Kathleen M. Gustafson, PhD
Research Associate Professor
Director, Neurophysiology Core
Use of sophisticated signal processing of electrophysiologic cardiac signals to understand fetal autonomic nervous system development (fetal imprinting) and infant visual development
Kathleen Gustafson was awarded a Ph.D. in Visual Electrophysiology in 1994 for describing abnormalities in retinal signal processing in human subjects with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and mouse models with dystrophin mutations. This work led to the co-discovery of a new dystrophin isoform found only in retina (Dp260). Later work demonstrated that Dp260 could replace full-length dystrophin in mouse muscle, leading to a longer lifespan.
Dr. Gustafson was the director of the Vision Science Laboratory at Children's Mercy Hospital and assistant professor of Rehabilitative Medicine, University of Missouri School of Medicine, for 19 years. She joined the University of Kansas Medical Center, Hoglund Brain Imaging Center in 2003. She is currently the director of the Neurophysiology Core. The Core offers cortical MEG, high-density EEG, fetal biomagnetometry and autonomic metrics to researchers interested in neurophysiologic measures. She is also responsible for research investigations related to vision science. As director of the Fetal Biomagnetometry Laboratory, Dr. Gustafson leads research investigations related to the developmental origins of health and disease.
Dr. Gustafson holds two patents for her contribution to the discovery of human retinal dystrophin and two patents for her involvement in a multi-center trial that showed the nutritional content of a new premature infant formula was essential for optimal infant visual development. She is a member of the Kansas Intellectual Development and Disabilities Research Center, the Institute for Neurological Disorders and the Institute of Reproductive Health and Regenerative Medicine. She has published 46 peer-reviewed journal articles, co-authored four book chapters and is currently the principal investigator of an NIH-funded clinical trial investigating the effects of DHA supplementation during pregnancy on maternal, fetal and infant outcomes.