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New Research Faculty 2013-2016


Krishnan Padmanabhan, Ph.D.Krishnan Padmanabhan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience

Dr. Krishnan Padmanabhan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Padmanabhan received his BS in Biology and History and his MS in Physiological Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, his PhD at Carnegie Mellon University and was the Francis Crick-Irwin Jacobs Junior Fellow at the Salk Institute of Biological Studies before arriving at the University of Rochester in 2016. His research aims to understand principles of neuronal function in the mammalian brain using experimental and computational methods with a focus on uncovering the biological bases of psychiatric disorders. Work in the Padmanabhan lab uses multi-electrode electrophysiology, induced-Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) technology, imaging, and theoretical models to address three outstanding questions in neuroscience:

  1. How does the brain represents features of the world via patterns of neuronal activity?
  2. How does memory and experience shape the process of sensory perception?
  3. How are these functions disrupted in neurological and psychiatric disorders?

Tingting Yang, Ph.D.Tingting Yang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology

Dr. Tingting Yang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology. She received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and her postdoctoral training at Columbia University Medical Center. The Yang Lab employs an interdisciplinary platform combining both crystallography and electrophysiology approaches to study the structure and function of disease-related ion channels. Her lab is currently focused on two families of Ca2+-activated Cl- channels, namely bestrophin and TMEM16, respectively. In particular, human bestrophin-1 resides on the retina, and its mutations have been linked to multiple degenerative eye diseases featured by vision loss, while TMEM16 proteins are involved in a wide range of physiological processes including mucus secretion, neuronal excitability, smooth muscle contraction, olfactory signal transduction and cell proliferation. She is also interested in designing specific channel activators/inhibitors. Dr. Yang’s research is supported by an R00 grant from the NEI.


John J. Foxe, Ph.D.John J. Foxe, Ph.D.

Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy

Dr. John Foxe is the Kilian J. and Caroline F. Schmitt Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy and also serves as the inaugural Director of The Ernest J. Del Monte Institute for Neuromedicine. His research team at the Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory employs an integrated multi-methodological approach to issues in the cognitive neurosciences, using structural and functional neuroimaging, high-density electrophysiology, imaging genomics, eye-tracking, psychophysics and virtual reality techniques to understand the neural basis of sensory-perceptual and cognitive functions. The work is translational at its core in that it utilizes an equal mix of basic-science projects in healthy individuals with clinical studies in patient populations. The approach taken is to first develop novel assays of a given perceptual or cognitive function in healthy individuals, assays that are then deployed in clinical populations of interest. The core mission of the lab is to understand the underlying neurobiology of developmental disorders, with a specific emphasis on both adolescent Schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Before joining the faculty at Rochester in October of 2015, he served for 6 years as Research Director of the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC) at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, where he was also the Associate Director of the Rose F. Kennedy Center for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research. Between 2004 and 2010, he served as Director of the Program in Cognitive Neuroscience at The City College of New York. He studied English Literature and History at University College Dublin, before moving to the United States to study Experimental Psychology at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. He subsequently completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Neuroscience at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Jesse Schallek, Ph.D.Jesse Schallek, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, and of Neuroscience

Jesse Schallek, Ph.D. is an Assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, the Department of Neuroscience and a member of the Center for Visual Science at the University of Rochester. Dr. Schallek received his BS in Bioengineering from Syracuse University and PhD in Neuroscience from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. He completed his postdoctoral research in high-resolution ophthalmic imaging at the University of Rochester in 2015. Dr. Schallek’s research focuses on non-invasively imaging blood flow within the living eye where vision begins. The neural cells of the retina are highly metabolic and require a tightly regulated blood supply in order to function normally. Vascular dysfunction of the retina is the leading cause of retinal blindness in the US and Schallek’s research seeks to better understand the early changes that impact blood flow at the smallest vascular level where metabolic exchange takes place. His laboratory is pursuing three parallel projects to elucidate capillary function in health and disease:

  1. a study of diabetic retinal capillary dysfunction using both animal models and non-invasive clinical investigation at the Flaum Eye Institute
  2. a study of the dynamic regulation of blood flow in response to neural modulation also known as neurovascular coupling and
  3. to aid these investigations, Schallek is developing a cutting-edge camera that images the smallest capillaries 1/10th the thickness of a human hair and provides investigation of single platelets, red and white blood cells flowing within.

Martha Susiarjo, Ph.D.Martha Susiarjo, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Environmental Medicine

Dr. Martha Susiarjo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine, and member of the Environmental Health Sciences Center. She received her PhD in Genetics from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. 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. Additional, she is also interested in elucidating the role of environmental exposure on maternal health during pregnancy and the potential beneficial role of nutritional supplementation. Her research is supported by an R00 grant from the NIEHS. The lab employs bisulfite sequencing analysis, mouse genetics and embryology, molecular biology, and next generation sequencing.

Felix O. Yarovinsky, M.D.Felix O. Yarovinsky, M.D.

Associate Professor of Microbiology & Immunology in the Center for Vaccine Biology & Immunology

Dr. Felix Yarovinsky is an Associate Professor in the Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at University of Rochester.

Before joining the University of Rochester Medical Center in 2015, he established his laboratory as an Assistant (2007-2013) and an Associate (2013-2015) Professor in the Department of Immunology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He made the important discovery revealing the function of the Toll-like receptor 11 (TLR11) in recognition of parasite profilin and in the induction of IL-12 response by dendritic cells during Toxoplasma gondii infection. More recently, Yarovinsky laboratory revealed a role for the microbiota in the control of parasitic infection.

Much of the current work in the Yarovinsky Lab is focused on elucidating the molecular mechanism underlying parasite recognition by the mucosal immune system. The Yarovinsky lab is particularly interested in dissecting the signaling pathways by which neutrophils, dendritic cells, and Paneth cells cooperate in protective and immunopathological IFN-gamma dependent immune responses to Toxoplasma gondii and other intracellular pathogens. The lab employs flow-cytometry, high-throughput sequencing, biochemistry, molecular biology, and highly specialized germ-free mice to discover novel mechanisms of host resistance and immune regulation in parasitic infection.

Bin Zhang, Ph.D.Bin Zhang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, and Pediatrics

Dr. Bin Zhang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics at University of Rochester. He earned his BS in Biology from Sichuan University in China, MS in Biology from Truman State University, PhD in Molecular Genetics and Genomics and his Clinical Genomics training at Washington University in Saint Louis. He completed his post-doctoral training at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory studying function, regulation, and evolution of long noncoding RNAs. He maintains active research interests in RNA-based disease biology, cancer biology, and biomarker discovery using genomic approaches. In particular, his research program at University of Rochester focuses on molecular classification of B cell lymphomas, and development of novel NGS-based methodologies for efficient circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) detection and nucleotide-level mapping of disease-associated chromosomal rearrangements. His study will help us better understand genetics of both constitutional and somatic diseases and facilitate individualized/targeted patient care.


Cheryl L. Ackert-Bicknell, P​hDCheryl 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.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 University of Rochester Clinical & 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.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, PhDElaine 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 M. Jarvinen-Seppo, M.D., Ph.D.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.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.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.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.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.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-QianXiao, BMed, PhDGuang-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, DDS, PhDJin 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.


Beau W. Abar, PhDBeau W. Abar, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, of Psychiatry, and of Public Health Sciences

Beau W. Abar completed his PhD in Human Development and Family Studies at the Pennsylvania State University with emphasis on research methodology and prevention science. He then completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in Emergency Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Beau joined the URMC following a period as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Alpert Medical School at Brown University. His research focuses on identifying and eliminating barriers to efficacious treatment for behavioral health concerns. His most recent work focuses on access to care for depression among older adults.

Gretchen L. Birbeck, MD, MPHGretchen L. Birbeck, M.D., M.P.H.

Professor of Neurology, of Public Health Sciences, and in the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics

Professor Gretchen L. Birbeck, MD MPH DTMH is a clinical epileptologist and neuroepidemiologist who conducts research on neurologic disorders in sub-Saharan Africa. For 6 months each year she leads NIH-funded research in Zambia and Malawi where she investigates the causes and potential treatments for conditions such as epilepsy. Her time in the field also gives her the opportunity to provide clinical services and medical education. Her present projects include a clinical trial of levetiracetam for seizure control in pediatric cerebral malaria as well as a cohort study of new onset seizures in people with HIV. She also mentors junior neurologists in Africa who are studying HIV-related neuropathies and TB meningitis. Professor Birbeck is faculty member with the Strong Epilepsy Center in the Department of Neurology and has secondary appointments in the Department of Public Health Sciences and the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics.

Shubing Cai, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences

Shubing Cai is an Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences at the University of Rochester. Shubing received her bachelor degree (Fudan University) and master degree (Jiaotong University) in clinical medicine in Shanghai, China. After completing two years of residency in internal medicine at a teaching hospital in Shanghai, Shubing came to the University of Rochester to pursue her PhD in Health Services Research and receiver her PhD in 2009. After that, she spent three and half year at Brown University as a junior faculty member and joined the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Rochester in 2013. Shubing’s research interests are focused on quality of care received by the elderly, and how the quality is influenced by financial incentives and regulations. She is also interested in statistical modeling and causal inference.

Emily E. Carmody, MDEmily E. Carmody, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics and of Oncology

Dr. Emily E. Carmody is an Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics. She specializes in treating both benign and malignant musculoskeletal tumors in adults and children. She has a particular interest in limb-sparing surgery and endoprosthetic reconstruction for treating bone sarcomas. Dr. Carmody also specializes in metabolic bone disorders including osteoporosis and osteopenia. Dr. Carmody earned her medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She completed her orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Florida. Following her residency, she completed a fellowship in Orthopaedic Oncology at the University of Florida. Dr. Carmody focuses her research in two areas. The first is in synovial sarcoma. She is looking at the SS18-SYT fusion protein and how this contributes to the oncogenesis of synovial sarcoma. In addition, Dr. Carmody does clinical research in osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

Joe V. Chakkalakal, Ph.D.Joe V. Chakkalakal, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics in the Center for Musculoskeletal Research

Joe Chakkalakal is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics in the Center for Musculoskeletal Research. He earned his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Medicine from the University of Ottawa and did postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine.  His research explores the regulation and contributions of stem cells to skeletal muscle atrophy, age related wasting (sarcopenia) and regeneration. Specifically, his laboratory utilizes targeted genetics and injury models to determine how molecules of interest affect stem cell maintenance, fate and skeletal muscle regenerative capacity.

Andrew G. Evans, MD, PhDAndrew G. Evans, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Oncology

Andrew Evans earned his bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Chicago in 2000. He spent a year at the National Institutes of Health doing pre-doctoral research before entering the MSTP program at Emory University, where in 2009 he completed his MD and PhD in Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis. His graduate work in immunology and molecular virology focused on the mechanisms by which chronic viruses modulate the host immune response, and how these interactions contribute to cancer pathogenesis and other chronic diseases. Dr. Evans completed his residency in Anatomic Pathology and a fellowship in hematopathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. He joined the faculty of the School of Medicine and Dentistry as an Assistant Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine in July of 2013. His current research focuses on the molecular, genetic, and immunologic mechanisms that underlie leukemia and lymphoma development. Specifically, he is studying which bone marrow stromal interactions influence the development and persistence of these diseases. Other interests include the role of chronic viruses in lymphoma development, and the genetic characteristics that influence diagnosis and treatment of pre-myeloid leukemias or myelodysplastic syndromes. He is currently an attending physician in the Hematopathology Unit at Strong Memorial Hospital and a Wilmot Cancer Research Fellow at the Wilmot Cancer Institute.

Orna Intrator, Ph.D.Orna Intrator, Ph.D.

Professor of Public Health Sciences

Dr. Orna Intrator is a health services researcher educated in statistics and applied mathematics. Her research focuses on health services provided to older adults and others who require long-term services and supports, with particular attention to the implications for health policies and organizational management. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Brown University and her career has spanned through the Division of Applied Mathematics and the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research at Brown University through the Statistics Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Providence VA Medical Center to her current positions at the University of Rochester and the Canandaigua VA Medical Center. Dr. Intrator’s main interest is in developing the infrastructure to facilitate this area of research by building data systems, and defining and developing new measures and methods to support her inter-related research interests. The development of the Veterans’ Health Administration Geriatrics and Extended Care Data and Analysis Center (GEC DAC) follows her deep involvement in the development of the extensive data for long-term care at Brown University. It was initially conducted under her VA Health Services Research and Development grant that studied factors relating to which nursing homes Veterans used. In developing standardized data infrastructures, Dr. Intrator and her teams at the VA and at the university are able to coalesce the richness of the VA data with data from Medicare and Medicaid to systematically reflect institutional and home and community based services utilization and, to some extent, needs-based demand for those services. Dr. Intrator’s work in GEC DAC serves the needs of the Veterans’ Health Administration’s Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care providing an evidence base for planning programs and policies and monitoring performance of GEC services across VHA programs and institutions, thus contributing to policy and program development to serve this large segment of the U.S. population.

Courtney Marie Cora Jones, PhD MPHCourtney Marie Cora Jones, Ph.D. M.P.H.

Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and of Public Health Sciences

Courtney Jones received her PhD in epidemiology from the University of Rochester in 2014 and is currently completing a research trainee fellowship from the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. She is an injury epidemiologist with extensive experience with subject recruitment in emergent care settings, including the emergency department. Courtney’s research portfolio centers around risk stratification of injured patients to identify patients who would benefit from trauma center services. Specifically, her research foci include: 1) clinical outcomes of traumatically injured patients, with particular emphasis on how issues of aging, such as medical co-morbidities, high-risk medication use, and resiliency influence short-and long-term patient outcomes; 2) the pre-hospital care of injured patients, including the evaluation and development of field triage criteria; and 3) decision-making processes used in the pre-hospital setting by emergency medical services providers.

Todd A. Jusko, PhDTodd A. Jusko, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences and of Environmental Medicine

Todd Jusko is an environmental epidemiologist whose work explores the effects of chemical exposures on the human immune system. Recently, this work has focused on perinatal exposures to persistent organic pollutants and measures of post-vaccination antibody response, and in adults, the relationship between environmental chemicals and antinuclear antibodies (ANA). Dr. Jusko received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, and earned an MS and PhD in epidemiology from the University of Washington. As a doctoral candidate, Dr. Jusko was the recipient of a Fulbright grant to complete dissertation research in the Slovak Republic. Before joining the faculty of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, Dr. Jusko was a postdoctoral fellow in the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH.

Xiuxin Liu DDS, PhDXiuxin Liu, D.D.S., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Dentistry

Dr. Xiuxin Liu received his dental degree (DDS) from Shandong University School of Dentistry, China. He obtained further scientific education and received his PhD in Pharmacology from Heidelberg University, Germany. Before moving to Rochester, Dr. Liu completed his postdoctoral training in Neuroscience and also held faculty positions at Yale University. Dr. Liu enrolled in the residency-training program in Advanced Education in General Dentistry at EIOH and received his certificate in 2013. Dr. Liu brings a breadth of research experience in electrophysiology and neurobiology. His research activities mainly focus on glial-neuronal interactions and their implications in both developmental and clinical disorders. He is especially interested in elucidating the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms for the pathogenesis and management of orofacial pain and other oral sensory disorders, such as dentine hypersensitivity, toothache, TMJD, burning mouth syndrome. His current research investigates the role of intercellular ATP signaling in dentine hypersensitivity and orofacial hyperesthesia. Specifically, his laboratory uses patch clamp, confocal imaging, biochemistry, genomics, and behavior approaches to determine how and why nociceptive signaling is modulated and enhanced in the trigeminal nervous system. Dr. Liu has a strong publication record including research articles in Science, Nature Neuroscience, PNAS, Journal of Neuroscience, and Journal of Dental Research.

Bogachan Sahin, MD, PhDBogachan Sahin, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Neurology

Bogachan Sahin majored in molecular biology as an undergraduate at Princeton University. He completed his M.D. and Ph.D. training at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, where he studied post-synaptic signal transduction in the striatum as a graduate student. After completing his neurology residency and stroke fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, he joined the faculty of the Department of Neurology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in July 2013. His research interests include mechanisms of recovery in stroke survivors with language deficits and visual field cuts, and functional outcomes in stroke patients treated with mechanical embolectomy.

Jessica C. Shand, MD, MHSJessica C. Shand, M.D., M.H.S.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Jessica Shand received her BA in Natural Sciences (1998) and Master of Health Sciences in Microbiology/Immunology from the Johns Hopkins University (1999), after which she worked in the biodefense industry studying the innate immune response to emerging pathogens. She went on to receive her MD from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2006, and began her research career in cancer immunology while participating in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Research Scholars Program in the laboratory of Dr. Crystal Mackall (Pediatric Oncology Branch, NCI). Based on her work studying the immunogenicity of dendritic cell-based cancer vaccines she received a merit-based scholarship to subsidize the remainder of her medical studies. She completed her pediatric residency at the University of Rochester with a distinction in research, and went on to complete fellowship training in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and National Cancer Institute. Her postdoctoral research on leukemia-specific T-cell responses following bone marrow transplantation resulted in a first-author publication and several awards. Jessica’s current research focuses on how “danger signals” released by human acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the leading cause of cancer death in children, impacts the effectiveness of adoptive T-cell therapy. Her work is supported by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Scholar Award. 

Juilee Thakar, PhDJuilee Thakar, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Juilee Thakar is an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and works closely with the Center for Integrative Bioinformatics and Experimental Mathematics. She received her PhD from the Department of Bioinformatics, University of Würzburg, Germany. She previously held a postdoc position in the Department of Physics, Pennsylvania State University. Then she was an associate research scientist in the Department of Pathology, Yale School of Medicine before coming to Rochester. Juilee’s research program investigates effects of several factors including age, immunogenicity of the antigens, host genotype and host’s immune history on immune responses to infections and vaccinations. Specifically, she uses systems biology approaches to model probable trajectories of the immune response which then allows identification of parameters that can predict future outcomes of the disease.

Tong Tong Wu, PhDTong Tong Wu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biostatistics & Computational Biology

Tong Tong Wu received her Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the Department of Biostatistics, UCLA School of Public Health in 2006. She then held a postdoctoral researcher position in the Department of Human Genetics, UCLA when visiting the Department of Statistics at Stanford University. Dr. Wu started as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2007 and moved to the University of Rochester in 2013. As a biostatistician, Dr. Wu’s research interests in statistical methodology development include high-dimensional data analysis, survival analysis, statistical genetics, machine learning, computational statistics, longitudinal data analysis, and categorical data analysis. She has extensive experiences in collaborating with researchers in various fields. Specifically, she has worked on cancer, HIV, disease diagnosis, epidemiology, adolescent health, physical activities and diet, cardiovascular disease, health intervention, pain, medical devices, and genetics. Dr. Wu has served as a co-PI of a collaborative $10 million grant from NSF and co-I for over 10 NIH funded P20, R01, and R21 projects as she designs and directs the biostatistical aspects of those studies.

Jian Zhu, Ph.D.Jian Zhu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Microbiology & Immunology and of Biochemistry & Biophysics

Jian Zhu joined the University of Rochester Medical Center as an Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology.  He received his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology from Peking University in China.  He then moved to the United States to pursue a PhD of Pharmacology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Jian further completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Stephen Elledge at Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard Medical School. His lab studies the host-virus interactions, particularly for HIV and herpes viruses, at the interface of virology, immunology, proteomics, and functional genomics. The goal is to construct a global landscape of gene network modulating viral infection by using recently developed, multidisciplinary systematic approaches, and further study key genes that play a critical role in viral replication, especially those genes that dynamically regulate the switch of viral latency and reactivation, employing cell and/or animal models as well as other biochemical and biophysical skills.