UC San Diego SearchMenu

CIHED Leadership Team


Antonio De Maio, Ph.D., Director of CIHED

Professor of Surgery and Neuroscience

Antonio De MaioDr. Antonio De Maio, Ph.D. is a well recognized international expert in the heat shock response field with an active research group that studies the response to injury at the cellular and systemic levels. He was president of the Cell Stress Society International (www.cellstress.uconn.edu) from 2009–2010. Dr. De Maio obtained his Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute in Israel and continued with postdoctoral training in the U.S. at The University of Massachusetts (Worcester, MA) and Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD). He was appointed a faculty member at Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1994 and stayed with Johns Hopkins until 2005.  In 2006, Dr. De Maio was recruited to the West Coast where he joined the faculty of the University of California, San Diego as a Tenured Professor in the School of Medicine. 

Dr. De Maio is an active advocate for diversity at UCSD and has established several programs aimed at providing opportunities for students from various underrepresented groups, including those with disabilities, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and students from minority groups that are traditionally underrepresented in science. He is the Director of Pathways for the Advancement of Diversity in Research and Education (PADRE), which supports programs that motivate, mentor, and facilitate the transition of students from disadvantaged economic and social backgrounds to higher education. Dr. De Maio is also Principal Investigator for the NIGMS-funded Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) program and Co-PI of the UCSD Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program. Shortly after arriving at UCSD, Dr. De Maio was presented with a Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences Equal Opportunity Diversity Award in 2007 in recognition of his efforts to recruit underrepresented minority students to UCSD. In 2010, he was named Mentor of the Year by the Compact for Faculty Diversity of the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, which is a coalition of a federal and foundation programs that mentor underrepresented students in STEM careers. Dr. Antonio De Maio, Ph.D. is a well recognized international expert in the heat shock response field with an active research group that studies the response to injury at the cellular and systemic levels. He was president of the Cell Stress Society International (www.cellstress.uconn.edu) from 2009–2010. Dr. De Maio obtained his Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute in Israel and continued with postdoctoral training in the U.S. at The University of Massachusetts (Worcester, MA) and Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD). He was appointed a faculty member at Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1994 and stayed with Johns Hopkins until 2005.  In 2006, Dr. De Maio was recruited to the West Coast where he joined the faculty of the University of California, San Diego as a Tenured Professor in the School of Medicine. 


Ross Frank, Ph.D., Co-Director of CIHED

Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Ethnic Studies

Ross FrankDr. Ross Frank holds several degrees in history from Yale College, Oxford University, and the University of California, Berkeley, and is the author of the book From Settler to Citizen: New Mexican Economic Development and the Creation of Vecino Society, 1750­–1850 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000).While completing graduate school at Berkeley, Dr. Frank spent time working for Apple, which made him think about digital technologies in relation to the production, dissemination and access to historical research and resources.  As a result, Dr. Frank helped build the Tribal Digital Village, a broadband network created and directed by a consortium of 19 Southern Californian Indian nations to integrate digital technology resources, and techniques into existing and desired cultural, educational, health, economic, and governance activities. He directs the Plains Indian Ledger Art Digital Publishing Project, which aggregates 19th century drawings in U.S. and European collections to provide a digital platform for research, public access, and preservation.  Dr. Frank is particularly interested in the resource that this art form provides to Native American communities to resituate their own portrayal of their past, present, and future.


Francisco Villarreal, M.D., Ph.D., Director of International Relations

Professor of Medicine

Francisco Villarreal

Dr. Villarreal is an active researcher studying the pathophysiology of cardiac mechanics. He has been an involved member of the UCSD community for more than 25 years, participating as a mentor and admissions director in many undergraduate opportunity programs such as the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development, the Minorty Access to Research Careers program, the UCSD Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, McNair and Howard Hughes programs, among others. He is Co-Director of  Latin America-UC San Diego Science Connect, which aims to foster collaborations between Latin American scientists and UC Researchers through student and faculty exchange programs and is a participating faculty member on four NIH-funded training grants. Dr. Villarreal received his medical training from the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California and maintains strong ties with the academic community in Mexico.


Mark Lawson, Ph.D., Director of Student Programs

Professor of Reproductive Medicine

Mark Lawson

Dr. Lawson is an active reseracher in the Department of Reproductive Medicine in the School of Medicine.  His research is focused on the neuroendocrine control of reproduction, with an emphasis on the pituitary reproductive hormones Luteinizing Hormone and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone.  He earned a B.S. in Microbiology at San Diego Sate University and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine.  His postdoctoral work was conducted at The Salk Institute and the University of California, San Diego.  He was awarded the Salk Institute Fellowship for Distinguished Minority Researchers.  Dr. Lawson is also a Ford Fellow and a University of California President’s Fellow.  Dr. Lawson was a Research Scientist at Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc. before returning to academia at his current position.  He is a member of the NIDDK Network for Minority Research Investigators. Dr. Lawson was also awarded the 2006 UCSD Chancellor’s Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Diversity Award

In addition to campus service through a number of diversity initiatives, Dr. Lawson has extensive service to The Endocrine Society.  He served on the Minority Affairs Committee from 2003-2006, the Development Committee from 2007-2009, and was Co-Chair of the Trainee and Career Development Core Committee from 2009-2013.  Dr. Lawson also developed and Co-Directs the Minority Access Program (MAP) and is Co-PI on the NIGMS T36 grant funding the program.  He also participated in developing the Endocrine Society’s Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) program.