Adjunct Faculty

Meet Our Faculty Researchers

Sanford Research relies on a team of more than 200 researchers. Every day, we’re in the lab, the clinic, the classroom and the community.

We’re studying ways to prevent cancer, cure diabetes, use genetics in primary health care, make sports safer, and close health care gaps for minorities – just to name a few.

Learn more about our adjunct faculty researchers and their work below.

Marc Basson, MD, PhD, MBA

Dr. Marc Basson is the Senior Associate Dean for Medicine and Research and a Professor in the Departments of Surgery, Biomedical Sciences and Pathology at the University of North Dakota. He also serves as the PI on the Dakota Cancer Collaborative of Translational Activity, or DaCCoTA Consortium.

Lee A. Baugh, PhD

Dr. Baugh is the Donald S. Mackay Distinguished Professor of Research and an Associate Professor at Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota.  His research interests include examining the cognitive and neuropsychological foundations of skilled movement, and deficits in such movement that can arise from both health aging and neurological damage.

Jonathan Bleeker, M.D.

Dr. Jonathan Bleeker is a practicing medical oncologist with Sanford Health and board certified in medical oncology and hematology. He is primarily interested in clinical research on gastrointestinal oncology and hematology, including retrospective research, cancer clinical trials and helping to coordinate the clinical aspects of translational cancer research projects.

Dr. Bleeker is currently working on multiple open clinical trials for gastrointestinal malignancies. He is also validating a 3D cell culture model across multiple solid tumor types.

Dr. Bleeker is the primary investigator for both the Sanford NCORP grant and the MNCCTN collaboration.

He received his B.A. in biology from Dordt College in 2001. In 2005 he received his M.D. from the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

Praveen Cherukuri, Ph.D.

Dr. Praveen Cherukuri’s research focuses on designing, implementing, evaluating and validating genotyping accuracy of different sequencing and genotyping platforms by using and developing appropriate bioinformatics and statistical tools.

Dr. Cherukuri is currently working on the analytical validation of global screening array for clinical utility using whole genome sequence and publicly available genotyping data.

Dr. Cherukuri holds a Ph.D. from Boston University.

Academic Affiliations

  • Assistant Professor, University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine


  • Fellows Award for Research Excellence, National Institutes of Health (2005)
  • Fellows Award for Research Excellence (2006)

Arielle Deutsch, PhD

Dr. Arielle Deutsch is Research Scientist at the Avera Research Institute Center for Pediatric and Community Research and an Assistant Professor at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. Her research interests include examining how complex systems foster positive or negative outcomes related to the development of alcohol use and romantic/sexual health over age.  She employs a "genes to geography", multiple methodology approach that integrates methods from psychology, human development, behavior genetics, systems science and community public health.

Robert Dvorak, PhD

Dr. Dvorak is an Associate Professor in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Central Florida. His research interests include:

  1. Examining the role of cognitive, affective, and behavioral self-regulation in health-compromising behaviors
  2. Assessing factors associated with health-compromising behaviors in real-time through experience sampling methodology
  3. Developing mobile and web-based interventions to reduce involvement in health compromising behaviors

Lindsay Erickson, Ph.D.

Dr. Lindsay Erickson focuses her research on combinatorial games played on graphs, with a goal to completely characterize winning strategies given various initializations on a broad category of graphs. Dr. Erickson’s major research projects include: 

  • The game of Nim on the K3,3
  • Nim on the Petersen graph
  • Machine learning as applied to combinatorial games

As a tenured associate professor of mathematics at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Dr. Erickson believes that her research informs her teaching and makes her better able to convey complex ideas to a wide audience.

Naturally curious about the workings of the world around her, Dr. Erickson continuously seeks to understand the nature and beauty of mathematics.

After earning her bachelor’s degree from North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota in 2006, she studied combinatorics at the Alfred Renyi Institute in Budapest, Hungary in 2010, before returning to NDSU to complete her Ph.D. studies in 2011.

Academic Affiliations

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics, Augustana University

Grants and Awards

  • Augustana Faculty/Student Research Award (2017)
  • Augustana Research and Artist Fund Summer Research Grant (2014, 2016-18)
  • Augustana Granskou Award (2015)
  • South Dakota Space Grant Consortium Project Innovation Grant (2014)
  • National Science Foundation, Institute of International Education and Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst graduate research fellow (2010)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education grant (2008)

Anu Gaba, M.D.

Dr. Anu Gaba is a practicing physician in Fargo, North Dakota, for Sanford Health and is board certified in oncology and hematology. Her research focus is in conducting oncology clinical trials, and serving as a primary investigator on several investigator-initiated trials in breast cancer.

Emily Griese, PhD

Dr. Griese's research works to uncover heterogeneity in developmental trajectories from childhood to early adolescence, focusing primarily on sources of resilience among at-risk youth. She further has extensive expertise in advanced longitudinal data analysis including latent growth mixture modeling and various other Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) techniques.

Stephen Herrmann, Ph.D.

Dr. Stephen Herrmann’s current research and collaboration focuses on behavioral factors to improve weight management outcomes, gut health and the microbiome.

Dr. Herrmann’s work at Profile aims to provide a scientifically sound program to guide individuals through all phases of weight management, oftentimes beginning with healthy weight loss and continuing to long-term, sustainable, weight loss maintenance.

Dr. Herrmann’s interests include understanding individual variability in response to exercise and diet interventions and the relationship between behavioral factors and weight management.

Dr. Herrmann is currently collaborating with a group of researchers to investigate the microbiome and gut health in relation to weight management under a $3.8 million grant.

Dr. Herrmann holds a Ph.D. in physical activity, nutrition and wellness from Arizona State University and completed his postdoctoral fellowship in weight management at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Professional Affiliations

  • National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity
  • American College of Sports Medicine

Nicola Herting, PhD, LP

Dr. Nicola Herting is the mental health director at Red River Children's Advocacy Center in Fargo, ND.

Benson Hsu, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.P.

Dr. Benson Hsu is working to characterize the inconsistencies between payment and delivery within the current health care system and identify a path for value-based care transition in an application-based approach.

Dr. Hsu serves on the Data and Methods Council for AcademyHealth. He is also on the American Academy of Pediatrics executive committee section on critical care.

Research Philosophy
Health services research at Sanford allows for immediate impact on our delivery and payer systems. By immediately translating this research, we can rapidly move towards true value-based care.

Academic Affiliations and Training

  • AB Economics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, (1994-1998)
  • Certificate in Premedical Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY (1999-2001)
  • MD, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Columbia, MO, (2001-2005)
  • Residency in Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI (2005-2008)
  • ellowship in Pediatric Critical Care, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, (2008-2011)
  • MBA, Duke University Fuqua School of Business, Durham, NC, (2011-2012)
  • Certificate in Public Policy, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, Boston, MA (2018)
  • Certificate in Healthcare Innovation, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA (2018)


  • Chester McVay Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research, Sanford School of Medicine, USD (2018)
  • Outstanding Young Physician, MU Medical Alumni Organization (2018)
  • Bush Leadership Fellow (2018)
  • Top Articles of 2017, Pediatric Section Society of Hospital Medicine (2018)
  • Top Research Abstract Award, University of Wisconsin Pediatric Critical Care Regional Mtg. (2018)
  • Excellence in Analytics (ANNY) Honorable Mention, International Institute for Analytics (2017)
  • Sanford AirMed Flight Team of the Year, Sanford Health (2015), Physician of the Month, Sanford Health (2012)

Professional Experience

  • Vice President of Population Health, Sanford Health (2018-present)
  • Vice President of Data Analytics & Chief Medical Analytics Officer, Sanford Health (2015-2018)
  • Medical Director of Pediatric Flight Program, Sanford Children’s Hospital (2012-2018)
  • Medical Director of Pediatric Sedation Program, Sanford Children’s Hospital (2012-2013)

Jeff Johnson, PhD

Dr. Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at North Dakota State University. His research focuses on studying the cognitive and neural bases of attention and working memory, and the pathophysiological basis of attention and memory disruptions in psychiatric illness.

Leah Irish, Ph.D.

Dr. Irish is an assistant professor in the department of psychology at North Dakota State University. Dr. Irish's program of research examines the complex interplay between sleep and waking health behaviors and the promotion of sleep health in vulnerable populations.

Megan Landsverk, Ph.D.

Eighty percent of rare diseases in the world originate in genes, and children represent nearly half of those affected. Dr. Megan Landsverk’s research focuses on identifying novel genetic variants in individuals with rare diseases and determining the functional significance of those variants. She facilitates these studies through collaborative efforts with a variety of Sanford Research faculty.

Board certified in clinical molecular genetics since 2011, Dr. Landsverk completed her undergraduate degree at the University of North Dakota and earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in the Genetic Medicine Division of the Pediatric Department at the University of Washington in Seattle.

In addition to her research in rare genetic disorders in children, Dr. Landsverk’s research projects include the development of genomic testing in both oncology and adult medicine, analysis of pharmacogenetic genes to determine how a patient responds to various drugs and the translation of clinical gene discoveries to functional protein studies.

Academic Affiliations

  • Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine

Abe Eric Sahmoun, PhD

Dr. Sahmoun is a Professor and Director of Research Affairs in the Department of Internal Medicine at University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences. He was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. His areas of expertise are cancer epidemiology and medical education.


Dr. Sahmoun studies predictors of cancer screening, treatment, and outcomes using population-based observational data analysis. Other areas of interest include identifying strategies that improve the receipt of recommended cancer screening tests among underserved and rural populations.

Arielle Selya, PhD

Dr. Selya is a consultant and former Data Exchange Director with expertise in data analysis and mathematical modeling. Her studies focus on nicotine use behavior and addiction, especially among adolescents. Also, she has an interest in tobacco harm reduction. Arielle utilizes a wide range of analytical methods in her research, such as longitudinal data analysis, structural equation modeling, propensity score methods, system dynamics modeling, and machine learning.

Kristine Steffen, PharmD, PhD

Dr. Steffen is a Professor of Pharmaceutical Science at North Dakota State University. Her research focus is on characterization of the pharmacokinetic changes of medications and alcohol following bariatric surgery. She is also interested in obesity pharmacotherapy and problematic alcohol use following bariatric surgery.

Paul Rokke, PhD

Paul Rokke is a Clinical Psychologist. Paul conducts basic research on the interaction between emotion and cognition, especially as it relates to understanding vulnerability to psychopathology.

They also conduct applied research on the treatment of depression.

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