Office of

College of Human Medicine

Office of



walter esselman Walter J. Esselman, PhD, is Senior Associate Dean of Research for the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Dr. Esselman is known for fostering cross-college research synergies, collaborative projects, and for pursuing foundation and federal support for basic research and global health projects for over 45 years at MSU. Prior to joining the College of Human Medicine, he served as Chair of the Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics for ten years. Under his leadership the department recruited over 20 new faculty members in a range of disciplines including microbial ecology, infectious diseases, genetics, immunology, virology and microbiology. During this period the research productivity of the department more than doubled.

Dr. Esselman received a BS in Chemistry from the Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.) and a PhD in Biochemistry from Pennsylvania State University. After post-doctoral work at Michigan State University he joined the faculty in the departments of Surgery and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics in the College of Human Medicine.


Image of Joan Ilardo PhD Joan Ilardo, PhD, LMSW is the Director of Research Initiatives for the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and the Principal Investigator/Executive Director of the Partners in Aging Strategies and Training, a newly formed collaborative engaged in developing and implementing strategies to promote patient-provider partnership that incorporate community-based, nationally recognized evidence-based patient and caregiver education. She is on the technical assistance team for the Community Assessment and Education to Promote Behavioral Health Planning and Evaluation and was the Co-PI of the federally funded Geriatric Education Center of Michigan from 2010 to 2015. Dr. Ilardo is active with several statewide coalitions that address patient self-management of chronic diseases. Prior to joining the College of Human Medicine, Dr. Ilardo directed the MSU School of Social Work’s MSW program and taught graduate courses in Research Methods and Administrative Practice Skills. She was a Senior Consultant at Health Management Associates for 11 years where her activities included conducting needs assessments for public and private agencies; designing and conducting program evaluations of public health, mental health, human services, and managed care programs. She served as the Director of Patient Information at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Ilardo’s research includes systems of care especially the intersection of health systems and community-based resources, patient-provider partnerships, and evidenced-based self-management programs in chronic disease and caregiver training support. She serves as a Commissioner on the 15-member Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging.

A.B., (Finance), 1978, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL
M.S.W., 1993, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI (Concentration in Administration and Program Evaluation)
Ph.D., 2009 (Social Work), Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI


Curriculum Vitae

Mark D. Trottier, PhD, is the Student Research Director for the Grand Rapids campus of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.  Dr. Trottier serves as the Grand Rapids course coordinator for 3rd Year Critical Appraisal/Analytic Medicine (CA/AM) and oversees the 4th Year Research Elective.  He also oversees the student matching process with research mentors in the Grand Rapids community.  Prior to joining CHM, Dr. Trottier was a Research Assistant Professor in the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Department at Michigan State University, studying the effects of stress, nutrition and obesity on immune system development and function.  He was a postdoctoral fellow at both New York University and Northwestern University/Evanston Hospital where he investigated viral infections of the central nervous system, focusing on viral pathogenesis in models of virus-induced demyelination and encephalitis.  Dr. Trottier received a BS in Biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic University in Troy, NY and a PhD in Molecular Virology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.




Marianne Chaps, BA, RRT, CCRC. Ms. Chaps is Lead Clinical Research Coordinator. She is an experienced clinical research coordinator having worked on clinical trials across a broad spectrum of medical conditions for 19 years. She has extensive knowledge in facilitating project feasibility assessments and creating study budgets for Industry trials in her past roles as business manager for the Breslin Cancer Center and as the research administrator within the Department of Medicine in the College of Human Medicine. She helped develop the protocol review committee at the Breslin Cancer Center along with developing a QA program for the Breslin Cancer Center affiliate offices. She traveled to the affiliate offices throughout the state doing the QA and training new study coordinators at the affiliate sites. Ms. Chaps works with investigators for study start up, by helping with IRB application submission, regulatory documentation submissions and by attending study budget meetings with the investigator and ORA staff. Ms. Chaps has been a member of Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) since being certified in April, 2001. She was certified as a clinical laboratory phlebotomist in July 2000, and has been a registered respiratory therapist since 1996.



Specializing in web development, web Design, form creation, and graphic design for over 10 years. 




Dr. Kelly Hirko is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University and a Community Health Researcher at the school’s Traverse City campus. Dr. Hirko completed her Ph.D. in Epidemiologic Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and conducted her postdoctoral training at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Hirko’s research utilizes biomarker and tumor tissue data to explore biological pathways in breast carcinogenesis, with a focus on lifestyle risk factors. Her research interests also include addressing cancer disparities and understanding the etiology of breast cancer from a global perspective."

Curriculum Vitae thumbCarol Janney, PhD, MS is a Community Health Researcher in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Michigan State University. Dr. Janney’s faculty position is based in Midland, Michigan, as part of a new effort by MSU’s College of Human Medicine to establish a statewide research network. Her extensive research experience and formal training as an epidemiologist (PhD, MS), applied biostatistician (MS), exercise physiologist (MS), nutritionist and health educator (BS) will be used to develop, implement, and evaluate behavioral studies/interventions aimed to improve the mental and physical health of individuals with mental health issues, their families and their communities.

Recently, Dr. Janney’s research has focused on mental health and physical activity. Her doctoral work established that various mental health populations (users of mental health services, overweight and obese adults with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders, and adults with bipolar disorder) are extremely sedentary which may contribute to the elevated rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease observed in these populations. Based on these findings, she designed and successfully implemented physical activity and nutritional interventions for adults with bipolar disorder at a mental health clinic.

During Dr. Janney’s post-doctoral work at the Ann Arbor VA, she evaluated MOVE!, a nationally implemented weight loss program emphasizing physical activity and nutrition in overweight/obese Veterans. The primary findings included that Veterans with sleep-disordered breathing lost significantly less weight over time than Veterans without sleep-disordered breathing; weight loss patterns over time did not differ by SMI diagnosis (schizophrenia versus schizoaffective disorder versus bipolar disorder); and initial weight loss was less in Veterans with SMI compared to Veterans with No SMI.

Dr. Janney earned her BS in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), MS degrees in Epidemiology and Exercise Science from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, MS in Biostatistics from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI), and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA).

dr. kerver thumbnailJean M Kerver, PhD, MSc, RD, is a nutritional and perinatal epidemiologist and a registered dietitian. She is an assistant professor in the department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and previously served as the Lead Nutrition Scholar for MSU Extension. From 2007-2012, Dr. Kerver worked as the project director for the Michigan Alliance for the National Children’s Study. Her current research efforts are focused on: 1) isolating the role of breastfeeding on postpartum weight retention and assessing the related metabolic effects on mother and child; 2) testing interventions designed to improve diet quality and prevent obesity in children and pregnant women; and 3) exploring nutritional factors during pregnancy that may be involved in the etiology of cognitive and neurodevelopmental impairment in children.

Curriculum vitae thumbDr. Erich Petushek is an Assistant Professor in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University and Research Associate at Northern Michigan University. Dr. Petushek completed his Ph.D. in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors at Michigan Technological University, as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow and recipient of an NSF GROW fellowship for international collaboration (Oslo, Norway). He completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Huddersfield in the Applied Cognition & Cognitive Engineering Research Group in collaboration with the English Institute of Sport. His research specializations are in applied expertise, psychological measurement, biomechanics, musculoskeletal injury prevention, and qualitative movement analysis/judgment. He is founder and lead scientist on the computerized injury prediction skill assessment and outreach project.

Curriculum vitae