Master of Science in Bioinformatics

Primary Faculty Appointments

Primary Faculty

The Department faculty include tenure track and adjunct faculty, who participate in graduate education and research at the School of Medicine and its partner hospitals, Truman Medical Centers, Children’s Mercy Hospital and Clinics and Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City.

Photo of Karen B. Williams, Ph.D.
Karen B. Williams, Ph.D.
Professor & Chair Emerita Department of Biomedical & Health Informatics
  • Ph.D. – 2001, University of Kansas
  • Research Interests: Clinical trial and survey research design, health behavior, quality of life, IRB application and oral health outcomes.
Jenifer Allsworth, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor Department of Biomedical & Health Informatics
  • Ph.D. — Epidemiology, Brown University
  • Research Interests: Impact of social factors, including race, violence, and poverty, on obstetric and gynecologic outcomes; the use of social media for delivery of weight gain interventions among disadvantaged reproductive-aged women at risk for obesity; and the impact of alterations of the vaginal microbiome on health outcomes.
Photo of Suzanne Arnold, M.D., MHA
Suzanne Arnold, M.D., MHA
Research Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical & Health Informatics
  • 2004 – The Ohio State University
  • Research Interests: Cardiovascular quality of life and economic outcomes, and quality of care of patients with cardiovascular diseases.
Photo of Julie Banderas, Pharm.D.
Julie Banderas, Pharm.D.
Professor & Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies & Allied Health UMKC School of Medicine Work Phone: (816) 235-5249
  • Specialty: Clinical Pharmacology
  • Doctorate of Pharmacy: University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Clinical Pharmacy Residency: Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Pharmacotherapy Fellowship: University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Research interests: HIV prevention, adherence to medications, engagement in care, health literacy.

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Julie earned her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1990. She completed a clinical pharmacy residency and pharmacotherapy fellowship before she began teaching basic and clinical pharmacology at UMKC School of Medicine in 1994. Happily, she has been able to experience a variety of rewarding opportunities at UMKC. In addition to teaching, she has engaged in clinical research in the areas of adherence, HIV treatment and prevention. She has served on the UMKC Adult Health Sciences IRB and teaches the Responsible Conduct of Research course for UMKC graduate programs. At the School of Medicine, she is the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and is a member of the Department of Medicine and the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics. She enjoys the inter-professional aspects of her work.

Photo of An-Lin Cheng, Ph.D.
An-Lin Cheng, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Director of Research and Statistical Consult ServiceDepartment of Biomedical and Health Informatics Work Phone: (816) 235-5242
  • 2004, PhD in Statistics, University of Georgia, Athens
  • 2002, MS Statistics, University of Georgia, Athens
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Research Interests

Longitudinal data analysis, HIV health care data, data analysis for phase I, II and III clinical trials, community-based interventions, bioinformatics, response adaptive designs, generalized linear mixed models, Hierarchical linear mixed modeling, multiple imputation technique, structural equation modeling.


Dr. An-Lin Cheng received her PhD in Statistics from the University of Georgia, immediately followed by postdoc training at Yale University in the Department of Biostatistics. She then joined the School of Nursing and Health Studies at the University of Missouri – Kansas City at 2006 as Assistant Professor. With this position she had the opportunity to work with researchers from a wide range of disciplines such as dentistry, nursing, biomedical engineering, statistics, biostatistics, environmental sciences, and medicine. She also taught graduate level statistics courses for nursing PhD students and served as a member or chair of their committees. Dr. Cheng was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure at 2012. In August 2016, Dr. Cheng join the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics.

Dr. Cheng has extensive experience handling large data sets and conducting secondary data analyses. She have participated in 17 funded research projects and published more than 45 peer review research articles. Her primary roles will be leading the Research and Statistical Consult Service and collaborating with researchers on Hospital Hill Campus.

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Mary M. Gerkovich, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Office for Health Services & Outcomes ResearchDepartment of Biomedical & Health Informatics
  • 1998 – University of Kansas
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Research Interests

Evaluation of a botanical product for use with osteoarthritis patients.

Identifying methods and resources to support HIV+ patients for maintaining engagement in care and self-management.

Projects using large secondary datasets to address issues related to health conditions and care.

Photo of Timothy P. Hickman, M.D., M.P.H., M.Ed., FAAP
Timothy P. Hickman, M.D., M.P.H., M.Ed., FAAP
Associate Teaching Professor Department of Biomedical & Health Informatics Work Phone: (816) 235-1861
  • Medical Degree: University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1980
  • Research interests: Clinical decision support including evidence-based guidelines and order sets; information retrieval, social determinants of health, and evaluation of teaching and learning.
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Areas of expertise:

  • Culturally Appropriate Care and Health Disparities
  • Curriculum Development
  • Active Learning, Small Group Facilitation and Case-Based Learning
  • Information Retrieval
  • Evidence-Based Medicine/Clinical Decision Support
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Mark Hoffman, Ph.D.
Department of Biomedical & Health Informatics


  • Research Associate Professor – Biomedical & Health Informatics
  • ResearchAssociate Professor – Pediatrics
  • Children’s Mercy Hospital – Director Translational Bioinformatics
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Dr. Mark Hoffman received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and performed post-doctoral research at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa. Before joining UMKC, he spent 16 years leading genomics, public health and research initiatives at Cerner Corporation, where he was a Vice President. In addition to his peer-reviewed publications, Mark is an inventor on 16 issued patents.

Research Interests

CDC funded use of laboratory and medical data warehouses to support quality improvement.

Pharmacogenomic knowledge representation and decision support.

Influence of patient context on health, what I refer to as the ‘Envirome’.

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Photo of Michael L. O’Dell, M.D., M.S.H.A.
Michael L. O’Dell, M.D., M.S.H.A.

Professor & Chair – Community & Family Medicine, UMKC
Associate Chief Medical Officer, Truman Medical Center Lakewood

  • Medical Degree: University of Kansas, 1977
  • Residency: University of Kansas School of Medicine, 1983
  • Research Interests: Harm Measure Assessment and Improvement, Inpatient Medication Reconciliation, Discharge Medication Instruction Quality Improvement (Six Sigma), ICU Patient and Visitor Satisfaction Quality Improvement (Six Sigma), Inpatient Congestive Heart Failure Quality Improvement, Diabetes Outpatient Quality of Care, and CHF Outpatient Quality Improvement.
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I have served as the Chair of the Department of Community and Family Medicine at University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) since August 2010. The Department is one of the largest training programs in the nation and offers fellowship training in Geriatrics, Sports Medicine, and Operative Obstetrics. My additional duties are as the Associate Chief Medical Officer for Truman Medical Center, with primary duties at the Lakewood Campus.I received my Bachelors degree from Kansas State University in 1974 and received my Doctorate of Medicine in 1977 from the University of Kansas Medical Center at Kansas City. Following a year of internship, I was called to active duty service with the Navy returning to the University of Kansas in 1981 to complete my residency training doing so in 1983. Upon completion of Family Medicine residency training in 1983, I joined the faculty of the University of Kansas until 2002. I have held leadership positions and served on the faculties of the University of Texas Medical Branch (1992-1998) and University of Alabama Birmingham’s Huntsville Campus (1998-2002). I also served as the Director of the Family Medicine Residency Program at North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC). NMMC is the largest rural hospital in the nation and one of the largest integrated health systems in the nation and a 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient. My additional duties at NMMC serving as Chief Quality Officer as well as interim Chief Medical OfficerI am Board Certified by the American Board of Family Practice and became a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians in 1985. I completed a Masters Degree in Health Care Administration at University of Alabama- Birmingham in 2005. I have authored several original papers, professional articles, and book chapters.

I continued my Navy service as a reserve officer and retired from the US Navy Reserve in 1998, holding the rank of Captain (O-6). I was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and other awards during my Navy career and was deployed during the first Gulf War.

I am active in many national, regional, and community activities. I have served as Chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians Commission on Quality and Practice. I was the Governors Appointee to the Mississippi Hospital Equipment and Financing Authority, which is the state’s bond agency for health care facilities. I served as Chair for Mississippi’s Medicaid Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee. I served as Associate Editor for the Mississippi State Journal of Medicine. I have held various state-level elected positions, including President of the Mississippi Academy of Family Physicians and have been active in various community organizations. I am also an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA).

I married Kristi Jane Francis in 1973. Kristi holds a Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Kansas and teaches Social Work at the University of Mississippi. We have two children and three grandchildren.

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Steve Simon, Ph.D.
Research Professor Department of Biomedical & Health Informatics
  • 1982 -University of Iowa
  • Research interests: Accrual problems in clinical trials, information theory, monitoring adverse events in clinical trials, research ethics and risk adjustment models.
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Research Summary

Most of my research is characterized as meta-research–research about the research process. One example is monitoring accrual patterns in prospective clinical trials. Another is mining the electronic health records to identify patients for clinical trials. A third example is comparing the initial IRB research application to what (if anything) gets published.

Photo of Kim Smolderen, Ph.D.
Kim Smolderen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor — Implementation Science Department of Biomedical & Health Informatics
  • 2012, Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Outcomes Research PRT: American Heart Association, St. Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute
  • 2009, PhD in Medical Psychology, Tilburg University, Tilburg Netherlands
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Research Interest

An estimated 8 million individuals in the United States are affected by peripheral arterial disease (PAD), blockages of the leg arteries that can cause excruciating calf pain when walking. PAD can have a major impact on patients’ quality of life. It is also associated with high rates of heart attacks and premature death. While there are a number of treatments, there have been few previous studies that have prospectively examined treatment patterns for PAD or sought to systematically identify opportunities to improve care. Most importantly, there have been no rigorous studies examining the impact of the disease from patients’ perspectives-their symptoms, function, and quality of life-as a function of different patient characteristics and treatments. The PORTRAIT study (Phase II) will systematically document the treatments and health-status outcomes (symptoms, function, and quality of life) of 840 US patients from nine centers over the course of one year to address these gaps in knowledge. It will illuminate whether disparities in treatment or health-status outcomes exist as a function of a patient’s age, gender, race, or socioeconomic or psychological characteristics. As a direct deliverable, it will translate its findings-expected health status changes following PAD treatments over the course of one year-directly to patients through the development of education tools for patients with PAD who need to make a choice with regard to their treatment. As it is PCORI’s mission to assist patients, clinicians, purchasers, and policy makers in making informed health decisions with regard to diseases like PAD, PORTRAIT will substantially elevate the field and identify critical gaps in the way PAD is currently managed, including potential disparities in care, so that the quality of care can be improved. PORTRAIT will also be a critical first step in designing efficient, effective disease management programs for PAD in the future that are based on more personalized and healthcare system-oriented approaches to increase the use of evidence-based guidelines. Finally, as patients have been closely involved in the design of this study in Phase I and continue to be engaged as active advocates and experts on their disease throughout the current study, PORTRAIT will also empower patients and let them decide on what information and outcomes are most relevant for them while dealing with this burdensome condition of PAD.

Photo of John A. Spertus, M.D., M.P.H.
John A. Spertus, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor & Daniel J. Lauer / Missouri Endowed Chair Metabolic & Vascular Disease ResearchDepartment of Biomedical & Health Informatics
  • 1993 -University of Washington
  • Research Interests: Methods for assessing patients’ health outcomes, measuring healthcare quality, and the use of information technology to guide medical decision-making based on risk-prediction models so that treatment can be safer, more cost-effective, evidence-based and patient-centered.
Photo of Lakshmi Venkitachalam, Ph.D.
Lakshmi Venkitachalam, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor Epidemiology & Outcomes ResearchDepartment of Biomedical & Health Informatics
  • Ph.D. — Epidemilogy, 2007 – University of Pittsburgh
  • 2011, Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Outcomes Research PRT: American Heart Association, St. Luke’s Mid-America
  • Research Interests: Use of alternative care models such as the patient-centered medical home, the chronic care model etc. to enhance translation of evidence-based best practices and meet the health and wellness needs of underserved and vulnerable populations globally. I also have a strong interest in examining cross-country variations in the use of healthcare technology and the related impact on clinical, patient-centered and economic outcomes, with a view to informing clinical practice and health policy guidelines.
Photo of Shui Qing Ye, M.D., Ph.D.
Shui Qing Ye, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor & the William R. Brown / Missouri Endowed Chair Medical Genetics & Molecular MedicineDepartment of Biomedical & Health Informatics
  • 1993, PhD, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago IL
  • 1982, Doctor of Medicine, Wuhan University School of Medicine, Wuhan China
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Research Interests

Investigate the roles and molecular mechanisms of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase in acute respiratory distress syndrome, arthritis, drug induced liver injury.

Identify new genetic risk factors underlying complex diseases using next generation DNA sequencing technologies.

Apply Translational Bioinformatics to leverage ‘Big Data’ to make new biological discoveries and gain new unifying global biological insights, which may lead to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic targets for human diseases.