Faculty & Staff


  • Joseph Roberts

    Dr. Joseph

    Assistant Professor of Chemistry
    & Chair of Physical Science
    Office: 217A O’Rielly
    Phone: 816.501.3788

    Ph.D., North Carolina


    Dr. Roberts received his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina in 2014. His research interests include nanoparticles, nanotoxicity, and a general interest in environmental chemistry. Dr. Roberts teaches general chemistry, analytical chemistry, and physical chemistry of biological systems.

    Started at Avila: 2015

    Courses Taught: CH 131 - General Chemistry I, CH 137 - General Chemistry II, CH 321 - Analytical Chemistry, CH 350 - Physical Chemistry of Biological Systems, NS 110 - The Science of Popular Culture

    Research Interests: My research interests are predominately nanoparticle related. I'm currently interested in multivalent metal oxide nanoparticles (like magnetite) and their ability to hold 2 different charge states simultaneously. I'm also interested in nanotoxicity, nanoparticle based sensors and assays, and nanoparticle synthesis. I also have a "hobby" interest in a variety of food sciences.

    Hobbies: I am an avid comic book enthusiast, especially Batman from the 60s. I also enjoy all varieties of gaming (including teaching new gamers!). I recently started attending cooking classes at the Kansas City Culinary Center in Overland Park. I enjoy sampling craft beers.

  • Katie Burgess

    Dr. Katie Burgess

    Assistant Professor of Biology
    Office: 208E O'Rielly
    Phone: 816.501.3685

    Ph.D., Mayo Clinic College of Medicine


    Started at Avila: 2010

    Courses Taught: Introductory Biology, Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory, and Biochemistry

    Research Interests: Dr. Burgess earned her Ph.D. from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in 2007.  Her research interests focus on molecular and morphological analyses of cell signaling pathways important in animal development and tissue regeneration.

  • Dr. Chad Cooley

    Assistant Professor of Chemistry
    Physical Science
    Office: 210A
    Phone: (816) 501-3790

     Ph.D., University of Missouri


    Dr. Cooley earned his Ph.D. at the University of Missouri in 2014. His research focuses on the synthesis of fluorescent molecules and their use in the detection of biologically active molecules. Dr. Cooley teaches organic chemistry and biochemistry.

  • Stephen Daggett

    Dr. Stephen Daggett

    Professor of Biology
    Prehealth Advisor
    Office: 208A O’Rielly
    Phone: 816.501.3654

    Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University


    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.

    Started at Avila: 1993

    Courses Taught: Bioethics, General Biology, Genetics, General Microbiology, Immunology

    Research Interests: Interested in the history of infectious diseases; the genetics and evolutionary biology of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (commonly known as pond scum); and methods in biology teaching.  Editor of the education journal Bioscene since 2005 for the Association of College and University Biology Educators.

    Hobbies: I enjoy reading, classic movies and piano.

  • Tyrun Flaherty

    Tyrun Flaherty

    Instructor of Biology, Science Laboratory Manager
    School of Science and Health
    Office: 217C
    Phone: 816-501-2919


    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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