Welcoming New Faculty to Campus

UMKC Bloch school classroom
Photo by Brandon Parigo, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Meet these experts in their fields

The University of Missouri-Kansas City has welcomed dozens of new full-time faculty members.

Nearly all units have new faculty: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Conservatory of Music and Dance, the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, Honors College, School of Biological Sciences, School of Computing and Engineering, School of Dentistry, School of Education, School of Law, School of Medicine, School of Nursing and Health Studies and School of Pharmacy.

Learn more about them all – including their individual expertise.


College of Arts and Sciences

doynov portrait

Plamen Doynov

Title: Assistant research professor, physics
Expertise: Directed energy; biometrics; machine learning; system design; video and digital-signal processing; machine vision; hyperspectral imaging; hardware and software design; development of automated systems

Janet Garcia Hallet portrait

Janet Garcia-Hallett

Title: Assistant professor, criminal justice and criminology
Expertise: Social justice issues across race/ethnicity and gender – particularly the impact of incarceration on families and communities of color, the obstacles women face post-incarceration as well as the racial-ethnic differences in policing strategies

Joseph Hartman portrait

Joseph Hartman

Title: Assistant professor, Latinx and Latin American studies, art and art history
Expertise: Latinx experience in the U.S., global consequences of U.S. imperialism after 1898

Lena Hoober-Burkhardt portrait 

Lena Hoober-Burkhardt

Title: Assistant teaching professor, chemistry
Expertise: Designing and analyzing organic molecules for use in large-scale energy storage devices

Kristin Kathman portrait

Kristin Kathman

Title: Lecturer, mathematics
Expertise: Algebra, calculus

Amy Simmons portrait

Amy Simmons

Title: Assistant teaching professor, social work
Expertise: Practicing social worker for nearly 15 years. Specializes in the treatment and prevention of substance abuse and mental illness.

Workman portrait

Joseph Workman

Title: Assistant professor, sociology
Expertise: Educational inequality issues

Not pictured:

Eun Ju Moon, assistant research professor, physics and astronomy

Conservatory of Music and Dance

Matthew Bell portrait

Matthew Bell

Title: Assistant teaching professor, music theory
Expertise: Classical and modern ballet repertoire, chromatic harmony, transformation in the 20th century works of Holst and Britten

Sean Chen

Title: Artist in residence, piano
Expertise: Performed worldwide in concerto, solo and chamber music performances. Third-prize winner at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, recipient of the DeHaan Classical Fellowship as the winner of the 2013 American Pianists Awards and fellow of the 2015 Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing Arts.

Meg Gray

Title: Assistant teaching professor, keyboard
Expertise: Teaches piano pedagogy, class piano and music theory. Active at Lincoln University as the National Association of Schools of Music institutional representative, writing and editing two self-studies for reaccreditation, as well as numerous progress reports and strategic plans.

Lani Hamilton

Title: Assistant professor, music education
Expertise: An active teacher, she has taught elementary strings and middle school orchestra in Florida and Texas. She served as a consultant in both states and assisted with building and growing orchestra and chamber music programs at various schools.

David Justin portrait

David Justin

Title: Associate professor, dance
Expertise: Formerly a principal dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet and a soloist with San Francisco Ballet and Boston Ballet, he has toured extensively across the globe.

Henry Kramer portrait

Henry Kramer

Title: Assistant teaching professor, piano
Expertise: Applied piano, chamber music, keyboard literature


Mike Mermagen

Title: Associate professor, cello
Expertise: Made his debut at age 16 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra after receiving its Young Soloist’s Award. Mermagen is a faculty member at the Aspen Music Festival and School and has held the position of principal cellist of the Aspen Chamber Symphony for the past 18 seasons.

Amy Robertson portrait

Amy Robertson

Title: Assistant professor, music therapy
Expertise: Implemented and developed a full-service medical music therapy program, providing 1:1 and group services to all units of the hospital from neonatal intensive care and pediatrics to adult care, behavioral health, and neurologic rehabilitation.

Henry W. Bloch School of Management

Chris Garmon portrait

Christopher Garmon

Title: Assistant professor of health administration
Expertise: Served as a staff economist at the Federal Trade Commission, where he led the economic analysis for numerous antitrust investigations. Expertise in the economic analysis of health-care provider markets through his research and work on many hospital-, physician- and pharmaceutical-antitrust investigations.

Dean Brian Klaas portrait

Brian Klaas

Title: Dean
Expertise: Published extensively in human resources, dispute resolution and labor relations

Honors College

Jess M portrait

Jessica (Jess) Magaña

Title: Assistant teaching professor
Expertise: Invasive species, reptile ecology and science communication

School of Biological Sciences

Stephane Dissel

Title: Assistant professor, cell biology and biophysics
Expertise: Sleep, emphasizing its role in memory and learning

McGraw portrait

Hillary McGraw

Title: Assistant professor, cell biology and biophysics
Expertise: Zebrafish embryo as a model organism to study the genetic regulation of cellular proliferation, differentiation and migration during development. Understanding how these cellular behaviors are regulated is critical to finding treatments to correct defects during development and disease.

Wang portrait

Shizhen “Jeff” Wang

Title: Assistant professor, cell biology and biophysics
Expertise: With cutting-edge single molecule tools, his research aims to uncover the structural and functional dynamics of ion channels and membrane transporters and receptors, which constitute more than 50 percent of current pharmaceutical drug targets.

School of Computing and Engineering

Sobhansarbandi Sarvenaz portrait

Sarvenaz Sobhansarbandi

Title: Assistant professor, mechanical engineering
Expertise: Renewable energy, solar energy, computational fluid dynamics and fuel cell technology

School of Dentistry

Erin Bumann portrait

Erin Bumann

Title: Assistant professor, oral and craniofacial sciences
Expertise: Craniofacial biology, bone biology and developmental biology

Jang Ching Chou portrait

Jang-Ching Chou

Title: Assistant clinical professor, prosthodontics, restorative clinical sciences
Expertise: Smile analysis, smile design, dental implant component design and other topics related to prosthodontics and implant dentistry

Edward Shamieh portrait

Edward Shamieh

Title: Assistant clinical professor, restorative clinical sciences

Not pictured:

Sergio Florencio, assistant clinical professor;  Jared Gerhardt, associate clinical professor; Stefan Lohfeld, assistant professor; Owen Lonergan, assistant clinical professor

School of Education

Tiffani Riggers-Piehl portrait

Tiffani Riggers-Piehl

Title: Assistant professor, higher education
Expertise: Research includes spirituality and religion in higher education; student-faculty interactions; pedagogy and student success; issues in S.T.E.M and gender in college.

School of Law

Vanessa Vanden Bout Geer

Title: Assistant Director of the Family Services Clinic
Expertise: Assist students in filing and handling various cases including paternity, adoption, guardianship and modification actions. She is also an associate attorney at Higgins and Corder, LLC, where she handles family law matters and is a member of the United States Air Force Reserve.

Del Wright portrait

Del Wright

Title: Associate professor
Expertise: Teaches Transactional Lawyering Skills and assiss with Business Organizations. His scholarship explored the intersection of tax and finance, seeking to expose gaps in tax and financial regulation that have tilted the economy playing field in favor of more privileged members of society.

School of Medicine

Daphne Bascom portrait

Daphne Bascom

Title: Professor, biomedical and health Informatics
Expertise: Evidence-based health interventions, community-based health programs and clinical decision support

Wail Hassan portrait

Wail Hassan

Title: Associate teaching professor, medical microbiology
Expertise: Data analysis to study complex patterns in anti-HIV immune responses that may predict disease progression; gene expression alterations related to Alzheimer’s disease and multi-parametric biomarkers of autism.

Not pictured:

Raymond Duncan, assistant research professor, ophthalmology; Kristin Wright, associate professor, anatomy, biomedical sciences

School of Nursing and Health Studies

Dipti Subramaniam portrait

Dipti Subramaniam

Title: Assistant professor
Expertise: Identifying factors that influence seasonal influenza vaccination uptake among emergency medical services (EMS) professionals, preventive services utilization, development of evidence-based interventions and patient-centered health outcomes.

Not pictured:

Amanda Emerson, assistant professor; James “Jim” Spence, assistant clinical professor; Sangbeck Ye, assistant professor

School of Pharmacy

Sarah Oprinovich portrait

Sarah Oprinovich

Title: Assistant clinical professor
Expertise: Clinical service development and sustainability in community pharmacy

Melissa Palmer portrait

Melissa Palmer

Title: Clinical assistant professor
Expertise: Substance use, antipsychotic use and indigent populations

Not pictured:

Diana Tamer, clinical assistant professor


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