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Tracy L. Bale headshot image

Tracy L. Bale, PhD

Tracy L. Bale, Ph.D., Center Director

As the Director of CERCH, Dr. Bale is orchestrating the Center’s mission toward building collaborative translational research. She is an expert in epigenetic research, focusing on the periods of vulnerability in neurodevelopment and maturation in which perturbations, such as stress, in the environment can alter somatic and germ cells to promote disease risk or resilience. Dr. Bale has been studying epigenetic mechanisms in neuroscience for over 15 years. Her lab has developed mouse models of maternal and paternal stress that produce offspring with sex-specific changes in stress reactivity and metabolic pathways. Her lab utilizes cutting-edge molecular, biochemical, physiological, and behavioral methods to identify novel mechanisms involved in offspring programming. Her research expertise crosses many fields, including neuroscience, reproduction, development and endocrinology, and encompasses mouse models and building translational programs as well. As a UMB STRAP recruit, Dr. Bale has expertise and success in NIH grant submission and funding and has established an internationally recognized and rigorous research program. She has held leadership positions as a Co-Director of a SCOR P50 Center, Research Director for the BIRCWH faculty training grant, Chair of NIH study section, and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for 4 national Centers and the Max Planck Psychiatry Institute, and the Academy of Sciences Congressional Committee for Gulf War Veterans. 


Jessica Fluharty Headshot Image


Jessica Fluharty, Associate Administrative Director

Ms. Fluharty assist PIs and trainees with grant applications and regulatory protocols, provide boilerplate details for regulatory compliance, identify opportunities for funding, and develop the structural support to facilitate the Center’s goal in forming collaborative translational research teams. Additionally, she manages the Center’s administrative functions, coordinating events and seminars, and overseeing the daily implementation of Center initiatives.


Eldin Jasarevic, Ph.D., Associate Director of Research Bioinformatics

Dr. Jasarevic’s has spearheaded the integration of multi-Omics platforms –16S rRNA marker gene sequencing, whole shotgun metagenomics sequencing, host transcriptomics, metabolomics, and proteomics – to identify novel mechanisms of neurodevelopment and disease risk across the lifespan. He has streamlined analysis of these platforms through the development of custom computational and bioinformatic pipelines that are adaptable to any experimental design employing a multi-Omic approach.


Laundette Jones, PhD, MPH, Associate Director of Transdisciplinary Research & Community Impact

Dr. Jones is a biosocial researcher with expertise in basic biomedical science and community and population health.   This unique background and expertise guides her research program that seeks to address health disparities through understanding  the interplay of biological, environmental, and social factors.  Dr. Jones participatory research approach combines the wisdom of both local communities and academic researchers with the goal of sharing and co-generating knowledge to produce comprehensive, context-specific strategies for eliminating health disparities.  Dr. Jones supports the Center by providing expertise in building trusting community-academic partnerships, including helping to coordinate, develop, and maintain research infrastructure to enable community participation and developing research protocols that work effectively in community settings. 


Christopher Morgan PhD Headshot Image

Christopher Morgan, Ph.D., Associate Director of Epigenetic Research

Dr. Morgan’s consultats with researchers developing studies on epigenetic mechanisms in inter- and transgenerational transmission in animal models and human cohorts. Dr. Morgan is an expert in miRNA biology, having adapted novel high-throughput strategies to characterize the miRNA-target mRNA interactome of the neonatal brain, and in characterizing and directly manipulating epigenetic programming at diverse stages of development. In addition, Dr. Morgan was a past member of the NIDDK intramural IRB and has reviewed numerous clinical research protocols, giving him advanced knowledge of complications that arise in translational study design.