Advising Faculty



Research interests

Kate Adamala

Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology, and Genetics

We are combining top-down and bottom-up approaches to synthetic biology; we use tools of protein engineering and molecular biology, together with novel synthetic cell technologies, to understand and modulate biological processes in complex systems.

Hideki Aihara

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

DNA rearrangement systems relevant to human health

Emilyn Alejandro Integrative Biology and Physiology Roles of nutrient sensor proteins OGT and mTOR in pancreatic beta-cell function/development and placental regulation of fetal programming of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Grant Anderson

Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Dulth campus

Thyroid Hormone, Brain Development, Blood Brain Barrier, Drug Transport and Metabolism, Lipid Metabolism

Edgar A. Arriaga


Explore and characterize organelles to elucidate the complexities of biological systems and to address current biomedical problems

David A. Bernlohr

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Adipose Biology and Obesity Linked Insulin Resistance, Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Function, Adipokine Biology and Insulin Resistance

Daniel R. Bond

Microbiology and Immunology

Bacteria can transfer electrons to metals and other organisms, powering global geochemical cycles and industrial processes. Microbial electrochemical technologies harness this ability, using electrodes as electron sources and sinks for metabolism. We aim to discover conductive pathways at the core of this electron flow, and understand how organisms sense redox conditions that require different electrical pathways.

Christina Camell

Immune-metabolic interactions Cellular and molecular changes within tissue resident immune cells that drive metabolic imapirments in tissues.

Erin Carlson


The Carlson lab is pursuing the discovery of the master regulators of bacterial growth and communication and ultimately, the identification of new antibiotics through the application of diverse tools at the interface of chemistry and biology. 

Clay Carter

Plant Biology

Plant-microbe and plant-animal interactions, protein trafficking in plant cells

Yue Chen

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Functional proteomics and protein posttranslational modification networks in diseases.

Benjamin Clarke

Biomedical Sciences at the Duluth campus

Immunoendocrinology, with an emphasis on the role of neuroendocrine peptide hormones as autocrine regulators of immune function

Robert Cormier

Biomedical Sciences at the Duluth campus

Identification and characterization of susceptibility genes for colorectal cancer including analysis of both human cancer tissues and mouse models of colorectal cancer (CRC)

Naomi Courtemanche

Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology, and Genetics

Structure, assembly and dynamics of actin-based cytoskeletal network

Peter Crawford

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics Obesity and cardiovascular disease are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Our research focuses on the interplay between intermediary metabolism and these disease processes. 

Scott Dehm

Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

Role of the androgen receptor (AR) and alterations in AR signaling in prostate cancer development and progression

Lester R. Drewes

Biomedical Sciences at the Duluth campus

Molecular characterization of the blood-brain barrier/neurovascular unit with an emphasis on nutrient and drug transport in health and disease. 

Mikael Elias

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Cellular phosphate uptake and bacterial virulence, chemical bonds to phenotypes, Molecular engineering of enzymes and biotechnological applications

Aaron Engelhart

Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology, and Genetics

The research in the Engelhart laboratory is directed towards better understanding nucleic acid folding and function in order to advance two broad themes: 1) the development of novel nucleic acid-based imaging, analytical, and diagnostic technologies and 2) the elucidation of unanticipated roles for nucleic acids in vivo.

James M. Ervasti

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Define the function of dystrophin in striated muscle to understand how its absence or abnormality leads to the pathologies observed in Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies

Tanya Freedman


Immune-cell signaling, including kinase-mediated feedback regulation of macrophages and other myeloid cells

Michael Freeman

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Natural product biosynthesis, Microbial genetics, Targeted metagenomics

Melissa Gardner

Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development

Biophysical Studies of Mitotic Microtubule Dynamics and Spindle Function

Aaron Goldstrohm

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Principles and mechanisms that control expression of genes

Wendy Gordon

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

How cell surface receptors convert signals from extracellular stimuli like mechanical force into a biological response

Jeffrey Gralnick


Understanding the physiology ofShewanella, a species of gram-negative bacteria found throughout the world in aquatic environments

Timothy J. Griffin

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Development and application of mass spectrometry-based tools to study proteins and proteomes

Susan Hafenstein Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics An expert in cryoEM, utilizing local reconstruction approaches to solve atomic resolution maps of viruses

Daniel Harki

Medicinal Chemistry

Design, synthesis and biophysical characterization of small molecules that influence cellular function

Thomas Hays

Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development

Applying genetic, molecular and biochemical approaches in Drosophila to study the molecular regulation of motor proteins and intercellular transport

Anne Hinderliter

Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Duluth campus

Membrane-localized phenomena

Fumiaki Katagiri

Plant Biology

Plant immune network

Romas J. Kazlauskas

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Protein engineering for biocatalysis

Do-Hyung Kim

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Biological networks that coordinate metabolism and growth

Ryan A. Langlois

Microbiology and Immunology

Immunity to influenza virus infections

Michael Latham Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics Our research program focuses on understanding the interplay of protein structure, dynamics, and function, particularly in large macromolecular assemblies. Our current emphasis is the characterization of an essential protein complex that recognizes double-strand breaks in our DNA.

Nicholas Levinson


How protein-protein interactions induce conformational changes at a distance, a phenomenon termed allostery

Fang Li

Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences

Structural and molecular basis of human diseases including virus infections and cancer

Hinh Ly

Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences

Molecular mechanisms of Lassa fever virus replication and host immune suppression

Louis Mansky

Microbiology and Immunology

Cell and molecular biology of HIV and HTLV; Antiviral drug target identification; Antiviral drug resistance; HIV genetic variation, evolution and population genetics; Viral quasispecies; Virus assembly; Evolution of emerging viruses; Paleovirology

Douglas Mashek

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Characterizing the alterations in metabolism that define diseases such as fatty liver disease and Type 2 Diabetes

Kevin H. Mayo

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Structural biology is aimed at understanding cell adhesion at the molecular level where protein-protein and protein-carbohydrate interactions ae critical

Luiza Mendonça

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

My research interests lie at the intersection of virology, structural biology and cellular biology. In particular, I am an expert in RNA viruses (such as HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2), cryoelectron microscopy and tomography (cryoEM/ET), cellular cryoET, correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) and multimodal imaging approaches.

Joseph M. Metzger

Integrative Biology and Physiology

Integrative systems biology of cardiovascular function; Cardiac gene therapy; Transgenic models of heart disease; Molecular mechanisms of sarcomere function; Human iPS cell cardiac myocytes

Sharon E. Murphy

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Metabolism of nicotine and nitrosamines, characterize the enzymes involved in nicotine metabolism

Chad Myers

Computer Science and Engineering

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Hai Dang Nguyen


Our lab focuses on two main areas: 1) developing tools and assays to dissect the crosstalk between RNA biology and DNA damage response in normal and cancer cells, and 2) developing new therapeutic strategies to target cancers harboring RNA splicing factor mutations.

Laura Niedernhofer

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics My research is focused on discovering fundamental mechanisms that drive aging and age-related diseases. In particular, we are interested in determining how spontaneous endogenous DNA damage contributes to aging. We use transgenic mice, primary cells and patients with rare genome instability disorders to study senescence and aging.

Laurie Parker

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Assay development for post-translational modifications (PTMs), with a focus on protein phosphorylation by tyrosine kinases

William C. Pomerantz


Research in our group focuses on modulating protein-protein interactions through the use of small molecules and bio-inspired peptide scaffolds. By controlling such processes using synthetic molecules that we make in the laboratory, we seek to develop new chemical probes for understanding the underlying biology of protein-protein interactions in disease and ultimately novel therapeutics. 

Juan Carlos Rivera-Mulia

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Research in our lab is focused in understanding the mechanisms that control the genome organization and function during development, as well as their alterations in human diseases. We are exploiting differentiation protocols of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from patients to model disease progression and genomic technologies to characterize nuclear organization

Paul Robbins

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics  

Daniel Schmidt

Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development

Invents and applies protein engineering technologies to study fundamental functional principles of natural and artificial living systems at a cellular level

Claudia Schmidt-Dannert

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics


Synthetic biology, biosynthetic pathway/enzyme engineering and discovery, cell-free biosynthesis/biocatalysis, design of protein-based nanoarchitectures.

Janet L. Schottel

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Regulation of gene expression in cells in response to stresses such as desiccation, nutrient deprivation, culture density, osmotic stress, heat shock, and mechanical stress

Burckhard Seelig

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Synthetic biology – artificial proteins – origin of life: We generate novel enzymes for synthetic biology and biomedical applications. We study the origin and evolution of functional proteins. We investigate the history of the genetic code.
Michael Sheedlo Pharmacology Research in the Sheedlo lab is focused on defining the mechanisms that govern interactions at the host-pathogen interface. Specifically, we are interested in using structural biology (cryo-electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography) to obtain a framework that we can then probe in a physiologically relevant context.

Sivaraj (Shiv) Sivaramakrishnan

Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development

Our lab at the University of Minnesota is focused on engineering protein interactions in vitro, in live cells, and in whole organisms, in order to bridge the gap between our structural understanding of proteins and their emergent cellular function.

Michael Smanski

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Natural products discovery in the post-genomics era, Precision engineering of diverse bacterial species

David D. Thomas

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Fundamental molecular motions and interactions that are responsible for cellular movement, to determine the molecular bases of muscle disorders, and to devise novel therapies based on these discoveries

Stefani Thomas

Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

The Thomas lab applies mass spectrometry-based proteomics methods to elucidate the biology of ovarian cancer. Protein function is studied in the context of altered pathways that contribute to disease pathogenesis and treatment response

Margaret Titus

Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development

Understand how the actin cytoskeleton and its associated motors, myosins, and actin binding proteins that link the cytoskeleton to adhesion receptors are used to generate amoeboid motility and how cells interpret extracellular cues to move directionally

Natalia Tretyakova

Medicinal Chemistry

Investigate the structural basis for carcinogenic and anticancer activity of DNA- and protein-modifying agents

Thu Truong Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics My laboratory research is focused in the areas of cancer stem cells and cancer metabolism. Our current objectives are focused on defining how steroid receptors (e.g., estrogen receptor [ER], progesterone receptor [PR]) and their associated co-activators mediate the survival and expansion of breast CSCs with emphasis on altered signaling pathways and metabolic reprogramming.

Lawrence P. Wackett

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Enzyme transformations for biotechnological applications

Kendall B. Wallace

Biomedical Sciences at the Duluth campus

Mechanisms by which foreign chemicals, including drugs and industrial and environmental pollutants, interfere with mitochondrial metabolism and genetics to bring about various metabolic diseases

Carrie M. Wilmot

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Understand the mechanisms of post-translational modification required for protein enzyme activity

Jeongsik Yong

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

Function of RNA-binding proteins and non-coding RNAs in post transcriptional gene regulation mechanisms

Lei Zhang Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

The general interest of the Zhang Laboratory focuses on genome and epigenome instability in aging and longevity applying single-cell multi-omics technologies.