School of Natural & Applied Sciences: Faculty


Lindsay Beardall headshot

Lindsay Beardall, MS

Instructor/Lab Manager Phone 816-501-2919
Headshot of Katherine Burgess

Katherine Burgess, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Phone 816-501-3685
Chad Cooley

Chad Cooley, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Phone 816-501-3790
Stephen Daggett headshot

Stephen Daggett, Ph.D.

Professor Phone 816-501-3654
Karin Gastreich headshot

Karin Gastreich, Ph.D.

Professor; Chair of the School of Natural & Applied Science Phone 816-501-2996
Jim Johnson Portrait

Jim Johnson, Ph.D., CSJA

Associate Professor Phone 816-501-3622
Lida Khalafi headshot

Lida Khalafi, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Phone 816-501-3788
Headshot of man in baseball cap

Gerald Larson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Kinesiology Phone 816-501-3714
Michael Norwood headshot

Michael Norwood, Ph.D.

Instructor Phone 816-501-2922
Darrin Smith Portrait

Darrin Smith, Ph.D.

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

Omonseigho Talton, Ph.D.

Visiting 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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