COVID-19 Update: Information and resources can be found here.

Genetics, Development and Disease Faculty

Program Chair

Ondine Cleaver, Ph.D.
Ondine Cleaver, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of cell fate specification during blood vessel development and organogenesis

Faculty

John M. Abrams, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Molecular genetics of cell death; genomic “dark matter”; p53 tumor suppressor function; 3D genome organization

John Abrams, Ph.D.
Michalis Agathocleous, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Hematopoietic stem cell and leukemia metabolism; metabolites and the stem cell genome

Michalis Agathocleous, Ph.D.
Linda Baker, M.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of normal genitourinary development and congenital birth defects

Linda Baker, M.D.
Laura Banaszynski, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Chromatin biology, developmental gene regulation, histone variants, stem cells

Laura Banaszynski, Ph.D.
James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of cell growth proliferation control

James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D.
Ezra Burstein, M.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Molecular control of inflammatory responses in the intestine, inflammation and cancer progression, regulation of NF-kB activity, COMM.D. proteins

Ezra Burstein, M.D.
Michael Buszczak, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Stem cell biology; niche signaling; chromatin; translational repression

Michael Buszczak, Ph.D.
Thomas Carroll, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms regulating kidney tubule formation and maintenance

Thomas Carroll, Ph.D.
Maria Chahrour, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Genetics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD); molecular mechanisms underlying ASD; the ubiquitin proteasome pathway in neurodevelopmental disorders

Maria Chahrour, Ph.D.
Elizabeth Chen, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Cell-cell fusion, actin cytosleletal dynamics, mechanobiology, muscle development and regeneration

Elizabeth Chen, Ph.D.
Zhijian “James” Chen, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: NF-B signaling and the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway

Zhijian James Chen, Ph.D.
Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Genetics of quantitative traits; genetic determinants of plasma lipoprotein levels

Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D.
James Collins, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Schistosomes are parasitic flatworms that cause significant disease and disability in more than 200 million of the world’s poorest people. Using a variety of functional genomic approaches, we seek to understand fundamental aspects of schistosome biology, including the biology of somatic and reproductive stem cells.

James Collins, Ph.D.
Ralph J. DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Regulation of metabolism during cell growth and tumorigenesis; integrating signal transduction with metabolic flux; understanding pediatric metabolic diseases

Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D.
Michael Dellinger, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Calcium channels and calcium signalling in the nervous system;he development of the lymphatic vasculature and human diseases caused by errors in the development of the lymphatic vasculature

Michael Dellinger, Ph.D.
Peter Douglas, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Molecular genetics of aging and stress response in blunt trauma, degenerative disease and cancer

Peter Douglas, Ph.D.
Rene L. Galindo, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of pediatric sarcoma tumorigenesis and developmental skeletal muscle patterning

Rene Galindo, M.D., Ph.D.
Rana Gupta, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Transcriptional control of fat cell development and adipose tissue expansion in obesity; manipulating the adipose lineage as a therapeutic treatment for metabolic disease

Rana Gupta, Ph.D.
Dustin Hancks, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Host-pathogen interactions, genetic conflicts, positive selection​, genome evolution, innate immunity, evolutionary immunology, horizontal gene transfer, poxviruses, mutation, genetic disease, genomics

Dustin Hancks, Ph.D.
Mark Henkemeyer, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Molecular genetics of axon guidance and brain development; bidirectional tyrosine kinase signaling

Default Headshot
Helen H. Hobbs, M.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Identification of genetic factors contributing to inter-individual differences in the concentration of lipoproteins in the blood

Helen Hobbs, M.D.
Gary Hon, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Developing (epi)genomic/bioinformatic tools to assess and predict the functions of regulatory elements, epigenetic biomarkers of disease state, epigenetics in development and disease, global regulation of mammalian gene expression, non-coding genome function

Gary Hon, Ph.D.
Jenna Jewell, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Cancer biology, CRISPR genome editing, mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), nutrient sensing, signal transduction

Jenna Jewell, Ph.D.
Jin Jiang, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Signal-transduction pathways in development and human disease; genetic control of organ growth and patterning; tumor suppressor genes

Jin Jiang, Ph.D.
Jane E. Johnson, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Development of the mammalian nervous system; transcriptional regulation of neural cell-type specification

Jane Johnson, Ph.D.
Taekyung Kim, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Genetic and epigenetic programs underlying brain development and function

Taekyung Kim, Ph.D.
Helmut Kramer, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Molecular genetics endosomal trafficking in Drosophila

Helmut Kramer, Ph.D.
W. Lee Kraus, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Cellular signaling, gene regulation, and epigenetic control in the chromatin environment of the nucleus; biological systems include: reproduction, cancer, inflammation, adipogenesis, stem cells, differentiation

W. Lee Kraus, Ph.D.
Lu Q. Le, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Tumor cell of origin; roles of tumor microenvironment in cancer development; cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurofibromatosis; stem cell and cancer biology

Lu Le, M.D., Ph.D.
Yi Liu, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Synonymous codons as new genetic codes to regulate protein structure and gene expression, mechanism of circadian clocks, small and long coding RNAs

Yi Liu, Ph.D.
Zhi-Ping Liu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Elucidate transcriptional regulatory mechanisms of genes involved in cardiovascular diseases and characterize the signaling pathways coupling these transcriptional programs to extracellular signals that trigger this disease

Zhi-Ping Liu, Ph.D.
Peter Ly, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Mechanisms of genomic instability and chromosomal alterations in cancer

Peter Ly, Ph.D.
Ravikanth Maddipati, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Tumor metastasis, tumor heterogeneity, therapy resistance, circulation tumor cells, and cellular plasticity

Ravikanth Maddipati, M.D.
Ram Mani, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Epigenetic mechanisms underlying cancer progression; ETS gene fusions in prostate cancer; genomic rearrangements in cancer; transcriptional regulation in prostate cancer

Ram Mani, Ph.D.
Denise Marciano, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Regulation of cell-cell adhesion during tubule and glomerular formation and in polycystic kidney disease

Denise Marciano, M.D., Ph.D.
Samuel McBrayer, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Nitrogen metabolism, crosstalk between the metabolome and epigenome, metabolic mechanisms of tumor initiation, synthetic lethality, glioma biology, CRISPR/Cas9-based mouse models of cancer

Samuel McBrayer, Ph.D.
David McFadden, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Genetically engineered mouse models of cancer, chemical and genetic screens for new vulnerabilities in small cell lung cancer and Ewing sarcoma

Default Headshot
Joshua Mendell, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Regulation and function of mammalian miRNAs and other noncoding RNAs in normal physiology and disease

Joshua Mendell, M.D., Ph.D.
Berge Minassian, M.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Understanding the molecular basis of glycogen malformation in the fatal Lafora epilepsy and devising gene and small-molecule based therapies for this and other childhood neurogenetic disorders.

Berge Minassian, M.D.
Chieko Mineo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Molecular basis of pathogenesis of antiphospholipid syndrome; role of Pentraxin C Reactive protein in metabolic syndrome; biology of lipoproteins and their receptors

Chieko Mineo, Ph.D.
Sean Morrison, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Cancer stem cell biology; melanoma cell proliferation and metastasis; stem cell aging; stem cell self-renewal

Sean Morrison, Ph.D.
Ping Mu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Molecular mechanism of therapy resistance in prostate cancer, combined therapy development, novel biomarker identification, non-coding RNAs’ function in prostate cancer

Ping Mu, Ph.D.
Saikat Mukhopadhyay, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Role of the primary cilia in normal development and cancer; functional proteomics in ciliary diseases; ciliary signaling pathways

Saikat Mukhopadhyay, M.D., Ph.D.
Nikhil Munshi, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Transcriptional mechanisms that orchestrate formation and function of the cardiac conduction system

Nikhil Munshi, M.D., Ph.D.
Kathryn O’Donnell, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Mechanisms of tumorigenesis; Regulation and function of cell surface receptors in lung cancer pathogenesis

Kathryn O'Donnell, Ph.D.
Eric N. Olson, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Transcriptional control of cell differentiation; muscle development

Eric Olson, Ph.D.
Duojia Pan, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Size-control mechanisms in development, regeneration, and cancer

Duojia Pan, Ph.D.
Benjamin Sabari, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Gene regulation, nuclear organization by biomolecular condensates, phase separation, gene activation in development and cancer

Default Headshot
Hesham Sadek, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Metabolic profiling of stem cells

Hesham Sadek, M.D., Ph.D.
Philip W. Shaul, M.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Endothelial cell biology, vascular development and disease; signaling molecules in endothelial cell caveolae/lipid rafts

Philip Shaul, M.D.
Matthew Sieber, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Cellular metabolism, mitochondria, reproduction, cellular quiescence

Matthew Sieber, Ph.D.
Douglas Strand, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Benign and malignant urologic diseases, computational and translational biology, cellular anatomy, single cell technology

Douglas Strand, Ph.D.
Stephen Skapek, M.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Tumor suppressor gene function; angiogenesis; skeletal muscle differentiation; oncogene-induced senescence

Stephen Skapek, M.D.
Lu Sun, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Neuron-glia interaction, oligodendrocyte, myelination, neurological disorders

Default Headshot
Vincent Tagliabracci, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Kinases in the secretory pathway and the extracellular space; secreted protein and peptide hormone phosphorylation; CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing

Vincent Tagliabracci, Ph.D.
Yingfei Wang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: PARP-1 signaling, DNA damage, and cell death in neurologic diseases and human cancer

Yingfei Wang, Ph.D.
Zhigao Wang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of necrotic cell death; development of chemical inhibitors and activators of necrotic cell death

Zhigao Wang, Ph.D.
Katherine Wert, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Inherited retinal degenerations, stem cell biology, gene editing, gene therapy, mouse models of ocular disease, metabolism and metabolic reprogramming, photoreceptor cells, genetic mechanisms of disease

Default Headshot
Tom Wilkie, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: G-protein signaling during mouse development, energy homeostasis, and feeding behavior

Tom Wilkie, Ph.D.
Carol Wise, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Genetics of pediatric musculoskeletal and autoinflammatory diseases

Carol Wise, Ph.D.
Jiang Wu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Chromatin regulation of neural development; neural stem cell differentiation; activity dependent gene expression

Jiang Wu, Ph.D.
Jun Wu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Stem cells and pluripotency, genome and epigenome editing, interspecies chimera and organogenesis, species preservation

Jun Wu, Ph.D.
Yang Xie, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Processing and analysis of high throughput data; false discovery rate estimation; integrated analysis methodology; Bayesian analysis methodology; design and analysis of clinical trials

Yang Xie, Ph.D.
Chao Xing, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Statistical genetics, genetic epidemiology, bioinformatics, gene mapping for complex traits

Chao Xing, Ph.D.
Jian Xu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Epigenetic and genetic basis of disease-associated genes and gene networks in blood stem cell development and disorders, focusing on both single gene and genomic levels

Jian Xu, Ph.D.
Chun-Li Zhang, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Nuclear receptor signaling and adult neural stem cells

Chun-Li Zhang, Ph.D.
Qing Zhang, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Regulation and function of oxygen sensing pathway in diseases including cancer; post-translational modifications of proteins; tumor suppressor signaling and synthetic lethality

Qing Zhang, Ph.D.
Jian Zhou, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Computational Biology; Systems biology and functional Genomics; Machine learning and statistics for biomedical science; Genomic sequence-based regulation

Default Headshot
Hao Zhu, M.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Genetic and cellular mechanisms of organ regeneration and dysregulation of these mechanisms in liver cancer

Hao Zhu, M.D.

Associate Members

These faculty members do not accept graduate students. They participate in teaching, co-mentoring, exam and dissertation committees, and all other program responsibilities.

Rhonda Bassel-Duby, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Genetic mechanisms of muscle development, growth, disease, and regeneration

Rhonda Bassel-Duby, Ph.D.
Bret Evers, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Pathology; comparative histopathology; neuropathology; developmental biology; ophthalmic pathology

Bret Evers, M.D., Ph.D.
Robert E. Hammer, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Transforming growth factor beta signaling

Default Headshot
Ning Liu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Role of progenitor cells in skeletal muscle function during homeostasis and aging

Ning Liu, Ph.D.
Raymond J. MacDonald, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Transcriptional control of organogenesis

Default Headshot
Stuart Ravnik, Ph.D.

Associate Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Research Interests: Molecular control of germ-cell development and meiosis

Stuart Ravnik, Ph.D.
Dwight Towler, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Wnt signaling; cardiovascular calcification; transgenic preclinical disease models; protein arginine methylation; transcriptional regulation; fibrosis; vascular smooth muscle phenotypic modulation; osteogenic differentiation.

Dwight Towler, M.D., Ph.D..
Zhao Zhang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of major metabolic diseases including obesity, diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

Zhao Zhang, Ph.D.
Andrew R. Zinn, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Genetic disorders of human growth and reproduction; Turner syndrome; infertility; obesity

Andrew Zinn, M.D., Ph.D.