Click on the mentor’s name for a description of their research.
Dr. Jeffrey Adamovicz, PhD
Research area(s): Vaccine development and pathogenesis studies for zoonotic diseases
Possible project(s): 1) Exploring bacterial persistence of Francisella tularensis; 2) Development of multi-species bridge ELISA for Yersinia pestis; 3) Animal modle development and therapeutic testing for Zika virus; 4) Development of a recombinant vaccine for B. pseudomallei.
Dr. Pam Adkins, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (web site under construction)
Research area(s): Current research interests include heifer mastitis, the ecology of staphylococcal species on the dairy farm, strain typing of bacterial species associated with bovine intramammary infections, the effects of intramammary antimicrobial usage, and heat stress.
Possible project(s): 1) Investigating bovine body site sampling techniques; 2) Investigating the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance among fecal pathogens post intramammary antimicrobial usage; 3) Characterization of non-aureus staphylococcal species associated with subclinical mastitis from dairy farms in the southeastern USA.
Dr. Yuksel Agca, DVM, PhD
Research area(s): Cellular, biophysical and molecular aspects of rodent germplasm cryopreservation and transgenics
Possible project(s): 1) Rodent oocyte and embryo cryopreservation via vitrification procedures; 2) Impact of differing rodent superovulation and euthanasia methods on sperm, oocyte and embryo quality.
Drs. Sybil Amelon, PhD and Sarah Hooper, DVM, PhD
Research area(s): Wildlife Ecology in Central Hardwoods
Possible projects: 1) Characterization of blood parameters for eastern bat species; 2) Characterization of metabolic rates in eastern bat species; 3) Fecal hormone levels in eastern bat species
Dr. Jim Amos-Landgraf, PhD
Research area(s): Microbiomes and colon cancer
Possible projects: 1) Impact of microbiome on colon cancer; 2) Characterization of a genetically-engineered swine model of colon cancer; 3) Genetic therapy for the prevention of hereditary colon cancer.
Dr. Shawn Bender, PhD
Research area(s): Cardiovascular dysfunction in obesity and metabolic syndrome, especially involving mineralocorticoid receptor signaling
Possible project(s): 1) Role of vascular smooth muscle mineralocorticoid receptors in obesity-associated coronary dysfunction; 2) Regulation of vascular voltage-gated potassium channels by mineralocorticoid receptor signaling; 3) Mechanisms of obesity-associated cardiac diastolic dysfunction.
Dr. Charlie Brown, PhD
Research area(s): Inflammation/Lyme disease/arthritis
Possible project(s): 1) New mouse model of neuroborreliosis; 2) Macrophage responses to apoptotic cells; 3) Resolution of Lyme arthritis
Dr. Elizabeth Bryda, PhD
Research area(s): Molecular genetics, development and characterization of animal models to study disease, rat and zebrafish gut microbiota analysis. Possible project(s): 1) zebrafish husbandry, behavior or microbiome studies; 2) characterization of rodent models of human disease (Polycystic Kidney Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Alzheimer’s Disease); 3) modification of organisms using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology.
Dr. Amie Burling, DVM, DACVPM
Research area(s): Clinical shelter medicine topics (infectious disease prevention ,behavioral welfare, population health, etc.)
Possible projects: 1) Leptospirosis in Missouri shelter dogs; 2) microbiomes of shelter animals (in collaboration with Dr. Craig Franklin)
Dr. Shyam S. Chaurasia, PhD
Research area(s): Ocular immunology and angiogenesis
Possible project(s): 1) Development of a mini pig model of Diabetic Retinopathy; 2) Role of S100A8/A9 in the pathogenesis of Diabetic Retinopathy; 3) New drug targets for the treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy.
Dr. Kevin Cummings, PhD
Research area(s): Neurohumoral control of breathing and cardiorespiratory function in sleep
Possible project(s): 1) Role of orexin neurons in respiratory control during sleep; 2) Pharmacological rescue of cardiorespiratory function in serotonin-deficient animals; 3) Mechanisms leading to hypertension and heart failure in serotonin deficient animals.
Dr. Amy DeClue, DVM, PhD, DACVIM
Research area(s): Immunodysfunction and cancer
Possible projects: Investigations of the pathophysiology and potential novel treatments for treatments for cancer in dogs and cats. Research may involve clinical patients or benchtop research depending on the student’s interest.
Dr. Lindsay Donnelly, DVM, MS, DACVIM
Research area(s): Fecal microbiome as it relates to risk for chemotherapy side effects and chemotherapy response
Possible projects: 1) Impact of carboplatin on dog fecal microbiome; 2) Impact of cyclophosphamide on dog fecal microbiome; 3) alteration of the dog blood microbiome during cytotoxic chemotherapy.
Dr. Craig Emter, PhD
Research area(s): Utilizing exercise gene, drug, and regenerative therapies to treat heart failure in swine and people
Possible Project(s): 1) Gene therapy in a swine model of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction with associated comorbidities (obesity/metabolic syndrome/diabetes); 2) Regenerative medicine therapy in a diabetic swine model of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction; and 3) Analysis of epidemiological characteristics of resistant hypertensive patients to validate a new phone app for clinical assessment of vascular stiffness.
Dr. Aaron Ericsson, DVM, PhD (see also the MU Metagenomics Center)
Research area(s): Microbiota of Companion and Research Animals
Possible project(s): 1) Mouse microbiome throughout post-natal development; 2) Association between characteristics of developing microbiota and physiological parameters later in life; 3) Influence of certain “pathobiont” microbes on host immune system development; 4) Equine or canine blood microbiome (baseline and following dental cleaning); 5) Equine respiratory microbiome (baseline/”normal? or disease, e.g. asthma); 6) Role of canine GI and urinary microbiota in oxalate urolithiasis. (Projects 1-3 are in collaboration with Dr. Craig Franklin and Projects 4 and 5 are in collaboration with Dr. Philip Johnson)
Dr. Brian Flesner, DVM, PhD, DACVIM
Research area(s): Chemotoxicity; epigenetic modifiers; canine osteosarcoma
Possible project(s): 1) in vitro demethylating agents in canine osteosarcoma and lymphoma; 2) in vitro/vivo synergism of zoledronate in combination with radiation therapy for osteosarcoma; 3) in collaboration with Dr. Jeff Bryan, DVM, PhD, DACVIM) papillomavirus presence in canine anal sac adenocarcinoma.
Dr. Craig Franklin, DVM, PhD, DACLAM (see also the MU Metagenomics Center)
Research area(s): Microbiota in Reproducibility and Translatability of Rodent Models of Disease (What? So What? Now What?) and Microbiota of Shelter Animals
Possible project(s): 1) Comparing different means to transfer complex microbiota in rodents and the impact of such transfer on a variety of disease models; 2) Assessing what environmental factors influence gut microbiota and what impact such changes have on model phenotypes; 3) Developing novel approaches to achieve real-time characterization of microbiota from different levels of the intestine; 4) Assessing what factors influence microbiota of a variety of sites from shelter animals. All projects are in collaboration with Dr. Aaron Ericsson and project 4 is in collaboration with Dr. Amie Burling.
Dr. Laurel Grisanti, PhD
Research area(s): G protein-coupled receptor regulation of inflammation in the heart
Possible project(s): 1) β2-Adrenergic receptor regulation of T cell responses in the heart; 2) The use of biased β2-adrenergic receptor agonists to regulated immune responses in the heart; 3) The influence of catecholamine secretion by macrophages on cardiac function; 4) Cardiac immune cell/fibroblast/myocyte crosstalk; 5) Regulation of CXCR4 by β2-adrenergic receptors.
Drs. Sarah Hooper, DVM, PhD and Katrina Knott, PhD
Research area(s): Ecotoxicology, One Health, Ecosystem Health
Possible projects: 1) Evaluating the health of native Missouri fish species and the impact of heavy metal contamination; 2) Using histology to evaluate the effects of heavy metal contaminants in native Missouri fish and wild turkeys.
Dr. Gary Johnson, DVM (see also)
Research area(s): Molecular genetics
Possible project(s): 1) Identification of mutation(s) responsible for canine Ehlers-Danlos syndrome; 2) Identification of mutation(s) responsible for canine cataracts; 3) Identification of genetic risk factor(s) for canine epilepsy.
Dr. Philip Johnson, BVSc, MS, MRCVS, DACVIM
Research area(s): Research relating to inflammation in horses including laminitis and SIRS
Possible Projects: 1) Changes in equine microbiomes with disease (In collaboration with Dr. Aaron Ericsson); 2) Ultrastructure of equine vascular disease; 3) Histologic assessment of equine laminitis (in collaboration with Dr. Kei Kuroki, DVM, PhD, DACVP).
Dr. Rebecca A. Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP (see also the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction)
Research area(s): Health effects of human-companion animal interaction
Possible project(s): 1) Behavioral and cortisol stress assessment of cats placed in homes of children with autism; 2) Perception of handler/trains of service dogs; 3) Dog training programs in Missouri prisons: Effects on prison staff; 4) Service dog presence during forensic interviews of abused children: Biophysiologic and qualitative stress in the children.
Dr. Teresa Lever, PhD (in collaboration with Dr. Philip Johnson
Research area(s): Laryngeal function and
Possible Projects: Establishing an objective assessment tool to quantify equine laryngeal dysfunction.
Dr. Chris Lorson, PhD
Research area(s): Neurodegeneration; Animal models of disease; Therapeutic development
Possible project(s): 1) Analysis of novel animal models; testing compounds and viral vectors for efficacy.
Dr. Leslie Lyons, PhD
Research area(s): Comparative genetics of mammals
Possible project(s): 1) population genetics of cats, their breeds and wild populations; 2) genetic mutations causing diseases and phenotypic traits in animals (cats, horses); 3) deciphering genetic influences of resistances / susceptibilities in cats.
Dr. Charles Maitz, DVM, PhD
Research area(s): Radiation biology, radiation dosimetry, and modeling of high LET radiation, including boron neutron capture therapy
Possible project(s): 1) The use of 3D printed materials in radiotherapy; 2) Effects of clinically-relevant air gaps in the dosimetry of nasal tumor radiotherapy; 3) Low-dose radiation effects, particularly increased radiosensitivity and increased radioresistance; 4) The role of epigenetics in the radiation damage responses.
Dr. F.A. (Tony) Mann, DVM, MS, DACVS, DACVECC (see also ECC page)
Research area(s): Small animal surgical conditions, particularly those of emergent or critical nature
Possible project(s): 1) Retrospective analysis of emergency surgeries (example: gastropexy in dogs); 2) Retrospective studies of carbon dioxide surgical laser cases.
Dr. Allison Meyer, PhD
Research area(s): Developmental programming in beef cattle, or how nutrition and management of pregnant cows and heifers impacts their calves. We are especially interested in health and metabolism of neonatal beef calves.
Possible project(s): 1) Effects of dam parity (heifer vs. cow) on colostrum immunoglobulin and nutrient concentration; 2) Impact of dam parity on passive transfer (serum Ig) in beef calves; 3) Factors affecting pre-colostral circulating metabolites in beef calves (retrospective data analysis).
Dr. John Middleton, DVM, PhD, DACVIM
Research area(s): 1) Dairy cattle mastitis; 2) Molecular epidemiology of bacterial mastitis pathogens; 3) Dairy goat mastitis;
Possible project(s): 1) Genomic and metagenomic characterization of mastitis causing bacteria in dairy cattle or goats; 2) Evaluation of udder hygiene protocols; 3) Evaluation of novel approaches to diagnosing bovine or goat intramammary infection.
Dr. Rajiv Mohan, PhD
Research area(s): Nanomedicine and Gene therapy for Corneal fibrosis and angiogenesis, Corneal Would healing, Glaucoma, Autophagy and Laminitis
Possible project(s): 1) Role of autophagy in corneal wound healing; 2) Evaluation of therapeutic potential of novel eye drops for corneal blindness; 3) Development of porcine organ culture model for studying corneal diseases; 4) Approaches for reducing complications of glaucoma filtration surgery.
Dr. Nicole Nichols, PhD (project 2 will be co-mentored by Dr. Teresa Lever)
Research area(s): Understanding how breathing and swallowing function can be restored in rodent models of motor neuron death, and establishing biomarkers of respiratory deficits or dysphagia (swallowing impairment) in rodent models of motor neuron death).
Possible project(s): 1) Impact of inflammation on ventilatory capacity in a novel model of motor neuron death using whole-body plethysmography, immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy; 2) Establishing biomarkers of motor neuron death and atrophy in a novel dysphagia rodent model using immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy; 3) Histological characterization of muscles associated with ventilatory function (e.g. diaphragm and intercostal muscles) over the course of motor neuron death in a novel rodent model of motor neuron death using immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy.
Dr. Wole Odemuyiwama, DVM, PhD, DACVM
Research area(s): Virology, Immunology
Possible project(s): 1) Molecular Evolution of viruses; 2) Development of diagnostic reagents; 3) Immunological basis of chronic airway inflammation.
Drs. Carol Reinero, DVM, PhD, DACVIM and Hans Rindt, PhD
Research area(s): Pulmonology: Respiratory and blood microbiome, respiratory infections, link between respiratory disorders and dysphagia; Immunology: Development of a tool kit of immunodiagnostics in dogs
Possible project(s): 1) Characterization of the normal airway microbiome and how it differs in different disease states in canine and feline respiratory diseases; 2) Videofluoroscopic swallow studies in healthy and dysphagic cats 3) Rapid (<12 hr) culture results in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid 4) Diagnostics relevant for adaptive immunity assessment in dogs.
Dr. Cheryl Rosenfeld, DVM, PhD
Research area(s): microbiomes, endocrine disrupting chemicals, brain transcriptomic responses, placenta, offspring health and metabolic disorders
Possible project(s): 1) Examine brain trancriptomic responses as silver foxes in Siberia, Russia were bred for tameness; 2) Examine how endocrine disrupting chemicals affect mouse placenta and human trophoblast stem cells.
Dr. George Stewart, PhD
Research area(s): Bacterial virulence properties
Possible projects: 1) Anthrax spore maturation; 2) Virulence properties of coagulase-negative staphylococcus mastitis pathogens; 3) Host specificity in Fusobacterium necrophorum infections.
Dr. Bill Stich, PhD
Research area(s): Biology of ticks and tick-borne pathogens, with the goal of developing more effective approaches for control of tick-borne diseases that impact people and domestic animals.
Possible project(s): 1) Factors associated with tick transmissibility of rickettsial pathogens; 2) Preliminary identification of tick salivary gland molecules uniquely targeted by protective immune sera.
Dr. Guoquan Zhang, PhD
Research area(s): Coxiella burnetii pathogenesis and vaccine development against Q fever
Possible project(s): 1) Mechanisms of vaccine-induced protective immunity; 2) Immune response to recombinant protein antigen-based vaccine; 3) Antibody response to peptide mimic vaccine; 4) Host cell-bacterial pathogen interaction.
Dr. Michael Zhang, DVM, PhD
Research area and possible project(s): 1) Diagnostic test development; 2) Vaccine development; 3) Clinical case investigation.