Jeff Radel, PhD

Interim Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs
Associate Professor
Department of Occupational Therapy Education

Professional Background
Jeff Radel, Ph.D., teaches in KU's occupational therapy degree programs as associate professor. He holds the position of graduate director of the department and serves a variety of roles in the doctorate in therapeutic science program – from academic mentor and admissions manager to instructor on several courses. In February 2016, Radel was appointed the school's interim associate dean for academic and student affairs.

Radel currently teaches courses OCTH 445 Contexts of Occupation and OCTH 455 Neuroscience Assessment of Occupational Performance. He also coordinates OCTH 790 Research Practicum and Professional Writing courses in the Master of Occupational Therapy curriculum, including the direction of students in research projects.

With training in developmental neuroscience, Radel has interests in visual neuroscience and neurorehabilitation. His background includes neuroanatomy, histology, electrophysiology, and behavioral testing in animals, and he possesses a broad range of experience in assessing visual function in humans. He serves as a grant reviewer for the Veteran's Administration, and regularly serves as a peer-reviewer for journals. His expertise in guiding students through the formulation, assembly, and delivery of effective scientific presentations is recognized internationally, and Radel often provides workshops on this topic for many academic programs.

Academic Background 

Radel earned a bachelor's degree in psychobiology from Oberlin College in 1979, and both a master's (1982) and doctorate (1987) degree in experimental psychology with an emphasis in neuroscience from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. After six productive years of postdoctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh, Radel joined the faculty at KU Medical Center. In addition to his primary appointment in the Department of Occupational Therapy Education, he holds joint appointments in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and the Department of Ophthalmology.

Research Focus

Visual Neuroscience Laboratory

A major focus of Radel's current research work is directed toward animal models of brain development and retinal function utilizing a series of investigations exploring experimental traumatic perturbations in the developing brain and the effect of dietary fatty acids on brain development and vision. This work also explores the factors contributing to vascular pathology of the retina after perinatal oxygen exposure as a model of retinopathy of maturity in humans.

Driven by both a personal and the growing community interest in neurorehabilitation, Radel is also working on additional projects, including one aiming to develop a regional database to track brain injuries among high school student athletes. This project will allow him and his collaborators to compare different methods of assessing impaired functions in the short- and long-term after sports-related concussion injuries. It will also allow researchers to evaluate factors that may influence the trajectory of recovery and to explore social factors that influence participation by parents, students, teachers, and school officials in such studies.

An important and related focus for Radel is to educate all individuals involved with youth and adolescent athletics – both in school-sponsored and in recreational activities – about the signs and symptoms of concussion, to provide an evidence-based analysis of best practices to prevent concussions, to limit their severity, and to enhance the rate and quality of post-injury recovery. He frequently speaks to local parent groups, teams of youth and adolescent athletes, coaches, trainers, game officials, and school representatives on this important topic. Please contact Radel to arrange for a concussion awareness presentation at your school or to another community group.

Curriculum Vitae PDF document

Selected Recent Publications

Levant, B., J.D. Radel, and S.E. Carlson. (2006) Reduced brain DHA content after a single reproductive 
cycle in female rats fed a diet deficient in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Biol. Psych., 60:987-90. doi: S0006-3223(06)00050-3 [pii] 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.12.013.

Dancause, N., M.D. Taylor, E.J. Plautz, J.D. Radel, T. Whittaker, R.J. Nudo and A.G. Feldman (2007) A 
stretch reflex in extraocular muscles of species purportedly lacking muscle spindles. Exp. Br. Res., 180:15-21. doi:10.1007/s00221-006-0833-8.

Ahmad, S.O., J-H. Park, J.D. Radel, and B. Levant (2008) Reduced numbers of Dopamine neurons in the 
substantia nigra pars compacta and ventral tegmental area of rats fed an n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid- 
deficient diet: A stereological study. Neurosci Lett., 438:303:307. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2008.04.073.

Döpp, C.M.E., E.M.J. Steultjens, and J. Radel (2009) Evidence-based practice among Dutch Occupational 
Therapists: Barriers, Perceptions, and Use of Resources. Wetenschappelijk tijdschrift voor Ergotherapie, 3:7-13.

Döpp C.M.E., Steultjens E.M.J, & Radel J. (2010) Evidence-Based Practice: Hoe de kwaliteit van ergotherapie in Nederland vergroot kan worden [Evidence-Based Practice: How we can increase the quality of occupational therapy in the Netherlands]. Wetenschappelijk tijdschrift voor Ergotherapie, 4:23-26.

Wu, A.J., J. Radel, and B. Hanna-Pladdy (2011) Improved Function after Combined Physical and Mental Practice Following Stroke: A Case of Hemiparesis and Apraxia. Amer. J.Occupational Therapy, 65(1):161-168.

Burgard, E., L. Foster, L. Kraus, and J. Radel (2011) Performing Single Subject Research Designs in Practice. OT Practice, 16(13), 21-24.

O'Bryhim, B.E., H. Niu, J.D. Radel, and R.C. Symons (2012) The genetic control of avascular area in mouse oxygen-induced retinopathy. Mol. Vision, 18:377-89.

Döpp, C., E. Steultjens, and J. Radel (2012) A Survey of Evidence-Based Practice among Dutch Occupational Therapists. Occupational Therapy International, 19(1):17-27.

Selected Recent and Current Projects

J. Radel (PI)
Kansas Lion's Sight Foundation
Characterization of pupillary responses to assess Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy
Impaired cardiac function due to altered control of the heart's activity by the autonomic nervous system is a serious concern in managing diabetes, and Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy is a contributor to morbidity and mortality in chronic or poorly managed diabetes. The size of the eye's pupil is governed by the same autonomic system. This study evaluated pupillary dynamics and heart rate variability in patients with chronic diabetes to determine if a correlation existed between impaired pupillary mobility and impaired cardiac function.

J. Radel (Co-I)
Kansas Lion's Sight Foundation
Do dietary components influence the severity of oxygen-induced vascular pathology in newborn rat retina?
The diets of pregnant rats and their offspring were adjusted to include low, normal, or high levels of the fatty acid DHA, of fish oil, and of dietary iron. Newborn rats were exposed to varying levels of oxygen to induce pathogenesis of the retinal vasculature as a model of Retinopathy of Prematurity, a condition occurring in prematurely-born humans that can lead to blindness or to low vision for that infant's lifetime. The effects on the resulting vascular pathology of the interactions among these dietary conditions were assessed.

J. Radel (PI)
Lied Basic Science grant
Influence of Altered DHA Level on Mature Brain Function
This study was undertaken because research evidence appears to suggest that low levels of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, during early brain development leads to altered sensory and cognitive processes in children, and may be a factor in ADHD and related attention deficit disorders. Visual and auditory processing was examined in adult rats who were exposed to low dietary levels of DHA during gestation and development. Dietary supplementation with DHA was imposed in a subset of these rats to attempt to reverse neural processing deficits that appeared to be correlated with low DHA levels.

J. Radel (Co-I)
KU School of Health Professions (formerly School of Allied Health)
Examining Visual Scanning in People with Schizophrenia: Implications for Daily Life
This study was designed to track eye movements made by study participants they viewed a scene from a complex, real-life environment. The scenes included images of well-stocked grocery store shelves, and participants were asked to identify selected objects in each scene based upon the instructions provided by investigators (least costly, best deal, freshest ingredients). The eye movement patterns were evaluated to determine common search patterns in typical subjects and in subjects diagnosed with schizophrenia.

J. Radel (Co-I)
Center on Aging, KU Medical Center
Tracking Older Adults' Eye Movements while Reading
This study was conducted by a team of researchers, including a psycholinguist specializing in aging and language processing, a neuroscientist studying vision, and a cognitive psychologist studying aging and attentional processes, using eye movement technology to investigate age-related deficits in reading with distraction. The study of eye movements has proven to be an important methodology for studying group and individual differences in reading processes because eye movements, including the probability of fixating a target word, first fixation time, and total gaze duration, are especially sensitive to cognitive factors affecting reading.

Last modified: Feb 29, 2016

Jeff Radel


Jeff Radel, PhD
Interim Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs
Associate Professor

P: 913-945-7333
F: 913-588-4568