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Faculty and 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

Susan Abmayr, Ph.D

Research Investigator, Workman Lab

B.S., Biological Sciences/Economics, Carnegie-Mellon University; Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Rockefeller University

Involvement: Thesis Supervisory Committee

Peter Baumann, Ph.D.

Investigator, Baumann Lab; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

B.A., Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Cambridge; M.Phil., Biology, University of Cambridge; Ph.D., Biochemistry, Imperial Cancer Research Fund and University College London

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

Lab Website

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.

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, 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.

Scientific Director; Investigator, Krumlauf Lab

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.

Associate 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.

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.

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

Mike Washburn, Ph.D.

Director of Proteomics, Proteomics/Washburn Lab

B.A., Chemistry, Grinnell College; Ph.D., Biochemistry and Environmental Toxicology, Michigan State University

Courses Taught: Proteomic Approaches to Understanding the Architecture of Protein Complexes; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

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

Lab Website

Sarah Zanders, Ph.D.

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.

Associate 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

William B. Neaves, Ph.D.

President, The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute

President Emeritus, Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Dr. William Neaves serves as President of the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. Bill has extensive experience in higher education and served more than 20 years in leadership positions at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Bill attended Harvard where he earned degrees in biology and anatomy. Following a brief stint as lecturer at Harvard, he became an assistant professor of cell biology at UT Southwestern, where he undertook endocrinology research and directed the anatomy teaching program from 1975 to 1978, attaining full professorship in 1977. In 1983, Bill received the Young Andrologist Award of the American Society of Andrology and in 1991 was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in recognition of his work on steroid hormones. In 1980, he was named Dean of Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences followed by appointment as Dean of the Medical School in 1986 and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs in 1998. In addition, he held the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Science during his last decade at UT Southwestern and by then was recognized for his role in building a stellar research program. During his time in administration at UT Southwestern, Bill demonstrated his commitment to faculty development, education of students and rigorous scientific and ethical standards. Bill served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research from 2000 through 2009. He was named President Emeritus in 2010 and currently serves on the Cerner Corporation Board of Directors and on the Board of Trustees of Washington University in St. Louis.

Scott Hawley, Ph.D.

Dean, The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute

Investigator and American Cancer Research Society Research Professor

Dr. R. Scott Hawley is widely recognized as an expert in Drosophila genetics, chromosome biology, and meiosis. He has authored over 150 articles and seven books. Scott was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2011, inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006, and appointed as an American Cancer Society Research Professor in 2005. He has won numerous awards for his teaching, including the Genetics Society of America's award for Excellence in Education in 2008. Scott received a B.S. in Biology from the University of California at Riverside in 1975 and his Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Washington in 1979 under the supervision of Laurence Sandler. This was followed by a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute for Cancer Research in Philadelphia. In 1982 he joined the faculty of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and then, in 1991, he moved to the University of California at Davis as a Professor of Genetics. In 2001 he was recruited to the faculty of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City. Scott believes that there are three functions of a scholar: to learn, to write, and to teach. He is committed to excellence in all three pursuits.

Ana J. Pedraza, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Ana J. Pedraza received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Yale University in 2007 in the laboratory of Dr. Graham Warren. She has a master's degree in Biochemistry from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. After receiving her Ph.D., Ana moved to Kansas City to pursue a postdoctoral research position in the laboratory of Drs. Joan and Ron Conaway at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. In 2010, Ana accepted her current position. Although she has given up the bench, she has a strong commitment to fostering science through the next generation. She hopes that her broad experience in an array of research positions and institutions will be a valuable tool to help future scientists navigate their way through graduate school and the next steps of their careers.

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.

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.

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.