Our Team

Sterling McPherson

Sterling McPherson, PhD

Assistant Dean for Research
Professor of Medicine
Director, Biostatistics and Clinical Trial Design
WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
smcpherson05@wsu.edu | PROFILE

My research areas include:

  • Development of evidence-based drug/alcohol use disorder treatments, including the use of experimental technologies;
  • Innovative analytical methods to answer novel research questions in psychopharmacology, drug/alcohol use, and nephrology;
  • Drug/alcohol use disorders as a co-morbidity in high risk populations.
Ekaterina Burduli

Ekaterina Burduli, PhD

Assistant Professor
WSU College of Nursing
eburduli@wsu.edu | PROFILE

My primary research focuses on the birth outcomes of perinatal women who use substances and their infants, as well as the development and testing of novel interventions for perinatal women with substance use disorders and their infants.

Andre Miguel

André Miguel, PhD

Assistant Research Professor
WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
andre.miguel@wsu.edu | PROFILE

My primary research focuses on developing and evaluating effective interventions for substance use disorders (SUD). I am also interested in strategies to disseminate evidenced based interventions for SUD to public and non-profit community treatment settings.

Crystal Lederhos Smith

Crystal Lederhos Smith, PhD

APPL Program Director and Assistant Research Professor
WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
crystal.lederhos@wsu.edu | PROFILE

My primary lines of research:

  • Youth substance use prevention with a focus on youth characteristics and family context,
  • Cannabis
  • Opioid misuse
Nicole Rodin

Nicole Rodin, PharmD, MBA

Clinical Assistant Professor
WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
nicole.rodin@wsu.edu | PROFILE

I am a practicing pharmacist with a research focus on public health efforts and preventative & treatment interventions for substance use disorder.

Serena McPherson

Serena McPherson, BA

Laboratory Manager
WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

I oversee lab management and administrative tasks, am responsible for planning and maintaining lab procedures, policies, meetings and events to ensure that the researchers in our lab can focus on their areas of study.

Theresa Bowden

Theresa Bowden, MSN, CCRN, C-NPT

Clinical Research Coordinator, Assistant Professor
WSU College of Nursing

I’ve been a critical care nurse for 30 years and a Neonatal-Pediatric Flight Nurse for 11 years. Now as a faculty instructor at the WSU College of Nursing, I’ve decided to focus my research interests on neonatal abstinence syndrome/neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, along with general opioid studies.

Abigail Bowen

Abigail Bowen, MS

Faculty Associate in Clinical Research
WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

I started with the APPL group in May of 2020 and am actively involved in patient study visits, vendor contracts and purchasing, EDC development, as well as manuscript and protocol development. My work background includes 8 years across dentistry, othrognathic surgery, and industry sponsored autoimmune disease clinical research. I finished a Master of Science degree in Cell & Molecular Biology in 2019 from Eastern Washington University. Additionally, I am a certified phlebotomist. I enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, being amongst friends, and driving tractors. 

Alex Schmidt

Alex Schmidt

Clinical Research Coordinator
WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

I am a recent graduate of Gonzaga University, with a degree in psychology and a concentration in research. I enjoy contributing to the lab in any way that I can, whether it be participant interaction or behind the scenes. I hope to continue gaining valuable research experience through my time here and positively engage with our community partners.


Nikki Akana

Clinical Research Coordinator
WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

I interned as a research assistant and lab manager at a psychology research lab for 1.5 years prior to joining the APPL team. I love being part of a cohesive team, interacting with participants, and contributing to addiction recovery research. I plan to further explore my research interests and develop my professional skills in graduate school sometime in the future.

Rachel Ryan

Rachel Ryan

Clinical Research Coordinator
WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

I am a clinical research coordinator for the WSU analytics and psychopharmacology lab. I graduated from WSU with my degree in biology and psychology, and plan to continue my education with a focus in biology. I contribute to the lab through patient interaction and help the team with any tasks needed. I look forward to the experience and tools I will learn through the WSU APPL lab.

Matt Layton, MD, PhD

WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
layton@wsu.edu | PROFILE

My research interests include:

  • Addictions
  • Opioids
  • Pain
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment
  • Natural Products and Drug Interactions
  • Using Sleep Technology to study the impact of substances of abuse
Poppy May Gardiner

Poppy May Gardiner, PhD

Post-Doctoral Research Associate
WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

I am a post-doctoral research associate with the Department of Translational Medicine and Physiology & The Sleep and Performance Research Center. My PhD research back home in the UK focused on sleep quality in secure psychiatric healthcare. I moved to Washington in February 2023 and have worked with WSU since March 2023. My current research projects revolve around addiction, mental health, traumatic brain injury, and sleep quality.

McKenna Kobalter

McKenna Kobalter

Clinical Research Coordinator
WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

I graduated from WSU with a degree in psychology and sociology. During my years in undergrad, I was a social psychology research assistant with BOLD Lab and a teaching assistant for a Statistical Methods in Psychology course. As a research coordinator for APPL, I look forward to building professional relationships with colleagues and patients, as well as developing my skills in data analysis and project building & management. I hope to pursue graduate school for a master’s in psychology with a focus in research and industrial organizational psychology.

Connor Stark

Connor Stark

Clinical Research Coordinator
WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine