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.

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

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 Adjunct 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, 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

Lawrence Carin, PhD
Applied statistics and machine learning

Recent mentee: Rachel Ballantyne Draelos

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

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

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.

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, Jake Benton

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

El-Mallah, Mai, 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: Gabrielle Sejourne

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

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

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

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, 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

You-Wen He, MD, PhD
Professor, Immunology
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)
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
Faculty House Advisor

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

Kim Huffman, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine (Rheumatology and Immunology)
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

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: Jonathon Himes, Chang Su
Recent mentee: Warren Floyd

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

Current mentee: Shree Bose

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.

Recent mentee: Alyssa Bernanke

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: 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

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

House Faculty Advisor

Craig Lowe, PhD
Assistant Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Understanding the genomic changes that underlie vertebrate evolution and human disease

Admissions Committee

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.

Current 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, Immunology
Understand central nervous system (CNS) immunity, with a specific focus on antimicrobial protection at the olfactory barrier.

Current mentee: Skye Tracey

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, 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
Prevention and treatment of neonatal viral infections; prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in immunosuppressed pediatric patients.

Current mentee: Eleanor Semmes
Recent mentee: Jennifer Jenks

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

Admissions Committee
Current mentee: Dylan Eiger, Preston Anderson

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

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

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

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, 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: Devon DiPalma
Recent mentee: Elizabeth Deerhake

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

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

Recent mentee: Jamie Courtland

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 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

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

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

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

Recent mentee: Matthew Draelos

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

Zhao Zhang, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
The ZZ-Lab is fascinated with the genomic content taking half of our genome–the jumping gene, also known as transposon.

Admissions Committee