Postdoctoral Alumni - Kimberly Inman



Kimberly Inman
Assistant Professor of Biology
Shawnee State University, Portsmouth, Ohio

After earning a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin in 2006, Kimberly Inman began seeking postdoctoral opportunities closer to West Virginia, her home state. While exploring labs in Ohio, she ventured a little further west to Stowers, where she interviewed with investigator Paul Trainor. After that meeting she deferred the dream of getting back to her roots. “The Stowers facilities were amazing and Paul’s lab was so collegial,” she says. “After just a short interview I realized the kind of support I was going to get from the PI.”  Inman then joined the Trainor lab and remained there until 2013.

At Wisconsin, Inman had conducted embryology research on genes specifying the anterior-posterior axis of the mouse. At Stowers, she continued developmental studies but focused on factors regulating craniofacial development, again using mouse models. Early in her postdoc Inman was part of the Trainor lab team that conducted a labor-intensive genetic screen revealing ten novel mouse genes that govern craniofacial development, work published in 2011 in Genesis. However, Inman carved out her own niche in a first-author study reporting that mice harboring a mutation in the Foxc1 gene mimic defects seen in human syngnathia, a condition in which babies are born with fused jawbones. That work was published in 2013 in PLOS Genetics.

That year, Inman left Stowers (as well as the Kansas City Zoo and her favorite trendy restaurants) to become an assistant professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at Shawnee State University, a small regional university in Portsmouth, Ohio. There, she currently teaches anatomy and physiology to undergrads and has plans to set up an undergrad research program in chick embryology.  And, she is now just 45 miles from her hometown of Huntington, West Virginia.

Not all heads of research labs are wildly enthusiastic when their postdocs decide to pursue teaching over a full-time research career. But Inman says Trainor actively encouraged her to develop her talents, wherever they took her. To her, that attitude perfectly matches another quality she admires: “Paul was interested in my work, but he also believed that to be a healthy scientist you have to nourish a little of your life outside of the lab.”