MA in Biomedicine


Kim Gingerich Brenneman

Kim Gingerich Brenneman, graduate of the EMC class of 1983, began her teaching career at Eastern Mennonite College in the fall of 1989. She received her Ph.D. in the spring of 2001 in Developmental and Educational Psychology. Her dissertation was titled The Well-being of Internationally Mobile Adolescents. She continues her interest in the well-being of Third Culture Kids.
Currently, Brenneman is conducting research on the application of positive psychological principles to education, particularly in the development of Character Strengths and hopeful thinking. Direct application of these principles is in developing courses, class assignments, and seminars that integrate these, as well as other positive psychological concepts, into the coursework.
Kim has led three groups of EMU college students in semester-long cross-culturals to India in 2007, 2009, and 2011 and believes this is a positive life-changing experience for all involved!
Kim is married and has two children. She is an active member of Weavers Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, VA.

Owen Byer

Owen joined the Eastern Mennonite faculty in 1999 after teaching at Northwestern College (Iowa) for three years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with secondary certification at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Delaware in Newark. His graduate training is in combinatorics, and he has recently starting writing a Discrete Math textbook with Deirdre Smeltzer and Felix Lazebnik. He coauthored the geometry textbook Methods for Euclidean Geometry, published in 2010 by MAA. His hobbies include playing basketball, bridge, and watching NFL football. Owen and his wife Barbara married in January 1990, with son Cameron born in 1998 and daughter Lily in 2001. The family attends Weavers Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Va.

Stephen Cessna
Associate Professor

Steve received his BA in chemistry and biochemistry in Colorado in 1991 and then taught middle school math and science in Lesotho in southern Africa, with the Mennonite Central Committee, a relief and development organization of the Mennonite Churches. After returning to the US in 1995, getting married and moving to Indiana, Steve finished a PhD degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2000. His graduate research included genetically altering tobacco plants so that they express a gene from a bioluminescent jellyfish. Cellular calcium concentrations and hydrogen peroxide could then be easily measured in these glow-in-the-dark plants. At EMU, Steve continues this research, involving EMU students in the study of oxidation/anti-oxidation in plant stress, with applications in sustainable agriculture and invasive species ecology. Steve teaches courses in biochemistry, chemistry, and sustainable agriculture.

Dr. Cessna’s research interests include:
- Developing and assessing multiple min-research projects for use in teaching labs
- Developing and assessing strategies for teaching the nature of science and higher order cognitive skills
- Comparing antioxidants in blueberries grown in different soil types and conditions
- Comparing photosynthesis and growth of various native and invasive vine species
- Testing gardening techniques in terms of their impacts on produce yield and nutritional quality

Jeffrey Copeland
Assistant Professor

Dr. Jeffrey Copeland has been at EMU since 2009 and has taught courses in genetics, cell biology, microbiology, nutrition, and immunology. Previously Jeff lived in Los Angeles where he earned his PhD in Biology from the California Institute of Technology and completed his post-doctoral training at the University of California, Los Angeles. His current research interests are an expansion from his post-doctoral work, using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a tool to understand the genes important for the aging process. While not at work, Jeff spends his time at home with his wife, three daughters and garden.

Doug Graber Neufeld

Click here for Research and Course Webpages

Dr. Graber Neufeld is Professor of Biology. He works primarily with the Environmental Sustainability program at EMU, with a concentration in issues that relate to environmental monitoring and toxicology. He teaches in the introductory biology course, Concepts in Biology, and in a variety of courses related to environmental issues (such as Environmental Toxicology, Sustainable Agriculture)

He has a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in environmental physiology, and worked at the University of Arizona and the University of Otago (New Zealand) before coming to EMU. He served a two year term with Mennonite Central Committee in Cambodia, were he worked on environmental issues through the Royal University of Agriculture and the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

Doug’s research is in collaboration with students and focuses on issues of environmental toxicology and monitoring. Currently he is working on two projects: 1) assessing pesticides in market vegetables using a novel combination of techniques, and 2) water monitoring in a local watershed. Also, he periodically monitors arsenic in clay used for ceramic drinking filters from Southeast Asia.

Doug lives in Harrisonburg with his wife, Cristina, and two young sons, Alex and Evan. They enjoy many outdoors activities, and take as many opportunities as possible to go camping and traveling.

Julia Halterman
Assistant Professor

Dr. Julia Halterman is an Assistant Professor of Biology at EMU who has taught Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II, Animal Form & Function, Mammalian Physiology, Mammalian Anatomy, and Nutrition Fundamentals. Julia also serves as faculty for the MA in Biomedicine program and instructs the graduate-level Human Anatomy cadaver dissection course, a Biomedicine Transdisciplinary Seminar, and Medical Terminology. Julia received her B.S. in Biology at Texas A&M University and her Ph.D. in Pharmacology at the University of Virginia. While completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia, Julia taught as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Piedmont Virginia Community College.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America, and atherosclerotic plaque build-up in the arteries of the body can lead to heart attack or stroke. Julia’s research is focused on better understanding the molecular mechanisms that drive vascular disease. She is working to characterize the role of the transcription factor NFAT5 in its regulation of vascular smooth muscle cells and macrophages in atherosclerotic plaques. Apart from teaching and research, Julia enjoys time with her husband, family and friends and loves being active outdoors.

Greta Ann Herin

Dr. Greta Ann Herin is currently on sabbatical at the Computational and Experimental Neuroplasticity Laboratory in the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Studies, George Mason University.

She has taught: Mammalian Anatomy, Faith, Science and Ethics, Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II, Neuropsychology, Advanced Neurobiology, Mammalian Physiology, Molecules, Genes, and Cells, Biological Explorations, a Senior Seminar called"Origins". She has also co-taught Concepts in Biology, a Senior Seminar “Form, Finitude and Faith” and a Colloquium “Passion and Obsession”.

Greta Ann usually serves as a Pre-professional Health Sciences advisor.

She has dual Bachelors Degrees in Biochemistry and Psychology from Kansas State University and a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Her dissertation was on interactions among modulators of NMDA receptors, an important glutamate receptor in the brain. In addition Dr. Herin did a post-doctoral fellowship at the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany. There she studied metabotropic glutamate receptors.

Ann Hershberger

Ann Graber Hershberger has worked in family health, community health, international health, and nursing education since 1976. Ann and her husband Jim, director of Church World Service Harrisonburg Refugee Resettlement Program, have spent 10 years in church sponsored service in Central America. She earned her PhD from the University of Virginia; completing a dissertation entitled “A case study of relationships between Nicaraguan non-governmental health organizations, communities served, donor agencies, and the Ministry of Health.” She spent the 1999-2000 academic year in Nicaragua researching the project. During the fall semester of 2008 she was on sabbatical and completed a research study on the experiences of families in Guatemala and West Bank, Palestine who have hosted EMU Cross Cultural students over the last decade. She has been a consultant for a Nursing School in Nicaragua, and has been on the board of MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) since 1997, and is currently the chair of MCC U.S. Mother of three adult children, she enjoys speaking Spanish, reading, gardening, and sitting on her porch.

Daniel King
Assistant Professor

Daniel King graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Goshen College, where he majored in Physics and Music. He received his M. S. and Ph. D. degrees in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from the University of Illinois, where his research focused on the dynamic interactions between ultrasound and contrast agent microbubbles. In addition to bubbles, his broader research interests include acoustics and fluid mechanics. In his spare time he enjoys playing Ultimate and writing quirky little pop songs.

Jess Kraybill
Assistant Professor

Jess is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at EMU who has taught Abnormal Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Neuropsychology, and Biomedical Research Design and Statistics, among other courses. She also serves as faculty for the MA in Biomedicine program.

Executive function (EF) refers to higher order cognitive abilities necessary to consciously persist in a task or behavior despite facing challenges in the form of competing rules, distractions, or delays. A significant body of work has documented the relation between EF deficits and early child development. Low levels of EF are associated with clinical-level ADHD symptamotology (Gewirtz, Stanton-Chapman & Reeve, 2009), social difficulties (Fahie & Symons, 2003), academic difficulties (Zhou, Main, & Wang, 2010), and difficulty regulating emotions (Kochanska, Murray, & Harlan, 2000). Jess’ research focuses on understanding the nature of EF and the factors associated with optimal regulatory abilities through a longitudinal, latent analysis framework.

Jess is an avid runner and dog lover. If you’re in downtown Harrisonburg a lot, you’ll probably see her running with her dog Jake at some point. She love reading, thrift shopping, and listening to Radiolab podcasts.

Galen Lehman

Galen Lehman earned a PhD from Virginia Tech in Applied Experimental Psychology and has taught at EMU for more than 30 years. Galen has specialized in research and consulting in the areas of safety, education, and behavior change. His work has included many international involvements and resulted in numerous publications. Galen now divides his time between teaching at EMU, serving as Psychology Department Chairperson and mission administration work as the Caribbean Regional Director for Virginia Mennonite Missions.

Roman Miller
Department Chair, Professor

Dr. Roman J. Miller is the Daniel B. Suter Endowed Professor of Biology at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA where he has taught courses in physiology, anatomy, developmental biology, animal science, bioethics, and philosophy of science for the past twenty-two years.

Roman received his Ph.D. in biomedical science (physiology major with minors in cell biology and reproductive biology) from Kent State University, Kent, Ohio and completed a post-doctoral research program at West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, prior to teaching at EMU. His research interests at EMU include the development and function of male accessory sex glands in rodents, creating conditions for sustainable organic blueberries, and the role of an Anabaptist perspective in bioethics and issues of science.

From 1999 through 2007, Roman served as the editor of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, the quarterly journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, a professional scientific organization of Christians interested in faith and science issues.

In 1990, Roman was ordained as a minister in the Mennonite Church and initially served as an associate pastor at the Dayton Mennonite Church; then for thirteen years he served as overseer for a cluster of congregations that comprise the Mountain Valley Mennonite Churches, terminating that assignment in the fall of 2005. More recently he preaches in various congregations upon invitation, gives talks on bioethics and faith & science topics, functions as a Sunday School substitute teacher, and sings baritone in the Dayton Mennonite Men’s Quartet.

Roman is married to Dr. Elva (Bowman) Miller, who retired this year from a part-time private practice as an optometrist. In 1998, the Millers returned from Ukraine with their two adopted daughters who were then 6 and 4 years of age. Today, Katerina Joy, who is now 21, lives in Oklahoma and assists in childcare; Zoya Marie, who is 19, graduated from Turner-Ashby High School and maintains a dog-sitting business. The Millers live on Knoll Acres, a small farm near Harrisonburg, Virginia, where they are busy raising and enjoying their family, as well as a flock of Barbados Blackbelly sheep, AKC registered collie puppies, and horses. The Millers enjoy riding horses, playing violin and viola, reading, gardening, blueberry horticulture, traveling, fishing, and working on their farm. They are active members at Dayton Mennonite Church, Dayton, Virginia.

Judy Mullet

Judy Mullet received her Ph.D. from Kent State University, where her dissertation work focused on context-motivated, conflict strategy choices of middle school students with learning disabilities. She was a school psychologist before coming to EMU, and has authored and co-authored recent publications on restorative discipline and harmful teacher behaviors. A member of the faculty since 1986, Dr. Mullet specializes in restorative discipline in schools, conducting workshops across the USA.

Mark Thiessen Nation

Growing up in a non-Christian home within a racist community, being encountered by Christ in a Baptist revival toward the end of high school, and being pastored by a WWII veteran—these would not seem to be the ingredients to produce a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. But then the gospel of Jesus Christ is not predictable. It changes lives! In Mark’s case, a radical conversion followed by reading the New Testament and hearing many sermons about God’s love for the whole world convinced Mark that following Jesus included not killing one’s enemies.

Several years later Mark discovered Christians within various traditions who, with Mark, saw peace and social justice as inherent in the gospel of Jesus Christ. But it was through reading The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder that Mark began to find a theological home in the Anabaptist/ Mennonite tradition. Mark’s subsequent studies with Yoder, followed by doctoral studies under Jim McClendon and Nancey Murphy, along with a co-editing friendship with Stanley Hauerwas deepened Mark’s commitment to the centrality of Jesus for ministries of peace and justice, and led to the integration of theology and ethics that infuse his teaching and writing.

Mark’s voracious reading in multiple disciplines is animated by his passion to help the church remain faithful to Christ. His current writing project with two former seminary students is focused on recapturing Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s commitment to the centrality of Jesus Christ linked to faithful discipleship as the defining center of his life and work.

Mark’s teaching at the seminary draws on his experiences within several early “emergent/new monastic” Christian communities, his brief stint as a child protective services social worker, his six years as the founding director of an ecumenical peace and justice organization, his pastorates in several denominations, and his 5 ½ years as director of the London Mennonite Centre, in London, England. He is currently on the leadership team of a Mennonite church organically connected to Our Community Place, a center devoted to serving the “least among us” in Harrisonburg. His preaching and teaching in that community coupled with his attentiveness to the vast needs and challenges within our larger cultural contexts serve to ground his life and teaching in the transforming work of Christ in the world through the church.

Acknowledged as one of the foremost authorities in the world on John Howard Yoder, Mark’s interests are wide ranging. However, in a few words, his driving passion is to discern with others what it means to articulate afresh the holistic gospel of Jesus Christ for today or, in other words, to ask what it looks like to embody “the politics of Jesus” for our time.

Carolyn Stauffer
Assistant Professor

Carolyn Stauffer has taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels at 2 higher education institutions on the African continent and holds a Doctorate in Sociology from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. She has lived and worked in Africa (16 years), the Middle East (17 years) and has also engaged in various short-term assignments in North America, Europe and the Caribbean. As a veteran in cross-cultural settings, Stauffer is an agile educator whose pedagogy exemplifies the integration of both left and right brain educational approaches that pervade in our postmodern and global world.

Stauffer’s research interests include Intersectionality theory applications, social capital formation and enhancement strategies, and violence mitigation within intimate and domestic domains. Undergirding Stauffer’s academic pursuits has been a rich tapestry of work experiences in the human service and humanitarian aid arenas. While in the U.S., Stauffer worked in the mental health field in the Shenandoah Valley as well as researching urban demographics amongst marginalized center-city communities in Richmond, Virginia. During her decade and a half in Africa, Stauffer worked under the auspices of MCC, an international relief and development organization with development and emergency assistance training initiatives that took her from the southern-most tip of the continent (Cape Town) to the outlaying eastern parts of Uganda (Jinja).

During her time in South Africa, Stauffer worked as an organizational development consultant (with NGOs and blue chip companies undergoing dramatic post-Apartheid workplace diversity shifts), in the domestic and gender-based violence field (as a senior trauma counselor and public relations officer for a rape crisis support center), and as a community development specialist (and founding member of a Soweto-based HIV/AIDS Program servicing AIDS infected or affected communities living in the informal settlements surrounding Johannesburg). Stauffer weaves the depth and breadth of these many and varied experiences into her decade of teaching.

Carolyn is married to CJP professor Dr. Carl Stauffer, and together they have had the privilege of raising two university-age children. Carolyn is fluent in Hebrew, loves dance, music and art, and enjoys all things creative, imaginative and off the beaten track.


Cheryl Doss
Administrative Coordinator

Cheryl Doss is office coordinator for the Science Center and all the EMU departments lodged there: psychology, biology, chemistry, history and mathematical sciences.

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