New faculty spotlight: Shayla Yoachim, Ph.D.

August 09, 2017

Image with caption: Shayla Yoachim, Ph.D. (Photo by Margaret Cain)

Shayla Yoachim, Ph.D. (Photo by Margaret Cain)

Shayla Yoachim, Ph.D., is a new faculty member at UNMC.

  • Name: Shayla Yoachim, Ph.D.
  • Hometown: Omaha, Neb.
  • Title and department at UNMC: Assistant professor, UNMC Department of Oral Biology

Research/professional) interests:
I am primarily involved in clinical anatomy education in the dental, dental hygiene, and graduate programs in the College of Dentistry. I will serve as the course director of our department's anatomy courses, and direct the COD's Gross Anatomy Laboratory. My past research areas include genetics, immunology and hormone signaling. Currently, my research focus is on curriculum development and clinical education research, including course development, implementation of active learning and student-centered pedagogical approaches, and evaluation of the efficacy of these methods. I enjoy teaching, developing as an educator and working with fellow educators to improve anatomical education and its delivery.

How I fell in love with anatomy:
I have always been interested in science. As an undergraduate student, I worked as a teaching assistant in anatomy and fell in love with the art of dissection and the challenge of understanding the intricacies of the human body. At the same time, I worked in a genetics lab investigating gene expression in fruit flies. Both areas seemed way over my head at the time, which intrigued me even more. I began graduate school (at UNMC) without a clear career path, but with the guidance and support of incredible mentors, I completed an Anatomy Teaching Track Program that allowed me to pursue both scientific research in genetics and hormone signaling and training in anatomical education. Now, as an anatomist and educator, I love the journey each new semester brings - the process of exploring each element of the body piece-by-piece, and then challenging students to piece that puzzle together and predict the effects of a broken or missing 'puzzle piece.' I love the light bulb moments, the look on a student's face when it all makes sense.


  • Ph.D., Genetics, Cell Biology, & Anatomy, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • B.S., Education and Human Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


  • American Association of Clinical Anatomists
  • American Association of Anatomists
  • American Dental Education Association

Three things people may not know about me:

  • My husband and I have two sons, ages 4 and 1. We spend our time at parks, lakes, baseball fields and Husker football games (of course!).
  • I start my day with a cup of coffee on my front porch rocking chair, and like to end the day on the same rocking chair with single-malt scotch (watching a thunderstorm roll in when I'm lucky!).
  • I love hand-me-downs. Some of my favorites include a very old cedar chest from my great-grandmother and a set of anatomy textbooks from my grandfather-in-law (a retired physician).


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Lynne Niemeyer
August 09, 2017 at 8:52 AM

Welcome back to Nebraska!