Office of

College of Human Medicine

Office of

Research Office Faculty

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

walter esselman The Office of Research is pleased to welcome Walter J. Esselman, PhD, as its Senior Associate Dean of Research. Known for fostering cross-college research synergies, collaborative projects and for pursuing foundation and federal support for global health projects, Dr. Esselman will work closely with Jeffrey Dwyer, PhD, Senior Associate Dean for Innvovation and Community Partnerships. Prior to joining the office, 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. Dr. Esselman has had a career of garnering research funding for his lab and of publishing research reports in fundamental immunology and diabetic retinopathy. He is currently a co-investigator or PI on several NIH grants. Dr. Esselman’s current position in the College of Human Medicine seeks to extend and develop research in basic science and to foster the translation of scientific discoveries into clinical treatments that contribute to overall well-being.

Dr. Esselman’s current research interests revolve around questions involving the regulation of signaling in the activation and transformation of lymphocytes and inflammatory cells that lead to diabetic retinopathy. In close collaboration with Dr. Julia Busik, Dr. Esselman has studied the mechanism of microvascular damage initiated by pro-inflammatory substances and mediators. These mediators attract and activate leukocytes from the blood that enter the retinal vessels and cause inflammation. The overall result is damage to the retina that is known as diabetic retinopathy. The ultimate goal is to explain why certain organs are at great risk for diabetic complications and to devise means to block the damaging effects of inflammation.

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

joan ilardo Dr. 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

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.