MSTP 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.

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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

Recent mentee: Megan Kelly

Staci Bilbo, PhD
Haley Family Professor, Psychology & Neuroscience
Understand the important role of the immune system during brain development, and thereby the ways in which immune activation during early brain development can affect the later-life outcomes of neural function, immune function, mood and cognition.

Current mentee: Seneca Oxendine

Karl-Dimiter Bissig, MD, PhD
Chen Family Associate Professor, Pediatrics
Our group is interested in diseases of the liver, ranging from viral hepatitis to metabolic liver disorders and liver cancer. The lab specializes in human liver chimeric mice and created the first xenograft model for metabolic liver disease as well as a novel patient derived cancer model. We use these next generation humanized mouse models to develop new therapeutic approaches, such as metabolic pathway reprogramming - a CRISPR based gene therapy approach.

Admissions Committee

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, Peter Weng, Emily Alway

Catherine Bowes-Rickman
George and Geneva Boguslavsky Distinguished Professor of Eye Research, Professor, Ophthalmology
Interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Currently our studies are focused on development and studies of animal models of AMD, AMD pathogenesis and pre-clinical studies of novel therapies for AMD.

Current mentee: Lindsey Chew

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

Pranam Chatterjee, PhD
Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering
We develop diverse algorithmic modalities to discover, characterize, and engineer novel proteins for applications in genome editing, targeted protein modulation, and reproductive bioengineering.

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
Current mentee: Rachael Putman, Aine O'Sullivan

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

Current mentee: Stephen Kirchner
Recent mentee: Jacob Dockterman

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

Greg Crawford, PhD
Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Medical Genetics
Research involves identifying gene regulatory elements across the genome to help us understand how chromatin structure dictates cell function and fate.

Current mentee: Makenzie Beaman

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

Current mentee: Brianna Petrone

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

Yarui Diao, PhD
Assistant Professor, Cell Biology
We are a functional genomics lab focusing on the fundamental gene regulation mechanism that control tissue repair and cancer development.

Current mentee: Ashley Williams
Admissions Committee

Colin S. Duckett, PhD
Vice Dean for Basic Science, Professor, Pathology
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

Steven Eliades, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences
Research in my group focuses on the neural basis of vocal communication. Communication is a dynamic process that encompasses both production and perception, occurring in an interactive and contextually-dependent fashion.

Admissions Committee

Mai El-Mallah, MD
Associate Professor, Pediatrics
Control of breathing and pulmonary mechanics in murine models of several genetic diseases.

House Faculty Advisor

Cagla Eroglu, PhD
Professor, Cell Biology, Neurobiology
Understanding how central nervous system (CNS) synapses are formed.

Current mentee: Helen Heo, Gabrielle Sejourne

Christine Eyler, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology
Understanding the genetic, epigenetic, and molecular characteristics of cancer cells that resist typical treatments and finding ways to treat them more effectively. Goal to apply this information to design personalized treatment strategies to effectively treat both sensitive and resistant tumor cells.

Admissions Committee

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

Current mentee: Lucas Wachsmuth

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) Nettere

Don Fox, PhD
Associate Professor, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
Genomic extremes in organ development and repair.

Current mentee: Jane Blackmer

Kevin Franks, PhD
Associate Professor, Neurobiology
Our research is driven by the idea that nervous systems evolved relatively simple neural circuit motifs to perform specific types of computational operations, and that these motifs are combined and repeated throughout the nervous system, using similar types of operations to solve different types of problems.

Current mentee: Carolyn Diaz

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, Wilbert C. Davison Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics
Molecular genetics of glomerular disease; Genetic risk factors for childhood onset idiopathic nephrotic syndrome.

Steering Committee

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

Admissions Committee

Warren Grill, PhD
Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School Distinguished 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

Rana Gupta, PhD
Professor, Medicine - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Understanding the mechanisms governing mammalian cell differentiation and tissue remodeling under physiological and pathophysiological conditions.

Current mentee: Ashley Truong

Gentzon Hall, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medicine-Nephtology
My research is focused on defining the molecular underpinnings of podocyte injury and dysfunction in nephrotic syndrome (NS) with a primary focus on focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS).

Admissions Committee

Brent Hanks, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Medicine - Oncology
We are interested in understanding the mechanisms that cancers have evolved to suppress the generation of tumor antigen-specific immune responses and how this knowledge can be exploited for the development of novel and more effective cancer immunotherapy strategies.

Admissions Committee

Amanda Hargrove, PhD
Associate Professor, Chemistry
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

Bart Haynes, MD
Frederic M. Hanes Distinguished Professor, Medicine, Integrative Immunology
Studying host innate and adaptive immune responses to HIV, TB, and Influenza in order to find the enabling technology to make preventive vaccines against these three major infectious diseases.

Current mentee: Christopher Stringham

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

Admissions Committee

Nicholas Heaton, PhD
Associate Professor, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
Genetic engineering of negative sense RNA viruses, particularly respiratory viruses such as influenza viruses.

Current mentee: Vishwas Rao

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

Steering Committee

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

Admissions Committee
Faculty House Advisor

Roarke Horstmeyer, PhD
Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Develops microscopes, cameras and computer algorithms for a wide range of applications, from forming 3D reconstructions of organisms to detecting neural activity deep within tissue. Areas of interest include optics, signal processing, optimization and neuroscience.

Current mentee: Harvey Shi

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

Josh Huang, PhD
Duke School of Medicine Distinguished Professor, Neuroscience
Study the development and function of cortical circuits underlying motor control and cognitive processing. Our research program integrates multi-faceted approaches from genetic engineering to single-cell genomics, developmental neurobiology, imaging, electrophysiology, and behavioral analyses, and aims to link fundamental neuroscience to the understanding and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Current mentee: Patrick Mulcahey

Kim Huffman, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine (Rheumatology and Integrative Immunobiology)
Determining the role of physical activity in modulating health outcomes (Cardiovascular disease risk) in persons with rheumatologic diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, gout, osteoarthritis)

Admissions Committee

Ravi Karra, MD
Associate Professor, Medicine-Cardiology
The intersection of regenerative biology with cardiovascular disease. ​​​​​​

Admissions Committee
Current mentee: Lauren Parker

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

Current mentee: Jonathon Himes, Chang Su

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: Trisha Dalapati

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

MSTP Director
Admissions Committee
Steering Committee

Recent mentee: Shree Bose

Kevin LaBar, PhD
Professor, Psychology and Neuroscience
Cognition-emotion interactions in the human brain. The lab uses functional neuroimaging, psychophysiological, and behavioral methods in healthy adults and in patients with neuropsychiatric disorders.

Current mentee: Nimesha Gerlus

Andrew Landstrom, MD, PhD
Associate 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: Sunag Udupa
Recent 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

Recent mentee: Timothy Darlington

Giselle Lopez, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pathology
Brain Tumors

House Faculty Advisor

Micah Luftig, PhD
Professor, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Viruses that cause cancer with an overarching goal of defining the basic molecular mechanisms underlying pathogenesis and leveraging these findings for diagnostic value and therapeutic intervention.

Current mentee: Danielle Burner

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

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.

Recent mentee: Patrick Juras

Cameron McIntyre, PhD
Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurosurgery
Research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of deep brain stimulation

Current mentee: Andreas Seas

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

Current mentee: Christopher Behrer, Laura Stilwell

Ashley Moseman, PhD
Assistant Professor, Integrative Immunobiology
Understand central nervous system (CNS) immunity, with a specific focus on antimicrobial protection at the olfactory barrier.

Current mentee: Skye Tracey

Opeyemi Olabisi, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medicine
Patient-stem cell-derived podocytes and reprogrammed mammalian cell lines as tools for uncovering disease mechanisms of APOL1 nephropathy.

Admissions Committee

Trudy Oliver, PhD
Professor, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
Understanding the biology of under-studied subtypes of lung cancer, specifically squamous and small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

Current mentee: Margaret Weber

Mark Palmeri, MD, PhD
Professor of the Practice, 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
Current mentee: Ouwen Huang
Recent mentee: Felix Jin

Anoop Patel, MD
Associate Professor, Neurosurgery
Using single-cell sequencing techniques to study intratumoral heterogeneity in malignant brain tumors.

Current mentee: Aditya Mohan

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

Recent mentee: Eleanor Semmes

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

Admissions Committee
Current mentee: Preston Anderson
Recent 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

Zachary Reitman, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology
Radiotherapy for primary and metastatic tumors of the brain and spine. Interested in basic and translational research studies to develop new treatment approaches for pediatric and adult brain tumors. Uses genomic analysis, radiation biology studies, and genetically engineered animal models of cancer to carry out this research.

Admissions Committee

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.

Recent mentee: Ethan Borre

Laurie Sanders, PhD
Assistant Professor in Neurology
Research pursues the novel hypothesis that defective maintenance of genome integrity is an upstream mechanism contributing to the progressive neurodegeneration that occurs in Parkinson's disease

Admissions Committee

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

Admissions Committee

Tatiana Segura, PhD
Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Neurology
We engineer therapeutic materials to promote wound healing and tissue regeneration (think Wolverine without the blades).

Current mentee: Sydney Jeffs

Mari Shinohara, PhD
Associate Professor, Integrative Immunobiology
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: Devon DiPalma, Jonathan Messerschmidt

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

Joshua Snyder, PhD
Associate Professor, Surgery; Assistant Professor, Cell Biology
Determine how cancer cells adapt and grow before cancer is diagnosed.

Current mentee: Alejandra Patino

Kevin Southerland, MD
Assistant Professor, Surgery
My long-term research goal is to develop novel therapeutics for limb salvage. My strategy to accomplish this goal is to leverage functional genomics and molecular biology techniques to understand the cellular processes that drive tissue repair in the ischemic limb.

House Faculty Advisor

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 Integrative Immunobiology
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

Recent 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

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

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

MSTP Associate Director
Admissions Committee
Steering Committee

Marty Woldorff, PhD
Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Cognitive neuroscience of attention.

Current mentee: Travis Larson

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: Christopher Bassil, Christian Cerda-Smith, Christopher Delaney, Shane Killarney, Jude Raj, Michael Aiduk

Colleen Wu, PhD
Assistant Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery
Studies how low oxygen tension (hypoxia), in the bone microenvironment influences bone homeostasis, hematopoietic development, and metastatic bone colonization.

Admissions Committee

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

Current mentee: Stephen Kirchner