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 Master of Science degree in Psychology at NC State, and is (hopefully) finishing up her dissertation soon to earn a PhD in Psychology in 2021.

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 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) 

Nathanael Krancus, Associate Director & IRB Administrator


After a career as a wilderness therapist working with at risk teens in the wilds of southern Utah, Nat earned his B.A. and M.A. in anthropology from Northern Arizona University with a focus on linguistic anthropology and Pentecostalism in Latin America. He worked as an interviewer, data manager, data collection manager, and analyst at the Social Development Research Group (SDRG) at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, and at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago as a field interviewer on large national projects such as the General Social Survey and the Survey of Consumer Finances. In 2013 he took a position at the Human Subjects Division at UW as review coordinator and IRB member and later as an IRB Administrator. During this time he gained experience reviewing both sociobehavioral and biomedical research.  In his free time Nat enjoys whitewater kayaking, photography, backpacking, packrafting, and international travel. His favorite movies are Velvet Goldmine and Offside.


  • IRB Administrator
  • Post Approval Monitoring for IRB
  • Workshops, Class visits and training on IRB process

Dennis Gabriels, Compliance Coordinator

DennisDennis Gabriels graduated from XIOS Hogeschool Limburg with a B.A. in accounting. Since moving to the US from Belgium in 2007, Dennis has been employed in the housing industry. His last position was as a Training and Compliance Manager with CRM Rental Management, where he managed training and compliance for several federally assisted housing programs. Dennis joined Appalachian State in 2017, and lives in Boone with his wife. Dennis' favorite movie is Mr. Right.

  • IRB & CITI Coordinator
  • Conflict of Interest (COI) Assistance
  • Export Controls Administration