Program Faculty

The program is overseen by a committee of 13 faculty whose credentials include DACLAM (5), DVM (10), PhD (8), and MS (4) with many dual-degreed. Their positions exemplify the broad and diverse roles of laboratory animal scientists. These include: clinical care of laboratory animals; disease prevention, control and diagnosis; consultation with investigators on applications of animal models; animal resource administration and management; teaching; and research. The faculty are also involved in the greater community of laboratory animal medicine that includes national and international organized laboratory animal medicine and biomedical research. Select a CMP faculty member from the menu (below) to learn more about them.

Trainees in the CMP also have access to four ACLAM diplomates and three veterinarian diagnosticians in IDEXX BioAnalytics, an internationally-recognized research animal diagnostic laboratory.

In addition, over 50 outstanding, well-funded research faculty engaged in a wide variety of biomedical research projects serve as prospective mentors for trainees. These research mentors represent 18 different departments on campus. The diverse expertise of prospective research mentors allows trainees to match their research interests with those of an outstanding faculty mentor. Specific opportunities for research are discussed under Research Mentors.

Craig Franklin, D.V.M., Ph.D., Dipl. ACLAM

Co-Director, Comparative Medicine Program; Professor, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology; Co-Director, MMRRC; Co-Director, Veterinary Research Scholars Program; Co-Investigator, Rat Resource and Research Center

Craig received his D.V.M., Ph.D. and residency training at the University of Missouri. He joined the CMP faculty in 1992. He serves as a Co-Director of the Comparative Medicine Program, Mutant Mouse Resource and Research Center, and Veterinary Research Scholars Program. Craig’s research interests include micriobiomes and their impact on health and model phenotypes, inflammatory bowel diseases, immunology, rodent infectious diseases, and sentinel monitoring programs. His hobbies include hiking, biking, hashing, ultimate Frisbee, and spectator sports (GO TIGERS!!!)
For additional information on Dr. Franklin, visit this link.
Phone: (573) 882-6623

For additional information on Dr. Franklin, visit this link.

Erin O’Connor, D.V.M., M.S., Dipl. ACLAM

Attending Veterinarian, Office of Animal Resources; Co-Director, Comparative Medicine Program

Erin received her D.V.M. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007. She performed her CMP residency training at MU from 2007-2010. She served as the Interim ACQA Director at MU from Dec 2010-August 2011 and joined the faculty in September of 2011. Erin spends her free time hanging with her dogs and doing triathlons.

Phone: (573)882-3111

Elizabeth C. Bryda, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology; Director, Rat Resource and Research Center; Director, MU Animal Modeling Core; Co-Director, Comparative Medicine Program; Co-PI, T32 Post-doctoral Training Program in Comparative Medicine; Co-Investigator, Mutant Mouse Resource and Research Center

Elizabeth received her Ph.D. received from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and received her postdoctoral training from the Wadsworth Center, Albany, NY. Prior to her position at MU, Elizabeth served as an Assistant/Associate Professor, Dept. of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University, Huntington, WV.

Elizabeth’s laboratory focuses on genetic engineering, molecular genetics and animal modeling. She takes a comparative approach to studying human disorders by creating a variety of animal models of disease. Using both rodent and zebrafish models, she is interested in characterizing disease-causing genes and their protein products in order to elucidate the molecular pathways in which these genes/proteins participate, particularly in relation to polycystic kidney disease, inherited deafness, Alzheimer’s Disease, epilepsy, cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammatory bowel disease. This knowledge will allow a better understanding of both normal and abnormal development and may ultimately lead to targeted therapeutics. Additionally, she is interested in developing and using state-of-the-art genetic engineering methods to generate and characterize new animal models. For example, her lab has unique expertise working with rat embryonic stem cells (ESCs), she has helped validate a novel rat and zebrafish cell ablation model system and she uses evolving technologies such as CRISPR/Cas9 to create new genetically engineered animal models.  Genome editing has allowed her group to create rodent models that carry rare human genetic alterations in order to validate these putative disease-causing mutations and provide animal models that can facilitate personalized medicine interventions. She is also interested in studying the role of non-genetic factors on animal model phenotypes. Examples of this include exploring the impact of the microbiome on zebrafish to study stress and anxiety, investigating microbiota sex differences in an Alzheimer’s Disease rat model, and evaluating the impact of probiotics and plant-based dietary supplements in a variety of animal model systems. Elizabeth’s hobbies include playing the clarinet, running, biking and playing pickleball.

Phone: (573) 882-5504
Additional Information:

Yuksel Agca, D.V.M., M.S., Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology; Co-Investigator, Mutant Mouse Resource and Research Center and Rat Resource and Research Center

Yuksel received his D.V.M. from the University of Ankara, Turkey. He received his M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Ph.D. from Purdue-University, College of Veterinary Medicine. Yuksel performed a Post-doc at Indiana University School of Medicine. His research interests include cellular and molecular reproduction, reproductive cryobiology and transgenics. Outside of work, Yuksel spends his free time listening to classical music and playing acoustic guitar.

Phone: (573) 884-0311
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James Amos-Landgraf, Ph.D.

Associate professor, Veterinary Pathobiology; Co-Director, Mutant Mouse Resource and Research Center, and Co-Investigator, Rat Resource and Research Center

Jim received his Ph.D. In genetics from Case Western Reserve University and did his postdoctoral training in cancer genetics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Jim’s Ph.D. work examined the epigenetic process of X inactivation in human populations, but the complex genetics of human populations led Jim to study disease processes in laboratory animal model systems. Prior to joining the faculty in the fall of 2012, Jim was at the University of Wisconsin where he studied the complex genetic susceptibility of colon cancer using mouse models.  While at Wisconsin he developed a rat model of familial colon cancer that develops a more human like disease than the mouse. He is investigating the mechanisms that lead to early cancer initiation and why different individuals have different susceptibilities to disease.  He has found that many of the same early cancer events occur in early rat tumor development including somatic genetic mutations and epigenetic silencing of a key gatekeeper tumor suppressor, Apc. He has also found a gender disparity in the susceptibility in rats that is also seen in humans. Since joining the Mizzou faculty, he is examining the role microbiota are contributing to colon cancer. Jim co-teaches veterinary genomics to second year vet students and is an executive member of the Translational Biosciences Program as the director of the Cancer Biology track as well as a member of the Molecular Pathogenesis and Therapeutics track. He is also an executive member of the Genetics Area Program (GAP).

Jim’s outside interests include spending time with his two adopted Animal Heroes and hiking the parks around Columbia.

Phone: (573) 882-1514
Additional Information:

Ryan Dashek, D.V.M., Ph.D., ACLAM-eligible

Assistant Research Professor, Nutrition and Exercise Physiology Department

Ryan received his undergrad degree, MS, and DVM at the University of Wisconsin before completing his residency training and PhD at the University of Missouri in 2022. He then decided to stay on in the role of Research Assistant Professor, working with the Nutrition and Exercise Physiology Department, though with the intent to ultimately form his own lab. His current research focuses on the use of animal models (including mice, rats, and pigs) in studying obesity, liver disease, and metabolic syndrome. Ryan spends his free time reading sci-fi/fantasy novels, hiking, playing video games, running, and hanging out with his wife, dogs, and rabbits.


Aaron Ericsson, D.V.M., Ph.D., ACLAM-eligible

Assistant Professor, Veterinary Pathobiology; Director, MU Metagenomics Center; Co-Investigator, Mutant Mouse Resource and Research Center and Rat Resource and Research Center

Aaron received his B.A. from the University of Iowa and his D.V.M., Ph.D. and residency training at the University of Missouri. Aaron joined the program as faculty in 2013. His research/clinical interests include modulation of host health by the intestinal microbiota, mucosal immunology and metagenomics. Some of Aaron’s other interests include playing the guitar and using chainmaille as an artistic medium.

Phone: (573) 882-1019

Samantha Gerb, D.V.M., M.S.

Veterinarian, Office of Animal Resources

Samantha received her D.V.M. from Ross University in 2017, and then completed a comparative medicine internship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center primarily working with primates. She then completed her residency training at MU from 2018 – 2021. Samantha decided to stay at the University of Missouri and is currently working in the OAR as an investigator support veterinarian. In her free time Samantha enjoys kickboxing, painting, hiking, and spending time with her two cats Hercules and Noodle.


Jeff Henegar, Ph.D.

Director, Animal Care and Quality Assurance; Director, Office of Animal Resources

Jeff received his PhD from the University of Missouri in 1996. He then performed his Postdoctoral training at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and served as both Assistant and then Associate Professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center prior to joining the Faculty at the University of Missouri in 2013. His research interests include obesity and hypertension. Jeff’s hobbies include sports (watching and playing), music (listening, playing, singing), and food (making and eating).

Phone:  (573) 882-3681

Scott Korte, D.V.M., Dipl. ACLAM

Veterinarian, Office of Animal Resources; Veterinary Medical Officer, Harry S. Truman VA; Attending Veterinarian, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Scott received his D.V.M. from the University of Missouri in 2003 and his CMP residency training at MU from 2003-2006.  In his spare time, Scott enjoys tinkering with computers, and “competing” in triathlons.

Phone: (573) 884-2519

Mike Linville, D.V.M.

Veterinarian, Office of Animal Resources

Mike received his D.V.M. from the University of Missouri in 1983. Following that, he spent 15 years in private practice and then joined the Office of Animal Resources in 2003. His hobbies include cycling the Katy Trail, boating at the Lake of the Ozarks, and target shooting.

Phone: (573) 884-4418

Sarah Schlink, D.V.M., Dipl. ACLAM

Veterinarian, Office of Animal Resources

Sarah received her D.V.M. from the University of Missouri in 2010. Following graduation, she worked at the USDA’s National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa where she contributed to research on swine respiratory viruses. After experiencing her second Iowa winter she decided to head back to Missouri where she then worked as a clinical veterinarian at a growing CRO and miniature swine production facility. In 2018, she joined MU as an investigator support veterinarian and has since shifted to a clinical veterinarian role. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family, biking, growing Missouri native wildflowers gardening, and working on home improvement and DIY projects.

Phone: (573) 882-5958

Bettina Gentry, D.V.M., Ph.D., Dipl. ACLAM

Veterinarian, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology

Bettina received her D.V.M. from The Ohio State University in 2005. She received her Ph.D. and residency training at the University of Missouri. She went on to perform Postdoctoral research with an emphasis in diabetes and endocrinology at Vanderbilt University before returning to the University of Missouri in 2011. Bettina’s research interests include characterizing animal models of human disease. Outside of work, Bettina enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, being involved in church activities and experiencing the outdoors hiking, walking or gardening.


Shelly Nail, B.S.

Administrative Associate, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology

Shelly received her BS in Animal Sciences from the University of Missouri in 2000. She remained in Columbia, MO, spending several years in business sales. In 2006, she returned to MU as an administrative assistant to general surgeons in the School of Medicine. She also managed the Hernia Surgery program in the Department of Surgery. In 2009, she joined the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine as a Grants/Contract Specialist. In 2012, she began administering the Comparative Medicine Program, which she loves! Her interest include traveling with her husband, floating the rivers of Missouri, camping and anything animals.

Phone: (573) 882-5103

Dana Weir-Guffey, B.S., LATg, CMAR

Assistant Director, Office of Animal Resources; Facilities Manager, Office of Animal Resources

Dana received her B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Missouri. After graduating from college, Dana started working at Monsanto in St. Louis as a Research Technician. Ten years and 2 acquisitions later, she had progressed to a Research Specialist III for Pfizer. While at Pfizer, she developed interests in neuropathic pain models, rodent microsurgery, and did a few months performing cryopreservation for their transgenic colonies. Dana then went on to work for Seventh Wave, a CRO in STL, as a Study Coordinator and manager of the Inlife group. After battling traffic in downtown STL for a couple of years, she decided to drive the other way and ended up back in Como.
Dana’s professional interests include facility design and construction, enrichment, and personnel management.

Phone: (573) 882-8486