Cell Biology Faculty Listing

Sherif A. Abdel-Rahman, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Associate Professor, Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Preventive Medicine
  • Research Interest Understanding how inherited genetic characteristics influence the susceptibility of individuals to environmental agents and affect their response to drug therapy.

Bill T. Ameredes, M.S., Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Internal Medicine
  • Research Interest Mechanisms of functional resolution of allergic airway inflammation and asthma, through molecular and cell-signaling pathways involving IL-10, NO, and beta-receptors

Jose M. Barral, M.D., Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Associate Professor, Neuroscience & Cell Biology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Sealy Center for Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics
  • Research Interest: Molecular mechanisms during de novo protein folding; protein quality control; protein misfolding diseases.

L. Maria Belalcazar, M.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
  • Research Interest: Lifestyle interventions, including nutritional interventions, for the prevention of cardiovascular disease; weight loss, physical fitness, diabetes and obesity.

Krishna M. Bhat, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Professor, Neuroscience & Cell Biology
  • Research Interest (1) Adult brain development, function and disease, (2) Axon guidance and synaptic connections, and (3) Self-renewal and asymmetric division of neural precursor stem cells in the CN

Jiyang Cai, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology
  • Research Interest: Mechanisms of age-related RPE degeneration; regulation of retinal microglial and endothelial cell function by RPE exosome; autologous transplant of RPE derived from inducible pluripotent stem cells.

Ashok K. Chopra, Ph.D., C.Sc
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
  • Research Interest: Understanding cell signaling events in host cells after infection with various bacterial agents (e.g., Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Salmonella enterica, Aeromonas hydrophila, etc.). Our studies also involve genomics and proteomics approaches as well as immunological parameters to develop new generation vaccines against these deadly pathogens.

Jin Mo Chung, Ph.D.

  • Professor and Interim chair, Neuroscience & Cell Biology
  • Research Interest: Somatosensory system; Mechanisms of Neuropathic pain; Cell signaling and reactive oxygen species.

Larry Denner, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Dept. of Internal Medicine
  • Research Interest: Signal transduction pathways in growth regulation of stem cells; human and animal studies of diabetes; steroidogenesis/reproductive endocrinology; molecular mechanisms of learning and memory in Alzheimer's Disease; mass spectrometry approaches to signaling; systems biology in health and disease.

Douglas DeWitt, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Director, Moody Center for Traumatic Brain & Spinal Cord Injury/Mission Connect; Professor of Anesthesiology, Director, Charles R. Allen Research Laboratories
  • Research Interest: Experimental traumatic brain injury, cerebral vascular regulation.

William J. Durham, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine-Endocrinology
  • Research Interest: Hormone replacement, muscle metabolism, muscle performance, fatigue, physiological correlates of cognitive impairment, ryanodine receptor.

Cornelis (Kees) Elferink, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology; Mary Gibbs Jones Distinguished Chair in Environmental Toxicology, Director, Sealy Center for Environmental Health Sciences, Scientist, Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology
  • Research Interest: Molecular mechanisms involved in liver homeostasis.

Lisa A. Elferink, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Neuroscience & Cell Biology; Scientist, Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology
  • Research Interest: Molecular regulation of receptor trafficking; pre-clinical studies of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer; inflammation and carcinogenesis; receptor signaling in drug addiction.

Celeste Finnerty, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Assistant Professor, Surgery
  • Research Interest: Proteomic and genomic response to burn injury; attenuation of post burn hypertrophic scarring; adipose derived stem cells for wound healing; insulin resistance; inflammation; tissue regeneration following injury.

Gary D. Hankins, M.D.

  • Professor & Chair, Ob-Gyn Administration
  • Research Interest: Maternal and Fetal Physiology; Critical Care Obstetrics; Operative Obstetrics; Normal and Abnormal Labors; Hypertensive Disorders in pregnancy.

Hal K. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Professor, Pathology
  • Research Interest: Mechanisms of acute inflammation. Reaction to injury in the airways. Roles of neuropeptides and epithelium in inflammation. Wound healing.

Helen Hellmich, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Associate Professor, Anesthesiology
  • Research Interest: Elucidation of the role of paracrine mediators in gastrointestinal inflammation, carcinogenesis, tumor progression and metastasis.

Mark R. Hellmich, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Surgery (General)
  • Research Interest: Elucidation of the role of small peptide hormones and their cognate receptors in epithelial cell biology and carcinogenesis

David N. Herndon, M.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Surgery-Burn
  • Research Interest: Pathophysiology of thermal burns; wound healing; protein synthesis; inhalation injury; anabolic agents in the treatment of burns; rehabilitation.

Rakez Kayed, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Associate Professor, Neurology
  • Research Interest: Protein misfolding and aggregation, amyloid fibrils and various other aggregates characteristic of amyloid (misfolding) diseases. These include Alzheimer's disease, immunoglobulin-light-chain disease, type II diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, prion disease, serum amyloidoses, and familial amyloid polyneuropathies.

Kunju Satish Kumar, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Assistant Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Research Interest: Sex-specific mechanisms of developmental origins of adult diseases including hypertension, diabetes and obesity; regulation of placental and vascular functions by sex steroid hormones; understanding mechanisms for normal cardiovascular adaptations of pregnancy as well as mechanisms for impaired vascular responses in women with preeclampsia.

N. Muge Kuyumcu-Martinez, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Assitant Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • Research Interest: RNA splicing factors in cardiac development and disease..

Moore, Melinda (Sheffield), Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology
  • Research Interest: Cancer cachexia and sarcopenia of aging; human clinical researcher studying the mechanisms behind skeletal muscle loss with aging and cancer. Perform outcome and interventional studies using androgens, exercise, nutrition and pharmacologic agents that enhance perfusion to facilitate muscle hypertrophy and reduce muscle atrophy in humans. Stable isotopic methodologies to examine muscle protein metabolism in humans and signaling molecules responsible for the hypertrophy and atrophy of skeletal muscle.

Javier Navarro, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Neuroscience & Cell Biology
  • Research Interest: Structure/function of chemokine receptors.

Carol Nilsson, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
  • Research Interest: Integrative biological studies of glioma stem cells; homing of human mesenchymal stem cells to glioma stem cell xenografts; phosphoprotein-mediated signaling induced by therapeutic compounds.

John Papaconstantinou, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Research Interest: Molecular and genetic mechanisms of aging and longevity determination. Role of oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction in development of aging phenotype.

J. Regino Perez-Polo, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Member, Institute for Translational Sciences
  • Research Interest: Responses to acute and chronic trauma to central nervous system.

Anson Pierce, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Research Interest: HIF1 and cellular proteostasis, ALS, neurodegeneration.

Iryna Pinchuk, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
  • Research Interest: Mucosal immune responses in the gut; mesenchymal cells in chronic and acute GI inflammation; effect of vitamin A on colon biology; inflammatory bowel disesase; GI cancer.

Donald S. Prough, M.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor and Chair, Anesthesiology
  • Research Interest: Physiologic responses to traumatic brain injury; changes in gene and protein expression in response to traumatic brain injury; treatment of acute and chronic traumatic brain injury with stem cells or drugs; clinical management of acute traumatic brain injury.

Blake B. Rasmussen, Ph.D.

  • Professor & Chair, Department of Nutrition & Metablism
  • Research Interest: Nutritional and metabolic biology; human skeletal muscle; sarcopenia.

Vicente A. Resto, M.D., Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Associate Professor, Otolaryngology
  • Research Interest: My laboratory studies the molecular processes that drive lymphatic metastasis in cancer. Specifically, we apply a combination of fluid dynamics, adhesion molecule biology, migration biology, 3D culture techniques, biochemistry and functional genetics to study this process. Our goal is to understand this little studied aspect of cancer in ways that will maximally translate into clinically applicable diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.

George R. Saade, M.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Research Interest: Maternal and fetal physiology, particularly relating to cardiovascular adaptations to pregnancy, as well as fetal development and its relationship with long term consequences.

Sushil K. Sarna, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Internal Medicine
  • Research Interest: Cellular and epigenetic regulation of visceral pain and anxiety in complex diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

Sarita Sastry, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular biology
  • Research Interest: cell adhesion, rho gtpases, cancer cell invasion/metastasis.

Pomila Singh, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Neuroscience and Cell Biology
  • Research Interest: Growth factors, cell signaling, cell and molecular biology of colon cancer and colon carcinogenesis, dietary prevention and cancer stem cells.

Lawrence Sowers, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor and Chair, Pharmacology & Toxicology
  • Research Interest: DNA damage and repair, epigenetics, chemotherapy development and structural biology.

Svetla Stoilova-McPhie, Ph.D.
Biographial Sketch

  • Assistant Professor, Neuroscience & Cell Biology
  • Research Interest: We study the structure and function of protein and complexes involved in blood coagulation and neurotransmission; Cryo-EM microscopy; membrane nanotechnologies; blood coagulation factors.

Giulio Taglialatela, Ph.D.
Biographial Sketch

  • Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Neurology
  • Director, Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Research Interest: Mechanisms of neurodysfunction and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease and related amyloid diseases.

Shao-Jun Tang, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Associate Professor, Neuroscience & Cell Biology
  • Research Interest: The pathogenic mechanism of HIV-associated neurological disorders (NeuroAIDS)

Robert L. Ullrich, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Radiation Oncology
  • Research Interest: Mechanisms of radiation-induced cancer. The primary interest for many years has been on the pathogenesis of mammary cancer using a murine model system that permits study of these processes from the molecular level to progression to the neoplastic phenotype. More recently research has expanded to include mechanism involved in the pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Randall J. Urban, M. D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor & Chair, Internal Medicine
  • Research Interest: Ovarian steroidogenesis; aging and hormonal effects on muscle function; traumatic brain injury and pituitary dysfunction; umbilical cord blood stem cells: isolation and transdifferentiation into islets..

Gracie Vargas, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Associate Professor, Neuroscience & Cell Biology
  • Research Interest: Advanced intravital microscopy (nonlinear optical microscopy, endomicroscopy) in injury or disease; noninvasive optical diagnostics in cancer; use of contrast agents and molecular specific probes for enhanced image contrast; applications of advanced imaging in infectious diseases.

Elena Volpi, M.D., Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Internal Medicine
  • Research Interest: Muscle aging and sarcopenia; protein metabolism; diabetes; nutrition; exercise.

Cheryl S. Watson, Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Research Interest: Mechanisms of steroid and mimic actions; nongenomic signaling pathways for estrogens and xenoestrogens.

Ping Wu, M.D., Ph.D.
Biographical Sketch

  • Professor, Neuroscience & Cell Biology
  • Research Interest: Stem cell biology and therapy for neurological disorders such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, alcohol addiction

Emeritus & Off-Campus Faculty

Tetsuo Ashizawa, M.D.

  • Professor and Chairman, Neurology
  • Research Interest: Clinical neurogenetics and neurodegenerative disorders with genome instability.

B. Mark Evers, M.D.

  • Professor, Department of Surgery; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology;
  • Director, Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology
  • Research Interest: Signal transduction pathways regulating intestinal cell growth, secretion and inflammation.

Kathleen L. O'Connor, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Department of Surgery
  • Research Interest: Role of integrin extracellular matrix receptors, cAMP/PKA and the Rho family of small GTPases in the migration of invasive carcinoma cells from breast, colon and pancreatic cancers.

Steven A. Weinman, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Professor, Department of Neuroscience & Cell Biology
  • Director, M.D., Ph.D. Combined Program
  • Research Interest: Pathogenesis of Hepatitis C and alcoholic liver disease: role of viral mitochondrial interactions in redox dependent host responses.

William D. Willis Jr., M.D., Ph.D.

  • Professor Emeritus, Neuroscience & Cell Biology
  • Research Interest: Spinal cord mechanisms of pain and analgesia.

Cell Biology Graduate Program Contacts:

Program Director:
Pomila Singh, Ph.D.

Program Coordinator:
Aurora Galvan
120-E BSB, Route: 0625
Phone: (409) 772-2124

CELL BIOLOGY GRADUATE PROGRAM HANDBOOK