New Research Faculty 2014
Cheryl L. Ackert-Bicknell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Orthopaedics in the Center for Musculoskeletal Research
Cheryl Ackert-Bicknell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and, where she is a member of the Center for Musculoskeletal Research. She received her PhD from the University of Maine in 2007 and completed her post-doctoral fellowship at The Jackson Laboratory. Her research focuses on understanding the genetic regulation of bone mass with an emphasis on uncovering the genes responsible for regulating osteoblast maturation and function and how these genes interact in gene-gene networks. Further, she is interested in understanding how environmental factors such as dietary fat interact with genetic differences to impact skeletal mass. Dr. Ackert-Bicknell is the Principal Investigator on a number of grants from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and National Institute of Health.
Timothy De Ver Dye, Ph.D.
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Public Health Sciences, and Medical Informatics
Timothy De Ver Dye, PhD is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Public Health Sciences, and Medical Informatics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where he also directs Biomedical Informatics for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. A medical anthropologist and social epidemiologist, Dr. Dye focuses on the social determinants of health in global and local populations, with a special focus on the intersection of medical and social domains. Dr. Dye’s training includes undergraduate and graduate degrees in International Relations and Public Administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and graduate degrees in Epidemiology and Anthropology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Having worked in more than 20 nations, Dr. Dye’s research program additionally focuses upon developing and understanding community-driven informatics solutions to maternal-child health, cancer, and infectious disease that integrate user-based sensitivities and quantitative methods. Dr. Dye is an elected Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and of the Royal Geographic Society. Dr. Dye serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Maternal and Child Health Journal, a leading international public health journal, serves as a Delegate to the ISCU’s Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), and chairs the Medical Advisory Board for OneHEART WorldWide, an international NGO.
Scott A. Gerber, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Scott Gerber is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery and is the first faculty member to join the Center for Solid Tumor Immunology directed by Dr. David Linehan. Dr. Gerber received his Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Rochester in the laboratory of Dr. Edith Lord where his thesis research focused on developing novel imaging strategies to monitor immune responses in the tumor microenvironment. Dr. Gerber continued his studies at Yale University as a postdoctoral fellow in vascular biology in Dr. Jordan Pober’s laboratory. Upon returning to Rochester, his current research focuses on a recent “paradigm shift” suggesting that the patient’s own immune system mediates many of the anti-tumor effects of both radio and chemotherapy. Building on these intriguing results, Dr. Gerber’s laboratory is developing possible immunotherapies aimed at enhancing the efficacy of these existing cancer treatments. His research primarily focuses on and incorporates both animal models and clinical samples from colorectal and pancreatic cancers.
Elaine L. Hill, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences
Elaine L. Hill received her BA in economics and mathematics at Oberlin College in 2005 and her PhD in applied economics from Cornell University in May 2014. Hill’s research is at the intersection between health, health policy, the environment and human capital formation. Her most recent research utilizes quasi-experimental methods to study the impacts of shale gas development on infant health in the US, which she plans to expand with colleagues at URMC. She is currently involved in early origins research, linking in utero environment to later life health and educational attainment. She will also serve to support research projects at the University of Rochester employing “big data”, structural modeling and cost-effectiveness assessment.
Kirsi Järvinen-Seppo, MD PhD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Järvinen-Seppo received her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Jaffe Institute for Food Allergy at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York followed by a residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in allergy and immunology at the Mount Sinai Hospital. Before joining the University of Rochester Medical Center, she spent the 2008-1011 academic years as an assistant professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and 2011-2014 at the Albany Medical College. Her research program is focused on identifying mechanisms leading to failure in development of neonatal oral tolerance to foods as seen in food allergy. Utilizing mouse models of food allergy and human cohorts, she is studying the effects of exposure to food allergens in pre-natal and post-natal period on the development of food allergy in the offspring as well as the role of breast milk bioactive components and early environmental exposures in the development of neonatal immune system. These studies will allow for strategies in primary prevention of allergic and atopic diseases.
Dongmei Li, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical & Translational Research
Dongmei Li received her PhD in Biostatistics from Department of Statistics at The Ohio State University in 2009. Her doctoral research focus on resampling-based multiple testing procedures with applications to microarray data analysis. She worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, Office of Public Health Studies at the University of Hawai’i since 2008 and moved to University of Rochester in 2014. Dr. Li’s research focus on multiple testing procedures in genomic data analysis especially in methylation and transcriptome data analysis. She has developed a novel method and corresponding R package for methylation data analysis which offers higher power than current popular methods. Dr. Li also has extensive collaboration experience. She has collaborated with numerous investigators from a variety of schools and institutions such as school of medicine, nursing and dental hygiene, biomedical engineering, education, cancer center, center on disability studies, and institute of marine biology. Dr. Li has served as co-investigators and biostatisticians on multiple national grants including a 10 million grant from CMS on diabetes studies for Medicaid beneficiaries, NIH R21, P20, P30, and U54 grants on biomedical research.
Xin Z. Li, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Xin Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, where he is a member of the Center for RNA Biology: From Genome to Therapeutics. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2009 and completed his post-doctoral training at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute /University of Massachusetts Medical School. Research in the Li Lab is at the crossroads of reproductive and RNA biology, investigating the role of non-coding RNAs in germ cells. His research on piRNA is supported by R00 grant from NICHD. The lab employs high-throughput sequencing, biochemistry, molecular biology, mouse genetics, and microscopy.
David C. Linehan, M.D.
Professor of Surgery, and of Oncology
Dr. Linehan graduated from the University of Massachusetts Medical School then completed his internship and residency at Deaconess-Harvard Surgical Service. He was chief resident in Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He completed a research fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital and was then the Kristin Ann Carr Fellow in Surgical Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
A cancer surgeon, Dr. Linehan specializes in treating cancers of the liver, pancreas, and gastric and biliary tract. At Washington University, he was recognized for bringing novel and innovative therapies to patients with hard-to-treat cancers.
He also brought a compassionate, patient-centered approach to a high-volume surgical oncology practice. Dr. Linehan also treats benign surgical conditions of the liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts.
Dr. Linehan is an internationally renowned researcher, with more than 85 publications. His primary area of research is finding new ways to attack the biology of pancreatic tumors, such as through drug and genetic therapies.
Matthew N. McCall, Ph.D., M.H.S.
Assistant Professor of Biostatistics & Computational Biology and of Biomedical Genetics
Matthew N. McCall earned his PhD in Biostatistics and MHS in Bioinformatics from Johns Hopkins University. His doctoral thesis focused on developing statistical methodology for preprocessing and analysis of data from a single microarray. In 2010, Dr. McCall began a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester where he subsequently received a K99/R00 grant from NHGRI. His research interests are in statistical genomics, systems biology, and bioinformatics with a particular focus on applications in cancer biology. He is currently developing methods to estimate gene regulatory networks from perturbation experiments, to address within-subject heterogeneity in genomic tumor biomarkers, to preprocess and analyze genomic data, and to examine the effect of cellular composition on tissue-level gene expression.
Ruchira Singh, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, and of Biomedical Genetics
Dr. Ruchira Singh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and the Department of Biomedical Genetics at University of Rochester. She obtained her PhD in physiology from Kansas State University and completed her postdoctoral training in pharmacology from Yale School of Medicine and stem cell research from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research program at University of Rochester has an integrated focus on retinal physiology, neurodegenerative diseases, stem cells and pharmacology. The current projects in the laboratory are focused on using patient-derived human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) for 1) studying the pathophysiology of inherited and age-related macular degeneration and 2) creating complex retinal cell model to study intercellular interaction in retinal physiology and disease development. She is also interested in delineating the role of gene-environment interaction in retinal and neurodegenerative diseases.
Guang-Qian Xiao, BMed, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Guang-Qian Xiao completed his BS in Medicine and MS in Immunology in China and received his PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Before joining the University of Rochester Medical Center, he spent the 2008-2013 academic years as an assistant professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Medical Center. His interests focus on the diagnosis of urologic neoplastic and non-neoplastic diseases and translational research in the area of urologic tumors, particularly prostate and bladder cancers. He is involved in the exploration of the diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers as well as the underlying mechanistic roles these biomolecules have played in the development, progression, and recurrence of these cancers. Meanwhile he also has an interest in studying the role of small noncoding RNA in the tumorigenesis of testicular germ cell tumor. His study will allow us to better understand the biology of these tumors and aid in optimal clinical management of these patients.
Jin Xiao, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Dentistry
Jin Xiao earned her DDS (2003), and PhD in oral microbiology (2009) from West China College of Stomatology, Sichuan University, China. She completed her last two years of PhD study (2007-2009) in the Center of Oral Biology, University of Rochester and followed by one year postdoctoral training in the Center of Oral Biology. Jin also completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency (2013) in the Eastman Institute for Oral Health, University of Rochester and a General Practice Residency (2014) in the Strong Memorial Hospital. Jin has a background of oral microbiology and translational research, she intends to develop a career of bridging clinical practice and translational research and translate the research findings into innovative strategies targeting treating biofilm-related infection disease. She has published eighteen peer-reviewed articles in top-tier microbiology, oral biology and dental research journals. Additionally, she won first place in the American Association for Dental Research Hatton-Competition Award, which is the most prestigious-competitive award for young investigators conducting dental/oral research in the US/Canada. She is currently interested in investigating the virulence and three-dimensional structure of oral and peri-implant multispecies biofilms.