MCDB&G Graduate Program Faculty
Name Research focus Contact

Adamala, Kate

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.


Albert, Frank

We study the genetics of complex traits: how variation in genome sequences influences individual molecular, cellular and organismal features. We also seek to understand the evolutionary forces that shape genomic diversity.


Alejandro, Emilyn

T2D is the most common chronic disease affecting human health, affecting more than 347 million individuals worldwide. T2D is a complex disease characterized by pancreatic β-cell failure to make sufficient amounts of insulin in the setting of obesity and insulin resistance in peripheral tissues. The risk for T2D is determined by many factors. Our genetic makeup can predispose us for T2D, and lifestyle can also reduce or exacerbate health risks. But in recent years, our studies and those of others have shown the importance of babies' time in the womb for influencing health over our lifespan. We and others have shown that poor uterine environments can increase the risk of many diseases in adulthood, including diabetes. Therefore, the long-term goal of the Alejandro Lab is to stop the vicious cycle of diabetes by launching a two-pronged research program for both intervention and prevention of this disease: 

  1. Research program in the pancreas to promote healthy β-cell: The role of OGT in pancreatic β-cell development and function 
  2. Research program in the placenta to identify modifiable risk factors for T2D: Role of placental nutrient sensor proteins in the developmental programming of pancreatic β-cell dysfunction and susceptibility to T2D.


Artinger, Kristin The Artinger lab focuses on the development of a population of cells called neural crest cells. Because these cells undergo multiple developmental processes to differentiate into craniofacial cartilage and peripheral nervous system among other derivatives, they represent an excellent model to study genetic and epigenetic regulation during development. 


Blazar, Bruce

Transplant immune responses/therapy and use of induced pluripotent stem cells


Cetera, Maureen

We investigate mechanisms that coordinate cell behaviors across great distances during tissue morphogenesis.


Chen, Lihsia

Cell adhesion, signal transduction, cytoskeleton, and C. elegans.


Clarke, Duncan

Yeast and Human Cell Cycle Control


Conner, Sean

Clathrin-mediated endocytosis; mammalian intracellular membrane trafficking.


Courtemanche, Naomi

Structure, assembly and dynamics of actin-based cytoskeletal network


Davis, Dana

C. albicans genetics and pathogenesis


Dehm, Scott

Focuses on the role of the androgen receptor (AR) and alterations in AR signaling in prostate cancer development and progression


Dong, Xiao

We focus on testing the mutation theory of aging: if accumulation of DNA mutations in normal somatic cells is a causal mechanism to age-related functional decline. We approach this by developing and applying state-of-the-art single-cell multi-omics technologies and machine learning algorithms.


Driscoll, Meghan The Driscoll Lab investigates dynamic cancer and immune cell biology via quantitative microscopy, especially the development of computational analysis algorithms.

Engelhart, Aaron

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.


Ervasti, James

Molecular Basis of Muscular Dystrophy; Role of Actin in Cell Polarity


Farrar, Michael 

Signal transduction and lymphocyte development


Gammill, Laura

Cytoskeleton and Cell Motility, developmental mechanisms, neuroscience, and regulation of gene expression


Gardner, Melissa

Chromatin mechanics and dynamics; Quantitative fluorescence microscopy


Garry, Daniel

Regenerative medicine, cardiogenesis, and stem-cell biology.


Gill, Matthew

We are interested in discovering novel signaling pathways and mechanisms that affect development and aging in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans using a combination of genetic, drug screening and biochemical approaches.


Greenstein, David

Fundamental and fascinating developmental processes of meiosis and fertilization using C. elegans


Hackett, Perry

Transposons, human gene therapy, vertebrate gene expression, mouse, zebrafish


Hallstrom, Timothy

How Rb/E2F1 mediated apoptosis is regulated in normal and cancer cells


Hays, Thomas

Cytoskeleton and cell motility, developmental mechanisms


Hogquist, Kristin 

Molecular mechanism of cell-fate determination in T cells


Hsieh, PingHsun

We use genomics and population genetics modeling to study disease- and trait-relevant variants, including complex structural mutations, in humans.

Igarashi, Peter

Kidney development, transcriptional regulation, microRNAs, primary cilia, polycystic kidney disease (PKD)


Isabella, Adam We use zebrafish to study the genetic and cell biological basis by which neuronal connectivity is patterned during development and regeneration


Jameson, Stephen

Development, homeostasis and trafficking of T lymphocytes


Junge, Harald Retina, neurovascular interactions, wnt signaling


Kawakami, Yasuhiko

Understanding the molecular and genetic mechanisms of vertebrate limb development and apply the study to elucidate the mechanisms of congenital limb in human and limb regeneration


Kikyo, Nobuaki

Nuclear reprogramming in somatic cell nuclear cloning and stem cells


Kirkpatrick, David

The role of DNA repair and recombination in maintaining genome stability


Koepp, Deanna

Cell cycle regulation, Ubiquitination and proteolysis, Genetic mechanisms of tumorigenesis


Koob, Michael

Genome engineering, pioneering full gene and gene cluster replacement technologies; modeling the genetics of human disease in the mouse; molecular mechanism underlying Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias, with a current focus on the phospho-dynamics of TAU


Kyba, Michael

Stem Cell Biology: regulatory pathways, diseases and therapies Transcriptional control of mesoderm development


Lange, Carol

The Lange lab studies how steroid hormone receptor (SR) positive and hormone-influenced cancers escape molecular targeted therapies. Signal transduction is an essential role of SRs. Indeed, all SRs can rapidly activate cytoplasmic protein kinases and act as “growth factor sensors”. In this role, SRs are heavily phosphorylated by mitogenic protein kinases (MAPKs, AKT, CDKs) that are frequently elevated and activated in SR+ (breast and reproductive tract) cancers. Phosphorylation of SRs alters their binding partners and promoter selection and influences cancer cell fate/plasticity by regulating genes that specify proliferative, pro-survival, metabolic, and cancer stem cell programs. Identifying the required kinases and co-activator partners of phospho-SRs will enable the targeting of multiple signaling molecules in addition to SRs, which is predicted to halt cancer metastasis, prevent recurrence, and increase patient survival.


Largaespada, David

Identification and understanding of genes involved in cancer development


Low, Walter

The translational development of therapies for treating neurological disorders.


Mansky, Kim

Focus on signaling and transcriptional mechanisms that regulate osteoclast differentiation


Mansky, Lou

Cell and molecular biology of HIV and HTLV


McIvor, R Scott

Gene therapy for genetic disease and cancer using viral and non-viral vectors


McLoon, Linda

Craniofacial muscles in health and disease


Moriarity, Branden

My lab works on pediatric cancer genetics, immunotherapy, and gene therapy using cutting edge technologies, including DNA transposons, TALENs, and CRISPR/Cas9.


Myers, Chad

Computational biology and functional genomics - Machine learning for integrating diverse genomic data to make inferences about biological networks


Nakagawa, Yasushi Mammalian brain development, cell type specification and establishment of neuronal connectivity


Nakato, Hiroshi

Molecular and genetic analysis of Drosophila development


Neufeld, Thomas

Developmental control of growth and cell proliferation in Drosophila


O'Connor, Michael

Cell-cell interactions in growth, differentiation, and development


Perlingeiro, Rita

Mechanisms controlling lineage decision and reprogramming, and application to regenerative medicine


Porter, Mary

Regulation of dynein-based motility


Rivera-Mulia, Juan Carlos Research in the Rivera-Mulia lab focuses on understanding how DNA replication timing and large-scale chromosome organization are regulated and maintained in distinct cell types and remodeled during development as well as how alterations in nuclear architecture disrupt gene function in human disease.
Rougvie, Ann Developmental timing in C. elegans: from microRNAs to nutritional cues


Schmidt, Daniel

Our group invents and applies protein engineering technologies to study fundamental functional principles of natural and artificial living systems at a cellular level.


Selmecki, Anna We employ diverse yeast model systems (Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida albicans, Candida auris, etc.) to understand how genome instability contributes to adaptation (eg. antifungal drug resistance) and determine the underlying mechanisms that promote genome instability. 
Shima, Naoko Uses the laboratory mouse as a model to understand a causative link between chromosome instability and cancer


Shimizu, Yoji

Lymphocyte and tumor cell adhesion, migration and signal transduction


Sivaramakrishnan, Sivaraj (Shiv)

Protein acrobatics - Study of protein function via protein engineering; Focus on cell signaling and motor proteins


Skubitz, Amy Discovery and validation of biomarkers for ovarian cancer


Somia, Nikunj

My laboratory is interested in understanding the lifecycle of retroviruses and use this information 1) to identify new drug targets for HIV, 2) to develop better vectors for gene therapy and 3) to use these vectors for gene discovery.


Song, Guisheng

My research focuses mainly on the roles of microRNAs in the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), obesity, insulin resistance and liver cancer, with the goal to develop novel therapeutic approaches for these disorders.


Starr, Tim

Understanding the genetics of cancer in order to develop individualized, targeted therapies


Steer, Clifford Non-viral gene therapy using nanocapsules and the Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon; antiapoptosis of neurodegenerative disorders using ursodeoxycholic acid as a therapeutic drug; genomic methylation changes associated with transposition of SB; and induced by microRNAs


Titus, Margaret

Molecular genetic analysis of unconventional myosin function


Tolar, Jakub

Stem cell gene therapy


Van Berlo, Jop

Role of cardiac progenitor cells in vivo during cardiac development


Venteicher, Andrew We seek to map the developmental origins of chordoma 1) to understand the epigenetic requirements that are necessary for malignant transformation in these challenging tumors, 2) to provide a framework to explain the variability in clinical behavior of chordoma, and 3) delineate vulnerabilities that may be used as new therapeutic targets.  We use a variety of epigenomics, single cell genomics, and biochemistry approaches to study the connection between notochordal development and human chordoma tumors. 
von Diezmann, Lexy We study how proteins self-organize and communicate information in living cells using quantitative microscopy and genetic engineering. Our major focus is how crossover recombination is coordinated during meiosis in the model organism C. elegans.


Voytas, Daniel

Plant genome engineering through homologous recombination; Retrotransposable elements and genome organization


Yamamoto, Masato

Cancer gene-therapy and virotherapy


Zaidi, Arslan Our research lies at the interface of population and quantitative genetics. We use theoretical and computational approaches to study the evolution and genetic basis of complex traits in humans.