Debra Paxton, Director of Research Protections

Deb Paxton brings more than 20 years of experience in research integrity and ethics to Appalachian.  She began her career by running Psychiatric research studies at Duke University Medical Center while also moonlighting as a counselor at a shelter for domestic violence survivors.  After a University-wide shut down related to research ethics and integrity concerns, she moved to a compliance position at the Duke Medical Center Institutional Review Board (IRB).  From Duke she moved to North Carolina State University, spending 17 years there as an IRB Director and Associate Research Integrity Officer.  After a few years at The George Washington University as the Director of the Office of Human Research, she realized she did NOT like city living and came back home to North Carolina. Along the way, she completed her MS and PhD degrees in Psychology at North Carolina State University.

She is not very good at favorites – there are so many different things to like it’s impossible to pick just one – but a movie she will watch over and over with continued enjoyment is Clue. Or Aliens. Or A Christmas Story.  Or The Shawshank Redemption.


Shante' C. Mathes, Assistant Director of Research Protections, Administrator for IACUC and IBC programs


Shante' Mathes is the Assistant Director of IACUC & IBC programs.  She graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a B.S. in Animal Science and from Tuskegee University with a M.S. in Veterinary Sciences.  During her time at N.C. A&T, she participated as a summer research scholar at Iowa State University. While at Iowa State, she worked on various research projects dealing with obesity studies, the distribution of compounds in the meat of beef cattle, and glutathioine status in feedlot cattle. Since graduation, she has been employed with USDA Veterinary Services as an Animal Health Technician/Inspector.  She was responsible for enforcing import/export compliance of animals, assisting with Avian Influenza outbreaks, community outreach, and monthly facility inspections. Shante's favorite movies are Twister and Jurassic Park.


  • IACUC Administration
  • Post Approval Monitoring for IACUC
  • IBC Administration
  • Good Laboratory Practices (GLP)