Missouri Foundation for Veterans’ Medical Research


Shawn Bender, PhD.

Area of Research: Diabetes and Insulin Resistance

Studies mechanisms of Mineralocorticoid receptor-mediated Vascular Insulin resistance with his co-Investigators James R. Sowers, M.D.; Adam Whaley-Connell, D.O.; and Lakshmi Pulakat, PhD.

Kunal Chaudhary, MD, FACP, FASN, FASH

Area of Research: Nephrology, Diabetes

Investigator, Clinical Trials; Chief Medical Officer, Specialty Care, Nephrology Division, Truman VA; Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of Missouri

Susan Deutscher, PhD

Area of Research: Cancer

Investigates the role of carbohydrate and protein-protein interactions in cancer. Uses radiolabeled peptides as selective cancer imaging and therapeutic agents.

Thomas Dresser, MD, PhD

Area of Research: Cardiology

Studies correlations between myocardial perfusion imaging and cardiac catheterization studies and how clinical care is affected.

Vamsi Guntur, MD, MSc

Area of Research: Pulmonary Medicine

Investigates novel approaches to early detection of lung cancer and other airway diseases.


Jamal Ibdah, MD, PhD

Area of Research : Hepatic Disease

Investigates the mechanisms involved in regulating fatty liver disease and the metabolic syndrome. Also studies how lifestyle modifications, such as diet and exercise, can affect these disease entities.

Radwan F. Khozouz, M.D.

Area of Research: Hematology & Medical Oncology 

Principal Investigator, Oncology Clinical Trials

John Lever, PhD

Area of Research : Cancer and Substance Abuse

Studies the use of radiotracers for application in cancer and substance abuse. This includes the use of radiotracers for use in non-invasive imaging of cancer and the development of substance abuse treatment therapy.

Michael Lewis, PhD

Area of Research : Cancer

Investigates the development and use of radio-pharmaceuticals for diagnostic imaging and targeted radiotherapy in cancer.

Lixin Ma, PhD

Area of Research : Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease

Uses magnetic resonance imaging and NMR spectroscopy techniques for applications in cancer diagnosis and therapeutics and cardiovascular imaging.

Matthew P. Martens, Ph.D.

Area of Research: Psychology/Substance Abuse

Principal Investigator on grant, “Personalized Drinking Feedback Interventions for OEF/OIF Veterans”.

Rajiv Mohan, PhD

Area of Research: Ophthalmology

Developing targeted gene therapy and nanomedicine approaches for treating fibrosis and angiogenesis in the cornea and peritoneum, and studies molecular mechanisms regulating wound healing and corneal disorders.


J. Steven Morris, PhD

Area of Research : Nutritional Epidemiology

Investigates the influence of trace-element nutrients on the incidence, progression, morbidity, and mortality of chronic diseases.

Lakshmi Pulakat, PhD

Area of Research : Diabetes and Insulin Resistance

The goal of her research is to identify common molecular regulators of insulin resistance to provide better markers for early diagnosis and drug therapies.

Thomas Quinn, PhD

Area of Research : Melanoma

Investigates the development of radiolabeled peptides and proteins as tumor-specific diagnostic and therapeutic agents.

Jason Rodier, MD

Area of Research: Ophthalmology

Studies gene therapy for Fuchs Dystrophy using AAV5 and Gold Nanoparticles with his mentor, Dr. Rajiv Mohan.

Cheryl Shigaki, PhD

Area of Research : Rheumatoid Arthritis

Investigates the use of online self-help strategies for adults with rheumatoid arthritis.

C. Jeffrey Smith, PhD

Area of Research : Cancer

Investigates the use of molecular imaging and peptide receptor targeted radionuclide therapy in cancer.

James Sowers, MD

Area of Research : Hypertension, Diabetes, and Insulin Resistance

Investigates the mechanisms of angiotensin II and aldosterone inhibition on the insulin metabolic signaling pathways that regulate cardiovascular function and glucose metabolism.

John Thyfault, PhD

Area of Research: Insulin Resistance

Investigates why insulin resistance occurs in muscles and blood vessels and how exercise may influence these processes.

Mahesh M. Thakkar, PhD

Area of Research: Neuronal mechanisms responsible for sleep-wakefulness & effects of sleep loss on behavioral & mental functions.

Investigates brain mechanisms, insomnia & associated sleep disturbances in PTSD; whether PTSD sleep disturbances cause of increased risk of developing alcoholism.

Adam Whaley-Connell, DO, MSPH

Area of Research : Hypertension, Diabetes, and Renal Disease

Investigates hormone systems that contribute to renal injury in diabetes.  Associate Chief of Staff for Research

2011 Truman VA R&D Highlights

A complete listing of Truman VA Investigators and their publications can be found here 2011 RD Highlights and downloaded.