Researcher Profiles


Epigenetic Research


Dr. Shiao

S. Pamela Shiao, PhD, RN, FAAN
E. Louise Grant Endowed Chair in Nursing
Associate Dean for Nursing Research
Professor, Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing
College of Nursing, College of Graduate Studies, and
College of Medicine Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine

Dr. Shiao is leading programs of research in epigenetics and related nursing science. Dr. Shiao’s research programs are focused on human-subjects research and big data analytics on the human genome and epigenetics research to prevent chronic health conditions including cancer. She successfully acquired extramural research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other national organizations for studies of vulnerable populations. As an experienced principal investigator, co-Investigator, and collaborating member on several universities- and NIH-funded grants, Dr. Shiao successfully administered over 15 funded projects and produced over 130 peer-reviewed publications. Through her team work, Dr. Shiao published 33 meta-analysis reports. As a senior investigator, Dr. Shiao mentored over 30 teams to conduct meta-analysis projects based on human genome discoveries and epigenetics research through workshops and seminars and directed/mentored these teams to present at national-international conferences in past three years.

Most recently, Dr. Shiao served on a National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) study section and provided expertise in Big Data analytics. She has provided consultation to many healthcare institutions awarded for exemplary nursing care. Dr. Shiao has also mentored and sponsored students to develop productive research careers to improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations. These mentoring successes include the NIH National Research Service Awards for predoctoral research, and nationally-recognized, award-winning clinical translational studies. Her work has made a great impact in research communities and is cited well by colleagues across disciplines.

Further, Dr. Shiao is leading teams conducting meta-prediction on human genome health and epigenetic risks integrating big data analytics with multi-disciplinary international collaborations to advance global world-class population health.

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. NeSmith

Elizabeth (Beth) G. NeSmith, PhD, ACNP-BC
Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing
College of Nursing and College of Graduate Studies

Dr. NeSmith's research program focuses on clinical and translational work which aims to uncover and eliminate health disparities in acute outcomes of life-threatening injury. This work was inspired by Dr. NeSmith's clinical experience with vulnerable populations in emergency, trauma, and critical care settings. Among Dr. NeSmith's publications is research which shows only 2% of injury investigations have focused on this important issue. Dr. NeSmith's work is based on the theoretical relationships proposed in the Psychoneuroimmunology and Vulnerable Populations Conceptual Frameworks. Utilizing translational research models in collaboration with a multidisciplinary research team, Dr. NeSmith's work has been funded by the National Institute for Drug Abuse and National Institute for Nursing Research. It focuses on the effects of lifetime chronic stress on inflammatory function, and how these effects impact vulnerability to sepsis and multiple organ failure. More recently, Dr. NeSmith’s work is focused on the role epigenetics plays in inflammatory processes in injury, illness, and disease.

Her research trajectory includes investigations that will add to increasing evidence supporting her theory that chronic stress creates sub-clinical physiologic changes which, when impacted by multiple life-threatening injuries, predispose clients to differences in vulnerability and response to treatment for sepsis and multiple organ failure. Her research objectives are to contribute to the development of advances in tailoring individual treatments to prevent illness and poor outcomes related to inflammatory processes and the epigenetic changes which may influence these outcomes.

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Johns

Robin Johns, PhD, RN
Associate Professor, Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing
Affiliate Faculty, Section of Experimental Medicine
College of Nursing and College of Graduate Studies

Dr. Johns' current research focuses on epigenetics and the development of cardiovascular disease.  Using big data analytics, she is presently studying the relationship between NOS3 polymorphisms and CVD risk in populations worldwide.

 Her other research interests include mechanisms of acute stress and its influence on clinically relevant cardiovascular diseases;  including the mechanistic pathways by which acute behavioral stress-induced increases in the vascular peptide endothelin (ET-1) result in the release of reactive oxygen species and lead to enhanced pressor response and an increase in pro-inflammatory mediators.  In addition to her basic science background, Dr. Johns is an experienced clinical researcher whose work also includes interventional studies designed to decrease the effect of acute stress on physiological markers in patients hospitalized with acute cardiac events. 

Her future research goals include translating her current epigenetic findings to human populations through interventional studies using nutritional strategies designed to modulate methylation-associated inflammatory pathways to decrease cardiovascular risk.
In addition to her basic science research, Dr. Johns is an experienced clinical researcher whose next goal is to translate her findings to the patient care setting

Curriculum Vitae


Young

Lufei Young, PhD, RN, APRN-NP
Associate Professor, Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing
College of Nursing

Dr. Young’s primary research interest focuses on identifying and developing effective and personalized self-management strategies to promote cardiovascular health and reduce risk factors in populations living with multiple chronic and complex conditions.

Her secondary research interest is to develop a team-based system and data sharing network in a rural healthcare setting to support self-management of populations with chronic conditions. Dr. Young has extensive training and expertise at the following research methodologies: cost-effective analysis, meta-analysis, systematic review and structure equation modeling.

Her future research goal is to develop program research in discovering interactions between genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors, leading to the implementation of effective self-management strategies to promote cardiovascular health and healthy aging. The long-term research goal is to assist the development of Center for Nursing Epigenetics and Healthy Living.

Curriculum Vitae

 


 Haiyan

Haiyan Xiao, PhD, BSN
Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Nursing Research 
College of Nursing

Dr. Xiao’s primary research focus is based on developing novel and effective vaccines to prevent or treat cancers.  Her doctoral dissertation topic was, “Preventive and Therapeutic Roles of Lentiviral Vector Prime and Vaccinia Virus Boost in Mouse Melanoma.”  Her dissertation research was published in several well-received articles in the Journal of Immunology. Dr. Xiao’s postdoctoral research is focused on examining how circulating leukocytes interact with the vascular endothelium during chronic inflammatory conditions such as cancer and sickle cell disease.

 Dr. Xiao’s research goals are to study epigenetic changes in the immune system that may contribute to chronic conditions including obesity, diabetes, and cancer.  By identifying changes, she hopes to develop new insights into the immunological impact of these chronic conditions.  Ultimately, she hopes her research leads to the development of methods for preventing immunological complications associated with chronic conditions.

Curriculum Vitae

Biobehavioral Nursing (Other Research)


Dr. Marion

Lucy Marion, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP
Kellett Endowed Chair in Nursing
Dean and Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing
College of Nursing and College of Graduate Studies

Dr. Marion's research focuses on clinical and community health behavior change interventions, with emphasis on reducing health disparities. Much of her National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research is designed to understand and prevent sexually transmitted infections (STI) among high-risk women and teens.

Dr. Marion helped develop best practices for managing diabetes in persons with major mental illness and currently is a Co-Investigator on an NIH-funded project testing a clinical preventive diabetes program translated for an African American faith-based delivery model. Other projects include healthcare access and utilization of emergency departments and faith-based community clinics through the Greater Augusta Healthcare Network (GAHN). From 2005-2009 she served on the US Preventive Services Task force which develops screening, behavioral change counseling, and chemo-prevention recommendations for primary care clinicians. From 2010-2012, she was on the Healthcare Effectiveness Stakeholder Group for the Agency on Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Dr. Marion mentors doctoral students and novice faculty on developing collaborative programs of research.

Curriculum Vitae


 Dr. Pawl Jean Pawl, PhD, RN, OCN, CNE
Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing
Interim Program Director, Primary Care DNP/NP
College of Nursing and College of Graduate Studies

The effects of sleep loss on caregiver health in caregivers of individuals with primary malignant brain tumors (PMBTs) was the focus of Dr. Pawl’s doctoral work in which she conducted a secondary data analysis using objective and subjective measures (actigraphy, biomarkers, questionnaires). Dr. Pawl is conducting another secondary data analysis to explore her initial findings longitudinally with data that spans two + years. Other areas of research include meta-analysis work in gastric cancer and the MTHFR gene.

Curriculum Vitae


 

Dr. Hillism

Stephen Gilliam, PhD, FNP-BC, RN
Interim Assistant Dean, Athens Campus
Assistant Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing
College of Nursing

Dr. Gilliam’s research focus is on influences of physical activity and nutrition on metabolism in acute and chronic disease.

Dr. Gilliam believes defining human systems in a broad sense reveals the chaotic nature of these systems and leads to an understanding that nursing must look at the whole picture.   Consequently, he has used a variety of methods in his research interests, from simple survey methods when assessing nutrition knowledge in nurses to time series analysis and meta-analysis techniques when considering patterns of psychosocial issues in adolescent pregnancy.

Dr. Gilliam is most interested in primary care settings and translating and applying research findings to optimize patient care.  Accordingly, he has an interest in practical statistical tests, inference procedures, and research methods that summarize the state of knowledge on a given issue or topic.

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Williams

Lovoria Williams, PhD, APRN-BC, FAANP
Associate Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing
College of Nursing and College of Graduate Studies

Dr. Williams' research focus is health disparities.  She utilizes community-based participatory research methods to implement behavioral interventions that aim to reduce the burden of diabetes and cancer among minority and medically underserved populations.  She has conducted most of her work in faith-based settings.

Her secondary interest is the examination of the predictors of incident diabetes among African Americans.   She is currently Principal Investigator on a Bristol -Myers Squibb Foundation grant aimed to increase lung cancer screening and tobacco cessation among high-risk individuals. 

Her future research will test an adaptive intervention to increase weight loss among African-American non-responders.

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Cromer

Pamela R. Cromer, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
Associate Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing
College of Nursing

Dr. Cromer’s research interests include cardiometabolic risks of Hispanic farmworkers and outcomes of substance abuse training on advanced practice nursing students. With over twenty years as an APRN healthcare provider, interprofessional training is an area Dr. Cromer emphasizes in her faculty practice and work. Dr. Cromer is Project Director for the College of Nursing’s Costa Layman Health Fair & Community Outreach Programs. She is a Co-investigator of the “Cardio-metabolic Risks of Hispanic Farmworkers in Southeastern USA” (CHARM) Study, funded by the Georgia Institute of Public and Preventive Health. This on-going longitudinal study is the first to study health behaviors and regional/local influences among the local Hispanic farm-workers and evaluate the potential for development of guidelines for individualized interventional strategies. Her collaborations and presentations include regional, national and international presentations and publications. Recognized for her outstanding work with the Costa layman Community Outreach Project(s), she received the prestigious 2016 AANP Nurse Practitioner State Award for Georgia.

Dr. Cromer is a sub-investigator on the Georgia Regents University Interprofessional Substance Abuse Training for the Health Professions (SRISAT), a federally funded training grant to improve substance abuse screenings and interventions in primary care settings. In addition, she was a co-investigator for an African American Chronic Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis study at the University of South Carolina.

Her future research interests include clinical applications of proactive participation in Hispanic outreach services and the effects of substance abuse and brief intervention training for APRN students.

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Allen

Kimberly Allen, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing
College of Nursing

Dr. Allen’s primary research interest focuses on identifying early predictors of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in infants with complex congenital heart defects during the first months of life. This is critical because 25% of infants with complex congenital heart defects who develop NEC die. Her predoctoral work at Duke University focused on infants with complex healthcare needs, and findings from her dissertation research led to her continued interest in the topic.

Dr. Allen’s other area of research focuses on why mothers of preterm infants develop indicators of poor cardiac function within 7-10 years of giving birth. Her focus is specifically on early interactions of physiologic variables (e.g., sleep patterns, heart rate variability, blood pressure patterns) between the mother and her preterm infant. Dr. Allen has extensive training in sleep, as she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Washington on this topic.

One of Dr. Allen’s future research goals is to determine the early predictors of NEC in infants with complex congenital heart defects to allow for early intervention. Additionally, she would like to determine the precise timing for when mothers of preterm infants begin to have cardiac deterioration. Dr. Allen’s goal is to develop interventions to prevent the known poor cardiac indicators that occur in the 7-10 years after birth of the premature infant.

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Davis

Mary Lou LaComb Davis, PhD, APRN, CPNP-PC, PMHS-PC
Coordinator, Pediatric Nurse Practioner Program
Director Healthy Grandparents Program
Assistant Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing
College of Nursing


Dr. Davis’ primary interest is in engaging and promoting research that advances maternal-child health care practice and outcomes. She currently is Director of the Healthy Grandparents Program. Funded by state grants and an American Academy of Nursing Edge Runner award, the program is designed to support grandparents who are raising their grandchildren in parent-absent homes. The program has helped over 500 grandparents and 800 children with services that include support groups, nurse home visits, health and wellness promotion, summer and holiday events, child custody and adoption assistance, and referrals.

Dr. Davis serves as the primary care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) program track coordinator within the College of Nursing and The Graduate School. She provides education and advisement to PNP graduate and doctorate of nursing practice students. Dr. Davis fosters a student-centered environment that is built upon the foundation of collaborative relationships with students, staff, faculty, health professionals, and members of the community.

Additionally, Dr. Davis is engaged in promoting advanced practice nursing specifically within the PNP program. She is focused on communicating with consumers of care and health care professionals about how PNPs provide expert quality care for the unique health care needs of children and adolescents.

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Inglett Sandra Burton Inglett, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing
College of Nursing

Dr. Inglett's primary research interests include community health and women's health care. She has over 30 years of maternal/child nursing experience with special emphasis on neonatal nursing. Dr. Inglett is the Project Director for Enterprise Community Healthy Start (ECHS) one of 100 Healthy Start projects across the country. ECHS is a HRSA funded grant that case manages, through home visitation, primarily low-income pregnant women and their children up to 2 years of age.  

Dr. Inglett's secondary research interest is in tobacco cessation. Her dissertation research involved paring Clinical Nurse Leader students with tobacco dependent mothers. She has served as Sub-Investigator on several NIH-funded tobacco cessation studies such as A Pharmacogenetic Smoking Cessation Study and The Impact of Tobacco Control Interventions in African American Families. Dr. Inglett has also been a Sub-Investigator on the NIH-funded study, Fit Body, and Soul: A Lifestyle Intervention for Diabetes Prevention Conducted through African American Churches.

Dr. Inglett's future work will continue with the HRSA-funded Enterprise Healthy Start Program in Georgia and include the topics of increasing breastfeeding among ECHS clients and reducing gestational weight gain among ECHS clients.

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. McKinnon

Caroline McKinnon, PhD, PMH/CNS-BC
Assistant Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing
College of Nursing

Dr. McKinnon’s research interests include parental participation in child mental health services and outcomes of substance abuse training on advanced practice nursing students. Her research interests come from many years of practice within child mental health settings.
Her dissertation research used a quantitative content analysis methodology and focused how mothers of children with serious mental health conditions discussed their role in their child’s care during an electronic support group conversation.

Dr. McKinnon is a sub-investigator on the Georgia Regents University Interprofessional Substance Abuse Training for the Health Professions (GRISAT), a federally-funded training grant to improve substance abuse screening and interventions in primary care settings. Dr. McKinnon has also collaborated with Dr. Jane Garvin on presentations related to prevalence rates and outcome effects associated with mental health diagnosis among veterans enrolled in weight management programs.

Future research interests include theoretical and clinical applications of proactive participation in child mental health services.

Curriculum Vitae

 

Marlene Marlene Call, PhD(c), MPH, RN, BSN
Clinical Liaison for Prelicensure Programs - CONAT
Instructor, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing
College of Nursing

Ms. Marlene Call is interested in nursing education and clinical judgment assessment and cultivation. She is interested in alternative methodologies to assess and develop student levels of clinical judgment during a nursing program despite nursing faculty shortages, growing class sizes, and other educational obstacles. Ms. Call’s larger interest is to make positive changes in nursing education that can impact patient care and outcomes after nurses graduate.

Ms. Call has collaborated on various types of research. She has published on topics related to the diagnosis of mononucleosis, oseltamivir effectiveness in adults, and clinical practice questions of veterinarians. She also has worked with the CDC to track emerging rabies threats over the previous 20 years. In addition, she was invited to speak by GRACE Coalition to present her ideas related to concerns surrounding the health of children who were impacted by the Graniteville Chlorine spill. Furthermore, she has collaborated on a meta-analysis of online education.

Ms. Call’s dissertation research involves working with nursing students and assessment strategies to identify an alternative method to high-fidelity mannequin simulations that can be used with a validated nursing clinical judgment tool. Results from this research provide insight on how these two environments compare with regard to providing opportunities for students’ clinical judgment behaviors to be measured.

In the future, expanding upon her dissertation work, Ms. Call would like to further test assessment methods for clinical judgment and work with the national board of nursing to establish a clinical judgment benchmark that could be used with students prior to graduation.

Curriculum Vitae

Physiological and Technological Nursing (Other Research)


Dr. Anderson

Lori Anderson, PhD, RN
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Associate Professor, Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing
College of Nursing and College of Graduate Studies

As Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Anderson shapes the education of nursing and other health professions by designing and evaluating environments, methods, and materials for learning. Because learners vary considerably in their learning styles, Dr. Anderson guides and designs options for faculty to use in tailoring teaching strategies to accommodate individuals needs. In the regional, national, and international arenas,  Dr. Anderson is best known for the development and evaluation of human patient simulation as a 21st-century teaching approach that promises markedly to enhance the academic and professional success of students and health professionals in the health sciences. Currently, Dr. Anderson’s interest are based on examining quality in higher education and specifically nursing education.

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Chernecky

Cynthia Chernecky, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN
Professor, Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing
College of Nursing and College of Graduate Studies

Dr. Chernecky's areas of research focus on physiological and psychological factors associated with lung cancer, outcomes and education associated with venous access devices in cancer patients and caregivers, and best educational formats for student learning through book publication.

In lung cancer, her research focuses on respiratory factors as part of the symptom experience with specific emphasis on coughing, wheezing, dyspnea and allergies or hypersensitivities.
Dr. Chernecky is part of a national multi-site nursing research team, supported by internal and external funding; that is investigating the experience of patients who have non-small cell lung cancer. The long-range goal of her collaboration is to develop effective strategies to promote quality of life and effectively control respiratory symptoms.

Her area of research associated with venous access devices has been supported by NIH, NINR funding and includes health care disparities research in cancer patients and caregivers.
Her nursing research on educational formats includes the development of a clinical format for ease of use regarding information on laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures. A new pedagogy to enhance clinical care plans called the ABCDE pedagogy, and a new model for nursing research called Healthcare And Technology Synergy (HATS) model, which was co-invented by Dr. Chernecky.

These areas of research are complemented by her clinical expertise and as the founder of critical care oncology. Dr. Chernecky has published 30 textbooks, 4 winning prestigious awards, and has influenced with her writings about 1:8 registered nurses in North America and thousands internationally.

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Garvin

Jane Garvin, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC
Assistant Professor, Department of Physiological & Technical Nursing
College of Nursing

Dr. Garvin's research focuses on the measures of obesity, obesity as a chronic disorder, transfer of obesity from one generation to the next, and interventions for: weight reduction, limiting gestational weight gain, preventing diabetes and other obesity-related diseases, and improving the quality of life.

Her specific interest is in identifying who benefits from a given intervention so that treatments can be tailored to the unique characteristics of the individual. Her research includes cross-sectional studies among both the hospitalized and community-dwelling as well as longitudinal studies, studies using secondary data, and prospective randomized controlled trials. Her interests span the life cycle and all populations.

Her future research plans include investigating genetic, genomic, and epigenetic influences on obesity and the transfer of obesity from one generation to the next.

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Marin

Terri Marin, PhD, NNP-BC, FAANP
Assistant Professor, Department of Physiological & Technical Nursing
College of Nursing

Dr. Marin’s primary program of research focuses on developing diagnostic strategies to identify risk factors for ischemic disease in premature infants using near infrared spectroscopy technology. In collaboration with a multidisciplinary research team, Dr. Marin’s work has led to practice change in neonatology associated with packed red blood cell administration to very low birthweight infants.  Her exploratory research has identified elements related to mesenteric hypoperfusion during blood transfusions that potentially increase the risk for necrotizing enterocolitis development, a disease associated with significant mortality of prematurity. In 2015, Dr. Marin was named a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners for her internationally recognized research in this area.

Dr. Marin’s future research trajectory is focused on further exploration of risk factors associated with the development of mesenteric, cerebral and renal ischemia in preterm infants.  Specifically, she will investigate the role of epigenetics and inflammatory processes that may increase susceptibility to vascular and perfusion compromise in this vulnerable population.  Utilizing near-infrared spectroscopy technology, Dr. Marin aims to increase understanding of physiologic mechanisms that lead to tissue ischemia, and to develop intervention strategies to improve prediction and prevention of associated diseases. 


Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Pawl Amber McCall, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, RN
Assistant Professor, Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing
College of Nursing

Dr. McCall’s current research focuses on mental health and epigenetics. She is presently studying the relationship between MTHFR polymorphisms and mental health (specifically depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia) in populations across the globe.

Her other research interests include innovations in nursing education, health decision-making, community-based participatory research, and lifestyle risk reduction interventions.

Her future research goals include analyzing how nutritional interventions designed to modulate methylation-associated inflammatory pathways may decrease negative health outcomes.

Curriculum Vitae


Gazaway

Shena Gazaway, PhD(c), MSN, RN
Assistant BSN Program Director-CONAT
RN-BSN Track Coordinator
Instructor, Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing
College of Nursing 

Ms. Shena Gazaway’s research interests involve nurses’ education and professional socialization upon entry to professional practice. She is interested in mentoring as an option to improve the socialization experience for newly licensed registered nurses during their vital first months of practice. Her current research focuses on the effects of mentoring relationships on the professional socialization of Clinical Nurse Leader graduates in their first 6-9 months of professional nursing practice. This research fits within Ms. Gazaway’s larger interest of advocating for organizational changes through educational partnerships that focus on new graduate transition and strategies to decrease new graduates’ anxiety and frustration.

Ms. Gazaway also has collaborated on research involving rural healthcare, integrating culturally congruent care principles into nursing practice, and simulation education efficacy. Also of interest to Ms. Gazaway is how to integrate professional organization involvement into undergraduate curriculum to impact future professional growth and career development. Her future research goals include understanding how dealing with a personal healthcare crisis impacts the care that nurses provide for their patients.

Curriculum Vitae