MSTP Mentors

The CWRU MSTP has a group of amazing mentors.  Our faculty are often recognize for their outstanding mentorship, locally and nationally. 

Congratulations to our distinguished faculty— 

Justin Lathia was one of only nine recipients in America this year to receive a prestigious National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Research Program Award designed to further research into the dynamics of immune suppression in malignant brain tumors and target future immune-activating therapies.

Susann Brady-Kalnay, Paul Tesar and Satish Viswanath who were formally inducted into the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) 2022 class of Senior Members at its annual meeting on June 14 in Phoenix, AZ.

Pola Phillipidou, a mentor and Steering Committee member, won the 2022 John S. Diekoff award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring.

Andrew Pieper has been appointed the inaugural chair holder of the Rebecca E. Barchas MD Professorship in Translational Psychiatry

Get to know these and the many other mentors who take part in Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine's Medical Scientist Training Program, and learn about their respective research focuses. (Students in parentheses have received their PhD and are in their final years in the MSTP.)

*Mentors who are also on the Steering Committee

Biochemistry 

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

 

Sameeha Jilani, Stephen Wang 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
Eckhard Jankowsky, PhD* Biochemistry, Genetics and Genome Sciences, Pharmacology Yi Fan Chen, Brendan Sheehan Soon Yi, (Sarah Venus) * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement
 
Hung-Ying Kao, PhD Biochemistry    

Understanding the mechanisms underlying endocrine therapy-resistant breast cancer and develop therapeutic strategies

Joseph M. Luna, PhD Biochemistry     The Luna lab explores topics at the interface between molecular virology and the systems-level host response to RNA virus infections, with a special emphasis on RNA driven processes
Focco van den Akker, PhD Biochemistry, Pharmacology     Structural biology; infectious diseases/antibiotic resistance; cardiovascular diseases; small-molecule therapeutics design; cell signaling
 
Yi Zhang, PhD Biochemistry, Pharmacology     Our research focuses on elucidating the molecular basis of cellular pathways important for human health and disease biology. We investigate topics at the interface of chemistry and biology and employ integrative approaches to study macromolecules in different cellular contexts

Biomedical Engineering

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotation Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
A. Bolu Ajiboye, PhD* Biomedical Engineering James Ahad, Morgan McGrath   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
James Basilion, PhD Biomedical Engineering     Development of prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) targeted molecular imaging agents for optical image guided surgery and target photodynamic therapy, targeted radiotherapy, and PSMA-targeted ultrasound and MR contrast agents.
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     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 Christina MacAskill, Walter Zhao Walter Zhao Fast MR acquisition and reconstruction, MR Fingerprinting, Quantitative MR imaging, Computational Modeling, Novel MR Imaging Technology for Neurological Diseases
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     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, Douglas Wu

Douglas Wu

The Senyo group uses tissue engineering principles to investigate extracellular cues driving cardiovascular disease towards the ultimate goal of reversing heart failure. Custom in vitro platforms, biomaterial design, and molecular biology are the foundation of studies in the dish and relevant in vivo models to address strategies for heart regeneration
Andrew Shoffstall, PhD Biomedical Engineering Natalie Hong   The intersection of biomaterials and neural engineering with a particular focus on solutions that may readily translate toward improving the lives of people with neural trauma and other neuropathic and neurodegenerative conditions.
Pallavi Tiwari, PhD Biomedical Engineering Benjamin Mittman   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   Creation of novel polymeric platforms for drug delivery and tissue engineering
Satish Viswanath, PhD Biomedical Engineering     Developing artificial intelligence, medical image analysis, and machine learning tools for disease diagnosis, prognosis, and characterization through spatial correlation and cross-linking against pathology or molecular data. Applications in colorectal cancers and digestive diseases.
David Wilson, PhD Biomedical Engineering   Prerna Singh 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
Ganapati Mahabaleshwar, PhD Pathology/Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease     Novel transcriptional regulators and the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases

Center for Clinical Investigation

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Michael Rothberg, MD, MPH Clinical Translational Science   Benjamin 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     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
John Tilton, MD Molecular Virology Thomas Lavin 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 RNA gene regulation; RNA quality control; nonsense-medated mRNA decay; translation; mRNA degradation

Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Jay Alberts, PhD Biomedical Engineering    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 * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement
Charis Eng, MD, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences, Pathology/  Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease, Pathology/ Cancer Biology     Cancer genomics research for precision medicine. Characterization of disease risks in inherited predisposition to cancer using PTEN as model. Multidisciplinary approach to tease out molecular "switch" within PTEN pathways resulting in autism versus cancer.
Robert Fairchild, PhD* Pathology/ Immunology Liyan Fan, Otis Pinkard, Sabrina Wang

Jacob Ingber, Erik Koritzinsky

T-lymphocyte tolerance, transplantation immunology; T-cell mediated responses in the skin
Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD Cell Biology, Pathology, Systems Biology & Bioinformatics   Marc Ferrell A long term goal is to understand new mechanisms linking inflammation and the gut microbiome to cardio metabolic diseases.  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 cardiovascular 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. All research efforts 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 Sabrina Wang,(Adam Lauko) 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 Muta Abiff, Alicia Aguilar, Brendan Barton, Angela Liu, Michelle Pan, Susie Suh (Willie Miller-Little) * 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 Javier Urcuyo Acevedo Eshan King,  Paulameena Shultes, Davis Weaver,(Jessica Scarborough),  "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” applies as much in the clinic as anywhere else. The difference is that our efforts to treat cancer and infectious diseases both speeds up, and direct evolution of the malady to higher fitness peaks than would be achieved in natural settings. Rather than focussing on individual mutations, we use a combination of mathematical models, experimental evolution and data science to study the process of the evolution of resistance itself.
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 Kayla Klatt Marc Scemama de Gialluly 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, Genetics and Genome Sciences     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    Himanshu Dashora Understanding mechanisms underlying key tumorigenic properties of Glioma stem cells (GSCs) and brain metastases, with a long-term goal of 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     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 Indrani Das, Corynn Appolonia, Kyle Starost 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 Indrani Das, Hannah Kondolf Yi-Fan Chen, Joel Sax The Adams lab works at the interface of chemistry and biology.  We study the cellular mechanisms of bioactive small molecules, and we use synthesis and high-throughput screening to identify and optimize new drug-like molecules.  Areas  of interest include neurodegenerative diseases like MS, immunology, and cancer.
Berkley Gryder, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences Diana Chin, Benjamin Hauk, Paulameena Shultes, Sameeha Jilani Diana Chin 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
Thomas LaFramboise, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences, Systems Biology & Bioinformatics Dan Jindal, 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
Christopher McFarland, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences Alexander Crane   Cancer progression is a somatic evolutionary process. Evolving diseases are difficult to treat because they adapt to treatment and because they continually diversify. We integrate evolutionary theory with quantitative experimentation to understand cancers.
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
Ashleigh Schaffer, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences, Pathology/Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease, Systems Biology and Bioinformatics

Andy Chen, Erin Cohn, Hans Leier, 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, Neurosciences Meghan O'Keefe, Ying Xiong Erin Cohn, Katherine Letai, Ying Xiong, Jesse Zhan, (Kevin Allan) Stem cell pluripotency and differentiation; developmental neurobiology; developmental genetics
Zhenghe John Wang, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences, Pathology/Cancer Biology 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 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 Laura Chen, Himanshu Dashora, 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, Pathology/Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease     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     Molecular pathways regulating vascular development and morphogenesis including the role of Notch signaling in patterning, maturation and contractile function of the arterial vasculature
Jonathan Stamler, MD Biochemistry Ying Xiong Zachary Grimmett, Joseph Schindler, Nicholas Venetos, Karen You 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/Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease 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, Pathology/Cancer Biology     Interested in the biology and clinical management of lung cancer, with particular emphasis on small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Emphasis on bench-to-bedside drug development utilizing 'omics' discovery approaches and mouse models of lung cancer.
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 Corynn Appolonia, Emily Blaum Daniel Feinberg, Derek Wong Working on novel therapeutic approaches for cancer including CAR-T/CAR-NK cell therapies, antibodies optimized for ADCC/ADCP, small molecule inhibitors as well as adoptive NK cell therapies. We study the pathways involved in NK cell activation and function and thus improve adoptive NK cell therapy for different cancers. I also focus on developing therapeutic tools combining immunology with glycobiology, exploiting the cancer cell specific immune receptors and glycan expression patterns.

Medicine (Infectious Diseases)

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Robert Bonomo, MD Pharmacology, Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Pathology/ Immunology, Biochemistry Rupleen Kaur, Emma Kundracik, Nicholas Venetos  

Antimicrobial drug resistance in Bacteria and Mycobacteria; Testing and development of novel beta-lactams and beta-lactamase inhibitors; development and testing of novel molecular diagnostics.

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

Olubukola Abiona,

 

  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 Genetics and Genome Sciences 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, Pathology/ Cancer Biology, Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease, Cell Biology     * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement
Jonathan Karn, PhD Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Molecular Virology Karen You   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 Pan Michelle Cruz Role of the microbiome, T lymphocytes, and epithelial cells in intestinal immunity
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 * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement
Jacek Skowronski, MD, PhD Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Molecular Virology     Identifying cellular co-factors of HIV/SIV-encoded proteins and selected cellular proteins that can block HIV replication

Neurosciences

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Heather Broihier, PhD* Neurosciences Alexander Foden Dan Jindal, Hans Leier 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
Ben Strowbridge, PhD Neurosciences     Synaptic Physiology, hippocampus, olfactory bulb, Computational Neuroscience
Qian Sun, PhD Neurosciences    

Function of the hippocampal circuit, a brain area vital for memory and linked to many neuropsychiatric disorders, including PTSD, depression, and Alzheimer's disease. We use a variety of techniques – electrophysiology, neuronal tracing, optogenetics, chemogenetics, and mouse behavior – to investigate hippocampal circuit function 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 adhesion molecules at synapses and are high-risk genes for autism and schizophrenia. Using cultured neurons and mouse models, we aim to understand how neurexin’s molecular interaction and function is regulated by extracellular matrix glycans at synapses, and to develop new directions to alleviate synaptic deficits in brain disorders. 

Richard Zigmond, PhD Neurosciences, Pathology 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

Nutrition

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, Biochemistry     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. 

Orthopedics

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

Otolaryngology

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Brian McDermott, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences, Neurosciences Kathleen Plona   Sensory Neurobiology, Hearing and Deafness, Zebrafish Genetics, Mechanotransduction, Synapse development, Translational Neuroscience

Pathology

 
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, Otis Pinkard, Vanessa Salazar, Stephen Wang Hannah Kondolf, Meghan O'Keefe, Michelle Pan, (Bowen Zhou) Inflammatory diseases and innate immune signaling pathways
Stanley Adoro, PhD

Pathology/ Cancer Biology; Pathology/ Immunology

 

Alexander Lesser Josephine Trichka, (Brendan Barton) * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement
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/ Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease Anuoluwapo Ajao   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   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, David Sweet   * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement
Stanley Huang, PhD Pathology/ Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease 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     Understanding how immune suppression promotes metastasis and therapy failure; devising new therapies to enhance anti-tumor immunity. Mechanisms of resistance to immune activating therapies. Tumor microenvironmental impacts on cancer stem cells and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Functional genomic and small molecule screening platforms for cancer gene discovery and drug discovery.
David Kang, PhD Pathology/ Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease Iris Peng, Hannah Zamore   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). Recent focus has been on autophagy and mitophagy pathways, mitochondrial dysfunction, protein ubiquitination, mechanisms of proteinopathy accumulation (Ab, tau, TDP-43 & synuclein), and synaptic plasticity regulation via multiple signaling pathways. These pathways include the FTLD-ALS associated mitochondrial protein CHCHD10, cytoskeletal signaling via SSH1-cofilin, the scaffolding proteins RanBP9 and b-arrestins, and deubiqutinases (DUBs). 
Qingzhong Kong, PhD Pathology     Prion diseases, prion protein processing, non-viral DNA delivery, and gene therapy of prion disease, Alzheimer's disease, parkinson's disease, and FTD
Allison Kraus, PhD Pathology/ Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease Hannah Zamore   Misfolded proteins and self-propagating protein seeds of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and prion diseases
Kenneth Matreyek, PhD Pathology/ Immunology Henock Befekadu   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/ Immunology, Biochemistry         * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement
Andrew Pieper, MD, PhD* Pathology/ Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease, Neurosciences Sonny Caradonna Sarah Barker, Sofia Corella, Preethy Sridharan Discovery and development of new therapeutic opportunities in neurodegeneration
Theresa Pizarro, PhD Pathology/ Immunology, Physiology & Biophysics   Karen You The Pizarro lab investigates mucosal immunity, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract, and its importance during both health and disease states. Specific topics of interest are microbiome-epithelial-immune cell interactions, role of interleukin-1 (IL-1 family members) and innate immune responses, epithelial wound healing, and the impact of the microbiome on sex differences in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Parameswaran Ramakrishnan, PhD  Pathology/ Immunology, Biochemistry Brendan Barton, Willie Miller-Little  Angela Liu, Corynn Appolonia 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 Corynn Appolonia, Syrena Bracey, Paul Karell, Jeehyun Karen You Paul Karell, Kevin Newhall, Vanessa Salazar

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   Olubukola Abiona, Indrani Das 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
Lily Wang, PhD Pathology/ Immunology, Biomedical Engineering     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. Preclinical tumor models and ex vivo cellular and molecular analyses are applied to dissect immunosuppressive signaling pathways and develop therapeutic strategies to target these pathways for cancer immunotherapy.
Alexa Woo, PhD Pathology/ Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease Hannah Zamore   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/Immunology, Physiology and Biophysics, Structural Biology, Pharmacology, Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease Henock Befekadu 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   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

Pediatrics

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations  Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Mitchell Drumm, PhD Genetics & Genome Sciences George Luo Alexander Lesser, (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

Pharmacology

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
Scott Cameron, MD, PhD Pharmacology    

Circulating platelets start the process of forming blood clots. My laboratory discovered that platelets become reprogrammed in diseases such as heart attack and peripheral artery disease.  We study novel signaling pathways in platelets that can be used as druggable targets, utilizing high throughput drug screening, contemporary pharmacology and biochemistry, molecular biology, and animal models of vascular disease to meet these goals.

Ruth Keri, PhD Pathology/Cancer Biology, Genetics and Genome Sciences Syrena Bracey Natasha Ingles, Rupleen Kaur, 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, Systems Biology and Bioinformatics     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, Biochemistry Raza Haider (Otis Pinkard), Brendan Sheehan 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 and Structural Biology of small GTPase-protein and repector-protein/protein-membrane interactions in neuronal, cardivascular, and cancer cell signaling. We use molecular biology, NMR and X-ray spectroscopy as well as thermodynamic measurements to determine the basic mechanisms by which proteins transmit signals in cells
Sudha Chakrapani, PhD* Physiology & Biophysics, Neurosciences Marc Scemama de Giulluly, Sarah Venus   Role of structure and dynamics in the functioning of ion channels
George Dubyak, PhD Physiology & Biophysics, Pharmacology, Pathology/ Immunology Jacob Ingber, 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     * Not currently accepting MSTP students for rotation or PhD placement
Julian Stelzer, PhD Physiology & Biophysics, Pathology     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   Raza Haider Molecular basis of neurodegenerative diseases associated with protein misfolding and aggregation; The role of liquid-liquid phase separation in neurodegenerative diseases; Structural studies of amyloid fibrils using cryo electron microscopy

Population and Quantitative Health Sciences

Mentor PhD Programs MSTP Student Rotations Current MSTP PhD Students Research Description
William Bush, PhD Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Genetics & Genome Sciences, Systems Biology & Bioinformatics     Genomics research on Neurological Diseases
Dana Crawford, PhD*     Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Genetics & Genome Sciences     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, Michael McHenry   Genomic and computational approaches to understand the genetic underpinnings of Alzheimer disease and macular degeneration
Sudha Iyengar, PhD Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Genetics & Genome Sciences, Systems Biology & Bioinformatics, Clinical Transitional Science     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   Paulameena Shultes   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, Systems Biology and Bioinformatics, Clinical Transitional Science Emily Hannon Razaq Durodoye 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

Radiology

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     Christina MacAskill 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      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