Faculty

 

 

 

Neuroscience research at the University of Missouri includes a network of over 50 investigators who perform basic and clinical research in the departments of biochemistry, biological sciences, neurology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, physiology, psychology, psychiatry, and veterinary biomedicine.

Before applying, students are encouraged to contact individual INP faculty members to (a) explore common research interests, (b) determine if there are openings in particular laboratories, and (c) ascertain if a faculty member prefers students to apply via the INP or directly through their home department.

Faculty in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program (INP)

Kristina Aldridge
MU Degree Program(s): Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, INP
Normal age- and sex-related differences in brain morphology within species, including humans and non-human primates.

Bruce Bartholow
MU Degree Program(s): Psychological Sciences, INP
My research focuses on using psychophysiology to understand social-cognitive processes (e.g., stereotyping, affect, impression-formation, aggression) and to understand the effects of alcohol on cognition and emotion.

David Beversdorf
MU Degree Program(s): Psychological Sciences, INP
Autism, drug abuse, dementia, cognitive effects of stress, the cognitive neuroscience of problem solving ability, functional neuroimaging, and pharmacological modulation of cognition; prenatal factors in autism.

Anand Chandrasekhar
MU Degree Program(s): Biological Sciences, INP, Genetics Area Program
Molecular and cellular analysis of motor neuron specification and migration.

Shawn Christ
MU Degree Program(s): Psychological Sciences, INP
MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Cognitive and neural development in individuals with and without early brain disruption.

Carmen Cirstea
MU Degree Program(s):  Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, INP
Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, Brain Mapping, Development of New Restorative Therapies

Joan Coates
MU Degree Program(s): Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, INP
Hereditary and acquired neurodegenerative diseases of domestic animals.  Research focus includes canine degenerative myelopathy as a disease model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis phenotyping, biomarkers, therapeutic approaches.

Dawn Cornelison
MU Degree Program(s): Biological Sciences, INP
Signaling and activity of skeletal muscle satellite cells.

Nelson Cowan
MU Degree Program(s): Psychological Sciences, INP
Human memory and attention.

Kevin Cummings
MU Degree Program(s): Biomedical Sciences, INP
Focus on central control of respiratory, cardiovascular and autonomic function in the early postnatal period and adulthood, utilizing whole-animal and reduced preparations, and complemented with molecular biological approaches.

Shinghua Ding
MU Degree Program(s): Bioengineering, INP
Glial cell function and neuron-glia interactions in CNS, Stem cell differentiation and transplantation, Ion channel function and modulation.

Scott Frey
MU Degree Program(s):  Psychological Sciences, INP

Michael Garcia
MU Degree Program(s): Biological Sciences, INP, Genetics Area Program
Molecular and cellular analysis of the effect of myelination on the axonal cytoskeleton; Neurodegenerative and demyelinating diseases.

David Geary
MU Degree Program(s): Psychological Sciences, INP
Development of numerical and mathematical competencies, and brain, evolutionary, and cultural influences on this development. Sex differences in cognition and vulnerability.

H. Carl Gerhardt
MU Degree Program(s): Biological Sciences, INP
Acoustic pattern recognition in animals: neural and evolutionary implications.

Kevin Gillis
MU Degree Program(s): Bioengineering, INP, Med. Pharmacology & Physiology
Studies of exocytosis using patch-clamp, optical and electrochemical techniques.

Zezong Gu
MU Degree Program(s): Pathology & Anatomical Sciences, INP, Pathobiology Program Multidisciplinary approaches to investigate molecular and cellular mechanisms of neurovascular impairment in stroke, traumatic brain injury and other neurological diseases.

Steven Hackley
MU Degree Program(s): Psychological Sciences, INP
Cognitive and clinical neuroscience; Startle-blink reflex; Event-related potentials; Neuroimaging.

Catherine Hagan
MU Degree Program(s): Veterinary Pathobiology, INP
Understanding the role of innate immunity in behavior; interactions between the serotonergic system and brain immune cells in neuroinflammation; the role of innate immune signaling in animal models of stress disorders; tissue-specific roles in coordinating toll-like receptor responses in the brain.

Mark Hannink
MU Degree Program(s): Biochemistry, INP, Genetics Area Program
The BTB-Kelch substrate adaptor family in development, oncogenesis and neurodegeneration.

Cheryl M Heesch
MU Degree Program(s): Biomedical Sciences, INP
Dr. Heesch’s research is focused on central nervous system regulation of blood pressure and efferent sympathetic nerve activity in both physiological and pathophysiological states, such as hypertension.  A major emphasis in the laboratory is examining the role of neuromodulators such as nitric oxide and ovarian hormones on plasticity of CNS regulation of the cardiovascular system.

Tzyh-Chang (TC) Hwang
MU Degree Program(s): Medical Pharmacology & Physiology, INP, Bioengineering
We are using a combination of biophysical, molecular biological, structural biological techniques to study physiology, pharmacology and pathophysiology of cystic fibrosis, the most common fatal genetic disease in the US.

Philip Jen
MU Degree Program(s): Biological Sciences, INP
Neuroethology, auditory physiology, sound localization, biosonar in bats.

Jeff Johnson
MU Degree Program(s): Psychological Sciences, INP
Human studies of episodic memory, using EEG/ERPs and fMRI.

George (Brick) Johnstone
MU Degree Program(s): Health Psychology, INP
Vocational outcomes of persons with traumatic brain injury; Spirituality and disability; rural rehabilitation; international rehabilitation.

Martin L Katz
MU Degree Program(s): Genetics Area Program, Pathobiology, INP
The focus of my current research is on development of therapies for neurodegenerative disorders, with particular emphasis on the hereditary neuronal ceroid-lipofusconoses (NCLs) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

John Kerns
MU Degree Program(s): Psychological Sciences, INP
Cognitive and affective processes in schizophrenia and the development of psychotic symptoms.

Mark D Kirk
MU Degree Program(s): Biological Sciences, INP, Genetics Area Program
Stem cell therapies in mouse models of neurodegenerative disease, CNS injury and treatment of metastatic brain tumors.

David Kline
MU Degree Program(s): Biomedical Sciences, INP
Cardiorespiratory control, neuroplasticity, and autonomic circuits during hypoxia.

George R. Kracke
MU Degree Program(s): Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program
Ion channels and transmitter receptors of sensory neurons: Mechanisms of action of general and local anesthetics, opiates, cannabinoids.

M. Cathleen Kuehl-Kovarik
MU Degree Program(s): Biomedical Sciences, INP
Neural control of reproduction; intrinsic regulation of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons; changes in GnRH neurons during the aging process.

Teresa Lever
MU Degree Program(s):  Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program
As people age, their ability to swallow quickly and safely declines with each advancing decade, but scientists are not clear why this deterioration occurs. Dr. Lever works with animals to better understand swallowing impairment, also known as dysphagia.

Chris Lorson
MU Degree Program(s): Veterinary Pathobiology & MMI, INP, Genetics Area Program
Molecular basis of spinal muscular atrophy.

Joel A Maruniak
MU Degree Program(s): Biological Sciences, INP
Olfactory cell and molecular biology.

Andrew McClellan
MU Degree Program(s): Biological Sciences, INP, Bioengineering
Neural regeneration following spinal cord injury; factors that promote neurite outgrowth and synapse formation of neurons in cell culture; brain and spinal cord neural systems that control locomotor function; computational neuroscience.

Christina McCrae
MU Degree Program(s):  Health Psychology, INP
The mechanisms (neural, behavioral, and psychological) underlying insomnia and related disorders in patient populations spanning the lifespan, including chronic pain, cancer, cardiac disease, autism, and caregivers.

Lorin Milescu
MU Degree Program(s): Biological Sciences, INP
Biophysics and neurophysiology of voltage gated ion channels; neuronal firing mechanisms; neurobiology of respiration.

Mirela Milescu
MU Degree Program(s): Biological Sciences, INP
Molecular mechanisms underlying the function and regulation of voltage-gated ion channels; interactions between ion channels and neurotoxins.

Dennis K. Miller
MU Degree Program(s): Psychological Sciences, INP
Our lab is interested in studying the biological basis of drug addiction and obesity.  The goal is the development of novel pharmacotherapies for and to determine the effect of the environment on these behavioral states.

Satish S. Nair
MU Degree Program(s): Electrical & Computer Engineering, INP, Bioengineering
Dynamical foundations of neuroscience, computational neuroscience and systems biology; identification and uncertainty modeling using robust, adaptive and intelligent techniques.

Dennis O’Brien
MU Degree Program(s): Veterinary Medicine & Surgery, INP
Hereditary and acquired neurodegenerative diseases of domestic animals.

Ilker Ozden
MU Degree Program(s):  Bioengineering, INP
Understanding (1) the interactive roles of the cortex, basal ganglia and cerebellum in motor control and learning, and (2) how disrupted neural signaling across these brain regions leads to motor deficits, such as those in Parkinson’s disease

Michael Petris
MU Degree Program(s): Biochemistry, INP, Nutritional Sci., Genetics Area Program There is evidence that redox active metals such as copper contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.  We are interested in characterizing how changes in metal ion homeostasis contribute to Alzheimer’s disease with an emphasis on inflammation.

Lixing Reneker
MU Degree Program(s): Opthalmology and Biochemistry, INP
Signal transduction pathways in lens development; Factors controlling corneal endothelial cell formation and differentiation.

Jeff Rouder
MU Degree Program(s): Psychological Sciences, INP
Human pattern recognition; Nonlinear statistical models for testing theories of cognition and perception.

Todd Schachtman
MU Degree Program(s): Psychological Sciences, INP
Differentiating the processes of acquisition, retention, and retrieval of information as causes of test performance deficits (e.g., interference) in animals and examining the effects of metabotropic glutamate receptors on learning.

Heide Schatten
MU Degree Program(s): Pathobiology, INP
Cell biology of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Johannes Schul
MU Degree Program(s): Biological Sciences, INP
Neuroethology of acoustic communication in insects and frogs – comparative analysis of the neuronal basis of call recognition and phonotaxis.

David Schulz
MU Degree Program(s): Biological Sciences, INP
Neural network function, cellular and subcellular regulation of neuronal excitability, and the balance between plasticity and stability in neurons and neural networks.

Shivendra Shukla
MU Degree Program(s): Medical Pharmacology & Physiology, INP
Ethanol effects on cell signaling.

Agnes Simonyi
Biochemical mechanisms underlying learning and memory with particular focus on specific subtypes of metabotropic glutamate receptors.

Grace Y Sun
MU Degree Program(s): Biochemistry, INP
Signal transduction pathways, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and alcoholism.

Mahesh Thakkar
MU Degree Program(s): Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program (INP)
Our focus is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the control of sleep-wake cycle.

Gary A Weisman
MU Degree Program(s): Biochemistry, Nutritional Sciences, INP
Research relates to effects of ischemia and Alzheimer’s disease on nucleotide receptors and their signal transduction pathways in the brain to develop therapeutic strategies for these diseases.

Rebecca Whiting
MU Degree Program(s): Ophthalmology, INP
Ex vivo gene therapy for treatment of CLN2 Batten disease using a canine model.  We are pursuing combined treatment of the brain and retina to achieve amelioration of all neurologic symptoms in this disease.

Matthew J. Will
MU Degree Program(s): Psychological Sciences, INP
Behavioral, pharmacological, and molecular analysis of the interaction between stress and the reinforcement process within the context of animal models of addiction.

Troy Zars
MU Degree Program(s): Biological Sciences, INP, Genetics Area Program
Molecular genetics and neural systems of Drosophila learning and memory.

Bing Zhang
MU Degree Program(s): Biological Sciences, INP
Genetic dissection of synaptic plasticity, neural circuitry, and behavior in fruit flies