MSTP Faculty

Participating Faculty

Members of the participating faculty are Duke faculty members who are currently mentoring MSTP students, who previously mentored (within the last year) MSTP students, or who are on Duke MSTP committees. 

Students may choose mentors from among the many Duke faculty members with appointments to the Graduate Faculty. Training in a wide range of areas is available to MSTP students, and interdisciplinary collaboration across department lines occurs frequently. When faculty members are chosen as mentors by MSTP students, they are added to the membership of the Duke MSTP participating faculty.

A-B   C-D   E-F   G-H   I-J   K-L   M-N   O-P   Q-R   S-T   U-V   W-X   Y-Z

Faculty    Role
R. Alison Adcock, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
To understand how brain systems for motivation support learning and to use mechanistic understanding of how behavior changes biology to meet the challenge of developing new therapies appropriate for early interventions for mental illness
  Steering Committee

Hashim M Al-Hashimi, PhD
James B Duke Professor, Biochemistry
The theoretical design and implementation of new NMR experiments for probing the physicochemical properties of biomolecules, with particular interest in RNA and DNA and the proteins and small molecules that bind to them
Current mentee:
Megan Kelly

Gerard Blobe, MD, PhD
Professor, Medicine (Oncology), and Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
The role of transforming growth factor beta in cancer biology and vascular biology


Admissions Committee
Steering Committee

Diego Bohorquez, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medicine (Pathology)
Unveiling how the brain perceives what the gut feels, how food in the intestine is sensed by our body, and how a sensory signal from a nutrient is transformed into
an electrical signal that alters behavior

Current mentee:
Winston Liu

Nicolas Brunel, PhD
Professor, Neurobiology and Physics
Uses theoretical models of brain systems to investigate how they process and learn information from their inputs

Current mentee:
Alex Vaz


Daniel Buckland, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Development of medical devices for the diagnosis and treatment of medical issues that develop in remote environments ranging from outer space to rural America
Admissions Committee

Nenad Bursac, PhD
Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Medicine, Cell Biology
Stem cell, tissue engineering, and gene based therapies for heart and muscle regeneration; Cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmias; Organ-on-chip and tissue engineering technologies for disease modeling and therapeutic screening; Small and large animal models of heart and muscle injury, disease, and regeneration.
Current mentee:
Jacob Scherba

Lawrence Carin, PhD
James L. Meriam Distinguished Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Applied statistics and machine learning


Current mentee:
Rachel Ballantyne Draelos

Francis Ka-Ming Chan, PhD
Professor, Immunology
How cell death impacts innate inflammation and immune responses.
Admissions Committee

Jen-Tsan Ashley Chi, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
Genomic approaches to analyze biological systems and disease
Admissions Committee


Ashutosh Chilkoti, PhD
Alan L. Koganov Professor and Chair, Biomedical Engineering
Biomolecular materials, genetically encoded synthesis, biotechnology, drug delivery, biological surface science, micropatterning of proteins and peptides, nanostructured materials and surfaces

Steering Committee

Jorn Coers, PhD
Assistant Professor, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Cytokine-induced cell-autonomous immunity and its role in infectious and autoimmune diseases

Current mentee:
Jacob Dockterman
Stephen Kirchner

Leonor Corsino, MD, MHS
Associate Professor of Medicine (Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Nutrition)
Research focuses on diabetes, obesity and related complications and health disparities with a particular interest in Hispanic/Latino populations


Steering Committee

Lawrence David, PhD
Assistant Professor, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
Seeks to understand, predict, and manipulate how human microbiota behave over time

Current mentee:
Brianna Petrone
Recent mentee:
Justin Silverman

Gayathri Devi, PhD
Associate Professor, Surgery
Functional genomics, anti-cancer drug discovery and development, mechanisms of cancer cell signaling, tumor immunity and applications thereof for overcoming therapeutic resistance in cancer.
Admissions Committee

Colin S. Duckett, PhD
Vice Dean for Basic Science
Molecular mechanisms of cellular transformation of Hodgkin’s disease and anaplastic large cell lymphoma, regulation of apoptotic cell death and proliferation in cancer, characterization of the canonical and noncanonical NF-kappaB signaling pathways in normal and malignant cells and homeostatic regulation of intracellular copper in mammalian cells.
 Steering Committee

Kafui Dzirasa, MD, PhD
K. Kanga Rama Krishnan Associate Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
How neuropsychiatric risk genes interact with environmental stress to modify neural circuits that underlie normal emotional and cognitive function
Current mentee:
Dalton Hughes
Jake Benton

Mai ElMallah, MD
Associate Professor, Pediatrics
The control of breathing and pulmonary mechanics in murine models of several genetic diseases. Currently focused on ALS mouse models and the Pompe disease mouse model. Examine the impact of gene therapy and neuromodulation on respiratory insufficiency that results from neuromuscular weakness.
Current mentee:
Preston Anderson

Peter Fecci, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Pathology
Brain Tumor Immunotherapy

Current mentee:
Lucas Wachsmuth
Recent mentee:
Karolina Woroniecka

Guido Ferrari, MD
Professor, Surgery, Associate Research professor, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Independent basic research and immune monitoring studies. The research revolves around three main areas of interest: class I-mediated cytotoxic CD8+ T cell responses, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), gene expression in NK and T cellular subsets upon infection with HIV-1.
Current mentee:
Danielle Rosenthal

Greg Field, PhD
Assistant Professor, Neurobiology
Laboratory studies how the retina processes visual scenes and transmits this information to the brain. Use multi-electrode arrays to record the activity of hundreds of retina neurons simultaneously in conjunction with transgenic mouse lines and chemogenetics to manipulate neural circuit function​.

Current mentee:
Lindsey Chew

Scott Floyd, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology, and Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
Mechanisms of DNA damage signaling and repair in human and other mammalian cells

Admissions Committee

Current mentee:
Drake Edwards

Johnna Frierson, PhD
Assistant Professor of the Practice of Medical Education, Assistant Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Diversity and Inclusion


Steering Committee

Rasheed Adebayo Gbadegesin, MD, MBBS
Associate Dean for Physician-Scientist Development
Molecular genetics of glomerular disease; Genetic risk factors for childhood onset idiopathic nephrotic syndrome.


Steering Committee

Geoffrey S Ginsburg, MD, PhD
Professor, Medicine and Pathology
The development of novel paradigms for developing and translating genomic information into medical practice and the integration of personalized medicine into health care
Steering Committee

Bradley Goldstein, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Head & Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences, Neurobiology
Admissions Committee

Warren Grill, PhD
Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Research employs engineering approaches to understand and control neural function. We work on fundamental questions and applied development in electrical stimulation of the nervous system to restore function to individuals with neurological impairment or injury.

Current mentee:
Jahrane Dale

Jennifer Groh, PhD
Professor, Psychology and Neuroscience, Neurobiology, Computer Science
Research in my laboratory concerns how sensory and motor systems work together, and how neural representations play a combined role in sensorimotor and cognitive processing (embodied cognition)


Current mentee:
Jesse Herche

Amanda Hargrove, PhD
Associate Professor, Chemisty
The Hargrove lab harnesses the unique properties of small organic molecules to study the structure, function and therapeutic potential of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs).


Current mentee:
Marek Zorawski

Caroline Haynes, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Outpatient treatment of mood, anxiety, and personality disorders in adults; medication management; individual psychotherapy

Steering Committee

You-Wen He, MD, PhD
Professor, Immunology
Regulation of T-cell development and the role of innate immunity in bacterial infections
Admissions Committee

Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD
James B. Duke Professor and Chair, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
Mechanisms of fungal pathogenesis

Steering Committee
Recent mentee:
Zanetta Chang

Christopher Holley, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medicine (Cardiology)
Focses on the role of non-coding RNA (ncRNA) in cardiovascular health and disease, with a special emphais on snoRNA (small nucleolar RNA)

Admissions Committee

Shiaowen Hsu, MD, PhD
Associate Professor in Cancer Genomics, Medicine(Oncology)
Research focuses on the application of high-throughput technologies including microarrays to match the individual patient with the most optimal therapy to improve clinical outcomes in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

Admissions Committee

Erich Huang, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Biostatistics & Bioinformatics
Breast cancer; research interest in solid-tumor gene-expression analysis; oncogenic pathway analysis; computational and systems biology

Admissions Committee

Joseph Izatt, PhD
Michael J. Fitzpatrick Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Application of optical technologies for non-invasive, high-resolution imaging and sensing in living biological tissues

Recent mentee:
Mark Draelos

Michael Kastan, MD, PhD
Executive Director, Duke Cancer Institute
William and Jane Shingleton Professor, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology, Pediatrics
Elucidating molecular mechanisms involved in cellular responses to DNA damage and other stresses

Steering Committee

David G Kirsch, MD, PhD
Barbara Levine Professor, Radiation Oncology
Study of cancer and radiation biology in order to develop new cancer therapies in the pre-clinical setting​

Current mentee:
Mark Chen
Warren Floyd
Jonathon Himes
Chang Su
Amy Wisdom

Priya Kishnani, MD
Professor, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
A multidisciplinary approach to care of individuals with genetic disorders in conjunction with clinical and bench research that contributes

Current mentee:
Rebecca Gibson

Mary Klotman, MD
R.J. Reynolds Professor and Dean of Medicine
Molecular pathogenesis of Human Immunodeficiency Virus 1 (HIV-1) infection

Dean, School of Medicine

Dennis Ko, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
Human genetic variation regulating infection and inflammation

Current mentee:
Alejandro Antonia

Christopher Kontos, MD
Professor, Medicine (Cardiology)
Regulation of angiogenesis

MSTP Director
Admissions Committee
Steering Committee

Cynthia Kuhn, PhD
Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Adolescent onset of addiction, depression and eating disorders: the interaction of the development of monoamine systems, hormonal status and genetic sex.

Current mentee:
Alyssa Bernanke


Andrew Landstrom, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Exploring the genetic and molecular causes of sudden cardiac death in children and young adults


Admissions Committee

Current mentee:
Minu Tshyeto Bidzimou

Robert Lefkowitz, MD
James B. Duke Professor, Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine), Biochemistry
Signaling of G protein-coupled receptors


Steering Committee

Current mentee:
Anthony Nguyen

Stephen Lisberger, PhD
George Barth Geller Professor and Chair, Neurobiology
Understanding the general principles of brain operation, through analysis of a relatively simple sensory-motor system in a complex animal

Current mentee:
Timothy Darlington

Xunrong Luo, MD, PhD
Professor, Medicine (Nephrology)
Focuses on the induction and mechanisms of transplantation tolerance, using innovative donor-specific negative vaccination strategies to target the host machineries involved in clearance of cellular apoptotic debris in an immunotolerogenic manner.

Admissions Committee

David MacAlpine, PhD
Associate Professor, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
Understanding the mechanisms by which the molecular architecture of the chromosome regulates fundamental biological processes such as replication and transcription

Recent mentee:
Vinay Tripuraneni

Amanda MacLeod, MD
Assistant Professor, Immunology and Dermatology
Investigates surveillance and repair functions in the skin. Within this broad research area, with a focus on immune regulation and modulation during skin injury, infection, and cancer


Current mentee:
Stephen Kirchner

Douglas Marchuk, PhD
James B. Duke Professor and Vice Chair, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
Studies the genetics of cardiovascular disease using both the human and the mouse as a model system

Current mentee:
Matthew Detter

Donald McDonnell, PhD
Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Chair, Department of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
The research is focused on the development and application of mechanism based approaches to identify novel therapeutics for use in the treatment and prevention of hormonally responsive cancers.

Current mentee:
Patrick Juras

Manoj Mohanan, PhD
Associate Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy
Global Health

Current mentees:
Chris Behrer
Laura Stilwell


Richard Mooney, PhD
George Barth Geller Professor, Neurobiology
Understanding the neural mechanisms that underlie imitative vocal learning in songbirds

Recent mentee:
Matthew Kearney

Deborah Muoio, PhD
Professor, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
Expertise lies in the areas of intermediary metabolism, lipid biochemistry, metabolic disease, exercise physiology and mitochondrial bioenergetics

Recent mentee:
Michael Davidson

Samira Musah, PhD
Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Understanding how molecular signals and biophysical forces can function either synergistically or independently to guide organ development and physiology, and how these processes can be therapeutically harnessed to treat human disease.

Admissions Committee

Mark Palmeri, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Ultrasonic imaging, specifically using acoustic radiation force to characterize tissue properties, and finite element analysis of soft tissue response to impulsive radiation force excitation


Steering Committee
Admissions Committee 

Current mentee:
Ouwen Huang
Felix Jin

John Pearson, PhD
Associate Professor of Practice, Biomedical Engineering
Application of machine learning methods to analysis of brain data and behavior. Special interest in neurobiology of reward and decision-making, particularly issues surrounding foraging, impulsivity, and self-control. More generally: computational principles underlying brain organization at the mesoscale, and work in lab studies phenomena that range from complex social behaviors to coding principles of the retina.

Current mentee:
Daniela De Albuquerque

Ann Marie Pendergast, PhD
Anthony R. Means Professor, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
Regulation of cellular signaling pathways by tyrosine kinases and adaptor proteins in normal development and pathological conditions, including cancer, immune deficiencies and neurological disorders


Steering Committee


Sallie R. Permar, MD, PhD
Professor, Pediatrics, Immunology, Pathology
Prevention and treatment of neonatal viral infections; prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in immunosuppressed pediatric patients.


Current mentee:
Jennifer Jenks
Eleanor Semmes

Recent mentee:
Cody Nelson

Sudarshan Rajagopal, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medicine (Cardiology), Biochemistry
Pulmonary hypertension; right heart failure


Admissions Committee

Current mentee:
Dylan Eiger

John Rawls, PhD
Professor, Director, Duke Microbiome Center
Understand how the intestinal microbiome contributes to vertebrate physiology and disease.

Current Mentee:
Margaret Morash

John Sampson, MD, PhD
Robert H., M.D. and Gloria Wilkins Professor of Neurosurgery
Immunotherapeutic targeting of a tumor-specific mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor

Steering Committee

Gillian Sanders Schmidler, PhD
Professor, Population Health Sciences and Medicine
Focuses on the development of evidence-based decision models to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of alternative prevention, treatment, and management strategies for chronic diseases – and the translation of such models into formats/tools that patients, healthcare providers, and policymakers can use in their decision-making process.


Current mentee:
Ethan Borre

Stephanie Sarantopoulos, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy

Admissions Committee

Kenneth Matt Scaglione, PhD
Assistant Professor, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Focuses on understanding how protein quality control pathways counteract protein aggregation to maintain neuronal health.

Admissions Committee

Xiling Shen, PhD
Hawkins Family Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Precision medicine for cancer, regeneration, microbiome, and gut-brain axis. Multi-omics approaches including organoid, epigenetics, CRISPR, single-cell, metabolomics, machine learning, droplet microfluidics, humanized immune model and intravital imaging.


Current mentee:
Shree Bose
Mary Makenzie Beaman

Mari Shinohara, PhD
Associate Professor, Immunology
Uses mouse models for infectious and autoimmune diseases to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of; pathogen recognition by PRRs in macrophages and DCs, initiation of inflammatory responses in the innate immune system, and the impact of innate immune inflammation on the development and regulation of T cell-mediated adaptive immune responses

Current mentee:
Elizabeth Deerhake
Devon DiPalma

Gustavo Silva, PhD
Associate Professor, Biology
Understand and be able to control how cells respond to stressful and harmful conditions, which are the underlying causes of many human diseases. Study cellular response to stress at the protein level and aim to characterize the different regulatory functions mediated by the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS), essential machinery involved in modulating protein dynamics.

Current mentee:
Austin Maduka

Dorothy Sipkins, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Studies the molecular characteristics of tissue microenvironments, or “niches,” that regulate the migration, survival and regeneration of cancerous cells.

Admissions Committee

Scott Soderling, PhD
Chair, Cell Biology
Synaptic signaling underlying complex brain disorders

Current mentee:
Jamie Courtland

Bruce Sullenger, PhD
Joseph W. and Dorothy W. Beard Professor, Surgery, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
Ribozymes (RNA enzymes) and RNA ligands (aptamers) in gene therapy


Current mentee:
Lyra Olson

Beth Sullivan, PhD
Associate Professor, Associate Dean for Research Training, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Focused on chromosome organization, with specific emphasis on the genomics and epigenetics of the chromosomal locus called the centromere and the formation and fate of chromosome abnormalities that are associated with birth defects, reproductive abnormalities, and cancer. The centromere is a specialized chromosomal site involved in chromosome architecture and movement, kinetochore function, heterochromatin assembly, and sister chromatid cohesion.​

Steering Committee

Neeraj K. Surana (Neil), MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Immunology
Research innovatively integrates gnotobiotic murine models, immunology, microbiology, and characterization of the microbiota with the ultimate aim of identifying specific commensal bacteria with immunomodulatory potential and subsequent characterization of their biologic effects.

Admissions Committee

Purushothama Tata, PhD
Assistant Professor, Cell Biology
Understanding the ensemble properties of tissues in the context of development, homeostasis, regeneration and tumorigenesis in diverse epithelial tissues including lung

Current mentee:
Arvind Konkimalla

David Tobin, PhD
Associate Professor, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
Tuberculosis: mycobacterial pathogenesis and host susceptibility

Current mentee:
Colleen McClean

Peter Ubel, MD
Madge and Dennis T. McLawhorn Professor, Marketing and Public Policy
Research and writing explore the quirks in human nature that influence our lives -- the mixture of rational and irrational forces that affect our health, our happiness, and the way our society functions

Steering Committee


Fan Wang, PhD
Professor, Neurobiology
Neural circuit basis of sensory perception and motor action


Current mentee:
Carolyn Diaz
Paul Thompson

Warren Warren, PhD
James B. Duke Professor, Chemistry
Focuses on the design and application of what might best be called novel pulsed techniques, using controlled radiation fields to alter dynamics.

Current mentee:
Shannon Eriksson

Andrew West, PhD
Professor, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
Identifying critical pathogenic mechanisms underlying neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease with the goal of developing new therapeutics to block disease progression.​

Admissions Committee

Anne West, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Neurobiology
Molecular mechanisms of activity-dependent synapse development.

MSTP Associate Director
Admissions Committee
Steering Committee

Jennifer West, PhD
Fitzpatrick Family University Distinguished Professor, Engineering, Biomedical Engineering
Biomaterials and tissue engineering involves the synthesis, development, and application of novel, biofunctional materials, and the use of biomaterials and engineering approaches to study biological problems.

Admissions Committee

Kathryn Whetten, PhD
Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy
Focuses on the understanding of health disparities in the US and around the globe, and on life course events and social/environmental factors that influence health related behaviors and wellbeing.

Recent mentee:
Joshua Rivenbark

Kris Wood, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
Develops state-of-the-art tools for large-scale, efficient, and information-rich mammalian functional genomics experiments


Current mentee:
Moiez Ali
Christopher Bassil
Christian Cerda-Smith
Christopher Delaney
Shane Killarney
Kevin Lin
Jude Raj

Colleen Wu, PhD
Assistant Research Professor, Cell Biology and Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Studies how low oxygen tension (hypoxia), in the bone microenvironment influences bone homeostasis, hematopoietic development, and metastatic bone colonization.

Admissions Committee

Yiping Yang, MD, PhD
Professor, Medicine (Medical Oncology)
Understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to the generation of potent and long-lasting anti-tumor immunity, and to develop effective gene immunotherapeutic strategies for treating cancer


Current mentee:
Rui Dai
Amy Petty

Kenichi Yokoyama, PhD
Associate Professor, Biochemistry
Enzyme Mechanisms, Radical Reactions, EPR spectroscopy, Natural Product Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Current mentee:
Matthew Draelos

Jennifer Zhang, PhD
Associate Professor, Dermatology
Gene regulation of epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation, Keratinocytes as instigators of inflammatory responses, Ubiquitination enzymes in melanoma.

Current mentee:
Stephen Kirchner