CMP Faculty and Trainee Accolades

The MU Comparative Medicine Program salutes our faculty and trainees for their many achievements. We take pride in sharing their accomplishments.

Dr. Emily Knebel, VMD, wins 2023 GPC Excellence in Student Leadership Award

Dr. Emily Knebel, VMD, wins 2023 GPC Excellence in Student Leadership Award

“The GCP Excellence in Student Leadership Award honors a graduate or professional student who shows exemplary leadership service to graduate professional students at the University of Missouri.  This award celebrates the accomplishments of graduate student through their hard work, dedication, and adherence to Mizzou’s core values of respect, responsibility, discovery, and excellence.”

Emily is the current president of Alternative Career Exploration in the Sciences (ACES) and has been involved in the organization since 2020.  In her time as President, she has overseen and led the planning of 10 professional development events attracting over 150 MU grad students, postdocs, post-baccalaureate students and others in the community. She has enhanced relations and collaborated with several other groups on campus, including the Graduate School, the Life Science Center, GPC, and SACNAS. She has also increased active organizational membership by 30% and helped fundraise over $2000 to support continued organizational function.  For these achievements, she has been awarded the 2023 GPC Excellence in Student Leadership Award.

Comparative Medicine Trainees and Staff celebrate tremendous successes at the 2023 CVM Research DayComparative Medicine Trainees and Staff celebrate tremendous successes at the 2023 CVM Research Day

James McNew (mentor, Elizabeth Bryda): 1st place in 2nd and 3rd Year Graduate Students research talk category, 2023 CVM Research Day

Charlie Moley (mentor, Jerod Skyberg): 1st place in 2nd and 3rd Year Graduate Students poster category, 2023 CVM Research Day

Christa Cheatham (mentor, Gil Pages): Audience Appreciation Award in 2nd and 3rd Year Graduate Students poster category, 2023 CVM Research Day

Jenny Walls (mentor, Elizabeth Bryda): 2nd place in Staff, Undergrad, Interns, 1st Year Residents and Graduate Students poster category, 2023 CVM Research Day

McNew Awarded Third Place at 2023 ShowMe Research Week Competition

Jamie F. McNew, D.V.M., a resident in the University of Missouri’s Comparative Medicine Program, won third place for his poster, “Innovative Methods for Generating Genetically Engineered Rats” in the Life Science category at the 2023 ShowMe Research Week competition in Columbia, MO.

Jamie is completing his second year of residency and his first year as an MS candidate in the laboratory of Dr. Elizabeth Bryda within the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Russell et al. paper featured on National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) website

In a new study, Amber Russell, a PhD student in the lab of Dr. Aaron Ericsson at the University of Missouri and colleagues studied the impact of housing density on the ability to detect the effects of antibiotics on the microbiome.  They concluded that reducing cage density can increase statistical power to detect treatment associated effects in murine gut microbiota studies.

To learn more about this research, read the full paper online featured in Volume 39, Issue 6 of Cell Reports.

Click here ( to listen to the live episode; Better behavioural research, imaging with microbots and how housing density affects mouse microbiomes.

Russell et al. (2022) Amber Russell, Joanna N. Copio, Yushu Shi, Sumin Kang, Craig L. Franklin, Aaron C. Ericsson, Reduced housing density improves statistical power of murine gut microbiota studies, Cell Reports, Volume 39, Issue 6 (2022)

Dr. Jessica Cayton recognized for her scientific artwork, “Heart Going Bananas” in June 2022 Science2Art exhibition.

Her winning image was “painted” by ~50 different muscle cells within the right atria of an aged mouse heart using high-speed, high-resolution fluorescence calcium imaging. The heart was under hypokalemic (low potassium) conditions, which is known to trigger cardiac arrhythmia in patients. Different populations of cells were given distinct colors (yellow, cyan, and green), and using a “pseudo-linescan” approach the populations of heart cells “painted” the image with time via their calcium signaling events.

Jessica Cayton, D.V.M., is completing her third year of residency within the Comparative Medicine Program and her second year as a PhD candidate in Area Pathobiology. She is currently working with the Cardiac Cell Physiology Laboratory within the Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology – University of Missouri, Columbia. She is interested in translatable models of disease especially related to cardiovascular physiology.

Comparative Medicine Trainees celebrate tremendous successes at the 2022 CVM Research Day and Research & Creative Activities Forum competitions

Kevin Gustafson (mentor, Aaron Ericsson): 1st place in 2nd and 3rd Year Graduate Students and Overall Interns, Residents, Graduate Students and Postdocs categories 2022 CVM Research Day

Gabrielle Hofmann (mentors Hasser and Klein): 1st place in Advanced Graduates Students and Postdocs category 2022 CVM Research Day

Emily Knebel (mentor Pamela Brown): 1st place in 2nd and 3rd Year Graduate Students category 2022 CVM Research Day

James McNew (mentor, Elizabeth Bryda): 2nd place in Staff, Undergrad, Interns, 1st Year Residents and Graduate Students category 2022 CVM Research Day

Jessica Cayton (mentor, Timothy Domeier): 1st place in Health Sciences, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine category 2022 Research & Creative Activities Forum (RCAF)

Drs. Franklin and Bryda Amongst Praised NIH-T32 Awardees

Front row (left to right): Latha Ramchand, Olivia Warner, Kellyn Spychala, Alexandra Diller, Sara Ricardez Hernandez, Elizabeth Bryda Back row (left to right): Susan Renoe, Tom Spencer, Denis McCarthy, Ken Sher, Mark Hannink, Chris Lorson, Craig Franklin, Mun Choi

Five University of Missouri professors were honored for their research training programs at a reception May 12 at The Residence on Francis Quadrangle.

The professors are current awardees of National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Research Training Grants (T32s). The goal of the T32 program is to prepare qualified predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees for careers that have a significant impact on U.S. health-related research needs. The event also was a networking opportunity for some current students in the program and MU faculty members interested in submitting T32 proposals.

The professors and their training program concentrations are:

  • Craig Franklin and Elizabeth Bryda, professors of veterinary pathobiology — Postdoctoral Training in Comparative Medicine.
  • Mark Hannink, professor of biochemistry — Molecular Basis of Gene Expression and Signal Processing.
  • Kenneth Sher, Chancellor’s Professor and Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychological Sciences, and Denis McCarthy, professor of psychological sciences — Psychology of Alcohol Use and Addiction Training.

The event also included some of the professors’ current trainees, including Alexandra Diller, Sara Ricardez Hernandez, Kellyn Spychala and Olivia Warner.

There have been 18 funded T32 awards at MU in the program’s history.

CVM PhD Candidate Among this Year’s Mizzou 18

Ryan DashekCongratulations to Ryan Dashek, DVM, a PhD candidate in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Comparative Medicine Residency Program, on his selection as one of this year’s Mizzou 18! The awards honor 18 University of Missouri graduate and professional students in the last year of their degree eligibility. The honorees are chosen for their world-class research, collaboration with faculty and staff, and demonstrated leadership with undergraduate students.

Dashek was born and raised in Franklin, Wisconsin. He earned a degree in biology at the University of Wisconsin. After graduating, he worked for a couple of years as a research technician in an ophthalmology lab studying glaucoma. It was there that he realized the importance of veterinary medicine in the laboratory setting. He went on to earn his DVM at the University of Wisconsin. He later earned a master’s degree while working in an epigenetics laboratory. During his final year in the veterinary curriculum, Dashek completed a four-week externship in MU’s Comparative Medicine Program and subsequently joined the program at a laboratory animal medicine resident/PhD candidate.

Dashek’s mentor is R. Scott Rector, PhD, FTOS, FACSM, an associate professor with co-appointments in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology and Medicine-Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Missouri-School of Medicine. Rector is also a research health scientist at the Harry S Truman Memorial VA Hospital. Rector has an active research program focused on prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, with Dashek’s dissertation work targeting the latter.

View all of the Mizzou 18 recipients.

Fudge Awarded Second Place at National AALAS Meeting

Shakera (Kera) Fudge, DVM, a resident in the University of Missouri’s Comparative Medicine Program, won second place for her poster, “Optimizing a Rat Surgical Model of Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Regeneration Strategies” at the 2021 American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (ALLAS) national meeting which was held in Kansas City, MO in October 2021.  Fudge is pursuing a Master’s Degree in the lab of Dr. Teresa Lever, PhD.

Paper authored by Chambers et al. selected as one of Immunology & Cell Biology‘s top 10 original research articles 2020–2021

Photo courtesy of University of Georgia Office of Research

Photo courtesy of University of Georgia Office of Research

The editorial team of Immunology & Cell Biology (ICB) has selected Katie Chambers’ research paper “Chambers et al.7 Nitric oxide inhibits interleukin-1-mediated protection against Escherichia coli K1-induced sepsis and meningitis in a neonatal murine model” as one of its top research articles accepted between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021.  Chambers, DVM, PhD, is a recent alumna of the University of Missouri’s Comparative Medicine Program.

Chambers et al.7 investigated nitric oxide (NO) – an important component of innate immunity. The investigators studied the role of possible protective effects of NO in neonates with neonatal-associated Escherichia coli (NMEC) infection. They uncovered a new role for NO in suppressing IL-1 production, thus allowing an enhanced NO response, which may reveal a more general mechanism by which neonates innately respond to infections.


Hofmann named Research Recognition Award Winner

The American Physiological Society has awarded Gabi Hofmann, DVM, with the 2021 Central Nervous System Research Recognition Award at this year’s Experimental Biology Meeting. Hofmann is a resident in the University of Missouri’s Comparative Medicine Program.

Her award-winning presentation is titled “Astrocytes and Microglia in the Brainstem Nucleus Tractus Solitarii React to Unilateral Vagotomy.”

According to the American Physiological Society’s website, the award recognizes outstanding research by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who present a first-author abstract at the Experimental Biology Meeting.

Mizzou Researchers Obtain Funding for COVID Related Animal Modeling Projects

A team of researchers at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Veterinary Pathobiology recently obtained two grants from the National Institutes of Health that focus on finding more effective animal models for COVID-19 research. The team includes members of several of the MU’s unique resources including Elizabeth Bryda, PhD, director of the MU Animal Modeling Core and the NIH-funded Rat Resource and Research Center, Craig Franklin, DVM, PhD, DACLAM and Jim Amos-Landgraf, PhD, co-directors of the NIH-funded Mutant Mouse Resource and Research Center, Aaron Ericsson, DVM, PhD, director of the MU Metagenomics Center, Daniel Davis, PhD, assistant director of the MU Animal Modeling Core, and Deborah Anderson, PhD, and Paul Anderson, PhD, of the Laboratory for Infectious Disease Research (read more).

Comparative Medicine Fellows Honored for Research

Mitch Bellrichard and Ryan Dashek, graduate fellows who are pursuing residencies in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Comparative Medicine Program, recently captured awards during the Research and Creative Activities Forum held April 5 and sponsored by the MU Graduate Professional Council.

Bellrichard took first place in the Engineering, Computer and Information Science category with his project, “Genipin Crosslinking to Promote the Attachment and Proliferation of Fibroblasts on a Ligament Scaffold.” Dashek’s project, “Characterization of NipSnap2 as a Potential Mediator of Mitochondrial Permeability Transition,” captured second place honors in the Vet/Biomed category.

The MU GPC has hosted the Research and Creative Activities Forum for more than 30 years as a way for students to showcase research and creative activities, while providing valuable experience and feedback. Professors from across the state and within the MU community evaluate presentations, with cash prizes awarded for exceptional presentations.

Mizzou 18 Recipient


CMP alum Dr. Chris Hanks, DVM, MS, DACLAM is working with physicians at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson in the design and testing of new ventilators for COVID-19 patients.

Watch video



Ben Olthoff, DVM, Studies Disease that Hits Close to Home

Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a devastating genetic disease that affects the central nervous system as well as other parts of the body. According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the primary symptom of SMA is weakness of voluntary muscles, with the muscles most affected located in the shoulders, hips, thighs, and upper back. Other complications caused by SMA can occur when muscles used in breathing and swallowing are affected. While there are several treatments available for SMA that halt progression of the disease, there is no cure at this time. Many researchers are actively searching for new breakthroughs and treatments. One of those researchers can be found in the University of Missouri Comparative Medicine Program (read more).

Sarah Young

CVM Residents Join Mizzou 18

Three members of the MU College of Veterinary Medicine were among the 2019 Mizzou 18 honorees. The Mizzou Alumni Association Student Board presents the Mizzou 18 award to 18 outstanding Mizzou graduate and professional students in their last year of degree eligibility. The students are chosen for their world-class research, collaboration with faculty and staff, and their demonstrated leadership with undergraduate students (read more).

A Triumph Birthed by Tragedy

On Sept. 20, 2017, Puerto Rico experienced the worst natural disaster in its history. Hurricane Maria wreaked catastrophic destruction and created a humanitarian crisis when it struck the island, resulting in flooding, extensive infrastructure damage, and the worst electrical blackout in U.S. history, as every one of the island’s 3.4 million residents lost power. Maria, a 50-mile-wide hurricane with 150 mph winds, would prove to be the fifth-strongest storm ever to hit the United States and the deadliest storm of 2017’s hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season. Puerto Rico lost an estimated 3,000 human lives (read more).


Accolades Archive

Submit an Accolade