School of Natural & Applied Sciences: Faculty


Lindsay Beardall, M.S.

Instructor and Laboratory Manager

Katherine Burgess, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Phone 816-501-3685

Stephen Daggett, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology Phone 816-501-3654

Jim Johnson, Ph.D., CSJA

Associate Professor Phone 816-501-3622

Lida Khalafi, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Phone 816-501-3788

Gerald Larson, Ph.D., ACSM-CEP, NSCA-CSCS*D

Associate Professor and Program Director of Kinesiology Phone 816-501-3714

Michael Norwood, Ph.D.

Instructor Phone 816-501-2922
Dean Darrin Smith, Ph.D.

Darrin Smith, Ph.D.

Professor; Dean of the College of Science and Health Phone 816-501-3655

Omonseigho Talton, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Phone 816-501-2442

Professors Emeriti

Dr. Greg Fitch

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).
Research Interests: Neuroscience, especially neuroanatomy of the mammalian brain and invertebrate neurophysiology; Invertebrate behavior; Scholarship of teaching.  Awards: Avila Professor of the Year; State of Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; National Society of Leadership & Success Excellence in Teaching Award. Member of the editorial board of the education journal, Bioscience.
Hobbies: I collect old music, 1954-1970 rock, and roll.  I enjoy being active in recreational sports leagues. I love to play games, which for me are becoming increasingly more mental and less physical.  I am a below average amateur guitar picker. I have many strong political and philosophical views to which few people pay attention. I spend a lot of time reading & will read nearly anything.         

Dr. Robert Powell

Dr. Powell earned his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in 1984. 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.
Research Interests: Community ecology and natural history of West Indian amphibians and reptiles.  Authored and co-authored several publications and books.
Hobbies: I love chasing lizards, photography, and travel, especially to places where I can chase lizards…


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