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Pathobiology Track Faculty

The primary department of each Pathobiology track faculty member is listed.

*not accepting students as a major advisor

John M. Arthur, MD, PhD
Internal Medicine/Nephrology
Web profile
I am a physician-scientist with research and clinical interests in the prediction of outcomes in kidney disease. The research in my laboratory focuses on the discovery and validation of biomarkers in renal diseases including acute kidney injury, diabetic nephropathy, chronic kidney disease and glomerular diseases like IgA nephropathy. We use targeted analysis of candidate markers by multiplexed bead array, ELISA and mass spectrometry and proteomic discovery analyses by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to identify and qualify biomarkers in animal models and humans.

Steven Barger, PhD
Geriatrics
Web profile
My lab is focused on Alzheimer’s disease. Current research is examining the role of diabetes-related disruptions in glucose metabolism and the impact this has on brain function. Evidence indicates that both Alzheimer’s and diabetes involve processes connected to inflammation, which has been another of my longstanding areas of research.

William Bellamy, PhD
Pathology
Molecular diagnostics; mechanisms of drug resistance in hematopoietic tumors.

Marjan Boerma, PhD
Pharmaceutical Sciences
Web profile
The overall objective of my research is to elucidate biological mechanisms of cardiovascular injury from exposure to ionizing radiation, and to identify potential methods for intervention. We focus on radiation-induced heart disease as a side effect of radiation therapy to the chest and cardiovascular effects of exposure to space radiation. Our research is performed with animal models of whole body irradiation and image-guided localized irradiation combined with in vivo non-invasive echocardiography, ex vivo cardiac function measurements, and histological and molecular analyses.

Elisabet Borsheim, PhD
Pediatrics
Web profile
The overall aim of our program is to promote life-long health starting from the very beginning of a human’s life. Specifically, our research program is focused on studying the effects of physical activity, alone and in combination with nutrition, on optimal growth and development of children, including underlying biological mechanisms. We seek to understand the mechanistic consequences of inactivity and suboptimal nutrition on obesity and related metabolic disorders, and also how maternal physical activity during fetal development (i.e., training during pregnancy) and physical activity during childhood can prevent and/or reverse these conditions.

Gunnar Boysen, PhD
Environmental and Occupational Health
Web profile
My research focuses on how environmental and occupational exposure, nutrition, and genetic diversity influence cancer initiation, promotion and progress.

Parimal Chowdhury, PhD*
Physiology and Biophysics
Web profile
We study the effects of nicotine on gastrointestinal peptides to understand the mechanism of action of nicotine/cigarette smoking on the pancreas. In separate collaborative studies we are involved in research areas designed to identify the mechanisms by which microgravity and radiation interact to adversely impact whole organism physiology. In particular,we are interested in the effects of radiation and spaceflight on the physiological alterations as encountered during pre and post-flight conditions. We are interested in the characterization of the simulated response of pancreas to the insults of radiation and microgravity.

Alan Diekman, PhD
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Web profile
Structure and function of carbohydrate binding proteins in prostate cancer and reproduction

Johsua Epstein, DSc*
Myeloma Institute
Web profile 
Plasma cell dyscrasias are a family of malignant diseased characterized by expansion of a clone of abnormal plasma cells which include the apparently benign monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (MGUS) and the malignant multiple myeloma. The malignant plasma cells reside in the bone marrow, where they are sustained by their microenvironment while inducing changes that result in the debilitating manifestations of osteolytic bone disease. The interactions of myeloma cells with the microenvironment is mediated through cell-cell contact and through soluble factors and are important for tumor cell survival and for progression from relatively benign stages to the most aggressive disease. While genetic events are associated with the characteristics of the tumor cells, epigenetic regulation of gene expression plays a key role in controlling the properties of the malignant clone. Among the mediators of epigenetics are microRNA molecules secreted from cells encased in protective membranes – exosomes – that transfer molecules from cell to cell in the immediate and remote sites, thus controlling the expression of genes. Our interest is in understanding the roles of exosomal microRNA in the disease process – progression, risk, and resistance to therapy.

Craig Forrest, PhD
Microbiology and Immunology
Web profile
Virology, cancer biology, immunology! Gammaherpesviruses are cancer-causing viruses that infect the majority of humans. We are working to define functions of viral proteins in infection and disease, identify host factors that block viral infection and prevent virus-driven cancers, and understand immune responses to chronic viral infections. Our major goal is to comprehend the complex relationship between gammaherpesviruses and their hosts. PLUS, we get to do cool science and figure out how stuff works!

Aime Franco, PhD
Physiology and Biophysics
Web profile
In the Franco laboratory we are investigating the role of oncogenes, hormones and microbes in the development of cancer.  We use a variety of mouse models complemented with in vitro cell models to better understand initiation, progression and metastasis of cancer.

Behjatolah Karbassi
Pathology
Cancer vaccine and immunotherapy; Tumor glycans; Tumor progression and metastasis; Cancer and metabolism.

Gur Kaushal, PhD
Internal Medicine
Web profile
Dr. Kaushal’s research focuses on studying the role of metalloproteinases, cell death proteases and autophagy-lysosomal degradation pathways usinf models of renal diseases. The regulation of protein turnover and degradation of proteins by proteases is of vital importance in a number of clinical disorders including the pathogenesis of acute kidney injury (AKI). Since AKI is an independent risk factor for mortality and morbidity, studies on elucidation of the molecular events in AKI are important at finding therapeutic interventions that can prevent AKI. Dr. Kaushal’s studies have used mouse models of AKI including ischemia-reperfusion and cisplatin nephrotoxicity.  One of the Dr. Kaushal’s research projects is to examine the role of meprins in AKI. Dr. Kaushal originally discovered the previously unrecognized role of kidney meprins as matrix-degrading enzymes and, following systematic work, he showed the role of meprin A in ischemic, sepsis, and toxic AKI. Inhibition of meprin A provided protection from AKI. Dr. Kaushal’s findings that meprins degrades extracellular matrix components, and produce biologically active interleukin-1β from its inactive preform, have clinical significance not only in AKI, inflammation and leukocyte infiltration but also has impact in the process of cancer cell metastasis. Dr. Kaushal’s lab has identified ADAM10 as the protease involved in the shedding of meprin A from the brush-border membranes and currently he is investigating the role of ADAM10 in AKI.  Dr. Kaushal has also been working on the research project related to the mechanisms of cell death and survival signaling during AKI.  Dr. Kaushal’s lab has recently demonstrated that the executioner caspases, caspase-6 and -7 are direct transcriptional targets of p53 and showed the functional significance of this transactivation during cisplatin nephrotoxicity.  Another area of Dr. Kaushal’s research focuses on the role of autophagy in AKI as well as in chronic kidney disease (CKD). Dr. Kaushal’s studies demonstrate that induction of autophagy mounts an adaptive response, suppresses cisplatin-induced apoptosis, and prolongs survival of renal tubular epithelial cells.  We are further exploring the cross-talk between autophagy and apoptosis in AKI. Since autophagy is involved in the degradation of long-lived proteins such as ECM protein we are also investigating the role of autophagy in progressive accumulation of fibrosis in CKD.

Thomas Kelly, PhD
Pathology
Web profile
My lab is interested in tumor biology.  Our work has focused on extracellular matrix degrading proteases and their roles in facilitating tumor growth and metatstasis.

Mahmoud Kiaei, PhD
Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences
Web profile
Investigating the mechanism(s) of motor neuron degeneration in ALS, development of efficacious therapeutic strategy for ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. Development of transgenic mouse model for ALS carrying profilin1 mutation. Investigation of mutant profilin1 toxicity.

Soheila Korourian, MD
Pathology
I am interested in breast cancer classification and factors affecting breast cancer development and progression.

Lee Ann MacMillan-Crow, PhD
Pharmacology and Toxicology
Web profile
Elucidation of biochemical mechanisms involved with kidney damage during sepsis and transplantation. Focus on mitochondria, cell death, and oxidant generation as well as novel therapies to reduce damage.

Melanie MacNicol, PhD*
Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences
Web profile
I am working on identification of the cellular mechanisms that control cell growth and development.  I am particularly interested in the role and regulation of stem cells in neural development and in cancer.

Roy Morello, PhD
Physiology and Biophysics
Web profile
We utilize genetically modified mouse models to understand the function of poorly characterized genes that have a function in skeletal development, homeostasis or disease. A special interest is in proteins that post-translationally modify collagens and in osteogenesis imperfecta.

Richard Morrison, PhD
Microbiology and Immunology
Web profile 
Current researched is aimed at defining immune responses that protect against sexually transmitted Chlamydia infection.  Specifically, we have shown that CD4+ T cells and antibody confer immunity to genital infection in the murine model of infection.  Our current studies are aimed at defining the precise mechanisms by which those responses protect, and determining if similar mechanisms function against human chlamydial infection.

Mayumi Nakagawa, PhD
Pathology
Cell-mediated immunity against human papillomavirus (HPV), HPV therapeutic vaccine development, cancer immunotherapy.

Ganesh Narayanasamy, PhD
Radiation Oncology
Web profile
I am a medical physicist with interests in improving the outcome of radiation therapy in treatment of cancer. In particular, we are interested in prediction of outcome of radiation therapy and specifically, stereotactic radiation. Image-guided radiation therapy and extraction of features in images (CT/MRI/PET) using Radiomic features are our current focus. 

Intawat Nookaew, PhD
Biomedical Informatics
My research focuses on the area of applied bioinformatics/computational biology and systems biology for biomedical research. I have developed novel advanced algorithms and frameworks to accelerate the utilization and mining for biological interpretation of omics data (genome, transcriptome, proteome and metabolome) for biomedical research translation (cancer, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disease, metabolic dysfunction, etc.). In addition, I also focus on the impact of human gut microbiome on diseases progression and development.

Charles O’Brien, PhD
Internal Medicine/Endocrinology
Web profile
We want to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that cause bone loss with aging, estrogen-deficiency, and glucocorticoid excess.

Steven Post, PhD
Pathology
We are interested in understanding the mechanisms by which scavenger receptors regulate macrophage function in chronic inflammatory disease.

Charles Quick, MD
Pathology
Pathogenesis of vulvar squamous carcinogenesis and pathognesis and classification of endometrial carcinoma.

Robert Reis, PhD
Geriatrics
Web profile 
My research focuses on the molecular genetics of longevity and age-associated diseases. I was trained in genetics, and turned to C. elegans as a model system in which to define and characterize genes that govern longevity.  Using novel gene-mapping methods we developed, we discovered over 27 highly-significant loci for lifespan, resistance to stresses, and Darwinian fitness.  Using chromosomal fine-mapping, we identified one longevity gene as REC-8, a meiotic cohesin that helps hold tetrads together and was thought to be silent in mitotic cells.  However, we showed that it actually makes somatic tissues more vulnerable to diverse stresses, while stabilizing the meiotic genome, and its depletion in C. elegans or knockout in haploid yeast increases lifespan.  My group was the first to identify the Pirin gene on the human X chromosome as a regulator of post-menopausal bone loss in women, a discovery confirmed in a Chinese population.  We also pioneered the role of homologous recombination in the development and progression of myeloma, prostate, and breast cancers. We were the first to note that cells from many different cancer types feature very high levels of homologous recombination, and high expression of the Rad51 recombinase complex that mediates it.  We are now working chiefly on genetic factors that regulate lifespan, and that contribute to protein aggregates — key toxic intermediates in neurodegenerative diseases.  We have identified proteins in specific aggregate types that are highly enriched in Alzheimer’s cortex, and many of them play functional roles in aggregate formation in C. elegans models. Their toxic effects turn out to be mediated in large part by blockage of proteasomes and autophagosomes.  We are combining exploratory proteomics and immunochemistry in human cortex and cultured neurons, with the facile genetics of nematodes, to better understand how aggregates begin, grow, and ultimately disrupt proteostasis.

Maria Schuller Almeida, PhD
Internal Medicine-Endocrinology
The overall goal of my research is to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the loss of bone mass with aging. Work from my lab, has revealed critical mechanisms of action of the anti-aging FoxO transcription factors on the skeleton. In addition, we have elucidated seminal cellular targets of action of estrogens and androgens on bone.
Web profile

Sara Shalin, MD*
Pathology
Skin cancer and inflammatory skin disease. Primary a clinical physician, but interested in and collaborate with translational research efforts.

Rosalia Simmen, PhD
Physiology and Biophysics
Web profile
My research is focused on defining the mechanisms underlying the dynamics and combinatorial relationships of regulatory pathways implicated in the biology and pathobiology of the mammary gland and the uterus.  We have a specific interest in elucidating the signaling pathways by which steroid hormone receptors, growth factors, cytokines and dietary components are engaged in the pathogenesis of breast cancer and uterine-associated diseases.  We employ diverse cellular and molecular techniques and experimental models including gene arrays for gene discovery, cell lines for analyses of signaling pathways, and human and mouse models of diseases to address basic goals with translational potential.

Ayako Suzuki, MD
Gastroenterology
NAFLD, gender difference in pathophysiology of NAFLD, drug-induced liver injury, hepatotoxicity

Alan Tackett, PhD
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Web profile
My laboratory focuses on histone epigenetic mechanisms that regulate gene transcription and that are coupled to melanoma progression. We utilize a suite of techniques in our studies including proteomics of human biopsies, immunohistochemistry, cell culture, tumorigenicity assays, ChIPseq, biochemical and proteomic approaches for analyses of protein complexes, and cutting-edge mass spectrometry for the analysis of histone post-translational modifications.

David Ussery, PhD
Biomedical Informatics
We are using ‘third generation sequencing technology’ (such as Oxford Nanopore flow cells) to do metagenomics of clinical isolates and environmental samples.

Jerry Ware, PhD
Physiology and Biophysics
Web profile
The role of circulating blood platelets, in thrombosis, inflammation, and cancer.

Donghoon Yoon, PhD
Myeloma Institute
Web profile
We are interested in the pathophysiology of multiple myeloma (MM), a B cell cancer characterized by proliferation of malignant plasma cells in the bone marrow, presence of a monoclonal serum immunoglobulin, and osteolytic lesions. We are investigating roles/mechanisms of PTH axis (PTH signal transduction) in MM development and therapeutic agents that target this axis. Additionally we are exploring the roles of Hypoxia (low oxygen tension) and microRNA (miRNA) in MM.