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The Office of the Vice Dean for Research serves to support clinical and basic research activities, works with departments and interdisciplinary programs to develop and implement research, facilitates translational research and promotes mentoring to advance the training of physicians/scientists.

The vice dean for research steers and supports faculty research efforts, influencing opportunities for discovery by our medical and biomedical graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, medical residents and medical fellows. Noreen Robertson, DMD, associate vice dean for research, and Richard Huneke, DVM, MPH, executive director of University Laboratory Animal Resources, serve complementary missions within the Office of the Vice Dean to foster pre-clinical and clinical research within the institution. We are committed to bridging the superb clinical expertise and world-class research and educational capabilities of the medical school to enhance our progressive, high-quality medical education, scientific research and patient care.

The purpose of these web pages is to serve as a focal point for research at Drexel University College of Medicine. We are dedicated to providing research support to investigators. The links to the left will provide you with information and resources. Note that Drexel University's Office of Research provides certain administrative services for the Drexel University College of Medicine research program.

Q&A: Kenny Simansky, PhD, Vice Dean for Research, Professor, Department of Pharmacology & Physiology

Featured Student Research

Andrew Matamoros, Molecular and Cell Biology and Genetics Program Alum

Andrew Matamoros
Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics Program Alum

"I first investigated traumatic brain injury (TBI) with Dr. Raghupathi, where I was studying neonatal TBI. Specifically, we were looking at the effects of progesterone treatment on neonates. Progesterone at the time was in phase III clinical trials for adult humans. That has recently ceased because it wasn't showing any benefit, unfortunately. Since there had been clinical trials for adults, we knew it would be likely that they'd give an adjusted dose to children." Read more about Andrew.

"My thesis work attempted to add labile microtubule mass to the regenerating axon by protecting the labile regions of the microtubules. This approach would mimic a state of axonal growth when labile microtubule mass is abundant. To accomplish this, I knocked-down a microtubule severing protein called fidgetin. You can think of fidgetin as gardening sheers that are used to prune plant growth; knocking-down fidgetin results in a notable boost in the microtubule mass of the axon via preservation of the labile mass from fidgetin’s severing activity. As a result, axons grow faster, even on unfavorable substrates associated with spinal cord injury (SCI) as well as in vivo following a nerve-crush injury." Read more about Andrew's research in The Hillock newsletter.

Kelly Whelan, Molecular and Cell Biology and Genetics Program Alum

Kelly Whelan
Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics Program Alum

"I looked at the role of hypoxia and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) in mammary oncogenesis and morphogenesis. Mauricio had noticed that in the mammary gland, when you have tumors, they express markers of hypoxia, or low oxygen levels. That makes sense because, as a tumor grows and grows, it outstrips the existing resources, so then you might not have enough blood there, which creates a hypoxic area. The question became: 'Is that hypoxia a byproduct of that uncontrolled growth, or is it actually promoting tumor formation?'" Read more about Kelly.

Meet Our Faculty

Jessica Ausborn, PhD

"What I like the most is working with concepts and ideas and discussing data. What we do here at Drexel is perfect for that. We work very closely with experimental biologists and we very often work closely with them while they're actually performing the experiments. We discuss with them what experiments to do and what types of simulations we would need, for example, to understand how the system works. So I get to do all of this planning, and I just don't have to do the experiments." Read more.

Dr. Jessica Ausborn - Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy

Veronica J. Tom, PhD

Dr. Tom is an associate professor at the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy and has been here for 14 years. She started her career in the department as a postdoctoral fellow in Houle lab. Dr. Tom now runs her own laboratory where she studies various aspects of axonal regeneration and plasticity after spinal cord injury. Although she initially aspired to become a Supreme Court Justice, it did not take her too long to fall in love with research. Read more.

Veronica J. Tom, PhD - Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy

Research News & Announcements

5 Presentations You’ll See at This Year’s Discovery Day

The platform presenters for Drexel University College of Medicine’s annual research day, called Discovery Day, discuss their research topics and tips for success. Read more.

Pictured from left to right: Noreen Robertson, DMD (Associate Vice Dean for Research); Dr. James Allison (2018 Nobel Laureate and 2019 Benjamin Franklin Medal winner); Dr. Brad Jameson (Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology); and Kenny Simansky, PhD (Vice Dean for Research; Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology)

Pictured from left to right: Noreen Robertson, DMD (Associate Vice Dean for Research); Dr. James Allison (2018 Nobel Laureate and 2019 Benjamin Franklin Medal winner); Dr. Brad Jameson (Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology); and Kenny Simansky, PhD (Vice Dean for Research; Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology)

New Beyond the Bedside Podcast

DrExcel Health is proud to present our first podcast episode for the semester with our esteemed guest, Dr. Esther Chernak. Dr. Chernak is the course Director for the Frontiers program at Drexel University College of Medicine, and is the Director of the MD/MPH program. Her work spans over 2 decades of involvement in the Philadelphia health system. The episode can be accessed at

HIV: What's Next - Six Drexel Scientists Share Their Work

Six Scientists Share Their Work - Where antiretroviral drugs are taken as prescribed, HIV/AIDS has passed from a crisis to a manageable chronic disease. Researchers are deeply engaged with the next set of questions: How can HIV patients have a better quality of life? What aging conditions or diseases might they be more susceptible to as a result of living with the virus? Are there better treatments that might involve fewer side effects, or that can be used if the existing ones are no longer effective? Can a vaccine be developed that will conquer this health threat once and for all? Read more. Alumni Magazine Spring/Summer 2019

Drexel Students and Faculty Meet Nobel Laureate

Drexel graduate and medical students met with 2018 Nobel Prize winner Dr. James Allison to discuss his work, following his seminar entitled "Immune Checkpoint Blockade in Cancer Therapy: New Insights, Opportunities and Prospects for Cures." Dr. Allison's lecture at Drexel University was held in conjunction with his receipt of the 2019 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Sciences. Dr. Allison received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for work on immune checkpoint blockade as a treatment for cancer. He is credited with devising an entirely new approach to cancer therapy and saving many lives.

Read more Research News & Announcements.

Kenny Simansky, PhD - Vice Dean for Research

Kenny J. Simansky, PhD
Vice Dean for Research; Professor of Pharmacology & Physiology

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Beyond the Bedside Podcast by DrExcel Health
Beyond the Bedside Podcast

Exploring the intersectionality between Medicine, Business, Technology and many more cross-disciplines, Beyond the Bedside focuses on capturing the nuances of ever-evolving patient care. Beyond the Bedside is a podcast series produced by DrExcel Health.
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