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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 Research Description
Brian Altman Our research focuses on identifying the intersections between circadian rhythm, cancer cell physiology, and metabolism. 

Danielle Benoit

Synthetic hydrogels with tunable degradation and mechanical properties as a synthetic extracellular matrix analogue for the culture and delivery of cells for regenerative medicine approaches and polymers formed using reversible-addition fragmentation chain transfer polymerization (RAFT), a controlled, living polymerization strategy, designed with drug delivery applications in mind.

Bradford Berk My laboratory investigates fundamental and clinical mechanisms of signal transduction in blood vessels that contribute to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) such as atherosclerosis, aneurysms, hypertension and stroke.

Benoit Biteau

Research in the Biteau lab focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control tissue homeostasis and somatic stem cells. 

Paul Boutz In our group we implement a multi-disciplinary approach that includes molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics, and state-of-the-art genome engineering to understand the essential roles of RNA processing in normal and tumor cell physiology, and to uncover the molecular mechanisms by which drugs alter gene expression. 
Farran Briggs 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.
Paul Brookes 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.

Edward Brown

Multiphoton Laser Scanning Microscopy, novel in vivo imaging and measurement techniques, tumor biology, angiogenesis

Deborah A. Cory-Slechta

Defining the impact of environmental chemicals (e.g., metals and air pollution) on brain development and behavior, with emphasis on attributable risk to neurodevelopmental disorders.

David Dean 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.

Lisa DeLouise

Understanding the toxicological and biochemical properties of nanomaterial interactions with skin and the immune system; develop in vivo models to investigate nanoparticle skin penetration mechanisms, and develop novel biosensors to improve transdermal drug delivery and tissue engineering approaches.

Stephen Dewhurst

 Influenza Viruses; Virus Polymerase HIV Vaccine Development; NeuroAIDS Research

Marvin M. Doyley

Projects are underway to develop advanced ultrasonic, optical, and magnetic resonance imaging methods. These techniques are built on mechanics, inverse problems, signal and image processing, and fast computational techniques.

Paul Dunman 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. 
Timothy Dye We prioritize creative engagement with underrepresented and marginalized communities around the world to address health priorities, often through technology and human-centered design. We view humans in their ecological context, understanding that social, biological, environmental, and other factors interact to impact health and illness, and that structural barriers often preclude ethical engagement of indigenous, marginalized, and underrepresented peoples in the scientific enterprise. 

Michelle Dziejman

Type Three Secretion System mediated pathogenesis of V. cholerae 


Alison Elder

Defining the impact of inhaled ambient and workplace nano-/ultrafine particle-containing aerosols on the lung, cardiovascular system, and central nervous system, and defining the toxicological properties of the particles that are associated with a response.


Dmitri Ermolenko We are interested to learn how the structural dynamics of the ribosome and ribosomal ligands enable protein synthesis. We also investigate the folding and dynamics of mRNA molecules, including mRNAs containing riboswitches or structural elements that induce programmed ribosomal frameshifting.

Fabeha Fazal

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.

John Foxe 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.
Edward Freedman 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.

John Frelinger

Immunity to Tumor Antigens

Harris Gelbard

Molecular mechanisms and potential pharmacological and gene therapeutic interventions for neurologic disease associated with HIV-1 infection of the central nervous system.

Steve N. Georas

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

Scott Gerber

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

Steven Gill

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

Angela Glading Our work concentrates on how cell-cell adhesion modulates cell growth, differentiation, and tissue morphology in vascular health and disease. Projects in the lab seek to understand how the structural/mechanical and biochemical signals from adhesion sites regulate blood vessel function and growth using cellular and animal models.
Elizabeth Grayhack Our focus is to deduce the magnitude as well as the mechanisms of codon-mediated effects by identifying codons and codon combinations that are responsible for reduced translational efficiency and by defining the parameters that modulate codon-mediated regulation. 
Isaac Harris 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.

Jeffrey Hayes

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.

Michelle Janelsins 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.

Kirsi Jarvinen-Seppo

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. 

Clara Kielkopf Splicing defects in hematologic malignancies; roles of human pre-mRNA splicing factors in HIV-1 infectivity; development of engineered splicing factors for correction of splicing defects; splice sites and their associated proteins as therapeutic targets.
Amy Kiernan Sensory organs are unique structures in the body plan of all multicellular organisms that allow perception of the environment. Our lab uses the power of mouse genetics to understand the fundamental molecular pathways involved in sensory development and disease.

Minsoo Kim

Dynamic regulation of leukocyte adhesion and migration

B Paige Lawrence

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

Xin Li

Our research is to define the RNA functions in reproduction and transgenerational epigenetic inheritance

Richard Libby Our lab is interested in understanding both the intrinsic (axonal degeneration and somal death) and the extrinsic events (e.g. the potential involvement of monocytes, glial activation, and neurotoxic cytokines) that lead from a glaucomatous insult to RGC death and vision loss. 

Edith M. Lord

Cell Mediated Immunity to Tumors

Ania Majewska

Glia-neuron interactions during synaptic plasticity in health and disease

Thomas Mariani

Systems Biology of Lung Development and Disease


David H. Mathews

Computational biology of RNA, including structure prediction, molecular dynamics, and genomics

Margot Mayer-Proschel The research interest in our laboratory is based on the identification of different stem and precursor cell pools in the CNS that are critical for identifying ideal transplantable cells for therapeutic cell replacement approaches or are targets for insults leading to developmental pathologies.

James McGrath

Cell Motility, and Quantitative light microscopy

Craig Morrell

Function of Platelets: Hemostastis/Thrombosis and Immune Regulatory Function

Tim Mosmann

The regulation of cytokine responses of human and mouse T-cell subsets in infections asthma, allergy and autoimmunity

Joshua Munger

Mechanisms of metabolic network manipulation induced by viral infection and oncogenic mutation

Patrick Murphy 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.

Keith Nehrke

Integrative Physiology

M. Kerry O'Banion

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

Michael O’Reilly

Understanding how an aberrant oxygen environment at birth disrupts development of the lung and heart, leading to persistent functional changes over the lifespan

Catherine Ovitt

Analysis of Genes Involved in Salivary Gland Function

Martin Pavelka

Biosynthesis of the Cell Wall of Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Biodefense Research

Douglas S. Portman

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

Christoph Proschel

Defining roles of glial progenitor cells and astrocytes as critical modulators in responses to chemical exposure, injury, or stress; discovering how exogenous factors contribute to neurodegenerative diseases; and developing new approaches to treat traumatic injury and neurodegenerative diseases

Robert Quivey

The bacterium, Streptococcus mutans, which colonizes the human mouth from the time of tooth eruption until death

Arshad Rahman

Determining how exogenous agents change lung microvasculature permeability, leading to pulmonary inflammation

Irfan Rahman My laboratory is interested in understanding the redox signaling, mechanism of proinflammatory gene expression by studying the chromatin remodeling-epigenetic changes (histone acetylation/deacetylation and DNA methylation), involvement of anti-inflammatory and anti-aging proteins sirtuins, HDACs, DNA damage/repair, and cellular senescence in chronic lung inflammatory diseases including COPD.

Matthew Rand

Mechanisms of toxicity of the environmental contaminant and neurotoxicant methylmercury (MeHg), defining MeHg effects on early life development of neural and muscular systems at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels using invertebrate and mammalian models, and detailed characterization of MeHg metabolism and elimination kinetics in humans

Jacques Robert

Using a comparative biology approach to advance immunotoxicology, leveraging the amphibian Xenopus and the pox-like ranavirus FV3, to address long-term effects of water pollutants on immune cell development and on antiviral immunity across the lifespan

Andrea Sant

Influenza specific immunity, vaccine design and regulation of T cell responses to pathogens.

Giovanni Schifitto

Development and implementation of novel neuroimaging biomarkers applied in the investigation and treatment of, neuroinflammatory, neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular disorders.

Eric M. Small

Understanding how a cell can interpret biomechanical and humoral signals and activate a discrete transcriptional program during development or in response to injury

Martha Susiarjo

Studying epigenetic mechanisms underlying environment-induced adverse pregnancy and developmental outcomes, including how endocrine-disrupting chemicals change maternal health, mammalian reproduction, and the expression and function of imprinted genes


Toru Takimoto

Molecular Mechanisms of Paramyxovirus Infection, Replication and Assembly

Juilee Thakar

Identification of immune signatures and characterization of dynamics of immune responses by using systems biology approaches

David Topham

Conducting clinical and translational research on respiratory pathogens, immunity, and infectious disease, including the study of environmental factors that affect immune responses to influenza and vaccination, seeking new approaches to enhance immunity, reduce pathology, and prevent disease

Joseph Wedekind The Wedekind lab is working to understand RNA-mediated gene regulation by non-protein coding RNAs known as riboswitches, which hold promise as novel antibiotic targets. 

Peng Yao

Pathophysiological function of microRNAs, RNA-binding proteins, and defects in protein synthesis in cardiovascular disease; RNA riboswitch-like mechanisms of gene regulation

Felix Yarovinsky

Innate immunity, Host-microbial interactions, Immunoparasitology, Mucosal immunology

Yiping Zhu 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.