BLaST Advisory Committee

The BAC manages and oversees program integration for the Fairbanks and pipeline partner campuses, policies and procedures, internal awards for travel, equipment, and faculty pilot projects. General BAC oversight includes coordinating biomedical research engagement and training across the BLaST network; expanding biomedical research partnerships within, between, and outside the universities; facilitating linkages between research and teaching for Alaskans of all ages and educational levels; and developing sustainable funding.

James Berner, M.D.
Phone: 907.729.1900
Office: C/O ANTHC, 400 Ambassador Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508
Position: Senior Director, Community Health Services
Affiliation: Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC)

James Berner, M.D., is a PI on an EPA STAR grant to implement community-based environmental monitoring of emerging environmental threats. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, but his research interests has involved a wide range of areas, including focusing on village-based environmental assessments and developing monitoring tools to develop individual adaptation strategies, enhance food and water security, ensure village sustainability, and studying direct contaminant and micro-nutrient levels in pregnant Alaska Native women.


Karsten Hueffer, P.h.D., FHEA, Tierarzt (DVM equiv.)
Phone: 907.474.6313
Office: 182D Arctic Health Research Building
Position: Dean of Veterinary Medicine; BLaST Principal Investigator
Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Karsten Hueffer, Tierarzt (DVM equivalent), Ph.D., earned his veterinary doctorate from the School of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover, Germany and Ph.D. from Cornell University in Comparative Biomedical Science. Following a postdoctoral position at Yale University, Hueffer joined UAF. His research focuses on infectious diseases. He has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students in research. He serves now as Dean of Veterinary Medicine, leading the professional veterinary program in collaboration with Colorado State University.


Claudia Ihl, Ph.D., M.S.
Phone: 907.443.8417
Office: C/O UAF CRCD Northwest Campus, 400 E. Front Street, Nome, Alaska 99762
Position: Assistant Professor of Biology, Northwest Campus - College of Rural Community Development
Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Claudia Ihl, Ph.D., is a UAF alumna receiving both an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences. Her research focuses on the foraging ecology, habitat, diet, and sociality of muskoxen. Her position at the Northwest Campus relies heavily on her ability to teach in rural settings and engage rural students in her research.


Linda Nicholas-Figeuroa, Ph.D., M.S.
Phone: 907.852.1848
Office: C/O Ilisagvik College, 100 Stevenson Street, PO Box 749, Barrow, Alaska 99723
Position: Assistant Professor Biology and Chemistry
Affiliations: IIisagvik College

Dr. Linda Nicholas-Figueroa is an Associate Professor of Biology and Chemistry at Ilisaġvik Tribal College in Utqiagvik, AK. Dr. Nicholas-Figueroa has taught at Ilisaġvik College since 2010. In addition, she runs several STEM-themed summer camps for students since 2011 and had been an instructor for Rural Alaska Honor’s Institute (RAHI) at UAF for 5 years. She is a UAF alumna receiving a B.S. and M.A. in Biochemistry and Chemistry, respectively, and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on engaging Alaska Native youth in STEM education.


Arleigh Reynolds, DVM, Ph.D., DACVN.
Phone: 907.474.1928
Office: 170 Arctic Health Research Building
Position: Director of One Health, BLaST Principal Investigator
Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Arleigh Reynolds, DVM, Ph.D., DACVN is the Director of One Health. He attended Cornell University; as a Cornell faculty member he taught courses and conducted research in the areas of Clinical Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, Metabolic Diseases of Domestic Animals, and Energy Metabolism. Reynolds has also taught courses at the University of Pennsylvania and the NYS College of Veterinary Science as well as conducting research for Purina.

Dr. Ellen Lopez
BLaST Student Training Core Director
Phone: 907-474-7318
Office: 705C Gruening

David Tallmon, Ph.D., M.S.
Phone: 907.796.6330
Office: C/O University of Southeast - Juneau Campus, 11120 Glacier Highway, Juneau, Alaska 99801
Position: Chair of the Department of Natural Sciences
Affiliations: University of Alaska Southeast

David Tallmon, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Biology. Dr Tallmon completed his undergraduate work in biology at the University of California Santa Cruz and received both a M.S. and Ph.D. in Organismal Biology from the University of Montana. His research focuses on evolutionary and ecological dynamics of natural populations using demographic and genetic models, molecular genetic data, and field data.