National IDeA Symposium of Biomedical Research Excellence
Rashada Alexander Ph.D.
Program Director, Division for Research Capacity Building (DRCB)
Dr. Alexander is currently a Program Director in the Division for Research Capacity Building at NIGMS, where she manages a portfolio of grants focused on building research infrastructure in states and institutions that traditionally receive less NIH funding and/or serve underrepresented students. This includes grants in the Institutional Development Award (IDeA), Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH), the Support of Competitive Research (SCORE), and the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) Programs. Previously, she was the Special Assistant to the Principal Deputy Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she served as a point-of-contact for issues related to sexual and gender minority (SGM) research, and reproducibility and rigor of research findings. Prior to that, she was a Health Science Policy Analyst in the Division of Planning and Evaluation in the Office of Extramural Research (OER), within the NIH. In that position, she managed part of the NIH reporting for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), establishment of the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS), analysis of the NIH LGBT research portfolio, as well as numerous other analyses of the NIH research portfolio in response to Congressional and public requests and needs.

Dr. Alexander completed postdoctoral work at the University of Kentucky and at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, respectively. She earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Kentucky, and her B.S. in Chemistry from Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH.
Ranjini Ambalavanar Ph.D.
Acting Director
Dr. Ranjini Ambalavanar is the Acting Director of the Division of Investigative Oversight (DIO), Office of Research Integrity (ORI). DIO conducts oversight review of cases of Research misconduct in Public Health Service (PHS)-funded research at US institutions. Since joining ORI in 2009, Dr. Ambalavanar has handled more than 100 allegations of research misconduct.

Prior to joining ORI, Dr. Ambalavanar was at the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Dentistry, for nine years where she conducted research and taught and mentored graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. During her 19 years of experience as a neuroscientist, she explored the neural mechanisms of chronic craniofacial pain disorders and made important contributions to the field. Dr. Ambalavanar is a veterinarian who completed her Ph.D. in 1992 from the University of Liverpool, UK, and completed two years of postdoctoral training at Cambridge University, UK. In 1994, she joined the National Institutes of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD, NIH), as a Fellow, where she earned the NIDCD Research Excellence Award.
Elizabeth Ambos Ph.D.
Executive Officer
Elizabeth (Beth) L. Ambos became CUR’s fourth Executive Officer in May 2012. From 2006-2012, immediately prior to becoming CUR’s Executive Officer, Beth Ambos served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Initiatives and Partnerships for the 23-campus California State University system. Before her appointment at the CSU system level, Ambos held several administrative appointments at California State University, Long Beach, including Associate Vice President for Research and External Support, Graduate Dean and Associate Dean in the College of Natural Sciences in Mathematics. She has helped obtain and/or manage more than $60M in grant and contract funds over the past two decades, has published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers, and made over 150 presentations at professional society meetings.

Beth Ambos received her AB in Geology from Smith College (magna cum laude), and her M.S. and PhD degrees from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in marine geology and geophysics. She held post-doctoral appointments at the U.S. Geological Survey (National Research Council fellow) and University of Southern California, served as a summer faculty fellow at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and has held an IPA appointment as an NSF program officer.
Krishan Arora Ph.D.
Program Director in the Division for Research Capacity Building
Krishan Arora, Ph.D., is a program director in the Division for Research Capacity Building at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences where he administers the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research (INBRE) component of the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program. He also manages a portfolio of Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) and IDeA Clinical and Translational Research (IDeA-CTR) Centers grants. He is also responsible for a new initiative designed to promote biomedical entrepreneurship in the IDeA states by creating one shared “STTR Regional Technology Transfer Accelerator Hub” in each of the four IDeA regions (Central, Northeastern, Southeastern and Western).

Dr. Arora has been serving as an NIH program director for 19 years. Before joining NIGMS, he worked first in the Division of Research Infrastructure at the former National Center for Research Resources and later in the Division of Scientific Programs at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Australian National University. He conducted postdoctoral research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
John Barthell Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
John Barthell is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO). He received his bachelors and doctoral degrees at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in administrative roles at UCO for the last fourteen years, including as the Dean of the College of Mathematics and Science before becoming Provost. Much of his administrative interest has focused on faculty development models that support student-centered research. He currently serves as a nationally elected Councilor for the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) as well as being a former NIH INBRE coordinator in the state of Oklahoma.
Tony Beck Ph.D.
Stephanie Byrum Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Dr. Byrum’s research focus involves a translational approach for the identification of cancer systems biology. She has performed experiments ranging from collecting patient samples, to performing proteomic and genomic analyses, using bioinformatics to mine large complex data sets, and identifying important clinical markers for metastatic breast cancer and melanoma. She has formal training in bioinformatics, statistics and mass spectrometry.
Dr. Sherine Chan
Associate Professor of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences
Dr. Sherine Chan is an Associate Professor of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston, SC. She is also the Co-Founder of two startup companies: Neuroene Therapeutics, based on compounds discovered for epilepsy and other difficult to treat neurological diseases, and Lydex Pharmaceuticals, which is developing treatments for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.Dr. Chan graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Veterinary Biology in 1996 from Murdoch University, Australia, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Biochemistry from the University of Western Australia in 2002. Dr. Chan first developed her passion for mitochondrial diseases under the tutelage of Dr. James Cummins at Murdoch University, investigating the roles of mitochondrial DNA mutagenesis in male infertility. Later, she joined Dr. William Copeland’s laboratory for postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (National Institutes of Health), in Research Triangle Park, NC, where she focused on mitochondrial diseases using in vitro biochemistry, studies of mitochondrial disease patient cells, and in vivo mouse models of mitochondrial dysfunction. The long-term goal of her laboratory at the Medical University of South Carolina is to manipulate the mechanisms required to maintain mitochondrial homeostasis to prevent or treat mitochondrial dysfunction. Her team has developed new zebrafish models of mitochondrial dysfunction that recapitulate human disease, which are now being used for studying disease progression, for drug discovery and for toxicology studies
Nigel Cooper Ph.D.
Dr. Cooper gained his Ph.D. in Anatomy and Neurobiology from the University of Tennessee Medical School in 1980. He is currently a professor at the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center. His research background includes investigations of molecular mechanisms associated with ischemic reperfusion injury in the retina. He has been the PI/Program Director for the INBRE program in Kentucky since its inception, and in this capacity, he has led many workshops on the grant application process for INBRE-sponsored junior investigators in the Kentucky network and beyond.
David Eckstein Ph.D.
Ms. Samantha Farrell MHS
Grants Management Specialist
Samantha Farrell has been a grants management specialist at NIH since 2011 and with NIGMS since 2015. At NIGMS, she is one of six grants management specialists who, with their Team Leader Christy Leake, work with the grants under the Division for Research Capacity Building (IDeA, SCORE, SEPA, and NARCH).

Samantha has a Masters of Health Sciences in Health Education and Behavioral Sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Sciences in Psychobiology from Long Island University. Her career has included a number of positions related to research and grants administration. She has worked as a peer review contractor for Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), a research assistant at Johns Hopkins applying for and working on grant funded research, a research intern at NCI working with Program Officers, and a program manager for capacity building research centers funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) Service.
John Gallin MD
Alison Gammie Ph.D.
Alison Gammie, Ph.D., is the Director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity (TWD). TWD is the focal point for NIGMS programs aimed at developing a strong and diverse biomedical research workforce. Dr. Gammie received a B.A. from Reed College in Biology and a Ph.D. from the Oregon Health & Sciences University. She was initially a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow and eventually a Senior Lecturer at Princeton University. While at Princeton, in addition to teaching, mentoring and running a research laboratory, she served as an academic advisor, an Associate Member at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and the Director of Diversity Programs & Graduate Recruiting. Honors include Princeton’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Graduate Mentoring Award and the American Society for Microbiology Hinton Award for advancing the research careers of under-represented minorities.
Joseph Ganann
Director of Client Services
Joseph Ganann is the Director of Client Services at Metova, Inc in Conway, AR. He received is BS in Accounting from University of Central Arkansas and currently leads a team of software developers at Metova, Inc. Metova is a software development that strives on building innovative solutions for both commercial and federal clientele.
Matthew Gillman MD, SM
Director of the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program
Dr. Gillman joined the National Institutes of Health in 2016 as the inaugural director of the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program. Dr. Gillman came to NIH from Harvard Medical School, where he was a professor of population medicine and director of the Obesity Prevention Program, and Harvard School of Public Health, where he was a professor of nutrition. With background in the fields of internal medicine, pediatrics, and epidemiology, he has led cohort studies and randomized controlled trials and published widely in prevention of chronic disease across the life course. Dr. Gillman won mentoring awards at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, and has served in several national and international leadership positions, including on the United States Preventive Services Task Force and for the International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, from which he won the David Barker Medal in 2017. His clinical experience includes primary care for children and adults, and preventive cardiology among children.
Dr. Jason Gleghorn Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Dr. Jason Gleghorn is an Assistant Professor in the University of Delaware Department of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Tissue Morphodynamics and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory. His lab develops and uses microfluidic and microfabrication technologies to determine how cells behave and communicate within multicellular populations to form complex 3D tissues and organs. The long-term goals of this research are to develop techniques to engineer physiologically relevant 3D culture systems with well-defined structure, flows, and cell-cell interactions to study tissue-scale biology and disease. These techniques in combination with what they learn in studies of the native cellular behaviors and interactions in the embryo are used to define new therapeutic approaches for regenerative medicine. Dr. Gleghorn completed postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton University and Cornell University. During his postdoctoral training, Dr. Gleghorn applied microfluidic and microfabrication techniques to identify new physical mechanisms that regulate organ development and he created new microfluidic systems to isolate rare circulating tumor cells from patient blood samples respectively. During his graduate training at Cornell University he developed the first cellular 3D microfluidic hydrogel scaffolds to spatially and temporally regulate the chemical microenvironment in engineered tissues.
Maurice Godfrey Ph.D.
Maurice Godfrey earned the Ph.D. in Pathobiology and Immunology from Columbia University in New York. Following a fellowship at Shriners Hospital for Children he joined the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) where he is now Professor in the Munroe-Meyer Institute. Among his honors are: Basil O’Connor Scholar of the March of Dimes; Established Investigator of the American Heart Association; Antoine Marfan Award of the Marfan Foundation; Chief Standing Bear Organizational Award from the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs; and the Visionary Leadership in Education Award from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is a member of the Information and Education Committee of the American Society of Human Genetics. Since 2005 he has led an NIH SEPA program to bring science to schools and communities on Indian reservations in Nebraska and South Dakota. He also leads an NIH IPERT in partnership with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and an NCI YES program. He has taught graduate courses at UNMC since 1990.
Bob Gramling M.D., D.Sc.
Division Chief of Palliative Medicine
Bob Gramling, M.D., D.Sc. is the Holly & Bob Miller Chair in Palliative Medicine and Division Chief of Palliative Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Vermont.

Bob’s research focuses on prognosis & decision-making conversations in palliative care settings, with particular attention to concepts of suffering, compassion, and uncertainty. He has authored more than 80 publications and received research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Palliative Care Research Center, the Greenwall Bioethics Foundation and the American Cancer Society. He is currently Principal Investigator of the Palliative Care Communication Research Initiative, a multi-site longitudinal study funded by the American Cancer Society to understand the features of palliative care consultations that promote outcomes of importance to patients and families.

Bob received his undergraduate degree from Colby College (1992), his Doctor of Medicine from Dartmouth Medical School (1997), and his Doctor of Science (Epidemiology) from Boston University School of Public Health (2008). He completed his residency training at Maine-Dartmouth Family Practice and Fellowship at Boston University. He and his wife, Lindy, enjoy the outdoors, dancing and being proud parents of two pretty awesome teen/20-somethings.
Laura Haas
Misty Hawkins Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Dr. Hawkins is the Director of the REACH lab at Oklahoma State University (OSU) where she studies the relationship between neurocognitive and emotional factors on chronic cardiometabolic diseases, such as obesity. She is a current recipient of a K23 Career Development Award from the National Institute on Diabetes Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) which examines how two different behavioral weight loss treatments might impact or have their effects moderated by neurocognitive function. She expanded this trial to include a targeted sample of American Indians/Native Americans via an IDEA grant pilot mechanism and serves as the member of the OSU IRB as the tribal research expert reviewer.
Richard Hodes MD
Richard J. Hodes, M.D., has directed the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health since 1993. Under Dr. Hodes’ stewardship, the NIA budget has grown to over $2.5 billion, reflecting increased public interest in aging as America and the world grow older. Dr. Hodes has devoted his tenure to the development of a strong, diverse, and balanced research program, focusing on the genetics and biology of aging, basic and clinical studies aimed at reducing disease and disability, including Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias; age-related cognitive change; and investigations of the behavioral and social aspects of aging.

Dr. Hodes is a graduate of Yale University and received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He completed training in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and in Oncology at the National Cancer Institute. He is an influential scientist in and contributor to the field of immunology, having authored more than 250 research papers.
Carolyn Hovde Bohach Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor
Carolyn Hovde Bohach is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Idaho and Director of the Idaho INBRE Program. Her B.S. and Ph.D. are in microbiology from the University of Illinois and the University of Minnesota, respectively. She was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. She has taught undergraduate microbiology, graduate immunology, medical school biochemistry, and graduate level scientific writing and scientific oral presentation courses. Her laboratory studies E. coli O157:H7 with a primary focus on understanding the relationship between this human pathogen and its silent reservoir, healthy cattle. Projects include basic science as well as the development of effective interventions such as bovine vaccination, bacteriophage therapy, and on-farm management strategies to reduce cattle carriage of the pathogen. Dr. Hovde Bohach is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including election as a Fellow to the AAAS, the American Society for Microbiology Carski Foundation Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, the University of Idaho Excellence in Research Award, the R. M. Wade Excellence in Teaching Award, the Alumni Award for Faculty Excellence, and the Gamma Sigma Delta Research Award.
Candace Howard M.D. Ph.D.
Assistant Professor in Radiology
Charles Irvin Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, Vice Chairman for Research Department of Medicine and Director of the Vermont Lung Center
Charles G. Irvin, Ph.D. is a Professor of Medicine, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, Vice Chairman for Research Department of Medicine and Director of the Vermont Lung Center at the University of Vermont. In 2012 he was named Associate Dean for Faculty for the College of Medicine. Dr. Irvin received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1978 in Pulmonary Physiology.He was then a NIH postdoctoral fellow at McGill University in Montreal.From 1980-1998 he was on the faculty of the University of Colorado.

Dr. Irvin’s scientific career has focused on understanding the mechanisms of airways dysfunction of the patient with asthma.Using a multidisciplinary approach including:cell and molecular biology, animal models and systems, transgenics, physiology, imaging and clinical studies, he and his colleagues are attempting to understand the pathophysiological basis of asthma in order to both better diagnose and treat asthma patients.

Dr. Irvin is a member of the European Respiratory Society, American Physiological Society, the American Thoracic Society and the Society of Experimental Medicine and Biology.He has served on the Board of Directors of the ATS.He has been awarded the Joe Rodarte Distinguished Science Award by the ATS, the UVM University Scholar Award in 2007, Fellow of the European Respiratory Society in 2014, Distinguished Educator of the College of Medicine Teaching Academy in 2015 and in 2016; the Larner College of Medicine Dean’s Research Mentorship Award & Robert Crapo Lifetime Achievement Award for Pulmonary Diagnostics from the ATS.

Dr. Irvin has served on numerous grant review panels including NIH, AHA and ALA and is currently a member and Chairman of several study sections for the NIH. Dr. Irvin has been continuously funded by NIH since 1976 and is currently the PI of an ALA-ACRC Center, U13, COBRE and a T32 training grants from the NIH.He has trained 20 postdoctoral fellows and mentored numerous junior faculty, the vast majority now successfully engaged in research careers.
Chathuraka Jayasuriya Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics
Dr. Chathuraka Jayasuriya is an Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics at Rhode Island Hospital and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Jayasuriya received his Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Genetics and Development from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY in 2006. He received his PHD in Biomedical Sciences at Brown University, Providence, RI in 2013. He is a molecular cell biologist by training with a background in molecular genetics and musculoskeletal research. Dr. Jayasuriya's laboratory has two main focuses: (1) improving joint injury repair strategies using native tissue stem cell populations (2) elucidating the molecular mechanisms that promote successful cell-based musculoskeletal tissue repair.
Dr. Roosevelt Johnson
Senior Advisor
Dr. Roosevelt Y. Johnson, senior advisor for NASA Education, is a member of the senior management team responsible for the development and implementation of NASA’s education programs to strengthen involvement and public awareness about the agency’s scientific goals and missions. Johnson was formerly deputy associate administrator for education at NASA Headquarters.

Johnson is the U.S. representative on the International Space Education Board, a global collaboration in space education between NASA, the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Centre National d'Études Spatiales. The ISEB shares best practices and unites efforts to foster interest in space, science and technology among the student community worldwide.

During his career, Johnson has been a champion and leader of groundbreaking efforts to broaden participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. For more than 20 years, he served as a program director for the National Science Foundation (NSF), working to increase the participation and advancement of underrepresented minorities, women and girls, persons with disabilities, and minority-serving institutions in science and engineering disciplines as well as promoting innovative and transformative STEM education program development at a national level.

Johnson’s academic and administrative breadth and depth have been demonstrated through his service in every division of NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources, including the Human Resource Development division, the Division of Graduate Education, the Division of Undergraduate Education, and the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings. He also represented NSF on government wide committees, including serving as a U.S. representative at NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship meetings.

Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1968 and earned his doctoral degree in microbiology from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1972. Following a two-year tenure as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, Johnson began an academic career that has included faculty positions at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington; Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland; Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C.; Howard University College of Liberal Arts; and the University of Washington (visiting professor). Johnson also has served as an official collaborator at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Johnson has received the Compact for Faculty Diversity Frank Abbott Award for outstanding leadership and support of minority STEM graduates; the Benjamin Banneker Legacy Award for outstanding contributions to increasing the number of African Americans involved in STEM professions and studies; and Science Spectrum Magazine’s Emerald Honors Award for excellence in affirmative action.
Mike Kinter Ph.D.
Associate Member
There are two primary activities in Dr. Kinter’s laboratory: characterizing changes in protein expression in hearts and mitochondria from mice that are consuming a high-fat diet and characterizing the sites and chemical structure of oxidant-damaged proteins. A unique aspect of his experiments is the use of mass spectrometry to sequence and characterize proteins. In particular, Dr. Kinter’s group uses targeted mass spectrometric approaches for accurately quantifying protein abundance. Dr. Kinter serves as co-Director of the IDeA National Resource for Proteomics
Malgorzata Klosek Ph.D.
Dr. Daniel Kolker
Supervisory Patent Examiner
Dr. Daniel Kolker is a Supervisory Patent Examiner at the US Patent and Trademark Office. He supervises examiners Immunology, Receptor/Ligands, Cytokines Recombinant Hormones, and Molecular Biology. Dan joined the USPTO in 2004 as a Patent Examiner in neurobiology and related subjects and became a manager in 2012. Before joining the USPTO, Dan earned a B.A. in Psychology from Vassar College and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Northwestern University, and performed research at the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Thomas Kozel
Foundation Professor of Microbiology
Dr. Thomas Kozel is Foundation Professor of Microbiology at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. He is a co-founder of DxDiscovery, a university start-up that is focused on antibody-based diagnostics and therapeutics for infectious disease. Dr. Kozel received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1971 and has taken sabbatical leaves at The Rockefeller University and University of Oxford. He has served on three regular NIH review panels. Dr. Kozel was the Mycology Section Editor for Infection and Immunity from 1995-2005. His expertise is in the fields of medical mycology, the immunochemistry of microbial polysaccharides and the complement system. He is currently pursuing development of immunoassays for diagnosis of several infectious diseases using the lateral flow immunoassay platform.
Laura Lessard
Evaluation Director
Laura Lessard, PhD, MPH is the Evaluation Director for Delaware INBRE and also Assistant Professor of Behavioral Health & Nutrition at the University of Delaware. She earned her MPH in epidemiology and biostatistics from Tufts University and her PhD in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from Emory University. For over ten years, Dr. Lessard has been conducting evaluations of programs and policies in diverse areas including childhood obesity, health systems transformation and other public health domains. With DE INBRE, she is responsible for overseeing the internal evaluation, working with Core Directors and other stakeholders to gather information to help improve the quality and outcomes of the network. Dr. Lessard also conducts research to understand the implementation of policies designed to improve the food and physical activity environment in child care settings.
Liang-Shiou Lin
National Program Leader in Plant Biology
Liang-Shiou Lin is a National Program Leader in Plant Biology with the Plant Production Division of the Institute of Food Production and Sustainability (IFPS) of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA. He has programmatic responsibilities in the Foundational Program portfolio within the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). He currently co-lead the Physiology of Agricultural Plants Program, the Plant Breeding for Agricultural Production Program, and the Exploratory Research Program. He is also involved in the EPSCoR Interagency Coordinating Committee.

He graduated from National Taiwan University in 1976 with a B.S. degree in botany, and from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign with an M.S. (1980) and a Ph.D. (1987) degree in plant biology. Before joining USDA in October 1990, he was a postdoctoral researcher in the Biology Department of Washington University, St. Louis. He is a member of the American Society of Plant Biologists.
Julie Lockman Ph.D.
Director of Professional Development and Investigator Services
Julie Lockman, PhD, serves as director of Professional Development and Investigator Services for the West Virginia Clinical & Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI) and is faculty in the Department of Physiology & Pharmacology in the West Virginia University (WVU) School of Medicine.

As director of the Professional Development Core for WVCTSI, Dr. Lockman oversees the Research Scholars program, the M.S. and Certificate programs in Clinical and Translational Science, mentoring initiatives, and other professional development programs focused on developing successful clinical and translational researchers. She has led the transformation of the WVCTSI investigator service model working across all cores and programs to ensure consistency, quality and efficiency. Her doctoral training is in pharmaceutical sciences with an emphasis on neuropharmacology. She has been active in research training and science education for >15 years providing didactic and laboratory training in pharmacology, cell biology, and general biological concepts to well over 2,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

Dr. Lockman’s passion for and commitment to training the next generation of both faculty and students remains strong and she continues to devote herself to these efforts in her administrative roles as well as in the classroom.
Jon Lorsch Ph.D., NIGMS
Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), oversees the Institute's $2.5 billion budget, which supports basic research that increases understanding of biological processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Dr. Lorsch came to the NIGMS in 2013 from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he was a professor in the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1999 and became a full professor in 2009. During his tenure at Johns Hopkins, he worked to reform the curricula for graduate and medical education, spearheaded the development of the Center for Innovation in Graduate Biomedical Education, and launched a program offering summer research experiences to local high school students, many from groups that are underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. In addition, he advised dozens of undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. As leader in RNA biology, Lorsch studies the initiation of translation, a major step in controlling how genes are expressed. To dissect the mechanics of translation initiation, Dr. Lorsch and collaborators developed a yeast-based system and a wide variety of biochemical and biophysical methods. The work also has led to efforts to control translation initiation through chemical reagents. Lorsch continues this research as a tenured investigator in the NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Dr. Lorsch received a B.A. in chemistry from Swarthmore College in 1990 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University in 1995, where he worked in the laboratory of Jack Szostak, Ph.D. He conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University in the laboratory of Daniel Herschlag, Ph.D. Dr. Lorsch is the author of more than 70 peer-reviewed research articles, book chapters, and other papers. He has also been the editor of six volumes of Methods in Enzymology and has been a reviewer for numerous scientific journals. He is the author on two awarded U.S. patents. His honors include six teaching awards from Johns Hopkins.
Samuel Mackintosh Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Dr. Mackintosh is responsible for day-to-day operation of the proteomics core laboratory at UAMS. The core lab maintains several state-of-the-art, high-resolution, Orbitrap mass spectrometers capable of identifying, characterizing, and quantifying proteins in a high-throughput manner, as well as a full suite of computer hardware and software needed to analyze proteomics data. The core works with investigators in designing experiments, acquiring and analyzing data, and preparing manuscripts and grant applications.
Steve W. Martin
Dr. David McMillan
Pharmacology/Toxicology Reviewer
Dr. David McMillan is a pharmacology/toxicology reviewer in the Division of Antiviral Products at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. He received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, in 2006, and completed his Ph.D. in Toxicology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, NY, in 2013. Prior to joining the FDA, Dr. McMillan was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, VT.
Sherry Miller Ph.D.
K-INBRE Bioinformatics Outreach Coordinator
Sherry Miller is the bioinformatics outreach coordinator for the Kansas-INBRE program. Sherry received her PhD in biology from Kansas State University. Her post-graduate career has focused on undergraduate biology education in the areas of general biology, microbiology, medical microbiology, molecular biology and bioinformatics. In her current position she strives to educate students about the role of Next Generation Sequencing technologies in modern biological research, help faculty incorporate bioinformatics education into their institution’s curriculum and develop a network of bioinformatics support across the state of Kansas.
Scott Minnich Ph.D.
Professor and Associate Director
Dr. Minnich is a professor of microbiology at the University of Idaho. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from Iowa State University (1979). He pursued postdoctoral studies in microbial and molecular genetics at Purdue and Princeton Universities. Dr. Minnich's present research focuses on the molecular pathogenesis of Yersinia pestis (bubonic plague) and hemorrhagic E. coli. He teaches microbiology and infectious disease for first year medical students and is Associate Director for the NIH-funded Idaho INBRE program. From October 2003 to May 2004, he served as a subject matter expert with the Iraq Survey Group WMD Inspection Team headquartered in Baghdad.
Dr. Loretta Moore
EPSCoR Section Head
Dr. Loretta Moore is the current EPSCoR Section Head at NSF. She is from Jackson State University (JSU), where she is a Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science. She has served as Vice President for Research and Federal Relations and Associate Vice President for Research and Scholarly Engagement, working to enhance the scholarly careers of JSU faculty members. Also at JSU, she served as the Interim Associate Dean for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology. Dr. Moore joined JSU’s faculty over 19 years ago as Chair of the Department of Computer Science.

Loretta’s experience with NSF has included serving as Principal Investigator on the JSU Advance project, which focuses on advancing the careers of female faculty members in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and Social and Behavioral Science disciplines; serving on the congressionally mandated Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering since February 2016; and serving on the Advisory Committee for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure since May 2016. She has held positions at Auburn University, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Army Research Laboratory, NASA Kennedy Space Center and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. She received her B.S. degree in Computer Science from Jackson State University and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Yolanda Nesbeth Ph.D.
Yolanda Nesbeth Ph.D., received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Dartmouth Medical School. During her graduate career, she developed therapeutic cell-based technologies and immunotherapies against ovarian cancer. Yolanda previously worked as a Consultant with Clarion Healthcare providing strategic advice to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on key scientific and commercial matters related to drug development, promotion, and regulatory processes. Yolanda is currently a Director at Celdara Medical where she leads multiple SBIR/STTR – funded internal therapeutic development programs, in addition to managing a clinical lab providing molecular diagnostics for systemic sclerosis patients, clinicians, and drug developers. She serves as a Reviewer for DOD and NIH SBIR/STTR study sections and is a member of various biotech organizations.
Sharon O'Connor
Annette Olsen Ph.D.
Project Director
Dr. Annette Olson, Project Director, American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Olson helps universities, research consortia, and others strategize about research capacity building. She has led 16 AAAS INBRE/EPSCoR planning and assessment expert panels in eight states, as well as panels for other research programs nationally and internationally. She also has provided guidance on the design and execution of 13 small to large-scale proposal review and international entrepreneurial competitions. Dr. Olson received her Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Miami, Florida, on the behavioral ecology of a mongoose in western Africa. During and after finalizing her doctorate, she served as a scientific liaison and expert to the Smithsonian Institution, advising on five exhibits that still serve over four million users annually. While maintaining a research appointment at the Smithsonian in mammalian behavior, Dr. Olson started a position as Biodiversity Scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey, where she provided strategic leadership for several global ecoinformatic systems projects and co-wrote the international scientific media standard Audubon Core. In addition, Dr. Olson served as an advisor on four ecoinformatics projects for the National Technical Information Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Encyclopedia of Life, and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration before joining AAAS.
Jeffrey Osborn Ph.D.
Dean of the School of Science
Jeffrey M. Osborn is Dean of the School of Science at The College of New Jersey. His primary scientific research addresses questions about plant evolutionary biology, and his higher education research focuses on the teacher-scholar role of faculty, faculty workload models, and the integration of high-impact educational practices into the curriculum. He has served as President of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), led a number of institutional and multi-institutional programs to support the institutionalization of undergraduate research and the advancement of undergraduates and faculty who are underrepresented in higher education and STEM. Through these efforts, Dr. Osborn has worked with over 400 colleges and universities across the U.S. His work has been recognized by the CUR Fellows Award, Centennial Award from the Botanical Society of America, and the Antarctica Service Medal of the United States of America from the National Science Foundation. Among other roles, he serves on the External Advisory Committee for the State of Oklahoma’s NIH-INBRE program.
Lili Portilla PhD
Director, Office of Strategic Alliances
Lili Portilla has worked in the area of strategic alliances at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), since 1989. She has extensive expertise in negotiating and developing commercialization strategies for complex, and multi-party collaborations and public private partnerships. Since December of 2011, Ms. Portilla has been serving as the Director of the Office of Strategic Alliances at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the NIH. NCATS is the newest Center at the NIH focusing on the transformation of the translational science process so that new treatments and cures for disease can be delivered to patients faster. She oversees the Center’s partnership, strategic alliance, and technology transfer functions as well as the Program Director for the NCATS Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Technology Transfer Research grant and contract program.

Prior to NCATS, Ms. Portilla served as the Senior Advisor to the Director of the National Center for Research Resources and was also the Director of the National, Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Office of Technology Transfer and Development. Ms. Portilla has also published several papers on public private partnerships. She serves as an Ex-Oficio Board Member of the University of Kansas, Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation. She received a Masters in Public Administration in 1992 from American University and a Bachelor in Business Administration, double major in both Finance and Spanish Literature in 1986 from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Dr. Matthew Portnoy
NIH SBIR/STTR Program Manager and Director
Dr. Matthew Portnoy is the NIH SBIR/STTR Program Manager and Director, Division of Special Programs, Office of Extramural Research, Office of the Director, NIH. In this role, he manages the SBIR/STTR programs at NIH, coordinates the 24 NIH Institutes/Centers that receive funding for the programs and across HHS. Additionally, as the Director, Division of Special Programs, Dr. Portnoy and his staff provide scientific program management and oversight of the Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) Program, and support for conferences and scientific meetings (R13/U13) and ensures that NIH extramural staff are trained to meet the ever-changing demands of their job.

Dr. Portnoy received his B.S. in molecular and cell biology from Penn State University. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. Matt then joined the Intramural Program of NIH National Human Genome Research Institute as a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Portnoy made the leap to the extramural side of NIH in 2005 and joined the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) as a program director. Over his time at NIGMS, he managed R01 grant portfolios in DNA repair, recombination and replication, SBIR/STTR grants, F32 post-doctoral fellowships, cooperative agreements, and R25 education grants. Dr. Portnoy also served as SBIR/STTR program lead for NIGMS for 6 years prior to his current post.
Daniel Rasetshwane Ph.D.
Director of the Auditory Signal Processing Laboratory
Daniel M. Rasetshwane received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, in 2002, 2005, and 2009, respectively. His graduate research focused on speech processing for intelligibility enhancement. He is currently the Director of the Auditory Signal Processing Laboratory at Boys Town National Research Hospital’s Center for Hearing Research. His research program has two primary goals. He would like to improve our understanding of suprathreshold hearing deficits, and develop diagnostic tools for identifying hidden hearing loss. His laboratory also aims to provide scientific basis for the need to restore cochlear processes that are diminished when hearing loss occurs, and to develop innovative signal-processing algorithms for hearing aids. His research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.
Mercedes Rincon Ph.D.
Professor in Department of Medicine, Division of Immunobiology
Dr. Mercedes Rincon, Ph.D., She is a full Professor in Department of Medicine, Division of Immunobiology at the University of Vermont. Dr. Rincon received her Ph.D. from the University Autonoma of Madrid, trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University School of Medicine, and joined the University of Vermont in 1996 as an Assistant Professor initially, Associate Professor with tenure later, and full Professor in Medicine since 2009. In 1997 she established the first transgenic mouse facility in Vermont. She has over 148 publications, many in top journals such as Science, Immunity, Nature Communications. She has served in a number of review panels from the NIH, such as CMI-B and CMI-A and the chair of CMI-A. She has been a member of Associate Editorial Board of several journals and Editor of the International Journal of Biological Science. Dr. Rincon is the primary inventor of two issued patents and three additional filed patents. She has established the SPARK-VT and the I-Trep programs to foster entrepreneurship in academic environments at the University of Vermont and other five States. She is a recognized immunologist with expertise in broad areas of research such as signaling pathways, allergy/asthma, arthritis and influenza infection. In addition, she has also been working for many years in molecular mechanisms of multidrug resistance in breast cancer as well as the effect of inflammation in breast cancer. Over two decades she has provided numerous contributions to the understanding of: 1) the role of IL-6 in T cell response, inflammatory disease, and infection, 2) the role of p38 MAPK pathway in T cell development and activation, and 3) the role of MCJ as a key regulator of mitochondria function and metabolic diseases. Her work extends from basic molecular mechanisms, to in vivo animal models, to clinical studies. Recently, Dr. Rincon has become the co-founder of a new startup biotech, Mitotherapeutix, to move her findings from bench to bed.
Matthew Rizzo MD
Francis and Edgar Reynolds Professor and Chair
Dr. Matthew Rizzo is the Francis and Edgar Reynolds Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurological Sciences, Chief Physician for Neurological Services, Director of the Mind and Brain Health Initiative, and Director of the Great Plains IDeA Center for Clinical and Translational Research. He has led many successful multidisciplinary NIH and industry research projects addressing behavioral sequelae of neurological disorders, advised the U.S. Army on its translational neurosciences research program, and multiple organizations (e.g., AMA, AARP, AAN, AAMVA, NAS) and governments on evidence-based strategies for evaluating and supporting vulnerable human operators. Relevant service includes the U.S. National Academy/Board on Human-Systems Integration (including issues related to home health care, human machine interactions, engineering education), U.S. FDA Panel for PNS and CNS Drugs, and a US-DOT Medical Advisory Committee (appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation). Dr. Rizzo was the first to integrate high fidelity simulators into clinical settings and has developed some of the most advanced instrumented vehicles in experimental and naturalistic settings to study “behavior in the wild.” He is the author or co-author of more than 300 scientific articles and reports, and multiple books. Dr. Rizzo earned his undergraduate degree from Columbia University and his MD degree from the Johns Hopkins University.
Rob Rockhold PhD, FAPE
Deputy Chief Academic Officer
Rob Rockhold, PhD, FAPE, currently serves as the Deputy Chief Academic Officer within the University of Mississippi Medical Center. In that role, he has primary responsibility for management of the Office of Interprofessional Simulation, Training, Assessment, Research, and Safety (ISTARS) and direction of both the Office of Health Careers Opportunity (student outreach activities) and the Office of Academic Development (faculty development efforts). Dr. Rockhold is actively funded by the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) for efforts to improve STEM teaching in Mississippi high schools and from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation for enhancement of simulation-based education across Mississippi. Dr. Rockhold is Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology and a Fellow of the Academy of Pharmacology Educators, American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Jose Rodriguez-Medina PhD
Jose R. Rodriguez Medina, the Program Director of the Puerto Rico INBRE, is currently the Acting Associate Vice President of Research and Innovation at The University of Puerto Rico (UPR). He also serves as Professor and Chair of Biochemistry at the UPR School of Medicine since 1997. He earned BS and MS degrees in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico and a PhD degree at Brandeis University where he characterized the splicing intermediates of yeast mRNA in the laboratory of Nobel laureate, Dr. Michael Rosbash. He later went on to complete post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Bruce M. Paterson at the NIH, where he cloned the myosin type II gene of yeast and described novel functions of this myosin in the process of cytokinesis. His current research is centered on the study of proteins involved in signaling by fungal stress receptors. He has earned national recognition by his colleagues as Past-President of the Association of Medical and Graduate Departments of Biochemistry. As Program Director of the PR-INBRE, he currently directs a network of 17 institutions across the island of Puerto Rico.
Derrick Samuelson Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Researcher
I graduated from Montana State University with a B.Sc. in microbiology. I then joined the laboratory of Dr. Konkel in 2009 at Washington State University for my graduate studies. After completion of my graduate work I joined the laboratory of Drs. Shellito and Welsh at Louisiana State University Health Science Center New Orleans as a postdoctoral researcher. During my time as a postdoctoral researcher at LSUHSC, I was fortunate to become a LA CaTS Meritorious Postdoctoral Scholar, which is funded through the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center (Louisiana IDeA-CTR). This award also allowed me to successfully obtain an NIH funded K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award. My research interests are in microbiology, host-pathogen interactions, and immunology. My research began with the study of the skin-resident bacterial flora found on mice and transitioned to the study of bacterial-host interactions of Campylobacter jejuni with a focus on the identification and characterization of C. jejuni virulence factors. Currently, my research is focused on determining the mechanisms by which alcohol-induced intestinal dysbiosis impairs pulmonary host defense against Klebsiella pneumonia.
Joe Schreiber
Joe Schreiber is a 30-year veteran of network TV production. He helped launch and produce NBC’s George Michael Sports Machine, which aired for 23 years, making it the longest running locally-produced, nationally-syndicated sports program in television history. Joe won 11 Emmys at NBC. Joe’s commitment to stay at the forefront of new media trends, utilize state of the art technology and remain faithful to the fundamentals of storytelling are the bedrock of his production interests today. This includes serving as Managing Partner of IPAK Productions and co-founder of 3 Penny Films. IPAK Productions empowers TV networks, corporations, the public service sector and non-profits with video and new media, and has garnered five Telly Awards. 3 Penny Films produces documentary style programming for universities and non-profits for distribution online and on network television, and earned two Emmy Awards in 2011.
Don Sens Ph.D.
Don Sens is a Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of South Carolina studying the gene regulation of the arginine operon in Escherichia coli. This research transitioned into the study of the role of heavy metals in cancer and renal disease which continues to the present. His continuing efforts to promote undergraduate research as part of the IDeA program has resulted in over 1,000 undergraduate researchers completing a 10 week research intensive summer program or one or more semesters of research at primarily undergraduate institutions and tribal colleges.
Teresa Shippy Ph.D.
Bioinformatics Specialist
Teresa Shippy is a bioinformatics specialist in the Kansas-INBRE Bioinformatics Core. She received her PhD in Biology from Kansas State University and then spent 10 years researching developmental genetics in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. She became interested in genomics when the Tribolium genome was sequenced and is now focused on helping other researchers with their bioinformatics needs.
Dr. Amita Shukla
Founder and CEO
Dr. Amita Shukla is an innovator, entrepreneur, and thought leader focused on creating transformative innovations for human health, well-being, and potential. She is the founder and CEO of Vitamita and the author of Enduring Edge: Transforming How We Think, Create and Change. Previously, she spent close to nine years at New Enterprise Associates, one of the world’s largest and most active venture capital firms, where she evaluated cutting-edge medical innovations, invested in healthcare startups, and worked closely with world-class scientists, physicians, and entrepreneurs. Amita regularly advises companies and organizations and speaks to audiences of innovators, entrepreneurs, and students, as well as, change agents and leaders in business, nonprofits, academia, and government. In 2010 she was Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s youngest appointee to the board of the Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), a leader in early-stage investing. She was reappointed by Governor Larry Hogan in 2015. Amita previously served as a Mentor-in-Residence at Johns Hopkins to help the institution’s scientists and physicians realize the potential of their groundbreaking discoveries. She holds a BA in Biochemistry from Harvard, an MBA from Stanford, and 10 patents. Learn more at:
Michèle Shuster Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Biology
Michèle Shuster, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Department of Biology at New Mexico State University. She received her Ph.D. in the Department of Molecular Microbiology at the Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University School of Medicine. Her current focus is on biology education research, focusing on improving student success and narrowing performance gaps across the curriculum. She is the PI of a SEPA grant, an HHMI undergraduate science education award, and the lead author of an issues-based introductory biology textbook for non-science majors.
Shai Silberberg Ph.D.
Director of Research Quality
Dr. Shai Silberberg is the Director of Research Quality at the NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) leading the Institute efforts to increase the excellence of science and the completeness of research reporting. In addition, Dr. Silberberg is a Program Director at NINDS overseeing basic research related to ion channels and transporters. Prior to joining NINDS, Dr. Silberberg was an Associate Professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, investigating the biophysical functions and physiological roles of various ion channels.
Jacqueline Snow Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Cognitive and Brain Sciences and Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Programs
Assistant Professor Jacqueline Snow joined the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno in 2013. Snow, who received her Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne, Australia, specializes in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, with emphasis on clinical neuropsychology and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Snow and her students study human behavioral and brain responses to real-world graspable objects. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Snow is currently the president of the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience and is part of the Integrated Program in Neuroscience at the University. Snow received the 2014 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research and Artistry, the 2017 CTR-IN Award for Outstanding Research, and the 2018 Regents' Rising Researcher of the Year award.
Ryan Spaulding Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor of Community Engagement
Ryan Spaulding is the Vice Chancellor of Community Engagement at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC), the Communications Core Director for the Kansas INBRE initiative, a 10-university bioscience program funded by the NIH, and a Research Associate Professor of Biostatistics. Previously Dr. Spaulding served as the Director of the Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth at KUMC for 12 years. In his current role, he oversees multiple university departments that provide health care services and education to underserved, rural communities in Kansas. Dr. Spaulding also helps develop and implement the university’s rural and community health strategy and structure. He has authored several articles and book chapters on the use of health information technologies in the delivery of health care to underserved areas. Dr. Spaulding currently is an investigator on several federal NIH and HRSA grants for providing and researching various rural services. He is a member of the American Telemedicine Association and the National Rural Health Association.
Steven J. Stanhope
Professor and Associate Vice President for Research
Dr. Stanhope is a Professor and Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Delaware (UD). He received his Ph.D. in 1985 from the University of Maryland and since has focused his research in the areas of Biomechanics, Human Movement Analysis and Rehabilitation Sciences. Following a 22 year career at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Stanhope joined the faculty at UD In 2007 to lead efforts to grow the nation’s research enterprise through multi-disciplinary partnerships and the establishment of foundational research capabilities. He currently serves as the Director of the Department of Defense funded BADER Consortium and as Principal Investigator of the NIH funded Delaware INBRE program.
Alan Tackett Ph.D.
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Dr. Tackett’s laboratory focuses on histone epigenetic mechanisms that regulate gene transcription and that are coupled to melanoma progression. His group utilizes a suite of techniques in their studies including proteomics of human biopsies, immunohistochemistry, cell culture, tumorigenicity assays, ChIPseq, biochemical and proteomic approaches for analyses of protein complexes, and cutting-edge mass spectrometry for the analysis of histone post-translational modifications. In addition to their melanoma work, Dr. Tackett’s group develops new technologies for epigenetic studies such as tools for detection of in vivo protein interactions and quantitative assays for histone-modifying proteins. Dr. Tackett serves as co-Director of the IDeA National Resource for Proteomics and Director of a Phase I COBRE, the Center for Translational Pediatric Research.
Fred Taylor Ph.D.
Acting Director
W. Fred Taylor, Ph.D. is the Acting Director of the Division for Research Capacity Building at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health. He oversees the Institute’s capacity-building programs, which include the Institutional Development Award Program (IDeA), the Support of Competitive Research Program (SCORE), the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) and the Science Education Partnerships Award Program (SEPA). Dr. Taylor joined the NIGMS in 2011 from the former National Center for Research Resources, where he was a health scientist administrator for 11 years, during which time he Directed and helped guide the growth of the IDeA program. Before coming to NIH, he was the Director of the Hyperbaric Environmental Adaptation Program and Deputy Director of the Thermal Stress Program at the Naval Medical Research Institute.

Dr. Taylor earned a B.S. in biology from Saint Mary’s College of California, a M.A. in biological sciences from the California State University Sacramento, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where he also conducted postdoctoral research in pharmacology and clinical pharmacology. He has earned numerous awards including the NIH Directors Award and the Award of Merit from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
W. Kelley Thomas Ph.D.
Dr. Thomas is currently the Director of the Genomics and Bioinformatics Core for the New Hampshire INBRE and the Director of the Research Core for the Center of Integrated Biomedical and Bioengineering Research, a COBRE at the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Thomas directs the University of New Hampshire’s Hubbard Center for Genome Studies, which is an internationally recognized leader in comparative and environmental genomics with a special emphasis on novel model species. Dr. Thomas’s research focuses on understanding the basic mechanisms of evolution, and the application of high throughput sequencing technologies and bioinformatics to investigate patterns of biodiversity and ecosystem function. Current research in his lab focuses on the application of next generation sequencing technologies to increase the understanding of response of organisms to environmental change and patterns of global biodiversity.
Dr. Tina Thornton
Assistant Professor
Dr. Tina Thornton is an assistant professor in the College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. Her research examines the ways in which DNA damage affects the immune system and the central nervous system. Also, she is the coordinator of I-Trep, a UVM-based initiative that fosters biomedical entrepreneurship in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Delaware, Puerto Rico and Alaska by providing resources and training to biomedical researchers who seek to commercialize their discoveries and by promoting collaboration between those researchers and the biomedical small business community at large. Dr. Thornton earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and her B.S. from the University of South Carolina. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Purdue University Cancer Center before moving to Vermont.
Sarah Velasquez
Communications Manager
Sarah E. Velasquez, MAB, MS, MLS, is the Communications Manager for the Kansas INBRE at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Prior to joining the K-INBRE, Ms. Velasquez worked in the agricultural sector in various communications positions. For the last 8 years Ms. Velasquez has been with the K-INBRE program developing and facilitating projects in student professional development, social media, data collection and assessment, and scholarship. Additionally, she co-managed several HRSA grants with the Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth for 6 years. Ms. Velasquez has a Master’s of Science in Technical Writing and Professional Communication from Utah State University, and a Master’s of Library Science from Emporia State University. She is currently obtaining her PhD in Library and Information Management from Emporia State University with a focus on health literacy.
Sara Warfield
PhD candidate in Epidemiology
Sara Warfield is a PhD candidate in Epidemiology at West Virginia University School of Public Health. Sara graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Master’s of Public Health in Epidemiology where was awarded Outstanding Student in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

At ETSU she was a Graduate Research Assistant on a National Institute of Drug Abuse grant where she worked on an interdisciplinary team conducting research as well as building infrastructure for prescription drug abuse and misuse research. She has experience working with large data sets, such as the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database (CSMD) as well as conducting qualitative research. Her particular interest are opioid-related overdoses and comorbidities of people who inject drugs.

At WVU she has worked on the Substance Abuse Task Force at the Health Sciences Center and assisted them conduct focus groups around the state using neutral facilitation techniques. She is currently a Graduate Research Assistant at the Injury Control Research Center at WVU working on various projects related to opioid abuse. She also collaborates with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Center for Behavioral health Statistics and Quality) and the Department of Veteran Affairs on projects relating to substance abuse and misuse.
Dave Wilson Ph.D.
Erica Woodahl Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Erica L. Woodahl, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at the University of Montana in the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Erica Woodahl received a B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame in 1998 and a Ph.D. from the Department of Pharmaceutics at the University of Washington in 2004. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical pharmacokinetics at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. She joined the faculty at the University of Montana in 2007 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2012. The research focus of Dr. Woodahl’s laboratory is on precision medicine and pharmacogenomics to identify sources of interindividual variability in disease treatment and prevention (e.g. genes, environment, and lifestyle). We are interested in genetic and environmental factors that alter the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of many therapeutic compounds. Translation of pharmacogenomics into clinical practice requires genetic research with diverse patient populations to accurately predict drug response and toxicity for all people. Towards this end, we focus on precision medicine and pharmacogenomics with American Indian and Alaska Native populations. Our research is part of the Northwest-Alaska Pharmacogenomics Research Network (NWA-PGRN), whose goals are to engage indigenous populations in precision medicine research. We use community-based participatory research to address complex and important challenges to conducting precision medicine research and aid in the translation of precision medicine research into the clinic. The laboratory is also focused on understanding the mechanisms by which pharmacogenomics alter the function of drug-metabolizing enzymes (e.g. cytochrome P450 drug-metabolizing enzymes), drug transporters (e.g. ATP-binding cassette transporters), and regulatory proteins that contribute to drug disposition. We are using a combination of computational, membrane-based, cell-based, and in vivo models to study the functional consequence of genetic variation in drug-metabolizing enzymes and drug transporters.
Douglas Wright Ph.D.