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  • Mary L. Michaelis

Mary L. Michaelis

Research Professor, Higuchi Biosciences Center
Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology/Toxicology
Primary office:
Smissman Research Laboratories
Room 163

  • B.S., 1966, Webster University, St. Louis
  • M.A., 1968, The University of Kansas
  • Ph.D., 1978, The University of Kansas


The opportunity to help prepare the next generation of biomedical scientists at this time of exponential leaps in our understanding of human biology is wonderfully exciting though challenging for those of us in academia. As a faculty member in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department, I have mentored 15 graduate students and several post-doctoral fellows. Those individuals have gone on to assume a variety of professional positions in science. Their careers have taken them to academia, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry positions, and national science laboratories. Of my two most recent Ph.D. graduates, one is now a Staff Scientist at Millenium Pharmaceuticals and the other a Research Scientist in the Laboratory for Drug Discovery for Neurodegeneration at Harvard.

My undergraduate training was in the area of experimental psychology with the long-term goal of contributing to our understanding of how brain activity controls behavioral output. As technological advances led to an explosion of new knowledge about the brain, the field of Neuroscience emerged. Thus my Ph.D. training was in this exciting interdisciplinary field, with a primary emphasis on Neurochemistry. I accepted a faculty position in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and have gone on to develop a research program focused on the aging brain and drug discovery for age-dependent neurodegenerative diseases. Over the years I have served as a regular member on four NIH grant review committees, and I am currently a member of an NIH committee that reviews drug discovery grant applications for diseases of the nervous system. In addition to running my own research program, I have had the honor of receiving several University and Pharmacy School teaching awards, based both on classroom teaching and the training of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. And last fall I became the Director of an NIH-funded post-doctoral training program that involves fellows in high-caliber research at KU and a mentored teaching experience in a local minority-serving institution.

Selected Publications

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
KU Today