Pathology Graduate Mentors

Natarajan Aravindan, Ph.D.

Understanding oxidative stress, transcriptional regulator-mediated inflammation, and signal transduction in direct relation to cancer biology and treatment. In particular, we are interested in delineating the transcriptional factors mediated survival advantage and clonal expansion of human tumor cells after chemo or chemoradiotherapy and elucidate the preclinical efficacy of natural phytochemicals by understanding their molecular mechanisms of action and gene specific targeting.

Wei-Qun Ding, Ph.D.

Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the actions of anti-cancer agents and to develop novel strategies for cancer prevention and treatment. In particular, we are interested in the actions of two types of anti-cancer agents: the metal binding compounds and n-3 polyunsatuated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA).

Darise Farris, Ph.D.

Cellular and molecular mechanisms of T and B cell tolerance to nuclear antigens and superantigens using genetically altered mice. The role of apoptotic cells in generation of tolerance and autoimmunity to nuclear antigens.

Judith A. James, M.D., Ph.D.

Understanding of clinically relevant autoimmune diseases in patient populations, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and Wegener's granulomatosus,  will give us important information in basic immune tolerance, as well as data which will assist with disease diagnosis and therapy.  

Yuechueng Liu, Ph.D.

Molecular basis of synaptic transmission; regulation of synaptic vesicle fusion.

Florea Lupu, Ph.D.

Anticoagulant properties of the endothelial cells in health and disease, with particular focus on: 

  1. Tissue factor pathway inhibitor expression and function

  2. Modulation of hemostatic functions by the hemodynamic forces

  3. Expression of tissue factor pathway proteins in sepsis

Priyabrata Mukherjee, PhD

Developing and optimizing gold nanoparticle-based targeted drug delivery systems for the treatment of lung, pancreas and ovarian cancers.

H. Anne Pereira, PhD

Structure/function relationships of the neutrophil granule-associated protein, CAP37; leukocyte-endothelial cell interactions and monocyte transmigration in inflammatory-mediated diseases.

Rajagopal Ramesh, PhD

Studies in my laboratory are mainly focused on novel gene-based therapeutics using viral and non-viral vectors with emphasis on translational cancer research. There are two major research areas that are actively being pursued in the laboratory. The first research area is the development and testing of non-viral and nanoparticle-based gene delivery for cancer treatment, and the second research area is studying the antitumor and anti-angiogenic properties of IL-24. Our findings have lead to Phase I clinical trials for treatment of solid tumors.

Chinthalapally Rao, Ph.D.

Molecular targeted approaches in developing anticancer agents for the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer and other aerodigestive cancers. 
Preclinical (chemically-induced, xenograft and genetically engineered mice) models as well as various methodologies in cancer chemoprevntive drug discovery.

Maria J. Ruiz-Echevarria, PhD

Our research interests focus on understanding the biology and molecular basis of cancer’s origin and progression. Our studies on a protein deregulated in prostate cancer that functions as a co-regulator of the androgen receptor (AR), have revealed events linking metabolism, the AR, and epigenetic mechanisms, that are involved in progression of prostate cancer. Our long term goal is that through understanding these mechanisms, new therapeutic approaches for the treatment and prevention of hormonally regulated cancer progression will be realized.

Hal Scofield, M.D.

A basic science approach to the understanding of human systemic disease by using human samples, animal models, andin vitro studies. In particular, the immunology and genetics of systemic lupus eythemaotusus, Sjogren's syndrome, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Kathy L. Sivils, PhD

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

  • Sjögren’s Syndrome

  • Gene expression & mapping

Takemi Tanaka, PhD

Dr. Tanaka's work focuses on the development of new and personalized therapeutic approaches for the prevention and treatment breast and other cancers. Her lab is working on development of a novel therapeutic strategy to block the migration of tumor cells in the body. She also has worked on preparing and modifying nanoparticles that can selectively deliver therapeutic agents to cancer cells.

Rheal Towner, Ph.D.

A fundamental and key issue in the early detection of cancer is to identify and understand characteristic molecular or metabolic events that occur in malignant cells but do not occur in normal cells. We investigate specific components of metabolic reactions (metabolites), or molecular indicators, in malignant cells that are different from those in normal cells. These indicators can then be used to predict and understand the development of nodules and tumors, from the initiation of a malignant cell throughout the progression of the cancer.

Jie Wu

Dr. Wu’s laboratory conducts research in cancer biology and therapy. We are interested in identifying recurrent aberrations in cancer genomics, analyzing driver oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes using cell and genetically engineered animal models, understanding mechanisms of oncogenic signaling involving protein kinases and phosphatases, unraveling the vulnerability and resistance to therapies, positioning cancer drugs and developing new drugs for precision medicine. While a current focus is in lung cancer, we are interested in tumor biology of various types of cancer and have conducted research in breast, colorectal, gynecological, lung, and prostate cancer as well as in leukemia and melanoma.

Z. Joe Zhao, Ph.D.

Role of protein tyrosine kinases and phosphatases in signal transduction and implications of these enzymes in human diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and aging. Animal models and clinical samples as well as various cutting-edge techniques in biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology.