Skip Navigation
Female researcher Female researcher

Women Making a Difference in Research

Jun 14, 2022

Research is a critical part of helping improve the health outcomes of people around the world, and at the University of Kansas Medical Center, women are making their mark on the world of medicine both nationally and internationally through research and facility management.

Dr. In-Young Choi

Dr. In-Young Choi, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Neurology Department and Director of the Metabolic Imaging Unit and Magnetic Resonance Science Program at Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center. She is a world leader in magnetic resonance technology, especially magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), and establishing it as a clinical and research tool. She has extensively published her work in research papers, proceedings, and books on the topic.

She views herself as an imaging scientist, who creates new techniques to measure chemical, metabolic, and physiological events in the brain and applies them to clinical and pre-clinical research. She has worked with numerous investigators at KU Medical Center and beyond, nationally, and internationally.

Through these interactions, she identified critical research needs, which led her to organize an international workshop on "Advanced Neuro MR: Best Practices for Technical Implementation", supported by the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), the largest gathering in MR science and technology, which led to a collaboration of the MRS community as the challenge has been in both the clinical and research fields for many years the absence of an "industry standard" approach as to how it should best be implemented with most laboratories following their own preferred implementation. This has resulted in limited ability to truly compare results across laboratories or to build large-scale reference libraries for clinical use. To address this challenge, Dr. Choi has also been instrumental in bringing together nearly 100 experts to establish consensus in 13 specific aspects of MRS. Each group came up with recommendations regarding current advanced MRS techniques and how to implement them.

This was the first time that there was a collaboration of this type in the community. Through the multi-year process of developing consensus recommendations, which coincided with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, each working group was given the opportunity to build relationships within the community, and as Dr. Choi says, "It helps us to build a collaborative spirit rather than being competitive."

Bringing the MRS community together to help achieve the best health outcomes for patients is just one of the many great successes that Dr. Choi has achieved, and we look forward to seeing what else she accomplishes in the coming years. In addition, Dr. Choi is a past recipient of a Frontiers Team Science Award, which was a collaboration of over 10 years of work focused on integrated studies related to prevention strategies for Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and related dementias. The team's efforts have blended expertise in the areas of aging/AD, neuroimaging, and exercise and nutrition.

Dr. Sandra Billinger

Someone else making a mark in her field of study is internationally renowned Dr. Sandra Billinger, PT, Ph.D., FAHA., Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Science and Athletic Training where she is the Director of the Research in Exercise and Cardiovascular Health (REACH) Laboratory, and serves as Assistant Director, Imaging Core of the KU Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

Dr. Billinger is a leader and developed several exercise tests specifically for people with stroke to best measure their aerobic fitness and prescribe exercise. She has taught clinicians and researchers around the globe on conducting and implementing exercise testing into inpatient and outpatient stroke rehabilitation. Dr. Billinger believes strongly that exercise is a critical component of stroke recovery and often states " "what's good for the heart, is good for the brain". She has presented her work to the American Stroke Association leadership and advocates for modified cardiac rehabilitation programs to be implemented into stroke recovery.

Dr. Billinger was recognized by the World Stroke Organization Board of Directors in 2022 as one of the outstanding women who have made important and significant contributions to the field of stroke and brain health around the world. In 2021, she was presented with the Excellence in Research Neurologic Physical Therapy award from the American Physical Therapy Association, and the WiSTEMM Educator Award presented by the Central Exchange STEMMy Award where she was nominated by her trainees for the award. Dr. Billinger is a past recipient of a Frontiers Team Science Award (2018, 2020), and she also received the Frontiers Trailblazer Award for her efforts in diversifying stroke research.

Dr. Billinger leads several multi-site stroke recovery trials at KU Medical Center and believes strongly in the team science approach. For 8 years, Dr. Billinger has worked closely with Dr. Sarah Eickmeyer, Director of Inpatient Stroke Rehabilitation and Dr. Michael Abraham, Director of Acute Stroke Research. Currently, this team is collaborating on an industry-sponsored device trial, EMAGINE (BrainQ (BQ), sponsor) where KU Medical Center is one of nine sites that is currently up and running and the only one in the Midwest delivering this exciting technology-focused on stroke recovery. "Our success at getting this study up and running and recruiting one of the first randomized participants, shows that we are more than capable of completing complex clinical trials. Like our other trials in stroke, we are meeting or exceeding recruitment targets and providing first-class treatment approaches to our Kansas City community. Our success builds on a strong clinical team that ensures we reach our recruitment targets and clinical trials administrative support that allows us to establish budgets and contracts efficiently so we can get studies started quickly."

The study is designed to allow participants to receive the BQ therapy during the acute hospitalization, and accompany them to the inpatient rehabilitation facility, and eventually home. The BQ device is operated remotely with the assistance of a caregiver in conjunction with periodic remote monitoring by a physical or occupational therapist. The investigational therapy is intended to be used with the current standard of care.

With one in four adults expected to have a stroke in their lifetime, it is important to develop the recovery process as recovery is a life-long practice.

Justine Kigenyi

Great science relies on great facilitators who lead the vital core resource facilities where much of the work is done and one of those women who is making a difference is Justine Kigenyi, MBA, FACHE, the Administrative Director of the Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center. She serves on the Executive Board of the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF), which serves over 1800 members working within or in the support of Shared Research Resources (SRR) and research biotechnology laboratories. She also serves on the faculty of ABRF's Business Skills Curriculum for SRR Directors, scientists and managers and recently completed an assignment on ABRF's Strategic Planning Task Force.

She has published and edited several papers related to the administration and operation of SRRs in academic research centers. Most recently, she co-authored two manuscripts around sustainably ramping down and ramping up non-critical research activities in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. These manuscripts aim to serve as a resource for business continuity and sustainability in the face of disruptions from major emergencies and natural disasters.

SRRs enable efficient and widespread access to state-of-the-art technologies and scientific expertise that have accelerated research for over 40 years. With ABRF, Kigenyi collaborates with others to shape and inform strategy and best practices for SRRs amongst institutions, to drive innovation and return the most value to all stakeholders within the SRR ecosystem. She has participated in many efforts addressing return on investment for SRRs.

Kigenyi is also one of 14 members on the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) special Task Force on Maximizing the Value of Shared Research Resources (SRRs), which comprised leaders of SRRs from leading institutions across the nation. The task force developed toolkits and key recommendations addressing accessibility, institutional stewardship, workforce development and sustainability of SRRs; and published a policy brief with recommendations to create a National Strategy for SRRs. Although ABRF and FASEB are scientific organizations, there is a growing recognition and appreciation of the role that strong business plans, systems and processes play in support of the scientific output, and how leaders like Kigenyi are making major contributions in this space.

Kigenyi is also a member and Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is a board member of its state chapter, the Kansas Association of Healthcare Executives.

One of the things that Kigenyi is most proud of during her 15-year career in SRRs is the ability to leverage the resources, connections, and networks she is involved in to help optimize and improve the resources that researchers rely on at the Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center, at KUMC and beyond, to return the most value and impact to all research partners and stakeholders. Looking forward, Kigenyi is working both nationally and locally to ensure that SRRs best serve the needs of biomedical research by including and serving a diverse community of stakeholders. Through her work on local and national Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) teams, she is identifying opportunities to ensure that SRRs are welcoming to all stakeholders - staff, study teams, and study participants alike.

These women, and so many more like them at KU Medical Center are making a difference in research and working towards better health outcomes for patients for years to come.

Learn more about Dr. Choi's work, and Dr. Billinger's work.

No Photo Available

Kelly Hale

Communications Coordinator

Latest Articles

View All
Photo of LaTanya Lippard Funded Projects  ·  News
May 20, 2024 Broderick Crawford Community Partnership Award: Bringing Lupus Survivors and Physician Researchers Together to Develop, Foster Understanding and Improve Outcomes
Photo of Thomas Menees Funded Projects  ·  News
May 17, 2024 2023 Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation Trailblazer Pilot Award
Photo of Alexandra Brown Funded Projects  ·  News
May 16, 2024 Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Pilot Award
Frontiers logo Funded Projects  ·  News
May 08, 2024 Advancing Medical Innovation Trailblazer Project Title: SH3BP2 inhibitors to target SH3BP2-mediated immune activation in nephrotic syndrome
photo of Ana Cohen News
Apr 25, 2024 Ana S.A. Cohen, Ph.D., FACMG - Investigating How to Expand Genetic Testing for Rare Diseases in Rural Areas
Photo of Diego Mazzotti News
Apr 23, 2024 Medical Informatics with the All of Us Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center
Frontiers circle logo Funded Projects  ·  News
Apr 22, 2024 Trailblazer Pilot Award: Dbr1 inhibitors: a novel drug treatment for the neurodegenerative disease ALS
Frontiers circle logo
Apr 10, 2024 2024-2025 KL2 Scholars and TL1 Trainees
Image of Dhanuski TL1 Trainee  ·  News
Mar 07, 2024 Spotlight on Dhanushki Abeykoon, TL1 Trainee and PharmD student
Image of Stephen Waller Funded Projects  ·  News
Mar 05, 2024 Developing thermal imaging as a biomarker to augment “remote visits” where physical exams are not possible
Frontiers logo Events  ·  News
Feb 29, 2024 2024 Research Symposium
Frontiers circle logo Funded Projects  ·  News
Feb 19, 2024 Lauren S. Aaronson Frontiers Pilot Awardee
Frontiers logo with partners
Feb 19, 2024 Lauren S. Aaronson Frontiers Pilot Awardee - Kai Ling Kong
Photo of Dr. Leaman Funded Projects  ·  News
Feb 19, 2024 Lauren S. Aaronson Frontiers Pilot Awardee - Marion Leaman, Ph.D. CCC-SLP
Photo of Ashley Shaw News
Feb 09, 2024 Catching Up with Ashley Shaw, Ph.D., MPH
photo of Rong TL1 Trainee  ·  News
Feb 08, 2024 Spotlight on Rong Xin Liu, TL1 Pre-Doctoral Trainee
Frontiers logo News  ·  In the Community  ·  Funded Projects
Feb 06, 2024 Integrating Special Populations Pilot Award
Image of Kelsie Forbush Funded Projects  ·  News
Jan 09, 2024 Catching Up with Kelsie Forbush, Ph.D., past Trailblazer Pilot Awardee
Amy Smith KL2 Scholar  ·  News
Jan 09, 2024 Spotlight on TL1 Program's Amy Smith, Ph.D., Children's Mercy Kansas City
Image of Alexandra Prosser TL1 Trainee  ·  News
Dec 07, 2023 Spotlight on Alexandra Prosser, M.D., TL1 Postdoctoral Trainee
Image of Frontiers logo News
Nov 30, 2023 Learn More About the Implementation Science Core
Image of Frontiers logo News
Nov 30, 2023 Broderick Crawford Community-Partnership Awardees
Frontiers logo News
Nov 27, 2023 Frontiers Annual Impact Report 2023
Image of McNeill-Johnson KL2 Scholar  ·  News
Nov 06, 2023 Spotlight on KL2 scholar April McNeill-Johnson, M.D.
Photo of Sarah Weinsztok TL1 Trainee  ·  News
Nov 02, 2023 Spotlight on TL1 Postdoctoral Trainee Sarah Weinsztok, Ph.D.
logos News
Oct 24, 2023 Frontiers Annual Member Survey
Image of JUNTOS with Gov Kelly News
Oct 05, 2023 Congratulations!
Image of Shelby Williams News
Oct 03, 2023 Meet Shelby Williams, Administrative Director, Clinical and Translational Science Units at Rainbow, Fairway and Swope (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Image of Diego Mazzotti Funded Projects  ·  News
Oct 03, 2023 Catching Up with Diego Mazzotti, Ph.D., a past Pilot Awardee
Photo of Kathryn Unruh Events  ·  News
Oct 03, 2023 KL2 Spotlight: Kathryn Unruh, Ph.D., University of Kansas – Lawrence
Photo of Stephani Stancil
Sep 22, 2023 Former Frontiers KL2 Scholar Stephani Stancil, PhD, APRN Presenting at K-CART Research Seminar
Photo of Rebecca Lepping KL2 Scholar  ·  News
Sep 07, 2023 KL2 Spotlight: Rebecca Lepping, Ph.D., University of Kansas Medical Center
Photo of Matthew Mosconi News
Sep 05, 2023 Getting to Know Matthew Mosconi, Ph.D. New Co-Lead for Frontiers KL2 Scholars program
Image of Anthony Fehr Funded Projects  ·  News
Aug 29, 2023 Catching Up with Anthony Fehr, Ph.D.
Frontiers circle logo
Aug 29, 2023 KU Center for Community Access, Rehabilitation Research, Education and Service (KU CARES)
Frontiers logo image News
Aug 08, 2023 Informatics Collaboration
Frontiers logo with all partners Partner News  ·  News
Jul 28, 2023 T32 Post-doc Fellowship in Cardiovascular Outcomes Research
Photo of back to school event News  ·  In the Community
Jul 26, 2023 Juntos Back to School Event
Photo of Nicole Nuckolls
Jul 18, 2023 10 Questions with Nicole Nuckolls, Ph.D.
Projects Placeholder 0 Video Title Goes Here
Jul 17, 02023 Garold Minns, M.D., Dean, School of Medicine, Wichita
Image of Jingxin Wang Funded Projects  ·  News
Jul 10, 2023 Catching Up with Jingxin Wang, Ph.D., past Frontiers Pilot Awardee
Photo of Shyam Funded Projects  ·  News
Jul 05, 2023 Catching up with Shyam Sathyamoorthi, M.D., Ph.D.
picture of Tina V News
Jul 03, 2023 Catching up with Valentina (Tina) Shakhnovich, M.D.
Photo of Jonathan Wagner with patient Funded Projects  ·  News
Jul 01, 2023 Catching up with Jonathan Wagner, D.O., FAAP, Children’s Mercy Kansas City
Frontiers and partners logos Funded Projects  ·  News
Jun 27, 2023 Frontiers Integrating Special Populations Pilot Award
pic of maggie K News
Jun 27, 2023 10 Questions with Maggie Padek Kalman
Image of Stephani Stancil Events  ·  News
Jun 27, 2023 Congratulations to Stephani Stancil, Ph.D., APRN on her K23 Award!
Image of Jada TL1 Trainee  ·  News
Jun 08, 2023 Spotlight on TL1 Predoctoral Trainee Jada Ohene-Agyei
juntos logo News  ·  In the Community  ·  Events
Jun 08, 2023 All of Us Brings the Future of Health to Kansas City, Kansas
Image of Sarah Johnson TL1 Trainee  ·  News
Jun 06, 2023 Spotlight on TL1 Pre-Doctoral Trainee Sarah Johnson
Image of Hanluen Kuo News
Jun 01, 2023 Meet Frontiers Recruitment and Network Navigator Hanluen Kuo
photo of Jenny Robinson Funded Projects  ·  News
May 25, 2023 Catching Up with Jenny Robinson, former Pilot Awardee (2020-2021)
Photo of Christie Smith News
May 09, 2023 Meet Frontiers Administrative Coordinator Christie Smith
Image of Trisha Steele with husband and grandson Partner News  ·  News
May 04, 2023 Spotlight on Trisha Steele, Administrative Director, Center for Clinical Research, University of Kansas School of Medicine – Wichita
Photo of Stacey Aaron TL1 Trainee  ·  News
May 02, 2023 Spotlight on TL1 Post-doctoral Trainee Stacey Aaron, Ph.D.
Sara Serritella speaking at symposium Events  ·  News
Apr 21, 2023 2023 Research Symposium Presentations
Frontiers logo News  ·  In the Community
Apr 10, 2023 Kansas Governor Laura Kelly Signs Proclamation Declaring it Black Maternal Health Week in Kansas
Photo of Dana Bakula KL2 Scholar  ·  News
Apr 04, 2023 Spotlight on KL2 Scholar Dana Bakula, Ph.D.
Photo of Cherayla Haynes News
Apr 04, 2023 Meet Frontiers Community Partner Project Manager Cherayla Haynes
Photo of Brian Helsel at Special Olympics events TL1 Trainee  ·  News
Apr 04, 2023 Spotlight on TL1 Postdoctoral Trainee Brian Helsel, Ph.D., MS, CSCS
Image of Grand Rounds information News  ·  KL2 Scholar
Mar 30, 2023 John Hopkins Virtual Nursing Grand Rounds
logo of Frontiers and its partners
Mar 28, 2023 New Genomics Resource!
Photo of Nikki Nollen TL1 Trainee  ·  News
Mar 28, 2023 New TL1 Co-Lead: Nicole Nollen, B.S., M.A., Ph.D
Image of Cheryl Jernigan Events  ·  News
Mar 23, 2023 2023 Research Symposium photos
Photo of Olivia Veatch News
Mar 02, 2023 Research Spotlight – Olivia Veatch, Ph.D.
Frontiers logo News
Feb 22, 2023 "Communicating Research to the Community" Program Documents and Links
Photo of group listening to speaker
Feb 17, 2023 “Cuídate, Chécate y Muévete” (Care of yourself, Take the test, Move your body)
Frontiers logo
Feb 14, 2023 Research Symposium Poster Presentation
Frontiers logo News
Feb 07, 2023 Using Your Resources: University of Kansas Medical Center A. R. Dykes Library
Photo of John Thyfault
Feb 07, 2023 Spotlight: John Thyfault, Ph.D., FACSM, FTOS and the University of Kansas Diabetes Institute
Projects Placeholder 40 Video Title Goes Here
Feb 03, 02023 Why Is It Important to Collaborate?
Image of Dr. Tiffany News
Feb 02, 2023 Spotlight on Tiffany Schwasinger-Schmidt, M.D., Ph.D., FACP
Frontiers logo News
Jan 24, 2023 Frontiers Has an Associate Director Opening
JUNTOS event Partner News  ·  In the Community
Jan 19, 2023 JUNTOS Vaccination Event
Image of Jephte Akakpo TL1 Trainee  ·  News
Jan 17, 2023 Spotlight on TL1 Trainee Jephte Akakpo, Ph.D.
Image of Robert White News
Jan 05, 2023 Spotlight on Robert White, Ph.D., MS – Dean of the College of Biosciences at Kansas City University (KCU)
Image of Olivia Veatch Funded Projects  ·  News
Jan 05, 2023 Spotlight on Olivia Veatch, Ph.D., MS
Image of Jen Bacani News  ·  In the Community
Jan 04, 2023 Community Partner Spotlight: Dr. Jennifer Bacani McKenney
Events  ·  In the Community
Dec 21, 2022 JUNTOS December Community Events
Frontiers logo with all partners Funded Projects  ·  News
Dec 19, 2022 Frontiers Clinical and Translational Science Institute gives six Pilot Awards
Image from JUNTOS vaccination event In the Community
Dec 15, 2022 JUNTOS Community Events
Image of Andrea Bradley Ewing News  ·  In the Community  ·  Partner News
Dec 09, 2022 Spotlight on Andrea Bradley Ewing, MPA, MA; Community Engaged Research, Health Services and Outcomes Research; Children’s Mercy Kansas City
Image of Anna Wallisch KL2 Scholar  ·  News
Dec 08, 2022 Spotlight on KL2 Scholar Anna Wallisch, Ph.D.
Image of Crawford and Ramirez News  ·  In the Community
Dec 06, 2022 Community Partner Broderick Crawford Passes Away
Image of Mock Study panel Events  ·  News  ·  Services
Dec 05, 2022 First Frontiers Mock Study Section
Photo of Rebecca Lepping Funded Projects  ·  News
Dec 01, 2022 Spotlight on Rebecca Lepping, Ph.D.
Nov 28, 2022 Frontiers New Tagline
Image of Stephani Stancil KL2 Scholar  ·  Funded Projects  ·  News
Nov 08, 2022 Spotlight on KL2 Scholar Stephani Stancil, Ph.D., APRN
Image of Elly Leavens TL1 Trainee  ·  Funded Projects  ·  News
Nov 08, 2022 Spotlight on TL1 Post-Doctoral Trainee Elly Leavens, Ph.D.
Image of Erin Nichols News
Nov 04, 2022 Focus on Research Informatics with Erin Nichols, Director of Research Informatics -University of Kansas Health System
Frontiers logo News
Nov 03, 2022 Call for Abstracts and Case Reports
JUNTOS logo News  ·  In the Community
Nov 01, 2022 Spotlight on JUNTOS – Center for Advancing Latino Health
Image of Romina Barral KL2 Scholar  ·  Funded Projects
Oct 14, 2022 Meet KL2 Scholar Romina Barral, M.D.
Image of Amanda Emerson KL2 Scholar  ·  Funded Projects
Oct 10, 2022 Meet KL2 Scholar Amanda Emerson
Partner Institution representatives Events  ·  News
Sep 28, 2022 Frontiers Celebrates Award Renewal
Frontiers logo News
Sep 21, 2022 University of Kansas Medical Center announces nearly $27 million NIH grant to accelerate clinical and translational research in the region
Image of Ton Mieras News  ·  In the Community
Sep 09, 2022 Spotlight on Communities Organizing to Promote Equity (COPE)- Ton Miras Neira
Image of Jennifer Villwock KL2 Scholar  ·  Funded Projects
Aug 12, 2022 Spotlight on KL2 program recipient, Jennifer Villwock, M.D.
Image of two researchers News
Aug 04, 2022 Kansas IDeA Network Provides Another Round of Funding
Image of Heather Minchew Funded Projects
Jul 13, 2022 Spotlight on Heather Minchew
Image of Scott Weir
Jul 11, 2022 Fosociclopirox AUA Thought Leadership Series
Image of Bertha De Los Santos TL1 Trainee
Jun 14, 2022 Spotlight on Bertha De Los Santos, KU PharmD Student
Female researcher News
Jun 14, 2022 Women Making a Difference in Research
Frontiers logo
Apr 28, 2022 Frontiers Patient-Community Patient Partner Hakima Payne Receives DeVerne Lee Calloway Award
Frontiers logo Funded Projects
Apr 28, 2022 Trainees at ACTS conference
Image of Laura Mussulman
Oct 29, 2021 Laura Mussulman, MA, MPH, Named Director of Clinical and Translational Science Unit Fairway
Frontiers logo
Sep 17, 2021 Researchers at 3 CTSA Institutions Collaborate to Develop a Research Network Supporting Translational Science Across the Criminal Justice Continuum
Back to Top