Avila University

Faculty & Staff




Katherine BurgessDr. Katherine Burgess
Assistant Professor
Office: 217A O'Rielly
Phone: 816-501-2448

Dr. Burgess earned her Ph.D. from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in 2007.  Her research interests focus on animal development, tissue regeneration, and stem cells, specifically studying cell signaling pathways involved in planarian regeneration.  She teaches introductory biology, anatomy and physiology laboratory, and biochemistry.



Dr. Stephen DaggettDr. Stephen Daggett
Professor and Chair of Biology
Prehealth Advisor
208A O’Rielly

Dr. Daggett received his Ph.D. at The Pennsylvania State University in 1993, the year he came to Avila.  His research interests include any question/problem relating to the history of biology and the biology of microorganisms.  Dr. Daggett teaches introductory biology, general microbiology, immunology, and genetics.



Dr. Greg FitchDr. Greg Fitch
Professor and Chair of Biology
210 B O’Rielly

Dr. Fitch was awarded the Ph.D. by Kansas State University in 1997 and began teaching at Avila that same year.  His research interests include neurobiology and invertebrate behavior.  Dr. Fitch regularly teaches the following courses: human anatomy and physiology, animal physiology, an interdisciplinary course on behavior and the brain, and biology research (coordinator).



Dr. Karin GastreichDr. Karin Gastreich
Associate Professor
O’Rielly Hall

Dr. Gastreich received her Ph.D. at the University of Texas in Austin in 1996.  Her research interests include plant-insect interactions, predator-prey interactions, indirect effects, cooperative behavior, tropical ecology, and conservation.  She has worked primarily with insects and spiders in Central and South America.  She teaches introductory biology, anatomy and physiology lab, plant form and function, and the interdisciplinary classes Women and Science (with Dr. Carol Coburn) and Ecology Through the Writer’s Lens (with Dr. Amy Milakovic).



Dr. Robert PowellDr. Robert Powell
110 O’Rielly

Dr. Powell earned his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in 1981.  He has been at Avila since 1972.  His research interests are focused on the natural history and ecological relationships of amphibians and reptiles in the West Indies.  Dr. Powell teaches introductory biology; animal form, function, and development; ecology, evolution, vertebrate anatomy, and interdisciplinary courses on environmental issues (with Dr. David Wissmann) and the natural and cultural history of Hawaii and the Bahamas (with Dr. Wissmann).  He coordinates an NSF-funded summer undergraduate research program offered every other year.




Elizabeth Bradish
Office Manager
School of Science and Health
209 O’Rielly

I love spending time with my husband, two sons, my parents and our two dogs. I like reading, gardening, swimming, and being outdoors. I am an avid shopper and like to work on my house. I truly enjoy working with my faculty and students .... Did I mention that I always have chocolate on my desk?



Tyrun Flaherty
Laboratory Manager
School of Science and Health

I received my M.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Kansas and my M.A. in Education from Pittsburg State University.  My research interests fall in the fields of behavioral ecology and environmental science.  I also work with local elementary and middle school educators on science content and pedagogy. With my free time, I enjoy staying active by playing baseball and softball, running, and traveling with my wife.



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