Faculty Mentors

  • Faculty mentors will work with students in all phases of the preparation of student research proposals, the conduct of research and the dissemination of the results of the research. Mentors will collaborate with students to develop outlines of proposed research, spend time with the student during the preparation of the formal research proposal and application, include the student in the process of developing a budget, help the student write a formal report for abstract submission and ensure the student submits the abstract for the annual KCU Research Symposium.

    Students must contact the faculty member to indicate an interest in a summer research fellowship. Faculty mentors must sign a fellowship agreement letter accepting the student to apply for the research fellowship.


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    Abdul-Baki Agbas, PhD

    Associate Professor of Biochemistry

    Research Interests: Establishing an early and credible biomarker for diagnosing and monitoring the mitochondrial bioenergetics in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).


    Gary Ballam, PhD

    Assistant Dean for Curriculum, Associate Professor and Chair of Physiology

    Research Interests: Creating innovative community initiatives that favor the development of environments that support physical activity and healthy living, in general; integrative research with inner-city youth and racial ethnic minorities to decrease the disparities seen in chronic diseases between population subgroups.


    John Dougherty, DO, FACOFP, FAOASM, FAODME

    Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Medical Affairs, Professor of Family Medicine

    Research Interests: Demonstrating the benefits of OMT through use of noninvasive techniques to validate the assessment and efficacy of therapeutic interventions.


    Kevin Hubbard, DO, FACOI

    Professor and Chair of Internal Medicine

    Research Interests: Developing prospective randomized clinical trials in an interdisciplinary palliative oncology program in the Greater Kansas City community. Expanding the knowledge base about the standard of care for patients with gastrointestinal malignancies and unknown primary cancers.



    Jeffrey Joyce, PhD

    Vice President for Research, Professor of Pharmacology  

    Research Interests: Therapeutic targets for Parkinson's disease (PD) with a focus in pharmacology of dopamine receptor/effector systems.


    Diane Karius, PhD, NAOME

    Associate Professor of Physiology, Director of the Human Patient Simulation Program

    Research Interests: Developing best practices in medical education to improve patient care through better student learning.


    Eugene Konorev, MD, PhD

    Associate Professor of Pharmacology/Microbiology

    Research Interests: Developing novel therapies for cardiomyopathies and heart failure. Developing novel therapies to modulate the process of angiogenesis (blood vessel development). Understanding the mechanisms of cardiovascular complications of anticancer therapy. Mitigating the cardiovascular complications of anticancer therapy.


    Elizabeth McClain, PhD, EdS, MPH

    Assistant Dean of Clinical Education, Assistant Professor

    Research Interests: Exploring non-cognitive factors that impact learning and application of knowledge in health professions. Exploring effective measures of and training for competency development for health professions, and for developing spirituality curriculum. Integrating public health competencies into medical education.


    Anthony Olinger, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Anatomy

    Research Interests: Analyzing quantitative and qualitative anatomical variations to better inform physicians who are performing surgical procedures or administering manipulative therapies.


    Sarah Parrott, DO

    Assistant Professor of Family Medicine

    Research Interests: Improving student performance by finding more effective teaching models to enrich medical school curriculums.


    Larry Segars, Pharm.D., Dr.P.H., FCCP, BCPS, R.Ph.

    Associate Professor and Chair of Pharmacology/Microbiology

    Research Interests: Examining pharmacoepidemiological differences in medication and health services use across the U.S. by trending data to better understand disparities.


    Norbert Seidler, PhD

    Professor and Chair of Biochemistry

    Research Interests: Examining mechanisms associated with Alzheimer’s disease, anesthetic preconditioning and post-operative cognitive dysfunction. Investigating the biological properties of the multifunctional protein GAPDH, and the role of dietary chemical chaperones in promoting healthy aging.


    Alex Shnyra, MD, PhD

    Associate Professor of Immunology

    Research Interests: Developing novel immuno-therapeutic approaches using transcriptional reprogramming of anticancer activities in tumor-associated macrophages to suppress tumor growth in patients.


    Christopher Theisen, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Biochemistry

    Research Interests: Discovering mechanisms that enhance neuronal cell survival during brain aging, and finding novel therapies to combat neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s to relieve the suffering of people who have these disorders.


    Kevin Treffer, DO

    Associate Professor of Family Medicine  

    Research Interests: Examining the mechanism by which osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) eliminates spasm, pain, restriction of motion and asymmetry for patients with a variety of clinical disorders.


    Robert White, PhD

    Associate Dean of the College of Biosciences, Professor of Biochemistry

    Research Interests: Identifying a novel erythroid transcription factor to be used as a treatment for anemia. Inducing urinary iron excretion as a treatment for iron overload. Developing a novel pharmaceutical approach to induce muscle expression of retinal dystrophin as a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.


    Barth Wright, PhD

    Associate Professor of Anatomy

    Research Interests: Understanding human and non-human primate dietary adaptations and evolution to aid in the development of informed conservation policy for non-human primates as well as assist in the refinement of in silico methods for the study of  morphological, particularly craniofacial biomechanics.


    Kristin Wright, PhD

    Associate Professor of Anatomy

    Research Interests: Linking primate functional morphology with aspects of behavior and ecology by studying human and non-human primates to increase the understanding of the evolutionary processes that have contributed to primate diversity.


    Asma Zaidi, PhD

    Professor of Biochemistry

    Research Interests: Understanding the biochemical links between normal brain aging and increased risk for neurodegenerative disorders, as well as developing therapeutic interventions that prevent, protect and/or reverse neurodegeneration.