Research Mentors

PREP Scholars research alongside our highly skilled faculty on their NIH supported programs. Our mentors possess backgrounds of outstanding research and their programs are supported by the National Institutes of Health.

If accepted to the program, you will be assigned a mentor who matches your personality and your research interests. PREP Scholars have engaged in a variety of research areas.

PREP mentors have a history of training diverse students. A PREP mentor will have:

  • Outstanding research program supported by the National Institutes of Health
  • Strong record of scientific productivity (Productive labs are energetic and include many other scientists at various levels, providing a dynamic research environment)
  • Experience in training (All mentors are trainers in Case Western Reserve's biomedical PhD programs and are thus familiar with the demands of graduate study)
  • Active participation in the PREP (Only investigators committed to the goals of the PREP serve as faculty trainers; faculty are expected to provide mentorship in the lab and participate in meetings)
  • An attractive and relevant research plan for a PREP Scholar


PREP research mentors and their students cover a wide range of fields and interests. Some recent examples include:

Mentor Research Field
Derek Abbott, MD, PhD Activation and regulation of innate immune responses.

Drew Adams, PhD

The interface of chemistry and biology to identify new drug targets and lead molecules for the treatment of neurodegenerative and other diseases.
Robert Bonomo, MD Structure-function relationships of clinically important beta-lactamases using microbiological and biochemical testing, medicinal chemistry, structural biology, pharmacological analyses, genetics and molecular epidemiology.
Susann Brady-Kalnay, PhD Research on cell adhesion and signaling of Receptor Protein TyrosinePhosphatases during development of the nervous system and in cancer.

Aaron Burberry, PhD

Neurodegenerative disease, microbiome, immunity, stem cell biology.

William Bush, PhD

Understanding the functional impact of genetic variation, developing statistical and bioinformatics approaches for integrating functional genomics knowledge into genetic analysis, and the use of electronic medical records for translational research.
Mark Chance, PhD Structural and Cellular Proteomics.
Catherine Collins, PhD Understanding the cellular mechanisms of plasticity that allow the nervous system to adapt to impairments in axons. 
Mitchell Drumm, PhD Research on genetics of cystic fibrosis and mouse models to study its patho-physiology.
George Dubyak, PhD* Research on cellular signal transduction processes during inflammation, vascular damage, and regulated cell death.
Agata Exner, PhD* Research on drug delivery systems and image-guided interventions for cancer treatment, and multifunctional ultrasound contrast agent development.
Stanton Gerson, MD Stem Cell Biology especially in the areas of DNA repair and quiescence and stem cell transplantation models and gene therapy, studies of DNA repair in cancer, and development of new therapeutics targeting DNA repair, currently focused on base excision repair.

Marcin Golczak, PhD

Understanding the elucidation principles of eye physiology at the molecular level, discerning mechanisms of their regulation, and pathophysiological consequences of their malfunction for ocular health.
Maria Hatzoglou, PhD Translational control in catabolic stress conditions.
Alex Huang, MD, PhD* Immune activation and tolerance in the pathogenesis of cancer.
Mark Jackson, PhD* Genetics of breast cancer, gene discovery techniques, oncogene signaling, tumor suppressors.
Emmitt Jolly, PhD Research on transcriptional and translational regulation in parasitic worms.
Efstathios Karathanasis, PhD Cancer nanotechnology.
Ruth Keri, PhD* Mechanisms of breast development and cancer progression.
Alan Levine, PhD Regulation of intestinal immunity, via cross-talk between mucosal T cells, the epithelium, and the microbiome.
Jason Mears, PhD* Structural and functional studies of macromolecular complexes driving mitochondrial fission and how these are misregulated in neurodegeneration and cancer.

Sam Mesiano, PhD

Understanding the hormonal interactions that control the process and timing of human birth.

Helen Miranda, PhD

Understanding the 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. 
Monica Montano, PhD Factors involved in ER-dependent growth of breast cancer cells.
Parameswaran Ramakrishnan, MS, PhD Inflammation and Autoimmunity
Arne Rietsch, PhD Virulence mechanisms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Ashleigh Schaffer, PhD Understanding the unique functions of ubiquitously expressed proteins in human brain development and pediatric neurological disease. 
Jerry Silver, PhD Research on the role of the glial scar in preventing regeneration after brain or spinal cord injury.
Carlos Subauste, MD* Role of CD40 and autophagy in host- pathogen interactions. CD40 signaling in inflammatory disorders.
Derek Taylor, PhD* Structure and molecular interactions of telomeres and telomerase.
Paul Tesar, PhD Molecular regulation of cell identity and development.
Blanton Tolbert, PhD Structural biophysics of virus-host interactions.
Erika Trapl, PhD Research focuses on multiple levels of determinants to prevent and reduce chronic disease.
Johannes von Linting, PhD Research on the metabolism and functions of carotenoids and retinoids.
Horst von Recum, PhD Renewable drug delivery for recurrent or chronic disease.
David Wald, MD, PhD Identification and development of novel therapeutic strategies for cancer with a particular focus on Acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Anthony Wynshaw-Boris, MD, PhD The molecular genetic basis of social behavior and autism.

Dhananjay Yellajoshyula, PhD

Understanding the cellular and transcriptional mechanisms regulating the development of oligodendrocyte lineage and the extra cellular matrix during development.
Richard Zigmond, PhD* Neural plasticity and regeneration.

*CasePREP Excellence in Mentoring Award Winner