. These programs introduce the brain and its functions by using age appropriate language and hands-on activities. Samuel Merritt University students participate in the brain programs by creating presentations, posters, and hands-on activities relating to a neuroscience topic. For more information regarding the neuroscience outreach programs, please click on the Brain Awareness link.

Kamla Ahluwalia, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Dr. Ahluwalia directs the Gross Anatomy courses in the DPT and MPA programs. Her academic interests include both human and non-human primate anatomy, functional morphology and biomechanics of the knee, bone remodeling, and bone architecture.

Christina Lewis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Dr. Lewis teaches Gross Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathophysiology courses in the CRNA program and Gross Anatomy in the OT and PA programs. Her academic interests include pulmonary physiology, pathophysiology, genetic and genomic studies of disease, and asthma. Dr. Lewis' research interests are in asthma, and her current research is investigating the role of the airway epithelium in mediating asthma pathogenesis.

Mary Premenko-Lanier, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Dr. Premenko-Lanier currently teaches Immunology, Biochemistry, and Microbiology lab courses in the DPM program. Her primary research focus has been on understanding dysfunctional immunity and disease progression during persistent virus infections. Dr. Premenko-Lanier's laboratory has found that an IFNγ response is necessary to sustain a prolonged antiviral state while type I IFN’s main role is to support immune activation and IFNγ production. Her lab has also identified a relationship between CD4 T cell activation and morbidity.

Richard Rocco, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Dr. Rocco currently teaches the pharmacology courses in the DPM program. He also teaches in the undergraduate ABSN program, as needed.