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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

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.

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

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

President, The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute

Dr. Betty Drees serves as President of the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. Betty is an esteemed physician and educator who has more than 25 years in clinical practice, research, education, and administration. She is Dean Emerita and the immediate past dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Medicine. She served thirteen years in that role, from 2001-2014. Among her many honors, Betty 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 has been recognized by Kansas City’s 435 Magazine (2014) and the Kansas City Business Journal (2013) on their Best Doctors lists, by Ingram’s Magazine as one of Kansas City’s Most Accomplished and Successful Women (2008), among MidwestCEO’s Influential Women (2009), and in Kansas City’s Influential Women: Inspiration and mentorship from the women who make Kansas City great, Susan Greenberg, editor (2010).

Betty received a BA degree in biology from Wichita State University and an MD from the University of Kansas. She continued her training at the University of Kansas Medical Center with a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in endocrinology and metabolism. Betty serves as an endocrinologist and a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics at UMKC. She is learner-focused and committed to helping predoctoral researchers meet their career goals and supporting them as they prepare for their future in science.

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.

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.

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.

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.