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Education / Graduate Education / PREP Program / Mentored-Research-Opportunities


Mentored Research Opportunities

As part of our application process, students may select up to 3 potential mentors from our list of graduate program faculty, which is organized by research interests. Faculty web pages include contact information and you may contact faculty directly with any questions that you may have about their research. You may also contact the Program Director for assistance with your selection of possible mentors.


Name Program/Department Research Focus
Altman, Brian Biomedical Genetics

Our research focuses on identifying the intersections between circadian rhythm, cancer cell physiology, and metabolism.   We utilize diverse cell line models of cancer and mouse MYC-driven lung cancer to focus on amplified MYC, the extended MYC family of related proteins, and nutrient input and metabolic stress signaling in circadian rhythm control. Better understanding of how tumors and metabolic input modulate the clock and the circadian metabolic cycle could aid in developing novel treatment strategies to time increased efficacy and reduced toxicity.

Barnas, Jennifer

Allergy, Immunology & Rheumatology

Long-term goals include establishing the functional role of IFN-λ in lupus and the renal microenvironment including its contribution to renal fibrosis and end-stage kidney disease. Understanding how innate interferon pathways interconnect will allow for their therapeutic calibration for improved lupus patient outcome as well as in other autoimmune and viral diseases.

Briggs, Farran Neuroscience

Critical to our comprehension of the brain is an understanding of how neuronal circuits, or the connections between neurons in the brain, underlie perception and behavior. The goals of the laboratory are to understand how neuronal circuits in the early visual system encode and process visual information and how spatial attention modulates these activities.ngoing experiments will further define how corticogeniculate feedback regulates the flow of information about distinct visual features in the environment.

Brookes, Paul

Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine

Our broad research interest is cardioprotection against ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury. We are particularly interested in mechanisms of protection in ischemic preconditioning (IPC), and anesthetic preconditioning (APC) and the role of mitochondria and metabolism in these processes. A variety of model systems are used, including: isolated heart mitochondria, Langendorff perfused mouse hearts, isolated adult mouse cardiomyocytes, in-vivo mouse coronary artery occlusion, and H9c2 cardiomyocytes in cell culture. We also use many biochemical techniques to investigate mitochondrial function including: mitochondrial respiration & membrane potential assays, electrode and fluorescence based measurements of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide, analysis of protein post-translational modifications (phosphorylation, acetylation, S-nitrosation, nitroalkylation) by 2D gels, western blotting, mass spectrometry (via the proteomics core), spectrophotometry, fluorescence spectroscopy, Seahorse XF24 and XF96 extracellular flux analysis, chemical synthesis and development of novel small molecule therapeutics, and metabolomics (with Josh Munger‘s lab). We maintain several lines of engineered mice for these studies (email for details).

Brown, Edward Biomedical Engineering

Our research program focuses on the application of multiphoton laser-scanning microscopy (MPLSM) to the study of biological processes. We undertake the creation of novel MPLSM-based imaging and measurement techniques, as well as their application to the study of tumor biology in vivo, with an emphasis on the biology and biophysics of breast cancer.

Cory-Slechta, A Deborah

Environmental Medicine

This laboratory focuses on understanding the contribution of environmental chemical exposures to human diseases and disorders of the central nervous system in order to evaluate human health risks, determine effective strategies for treatment, and inform regulatory agencies. Our research is focused on assessing behavioral, neurotoxicological, and neurodegenerative processes and their interactions as a result of exposure to chemical and non-chemical stressors. These studies include both animal models and human populations with the goal of using human studies to further inform animal models and animal model findings to refine human or population study approaches. We continue to emphasize the significance of context in animal model studies, examining interactions of chemicals with other human environmentally relevant chemical or non-chemical stressors that share biological substrates. The goal of these efforts is to advance animal models towards more realistic simulations of the human environmen

Dean, David Pediatrics

Ongoing projects in my laboratory are studying the mechanisms of cytoplasmic trafficking of plasmids along the cytoskeleton, plasmid nuclear entry, subnuclear organization, and exploiting what we learn to improve gene therapy.

Dewhurst, Stephen Microbiology & Immunology

Our laboratory's major research goals include: Understanding the interaction of HIV with glial cells; Developing an improved live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV); and Elucidating the host cell response to infection by viral pathogens (with emphasis on SARS-CoV-2 and Adeno-associated virus, AAV).

Dirksen, Robert

Pharmacology & Physiology

The overall focus of the Dirksen laboratory is to characterize the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control intracellular calcium dynamics in skeletal and cardiac muscle in health and disease. Current projects involve elucidating the mechanisms by which muscle function is controlled by proteins involved in coordinating: Excitation-contraction coupling; Store-operated calcium entry; Mitochondrial calcium uptake and energy production; and Molecular mechanisms for skeletal and cardiac dysfucntion in myotoni dystrophy

Doyle, Marvin.

Biomedical Engineering

Imaging Sciences

Du,Ting Center for Translational Neuromedicine Neurotranlsational Medicine
DunmanPaul Microbiology & Immunology

Our laboratory uses S. aureus and A. baumannii as model organisms to study bacterial pathogenesis and develop novel strategies for the therapeutic intervention of bacterial infections. That work has revealed that most bacterial virulence factors are post-transcriptionally regulated in a manner that involves the modulation of their mRNA turnover. Current laboratory projects are geared toward characterizing the molecular components that govern ‘native’ and temporal changes in mRNA degradation. These factors can be broadly categorized as either: small non-coding RNAs, ribonucleases, or RNA binding proteins. We have purified and exploited several of these factors as targets for antimicrobial drug discovery.

Dziejman, Michelle

Microbiology & Immunology

The Dziejman Lab is interested in the evolution of bacterial pathogens and the molecular interactions at the host-microbe interface that promote colonization and infectious disease. We are particularly interested in novel mechanisms used by enteric organisms to disrupt intestinal homeostasis. Our focus is on Vibrio cholerae, which can cause the life-threatening diarrheal disease known as cholera. Cholera is historically defined by the activity of cholera toxin, a well known and long studied virulence factor. However, there are pathogenic V. cholerae strains that cause clinically similar disease, yet do not carry the genes encoding cholera toxin.

Elder, Alison

Environmental Medicine

Our laboratory has focused for several years on the toxicology of inhaled ultrafine particles (UFPs). We investigate the impacts of age, gaseous co-pollutant exposure, and health status on the response(s) to inhaled UFPs and the basis for adverse effects in the pulmonary, cardiovascular, and central nervous systems. Better understanding the effects of ultrafine and other ambient particles, as well as gas-particle mixtures, on health may inform future air quality regulations.

Falsetta Wood, Megan OB/GYN

We are committed to translational women’s health research. Our focus is to uncover the mechanisms that contribute to vulvar disease with the following goals: Improve patient care in the short term by better implementing existing treatment strategies or using “off label” treatments that address these mechanisms; Discover new targets for the development of more effective mechanism-based therapies; Identify objective quantifiable measures to diagnose and track the progression of vulvar disease and responses to treatment; Empower our patients and reduce taboo and stigma through peer-reviewed, highly visible research

Fazal, Fabeha


A major focus of research in my laboratory deals with understanding the role and regulation of actin-myosin interactions in endothelial cell (EC) inflammation, permeability, and apoptosis, especially in the settings of acute and chronic lung injury.

FoxeJohn Neuroscience

Our mission is to identify and understand the physiology of the fundamental deficits behind these syndromes and to connect these deficiencies to common genetic, physiological, and behavioral traits.

Fudge, Julie Neuroscience

Our work is important in helping to design and interpret outcomes of human neuroimaging work, and we also work with several groups studying manifestations of psychiatric disease in humans.

Georas, Steven

Pulmonary & Critical Care

Defining the role of environmental exposures on innate and adaptive immunity in asthma and other chronic lung diseases, with an emphasis on how particulate matter and endocrine disruptors act as risk factors

Gerber, Scott


Dr. Gerber is a tumor immunologist whose laboratory focuses on harnessing the immune system to recognize and kill cancerous cells. His lab uses an immunotherapeutic approach to enhance the efficacy of chemo/radiotherapies to treat both primary and metastatic malignancies. He is also the Co-Director of the Center for Tumor Immunology Research

GillSteven Microbiology & Immunology

Microbial pathogens and the impact of human microbial flora on human health and disease

Hablitz, Lauren Center for Translational Neuromedicine

We aim to provide multidisciplinary training in a trainee-oriented space. Our projects span from cell-signaling, to structural changes in the tissue, basic neurobiological experiments, disease models and more. We take a “question first” approach, and let our science drive our techniques (such as: in vivo imaging, confocal microscopy, mass spectrometry, and beyond). Our team works with undergraduates, technicians, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty in the Center for Translational Neuromedicine in the Department of Neurology. By integrating training levels, trainees are exposed to all levels of science from benchwork to science writing to project development. Finally, science cannot be done alone, we are all in this together. This is why we value communication and trust, and strive to build a culture of mutual respect and growth both within our team and the science community at large.

HarrisIsaac Biomedical Genetics

The Harris Lab at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Wilmot Cancer Institute focuses on uncovering the various roles of antioxidants in cancer by using in vivo mouse modeling approaches and high-throughput pharmacologic screening techniques.

Hayes, Jeffrey

Biochemistry & Biophysics

The protein-DNA assemblies that comprise chromatin serve to compact and store eukaryotic DNA in a systematic and orderly manner, and are involved in the regulation of nuclear processes such as transcription. Currently, research in the lab covers four areas related to chromatin structure and function.

Hill, Elaine Public Health Sciences

Dr. Elaine Hill leads the Health and Environmental Economics Lab, which carries out diverse research related to health and environmental economics. The lab seeks to apply applied econometric tools and data science approaches to understand the intersection between health, policy, the environment and human capital formation, with an emphasis on the effect of environmental exposures on health and translating research findings into effective policy. The research team uses administrative health data (e.g., claims, hospital discharge data, vital statistics), administrative environmental data (e.g., EPA monitoring, USGS monitoring, regulatory sampling data, regulatory violations data), geographic information systems (GIS), and remote sensing data to address pressing questions for health policy. This lab regularly collaborates with experts in epidemiology, data science, exposure assessment, psychology, and various medical specialties. The goal of this research is to provide policy relevant evidence to promote healthy communities.

Janelsins, Michelle Surgery

We use a number of multidisciplinary approaches in psychoneuroimmunology, immunology, neuroscience and cognitive science spanning from basic research in animal model and cell culture systems to large cohort studies and randomized clinical trials.



The current focus of the J√§rvinen-Seppo Laboratory is to characterize the immunologic factors present in human milk that may modify the infant's developing immune system and oral tolerance to foods. 

Minsoo, Kim

Center for Vaccine Biology & Immunology

Dynamic regulation of leukocyte adhesion and migration

Lawrence, B Paige

Environmental Medicine

Delineating mechanisms by which environmental exposures during different life stages alter immune function; discovering how environmental factors modulate epigenetic programming of the developing immune system, and the consequences of these changes on susceptibility to infectious, allergic, or autoimmune disease later in life

Lueck, John Pharmacology & Physiology

The Lueck lab focuses on the molecular genetics and experimental treatment of diseases resulting from nonsense mutations. They are investigating the use of engineered tRNAs for suppression of nonsense mutations in cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) transcripts as therapeutic intervention for cystic fibrosis. Additionally, we am interested in the molecular genetics and experimental treatment of the trinucleotide repeat disorder myotonic dystrophy (DM1). Moving forward, we intend to study pre-mRNA splicing defects in DM1 to determine the causes of muscle weakness and wasting, and develop and test new therapeutic strategies to target the genetic misstep and reverse symptoms. More broadly, the lab is interested in applying membrane biophysics, molecular and cellular biology approaches to understand the molecular underpinning of genetic diseases and develop therapeutic interventions.

Majewska, Ania


Our brains constantly remodel to adapt to a changing environment. The focus of our group is to understand the structural and functional changes that occur at the specialized junctions between neurons (synapses) that lead to changes in brain function. Our group uses advanced imaging techniques to study the structure and function of single synapses in networks in the intact brain. Although a vast literature describes the development and function of neuronal connectivity, most of this work has been carried out in culture and excised or fixed tissue, where dynamic processes are inferred from static images compared across animals. Little is known about the function of subcellular compartments in the computations carried out by neurons in vivo. The goal of our work is to understand structural and functional changes occurring at synapses during plasticity elicited by sensory stimuli.



The broad objectives of Dr. Mariani's laboratory are to identify the genetic mechanisms of susceptibility to chronic lung diseases, particularly focusing upon their developmental antecedents and the influence of environmental factors. Recent efforts have also investigated biomarkers and disease mechanisms involved in infant respiratory infection. Dr. Mariani's research program focuses upon defining regulatory networks involved in lung development and maturation, and which may be perturbed in diseased states. His laboratory uses a combination of animal modeling research and studies of human subjects. He is a leader in the application of genomics methods to pulmonary biology and lung disease.

Mathews, H.David

Biochemistry & Biophysics

Our goal is to automate the modeling of RNA structure and function from genome sequence to 3D structure (as shown in the Figure above). This is important because it improves our understanding of Biology and also because it helps us cure diseases. We develop software tools to predict the structure of RNA, to model conformational flexibility, to find structured genes and genomes, and to design RNA sequences that will fold into specific structures. Our RNAstructure package predicts and analyzes RNA secondary structure, i.e. the set of canonical base pairs that the RNA forms. We use and improve Amber for modeling of three-dimensional structures.

McGrath, James

Biomedical Engineering

The Nanomembrane Research Group (NRG) includes students, engineers, scientists, faculty and entrepreneurs at UR, a local nanomembrane manufacturer SiMPore Inc., and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and a growing network of academic and industry collaborators from around the world. Together, we have grown a serendipitous material discovery into a growing Rochester-based enterprise.

Miller, Benjamin Dermatology

Research in the Miller group focuses on two fundamental areas: the control of biomolecular interactions through the synthesis of new small-molecule probes, and the observation of biomolecular interactions through the development of novel optical sensing technologies. In the area of control, we are particularly interested in the sequence-selective recognition of RNA. New RNA sequences with important functions in basic biology and human health and disease are being discovered at an ever-increasing rate, and yet our ability to target these sequences specifically is still at a rudimentary stage. To address this gap, we are applying techniques of molecular design and a novel combinatorial method of small-molecule evolution called Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry, which allows us to rapidly prototype sequence-selective RNA binding molecules. Thus far we have used this methodology to RNA targets important in Myotonic Dystrophy and HIV. Protein-targeted small-molecule discovery projects are also of interest, and current projects include the mechanism of tight junction formation and the transport of beta-amyloid across the blood-brain barrier.


Biochemistry & Biophysics

A major focus of our laboratory is  human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a herpes virus, which is the leading cause of congenital viral infection, occurring in approximately 1% of all live births. Congenital HCMV infection results in central nervous system damage in the majority of symptomatic newborns. HCMV infection also poses a serious health risk to immunosuppressed individuals, increasing morbidity in the elderly and in patients receiving immunosuppressive chemotherapy, including cancer patients, transplant recipients, and AIDS patients.

Murphy,Patrick Biomedical Genetics

The Murphy lab investigates the mechanisms that activate or silence genes as cells transition from one state to another. In very early embryos, stem cells begin to divide and change. Through this process, called differentiation, tissues start to form, and all the cell types of the organism begin to arise. Differentiation relies on a highly coordinated series of gene activation and silencing events. As cells divide during differentiation, changes in gene expression provide each cell type with a specific identity and function. In a similar sense, when the gene expression patterns of normal adult cells change inappropriately, the cell identity also changes, and this can lead to carcinogenesis. Presently, it is unknown what molecular machinery allows a cell to transition from one gene expression state to another.

O'Banion,M. Kerry


Defining neuro-inflammatory processes that contribute to pathology and disease progression in Alzheimer's disease, as well as late CNS effects following radiation exposure

O'Reilly, Michael


Using human datasets and the mouse as a model system, we are studying how high levels of oxygen at birth alter growth and differentiation of epithelial progenitor cells required for proper lung development and regeneration. We then investigate how these progenitor cells and oxygen-induced DNA damage signaling influences how the lung responds to respiratory viral infections. Recognizing the growing concern that young adults born preterm are at risk for developing cardiovascular disease, we also study how oxygen at birth promotes pulmonary hypertension and causes heart failure later in life. Our research has produced important and novel insights into disease processes that we hope will lead to new biomarkers needed to predict risk and guide development of novel therapies designed to improve health of people who were born preterm.


Microbiology & Immunology

The Pavelka laboratory studies the genetics and biochemistry of the cell envelopes of mycobacteria and Gram-negative bacteria. Our primary goals are to understand how bacterial cell envelopes are assembled and maintained in a variety of pathogenic bacteria. Our laboratory also develops genetic tools for our work in cell envelope biology.

Poletti, Martina Brain & Cognitive Sciences

The overarching goal of my research is to understand how this interplay unfolds enabling visual perception in humans. To this end, my laboratory uses a variety of techniques, including precise eye- and head-tracking, visual psychophysics, and gaze-contingent manipulation of retinal stimulation.  I am particularly interested in visual functions within the foveola, a small high-acuity region of the retina (approximately the size of the index’s fingernail at arm’s length) that humans use to inspect objects of interest. This region is essential for normal operation, yet surprisingly little is known about its mechanisms.  Research in my laboratory mainly focuses on how foveal processes cooperate with microscopic eye movements and with the precise control of attention to enable fine spatial vision.

Porter, George Pediatrics

Dr. Porter's laboratory studies mechanisms that control cardiac development, concentrating on the roles played by the intracellular organelles, mitochondria. Using in vivo and in vitro mouse models of cardiac development, the lab has shown that mitochondrial structure and function changes dramatically in cardiac myocytes as the embryonic heart forms.

Portman,S. Douglas

Biomedical Genetics

Neural circuit development and function; Genetic control of behavior; Sex differences in neurobiology


Biomedical Genetics

Multiple projects focused on: Multimodal precursor-derived astrocyte therapy; Precursor cells and diseases; lineage restriction and astrocyte identity; and Inucible pluripotent stem cells



Our lab is interested in the mechanisms of lung vascular endothelial cell dysfunction in acute lung injury (ALI). ALI is a common cause of respiratory failure in critically ill patients, and has a high mortality rate of 25-30%. This is primarily due to a lack of curative interventions. Our mission is to understand the processes underlying the development and resolution of ALI, with the ultimate goal of identifying therapeutic targets to resolve the injury in patients.

Rich, David

Public Health Sciences

1. Potential pathophysiologic mechanisms linking air pollution exposure during pregnancy to reduced fetal growth: a prospective cohort study of pregnant women living in Rochester, New York and Pittsburgh;  Pennsylvania; 2. Long term monitoring of particle size distributions in Rochester, New York; 3. Changes in air pollution particulate matter composition in New York State and triggering of acute cardiovascular, respiratory, and respiratory infectious disease hospital admissions, and triggering of ST-elevation myocardial infarction: an accountability study; 4. Environmental and health benefits of mobile source and electricity generating unit policies to reduce particulate pollution in New York City, Atlanta, and Los Angeles: an accountability study


Microbiology & Immunology

Using a comparative biology approach to advance developmental immunology, immunotoxicology, non-polymorphic MHC and innate T cell biology. Leveraging the amphibian Xenopus as a reliable alternative experimental organism to study immunity against virus and mycobacteria pathogens, and immune alterations induced  by developmental exposure to water pollutants across the lifespan.

Romanski, Lizabeth


Our research is aimed at understanding how social communication information is processed, integrated and remembered in the brain. In our everyday communication, information from our face comes together with vocal information. This is made possible by circuits that pass information from the ears when we hear someone speaking all the way through the auditory system and up to the ventral frontal lobe language areas. Similarly, visual information we perceive in faces is transmitted from the retina through visual cortical regions and also reaches the ventral frontal lobes. Our goal is to understand how the integration of face and vocal information takes place, what details are integrated and where in the brain this occurs.

Rossmann Marlies

Biomedical Genetics

Lineage differentiation depends on gene expression programs that regulate changes in cell fate, including metabolic changes. However, we poorly understand if, when and how metabolism actively promotes lineage specification and differentiation and how gene expression, in turn, adapts to the metabolic state. The Rossmann lab studies hematopoiesis as a paradigm to elucidate the crosstalk between transcription, specific metabolic activities, and the epigenetic landscape during cell fate decisions. We use zebrafish as a powerful genetically tractable vertebrate model that amenable to screening and in-vivo imaging, but also integrate it with mouse and human stem cell differentiation models. We strive to leverage key insights from these studies to elucidate the metabolic origins of a variety of diseases, facilitate novel metabolism-centered differentiation therapies for hematological malignancies, and combat the decline in lymphoid cell production by the aging hematopoietic system.

Sant, Andrea

Center for Vaccine Biology & Immunology

Our laboratory is committed to dissecting the elements in the CD4 T cell repertoire in humans that are predictors of protective immunity to influenza virus infections and future protective immune responses to vaccination. To address these issues, we probe the human CD4 T cell repertoire in order to quantify the CD4 T cell viral antigen specificity and phenotypic markers of CD4 T cells associated with the discreet functional subsets of CD4 T cells. Of particular interest in the human CD4 T cell repertoire are circulating follicular helper cells, cytokine secreting CD4 T cells and cytotoxic CD4 T cells. We use multiparameter flow cytometry, MHC-peptide tetramers and peptide specific EliSpot assays, to identify these key subsets of circulating influenza-specific CD4 T cells before and after vaccination by newly developed licensed vaccines or after natural infection with circulating influenza viruses.

Schifitto, Giovanni Neurology

Dr. Schifitto's major research interests are in the in the development and implementation of novel neuroimaging biomarkers applied in the investigation and treatment of, neuroinflammatory, neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular disorders.

Serra-Moreno, Ruth Microbiology & Immunology

The Serra-Moreno lab studies the mechanisms by which human pathogens such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), its close relative Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), and SARS-CoV-2 (the causative agent of COVID-19) circumvent the barriers of the innate immunity in their respective hosts and cause disease. Current projects in the lab are investigating the interplay between these human pathogens and the cellular factors Tetherin/BST2, SERINC5, BCA2 and autophagy.

Singh, Meera Neurology Platelet - monocyte complex formation
Small, Eric Cardiovascular Research Institute

The overall goal of the Small lab is to better understand the mechanisms that control cell identity and lineage commitment by studying the transcriptional regulation and function of cardiac tissue-restricted genes. Our motivation is to decipher how disruption of cardiac gene expression programs in heart disease contributes to cellular pathophysiology and the decline in cardiac function. There are two major themes of research within the lab that we study using mouse genetics, cell biology, advanced imaging, bioinformatic and biochemical approaches.

Smith, Nathan Neuroscience

Projects in my laboratory focus on “Neuro-Glia” interactions. My research will explore the understudied and novel mechanisms by which neuromodulators mediate the interactions between neurons, astrocytes, and microglia in normal and disease states. By studying how neuromodulators mediate the unique interactions between these three cell types, we will elucidate their coordinated functions in the normal, healthy brain and how disruptions of neuronal-glial crosstalk will contribute to disease processes such as ADHD, epilepsy, and insulin resistance. To that end, we hope these studies will provide valuable insight into the role of glia in pathophysiology, which is under-recognized in developmental disorders, with the hope of revealing pathways suitable for manipulation to alter disease progression in the central nervous system. To accomplish these goals, we employ a combination of transgenic animals, electrophysiology, pharmacology, behavioral assays, and 2-Photon Ca2+ imaging in acute slices and awake-behaving animals.

Steiner, Laurie Pediatrics

The focus of the Steiner Lab is understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of red blood cells in both normal and disease states. The maturation of a hematopoietic stem or progenitor cell to a functional red blood cell is a complex process that involves significant changes in gene expression during a time of rapid cell division. We are particularly interested in the role of chromatin structure and chromatin modifiers in this process, as appropriate chromatin structure is critical for red blood cell maturation and chromatin modifiers are potential therapeutic targets for inherited anemias.

Sterne, Gabrielle Biomedical Genetics

The overarching goal of the Sterne Lab is to understand the neural circuit mechanisms that generate and shape complex feeding behaviors. To survive, animals must successfully derive energy from their environments. Moment to moment control of feeding requires the synthesis of diverse and sometimes conflicting inputs, including external sensory information, internal state, and experience. The most salient features of these diverse inputs must be translated into neural activity and processed by circuits that select and shape sequenced and rhythmic feeding motor programs. Furthermore, feeding experiences must be remembered to instruct future behavior. While disordered feeding is the cause of many human health conditions, the circuit mechanisms that give rise properly timed, coordinated, and rhythmic feeding behaviors and translate feeding experiences into memory are not well understood.

Suarez-Jimenez, Benjamin Neuroscience

Our lab uses virtual reality (VR), multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and machine learning to try to elucidate the psychological and neural signatures of PTSD and anxiety disorders. Particularly, to delineate the contextual aspect of threat and reward learning, discrimination, and monitoring. Specifically, we are interested in cases where an area within a larger environment becomes associated with threat, such as the area of a neighborhood where an assault or assaults took place, or the location on a battlefield where explosions occurred. Patients with PTSD and anxiety disorders often show an overgeneralization or an exaggerated response to threat in larger contexts, even in environments predicting safety. With this research, we expect to identify new brain measures to develop sensitive, personalized, and precise diagnostic and treatment tools for psychopathology.

Sun, Yan Microbiology & Immunology

Currently, the lab seeks to understand how cbDVGs are generated during RSV and how manipulation of their generation impacts RSV infection outcome. In order to study DVG generation, we developed an algorithm to survey entire cbDVG populations during infection. To our surprise, we found that despite vast variation in cbDVG species among different RSV infections, cbDVG generation are concentrated in certain genomic hotspots and can be directed by certain mutations within hotspots. We are interested in further understanding the mechanism of how these hotspots regulate cbDVG generation during RSV infection. Furthermore, the lab is also interested in identifying other unknown factors that involve in regulating DVG generation, as we think understanding those factors, and eventually taking advantage of them will allow us to better mitigate virally induced pathology.

Martha,Susiarjo Environmental Medicine

Research in the Susiarjo Lab investigates the underlying mechanisms of the developmental origin of health and disease focusing on how epigenetic mechanisms mediate gene-environment interaction. Her laboratory uses imprinted genes as epigenetic markers to test the effect of environmental exposure on DNA methylation regulation on fetal and placental development. Additionally, she is also interested in elucidating the role of environmental exposure on maternal health during pregnancy and the potential beneficial role of nutritional supplementation. The Susiarjo laboratory contributes to our understanding of how exposure to environmental contaminants, especially endocrine disruptors including bisphenol A (BPA) and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), may adversely influence health by affecting expression of genes relevant to development and disease. In the US, child and maternal health disparities are associated with environmental contaminants that are more commonly found in the homes and communities of people of color and low socioeconomic status. Therefore, this research may help us better understand how health inequities experienced by communities may be related to their disproportionate exposure to multiple environmental contaminants.

Tadin, Duje Brain & Cognitive Sciences Vision and Cogniticve Neuroscience


Microbiology & Immunology

The main focus of our research is to reveal molecular mechanism of parainfluenza and influenza virus infection, replication, and assembly and host-virus interactions. We analyze structures and functions of viral proteins as well as interactions between viral and cellular proteins to reveal the mechanism of virus growth and to identify the factors that restrict host range of the viruses. Our study will unveil the process of viral replication and assembly, which are essential for developing antiviral agents.


Microbiology & Immunology

Immune response to infections, vaccination and environmental exposures depends on several factors including age, immunogenicity of the antigens, host genotype and host’s immune history. The research focus of our lab is to delineate the effects of these factors using bioinformatics, systems biology, and dynamic modeling tools. We typically integrate different datasets including gene expression, metabolomics, single-cell RNA seq, proteomics, serum cytokine levels and known information about signaling and metabolic pathways. Recently, we are also working with adaptive immune receptor repertoire sequencing.

David Topham

Center for Vaccine Biology & Immunology

Studies in our lab are primarily aimed at understanding the multiple roles of virus-specific B and T cells in determining the outcome of viral infection of the respiratory tract. In particular, we are interested in the character, longevity, and protective capacity of B and T cell memory induced by infection and vaccination. A large component of work in the lab focuses on the response of the human immune system to infection and vaccination; other work uses a variety of animal model systems to investigate basic immunological mechanisms. This work will identify strategies for engineering new antivirals and improving vaccines.

Varble, Andrew Microbiology & Immunology

The main focus of Dr. Wang's laboratory is to use an integrated systems approach to understand the logic of experience-dependent cortical information processing at the molecular, cellular, circuitry and behavioral levels. A variety of cutting-edge technologies in molecular and cellular biology, mouse genetics, in vivo multi-photon imaging, and electrophysiology as well as sophisticated behavioral analyses will be combined to investigate the ability of the brain to change in response to behavioral experiences during normal adaptive cognition such as perceptual discrimination and social recognition and in the context of maladaptive psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and drug addiction.

Wang, Kuan Hong


The main focus of Dr. Wang's laboratory is to use an integrated systems approach to understand the logic of experience-dependent cortical information processing at the molecular, cellular, circuitry and behavioral levels. A variety of cutting-edge technologies in molecular and cellular biology, mouse genetics, in vivo multi-photon imaging, and electrophysiology as well as sophisticated behavioral analyses will be combined to investigate the ability of the brain to change in response to behavioral experiences during normal adaptive cognition such as perceptual discrimination and social recognition and in the context of maladaptive psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and drug addiction.

Ward, Brian

Microbiology & Immunology

The Poxviridae family includes some of the largest DNA viruses known. While variola (the causative agent of smallpox) remains the most deadly member of the family, several other members, including monkeypox, tanapox, cowpox, vaccinia, Yaba-like disease virus and molluscum contagiosum, are capable of causing disease in humans. Orthopoxviruses, which include variola, monkeypox and vaccinia, have a double stranded genome of about 200 kb and are predicted to encode for approximately 200 functional open reading frames making them some the most complex animal viruses known. This complexity is best demonstrated during viral morphogenesis that results in a virion that is predicted to incorporate approximately 100 viral polypeptides and several morphologically distinct forms.

White, Patricia Neuroscience

Hearing loss results from prolonged noise exposure. Individual genetics determines each person’s threshold for damage, and by the age of 65 around one third of adults complain of hearing loss. Age-related and noise induced hearing loss are both incurable and progressive, and in many cases are due to the accumulated loss of cochlear mechanosensory hair cells. Sensory hair cells are arrayed in a highly structured epithelial sheet, surrounded by supporting cells with differing shapes and functions. Mammals only generate these specialized cells during fetal development. Once sensory hair cells are lost through over-stimulation, they are never replaced. The adjacent supporting cells expand without cell division to fill the space and create a scar that is insensitive to sound vibrations.

Wilson, Karen Pediatrics

Dr. Wilson has more than 20 years of experience researching the impact of secondhand tobacco smoke exposure on children, tobacco smoke exposure in multi-unit housing, and how to help parents quit smoking. More recently, she has developed a research program in secondhand marijuana smoke exposure, and has called attention to concerns over children’s exposure with increased legalization. Dr. Wilson been funded by the National Cancer Institute to study an inpatient parent smoking cessation intervention, and to develop inpatient tobacco use screening and referral tools. She has worked closely with other pediatricians and policy makers to translate her research into public policy, especially in the area of tobacco smoke incursions in multi-unit housing. Dr. Wilson is also committed to supporting the next generation of researchers through mentorship and coaching.

Wu, Jing Nephrology

My research is continuously supported by extramural funding from the NIH and American Heart Association. Our original research has been published on JCI, JCI Insight, Circulation Research, Cardiovascular Research, Hypertension, and Function including multiple first-author and/or corresponding-author publications. With a dedication to professional service, I am an Editorial Fellow at the Journal of American Society of Nephrology, an Associate Editor at Frontiers in Physiology (Sections of Vascular Physiology and Renal and Epithelial Physiology), and a chair on the organization committee for the ASN Basic Research Forum for Emerging Kidney Scientists. I also serve on the AHA Fellowship/IPA Study Sections.

Yarovinsky, Felix Center for Vaccine Biology & Immunology

The major interests of our lab involve studying innate immune sensing pathways and their role in regulation of host defense to intracellular pathogens.  Our lab is focused on understanding how Toll-like receptors cooperate with other recognition systems to detect protozoan parasites Toxoplasma gondii, Cryprosporidium and malaria and how innate immune recognition regulates host defense. We also aim to understand the mechanisms controlling host-pathogen interactions in the gut, a highly specialized environment with distinct structures, epithelial cell types, and innate defense mechanisms required for mucosal host defense. Our lab uses a combination of cellular and molecular techniques including germ-free mouse models to investigate mucosal immune cells and their contribution to the composition of microbiota and the development of intestinal immune response and inflammation.

Zhang, Bin Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Dr. Zhang maintains active research interests in chromosome biology and centromere biology. In particular, his research program at University of Rochester focuses on the formation, plasticity, and epigenetic inheritance of neocentromere, and its potential clinical applications in gene therapy and synthetic biology.

Zhu,Yiping Microbiology & Immunology

Our lab works with retroviruses (HIV-1, MLV, etc.) and focuses on identifying new host antiviral factors and deciphering viral antagonism of host defense. We use a combination of molecular, genomic, and cellular techniques to study the interactions between retroviruses and host cells. Particularly, we are interested in: Epigenetic silencing and latency of HIV-1 DNA and Translation and stability control of HIV-1 mRNA.