Research Office Faculty

Esselman, Walter J., Ph.D.
Senior Associate Dean for Research

image of walt 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.




Ilardo, Joan, PhD
Director of Research Initiatives

Image of Joan IlardoDr. Ilardo is the Director of the Research Initiatives at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine’s Office of Research and the Executive Director of Michigan Aging Education Collaborative. Prior to joining the College of Human Medicine, Dr. Ilardo was the Student Services Coordinator for the 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 and the Director of Patient Information at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Ilardo’s research includes systems of care, community partnerships addressing aging issues, and evidenced-based self-management programs. She serves on the 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




Trottier, Mark, PhD
Student Research Director

Image of Mark TrottierMark 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.