Cooper Medical School of Rowan Univerisity
  Facebook Twitter Contact

Department of Biomedical Sciences

Welcome to the Department of Biomedical Sciences of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University

The Department of Biomedical Sciences is composed faculty members from diverse biomedical and biological disciplines, ranging from anatomy, biochemistry to genetics, histology, immunology, molecular and cell biology, neurobiology, pathology, pharmacology and physiology. Our mission is to serve our students and broader community through excellence and innovation in education by lecturing, engaging in small-group and active learning activities, mentoring, laboratory training and participating in outreach events. In addition, we are dedicated to basic and translational biomedical research, and to research in the field of medical education.

Kathryn Behling, PhD, MD
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio
Andrea Bottaro, PhD
Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio

Russell J. Buono, PhD
Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio
Michael DiSanto, PhD
Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio
Thomas N. Ferraro, PhD
Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio
Bradford D. Fischer, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio
Mindy George-Weinstein, PhD
Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio
Evan Goldman, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio
William Kocher, MD
Chair of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio
Osvaldo Lopez, PhD
Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio
Hector Lopez, MD
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio
Gisselle M. Mayock, MS
Administrator
Read Full Bio
Cheryl Melovitz-Vasan, PT, DPT, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio
Michael O'Leary, PhD
Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio
Karen Opar
Administrative Staff
Sangita Phadtare, PhD
Associate Professor, Biomedical Sciences
Lauren Sysol, MS
Gross Anatomy Technician

Nagaswami Vasan, DVM, MVSc, PhD
Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio
Charlene J. Williams, PhD
Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Read Full Bio

 

Additional Biomedical Sciences Faculty

 

Cooper Health System

Barry Barnoski, PhD    
Thomas Tulenko, PhD    

Coriell Institute for Medical Research

Dorit Berlin, PhD Joseph Jarvis, PhD Matthew Self, MS
Michael Christman, PhD Courtney Kronenthal, PhD Chi Tarn, PhD
Norman Gerry, PhD Steven Madore, PhD  
Neda Gharani, PhD Tara Schmidlen, MS  

University of the Sciences in Philadelphia

Anthony Acquavella, MD Benjamin Ereshefsky, PharmD Anisha Grover, PharmD
Jessica Adams, PharmD Jane Frumin, PharmD Cathy Poon, PharmD
Angela Bingham, PharmD Gladys Garcia Duenas, PharmD Sanchita Sen, PharmD
Laura Bio, PharmD    
     

 

 

Kathryn Behling, PhD, MD

Kathryn Behling, MD, PhD, has joined CMSRU's full time faculty as Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences. She will educate medical students on topics related to pathology, histology, genetics, and neuroscience.

Dr. Behling earned her doctorate in Neuroscience as well as her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania where she was also awarded the Emily and Francis Bothelho prize for excellence in the basic sciences and was a participant in graduate studies through funding from an NIH Vision training grant. After graduation, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Center for Childhood Communication at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She then completed a residency in anatomic and clinical pathology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital followed by a fellowship in Molecular Genetic Pathology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and a fellowship in Surgical Pathology at Pennsylvania Hospital.

Dr. Behling is an active member in the Department of Pathology at Cooper University Hospital with involvement in the autopsy service as well laboratory administrative activities. Her research interests are in the areas of translational studies related to novel biomarker discovery. Dr. Behling is a member of the Association for Molecular Pathology.

Andrea Bottaro, PhD

Andrea Bottaro, PhD, has joined the CMSRU faculty as Professor of Biomedical Sciences. He was previously on the faculty of the Department of Medicine of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Dr. Bottaro earned his PhD in Human Genetics from the University of Torino in Italy, after which he carried out postdoctoral fellowships at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York and at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Dr. Bottaro is an immunologist, and his teaching at CMSRU will focus on immunology and microbiology. His primary research interests are on the function of antibody-producing B lymphocytes in normal immune responses and autoimmunity, in both human patients and animal models of disease. He has published extensively in these fields, is a member of the American Association of Immunologists, and a standing member of the NIH Cellular and Molecular Immunology B Study Section.

Research Page

Russell J. Buono, PhD

Russell J. Buono, PhD, a renowned science educator and researcher in molecular biology and genetics of the human brain and disease states with a focus on epilepsy, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, has joined CMSRU's basic science faculty as Professor of Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Buono earned his doctorate degree in Cell and Developmental Biology from Temple University in 1990. He completed postdoctoral fellowships at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, MD and Whitney Marine Laboratory at the University of Florida, St. Augustine, FL.

A popular educator of graduate and post-graduate students in the areas of neuro-anatomy and neuroscience, Dr. Buono was a faculty member at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital; University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He was the recipient of the 1st Annual "Science Educator of the Year" award by the Philadelphia Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience in 2004.

Prior to joining CMSRU, Dr. Buono served as Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the Coatesville VA Medical Center where he conducted research projects as a scientist and was the lead administrator (service chief) of Research and Development, managing staff and providing oversight for all aspects of animal and human research on the campus. An accomplished researcher, Dr. Buono has authored or co-authored hundreds of peer reviewed articles, book chapters and presentations. His current research focuses on molecular genetics and cell biology of human neurological and psychiatric disorders, including oxygen regulated gene expression and the emerging field of pharmacogenetics.

Dr. Buono is known throughout the Philadelphia region for his unique public outreach initiative, "Dr. Brain Dude," a traveling collection of brain specimens, from mouse to man, that visits schools for education and awareness sessions on brain structure, function and disease. He is also co-founder of Brain Awareness Week (BAW) at The Franklin Institute Science Museum, a two-day, kid friendly neuroscience hands-on experience staffed by over 40 volunteers from the Philadelphia Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. The event attracts over 1500 children and adults every year.

Michael E. DiSanto, PhD

Michael E. DiSanto, PhD, was one of CMSRU's very first biomedical science faculty members. He was appointed Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Surgery and Director of Urology Research at CMSRU in 2010.He also serves as a co-director for CMRSU's Uro-Renal course and is heavily involved in instructing the Fundamentals course.

Dr. DiSanto has authored over 60 scientific articles in leading basic science and urology journals. He is Associate Editor for the Journal of Sexual Medicine and a standing member of the American Diabetes Association's Grant Review Panel and the NIH's Urologic and Genitourinary Physiology and Pathology Study Section. He is also Chair of the Basic Science Committee of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America.

Much of Dr. DiSanto's current research has focused on the cell and molecular basis for smooth muscle function in the lower urogenital system. He has devoted the majority of his time to understanding the regulation of penile erection and bladder function and dysfunction through NIH-funded R01s and program project grants. Most recently, he has developed a strong interest in sphingolipid signaling and its effect on urogenital smooth muscle including the vagina.

Dr. DiSanto received his PhD from Drexel University and held postdoctoral positions at Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, followed by the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn he was a funded NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Research Fellow and an American Foundation for Urologic Disease (AFUD)/NIH Research Scholar. He served on Penn's faculty until 2004, then served as Director of Urology Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY prior to joining CMSRU in 2010.

Thomas N. Ferraro, PhD

Dr. Thomas N. Ferraro is a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at CMSRU and is engaged actively in many facets of the school’s educational, research and service missions. Dr. Ferraro earned his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia (1985) and joined the Jefferson faculty as Instructor (1986). Following promotion to Assistant Professor (1990) and Associate Professor (1995), Dr. Ferraro moved his laboratory to the University of Pennsylvania (1997) where he became a member of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior in the Department of Psychiatry. He also assumed the role of Assistant Dean for Animal Research at the University of Pennsylvania (2009). Dr. Ferraro joined CMSRU in May 2013.

Dr. Ferraro is recognized internationally as an expert in pharmacology, neuroscience and genetics. His teaching resume includes many years as lecturer, laboratory instructor and small-group leader for medical students, graduate students and medical residents, both at Jefferson Medical School and the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania. With respect to research, Dr. Ferraro’s laboratory has been funded continually by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1994 with grant awards totaling over $10 million for projects that focus on neurological and psychiatric illnesses. Dr. Ferraro has published over 100 peer-reviewed scientific research papers. His research approach is translational in that human studies and studies of animal models cross-fertilize each other to generate experimental synergism and enhance clinical relevance. Current projects involve genetic mouse models of epilepsy, opioid addiction and neurodevelopmental disorders such as Rett Syndrome. Also, as part of a collaborative research team that includes investigators from the University of Pennsylvania and other institutions, two NIH grants were awarded to Dr. Ferraro in 2013, one to study somatic DNA alterations in the brain of individuals with schizophrenia and another to study similar genetic alterations in individuals with cocaine addiction.

In addition to research and teaching, Dr. Ferraro is engaged in many forms of service to the local and academic communities. Some of these activities include serving as the chairperson of an NIH advisory panel on Research Training and Career Development (since 2008) and serving as a research consultant to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Coatesville PA (since 1990). Dr. Ferraro is also a past-president and current member of the council of the Philadelphia Area Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience which sponsors a number of educational outreach programs. Additional community service takes the form of career day lectures to students in elementary and high schools as well as presentations on the importance of animal research in the 21st Century biomedical enterprise.

Bradford D. Fischer, PhD

Bradford D. Fischer, PhD, has joined CMSRU's full time faculty as Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences. He will educate medical students on topics related to neuroscience, neuropharmacology and substance abuse.

Dr. Fischer earned his doctorate in Behavioral Neuroscience and Neurobiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Psychiatry Department of Harvard Medical School where he also served as co-chair of the Governing Board of the school's Postdoctoral Association.

Dr. Fischer's research interests are in the areas of neuropharmacology and behavioral pharmacology. He has received multiple awards for his research, including the" Roger T. Kelleher Award for Excellence in Neuroscience and Behavior" from Harvard Medical School and the "Young Investigator Award" from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

Dr. Fischer is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the Behavioral Pharmacology Society, and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. At CMSRU, he will also function as a member of the CMSRU Admissions Committee.

Mindy George-Weinstein, PhD

Mindy George-Weinstein earned her doctoral degree in Developmental Biology from Thomas Jefferson University in 1984. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, she joined the faculty of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine where she taught histology, cell biology and neuroanatomy. She received multiple teaching and service awards, including the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Dr. George-Weinstein also served on NIH peer review panels, editorial boards and academic committees.

Dr. George-Weinstein has been actively engaged in NIH sponsored research throughout her career. For many years, her laboratory focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating morphogenesis and differentiation in the embryo. The lab discovered the “Myo/Nog” cell whose activities are critical for normal development. Following her transition to the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research in 2008 as a full professor and Director of Training Programs, she began to study Myo/Nog cells in normal and diseased tissues of adult, including humans. The George-Weinstein lab developed methods for identifying, isolating, implanting and specifically killing Myo/Nog cells in a variety of organs. Their findings have been featured in high quality, peer-reviewed journals. The inventions that were developed in the George-Weinstein lab served as the basis for two patents and one provisional patent that illustrate their therapeutic potential. The importance of her research is reflected in the numerous invitations she received to give presentations at academic institutions and conferences world-wide.

Dr. George-Weinstein joined the faculty as a full professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in July, 2013. She currently teaches histology and embryology, is an Active Learning Group facilitator, and serves on multiple academic and research related committees. She also continues to engage in community service activities. Her current research projects involve analyses of the roles of Myo/Nog cells in fibrotic diseases and cancer.

Evan Goldman, PhD

Evan Goldman, PhD, a science educator and researcher in physiology, has joined CMSRU's basic science faculty as Assistant Professor of Biomedical Science. He will teach the gross anatomy sections of CMSRU's organ-based modules to first and second year students, and will facilitate an active learning group.

Prior to joining CMSRU, Dr. Goldman was a member of the biomedical science faculty at Philadelphia University in East Falls, PA, where he was an educator of undergraduate, graduate and physician assistant students in the areas of Advanced Human Anatomy, Anatomy & Physiology, Biology, Integrative Design Process, and Bioethics.

Dr. Goldman's area of research is currently focused on evaluating the benefits and harms of wearing body armor and sports compression clothing in terms of thermal load, proprioceptive changes, cardiovascular changes, and impacts on range of motion, mobility and protection. In the past, he worked under a military grant developing a backpack able to harness energy from human motion and also help reduce the strain experienced by soldiers by dampening the peak forces to which soldiers are subject due to carrying heavy packs in the field. He most recently worked with a team on development of the next-generation military body armor. Following his interest in anatomical education research, he has developed animations and computer interfaces to aid student learning in gross anatomy.

Dr. Goldman earned his doctorate degree in Physiology from Temple University in Philadelphia in 1998. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship on integrative muscle physiology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2004.

Osvaldo Lopez, PhD

Osvaldo Jorge Lopez, PhD, joined CMSRU in February 2013 as Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences. An accomplished microbiologist, Dr. Lopez also brings significant experience with the small-group, team-based active learning model practiced at CMSRU.

Prior to joining CMSRU, Dr. Lopez was Associate Professor of Medicine at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, where he taught immunology, virology and pathophysiology courses. In 2012, he received the Excellence in Medical Education Award from Boonshoft School of Medicine.

Earlier in his teaching career, Dr. Lopez worked with veterinary, pre-med and nursing students at the University of Buenos Aires School of Veterinary Medicine and Northern Michigan University. He has authored and co-authored numerous book chapters, scientific publications, posters and presentations and is a peer reviewer for the Journal of Virology and other scientific journals. Dr. Lopez earned his degree at the School of Exact and Natural Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina.

At CMSRU, Dr. Lopez leads an Active Learning Group for first year students, and teaches Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. His research activities include looking at the immune response against Streptococcus pneumoniae and influenza vaccines in immuncompromised patients.

Hector Lopez, MD

Hector Lopez, MD, a renowned educator in morphological sciences, has joined CMSRU's basic science faculty. Dr. Lopez will educate medical students in clinical and sectional anatomy, human embryology and histology. He will also direct the anatomy laboratories in the Medical Education Building (MEB).

A United States Army and United States Navy Reserve veteran, Dr. Lopez earned his medical degree from Iberoamerican University School of Medicine in the Dominican Republic in 2001. His postdoctoral fellowship was performed at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Dr. Lopez joins CMSRU from Thomas Jefferson University, where he was an assistant professor of anatomy and cell biology in the Department of Pathology, and director of the Human Gross Dissection Laboratory. Dr. Lopez also held faculty appointments in Jefferson's Department of Physical Therapy and the Department of Radiological Sciences. During his tenure there, he received multiple awards for teaching excellence, including the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching, Dean's Award for Excellence in Education, and Best Teacher Award.

William Kocher, MD

William Kocher, MD, has been appointed Chair of Biomedical Sciences at CMSRU. A pathologist at Cooper University Hospital, Dr. Kocher has been involved in the diagnosis of surgical pathology cases and oversight of the operation of the Clinical Laboratory. He also serves as medical director of Cooper's blood bank and director of the autopsy service.

Dr. Kocher has been actively involved with the development of CMSRU since the medical school was announced two years ago. He serves on the Curriculum Committee and will be director of the Fundamentals course for first-year medical students.

"Dr. Kocher is a master educator who has earned numerous accolades for his teaching, including special recognition by medical students at Thomas Jefferson University who commissioned a portrait in his honor," says Annete C. Reboli, MD, Vice Dean of CMSRU. "His teaching and leadership experience will be a tremendous benefit as we develop our Biomedical Sciences program at CMSRU."

Dr. Kocher earned his medical degree at Jefferson Medical College and completed his Pathology residency training at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He is certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, and Hematopathology.

Gisselle Mayock, MS

Gisselle Mayock, MS, joined the Department of Biomedical Sciences in April 2012. She is a 15 year veteran of providing education based services most of which have been in large academic medicine settings. Gisselle holds a Masters of Health Administration from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and an undergraduate degree in Health Care Administration from Oregon State University.

Gisselle is an excellent resource for student physicians as they navigate the medical school curriculum and is especially gifted in working with 1st and 2nd year students. Gisselle has received numerous awards and acknowledgements over her career from students and faculty for her dedication to providing excellence in curriculum management and a positive learning environment.

Gisselle serves on several committees for the medical school, is involved in the Camden Community through sponsoring young people in private education and is a member of the CMSRU Legacy Society.

Cheryl Melovitz-Vasan, PT, DPT, PhD

Dr. Melovitz-Vasan earned both her Doctorate of Physical Therapy and her PhD in Health Sciences from UMDNJ - School of Health Related Professions. As an instructor at UMDNJ- New Jersey Medical School, Dr. Melovitz-Vasan authored and co-authored numerous publications, abstracts and presentations related to anatomy, molecular biology and movement sciences. At CMSRU, she teaches gross anatomy to first and second year medical students, as well as physician assistant students from University of the Sciences in Philadelphia as part of CMSRU's interprofessional education program. Dr. Melovitz-Vasan also facilitates an Active Learning Group and is a member of the Biomedical Science Department Faculty Search Committee.

Michael O'Leary, PhD

Michael E. O'Leary, PhD, joined CMSRU in August of 2013 as Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences. He is actively engaged in many facets of the school's educational, research and service missions. He teaches the physiology related sections of CMSRU's M1 Fundamentals course which includes classroom lectures and laboratory instruction. He also serves as co-director for M2 cardiovascular/pulmonary course and contributes lectures on renal, skeletal muscle and neuronal physiology. Dr. O'Leary is a facilitator for an Active Learning Group where he guides M1 students through the basic science and clinical curriculum.

He earned his Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where he received the Distinguished Dissertation Award. After completing fellowships at the University of Maryland and University of Pennsylvania medical schools he joined the faculty at Thomas Jefferson University in the department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology where he worked for the past 20 years before joining CMSRU.

Dr. O'Leary's research focuses on the neurophysiology and molecular biology of sensory neurons, particularly those involved in the sensation of pain. The goal of these studies is to understand the role of injured sensory neurons in chronic and neuropathic pain. He has authored numerous articles on this topic and has been an invited lecturer at universities throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

Nagaswami Vasan, DVM, MVSc, PhD

Nagaswami Vasan D.V.M., M.V.Sc., Ph.D. a renowned researcher, medical educator and scholar joined the department of Biomedical Sciences at CMSRU. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Vasan was a tenured professor of Anatomy at New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Vasan is an accomplished researcher in developmental biology and studied the biochemical changes in extracellular proteoglycan and relevance to spina bifida.

Since 1996, he devoted his time conducting medical education research in pedagogy. He is a recognized leader in Team-Based Learning pedagogy published extensively and conducts several workshops and other presentations both nationally and internationally. Dr. Vasan is a master educator has received several honors and awards. In 2009, he received the prestigious Edward J. Ill ‘Excellence in Medicine Awards’ - “Outstanding Medical Educator Award” and recognized by The Senate and General Assembly of State of New Jersey ‘Resolution as the Outstanding Medical Educator’. Dr. Vasan is a Harvard Macy Scholar and also a faculty teaching in that Program.

Dr. Vasan earned all his degrees from Madras University, India before joining University of Pennsylvania as a research associate followed by 2 year appointment as junior faculty.

Charlene J. Williams, PhD

Charlene J. Williams, PhD, has joined the Department of Biomedical Sciences at CMSRU. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Williams was professor of Medicine and Biochemistry/Molecular Biology at Thomas Jefferson University. An educator of both medical and graduate students, she received the Dean's Award for Excellence in Education in 2010. Dr. Williams served on numerous committees of the Jefferson Medical College, and was an active member of the College of Graduate Studies, Master's in Biomedical Science program.

Dr. Williams' research interests are in the area of rheumatic diseases. She has authored over 70 scientific publications and has contributed 10 book chapters to various volumes devoted to rheumatic diseases. She has received numerous NIH and private research grants, and in 2005, was awarded the Stewart J. McCracken Award for Achievement in Rheumatology Research by the national Arthritis Foundation. An international leader in her field, Dr. Williams has served on numerous NIH grant review committees and has presented the results of her research at many professional and scientific meetings, including this year's annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology. Dr. Williams was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2010.

Dr. Williams received her PhD in Biochemistry from Rutgers University and served as a National Research Service Award post-doctoral fellow from 1983-1985. At CMSRU, she will utilize her teaching talents to educate medical students in Biochemistry. Dr. Williams will function as the CMSRU representative to the Rowan University Senate.