Cell Biology Graduate Program Faculty Listing

Nicola Abate, MD

  • Professor, Internal Medicine
  • Research Interest: Pathogenesis of insulin resistance; obesity; dyslipidemia; the metabolic syndrome.

Sherif A. Abdel-Rahman, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Associate Professor, 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, MS, PhD

  • 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, MD, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Professor, Neuroscience & Cell Biology
  • Research Interest: Molecular mechanisms during de novo protein folding; protein quality control; protein misfolding diseases.

L. Maria Belalcazar, MD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Assistant Professor, 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, MD, PhD

  • 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, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
  • 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, PhD, CSc
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Professor, Microbiology & 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.

Yingzi Cong, PhD

  • Professor, Microbiology & Immunology and Pathology
  • Research Interest: Mucosal Immunology; host-microbial interaction in intestines; pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease.

Jin Mo Chung, PhD

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

Larry Denner, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Professor, 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, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Professor, Anesthesiology
  • Research Interest: Experimental traumatic brain injury, cerebral vascular regulation.

William J. Durham, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

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

Cornelis (Kees) Elferink, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Research Interest: Molecular mechanisms involved in liver homeostasis.

Lisa A. Elferink, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Professor, Neuroscience & 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.

Mark Emmett, PhD

  • Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • Research Interest: Mass spectrometry; in vivo pharmacology animal experience including surgical procedures, drug delivery, microdialysis, in vivo and in vitro biochemical assays, receptor binding and robotic automation.

Perenlei Enkhbaatar, MD, PhD

  • Professor, Anesthesiology
  • Research Interest: Investigate mechanisms of cardiopulmonary and neural dysfunctions secondary to sepsis, toxic gas inhalation and thermal injury with special emphasis on development of novel treatment methods, i.e. cellular therapy.

Celeste Finnerty, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • 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, MD

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

Hal K. Hawkins, MD, PhD

  • 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, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

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

Mark R. Hellmich, PhD

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

David N. Herndon, MD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

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

Rakez Kayed, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • 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.

Yu Shin Kim, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Assistant Professor, Neuroscience & Cell Biology
  • Research Interest: 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.

Sathish Kumar, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • 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, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

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

Jere W. McBride, PhD

  • Associate Professor, Microbiology & Immunology
  • Research Interest: Obligately intracellular bacteria, molecular pathogen-host interactions, immunity and vaccines.

Ramkumar Menon, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Research Interest: Molecular mechanisms of term and preterm parturition, placental senescence, and feto-maternal signaling.

Melinda (Sheffield) Moore, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Professor, Internal Medicine
  • 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, PhD

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

Carol Nilsson, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • 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, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Professor, Biochemistry & 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, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • Research Interest: Responses to acute and chronic trauma to central nervous system.

Anson Pierce, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

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

Iryna Pinchuk, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Assistant Professor, 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, MD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • 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, PhD

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

Vicente A. Resto, MD, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • 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, MD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Professor, Obstetrics & 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, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • 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.

Pomila Singh, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • Professor, Neuroscience & 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, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

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

Giulio Taglialatela, PhD
Biographial Sketch (PDF)

  • Professor, 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, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

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

Alfredo Torres, PhD

  • Professor, Microbiology & Immunology and Pathology
  • Research Interest: The pathogenic mechanism of HIV-associated neurological disorders.

Robert L. Ullrich, PhD

  • 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, MD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • 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, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • 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, MD, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

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

Cheryl S. Watson, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

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

Ping Wu, MD, PhD
Biographical Sketch (PDF)

  • 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.

Kangling Zhang, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
  • Research Interest: Epigenetics; analytical biochemistry; mass spectrometry; proteomics; metabolomics.

Wenbo Zhang, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
  • Research Interest: Mechanisms for retinal injury in ischemic retinopathy; retinal neuronal injury, retinal vascular leakage and degeneration, and in retinal pathological angiogenesis.

Emeritus & Off-Campus Faculty


Tetsuo Ashizawa, MD

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

B. Mark Evers, MD

  • 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, PhD

  • 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, MD, PhD

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