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Faculty and Staff

 

Faculty | Staff

 

The faculty of GSSIMR provides each predoctoral researcher with guidance and encouragement to support his or her success in a research program and assists with the next step in the young scientist's career. The faculty includes principal investigators, research investigators, heads of departments, technology center directors, and research advisors from SIMR. They have each earned a Ph.D. degree (or equivalent), and are internationally recognized scientists. Each faculty member is considered a leader in his or her field, and many have developed the methodologies that allow much of the current effort in their respective field of study. All faculty members have published in top-tier scientific journals, and most are the recipients of one or more prestigious honors or awards. The faculty members have extensive experience in teaching at the graduate level.

Meet the Faculty

Ariel Bazzini, Ph.D.

Assistant Investigator, Bazzini Lab

B.S., Biology, University of Buenos Aires; M.S., Plant Biology, University of Buenos Aires; Ph.D., Molecular Biology, University of Buenos Aires

Courses Taught: Cell Dynamics; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

Joan Conaway, Ph.D.

Investigator, Conaway Lab

A.B., Chemistry and Biology, Bryn Mawr College; Ph.D., Cell Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine

Courses Taught: Transcription and Chromatin; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Ron Conaway, Ph.D.

Investigator, Conaway Lab

A.B., Physics and Chemistry, Indiana University-Bloomington; Ph.D., Biochemistry, Stanford University School of Medicine

Courses Taught: Transcription and Chromatin; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Laurence Florens, Ph.D.

Head of Proteomics

M.Sc., Cell Biology, Structural Biology and Microbiology, Aix-Marseilles I University; Ph.D., Cell Biology, Structural Biology and Microbiology, Aix-Marseilles I University

Courses Taught: Proteomic Approaches to Understanding the Architecture of Protein Complexes

Jennifer Gerton, Ph.D.

Investigator, Gerton Lab

B.A., Human Biology, Stanford University; Ph.D., Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University

Courses Taught: Transcription and Chromatin; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

Matthew Gibson, Ph.D.

Dean, Graduate School; Investigator, Gibson Lab

B.S., Biology, Yale University; Ph.D., Zoology, University of Washington

Courses Taught: Genetics and Evolution; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

Randal Halfmann, Ph.D.

Assistant Investigator, Halfmann Lab

B.S., Genetics, Texas A&M University; Ph.D., Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Courses Taught: Cell Biology; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

Scott Hawley, Ph.D.

Investigator, Hawley Lab; Dean Emeritus, Graduate School

B.S., Biology, University of California, Riverside; Ph.D., Genetics, University of Washington

Courses Taught: Genetics and Evolution; Critical Analysis of the Scientific Literature; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Sue Jaspersen, Ph.D.

Associate Investigator, Jaspersen Lab

B.S., Chemistry, Georgetown University; Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of California, San Francisco

Courses Taught: Fundamentals in Light Microscopy and Live 3D Cell and Embryo Imaging; Genetics and Evolution; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

Robb Krumlauf, Ph.D.

Investigator, Krumlauf Lab; Scientific Director Emeritus

B.E., Chemical Engineering, Vanderbilt University; Ph.D., Developmental Biology, Ohio State University

Courses Taught: Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Paul Kulesa, Ph.D.

Director of Imaging, Imaging/Kulesa Lab

B.S., Aerospace Engineering, University of Notre Dame; M.S., Applied Mathematics, University of Southern California; Ph.D., Applied Mathematics, University of Washington

Courses Taught: Fundamentals in Light Microscopy and Live 3D Cell and Embryo Imaging; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Linheng Li, Ph.D.

Investigator, L. Li Lab

B.S., Biology, Fudan University; M.S., Molecular and Cellular Biology, New York University Medical School; Ph.D., Molecular and Cellular Biology, New York University Medical School

Courses Taught: Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

Ana Pedraza, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

B.A., Biochemistry, Swarthmore College; M.S., Biochemistry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Ph.D., Cell Biology, Yale University

Courses Taught: Critical Analysis of the Scientific Literature

Tatjana Piotrowski, Ph.D.

Investigator, Piotrowski Lab

M.S., Developmental Biology, University of Tübingen; Ph.D., Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology

Courses Taught: Cell Dynamics, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

Nicolas Rohner, Ph.D.

Assistant Investigator, Rohner Lab

M.Sc., Biology, Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen; Ph.D., Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology

Courses Taught: Cell Dynamics, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado, Ph.D.

Scientific Director; Investigator, Sanchez Lab; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

B.S., Molecular Biology and Chemistry, Vanderbilt University; Ph.D., Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Courses Taught: Cell Biology; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

Chris Seidel, Ph.D.

Genomics Scientist

B.A., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz; Ph.D., Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley

Courses Taught: Genomic and Computational Approaches to Understanding Gene Expression

Kausik Si, Ph.D.

Associate Scientific Director; Investigator, Si Lab

B.S./M.S., Sciences, University of Calcutta; Ph.D., Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Courses Taught: Cell Biology; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

Brian Slaughter, Ph.D.

Co-Head of Microscopy

B.A., Chemistry and Mathematics, William Jewell College; Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Kansas

Courses Taught: Fundamentals in Light Microscopy and Live 3D Cell and Embryo Imaging

Paul Trainor, Ph.D.

Investigator, Trainor Lab

B.Sc., Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Sydney; Ph.D., Developmental Biology, Children’s Medical Research Institute, University of Sydney

Courses Taught: Cell Dynamics, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

Jay Unruh, Ph.D.

Co-Head of Microscopy

B.S., Biochemistry, John Brown University; Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Kansas

Courses Taught: Fundamentals in Light Microscopy and Live 3D Cell and Embryo Imaging

Jerry Workman, Ph.D.

Investigator, Workman Lab

B.S., Biology, Northern Illinois University; Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Michigan

Courses Taught: Transcription and Chromatin; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

Ting Xie, Ph.D.

Investigator, Xie Lab

B.S., Agronomy, Beijing Agricultural University; M.S., Plant Genetics and Breeding, Beijing Agricultural University; Ph.D., Molecular and Biochemistry, Rutgers University

Courses Taught: Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

Ron Yu, Ph.D.

Investigator, Yu Lab

B.Sc., Solid State Physics and B.Sc., Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Tsinghua University; Ph.D., M.Ph., M.Sc., Molecular, Cellular and Biophysical Studies, Columbia University

Courses Taught: Cell Biology; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Sarah Zanders, Ph.D.

Vice Dean, Graduate School; Assistant Investigator, Zanders Lab

B.S., Biology, University of Iowa; Ph.D., Genetics and Development, Cornell University

Courses Taught: Genetics and Evolution; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

Julia Zeitlinger, Ph.D.

Investigator, Zeitlinger Lab

B.S., Human Biology, King's College; Ph.D., Molecular Biology, University of London and European Molecular Biology Laboratory

Courses Taught: Genomic and Computational Approaches to Understanding Gene Expression; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Lab Website

 

Meet the Staff

Betty M. Drees, M.D., FACP, FACE

President, The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research

 

Dr. Betty Drees was appointed as the President of the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research (GSSIMR) in Spring 2018. She served on the Board of Directors of GSSIMR prior to appointment as president. She is on the faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Medicine where she is Dean Emerita after serving thirteen years as dean (2001-2014) and acting provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs (2007-2008). She is a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the UMKC School of Medicine. She is a board-certified endocrinologist who practices at Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, MO. She is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, and is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians and the American College of Endocrinology. She is the 2020 president of the Kansas City Medical Society. She has been recognized by Ingram’s Magazine as one of Kansas City’s Most Accomplished and Successful Women (2008) and as an Icon of Education (2019). 

Betty has served in multiple regional and national roles in education, including the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, Chair of the Governance Council of the American Medical Association’s Academic Physician Section, and Chair of the Missouri State Medical Association’s Commission on Continuing Medical Education. She is currently the Program Director for the UMKC Fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism. She received teaching awards in the UMKC internal medicine residency and the endocrinology fellowship in 2018 and 2019. She was co-Principal Investigator on a learning collaborative project funded by the National Institutes of Health on building institutional capacity for health equity.

Betty received her medical degree from the University of Kansas and did her residency training in internal medicine and fellowship in endocrinology at the Kansas University Medical Center. Following fellowship, she did postdoctoral research training in the Veterans Affairs Career Development Program. She has received funding through the National Institutes of Health and the Health Forward Foundation on diabetes prevention projects. She was the Principal Investigator for the Kansas City site in the Enhanced Lifestyles for Metabolic Syndrome (ELMS) Multi-Site Trial funded by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund. She is active in community service in diabetes, including serving as facilitator for a diabetes ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) funded by the Missouri TeleHealth Network. This project provides outreach to primary care providers to meet professional development needs. She is the immediate past president of the Community Leadership Board of the Kansas City area American Diabetes Association.

Matthew Gibson, Ph.D.

Dean, The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute

Investigator, The Stowers Institute for Medical Research

 

Dr. Matt Gibson is a leading researcher in the areas of cell, developmental and evolutionary biology, having published over 40 research articles on diverse topics ranging from the mathematics of cellular architecture to the evolution of body patterning.  Matt received a B.S. in Biology from Yale University in 1994, followed by a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Washington in 2001.  Under the supervision of Gerold Schubiger, his experimental work on Drosophila appendage development and regeneration earned him two national awards: the Harold M. Weintraub Award for Innovative Graduate Research (2000) and the Larry Sandler Memorial Award for the most outstanding Drosophila thesis of 2002.  Matt then went on to a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellowship with Norbert Perrimon at Harvard Medical School, working in the area of Drosophila epithelial cell biology.  In 2006, Matt received a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in Biomedical Sciences and later accepted a position at the Stowers Institute as an Assistant Investigator.

At Stowers, Matt has maintained an active research program in Drosophila genetics and cell biology while expanding the scope of his lab to include the evolution of developmental processes, pioneering the use of the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis as a new molecular-genetic model organism.  In addition to efforts in conference organization, teaching, and editorial responsibilities at the journal Developmental Biology, Matt has progressively risen in the academic ranks and was promoted to full Investigator at the Stowers Institute in 2016.   In 2019, Matt accepted a new role Dean of the Graduate School.  He hopes to use his passion for creative and innovative research to continue to expand and improve our research-centered graduate program.

Sarah Zanders, Ph.D.

Vice Dean, The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute

Assistant Investigator, The Stowers Institute for Medical Research

 

Dr. Sarah Zanders’s laboratory studies selfish genetic parasites and their impact on genome evolution. She received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Iowa in 2005 and her Ph.D. in Genetics from Cornell University in 2010 under the supervision of Eric Alani. This was followed by training in the labs of Harmit Malik and Gerald Smith at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where she was supported by and American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship. She was recruited as an Assistant Investigator to the Stowers Institute in 2016. Since then, she has been named a Searle Scholar and has received both a Basil O’Connor Award from the March of Dimes and a New Innovator Award from the NIH. In July 2019, Sarah became the first person to fill the role of Vice Dean of the Graduate School. With a strong drive for research and education, Sarah is looking to use her new position to promote diversity and inclusion in the graduate school and in the sciences.

Susan Weigel

Associate Dean for Administration & Registrar

 

Susan Weigel joined the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in 2000 and managed the executive office until 2010 when she was named to her current position. Prior to joining the Stowers Institute, Susan worked with the executive office and the foundation of Aventis Pharmaceuticals and its predecessor companies in Kansas City for eleven years. Susan holds a B.A. in education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She enjoys combining her background in education with her experience in administration to support the predoctoral researchers.

Jinelle Wint, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

 

Dr. Jinelle Wint is the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs for the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. Dr. Wint has extensive experience in program management, graduate career professional development, mentoring, and outreach. As a Graduate Career Coach at Stony Brook University, she led one-on-one career coaching sessions and coordinated career exploration seminars. Dr. Wint has served on the executive board of many organizations, held a position in the Center for Inclusive Education, and has advocated for graduate students on local, state, and national levels. Dr. Wint received her Ph.D. in Molecular Cellular Biology from Stony Brook University in the laboratory of Dr. Howard Sirotkin. She has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and General Studio Art from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. Dr. Wint joined the Graduate School in 2020. In her current role she oversees academic standards and predoctoral researcher support services in addition to serving as a member of the faculty and an academic advisor for predoctoral researchers.

Lori Vitale

Director of Accreditation and Compliance

 

Lori Vitale joined The Graduate School in 2014. It is her responsibility to serve as liaison with the state of Missouri as well as coordinate accreditation efforts. Lori holds a Bachelor’s of Journalism and a Bachelor’s of Art in History from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has a master’s degree and an education specialist in higher education administration. Previously, she worked in higher education for 14 years at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Research College of Nursing.

George Satterlee

Human Resources Officer, The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research

 

George Satterlee serves as the Human Resource Officer for the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. George received a B.A. degree in business administration and political science from Westminster College and a M.L.A. degree in philosophy from Baker University. He attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where he completed a three-year program in the Stonier Graduate School of Banking and the Wharton School Executive Leadership Program.

He joined the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in 2016 as Executive Vice President of Administration. Prior to joining SIMR, George worked at Missouri Bank and Hallmark Cards. While at Missouri Bank, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer and was responsible for the company’s human resource, organizational development, culture, strategic planning, and marketing efforts. Prior to his 17 years at Missouri Bank, George spent 15 years at Hallmark Cards, where he held a number of significant human resource positions within the manufacturing, corporate staffing and field sales divisions.

Roderick Sturgeon

Chief Financial Officer (CFO), The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research

 

Rod Sturgeon serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. He received a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Rod joined the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in 2007 as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining the Stowers Institute, Rod worked at Hallmark Cards where he most recently served as Senior Vice President—Personal Expression Group Finance and a corporate officer. Prior to Hallmark, he worked for the JCPenney Company. Rod currently serves on the Community National Bank Advisory Board. Previously he served on the boards of American Century Investments, Midwest Trust Company, Financial Counselors, Kansas State University Business College, American Royal, and Health Midwest.

Kim Dziedzic

Administrative Coordinator

 

Kim Dziedzic joined the executive office of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in 2007 and moved to her current position in 2010. Her previous experience includes four years at the Lee's Summit, Missouri School District and 17 years at Pfizer Animal Health. Kim received a B.S. in education with a concentration in Biology from the University of Central Missouri. The combination of Kim's educational and work experiences makes her a valuable resource for the predoctoral researchers.