Click on the mentor’s name for a description of their research.
Dr. Jeffrey Adamovicz
Research area(s): Vaccine development and pathogenesis studies for zoonotic diseases
Possible projects: 1) Bovine dendritic cell response to Brucella abortus; 2) Development of a multi-species bridge ELISA for Yersinia pestis; 3) Animal model development and immune response to Zika virus
Dr. Yuksel Agca
Research area(s): Reproductive biology, gamete, embryo gonad cryobiology and transgenics.
Possible projects: 1) Gonadal tissue cryopreservation, transplantation; 2) mouse, peromyscus and rat sperm cryobiology, cat in-vitro fertilization, embryo culture, and transgenics.
Dr. Sybil Amelon
Research area(s): Wildlife Ecology in Central Hardwoods
Possible projects: 1) Characterization of blood parameters for eastern bat species; 2) Changes in levels of infection within wing membranes of Myotis lucifugus with WNS with treatments; 3) Fecal hormone levels in eastern bat species
Dr. Jim Amos-Landgraf
Research area(s): Colon cancer and microbiomes
Possible projects: 1) Impact of certain bacterial taxa on colon cancer susceptibility; 2) Characterization of a swine model of colon cancer; 3) Impact of the microbiome on the mechanism of cancer development in mice and rats.
Dr. Christopher Baines
Research area(s): Role of mitochondria in cell death and mechanisms of programmed necrosis
Possible projects: 1) Test the role of the mitochondrial pore in RIP1/RIP3/MLKL-dependent necrosis; 2) Characterize novel regulators of programmed necrosis; 3) Characterize RIP1 cardiac specific transgenic mice.
Dr. Charlie Brown
Research area(s): Inflammation/Lyme disease
Possible projects: 1) Recognition of Borrelia by the inflammasome.
Dr. Jeff Bryan
Research area(s): Fetal microchimerism and DNA methylation of cancer
Possible projects: 1) Fetal microchimerism in dogs and horses; 2) DNA methylation of prostate cancer in dogs; 3) DNA methylation of lymphoma in dogs.
Dr. Elizabeth Bryda
Research area(s): Molecular genetics, development and characterization of animal models to study disease, rat and zebrafish gut microbiota analysis. Possible projects: 1) zebrafish husbandry, behavior or microbiome studies; 2) molecular characterization of rodent models of human disease (Polycystic Kidney Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease).
Dr. Alex Bukoski
Research area(s): Computational Neuroscience
Possible projects: 1) impact of anesthetic effect on stochastic simulations of a membrane patch with emphasis on critical slowing down; 2) implementation of simulations of a high-dimensional multi-scale cortical model to determine its behavioral regimes; 3) introduction of anesthetic effect into a high-dimensional multi-scale cortical model.
Dr. Amie Burling (project 2 will be co-mentored by Dr. Craig Franklin
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
Dr. Michael Calcutt
Research area(s): Microbial pathogenesis and genomics
Possible projects: 1) identification/characterization of bacterial virulence factors; 2) characterization of novel mobile DNAs; 3) development of molecular detection/epidemiological markers.
Drs. Joan Coates and Dr. Teresa Lever
Research area(s): Establishing biomarkers of dysphagia (swallowing impairment) in canine degenerative myelopathy (DM)
Possible projects: Histological characterization of muscles associated with dysphagia at different disease stages in DM-affected dogs compared to age-matched controls.
Dr. D Cornelison
Research area(s): Skeletal muscle regeneration
Possible projects: 1) Role of guidance signaling in muscle regeneration after injury; 2) Role of matrix metalloproteases in muscle regeneration; 3) Heterogeneity in muscle stem cell lineages.
Dr. Kevin Cummings
Research area(s): Respiratory control
Possible projects: 1) influence of serotonin and other neuromodulators on respiratory, thermoregulatory and cardiovascular control and sleep regulation, with relevance to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome; 2) Control of breathing, blood pressure and sleep in adult animals, with relevance to sleep apnea and hypertension
Drs. Amy DeClue and Sandra Bechtel
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. Craig Emter
Research area(s): Utilizing exercise and novel drug therapies to treat heart failure in mini-swine
Possible Projects: Analysis of sex disparities (male vs. female) and hormones (ovariectomy) on the regulation of extracellular matrix composition and fibrosis during developing heart failure.
Dr. Tim Evans
Research area(s): Most recently, the causes of abortion/stillbirths in cattle and horses in the state of Missouri; the effects of mycotoxins and botanicals on animal health and reproductive function; and porcine models for reproductive toxicology. Possible projects include: 1) The role trace and toxic nonessential minerals in bovine abortions; 2) concentrations of ergopeptine alkaloids before and after the incorporation of ergot-contaminated grasses into hay; 3) threshold dosages of ergopeptine alkaloids in various livestock species; 4) the use of curcuminoids to ameliorate the adverse effects of aflatoxins in juvenile swine; 5) the use of porcine models, including porcine-to-murine testicular xenografts, to evaluate the effects of various toxicants on male reproductive function; and 6) the effects of xenoestrogens on reproductive tract morphology in prepubertal gilts.
Dr. Brian Flesner
Research area(s): Chemotherapy and epigenetic modifiers in cancer models
Possible projects: 1) safety and efficacy of demethylating agents in a rat osteosarcoma model; 2) in vitro demethylating agents in canine osteosarcoma and lymphoma cells; 3) circulating tumor DNA in mast cell tumors and lung tumors in dogs.
Dr. Alexander Franz
Research area(s): Vector biology / molecular entomology / (Arbo)virology (focusing on human pathogens)
Possible projects: 1) arbovirus tick interactions; 2) mosquito infection/transmission of a novel, emerging arbovirus; 3) developing gene-knockout models in the mosquito, Aedes aegypti using CRISPR/Cas9; 4) Zika virus mosquito interactions.
Dr. Cheryl Heesch
Research area(s): Neurohumoral cardiorespiratory control
Possible Projects: 1) Is the therapeutic value of the ovarian hormone relaxin in treatment of decompensated heart failure limited by CNS sympathoexcitation? 2) Cell-type specific changes in CNS cardiovascular control in pregnancy; 3) Role of reactive oxygen species/inflammatory mediators in the CNS response to hypoxia.
Dr. Rebecca A. Johnson
Research area(s): Health effects of human-companion animal interaction
Possible Projects: 1) Puppies on Parole: Shelter dog training and inmate behavioral outcomes; 2) Dog presence and children’s stress during forensic interviews for child abuse; 3) Veterans and shelter dogs. 4) Therapeutic horseback riding and PTSD symptoms among veterans. 5) Stress levels in horses working in therapeutic riding. 6) Dog visits and mood among hospitalized adults.
Dr. Chris Lorson
Research area(s): Neurodegeneration; Animal models of disease; Therapeutic development
Possible projects: 1) Analysis of novel animal models; testing compounds and viral vectors for efficacy
Dr. Leslie Lyons
Research area(s): Genetics of domestic and wild felids
Possible projects: 1) population genetics of cats, their breeds and wild populations; 2) genetic mutations causing diseases and phenotypic traits in animals; 3) deciphering genetic influences of resistances / susceptibilities in cats.
Dr. Tony Mann
Research area(s): Small animal emergency and critical care; small animal soft tissue surgery
Possible projects: 1) retrospective analysis of clinical conditions or techniques; 2) prospective clinical data collection; 3) testing clinical/surgical techniques using cadaveric tissue.
Dr. Charles Maitz
Research area(s): Radiation biology, radiation dosimetry, and modeling of high LET radiation, including boron neutron capture therapy
Possible projects: 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 response
Metagenomics/Microbiome Laboratory (2 prospective mentors that work together; this lab can take 2-3 scholars)
Research area(s): host-associated microbiota, host-microbe interactions, mucosal immunity, intestinal inflammation, colitis-associated colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, laboratory animal medicine
Possible projects: 1) Microbiota factors in a mouse models of inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, metabolic syndrome and other disease models; 2) Environmental factors that can modulate microbiomes.3) Impact of segmented filamentous bacteria on colorectal cancer.
Dr. John Middleton
Research area(s): 1) Dairy cattle mastitis; 2) Molecular epidemiology of bacterial mastitis pathogens; 3) Dairy goat mastitis;
Possible projects: 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
Research area(s): Nanomedicine, Gene therapy, Corneal would healing, Glaucoma, Autophagy and Laminitis
Possible projects: 1) Nanomedicine for corneal disorders; 2) Gene therapy development for corneal fibrosis and angiogenesis treatment; 3) Role of autophagy in corneal would repair; 4) Molecular mechanism driving equine hoof wound healing and laminitis progression; 5) Glaucoma management through reducing bleb fibrosis.
Dr. Nicole Nichols (projects 2 and 3 would 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
Possible projects: 1) Enhanced respiratory plasticity in a novel model of motor neuron death using immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy; 2) Impact of AAV gene therapy on breathing and swallowing function in a rodent model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) using whole body plethysmography, lick rate testing, and videofluoroscopy (x-ray); and 3) Impact of AAV gene therapy on breathing and swallowing function in a rodent model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) using immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy.
Research area(s): Virology, Immunology
Possible project(s): Molecular Evolution of Respiratory and Enteric Coronaviruses in Captive Wild Ruminants
Dr. Rachel Oman (web link in progress)
Research area(s): Nutrition, Metabolic Disease, Urogenital System
Possible project(s): Effect of anionic feed supplement on urine and blood parameters in goats
Dr. Bimal Ray
Research area(s): Inflammation, cancer
Possible projects: 1) Mechanism of angiogenesis; 2) Mechanism of extracellular matrix degradation; 3) Epigenetic regulation of cancer; 4) Oncogene RAS in breast cancer.
Drs. Carol Reinero and Hans Rindt
Research area(s): Pulmonology: Respiratory microbiome, respiratory infections, link between respiratory disorders and dysphagia; Immunology: Development of a tool kit of immunodiagnostics in dogs
Possible projects: 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 dogs with respiratory clinical signs 3) Rapid (<12 hr) culture results in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid 4) Diagnostics relevant for adaptive immunity assessment in dogs
Dr. Cheryl Rosenfeld
Research area(s): Microbiomes, endocrine disrupting chemicals, offspring health and metabolic diseases.
Possible Project(s): Interested veterinary student(s) will examine how envirnmental chemicals and paternal diet can affect various microbiomes that might impact offspring health.
Dr. Stefan Sarafianos
Research area(s): Molecular mechanisms of drug resistance and inhibition of HIV, HBV, HCV, FMDV, SARS-CoV, and other pathogens.
Possible Project(s): Using a combination of conventional and cutting-edge research tools, including protein biochemistry, molecular biology, macromolecular engineering, molecular modeling, X-ray crystallography, enzymology, and high-throughput technologies the following pathogens are targeted: HIV-1, SARS Coronavirus, Hepatitis C Virus, Hepatitis B Virus, and Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus.
Dr. George Stewart
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
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 projects: 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
Research area(s): Coxiella burnetii pathogenesis and vaccine development against Q fever
Possible projects: 1) Mechanisms of B cell-activation by T cell-independent antigens; 2) Immune response to recombinant protein antigen-based vaccine; 3) Antibody response to peptide mimic vaccine.
Dr. Shuping Zhang
Research areas and possible projects: 1) Salmonella pathogenesis and diagnosis, 2) antimicrobial resistance, 3) validation of PCR assays for diagnostic use.