MA in Biomedicine

Faculty

Kim Gingerich Brenneman
Professor

Kim Gingerich Brenneman, graduate of the EMC class of 1983, began her teaching career at Eastern Mennonite College in the fall of 1989. She received her Ph.D. in the spring of 2001 in Developmental and Educational Psychology. Her dissertation was titled The Well-being of Internationally Mobile Adolescents. She continues her interest in the well-being of Third Culture Kids.
Currently, Brenneman is conducting research on the relationship between cross-cultural experiential learning, hopeful thinking, and multicultural adaptation.
Brenneman is continuing to research the application of positive psychological principles to education, particularly in the development of hopeful thinking. Direct application of these principles is in the development of courses, assignments and seminars that integrate these, as well as other positive psychological concepts.
Kim has led three groups of EMU college students in semester-long cross-culturals to India in 2007, 2009, and 2011 and believes this is a positive life-changing experience for all involved!
Kim is married and has two children. She is an active member of Weavers Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, VA.

Stephen Cessna
Professor of Biochemistry

Steve received his BA in chemistry and biochemistry in Colorado in 1991 and then taught middle school math and science in Lesotho in southern Africa. After returning to the US in 1995, getting married and moving to Indiana, Steve finished a PhD degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2000. At EMU, Steve teaches courses in biochemistry, chemistry, and sustainable agriculture.

Dr. Cessna’s research interests include:
- Assessing mini-research projects for use in college teaching labs
- Comparing photosynthesis and growth of various native and invasive vine species

Jeffrey Copeland
Assistant Professor

Dr. Jeffrey Copeland has been at EMU since 2009 and teaches courses in genetics, cell biology, microbiology and immunology. Jeff earned his PhD in Biology from the California Institute of Technology and completed his post-doctoral training at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research interests include probing the genetics determinants in the aging process, the role of the mitochondria in hyperoxic resistance, and the genetic basis for multidrug resistance in E. coli. While not at work, Jeff spends his time at home with his wife, his three daughters, biking and gardening.

Christian Early
Professor

Christian Early, professor of philosophy & theology. Christian earned a PhD in philosophy from the University of Wales and he specializes in philosophy of religion and ethics.

Doug Graber Neufeld
Professor

Click here for Research and Course Webpages

Dr. Graber Neufeld is Professor of Biology. He is on sabbatical and leave-of-absence from 2015-2017, working as water harvesting and storage, sanitation, and hygiene advisor for Mennonite Central Committee, Nairobi, Kenya.

While at EMU, he works primarily with the Environmental Sustainability program, with a concentration in issues that relate to environmental monitoring and toxicology. He teaches in the introductory biology course, Concepts in Biology, and in a variety of courses related to environmental issues (such as Environmental Toxicology, Natural History of the Shenandoah Valley). In addition, he teaches the medical ethics course in the M.A. in Biomedicine program. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in environmental physiology, and worked at the University of Arizona and the University of Otago (New Zealand) before coming to EMU. He served a two year term with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Cambodia, were he worked on environmental issues through the Royal University of Agriculture and the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Starting in 2015, he is serving another two year term with MCC, as water harvesting and storage, sanitation, and hygiene advisor in Kenya. Doug lives in Harrisonburg with his wife, Cristina, and two sons, Alex and Evan. They enjoy many outdoors activities, and take as many opportunities as possible to go camping and traveling.

Doug’s research at EMU is in collaboration with students and includes projects:
- water monitoring assessing stream health in a local watershed, and the effects of stream restoration
- baseline water monitoring in an area that was proposed as a hydrofracking site
- assessing pesticides in market vegetables using a novel combination of techniques, and
- using zebrafish startle response as a sensitive toxicity indicator

Julia Halterman
Assistant Professor and Co-director

Dr. Julia Halterman received her BS in Biology at Texas A&M University and her Ph.D. in Pharmacology at the University of Virginia. She additionally completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia as an extension of her Ph.D. work researching cardiovascular disease. She currently serves as faculty for the Masters in Biomedicine program and undergraduate biology department at EMU. Julia teaches Interdisciplinary Biomedicine Seminar I, Research in Biomedicine, Human Gross & Microscopic Anatomy lab, and Medical Terminology. In the past, Julia has taught other courses such as Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II, Advanced Human Physiology, Animal Form & Function and Nutrition Fundamentals. In her free time, Julia enjoys spending time with her family and loves doing anything outdoors.

Dr. Halterman’s research interests include:
- Investigating the role of diet in hypertension
- Determining how diet influences gene expression and alters organ function
- Utilizing rats to understand how consumption of a high-salt or high-fructose diet alters expression of the NFAT5 gene
- Identifying other genes regulated by high-salt and high-fructose diets

Greta Ann Herin
Professor

Greta Ann Herin has taught a wide variety of courses in general biology, biomedicine, and general education. Courses include: Advanced Human Anatomy; Faith, Science and Ethics; Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II; Neuropsychology; Advanced Neurobiology (undergraduate and masters-level students) ; Mammalian Physiology; Molecules, Genes, and Cells; Biological Explorations; and a Senior Seminar “The Elephant and the Rider”. She has also co-taught Concepts in Biology; a Senior Seminar “Form, Finitude and Faith”; a Senior Seminar “Origins”; and a Colloquium “Passion and Obsession”.

Greta Ann serves as a Pre-professional Health Sciences advisor.

She has dual Bachelors Degrees in Biochemistry and Psychology from Kansas State University and a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Her dissertation covers interactions among modulators of NMDA receptors, an important glutamate receptor in the brain. In addition Dr. Herin did a post-doctoral fellowship at the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany. There she studied metabotropic glutamate receptors.
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Daniel King
Assistant Professor

Daniel King graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Goshen College, where he majored in Physics and Music. He received his M. S. and Ph. D. degrees in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from the University of Illinois, where his research focused on the dynamic interactions between ultrasound and contrast agent microbubbles. In addition to bubbles, his broader research interests include acoustics and fluid mechanics. In his spare time he enjoys playing Ultimate and writing quirky little pop songs.

Tara Kishbaugh
Professor

Dr. Tara L.S. Kishbaugh obtained her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Wheaton College and her graduate degree in organic chemistry studying the reactivity of electron deficient indoles at Dartmouth College under the mentorship of Gordon W. Gribble. During graduate school, she spent a year teaching organic chemistry at St. Michael’s College, Winooski, Vermont. Afterwards, she was a Dreyfus postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts, North Dartmouth campus. During this position, she taught as well as studied fluorinated allenes. At EMU, Tara has taught a variety of courses, including organic, general, medicinal, and environmental chemistry as well as seminars on ethics, land use, and food chemistry. Since 2013, she is chair of the biology and chemistry departments. Tara has been involved in a number of trans-disciplinary projects on campus, such as EMU Common Reads, a common reading program. Tara’s chemistry-related hobbies include photography, baking, and tie-dying. Tara’s research interests include chemical education, heterocyclic chemistry, and water quality studies.

Dr. Kishbaugh’s research interests include
- Chemical education projects, such as assessing non-content learning in laboratory research projects, or
- Assessing student familiarity with and understanding of green chemistry, or
- Improving student’s engagement with math coursework by adding contextual relevance to the assignments
- Writing review chapters on heterocyclic chemistry- in particular indoles and pyridines
- Water quality monitoring in the local watershed related to bacterial contamination, run-off or hydrofracking.

Gregory Koop
Assistant Professor

Gregory Koop is a cognitive psychologist with expertise in recognition memory and judgment and decision making (JDM). His teaching interests cover a variety of introductory and upper level courses, including General Psychology (PSYC 101), Cognitive Psychology (PSYC 342, BMS 572), Research in Psychology (PSYC 472), and Research in Psychology: Applied (PSYC 473). Greg is particularly enthusiastic about engaging undergraduate students in research through Research in Psychology and Research in Psychology: Applied. This year long course sequence enables students to design and complete their own research projects or advance ongoing research from his lab.
Greg’s research evaluates how individuals make decisions. Specifically, how do we decide whether or not we’ve met a person before (e.g., Koop, Criss, & Malmberg, 2014), or whether we prefer one picture to another (e.g., Koop & Johnson, 2013)? Models of recognition and preferential choice often assume that people continuously accumulate “evidence” en route to making these decisions, so Greg’s research uses dynamic methods to depict this evidence accrual process. Additional research interests include the moral decision-making process and the impact of reference points (e.g., a goal or a minimum requirement) on an individual’s risk-taking behavior. For Greg’s CV and a full list of publications, please visit his personal site.

Carolyn Stauffer
Co-director

Carolyn Stauffer has taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels at 2 higher education institutions on the African continent and holds a doctorate in Sociology from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. She lived and worked in Southern Africa (16 years) and the Middle East (17 years). Stauffer has conducted trainings in Asia, the South Pacific, North America, East and Central Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. As a veteran in cross-cultural settings, Stauffer is an agile educator who uses both left and right brain educational approaches to engage our postmodern and global world.

Stauffer’s research interests include gender-based violence, social capital, resilience and trauma, and intersectionality theory applications. Undergirding Stauffer’s academic pursuits is a rich tapestry of work experience in the human service and humanitarian aid arenas. While in the U.S., Stauffer worked in the mental health field in the Shenandoah Valley as well as researching urban demographics amongst marginalized center-city communities in Richmond, Virginia. During her decade and a half in Africa, Stauffer worked under the auspice of MCC, an international relief and development organization with development and emergency assistance training initiatives that took her from the southern-most tip of the continent (Cape Town) to the outlaying eastern parts of Uganda (Jinja).

During her time in South Africa, Stauffer worked as an organizational development consultant (with NGOs and blue chip companies undergoing dramatic post-Apartheid workplace diversity shifts), in the domestic and gender-based violence field (as a senior trauma counselor and public relations officer for a rape crisis support center), and as a community development specialist (and founding member of a Soweto-based HIV/AIDS Program servicing AIDS infected or affected communities living in the informal settlements surrounding Johannesburg). Stauffer weaves the depth and breadth of these many and varied experiences into her decade of teaching.

Carolyn is married to CJP professor Dr. Carl Stauffer, and together they have had the privilege of sharing life with two university-age children. Carolyn is fluent in Hebrew, loves dance, music and art, and enjoys all things creative, imaginative and off the beaten track.

Esther Tian
Assistant Professor

Esther Tian received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Changsha Institute of Technology in China. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia, where she did an interdisciplinary research on Modeling and Analysis of Neuronal Circuits for Locomotion with Sensory Feedback. Esther taught Statistics and Calculus at the Miller School of Albemarle and read AP exams for the ETS and College Board. In the fall of 2013 Esther joined the Eastern Mennonite University as an Assistant Professor of Engineering, where she teaches engineering and mathematical courses. Her research interests include neuronal control mechanism of animal locomotion and robotics, as well as engineering design education. Esther’s hobbies are reading and hiking. When hiking she enjoys striking new routes, although there is one trail she is especially fond of. It happens to be called Old Trail.

Staff

Cheryl Doss
Administrative Coordinator
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