MSTP Mentors


Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Kaixiang Cao, PhD Biochemistry     Elucidating mechanisms underlying stem cell differentiation and mammalian development with genetic, epigenetic, and genomic approaches
Timothy Chan, MD, PhD Biochemistry, Pathology/ Cancer Biology     The Chan laboratory specializes in using genomic analysis to characterize the drivers of genetic programs underlying immunotherapy and oncogenesis. These approaches include large-scale analyses, functional genomics, immunogenomics, biochemical and molecular analyses, and mouse modeling. The lab has a special interest in deciphering the mechanisms underlying immunotherapy treatment response, resistance, and mechanisms
J. Alan Diehl, PhD Biochemistry     Discovery of molecular mechanisms that contribute to uncontrolled cell proliferation and decreased cell death. The first area of focus is cell survival and lipid signaling pathways that are utilized during tumorigenesis.  The second area of focus is on the elucidation of mechanisms whereby growth signaling pathways regulate the cell division
Thomas Gerken, PhD Biochemistry     Protein structure and dynamics; NMR techniques; molecular modeling of glycoproteins and mucins
Eckhard Jankowsky, PhD Biochemistry Yi Fan Chen Sarah Venus, Soon Yi Single-molecule enzymology (RNA helicases) & single molecule studies of ribonucleoprotein machinery (HCV replication and pre-mRNA splicing)
Hung-Ying Kao, PhD Biochemistry    

Mechanisms of the transcriptional control by diverse signaling pathways; molecular basis of human diseases related to transcriptional regulation

Focco van den Akker, PhD Biochemistry     Structural biology; infectious diseases/antibiotic resistance; cardiovascular diseases; small-molecule therapeutics design; cell signaling

Biomedical Engineering

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotation Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
A. Bolu Ajiboye, PhD Biomedical Engineering James Ahad, Morgan McGrath Anisha Rastogi Development and control of brain- computer- interface (BCI) technologies for restoring function to individuals who have experienced severely debilitating injuries to the nervous system, such as spinal cord injury and stroke
Jeffrey Capadona, PhD Biomedical Engineering   Sydney Song Developing materials to assimilate within the neural tissue to facilitate molecular level connections with individual neurons 
Dominique Durand, PhD Biomedical Engineering, Neuroscience, Physiology & Biophysics Sydney Song   Neural engineering, neural prostheses, magnetic and electric stimulation of the nervous system, electrophysiology of epilepsy, computational neuroscience
Robert Kirsch, PhD Biomedical Engineering Anisha Rastogi   Mechanics and control of human movement
Xiaojuan Li, PhD Biomedical Engineering     Novel MR imaging (quantitative MRI, fast MRI) and image analysis (automated tissue segmentation, lesion detection, and prediction of clinical outcomes with deep-learning models). Applications in orthoapedic and rheumatologic disorders including arthritis and sports injury
Zheng-Rong Lu, PhD Biomedical Engineering  Walter Zhao Peter Qiao Drug delivery and molecular imaging; novel targeting imaging agents for molecular imaging; novel MRI contrast agents; image-guided therapy and drug delivery; cancer diagnostics and therapeutics; multi-functional delivery systems for nucleic acids and non-viral gene therapy
Dan Ma, PhD Biomedical Engineering Walter Zhao   Fast MR acquisition and reconstruction, MR Fingerprinting,  Quantitative MR imaging, Computational Modeling, Novel MR Imaging Technology for Neurological Diseases
Anant Madabhushi, PhD Biomedical Engineering Awuri Asuru,  Jessica Scarborough   Quantitative image analysis; Multi-modal, multi-scale correlation of massive data sets for disease diagnostics, prognostics, theragnostics: cancer applications.
Andrew Rollins, PhD Biomedical Engineering      Development and application of advanced optics and photonics technologies for imaging and characterization of biological samples, detection of early disease, and monitoring of therapy in human tissues; and investigating embryonic development
Anirban Sen Gupta, PhD Biomedical Engineering, Pathology, Pathology/ Immunology   Michaela Cooley Our principal research focus is on mechanistic understanding of biological and pathological phenomena at the cellular, sub-cellular and biomolecular levels in hemostasis, thrombosis, thromboinflammation and cancer, and utilization of this knowledge to create bioinspired therapeutic and diagnostic technologies to interrogate, leverage, or treat these various phenomena
Samuel Senyo, PhD Biomedical Engineering Natalie Hong   The Senyo group investigates cellular crosstalk in cardiovascular disease to understand disease progression such as in diabetes and to reverse or repair the injured heart. We model the cellular niche using tissue engineering principles and microfabrication. Dr. Senyo performs comparative studies using mammalian model systems, including human stem cells
Pallavi Tiwari, PhD Biomedical Engineering     To develop Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning strategies towards personalized diagnostics, prognostics, and treatment evaluation for neurological disorders. Specifically, in the context of applications in adult and pediatric brain tumors
Horst von Recum, PhD Biomedical Engineering Natalie,Hong, Evelyn Ojo Ilori   Creation of novel polymeric platforms for drug delivery and tissue engineering
Satish Viswanath, PhD Biomedical Engineering     Developing medical image analysis and machine learning tools for imaging data, through spatial correlation and cross-linking against pathology or molecular data
Lily Wang, PhD Biomedical Engineering, Pathology/ Immunology     Identification of novel inhibitory receptors that regulate the differentiation and functions of tumor-reactive cytotoxic T cells and tumor-associated myeloid cells including TAMs and MDSCs. We apply preclinical tumor models and ex vivo cellular and molecular analyses to dissect immunosuppressive signaling pathways and develop therapeutic strategies to target these pathways for cancer immunotherapy
David Wilson, PhD Biomedical Engineering Brian Fort   Clinical and preclinical detection and characterization of cardiovascular disease, ophthalmological conditions, and cancer using biomedical image analysis and learning systems. Techniques used include segmentation, machine learning, registration, etc., as applied to multiple modalities (e.g., OCT, MRI, CT)

Cardiovascular Research Institute

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Mukesh Jain, MD Physiology & Biophysics, Pathology Michaela Cooley, Himanshu Dashora, Erik Koritzinsky, Jennings Luu, Sabrina Wang

Liyan Fan, Alexander Lesser, David Sweet 

Transcriptional mechanisms governing cellular differentiation and function
Ganapati Mahabaleshwar, PhD Pathology     Transcriptional regulation of inflammatory gene programs in health and disease

Center for Clinical Investigation

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Michael Rothberg, MD, MPH Clinical Translational Science Ben Mittman  

Dr. Rothberg’s research examines healthcare quality and decision making for common conditions, with an emphasis on tailoring treatment based on individual risk and preferences. The goal is to help physicians and patients make better decisions, improve outcomes and control costs.

Satya Sahoo, PhD Epidemiology & Biostatistics     (Biomedical Informatics and Brain Connectivity in Neurological Disorders) We study the underlying mechanisms of neurological disorders such as Epilepsy and Movement Disorder (PD) using computational and mathematical models of brain structural and functional networks as they evolve during disease progression.  We are also interested in understanding how clinical events in neurological disorders affect higher order brain functions such as consciousness state and memory. In addition to theoretical models, we have developed Big Data analytic techniques such as Apache Spark libraries to process and analyze large scale data. 
James Spilsbury*, PhD, MPH  Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Clinical Translational Science     * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement

Center for Global Health & Diseases

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
James Kazura, MD Pathology/ Immunology   Emily Hannon Immunoregulatory mechanisms of pathogenesis; acquired resistance to infection; malaria
Christopher L King, MD, PhD Pathology/ Immunology Gloria Tavera   T cell differentiation, Malaria Schistosomiasis, Filariasis Neonatal immunity, IgE regulation Mechanisms of acquired immunity

Center for Proteomics & Bioinformatics

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Mark Chance, PhD Genetics, Systems Biology & Bioinformatics, Pathology/  Immunology Dan Jindal Awuri Asuru Systems Biology, Protein Structure/Function, Cancer, Diabetes
John Tilton, MD Molecular Virology Thomas Lavin   NanoPOD platform for in vivo delivery of protein and RNA therapeutics; HIV-related research using nanoscale flow cytometry to understand viral heterogeneity and its impact on disease; unraveling the mechanisms through which extracellular vesicles fuse with host cells and deliver internal cargos

Center for RNA Molecular Biology

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Kristian Baker, PhD Biochemistry, Genetics & Genome Sciences Joel Sax   Mechanisms of nonsense-medated mRNA decay; Mechanisms of mRNA quality control; translation regulation; post transcriptional gene expression
Donny Licatalosi, PhD Biochemistry, Systems Biology & Bioinformatics Susie Suh,    Xinrui Zhang   Understanding how different RBPs regulate gene expression during mouse spermatogenesis, using genetic, bioinformatic, biochemical, and high throughput methods


Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Blanton Tolbert, PhD Molecular Virology Erin Cohn   Understanding the molecular mechanisms RNA viruses use to express their genomes

Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Jay Alberts, PhD Biomedical Engineering  Bryan Benson Morgan McGrath How the brain controls skilled movements, how changes in brain function affect movement performance; Parkinson's disease, stroke, and concussion; improving movement and cognitive performance; concussion and mild dramatic brain injury
Cornelia Bergmann, PhD Neurosciences   Brendan Boylan Immune responses to viral infections in the central nervous system
Charis Eng, MD, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences, Pathology/  Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease, Pathology/ Cancer Biology Ryan Gimple   Cancer genomic medicine translational research; characterization of disease risks in inherited predisposition to cancer; intracytoplasmic trafficking of PTEN and oxidative stress in cancer
Robert Fairchild, PhD Pathology/ Immunology Liyan Fan, Claire Mazahery, Otis Pinkard, Sabrina Wang

Erik Koritzinsky

T-lymphocyte tolerance, transplantation immunology; T-cell mediated responses in the skin
Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD Cell Biology, Pathology, Systems Biology & Bioinformatics Awuri Asuru Marc Ferrell A long term goal of my laboratory is to understand new mechanisms linking inflammation and the gut microbiome to cardio metabolic diseases. Several major research programs are currently under investigation. One research program focuses on the role of intestinal microbiota to cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Another focuses on the pharmacological targeting of the gut biome to improve human health and prevent diseases. A final research program focuses on inflammatory and oxidative processes, and their participation in cardovascular diseases. All research projects rely heavily on initial hypothesis generating studies in human clinical materials, and use of a combination of chemical, analytical and genetic approaches. Research efforts in each program span from bench-to-bedside, including basic/genetic, cellular, animal model, and human clinical investigations
Justin Lathia, PhD

Pathology/ Cancer Biology

Diana Chin, Natasha Ingles, Brian Kim Adam Lauko, Sabrina Wang Our main focus is how stem cell programs drive tumor progression and therapeutic resistance. To achieve this goal, we have active projects in cell adhesion mechanisms, cell-cell communication, and the interaction between tumor cell and the immune system. We also are developing new methods to track the stem cell state in real time and single-cell cell-fate decisions. We work mainly in malignant brain tumors and have leveraged the lessons learned in these tumors to other tumor types including breast and ovarian
Xiaoxia Li, PhD Pathology/ Immunology Alicia Aguilar, Muta Abiff, Brendan Barton, Angela Liu, Susie Suh Willie Miller-Little, Vanessa Salazar * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement
Laura Nagy, PhD Cell Biology, Nutrition, Pathology/ Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease     Innate immune contributions to alcohol and non-alcoholic induced liver injury, mechanisms of hepatocyte cell death, adipose-gut-liver interactions in alcoholic liver disease, genetic contributions to ALD
Jacob Scott, MD, DPhil Systems Biology & Bioinformatics   Eshan King, Jessica Scarborough, Davis Weaver * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement
Ganes Sen, PhD Biochemistry, Molecular Virology, Pathology/ Immunology     Molecular Virology, Mechanism of Interferon Action, Recombinant DNA Technology, Genetic Regulation of Hypertension
Nima Sharifi, MD Pharmacology     Metabolic and molecular mechanisms of resistance to hormonal therapy in advanced prostate cancer
Jonathan Smith, PhD Pathology     Cell/molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics/genomics studies of three areas related to cardiovascular disease: atherosclerosis reverse cholesterol transport, and atrial fibrillation
Angela Ting, PhD Systems Biology & Bioinformatics     Epigenetic gene regulation is important for both normal development and disease states. We pioneer genome-wide technologies and computational tools to interrogate epigenetic patterns as well as investigate the initiation mechanism and function of these patterns to understand their significance in cancer
Jennifer Yu, MD, PhD Pathology/ Cancer Biology      Understanding mechanisms underlying key Glioma stem cell (GSC) tumorigenic properties; uncovering potential therapeutic targets

Computer Science and Engineering

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Mehmet Koyutürk, PhD Systems Biology & Bioinformatics Stevephen Hung   Bioinformatics and computational biology, network biology, analysis of high-throughput biological data

Family Medicine and Community Health

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Kurt Stange, MD, PhD Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Clinical Translational Science Benjamin Mittman Uriel Kim   The generalist function, primary care practice, practice-based research, cancer prevention and early detection, multi-method research, health promotion, disability prevention, preventive service delivery in primary medical care

General Medical Sciences (Oncology)

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Seth Field, MD, PhD Pathology/Cancer Biology Kyle Starost   Cell biology of cancer, including elucidation of fundamental mechanisms of membrane trafficking at atomic and molecular resolution; discovery of signal transduction pathways that regulate the secretory pathway; and their contribution to oncogenic transformation. We have an ongoing program to develop small molecule inhibitors of Golgi vesicle budding to produce leads for novel cancer therapeutics. Many of our findings are also relevant to understanding viral and metabolic diseases
William Schiemann, PhD Pathology/ Cancer Biology, Pharmacology     Our research seeks to identify the cellular and molecular defects that enable breast cancers to establish and eventually emerge from metatastic dormancy. In addressing these objectives, our research is broad and includes interests in TGF-β and cell signaling, cellular and metabolic plasticity related to CSCs, EMT programs, the noncodinig genome, and telomere maintenance mechanisms

Genetics & Genome Sciences

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Drew Adams, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences, Pharmacology Hannah Kondolf Yi-Fan Chen, Zita Hubler,  Joel Sax High-throughput screening and other chemical biology approaches to identify and optimize new drug candidates in neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and other diseases
Berkley Gryder, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences     The Gryder laboratory drugs transcription in the 3D epigenome for therapeutic benefit. In pediatric cancers we drug oncogenic transcription factors; in prostate cancer, we use new strategies that target the Androgen Receptor.  We study how therapeutics alter biomolecular condensates that form super-enhancer clusters at key disease genes
Ann Harris, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences Anniya Gu, Josephine Trichka   Functional genomics of human epithelia. Epithelial tissues are critical to the normal physiology of many organs including the respiratory tract, digestive system, and reproductive tracts. Epithelial malfunction underlies common diseases including genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, and also multiple types of cancer. We use state of the art genomics tools to investigate gene regulatory mechanisms, chromatin architecture and associated transcriptional networks at the highest resolution, including in single cells
Peter Harte, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences     Epigenetic regulation of chromatin structure and transcription, histone modifying enzymes, Polycomb silencing, genetic control of lifespan and aging
Thomas LaFramboise, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences, Systems Biology & Bioinformatics Stevephen Hung, Evelyn Ojo Ilori, Dan Jindal, Andrew Morton, Kathleen Plona   Developing and applying computational tools to identify molecular variants, both inherited and somatic, that contribute to cancer and related diseases in humans
Yan Li, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences Joseph Schindler Anniya Gu Li lab applies functional genomic, epigenomic, and single cell genomic tools to dissect genetics of complex diseases, such as obesity and diabetes
Hua Lou, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences     Alternative RNA processing and its role in disease development
Helen Miranda, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences     Cell autonomous and non-cell autonomous molecular events involved in spinal bulbar muscular atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models
Peter Scacheri, PhD   Genetics & Genome Sciences, Pathology/ Cancer Biology Melissa Bonner, Joseph Schindler, Stephen Wang Ellen Hong, Stevephen Hung, Katherine Letai,  Andrew Morton Investigation of the epigenetic code in human health and disease
Ashleigh Schaffer, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences Erin Cohn, Soon Yi Lucie Ahn Understanding the unique functions of ubiquitously expressed proteins in human brain development and pediatric neurological disease
Paul Tesar, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences Meghan O'Keefe, Sarah Taylor, Ying Xiong Kevin Allan, Erin Cohn, Will Wulftange, Jesse Zhan Stem cell pluripotency and differentiation; developmental neurobiology; developmental genetics
Zhenghe John Wang, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences, Pathology/Cancer George Luo     Identifying novel genetic alterations, such as somatic mutations, gene amplifications and deletions, which alter critical gene functions involved in development of colon and gastric cancers
Anthony Wynshaw-Boris, MD, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences Michael Babinchak, Zita Hubler, Kathleen Plona, Avery Sears   Understanding genetic and biochemical pathways important for the development and function of the mammalian central nervous system, using mouse models 

Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Umut Gurkan, PhD Biomedical Engineering Natalie Hong, Douglas Wu William Wulftange Micro- and nano-scale technologies, cell mechanics, red blood cells, microcirculation, clinical microfluidics, tissue-on-a-chip systems, cell and gene therapies, point-of-care diagnostics, global health, translational research

Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine)

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Andrei Maiseyeu, PhD Biomedical Engineering     Our research team develops advanced nanotechnology systems to better understand and treat cardiometabolic diseases such as atherosclerosis, thrombosis, heart failure, and cardiomyopathies. We engineer, make, and test sophisticated probes, nano-immunotherapy devices, drug delivery vehicles, and gene therapy vectors that help to investigate the basic biology of the disease as well as to intervene for therapeutic gain. Our technologies address various problems including immunogenicity of therapies and their cost. Our ultimate dream is to pursue clinical translation of technologies invented in our laboratory and help patients suffering from many forms of cardiovascular disease
Aaron Proweller, MD, PhD Cell Biology Colin Stomberski   Molecular pathways regulating vascular development and morphogenesis including the role of Notch signaling in patterning, maturation and contractile function of the arterial vasculature
Diana Ramírez-Bergeron, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences, Pathology       Adaptive responses to changes in oxygen tension and the effect on blood cells and vessels; influence of hypoxic responses on the generation of cardiovascular stem/progenitor cells and their differentiation into various cardiovascular cell lineages; hypoxia and bone marrow stem cell niches
Jonathan Stamler, MD Biochemistry Ying Xiong Zachary Grimmett, Joseph Schindler, Colin Stomberski, Nicholas Venetos Our focus is on molecular, cellular and physiological aspects of redox biology, with a major emphasis on (1) the functions of nitric oxide in cellular signaling mediated through the post-translational modification of proteins by S-nitrosylation, (2) the enzymes that create and reverse S-nitrosylation to regulate its signaling, and (3) the consequences of dysregulated S-nitrosylations in animal models and in human disease

Medicine (Gastroenterology and Hepatology)

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Fabio Cominelli, MD, PhD Pathology Brendan Boylan Adrian Gomez- Nguyen Crohn's Disease, General GI, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Ulcerative Colitis

Medicine (Hematology and Oncology)

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Afshin Dowlati, MD Biochemistry     Interested in the biology and clinical management of thoracic malignancies, with particular emphasis on translational aspects of drug development. Major focus on small cell lung cancer (SCLC), which comprises ~15% of all lung cancers.
Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Genetics & Genome Sciences, Pathology/ Cancer Biology     Colon cancer genetics
Shigemi Matsuyama, DVM, PhD Pharmacology, Pathology/ Cancer Biology     Cancer Cell Biology, Cell Death Regulation, Cell Penetrating Peptide
Reshmi Parameswaran, PhD  Pathology/ Immunology, Cancer Biology   Daniel Feinberg, Yorleny Vicioso, Derek Wong Novel therapeutic approaches for cancer; activating natural killer cells for adoptive therapy of pediatric cancers; developing therapeutic tools combining immunology with glycobiology; exploiting the cancer cell-specific immune receptors and glycan expression patterns
Stanton Gerson, MD Pathology/ Cancer Biology Kevin Allan    Transgenic mice and carcinogenesis, retroviral gene therapy, DNA repair, hematopoietic stem cells

Medicine (Infectious Diseases)

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Robert Bonomo, MD Pharmacology, Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Pathology/ Immunology Rupleen Kaur, Emma Kundracik, Nicholas Venetos   Structure-function studies of beta-lactamases; enzymological factors that permit evolution of beta-lactamases in the clinic; development of immunological tools to study beta-lactamase expression in enteric bacilli; application of molecular diagnostics to the rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases; testing and development of novel beta-lactams and beta-lactamase inhibitors
W. Henry Boom, MD Pathology/ Immunology, Molecular Biology & Microbiology     T cell biology, tuberculosis, immune evasion, pulmonary host defense, antigen processing, anti-microbial immunity, basic and translational TB research
David Canaday, MD Pathology/ Immunology Gloria Tavera   Immunology of infectious diseases; study of HIV-TB interaction; cellular interactions resulting in loss of control of M. tuberculosis; understanding immune defects that develop with aging
Atul Chopra, MD, PhD Pathology/ Immunology Brendan Boylan Bijoya Basu, Brian Kim Energy homeostasis and metabolic disease
Carlos Subauste, MD Pathology/ Immunology     Immunology, autophagy in host-pathogen interactions, Toxoplasma gondii, selective blockade of CD40 signaling to control inflammatory disorders (microvascular complications of diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease).

Molecular Biology & Microbiology

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Susann Brady-Kalnay, PhD Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Neurosciences, Cell Biology, Pathology/ Cancer Biology     * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement
Jonathan Karn, PhD Molecular Biology & Microbiology     Control of HIV latency in T cells and microglial cells, and efforts to cure HIV
Alan Levine, PhD Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Cell Biology, Molecular Virology, Pharmacology, Pathology/ Immunology Paul Karell Michelle Cruz, Claire Mazahery Role of the microbiome, T lymphocytes, and epithelial cells in intestinal immunity
Liem Nguyen, PhD Molecular Biology & Microbiology     Host-mycobacterial interactions; virulence factors of Mycobacterium tuberculosis; antibiotic resistance and cell biology of mycobacteria
Christine O'Connor, PhD Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Molecular Virology    

Our lab is interested in understanding the host-pathogen interactions during latency and reactivation of the cytomegalovirus (CMV), as well as the host and viral factors involved in these phases of infection, in order to CMV-induced morbidity and mortality 

Arne Rietsch, PhD Molecular Biology & Microbiology Josephine Trichka Emma Kundracik Primary virulence factor of P. aeruginosa, a type III secretion system; understanding how this nanomachine works, as well as how the injected effector proteins prevent clearance of the bacterium by the patient’s immune system
Jacek Skowronski, MD, PhD Molecular Biology & Microbiology     Identifying cellular co-factors of HIV/SIV-encoded proteins and selected cellular proteins that can block HIV replication


Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Heather Broihier, PhD Neurosciences   Dan Jindal Developmental neurobiology; Molecular mechanisms of synaptic development and plasticity
Evan Deneris, PhD Neurosciences   Xinrui Zhang Molecular genetics of the brain serotonergic transmitter system
Lin Mei, MD, PhD Neurosciences     Mechanisms of synapse formation, neurotransmission, and synaptic plasticity


Pola Philippidou, PhD Neurosciences Katherine Letai Alicia Vagnozzi Molecular mechanisms of neural circuit assembly during development, genetic control of phrenic motor neuron identity; synaptic specificity in respiratory circuits; Hox genes
Jerry Silver, PhD Neurosciences Elliot Choi, Sydney Song   Role of glial cells in development and regeneration of neural circuits, nerve regeneration, glia, axon guidance
Ben Strowbridge, PhD Neurosciences     Synaptic Physiology, hippocampus, olfactory bulb, Computational Neuroscience
Qian Sun, PhD Neurosciences    

Our lab studies the function of the hippocampal circuit, a brain area that is vital for memory formation and is strongly linked to many neuropsychiatric disorders, such as PTSD, depression, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease. We use a variety of in vitro and in vivo techniques – including electrophysiology, neuronal tracing, optogenetics and chemogenetics, immunohistochemistry, and mouse behavior – to address the cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying hippocampal information processing and its relevance to behaviors

Masashi Tabuchi, PhD Neurosciences    

Electrical signals in neurons underlie the computations made by the brain, and these signals act at biophysical and neural circuit levels to generate behavior. The broad goal of my lab is to elucidate how internal states persist in time and identify the molecular mechanisms which shape the neural processing underlying these processes. By illuminating the cellular and synaptic basis of sleep and protein hunger, we expect to gain key insights into the principles of neural codes underlying persistent internal drive of the brain and to provide a framework to understand how these factors ultimately contribute to our health

Wen-Cheng Xiong, PhD Neurosciences Preethy Sridharan   Molecular mechanisms underlying neural development, neuro-degeneration, and bone homeostasis
Peng Zhang, PhD Neurosciences    

Neurexins are essential for synaptic function and are among the list of high-risk genes for neuropsychiatric disorders especially autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, and intellectual disabilities. Using primary neuron cultures and transgenic mouse models, we aim to understand how activity of neurexins can be regulated to shape the synapse development and brain function. Hence, our research not only expands basic knowledge of synapse development, but also provides insights on synaptic pathologies seen in psychiatric diseases

Richard Zigmond, PhD Neurosciences Willie Miller-LIttle, Xinrui Zhang, Bowen Zhou Aaron Talsma Study of the plasticity in the adult nervous system. We are interested in the ways in which the chemistry of the adult nervous system can change and the functional consequences of such changes. We focus particularly on alterations that occur in response to neural damage whether produced by trauma or disease, with particular interest in neuro-immune interactions that occur in response to injury, using molecular, biochemical, immunological, histochemical, and cell culture approaches


Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Danny Manor, PhD Nutrition, Pharmacology, Pathology, Cancer Biology     * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement


Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Paul Park, PhD Pharmacology     Mechanism of action of rhodopsin and other G protein-coupled receptors
Irina Pikuleva, PhD Pharmacology Jennings Luu   The two major areas of research in this laboratory are studies of cholesterol maintenance in the retina and brain. The ultimate goal of these studies is to delineate the importance of cholesterol-related pathways for retinal and brain functions and whether pharmacologic modulation of these pathways could lead to disease-modifying treatments for retinal and brain disorders. 


Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Ronald Triolo, PhD Biomedical Engineering     Rehabilitation engineering, neural control of motion, lower-extremity neuroprostheses, orthopaedic biomechanics, and prosthetic/orthotic design


Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Brian McDermott, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences, Neurosciences, Biology Jiayang Li, Kathleen Plona   Sensory Neurobiology, Hearing and Deafness, Zebrafish Genetics, Mechanotransduction, Synapse development, Translational Neuroscience
Qing Zheng, MD Genetics & Genome Sciences     Genes, molecular pathways and drug discovery involved in disease processes in mouse models of human deafness, including Otitis Media (OM) and Usher syndrome


Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Derek Abbott, MD, PhD Pathology/ Immunology, Pathology/ Cancer Biology Michelle Cruz, Kevin Newhall, Michelle Pan, Otis Pinkard, Vanessa Salazar, Stephen Wang Hannah Kondolf, Meghan O'Keefe, Bowen Zhou Inflammatory diseases and innate immune signaling pathways
Stanley Adoro, PhD

Pathology/ Cancer Biology, Pathology/ Immunology


Alexander Lesser Brendan Barton, Josephine Trichka Hematopoiesis, hematopoietic stem cells, acute myeloid leukemia, T-cell homeostasis, and autoimmunity
Aaron Burberry, PhD Pathology/ Immunology, Pathology/ Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease     Understanding mechanisms that contribute to neural inflammation in neurodegenerative diseases, building upon the discovery that signals from the gut microbiota influence the extent of neural inflammation that develops in mice with mutations in genes that cause the neurodegenerative disorder Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The lab focus extends to other neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease
Adam Burgener, PhD Pathology     Our laboratory specializes in mass spectrometry based proteomics and systems biology to study host immunity, the microbiome, and interactions in infectious diseases. A central focus of our research has been to study host and microbial factors at mucosal surfaces that underlie of the acquisition and pathogenesis of HIV. The goal is to apply this knowledge to develop novel preventative, diagnostic, and therapeutic strategies.
Brian Cobb, PhD Pathology/ Immunology Paul Karell, Claire Mazahery   Antigen processing and presentation of carbohydrate antigens
Wendy Goodman, PhD Pathology/ Immunology     Receptors for steroid hormones (estrogens, androgens and progesterone) are broadly expressed and function to regulate gene transcription in target cells. Our lab studies how these pathways operate in immune cells, particularly how they contribute to the balance between immune homeostasis and chronic inflammation & autoimmunity. Particular areas of interest include mucosal tissues (i.e. intestinal mucosa) and maternal-fetal interface tissues (decidua). Our approach utilizes both preclinical mouse models and primary human cells/tissues
Clifford Harding, MD, PhD Pathology/ Immunology Leo Kim, Claire Mazahery, David Sweet   * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement
Stanley Huang, PhD Pathology/ Immunology Alex Lesser   Understanding the interplay between cellular signaling and metabolic regulation that dictates immune cell activation during inflammation and cancer
Mark Jackson, PhD Pathology/ Cancer Biology   Sarah Taylor Genetic events that contribute to breast hyperplasia
David Kang, PhD Pathology/ Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease     Mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related disorders (ADRDs) such as Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and Lewy body dementia (LBD). We utilize molecular, biochemical, cell biological, advanced imaging, and animal modeling tools to answer important questions pertinent to healthy vs. pathological brain aging. 
Qingzhong Kong, PhD Pathology     Prion diseases, functions of cellular prion protein in biology and diseases, muscle stem cells, and gene therapy
Allison Kraus, PhD Pathology/ Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease     Misfolded proteins and self-propagating protein seeds of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and prion diseases
Kenneth Matreyek, PhD Pathology/ Immunology     Understanding how protein sequence variants contribute to disease, and discovering rationally engineered proteins able to fight them. Development and deployment of new multiplex genetic biotechnologies capable of assessing the impacts of protein sequence changes, focusing on genes that modulate immunity or predispose individuals to autoimmunity
M. Edward Medof, MD, PhD    
Pathology     Intrinsic cell surface regulators: the decay-accelerating factor (DAF or CD55), membrane cofactor protein (MCP or CD46), and membrane inhibitor of reactive lysis (MIRL or CD59)
Vincent Monnier, MD Pathology, Biochemistry         Molecular mechanisms of protein aging, oxidative stress, complications of diabetes and aging, cataractogenesis, microbial enzyme technology
Andrew Pieper, MD, PhD Pathology/ Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease, Neurosciences Sofia Corella Sarah Barker, Preethy Sridharan Discovery and development of new therapeutic opportunities in neurodegeneration
Parameswaran Ramakrishnan, PhD  Pathology/ Immunology Brendan Barton, Willie Miller-Little  Angela Liu Autoimmune diabetes, chronic inflammation and inflammatory bowel disease, Leukemia, O-GlcNAcylation, Cell signaling and identification of novel therapeutic targets
Jiri Safar, MD Pathology     Prion, Alzheimer, and other neurodegenerative diseases caused by protein misfolding; Prion, amyloid, and tau strains; molecular basis and structural biology of neurodegeneration; translational medicine of age-related dementias
Thaddeus Stappenbeck, MD, PhD Pathology/ Immunology Syrena Bracey, Paul Karell Kevin Newhall

The Stappenbeck lab is interested in discovering host and environmental factors that impact inflammation and wound repair at mucosal surfaces, with the focal point often being the intestinal epithelial barrier and the microbiome.  To approach these problems, combinations of studies using human cells and tissues as well as mouse and in vitro models are used.

Alan Tartakoff, PhD   Pathology Kathleen Plona, Bowen Zhou   * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement
David Wald, MD, PhD Pathology/ Cancer Biology, Pathology/ Immunology Ryan Gimple Evelyn Ojo Ilori Identification and development of novel therapeutic strategies for cancer with a particular focus on Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and colon cancer. Preclinical and clinical studies of novel cell therapies for cancer including CAR-T  cells and NK cell therapies
Alexa Woo, PhD Pathology/ Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease     My lab focuses on G-protein coupled receptors and beta-arrestins signaling in neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and AD-related dementia. We also study the role of mitochondrial protein CHCHD2 in Lewy body disorders.

T. Sam Xiao, PhD

Pathology   Syrena Bracey Structural and biochemical studies of important immune receptors; understanding and modulating their functions for diagnostic and therapeutic applications
Lan Zhou, MD, PhD Pathology/ Cancer Biology Peter Qiao, Yorleny Vicioso   Notch-dependent regulation of hematopoietic stem cell proliferation, differentiation, and niche location; leukemia microenvironment regulation; Notch signaling in solid tumor progression; fucosylated glycans in hematopoiesis and cancer biology
Xiongwei Zhu, PhD Neuroscience, Pathology Muta Abiff, Aaron Talsma   Neurodegenerative mechanisms underlying Alzheimer disease and other neurodegenerative diseases


Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations  Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Mitchell Drumm, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences George Luo Kathleen Plona How variants in the genome influence the course of disease for CF patients and how the CF genome adapts to the disease
Alex Huang, MD, PhD     Pathology/ Cancer Biology, Immunology Ellen Hong, Derek Wong Muta Abiff, Alicia Aguilar, Melissa Bonner Tumor immunology; Intravital two-photon laser scanning microscopy; T cell and chemokine receptor biology; cellular trafficking, migration and interaction in inflammation, cancer and autoimmunity
John Letterio, MD Biochemistry Brendan Barton George Luo Discovery of the critical roles of TGF-ß in hematopoietic and immune cell function


Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Chris Dealwis, PhD Pharmacology     The main focus of my lab involves understanding
the structural organization requirements by multiple protein assemblies to facilitate biological function, and to rationally design small molecule inhibitors as drugs against target molecules responsible for disease states. Our approach is to use a multidisciplinary cycle to study the structure-function relationship of proteins and drug design. Currently our lab is designing small molecule drugs against cancer and in the past we have develop therapeutic agents against Alzheimer’s disease. Biophysical tools such as x-ray; neutron crystallography, molecular modeling, CD, MS, fluorescence spectroscopy and ultracentrifugation are the techniques used in our lab. 
Maria Hatzoglou, PhD Nutrition, Pharmacology Syrena Bracey, Xinrui Zhang    Arginine metabolism, gene regulation, viral receptors and gene therapy
Ruth Keri, PhD Pharmacology, Pathology/ Cancer Biology Syrena Bracey Natasha Ingles, Katrina Piemonte, Bryan Webb Hormonal control of mammary gland development and construction of transgenic mouse models of breast cancer; functional genomics of mammary gland development and cancer
Jason Mears, PhD Pathology, Pharmacology      Molecular machinery associated with mitochondrial division in yeast and mammalian cells; understanding the relationship between mitochondrial dynamics and disease
Marvin Nieman, PhD Pharmacology, Cell Biology      Platelet signaling in thrombosis and cancer
Phoebe Stewart, PhD  Pharmacology     Applying cryo-EM structural methods to a variety of biological complexes including viruses, viral/host factor complexes, engineered adenovirus-based vaccines, membrane proteins and nanoparticles
Derek Taylor, PhD Pharmacology Raza Haider Daniel Leonard, Otis Pinkard Computational Biology, Macromolecular Structure Determination, Drug Design. My laboratory defines the molecular mechanisms associated with disease and develops new strategies and therapies for cancer treatment
Edward Yu, PhD Pharmacology     Molecular mechanisms of bacterial efflux transporters that mediate antimicrobial resistance

Physiology & Biophysics

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Walter Boron, MD, PhD Biochemistry, Physiology & Biophysics Erik Koritzinsky   Molecular, cellular, and whole-animal studies to elucidate the molecular mechanisms and translational implications of pH regulation and the transport of bicarbonate and gases (O2, CO2)
Matthias Buck, PhD Physiology & Biophysics     Molecular Biophysics of small GTPase-protein interactions in neuronal, cardiovascular, and cancer cell signaling; molecular biology, NMR and X-ray spectroscopy, and thermodynamic measurements to determine the basic mechanisms by which proteins transmit signals in cells
Sudha Chakrapani, PhD Physiology & Biophysics, Neurosciences Sarah Venus   Role of structure and dynamics in the functioning of ion channels
George Dubyak, PhD Physiology & Biophysics, Pharmacology, Pathology/ Immunology Brian Fort, Angela Liu, Kyle Starost            Inflammatory and apoptotic signal transduction; Signaling by receptors for extracellular ATP in innate immunity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer
Xin Qi, PhD Physiology & Biophysics Lucie Ahn, Thomas Lavin, Nicholas Venetos   Regulation of mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases; development of therapeutic approach for the treatment of diseases; cellular and molecular mechanism on mitochondrial quality control and immunometabolism; brain lipid metabolism in neurodegenerative disease
Corey Smith, PhD Physiology & Biophysics     Regulation of the sympatho-adrenal stress response
Julian Stelzer, PhD Physiology & Biophysics   Jiayang Li Cardiac contractility, heart failure, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, cardiac muscle diseases, cardiac gene therapy, small molecule drug delivery, computational modeling of heart function
Witold Surewicz, PhD Physiology & Biophysics, Pathology   Michael Babinchak, Raza Haider Molecular basis of neurodegenerative diseases associated with protein misfolding and aggregation; The role of liquid-liquid phase separation in neurodegenerative diseases

Population and Quantitative Health Sciences

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
William Bush, PhD Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Systems Biology & Bioinformatics, Genetics & Genome Sciences     Genomics research on Alzheimer’s disease
Dana Crawford, PhD     Epidemiology & Biostatistics       Applying genetic variation data to large-scale epidemiologic and clinical cohorts to better understand human genotype-phenotype associations, with an emphasis on diverse populations
Darcy Freedman, PhD, MPH Epidemiology & Biostatistics Uriel Kim     Substantive Topic Areas of Interest:  Food Access Interventions (e.g., farmers’ markets, community gardens, food policy); Community-engagement and Civic Participation; Public Health Literacy; Primary Prevention of Chronic Disease (e.g., Obesity, diabetes, cancer); Nutrition and Food Security
Jonathan Haines, PhD Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Genetics & Genome Sciences Bijoya Basu, Zita Hubler, Michael McHenry   Genomic and computational approaches to understand the pathophysiology of human disease
Sudha Iyengar, PhD Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Genetics & Genome Sciences, Systems Biology & Bioinformatics     Genetics of complex diseases in humans (ocular genetics/epidemiology, renal genetics, speech sound disorder/epidemiology, genetic methods)
Nora Nock, PhD Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Systems Biology & Bioinformatics     Using various "-omics" and neuroimaging approaches to better understand the genetic, environmental, behavioral and neural determinants of obesity and cancer; innovative lifestyle interventions in overweight and obese cancer survivors
Fredrick Schumacher, PhD Epidemiology & Biostatistics       Deciphering the inherited genetic architecture of complex traits, particularly cancers of the prostate, colon and breast; studies using quantitative and population sciences, particularly molecular and genetic epidemiology, to elucidate the genetic architecture of complex phenotypes
Catherine Stein, PhD Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Systems Biology & Bioinformatics, Clinical and Translational Science   Michael McHenry  Genetic and environmental susceptibility to tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, and multivariate methods for analyzing complex diseases
Daniel Tisch, PhD, MPH Epidemiology & Biostatistics      Epidemiology of lymphatic filariasis, malaria, and schistosomiasis. Meta-analysis and mathematical modeling of parasite control strategies. Evaluation of integrated parasite control programs
Scott Williams, PhD Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Genetics & Genome Sciences Emily Hannon Razaq Durodoye, Gloria Tavera  Distribution of genetic variation among human populations and the role that differences in patterns of variation play in disparity of disease among populations; diversity among African and African descent populations; multiple diseases that are either more common in these populations, such as hypertension and preterm birth, or less common, such as gastric cancer
Xiaofeng Zhu, PhD Epidemiology & Biostatistics     Genetic mapping studies of hypertension, obesity; development of statistical methods for association studies avoiding the effect of population stratification; admixture mapping; bioinformatics


Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Agata A Exner, PhD Biomedical Engineering, Pathology/ Cancer Biology Natalie Hong Michaela Cooley                                   Minimally invasive methods of cancer treatment including: ultrasound-modulated, image-guided drug delivery, thermosensitizers for focused hyperthermia, and vasomodulation for improved local ablation and treatment follow-up
Christopher Flask, PhD Biomedical Engineering      Quantitative MRI Assessments of Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetic Nephropathy, Sickle Cell Disease, Pyelonephritis, Polycystic Kidney Disease, and Non-Alcoholic fatty Liver Disease

Rammelkamp Center for Research, MetroHealth Hospital

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Bing-Cheng Wang, PhD Pathology/ Cancer Biology, Pharmacology, Physiology & Biophysics  Sarah Taylor   Molecular mechanisms of tumor initiation and maligant progression of prostate cancer and brain tumor, Tumor immunotherapy, Structure-function relationship of receptort tyrosine kianses, Development of small molecule therapeutics for metastatic cancer