Research Areas

School of Biological Sciences

The mission of the School of Biological Sciences (SBS) is central to UMKC’s strategic goal to “Lead in the Life and Health Sciences.” The SBS houses more than 30 active research laboratories with faculty members engaging in cutting-edge research, including structural biology, biochemistry, microbiology, molecular cell biology and developmental biology. Its focus on molecular recognition underpins the importance of biomolecular structure and function to cell and molecular biology. A goal of the SBS is to create an infrastructure and environment where premiere research programs exploring fundamental questions in basic biology can be developed and addressed. Annual research funding for faculty research projects exceeds $4 million. State-of-the-art facilities at the SBS include onsite X-Ray crystallography and diffraction analysis, including access to the Advanced Photon Source at the Argonne National Laboratory through membership in the Southeast Regional Collaborative Access Team consortium; high-field nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy; cyro-electron microscopy; gene expression and genomic analysis; protein characterization and dynamics; and mass spectrometry/proteomics. To learn more about research at the School of Biological Sciences, visit


School of Computing and Engineering

The faculty at the School of Computing and Engineering (SCE) is nationally and internationally known for their research, receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, as well as public and private industry sources. In the area of life sciences, partnerships are being built with the health and life sciences schools at UMKC, the University of Missouri, the University of Kansas and the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute. SCE’s Human Motion Laboratory supports research in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, psychology, nursing, criminology and dance, with its directors investigating musculoskeletal tissue structure and function; tissue interaction and interdependencies; tissue engineering; computational biomechanics; and motor control. SCE researchers also are exploring biomedical signal analysis, biometrics, and physiological system identification using computational intelligence paradigms such as artificial neural networks. To learn more about research at the School of Computing and Engineering, visit


School of Dentistry

The School of Dentistry (SOD) prioritizes research, and it is part of its mission, to lead the country in developing new concepts and new techniques in oral health. The SOD is known and recognized for its state-of-the-art facilities, testing/evaluation center, and talented, knowledgeable researchers. Department of Oral Biology researchers are investigating ways of improving composite restorations through the development of new materials, studying bone and muscle to determine how they interact and how bone function affects muscle structure. Investigators are also evaluating the impact of radiation therapy on the oral cavity, temporomandibular disorder and diseases such as TB and HIV/AIDS. Since 1996, the Department of Oral Biology has held a T32 Training Grant, the only such grant currently at UMKC. Other research programs at the SOD include the UMKC Center for Research on Interfacial Structure and Properties (UMKC-CRISP) and the SOD Clinical Research Center. To learn more about research at the School of Dentistry, visit


School of Medicine

The School of Medicine’s (SOM) biomedical research strengths enable it to provide leadership in research through its well-established and productive partnerships with several clinical affiliates, including St. Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, Truman Medical Center, Children’s Mercy Hospital and the Center for Behavioral Health, which provide outstanding opportunities for translational research. Specific areas of research at the SOM include: statistical genomic analysis — finding causal associations between particular diseases and specific genes; evaluating new measures to prevent and treat the most common types of blindness; determining the impact of treatment, alterations in behavior, and socioeconomic factors on the course of common chronic diseases; the causes and treatments of serious side effects or death after major infection or injuries; changes in brain function that result from drug ingestion as potential targets for preventing or reversing addictive behavior; and diagnosing, preventing and treating cervical cancer. To learn more about research at the School of Medicine, visit


School of Pharmacy

The School of Pharmacy’s (SOP) faculty research focuses on serving the pharmacy profession in order to meet the community’s pharmaceutical needs, advance the standard of health care and improve the quality-of-life of the populations we serve. The SOP is ranked 17th out of 116 pharmacy schools in National Institutes of Health research funding. Areas of research include the delivery and targeting of antiviral agents; effects of drug and alcohol abuse on pathogenesis of AIDS; mechanisms of hormonal breast carcinogenesis; drug and drug use patterns, i.e. compliance and self-medication; development of new antibacterial agents; environmental, occupational and domestic exposure to toxic substances; diabetes and cardiovascular risk reduction; improving care in hospitals and long-term care facilities; schizophrenia and mood disorders; and chronic pain management. To learn more about research at the School of Pharmacy, visit


School of Nursing

Research at the School of Nursing (SON) focuses on issues related to health disparities, particularly for women and children. Research expertise spans a broad range of skills, from basic science to community-based research. Current programs of research include HIV and violence prevention in underserved populations; the cultural context of cancer care; end-of-life palliative care; effects of exercise on cardiovascular health; and muscle fatigue and aging. Its Muscle Biology Research group, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Schools of Nursing and Medicine, with collaborations in the Schools of Dentistry, Pharmacy and Computing and Engineering are investigating signaling pathways in skeletal, cardiac and vascular smooth muscle linked with decline in musculoskeletal function in aging, fatigue, obesity, diabetes, muscular dystrophies and cardiovascular disease. To learn more about research at the School of Nursing, visit


College of Arts and Sciences

Scholars within the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) engage in many different areas of health and life sciences research. In the Department of Chemistry, investigators are exploring the total synthesis of structurally complex, biologically-relevant natural products in the development of anticancer and statin agents and collaborate with researchers at UMKC’ School of Dentistry, University of Kansas, Kansas State and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. In the Department of Psychology, national and international leaders in research focus on areas such as HIV/AIDS, tobacco use, obesity and eating disorders, cancer, neuropsychological functioning and community factors in health. To learn more about research at the College of Arts and Sciences, visit