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Graduate Students Postdoctoral Fellows Researchers / Staff Principal Investigator

Graduate Students

Aubhishek Zaman– Cancer Biology

Aubhishek Zaman

Education: M.S. – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Research Interests: Cancer therapeutics and its mode of actions; key players in cellular growth, vesicular traffic and cellular responses to nutrient availability,.

Publications (selected):

Zaman A* and Razzaque S  ‘Designing Novel Antibacterials: Application of Omics Science’ Klimik Dergisi. 2013; 26; 2-8

Islam MR, Zaman A, Jahan I, Chakravorty R, Chakraborty S*. ‘In silico QSAR analysis of quercetin reveals its potential as therapeutic drug for Alzheimer's disease.’ J Young Pharm. 2013 Dec;5(4):173-9.

Islam MR*, Hosen MI, Zaman A, Islam MO. ‘Structural, functional and molecular docking study to characterize GMI1 from Arabidopsis thaliana.’ Interdiscip Sci. 2013 Mar;5(1):13-22.

Zaman A*, Rahaman MH, Razzaque S. ‘Kaposi's sarcoma: a computational approach through protein-protein interaction and gene regulatory networks analysis.’ Virus Genes. 2013 Apr;46(2):242-54. doi: 10.1007/s11262-012-0865-z. Epub 2012 Dec 25.

Zaman A*, Fancy NN. ‘A computational prediction of structure and function of novel homologue of Arabidopsis thaliana Vps51/Vps67 subunit in Corchorus olitorius.’ Interdiscip Sci. 2012 Dec;4(4):256-67.

Zaman A*.Docking studies and network analyses reveal capacity of compounds from Kandelia rheedii to strengthen cellular immunity by interacting with host proteins during tuberculosis infection.’ Bioinformation. 2012;8(21):1012-20.

Islam R, Sakib M S, and Zaman A* ‘A Computational Assay to Design an Epitope-based Peptide Vaccine against Chikungunya Virus.’ Future Virology. 2012; 7 (10):1029–1042.

Zaman A* (2012) ‘Characterization of Coilin protein nucleotide binding region in Homo sapiens’ Online Journal of Bioinformatics, 13(2):314-330.

Zaman A* ‘Drug Designing Approaches Using In-Silico Techniques’ Lambert Academic Press (LAP). 2012; ISBN: 978-3-659-15283-2

*Corresponding author

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Postdoctoral Fellows

Rachel Vaden, Ph.D. – Chemistry

Rachel Vaden

Education: B.S. – Chemistry, 2008, University of West Georgia; PhD – Chemistry, 2015, University of Utah

Research interest: The use of molecular tools to probe biological systems can provide insight into complex cellular processes and disease states.  My research is focused on understanding how genetic mutations acquired during tumor progression can confer sensitivity to novel bioactive compounds.  Not only can these studies facilitate clinical therapeutic development by identifying patient populations that are likely to be sensitive a specific treatment, but they can also provide direct mechanistic information about cancer signaling pathways that may be used to inform additional treatment design strategies.


Vaden RM, Gligorich KM, Jana R, Sigman MS, & Welm BE (2014) The small molecule C-6 is selectively cytotoxic against breast cancer cells and its biological action is characterized by mitochondrial defects and endoplasmic reticulum stress. Breast Cancer Res 16(6):472.

Gligorich KM*, Vaden RM*, Shelton DN, Wang G, Matsen CB, Looper RE, Sigman, MS, & Welm BE (2013) Development of a screen to identify selective small molecules active against patient-derived metastatic and chemoresistant breast cancer cells. Breast Cancer Res 15(4):R58.

Pathak TP, Osiak JG, Vaden RM, Welm BE, Sigman MS (2012) Synthesis and Preliminary Biological Study of Bisindolylmethanes Accessed by an Acid-Catalyzed Hydroarylation of Vinylindoles. Tetrahedron 68(26):5203.

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Suzie Hight, Ph.D. – Cancer Biology

Suzie Hight, Ph.D.

Education: B.S. – Biochemistry 2002, University of Iowa; M.S. – Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 2006, Purdue University; Ph.D. – Cancer Biology 2015, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Research interest: Leveraging the power of functional genomics for identification of new therapeutic strategies to treat cancer. Using functional signature ontology (FuSiOn) mapping, we are elucidating mechanisms of action for bioactive natural products, and thus accelerating the discovery of new therapeutic agents. Also: The role of genetic instability and heterogeneity in tumorigenesis, and strategies for targeting genetic instability in tumors; Identification of synthetic lethal relationships that can be exploited as tumor-specific acquired vulnerabilities.

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Caroline Diep, Ph.D. – Cancer Biology

Caroline Diep

Education: B.A. – Art History 2003, University of Arizona; B.S. – Molecular Cellular Biology 2005, University of Arizona; Ph.D. – Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology 2015, University of Minnesota.

Research interest: I am interested in identifying and understanding the master molecular drivers and/or regulators of squamous lung carcinoma biology. Insights gained will be leveraged into novel and efficacious therapeutic strategies to precisely treat tumors.


Diep CH, Knutson TP, Lange CA. Active FOXO1 is a Key Determinant of Isoform-Specific Progesterone Receptor Transactivation and Senescence Programming. Mol Cancer Res. Nov 17, 2015. PMID: 26577046

Whatcott CJ, Diep CH, Jiang P, Watanabe A, Lobello J, Sima C, Hostetter G, Shepard M, Von Hoff DD, Han H. Desmoplasia in primary tumors and metastatic lesions of pancreatic cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2015 Aug 1;21(15):3561-8. PMID: 25695692

Diep CH, Daniel AR, Mauro LJ, Knutson TP, Lange CA. Progesterone action in breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers. J Mol Endocrinol. 2015; 54(2):R31-53. PMID: 25587053

Dressing GE, Knutson TP, Schiewer MJ, Daniel AR, Hagan CR, Diep CH, Knudsen KE, Lange CA. Progesterone receptor-cyclin D1 complexes induce cell cycle-dependent transcriptional programs in breast cancer cells. Mol Endocrinol. 2014; 28(4):442-57. PMID: 24606123

Diep CH, Charles NJ, Gilks CB, Kalloger SE, Argenta PA, Lange CA. Progesterone receptors induce FOXO1-dependent senescence in ovarian cancer cells. Cell Cycle. 2013; 12(9):1433-49. PMID: 23574718

Diep CH, Zucker K, Hostetter G, Watanabe A, Hu C, Munoz RM, Von Hoff DD, Han H. Down-regulation of Yes-Associated Protein 1 (YAP1) expression reduces cell proliferation and clonogenicity of pancreatic cancer cells. PLoS One. 2012; 7(3):e32783. PMID: 22396793

Diep CH, Munoz RM, Choudhary A, Von Hoff DD, Han H. Synergistic effect between erlotinib and MEK inhibitors in K-Ras wildtype human pancreatic cancer cells. Clin Cancer Res. 2011; 17(9):2744-56. PMID: 21385921

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Jeon Lee, Ph.D. – Computational Biology

Jeon Lee

Education:  Ph.D. – Biomedical Engineering, 2006, Yonsei University, South Korea; Postdoctoral Fellow, 2013-2014, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Research Interests:  Data fusion for anti-cancer drug response prediction, machine learning algorithms for cancer biology and biomedical image and signals, physiological signal analytics, arrhythmia diagnosis and prognosis algorithms, finding links between sleep apnea and arrhythmia, scientific approaches to traditional Korean/Chinese medicine, and clinical trials.


Lee, C. H, Park, K. H, Nam, J. H, Lee, J., Choi, Y. J., Kong, E. J. Son, J. W., Kim, U., Park, J. S., Kim, Y. J., and Shin, D. G (2015). Increased Variability of the Coupling Interval of Premature Ventricular Contractions as a Predictor of Cardiac Mortality in Patients with Left Ventricular Dysfunction. Circulation Journal, 79(11), 2360-2366.

Lee, J., Kim, S. J., Chen, R., and Herskovits, E. H. (2015, August). Brain tumor image segmentation using kernel dictionary learning. In Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), 2015 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE (pp. 658-661). IEEE.

Kim, J. U., Lee, Y. J., Lee, J., and Kim, J. Y. (2015). Differences in the Properties of the Radial Artery between Cun, Guan, Chi, and Nearby Segments Using Ultrasonographic Imaging: A Pilot Study on Arterial Depth, Diameter, and Blood Flow. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Lee, J., & Finkelstein, J. (2014). Evaluation of a portable stress management device. Studies in health technology and informatics, 208, 248-252.

Lee, J., and Finkelstein, J. (2014). Consumer sleep tracking devices: a critical review. Studies in health technology and informatics, 210, 458-460.

Choi, Y. J., Park, K. H., Lee, C. H., Lee, S. H., Park, J. S., Kim, U., Son, J. W., Lee, J., Kim, J. R., and Shin, D. G. (2014). “Optimal” cutoff value of heart rate; appraisal based on heart rate variability and C-reactive protein. International journal of cardiology, 176(2), 497-499.

Lee, H. K., Lee, J., Kim, H., Ha, J. Y., and Lee, K. J. (2013). Snoring detection using a piezo snoring sensor based on hidden Markov models. Physiological measurement, 34(5), N41.

Lee, J., Song, M. H., Shin, D. G., and Lee, K. J. (2012). Event synchronous adaptive filter based atrial activity estimation in single-lead atrial fibrillation electrocardiograms. Medical & biological engineering & computing, 50(8), 801-811.

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Researchers / Staff

Kiran Kaur, Ph.D. – Adjunct Instructor / Lab Manager

Kiran Kaur, Ph.D.

Education: M.S., 1982, University of Kentucky; Ph.D. 1994, Southern Methodist University


Saurabh Mendiratta – Research Scientist

Saurabh Mendiratta

Education: M.S. – Biotechnology, 2003, MS University, Baroda, India; M.S. – Cell and Molecular Biology, 2006, University of Texas at Dallas

Research Interests: High throughput SiRNA and chemical compound screening to identify gene targets selectively required for cancer cell survival.


Kim, H. S., Mendiratta S., J. Kim, C. V. Pecot, J. E. Larsen, I. Zubovych, B. Y. Seo, J. Kim, B. Eskiocak, H. Chung, E. McMillan, S. Wu, J. De Brabander, K. Komurov, J. E. Toombs, S. Wei, M. Peyton, N. Williams, A. F. Gazdar, B. A. Posner, R. A. Brekken, A. K. Sood, R. J. Deberardinis, M. G. Roth, J. D. Minna and M. A. White (2013). "Systematic identification of molecular subtype-selective vulnerabilities in non-small-cell lung cancer." Cell 155(3): 552-566.

Potts, M.B., Kim, H.S., Fisher, K.W., Hu, Y., Carrasco, Y., Bulut, G.B., Ou, Y.-H., Herrera-Herrera, M.L., Cubillos, F., Mendiratta, S., Xiao, G., Hofree, M., Ideker, T., Xie, Y., Huang, L.J.-S., Lewis, R.E., MacMillan, J.B., and White, M.A. (2013).  Using Functional Signature Ontology (FUSION) to identify mechanisms of action for natural products.  Sci. Signal., 6(297), ra90.

Ward S.E., Kim H.S., Komurov K. Mendiratta S., Tsai P.L, Schmolke M., Satterly N., Manicassamy B., Forst C.V., Roth M.G., García-Sastre A., Blazewska K.M., McKenna C.E., Fontoura B.M., White M.A., "Host Modulators of H1N1 Cytopathogenicity," PLoS One, 2012;7(8):e39284. Epub 2012 Aug 2.

Goldsmith E.J., Mendiratta S., Akella R., Dahlgren K., "Natural language query in the biochemistry and molecular biology domains based on cognition search™," Summit on Translat Bioinforma, 2009 Mar 1;2009:32-7.

Garcia-Rodriguez J., Mendiratta, S., White, M. A., Xie, X.-S., and De Brabander, J. K. 2015. Synthesis and structure-activity studies of the V-ATPase inhibitor saliphenylhalamide (SaliPhe) and simplified analogs. Bioorganic and Medical Chemistry Letters, 25:4393-4398.

Li, Y., Mendiratta, S., Ehrhardt, K., Kashyap, N., White, M. A., Bleris, L. 2015. Exploiting the CRSPR/Cas9 PAM constraint for single-nucleotide resolution interventions. Plos One, 11:e0144970.

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Principal Investigator

Michael A. White, Ph.D. – Professor, Cell Biology

Michael A. White, Principal Investigator

Grant A. Dove Chair for Research in Oncology
The Sherry Wigley Crow Cancer Research Endowed Chair in Honor of Robert Lewis Kirby, M.D.

Education: University of Iowa (1986), Undergraduate; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1992), Graduate

Research Interests: Cancer, molecular architecture of growth regulatory signal transduction cascades, oncogenes, signal transduction and tumor suppressors

Publications: 1992 – 2015

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