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Research Faculty

Robert Augustyniak, PhD

Assistant Dean of Basic Medical Science and Curricular Innovation
Associate Professor of Physiology
Chair of Physiology

Research Interests

Dr. Augustyniak’s research interests focus on the scholarship of medical education. He firmly believes that teaching and learning should be grounded in theory and that we should approach both with the same rigor that we do basic and clinical research. His scholarly research interests revolve around understanding how intrinsic motivation impacts academic performance. Intrinsic motivation is the desire to learn, simply for the sake of learning. This is distinctly different from extrinsic motivation, which is for example the desire to learn in order to obtain a higher grade. One of the primary goals of this line of research is to assess teaching methods, such as collaborative group testing, to increase levels of intrinsic motivation.

Mary Beth Babos, PharmD

Professor of Pharmacology
Chair of Pharmacology

Research Interests

Dr. Babos' research is centered on ethnobotany, Appalachian medicinal plants, herb-drug interactions, diversity equity and justice in healthcare, and public health issues.

Charles "Randy" Clinch, DO

Professor of Family Medicine

Research Interests

Medical Education Research; Patient-Provided Communication Research: Electronic Medical Record Research; Case Reports; Survey Research

Danielle Darter, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Family Medicine

Research Interests

ACE Incidence and Impact on Academic Performance - no students
Integrating Trauma Informed Medical Education into pre-clinical medical education.
Street Medicine Student Research Project

Bradley Fleenor, PhD

Associate Professor of Physiology

Research Interests

Dr. Fleenor is an integrative cardiovascular physiologist with an emphasis on translating preclinical findings to humans and taking observations from human studies to elucidate mechanisms in the laboratory. A primary interest is to use translational models (cells to humans) to identify novel nutraceuticals for treating cardiovascular dysfunction. Future areas of study will also include: 1) utilizing Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) to improve cardiovascular function, and 2) examining the effects of nutraceuticals and OMM in cancer cell physiology.      

Natalie Freeman, PhD

Assistant Dean of Research
Associate Professor of Biochemistry

Research Interests

Dr. Freeman’s research interests center around cancer and cell signaling mechanisms. She is exploring less toxic treatments (flavonoids) as well as potential mechanisms associated with decreasing the growth and viability of cancer cells in culture and in zebrafish, Dano reiro. Dr. Freeman is also interested in assisting students with the development of their own research projects and/or scholarly activity. 

Brandy Fuesting, DrPH, MPH


Research Interests

Dr. Fuesting’s research interests are focused on social and behavioral public health problems. More specifically public health problems affecting military communities, veterans’ health, sexual violence, child welfare, social determinants of health, and health disparities across all populations.

Ethan Fullwood, PhD

AssISTANT Professor of ANATOMY

Research Interests

Dr. Fulwood’s research is focused on better understanding the generation of morphological diversity in mammals. He is particularly interested in the relationship between ecological opportunity and diversity, which can be approached by measuring changes in diversity across different environments and intervals of environmental change and extinction. Dr. Fulwood’s work has largely focused on functional tooth shape and the evolutionary histories of lemurs and Paleogene primates, although he is also interested in other members of Paleogene North American ecosystems and has begun a paleontological field program in western Montana focused on the Eocene-Oligocene Transition.

Adam Gromley, PhD

Professor of Molecular/Cellular Biology
Director of Research

Research Interests

A hallmark of cancer is the accumulation of genetic abnormalities, many of which arise through improper cell division. These dysfunctional cell divisions can arise from defects in the centrosome, a cellular organelle whose normal function is to ensure proper segregation of chromosomes during mitosis, as well as separation of the newly formed daughter cells. We seek to identify the specific mechanisms by which defective centrosomes lead to cancer by manipulating the protein components of the centrosome. These studies will not only contribute to our understanding of the tumorigenic process, but they also have the potential of uncovering new therapeutic targets.

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Zeynep Gromley, PhD

Professor of Biochemistry
Chair of Molecular Sciences

Research Interests

Zeynep Gromley has been at LMU-DCOM Harrogate campus since 2012. As a grad student, she studied kinetics of ubiquitin-activating enzyme at the Medical College of Wisconsin. As a post-doctoral fellow at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, she studied regulatory mechanisms of eukaryotic cell cycle by the small protein ubiquitin. She explored her love for teaching as Assistant Professor of Biology at Rhodes College, where she taught Human Genetics and Regulation of Eukaryotic Cell Cycle.

In 2013, in collaboration with Dr. Adam Gromley, she initiated research projects that explore the role of centriolin degradation on cell cycle progression. Along with Dr. Adam Gromley and several medical student researchers, she identified interaction between centrosomal protein centriolin and the E3 ubiquitin ligase, HECTD1. Her current research goal is to determine if mutations in HECTD1 are present in epithelial cancers. Dr. Zeynep Gromley is specifically studying if HECTD1 mutations affect the ability of epithelial cancers to undergo epithelial to mesenchymal transition.

Beside basic science research, Dr. Zeynep Gromley is interested in professional school education. She explores instructional tools that integrate medical biochemistry and genetics with clinical medicine. In her role as course director, she searches for tools to promote meaningful and lifelong learning. One of her future goals is to integrate nutrition and metabolism knowledge into preclerkship curriculum and in the clinical workplace.

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Tony Harper, PhD


Research Interests

Dr. Harper’s current projects include designing 3D morphometric and biomechanical analyses capable of accommodating the wide range of tooth-crown and jaw morphologies seen in non-tribosphenic/non-therian fossil mammals; and using micro-CT imaging to characterize the evolution of nervous and vascular structures entering and traversing the early mammalian otic capsule. These studies continue to support the surprisingly diverse and evolutionarily precocial nature of mammalian feeding and sensory capabilities, even in presumably primitive Mesozoic mammalian lineages (e.g., eutriconodonts, dryolestoids, spalacotheres).

Cody Harrison, EdD


Research Interests

Mr. Harrison’s interests are focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, the LGBTQAI+ population, higher education policies and practices, and academic advising. His current research focuses on increasing the inclusion of LGBTQAI+ healthcare education into medical school curriculum.

Sherry Jimenez, EdD, CHCP, CHSE, FNAOME

Senior Associate Dean OF IPE, SIMULATION and Accreditation
Associate Professor of Medical Education

Research Interests

Dr. Jimenez's research interests include the transfer of communication and teamwork competencies in health professions curricula and their impact on patient safety in collaborative practice health care settings, COVID-related patient bias, assessment of student learning, and curricular improvement.


Adam Kolatorowicz, PhD

ASSOCIATE Professor of Anatomy
Executive Director of the Anatomical Donation Program

Research Interests

Dr. Adam Kolatorowicz is an anatomist, anthropologist, and statistical data analyst whose research aims to document anatomical variation that can be helpful for clinicians when treating patients and conducting clinical/surgical procedures. He employs quantitative and qualitative methods in exploratory and conclusive research designs, including surveys, thematic analysis, geometric morphometrics, photogrammetry, meta-analysis, secondary data analysis, and inferential statistical modeling. Much of Dr. Kolatorowicz’s research utilizes whole body donors in the LMU-DCOM Anatomy Laboratory as well as donated skeletal collections at other institutions. Most projects involve student researchers as coauthors and collaborative work with researchers at other institutions. Additionally, he provides consulting in research design and statistical data analysis for faculty, staff, and students pursuing their own research programs.

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Stan Kunigelis, PhD

Professor of Physiology
Director of Math and Sciences Imaging & Analysis

Research Interests

Dr. Kunigelis is interested in ultrastructural analysis of zooplankton morphology, development, and diversity as indices of estuarine health.


Jeffrey Martin, PhD

Chief Operating Officer
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Associate Professor of Physiology

Research Interests

Dr. Martin's research is integrative in nature but focuses primarily on cardiovascular physiology, exercise physiology, and metabolism. A major focus of Dr. Martin's work is on the effects of external pneumatic compression on human physiology in health and disease. Specifically, this includes the effects of external compression applied to the limbs on 1) local and systemic vascular function; 2) skeletal muscle adaptation; 3) glucose handling/metabolism; 4) wound healing; and 5) sports performance and recovery. Additionally, Dr. Martin maintains an active interest in the effects of nutraceuticals in health (ergogenic aids) and disease (therapeutic efficacy).

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Lori McGrew, PhD

Director of Research, DCOM-Harrogate
Professor of Pharmacology
Chair of IRB

Research Interests

Dr. McGrew's research interests center around anxiety and depression. She has utilized a number of model systems to elucidate signaling pathways including cultured cells, rodents, nematodes and fish. Most recently, she has been exploring the ability of cannabinoid compounds to modulate anxiety in the zebrafish, Danio rerio.


Lindsey Miller, PhD

Director of Research, DCOM-Knoxville
Associate Professor of Physiology

Research Interests

Dr. Miller’s general interests center around investigation of factors that increase risk for cardiovascular and metabolic disease, and strategies of prevention and healthy aging. Recent projects include cell culture experiments and a small clinical trial investigating the effects of a dietary supplement on cardiometabolic health. Another ongoing study aims to assess the effects of 12hr night and day shifts on metabolic health.

Debasis Mondal, PhD

Professor of Microbiology and Infectious Disease
Director of MFMII Course (OMS-1)

Research Interests

Dr. Mondal’s research interests include discovering alternative and innovative strategies to enhance the efficacy of anticancer therapy against prostate cancer.  He utilizes both cell culture experiments and molecular mechanistic studies using human cancer cell lines. 

Current topics being addressed by Dr. Mondal: 

  1. Enhancing the therapeutic potential of natural compounds in suppressing androgen receptor (AR) expression in Prostate Cancer (PC) cells
  2. Screening of natural pore-forming peptides for cell killing ability and designing of their synthetic analogs to enhance their anticancer efficacy.
  3. Digital microscopy to quantify multiple tumor-associated proteins, to facilitate the rapid diagnosis of indolent vs. aggressive cancer foci.
  4. Develop an in vitromodel to monitor the effects of stretch-strain manipulations on the tumor promoting/inhibitory effects of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC).
  5. Compare the Exosome-encapsulated micro-RNAs and proteins secreted following Exercise and Osteopathic manipulations.

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Dominic Palazzolo, PhD

Professor of Physiology

Research Interests

The electronic cigarette (ECIG) phenomenon has taken a strong foothold in twenty-first century culture and is most likely is here to stay. Yet, because of the paucity of empirical research and the controversial data presented, the effects of ECIG generated aerosol on human health remains inconclusive. To better understand how ECIG generated aerosol interacts with biological systems our research focuses on the physical characteristics and chemical composition of the inhaled aerosol concerning the potential dangers of this addictive behavior. A few questions that we are addressing include the following. 1) How does inhaling aerosol derived from different formulations of E-liquids impact human health? 2) What are the relative dangers of inhaling aerosol generated by alternative ECIG design? 3) Does puffing topography based on user experiences and preferences play a significant role in how ECIG generated aerosol affects human physiology? 4) How does the aerosol generated by these ECIGs and E-liquid formulations ultimately affect the ability to effectively deliver nicotine?

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Syed Quadri, PhD

Associate Professor of Pharmacology

Research Interests

Dr. Quadri's research is focused on discovering and identifying novel molecular mechanisms and therapeutic targets by combining unique interdisciplinary knowledge and skills particularly in pharmacology and molecular biology to make contributions to the prevention or treatment of renal inflammation and dysfunction associated with hypertension, obesity and diabetes. He is particularly interested in investigating the role of the prorenin receptor (PRR) and the angiotensin type I (AT1) receptor in modulating renal sodium and water homeostasis and blood pressure regulation.

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Chloe Ruff, PhD

Assistant Dean of Assessment and Faculty Development
Assistant Professor of Medical Education

Research Interests

Dr. Ruff’s research interests center on the role of motivation (particularly perceptions of value, competence, and interest) in teaching and learning and on methods of integrating educational research, program evaluation, and teaching practice to improve students’ motivation, learning, and performance.

Brent Thompson, PhD

Associate Professor of Anatomy

Research Interests

Dr. Thompson’s current research interests are: biomedical education research, anatomical variation and clinical significance, histopathological studies, impacts of obesity on organ systems and the body (its more than a cosmetic issue), What should student doctors know about obesity and diet? Where are they getting this information?

To pursue these interests, student researchers are engaged in donor dissection, preparation and histopathological analysis of donor tissues, systematic literature reviews, and development and assessment of learning resources.

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Jun Wang, MD, PHD

Associate Professor of Pathology

Research Interests

Dr. Wang is interested in performing data analysis using published clinical findings to study molecular basis of clinical outcomes for certain malignant tumors.

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Jan Zieren, DO, MPH

PROFESSOR OF Family Medicine
Medical director, student health center

Research Interests

Dr. Zieren has sponsored student driven research with a Public Health focus in rural or Appalachian settings.