Bethel College Natural Sciences Alumni Storybook

Table of Contents
Lowell D. Ebersole
Brian Ewert
Bruce R. Buhr
Biomedical Research
Andrew Gale
Cheryl L. Stucky
Donald Miller
Kristi Neufeld

Daniel Unruh

                                       Lowell D. EbersoleLowell D. Ebersole


 “I graduated from Bethel in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts: Major in Chemistry, Minor in Math.  Bethel impacted my life in so many ways, many of which I am only now fully understanding.  The opportunities to not only be challenged academically, but to participate in athletics, concert choir, convocation and chapel shaped who I was at that moment but also for many years to come.  Our soccer team did not win many games, but I learned perseverance, the value of a team, and built many life-long friendships.  The Mennonite heritage of service was prevalent during my four years and reinforced my desire to do voluntary service after graduation.  I have tried to continue this heritage of service in my career as a physician.  Recently, the privilege that I have to positively impact my patients, their families, and staff at the hospital has been renewed in my thinking.  Serving others with compassion and humility was and continues to be the example shown by my parents and Bethel built on this example.  I am grateful for my Bethel College years and know that I would not be the same person I am today without them.”

“I have been married to Patresa for 16 years and we have four children, Isabel (12), Claire (10), Greta (7) and Tucker (4).  We have resided in Wichita since 2001. After a year of Mennonite Voluntary Service in Chicago and then working for two years [following college], I attended medical school at Des Moines University in Iowa, graduating in 2001.  I completed residency at Via Christi Family Practice in 2004.”

          “I have practiced as a full-time hospitalist with Kansas Inpatient Services for eight years.  This year I have served as the President of the Medical Staff for Via Christi Hospitals-Wichita.  I will be starting as the Via Christi hospitalist program medical director in January 2013 and I aspire to continue to work in physician executive leadership in the future.  I plan to also continue to actively practice hospitalist medicine as the diversity of patients and their medical complexity brings me much satisfaction.”

                                     Brian Ewert Brian Ewert

 “I graduated from Bethel in 1981 with degrees in Biology and Bible and Religion. A core Bethel was formative in my professional and personal development. Within the past 2 years I re-read Gregory Bateson's Mind and Nature. A book I initially read while writing a mind and brain paper for Dwight. I learned tools of language analysis in my Bible courses which I continue to apply. The science training prepared me well for medical school and the practice of medicine. The liberal arts education of my college years has become a lifelong interest in many fields, I was well prepared at Bethel to find ways to satisfy by curiosity. As both a physician and an executive a necessary aspect of excellence is relational skill. Anabaptist value passed on to me through Bethel College is the hermeneutical community. The values and culture of Bethel College played key roles in maturing my perspectives and skills which continue to serve me well.”

“I graduated from Northwestern University Medical School in 1985. My residency training was in internal medicine at North Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill. I was co-chief resident in 1988-89. I then did a research fellowship in nephrology at University of North Carolina; my area of study was neutrophil activation by anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies. I am married to Kathleen Rulka. She is a marriage and family therapist as well as an interfaith clinical chaplain. Between us we have four children, all in the early 20's in various stages of collegiate and peri-collegiate life.”

          “The model of injury was damage to cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells. In 1992 I moved to Waukesha WI where I was in private practice for one year. In 1993 I moved to Marshfield WI to become part of the Marshfield Clinic where I remain 19 years later. In 2009 I became more involved in Clinic governance, being elected to the position of corporate secretary. This lead to more business training culminating in a Masters in Medical Management from the University of Southern California in May 2012. As of February 2012 I was elected to the position of president/CEO of the Marshfield Clinic. The Clinic has approximately 700 physicians and 8000 employees. Our revenues are just over $1 billion per year. We provide medical care to all in our primary service area. The unique patients per year are at 375,000.”

“The Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation includes the National Farm Medicine Center. As part of their mission they have been promoting rollover protection structures for older tractors. I have a vintage 1950s Ford 800 and with their encouragement I had a ROPS installed.”

“In both patient care and in guiding a complex business enterprise we are often faced with challenges of epistemology. There are historical analogies and patterns to study, however, the particulars of the patient's disease or the business decision are unique. I have found the best path forward is to bring those committed to similar values to the table so that after we live the question together we collectively  live our way into the answer (to paraphrase Rilke).”

“In regards to career satisfaction I have an enduring sense of mastery and purpose; to quote Daniel Pink, “Whether in the exam room or the executive suite everyday has ample opportunities for service and creativity’.”

Andrew Gale

 “I received a Bachelor of Arts degree with two majors, Biology and Mathematics with a Computer Science Emphasis in 1988.  I originally intended to major only in computer science but I was inspired by classes with Wayne Wiens to add the Biology major. I clearly owe my career path to my first introduction to biology by Wayne Wiens and Dwight Platt.”

 “I am married to Monica Boyle. We enjoy travel and staying active with rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking.  After working for one year at the University of Kansas Medical Center I entered the graduate program in Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I received a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship for my studies there.  I studied in the laboratory of Paul Schimmel and received my Ph.D.”

 “In 1995 after completing my dissertation titled ‘Protein-RNA domain-domain interactions in a tRNA synthetase system’, I relocated to the San Diego area to begin a postdoctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, in the laboratory of John Griffin.  At TSRI I worked on the regulation of coagulation, focusing on the procoagulant protein, factor Va, and the anticoagulant protein, activated protein C.  After several years I was promoted to Senior Research Associate and began working on coagulation factor VIII, the protein that is deficient in patients suffering from hemophilia A.  In 2003 I received the Early Career Investigator Award from the Bayer Hemophilia Awards Program and the Career Development Award from the National Hemophilia Foundation.  Additionally, I was promoted at TSRI to Assistant Professor and started managing my own laboratory.  Since that time I have continued to study the function and regulation of factor VIII and other proteins in the coagulation cascade. In addition I am interested in directed engineering of proteins of the coagulation cascade in order to develop beneficial therapeutic properties for improved treatment of hemophilia patients and other coagulation related conditions. I am co-inventor on three patents related to that interest. I have co-authored more than 35 papers and presented my research at multiple scientific conferences. Currently I am dividing my time between my position at TSRI, a consulting job for a small biotech company and a position as Visiting Assistant Professor at UCSD School of Medicine.”

Kristi NeufeldKristi Neufeld

Kristi is an associate professor at the University of Kansas. She acquired her Ph. D from the University of Utah in 1994. The main, long-range goal for the lab with which she is involved is to reveal the underlying mechanisms for growth control of normal intestinal tissue, explaining how disruption of this normal state leads to tumor formation. Epithelial cells that line a normal, healthy colon will continuously renew via cell division. Specialized colon cells begin at the base of the colon crypt, and understanding this process is important in understanding the process of carcinogenesis.

Neufeld’s work has involved analysis of the tumor suppressor gene Adenomatous Polyposis Coli (APC), to discover that it plays a role in several cellular processes. Neufeld and colleagues have found this gene in both the cytoplasm and nucleus of both tissue culture cells and intact crypts from normal human colon. Through this research, they have found that APC plays a key role in the signaling pathway that controls epithelial cell proliferation in the colon. Currently, work is being done in her lab to look at the main consequences of the APC signaling pathway.

          Neufeld has been involved in several studies, and has been a contributor to over 20 published articles on PubMed Central.

Donald MillerDonald Miller

I graduated from Bethel College with a Bachelors in Science degree in 1985. I married to Jan Miller, a Bethel Graduate, with a Bachelors in Science in Biology in 1986. I Obtained my PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Kansas in Lawrence Kansas. I Spent about twelve years at University of Nebraska Medical Center in the department of pharmaceutical sciences; joined at the assistant professor level and left as tenured associate professor. I also spent about seven years at University of Manitoba in the department of pharmacology and therapeutics; I am currently tenured full professor. Research in my lab focuses on the understanding more about the blood brain barrier.

The brain capillaries that form the blood-brain barrier (BBB) have a unique, and often under appreciated role in brain function.  Under normal conditions, the BBB restricts the passage of most compounds between the blood and the brain extracellular fluid, thus ensuring a proper environment for the receiving, processing and sending of neuronal signals.  However, in many neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, neuro-AIDS, stroke, brain tumors and brain trauma, the BBB becomes compromised.  Understanding the cellular mechanisms involved in the altered BBB permeability observed during these pathophysiological conditions may provide insight into better treatments for these diseases.  In addition, while the BBB has a protective role, restricting passage of compounds from the blood into the brain, it represents an obstacle for many potential therapeutic agents.  Thus, identification of strategies for enhancing drug transport and permeability in the BBB is necessary to optimize the efficacy of drugs for treating central nervous system diseases.  And finally, as the cellular interface between the blood and the extracellular environment of the brain, the brain capillaries represent an important relay point for the transfer of chemical signals from the periphery to the brain.

Research in my laboratory encompasses all three of the aspects identified above. Examples of ongoing research include: Examination of blood-brain barrier changes during brain tumor development and identification of methods for increasing the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents in the brain; Identification and characterization of drug efflux transport proteins in the blood-brain barrier and their impact on drug delivery to the brain; Effect of inflammatory stimuli on the activation of brain microvessel endothelial cells; Design and Development of nanoparticle drug delivery platforms for CNS applications.

             Daniel UnruhDaniel Unruh

I am a Peabody native and graduated from Bethel College in 2006 with a B.S. in Chemistry and minors in Mathematics and Physics.  I attended the University of Notre Dame and received my doctorate in 2011from the Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences department studying a novel class of actinide based polyoxometalates.  I am currently as post doctorate at the University of Iowa exploring both interesting structural and physic properties of actinide based materials, while also working part time as the assistant director of the X-ray facility within the Chemistry department. 

While at the University of Iowa my colleagues and I researched aluminum and iron oxide clusters. The clusters have numerous amounts of atoms. What we did was bind actinides or heavy radioactive elements, mostly thorium and uranium to the aluminum and iron clusters. This data helps us see what the compounds would look like if the actinides were transported by aluminum and iron molecular species

If the data shows that actinides were transported by aluminum and iron molecular species this would greatly change our knowledge of actinides in aqueous systems. If what we created in the lab is found in environmental systems this data could be used to reduce the amount of actinide in sites around the country. These molecules could be used in environmental systems.


Cheryl L. StuckyCheryl L. Stucky

Cheryl acquired her Ph. D. from the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, in 1995. She then went on to do Postdoctoral work at the University of Wurzburg, in Wurzburg, Germany and at the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany. Her graduate Programs included Director of Neuroscience Doctoral Program and the Program in Cell and Developmental Biology. Her current research area at the Medical College of Wisconsin is on receptors that sense touch and pain, specifically how skin sensory neurons detect environmental stimuli, such as tactile pressure, cold and heat, and painful stimuli. Cheryl says, "The best candidate proteins for transduction of physical stimuli are members of the Transient Receptor Potential ion channel family." Her laboratory recently determined that the Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) receptor is required for pain-sensing neurons in the skin to detect painful pressure. They are currently testing this receptor on mice to determine how its channel may be responsible for touch-evoked pain. 

          Cheryl has received a number of prestigious awards, including the following :  the Standing Ovation Award for 2008 from Medical College of Wisconsin students for teaching Medical Neuroscience, the Bethel College Young Alumni Award for 2004, and the John C. Liebeskind Early Career Scholar Award for 2002 for outstanding accomplishments in pain scholarship. She has also been a co-author of over a dozen recent publications related to her work.

Bruce R. Buhr

Bruce obtained his MD from the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He went on the complete his residency in General Surgery at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  In addition, he completed a Residency in Orthopedic Surgery at Hershey as well. Dr. Buhr received further specialty training through a fellowship in Pelvic and Orthopedic Trauma Surgery at the Centre Medico-Chirurgical de la Porte de Choisy in Paris, France. Dr. Buhr was a speaker at the Bethel STEM Symposium in the fall of 2012.