Faculty Mentors & Research Interests

Name and Degree, Department and Research Interests
amachawadi Raghu Amachawadi, BVSc, MS, PhD

Assistant Professor, Clinical Sciences

Dr. Raghu Amachawadi’s research interests are in antimicrobial resistance among gut commensals and foodborne pathogens of swine and cattle production systems. Specifically, on understanding the mechanisms involved in the propagation and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance and on the role of non-antibiotic alternatives in contribution and mitigation of antimicrobial resistance in gut bacteria, and on microbiome and metagenomics analyses of the gut of cattle and swine. His research interests also include both aerobic and or anaerobic bacterial flora of liver abscesses and its prevention in feedlot cattle.
apley Mike Apley, DVM. PhD, DACVCP

Professor, Clinical Sciences

Dr. Mike Apley's research is focused on food animal pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of veterinary drugs.

Asano Katsura Asano, PhD

Professor, Biology


Dr. Katsura Asano studies regulation of protein biosynthesis, yeast genetics and biochemistry, and molecular and cell biology of insects and cancer.

Azuma Chieko Azuma, DVM, PhD, DACVR-RO, CPIA

Clinical Associate Professor, Clinical Sciences


Dr. Chieko Azuma's research is focused on investigating the biological effects of radiation therapy and evaluation of treatment response in veterinary patients. She also has interests in palliative care and pain management, and research ethics and compliance.
Dr. Matt BaselMatt Basel, PhD

Clinical Assistant Professor, Anatomy & Physiology

Dr. Matt Basel’s research is focused on cancer therapy, especially hyperthermia and nanomedicine, and on designing better models for cancer research.

Benkhe Brad Benkhe, PhD

Professor, Kinesiology


Dr. Brad Behnke’s research involves manipulation of tumor microenvironments to enhance cancer therapies, cardiovascular regulation of skeletal muscle and adipose tissue perfusion with age, and pathological conditions including diabetes, heart failure, and mechanical failure.

Bossmann Stefan Bossmann, PhD
University Distinguished Professor, Chemistry

Dr. Stefan Bossmann studies cell-mediated delivery of drugs to tumors.

Cain Mary Cain, PhD

Professor, Psychology

Dr. Mary Cain studies the neurobiological basis of drug use using a rodent model.

chang Natalia Cernicchiaro, DVM MS PhD

Associate Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

Dr. Natalia Cernicchiaro research focus is on veterinary epidemiology, food safety, zoonoses and production medicine. Research interests include the application of epidemiological concepts and methods, including multi-level modeling and knowledge synthesis and translation techniques to design, implement and interpret observational and experimental studies pertaining to food safety, zoonoses, arthropod-borne diseases and production medicine. Current research projects include understanding the distribution and determinants of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli non-O157, Salmonella and respiratory disease organisms in cattle and cattle production systems.

chang Kyeong-Ok Chang, DVM, MS, PhD

Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

The development of therapeutic small molecules against various viruses including noroviruses, influenza virus and rotaviruses within vitro screening system and animal models such as (gnotobiotic) pigs and mice.

Jeba ChelladuraiJeba Chelladurai, BVSc & AH, MS, PhD, DACVM (Parasitology)
Assistant Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

Pharmacological targets and resistance markers in parasitic nematodes.

Coetzee Hans Coetzee, BVSc, PhD

Professor and Head, Anatomy & Physiology

Dr. Hans Coetzee’s research works to identify and validate biomarkers of pain in animal models and develop new analgesic drug regimens.

Cohnstaedt Lee Cohnstaedt, PhD

USDA Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit, Adjunct Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

Dr. Lee Cohnstaedt’s research focuses on mosquito-borne zoonotic pathogens such as Rift Valley fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses. He also studies methods to reduce biting midge (culicoides) transmitted epizootic hemorrhagic disease and bluetongue virus transmission on cervid farms. The lab uses both field and lab projects to determine the best methods to reduce disease transmission by mosquito and biting midge disease vectors.
Comer Jeff Comer, PhD

Associate Professor, Anatomy & Physiology

Dr. Jeff Comer studies molecular simulation of interactions between biological molecules and synthetic nanostructures, with a particular focus on the thermodynamics and kinetics of binding, transmembrane transport of nanoparticles, and high-throughput screening.
Copp Steven Copp, PhD

Associate Professor, Kinesiology


Dr. Steven Copp’s research interest is autonomic control of circulation during exercise in health and cardiovascular disease.
davis Elizabeth Davis, DVM, PhD

Professor and Head, Clinical Sciences

The primary focus of my research has involved mechanisms of innate immunity in horses. The current series of investigations involves examining the mechanism of immune activation with specific DNA sequences called CpG DNA. We are examining how bacterial DNA induces these responses and which sequences are the most effective at inducing immune activation. The ultimate goal of such investigations will be to use CpG DNA in combination with vaccine antigens so that we can safely and effectively make vaccines more powerful. Investigations will utilize cellular proliferation, cytokine gene expression and molecular cloning and sequencing assays.

sally davis Sally Davis, DVM, PhD

Assistant Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology


Dr. Sally Davis studies host-pathogen interactions for agents including Influenza A virus, Rift Valley Fever Virus, and Pneumocystis spp, as well as development of in vitro systems that better modle aspects of in vivo infections.

delong Robert DeLong, MS, PhD

Associate Professor, Anatomy & Physiology

The group studies the interaction, stabilization and delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics and proteins by nanoparticles, with a particular interest in their anti-cancer, biochemical and immunological activity.

drolet Barbara Drolet, MS, PhD

USDA Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit
Adjunct Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

Dr. Barbara Drolet’s research focuses on insect-transmitted diseases of livestock and wildlife, such as bluetongue, epizootic hemorrhagic disease, vesicular stomatitis, and Rift Valley fever viruses. Her research includes developing arboviral immunodiagnostics, conducting animal pathogenesis and vector competence studies, investigating the molecular interactions between arboviruses and their mammalian and insect hosts, and determining the effects of insect vector saliva on mammalian immune responses and arbovirus infection following bite transmission.
fleming Sherry Fleming, PhD

Professor, Biology

Dr. Sherry Fleming’s research focuses on the innate immune response and understanding the mechanisms of an excessive response during sterile injury such as surgery or pre-eclampsia. Importantly, we are determining the role of sex on the innate response and the ability of small therapeutics to inhibit the excessive response without inhibiting the total immune response. An additional project examines the ability of the small therapeutics to inhibit melanoma growth.

fong Peying Fong, PhD

Associate Professor, Anatomy & Physiology

Regulation of sodium, chloride and iodide transport by epithelial cells.

Ganta, R Roman Ganta, PhD

Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

Dr. Roman Ganta studies Ehrlichia and Anaplasma vector-borne diseases, assessing pathogen molecular structure, host response, the effect of tick and host cell environments on the pathogens’ adaptation, mutagenesis, vaccine development, and developing molecular diagnostic tests.
Geisbrecht Brian Geisbrecht, PhD

Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics

Dr. Brian Geisbrecht studies
Staphylococcus aureus with a multidisciplinary approach including innate immunity, molecular basis of infectious diseases and host-pathogen interactions, and structural biology and molecular recognition.

Geisbrecht, E Erica Geisbrecht, PhD

Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics

Dr. Erica Geisbrecht studies formation and maintenance of muscle and heart tissue, biochemistry and molecular genetics of Drosophila, and cell signaling in development.

Hardwidge Phil Hardwidge, PhD

Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

Dr. Phil Hardwidge studies several virotypes of
E. coli causing diarrhea and malnutrition in humans and livestock.

herrin Brian Herrin, DVM, PhD

Assistant Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

Dr. Brian Herrin’s primary research objectives are focused on the epidemiology and control of ticks and tick-borne diseases. Some of his recent interests are the epidemiology Lyme borreliosis in humans and dogs in North America, evaluation of diagnostic assays for tick-borne diseases, and surveillance of ticks and tick-borne diseases of horses. Although his research focus is on ticks, Dr. Herrin enjoys working with all parasites of veterinary importance through the diagnostic service and teaching/outreach opportunities.

hulbert Lindsey Hulbert, BS, MS, PhD
Associate Professor, Animal Science

Dr. Lindsey Hulbert's research is focused on the development and validation of automated technologies to monitor health and welfare of domestic animals, understanding the effects of early-life stressors on nutritive and non-nutritive oral behaviors and immunity in calves, improving resilience to stressors and immunocomptence through housing, management, and feeding strategies in calves and pigs, and determining biomarkers of stress and inflammation for predicting and identifying disease.

Maria Jugan Maria Jugan, DVM, MS, DACVIM

Assistant Professor, Clinical Sciences

Dr. Maria Jugan’s research interests are in feline and canine gastrointestinal disease, nutrient malabsorption in feline IBD, alterations in enteroendocrine responses in IBD, and therapeutic manipulations (e.g. fecal transplantation, probiotics) of the GI microbiome and metabolome in both acute and chronic small animal enteropathies.

kimYunjeong Kim, DVM, PhD, DACVM
Associate Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

Dr. Yunjeong Kim is interested in the development of therapeutic agents for small animal viral diseases including feline infectious peritonitis and feline calicivirus infection as well as understanding the role of host cellular proteases in viral pathogenesis.

Kirkpatrick Kim Kirkpatrick, PhD

University Distinguished Professor, Psychological Sciences

Dr. Kim Kirkpatrick studies the role of timing and reward processes in determining impulsive and risky choice in rats.

Michael KleinhenzMichael Kleinhenz, DVM, PhD
Assistant Professor, Clinical Sciences.

Food animal therapeutics and pain assessment in food animals.

kukanich Butch KuKanich, DVM, PhD, DACVCP

Professor, Anatomy & Physiology

Evaluation and design of rational drug dosages through the use of pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, and pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic studies.

kukanich Kate KuKanich, DVM, PhD, DACVIM

Professor, Clinical Sciences

One Health research including antimicrobial stewardship, hand hygiene, zoonotic diseases, fungal disease, UTIs, and opioids.

larson Robert Larson, DVM, PhD

Professor, Clinical Sciences

Investigation of the role of disease in beef cattle on production efficiency, evaluation of disease intervention strategies.

Dylan LutterDylan Lutter, DVM, MS, DACVS-LA, CERP, CAC
Clinical Assistant Professor, Clinical Sciences

Regenerative medicine, wound healing, equine rehabilitation therapies

meekins Jessica Meekins, DVM, DACVO

Associate Professor, Clinical Sciences


Dr. Jessica Meekins’ clinical research interests include management of viral surface ocular diseases in cats and investigating comparative ophthalmology in exotic/non-domestic species.

Michel Kristin Michel, PhD

Associate Professor, Biology


Dr. Kristen Michel studies host-pathogen interactions important for malaria and arboviral disease transmission.
Mueller Thomas Mueller, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Biology

Dr. Thomas Mueller studies evolutionary and developmental neuroscience, brain atlases, forebrain evolution, neural circuits of emotion, and amygdala-hypothalamic connectivity.

musch Timothy Musch, PhD

University Distinguished Professor, Anatomy & Physiology

The mechanisms associated with the large degree of exercise intolerance that develops in the chronic heart failure (CHF) syndrome.

Dr. Waithaka Mwangi Waithaka Mwangi, PhD

Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

My research is focused on development of livestock vaccines, immune stimulants for adjuvant development, and antibody-based human and companion animal therapeutics.

nagaraja T.G. Nagaraja, BVSc, MVSc, PhD

University Distinguished Professor of Veterinary Microbiology

My research interest is in the field of Gut Microbiology of cattle and swine, particularly on the role of microbes in gut function and dysfunction. Currently, my laboratory is involved in the following research areas: Foodborne pathogens, such as Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter, and antimicrobial resistance of gut bacteria in cattle and swine; bacterial flora of liver abscesses, virulence factors and pathogenic mechanisms of Fusobacterium necrophorum, with the long term goal of developing an efficacious vaccine.

niederwerder Megan C. Niederwerder, DVM, PhD
Associate Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

Dr. Megan Niederwerder's laboratory is focused on investigating viral diseases of swine, including the role of the microbiome in outcome following viral infection and the risks for viral introduction and transmission.

norohna Leela Norohna, DVM, PhD

USDA Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit
Adjunct Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

Dr. Leela Noronha studies the interactions of mammalian hosts, insect vectors, and viral pathogens involved in the transmission of arboviral diseases. She currently focuses on emerging and re-emerging diseases that affect livestock, wildlife, and humans, including Japanese encephalitis and Rift Valley fever.
Park Yoonseong Park, PhD

Professor, Entomology

Dr. Yoonseong Park studies arthropod signaling peptides and their receptors, signaling pathways for tick salivary secretion, and mechanisms of systemic RNA interference.

Pickens Charles Pickens, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychological Sciences

Dr. Charles Pickens studies how exposure to CNS depressants can lead to long-term alterations in the brain circuits involved in learning, memory, and decision making.

poole David Poole, MS, PhD
University Distinguished Professor, Anatomy & Physiology

Pulmonary gas exchange, O2 transport and muscle microcirculation in health and determining the mechanistic bases for dysfunction in chronic disease (i.e., emphysema, heart failure, diabetes) and also aging.

Prakash Punit Prakash, PhD
Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Punit Prakash’s research is focused on developing technologies for enabling precise image-guided medical and cancer interventions, including microwave thermal therapy with MRI guidance.

renter David Renter, DVM, PhD

Professor, and Director
Center for Outcomes Research and Epidemiology
Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

Dr. David Renter’s research emphasizes the application and extension of epidemiologic principles and methods to enhance health and disease management. His outcomes-based research enables valid data-driven decisions to improve animal health/well-being, food safety, production efficiency, and economic viability of health systems.
Reif Kathryn Reif, MSPH, PhD

Associate Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

My laboratory is interested in ticks and tick-borne diseases. We use a combination of in vitro and in vivo experimental models to study the determinants of pathogen infection in the tick vector, and how these infection determinants ultimately effect pathogen transmission from the tick. Projects in the lab range from basic to applied research, including: examining mechanisms of pathogen entry into tick host cells, ecological drivers of bovine anaplasmosis, and evaluation of novel tick repellents. The tick-borne pathogens we commonly work with are Anaplasma spp, Ehrlichia spp. Rickettsia spp, and Francisella spp.

richt Juergen, Richt, DVM, PhD

Regents Distinguished Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

Emerging zoonotic diseases, in particular influenze, rift valley, and prion diseases.

sanderson Michael Sanderson, MS, DVM

Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

The broad focus of my research is the application of Epidemiologic principles, Analytical Methods, Risk Assessment and Simulation Modeling to disease risk and facilitate decision making in Beef Production systems. Much of this research has focused on the epidemiology and ecology of beef safety and security particularly related to E. coli O157 and other shiga-toxin producing E. coli. We also have potential risk assessment and modeling projects in Bovine Respiratory Disease, BVD, and Foot and Mouth Disease.

schermerhorn Thomas Schermerhorn, VMD

Professor, Clinical Sciences

Comparative glucose metabolism and diabetes.

schultz Bruce Schultz, PhD

Professor, Anatomy & Physiology

Defining the physiological mechanisms of epithelial ion transport in selected tissues and species.

Shames Stephanie Shames, PhD

Assistant Professor, Biology

Dr. Stephanie Shames studies
Legionella pneumophila, specifically host-pathogen interactions, bacterial pathogenesis, and cellular microbiology.

shi Jishu Shi, DVM, MS, PhD

Professor, Anatomy & Physiology

Dr. Jishu Shi’s research programs focus on the development of novel vaccine technologies for animal infectious diseases. His team is currently evaluating novel adjuvants and strategies for vaccines targeting porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus,Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, swine influenza virus, porcine circovirus, and avian influenza virus. In addition, his team is also investigating the molecular mechanisms of IL-1beta release from macrophages and the role of IL-1beta in macrophage-cancer stem cell interactions.

Silver Kris Silver, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Entomology


Dr. Silver researches the physiological and molecular interactions between insects and insecticides.

tamura Masaaki Tamura, DVM, PhD

Professor, Anatomy & Physiology

My research focuses on cancer therapy and chemoprevention, specifically immune checkpoint blockade therapy, gene therapy, and nanoparticle-based chemotherapy for lung cancer. We also study natural product-based therapy and chemoprevention for lung, colon, breast and pancreatic cancer. Our research involves both in vitro cell culture and mouse study.

Dana Dr. Dana Vanlandingham, MS, PhD

Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

My research is focused on viruses transmitted by mosquitoes; the interactions between the virus, mosquito vector, and vertebrate host. Our multidisciplinary research encompasses both basic molecular virology and applied research: novel vaccine development/evaluation, diagnostics, and virus transmission potential in vectors and hosts. Current research projects include: Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever viruses.

Viscardi Dr. Abbie Viscardi, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Anatomy & Physiology

My research focus is on animal behavior and welfare. I am currently studying analgesia use in piglets to alleviate surgical castration and tail docking pain.

weiss Mark Weiss, BS, PhD

Professor, Anatomy & Physiology


Dr. Weiss' research focus is on stem cell biotechnology. His lab successfully produced various stem cell lines such as rat embryonic stem cells and cells derived from umbilical chord or other tissues with the intent of using this technology to advance cellular therapy and regenerative medicine. His lab is focused upon producing promising cellular therapeutics for regenerative medicine.

white Brad White, MS, DVM

Professor and Director of Beef Cattle Institute, Clinical Sciences

Preventative and therapeutic options for cattle health, primary area of emphasis in bovine respiratory disease.

Dr. William WhitehouseWilliam Whitehouse, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM)
Assistant Professor, Clinical Sciences

Acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease in dogs and cats, oxidative stress, clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, utility of minimally invasive procedures in veterinary medicine.

wilsonWilliam Wilson, PhD

USDA Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit
Adjunct Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

Dr. William Wilson’s research focuses on using molecular evolution, biochemical and genomic approaches to understand the interactions of arboviruses with their mammalian and invertebrate hosts. This work has also led to the development of diagnostic and control strategies. His current research is directed toward developing early detection/characterization and countermeasures for arboviruses affecting livestock and wildlife.

YangZhilong Yang, PhD

Assistant Professor, Biology

Dr. Zhilong Yang studies viral and host cell gene expression during viral infection, specifically poxvirus.

Zinovyeva Anna Zinovyeva, PhD

Assistant Professor, Biology

Dr. Anna Zinovyeva studies post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression, RNA biology, and microRNA biogenesis and function.

Zolkiewska Anna Zolkiewska, PhD

Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Dr. Anna Zolkiewska studies the role of metalloprotease ADAM12 in breast tumor development, metastasis, recurrence, and response to therapy.