NCB Faculty


Dr. Barral

Barral, Jose M., M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Protein folding in vivo; relationships between mRNA coding sequence, polypeptide elongation rate and protein folding efficiency; curriculum reform to efficiently integrate foundational and clinical sciences in medical and graduate education.

Dr. Bhat

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


Adult brain development, function and disease; axon guidance and synaptic connections; self-renewal and asymmetric division of neural precursor stem cells in the CNS.

Dr. Cain

Cain, Lisa D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Lifelong interests in cholinergic neuron survival and glutamate toxicity of spinal cord neurons. Currently involved in medical school enrichment programs, graduate education and School of Medicine administration.

Dr. Carlton

Carlton, Susan M., Ph.D.


Neuroplasticity underlying chronic pain; receptors involved in pain processing in the periphery; mechanisms underlying both peripheral and central neuropathic pain.

Dr. Yong

Chen, Yong, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Peripheral mechanisms underlying chronic pain; especially interested in the role of purinergic receptors, interactions between neurons and glial cells in dorsal root ganglia and their contribution to chronic pain.

Dr. Chung

Chung, Jin Mo, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair

Synaptic plasticity of pain transmission pathways; involvement of reactive oxygen species in chronic pain; pain treatment strategies based on endogenous stem cell proliferation, migration and differentiation.

Dr. K Chung

Chung, Kyungsoon, Ph.D.


Mechanisms of chronic pain: structural and functional changes in primary afferent and spinal dorsal horn neurons following nerve injury; plasticity of receptors, signaling molecules, and free radicals involved in neuronal sensitization.

Dr. Elferink

Elferink, Lisa A., Ph.D.


Receptor signaling in pancreatic regeneration and substance abuse disorders; the role of MET in pancreatic acinar cell protection and the serotonin receptor in cocaine addiction. Currently involved in medical school administration and education, with an emphasis on curriculum development and assessment.

Dr. Esenaliev

Esenaliev, Rinat O., Ph.D.


Bioengineering and biophysics; novel applications of biophotonic technology for continuous monitoring of multiple physiological parameters and for non-invasive, efficient cancer therapy.

Dr. Given

Given, Randall L., Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Structural and functional changes related to the first interactions of the embryo with the maternal endometrium (implantation). Currently involved in medical education.

Yanping Gu

Gu, Yanping, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying chronic pain; specifically, inflammation and nerve-injury induced changes in purinergic receptor-mediated responses and second messenger modulation in dorsal root ganglia.

Dr. Hamill

Hamill, Owen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Mechanisms that underlie how cells sense and transduce mechanical forces into biological signals; mechanosensitive membrane and mechanosensitive membrane ion channels and calcium signaling.

Dr. Huang

Huang, Li-Yen Mae, Ph.D.


Mechanisms underlying nociception and chronic pain; in particular, changes in dorsal root ganglion and dorsal horn cell signaling following nerve or inflammatory lesions.

Dr. Kim

Kim, Yu Shin, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Plasticity mechanisms underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain; ongoing pain and evoked pain; central terminal hypersensitivity of DRG neurons to chronic pain; damages in skin nerve terminals and chronic pain conditions.

Dr. La

La, Jun-Ho, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Synaptic plasticity in pathological pain; role of reactive oxygen species in chronic pain; visceral pain mechanisms; pain management with endogenous stem cell and gene therapy approaches.

Guangwen Li

Li, Guangwen, D.D.S.


Mechanisms of chronic pain, with emphasis on changes in electrical properties of dorsal root ganglia and altered nociceptive responses to inflammation or nerve injuries in rats and in sheep.

Dr. Navarro

Navarro, Javier, Ph.D.


Molecular mechanisms of G protein-coupled receptors by structural, genetic and biophysical approaches; mechanisms underlying the chemokine receptor-regulated stem cell fate determination.

Dr. Oberhauser

Oberhauser, Andres F., Ph.D.


Dynamics and mechanics of proteins using single-molecule manipulation techniques; changes in mechanical properties of proteins that result in disease states, including polycistin, titin, myosin, elastin and synaptotagmin.

Dr. Peng

Peng, Bi-Hung, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

In vivo and in vitro Blood-brain barrier model; pathogenesis of intracellular bacterial and viral infection in the central nervous system; developing virtual technology for teaching microscopic and gross anatomy.

Dr. Shin

Shin, Ok-Ho, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Calcium-regulated exocytosis; how the sympathetic nervous system regulates norepinephrine release in the heart.

Dr. Singh

Singh, Pomila, Ph.D.


Molecular mechanisms mediating chemoprevention and generation of cancer stem cells; diagnostic value of progastrins, Annexin A2, circulating cancer stem cells and cancer specific isoforms of stem cell marker, DCLK1, based on our findings.

Dr. McPhie

Stoilova-McPhie,Svetla, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Structural biology of macromolecular organization of biological complexes in their native environment by Cryo-EM; the structure of membrane-bound coagulation factors VIII and V and their complexes.

Tang, Shao-Jun, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

HIV-associated neurological disorders (NeuroAIDS); the molecular, synaptic and glial mechanisms by which HIV-1 infection and the co-morbid factors that cause pathological pain.

Dr. Vargas

Vargas, Gracie, Ph.D.


Investigation and application of emerging optical techniques for monitoring of disease processes or injury; nonlinear optical microscopy for staging of epithelial neoplasms and epithelial injury due to topical microbicides.

Dr. Wu

Wu, Ping, M.D., Ph.D.


Molecular mechanisms of plasticity, multipotential and trophic factor secretion of stem cells; stem cell-based therapy and modeling for traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, neurodegenerative diseases, neuroinfection and addiction.


Professors Emeriti

Dr. Blankenship

Blankenship, James E., Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Lifelong interests in synaptic physiology, motor control and the molecular basis of peptide function in Aplysia. Currently student ombudsman.

Dr. Coggeshall

Coggeshall, Richard E., M.D.

Professor Emeritus

Lifelong interests in organization of peripheral nerve and spinal cord and reorganization and regeneration of peripheral nerves and spinal cord following injury. Currently involved in medical education.

Dr. Hulsebosch

Hulsebosch, Claire, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Spinal cord injury; cytotoxicity of nerve cells and glial cells-cells in the spinal cord; molecular, behavioral, physiological, immunocytochemical and electrophysiological approaches that will help restore the spinal cord to normal function.

McAdoo, David J., Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus



Rubin, Norma H., Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus



William D. Willis., Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus