Today is Monday, Dec. 11, 2017

Medical Student Summer Research Program

Faculty Members

 Name/Degree(s) Rank Role in Program

Zalfa Abdel-Malek, PhD

Professor

Mentor - other

Research Interests:

Dr. Abdel-Malek's laboratory is investigating the role of cutaneous pigmentation in determining the risk of sun-induced skin cancers.

Theresa Alenghat, VMB, PhD

Assistant Professor

Mentor - other

Research Interests:

Dr. Alenghat and her lab investigates how the microbiota impact epithelial and immune cell homeostasis in the context of intestinal health and disease.

Hassane Amlal, PhD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK-related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Amlal is determiningthe molecular mechanism(s) and transduction pathways mediating renal wasting of inorganic phosphate (Pi) in response to estrogens treatment.

Bruce Aronow, PhD 

Professor

Mentor - other

Research Interests:

Dr. Aronow focuses his research on unraveling the role and mechanism by which functional capabilities of the human genome shape human health and our ability to adapt to stressful challenges.

Jorge Bezerra, MD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK-related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Bezerra's research program Investigates regulatory mechanisms of liver and biliary injury. His first area of research is translational research on biliary atresia and the molecular mechanisms used by the plasminogen system to regulate liver repair.

Jason Blackard, PhD Associate Professor Mentor-NIDDK-related research
Research Interests: Dr. Blackard's research involves studies of several hepatitis viruses, including hepatitis B (HBV, hepatitis e (HEV), and hepatitis G (HGV/GBV-C), as well as HIV.  Ongoing research projects include:  1) characterizing the extent of extrahepatic relication of HCV and development of models of HCV replication; 2) HIV replication in hepatocytes and the development of novel in vitro systems of HIV/HCV co-infection; 3) genotypic and phenotypic characterization of hepatitis viruses, particularly in the context of HIV co-infection.

Jose Cancelas, MD, PhD

Associate Professor

Mentor - NIDDK-related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Cancelas' research includes analysis of different proteins in the regulation of benign and malignant hematopoietic stem cell/progenitor proliferation, differentiation and transformation.

Andrew Dauber, MD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK-related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Dauber's lab is interested in studying patients with severe growth disorders in order to understand the molecular basis of growth and its perturbations.  They use an integrated approach of cutting edge genomic techniques for novel gene discovery coupled with functional evaluation of genetic variants to understand the underlying mechanisms of growth failure.  The identification of natural, pathophysiological mutations offer unique opportunities to better understand molecular mechanism(s) of actions, improve genotype-phenotype correlations which often are associated with co-morbidities, and, ultimately, provide a basis for improved therapeutic options.

Sean Davidson, PhD

Professor

Mentor - other

Research Interests:

Dr. Davidson's research focuses on how the structure of HDL dictates its ability to remove cholesterol from the vessel wall with a particular interest on how cholesterol efflux is mediated by a transport protein (ABCA1).

Emily DeFranco, DO, MS

Associate Professor

Mentor - other

Research Interests:

Dr. DeFranco's primary research interest is preterm birth.  Specific areas of interest include progesterone influences on the prevention of preterm birth, risk factor identification and management of the short cervix. She is actively involved in multiple clinical trials and epidemiologic studies.  She frequently collaborates in transdisciplinary and multicenter clinical trials and epidemiologic studies in the area of obstetrics and perinatal outcome.  Additional research interests include infant mortality, air pollution influences on pregnancy complications, genetics of birth timing, racial differences in perinatal outcomes, birth spacing, and markers of fetal maturation.  She is actively involved in mentoring undergraduate students, medical students, resident physicians, and fellows in their acquisition of knowledge of hypothesis generation, study design, and application of clinical research.

Lee (Ted) Denson, MD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK-related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Denson is pursuing a variety of basic and patient based studies related to the pathogenesis and therapy of the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) in children which examines the molecular basis for inflammatory growth failure in IBD and novel mechanisms of intestinal epithelial repair and immune tolerance involving human growth hormone and GMCSF.

Prasad Devarajan, MD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK-related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Devarajan's research examines the roles of Daxx, ASK1, and JNK signal transduction pathways in mediating apoptosis in animal models of acute renal failure and he is examining the role of Golgi-associated isoforms of ankyrin and spectrin in the trafficking of Na, K-ATPase during renal development.

Lawrence Dolan, MD 

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Dolan's research includes the epidemiology of obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes in youth with an emphasis of the effect of each on the development of cardiovascular disease and the effect of the maternal intrauterine environment on the development of diseases in youth and young adults.

Chandrasekhar Gandi, PhD

Professor

 

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Gandhi's research involves two programs to investigate mechanisms of liver diseases. The specific focus of these programs are hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and a novel protein known as Augmenter of Liver Regeneration (ALR). The current work investigates (a) mechanisms by which HSCs regulate hepatic inflammation and immune responses, and (b) mechanisms by which ALR prevents hepatic pathology including steatohepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Donald Gilbert, MD, MS, FAAN, FAAP

Professor

Mentor - other

Research Interests:

Dr. Gilbert’s research focuses on non-invasive brain stimulation and methodologies to understand the neural substrate of motor control and disinhibition in order to develop therapeutic strategies for Tourette Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Dystonia.

Catherine M. Gordon, MD, MSc

Professor

Mentor - other

Research Interests:

Dr. Gordon is double-boarded in adolescent medicine and pediatric endocrinology through the American Board of Pediatrics, and has a long-time interest in reproductive endocrinology and pediatric bone health. Her research interests include identification of modifiable factors during adolescence that may impact bone health during the adult years, especially among young women. Clinical models she has studied include primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), anorexia nervosa, inflammatory bowel disease, and cystic fibrosis, each which is associated with delayed puberty and compromised bone accrual. She also has an interest in the skeletal deficits and endocrinopathies in children with the rare disease, Progeria.

Michael Helmrath, MD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Helmrath's laboratory has a long history of studying the adaptive response to intestinal loss using murine models of short bowel syndrome. Recent work has identified the role of intestinal stem cell during this response, which has led to the development of new methods to study both murine and human intestinal stem cells. These include methods to FACS sort, culture and expand both murine and human intestinal stem cell and models of transplantation.

James Heubi, MD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Heubi is actively pursuing a variety of patient-oriented projects. In collaboration with Dr. Kenneth Setchell, he is investigating the pathogenesis and treatment of inborn errors of bile acid metabolism. In collaboration with Drs. Tso, Woollett and Hue, he is investigating the effects of intraluminal factors on cholesterol absorption.

Simon Hogan, PhD

Associate Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Hogan's research group is focused on understanding the effect of allergic and non-allergic inflammatory reactions on intestinal function. In particular, he studies the effects of inflammation (T-cell and innate) on gastrointestinal function in food-induced anaphylaxis and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.

Phil Howles, PhD

Assistant Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Howles' laboratory studiesdiet-gene interactions that affect lipid and cholesterol absorption and lipoprotein metabolism.They are determining the molecular mechanisms by which hepatocytes selectively remove HDL cholesterol from the circulation and process it into bile salts and biliary cholesterol for elimination from the body - the final steps in reverse cholesterol transport.

David Hui, PhD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Hui's laboratory research focuses on the mechanism of dietary lipid absorption through the gastrointestinal tract, and the relationship between lipid absorption and metabolic disease risk such as obesity, diabetes, and coronary artery disease.

Stacey Huppert, PhD 

Associate Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

The goal of Dr. Huppert's research is to identify and define the molecular factors that regulate hepatic stem/progenitor cell lineage decisions for formation of the hepatic architecture, both during normal hepatic morphogenesis and during regeneration.

 

Jessica Kahn, MD, MPH

Professor

Mentor - other

Research Interests:

Dr. Kahn's clinical research focuses on the clinical utility of HPV DNA testing and the psychosocial and behavioral impact of abnormal HPV and Pap test results in adolescents, identifying behavioral predictors of cervical, lung, and skin cancer in a national cohort of adolescent girls who are children of women who participate in the Nurses' Health Study, work in HPV vaccine trials and studies of HPV vaccine acceptability among young women and health care providers.

Heidi Kalkwarf, PhD, RD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK-related research

Research Interests:

The focus of Dr. Kalkwarf's researchis to better understand bone mass development in children and to identify strategies to optimize bone health. Studies are underway to characterize the normal accrual of bone mass in healthy and diseased infants, children and adolescents.

Gurjit Khurana-Hershey, MD, PhD

Professor

Mentor - other

Research Interests:

Dr. Khurana Hershey's laboratory focuseson cytokine receptors and signaling pathways; and the genetics and genomics of atopic diseases including asthma. The research centers on identifying genes important in asthma and allergy, and dissecting the molecular mechanisms underlying their contributions, with a specific focus on cytokine receptors and signaling pathways.

Shelley Kirk, PhD, RD, LD

Accociate Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- Research

Research Interests:

The primary goal of Dr. Kirk's research is to develop more effective clinical interventions for the management of childhood and adolescent obesity. Dr. Kirk currently serves as Principle Investigator for the Pediatric Obesity Weight Evaluation Registry (POWER), a centralized data repository for the on-going collection of demographic and clinical data from hospital-based pediatric weight management programs across the country. The objective of POWER is to better understand and improve the outcomes of youth with obesity participating in multi-component weight management programs.

Steven Kleene, PhD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Kleene's group studies transduction of chemical stimuli by cilia. Their work involves the primary cilium, one of which is present on almost every mammalian cell. They are studying defects in signaling by these cilia underlie polycystic kidney disease. They also are studying the detection of odor stimuli by the cilia of sensory neurons in the nose.

Alex Lentsch, PhD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Lentsch studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms mediating acute liver injury, repair and regeneration. More specifically, his recent work has provided novel insights into the regulatory roles played by CXC chemokines in hepatocyte proliferation in the reparative and regenerative responses occurring after acute liver injury induced by hepatic ischemia and reperfusion.

Min Liu, PhD

Associate Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Liu’s long-term research goal is to understand the regulation of energy balance and develop potential therapeutic approaches for both obesity and diabetes. His major focus is to elucidate molecular mechanisms mediating the actions of apolipoproteins and other natural compounds in the regulation of energy and glucose homeostasis by 1) studying the interactions of central apolipoproteins A-IV with estrogen in the control of food intake and body weight, and 2) identifying safe and effective natural compounds, e.g. ginsenoside Rb1 (an active compound extracted from ginseng), for prevention and treatment of obesity and related diseases.

Bryan MacKenzie, PhD

Associate Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. MacKenzie's major focus is the molecular physiology of DMT1 and its role in intestinal metal-ion absorption. Efforts are concentrated on understanding its molecular mechanisms, substrate selectivity, structure-function, and the functional interaction of DMT1 with other intestinal proteins.

Peter Margolis, MD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Margolis work encompasses the application and study of quality improvement methods in a broad range of areas including primary and sub-specialty care and public health settings to improve the health outcomes of children, families and communities.  A major focus of his work has been the development of collaborative, data sharing, research and improvement networks in medicine - Learning Health Systems.

 

Frank McCormack, MD

Professor

Mentor - Other

Research Interests:

Dr. McCormack’s research employs animal models of monogenic pulmonary disease, including pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis (PAM), lymphangioleiomyomatososis (LAM), and pulmonary Langerhan’s cell histiocytosis, searching for insights that have the potential to impact human health in a relatively short time frame. His lab is also determining the role of mitogen stimulation and cellular proliferation in the progression of influenza infection from the conducting airway to the alveolar epithelium, using in vitro and in vivo systems.

Alex Miethke, MD  Assistant Professor Mentor - NIDDK-related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Miethke's lab focuses on mechanisms driving bile duct injury and fibrosis in the two most common obstructive cholangiopathies affecting children: biliary atresia and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC).  In both diseases, they aim to understand how regulatory T cells control lymphocyte medicated bile duct injury and stellate cell driven fibrosis.  To this end, they use transgenic mice facilitating precise quantification and targeted depletion of various immune cells.  More recently, they started investigating how metabolic factors, for instance bile acids or phospholipids, modulate activation and recruitment of lymphocytes, especially of regulatory T cells.  Methods used commonly in our laboratory include real-time PCR, immunohistochemistry, and multi-color flow cytometry.  They collaborate closely with the department of pathology, especially with the mass spectrometry core.  They also study whether these mechanisms are relevant in humans.  We examine immunoregulatory circuits in liver tissue and peripheral blood from children with biliary atresia or PSC, and correlate clinical disease course with prevalent pathways of immune activation.

Phillip Minar, MD

Assistant Professor

Mentor - other

Research Interests:

Dr. Minar’s research is interested in the advancement of personalized medicine in the care of children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. We are committed to the investigation of novel, blood biomarkers to predict and monitor response to anti-TNF therapies while also investigating the pharmacokinetics of these medications.

Mark Mitsnefes, MD, MS

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Mitsnefes' research focus understands risk factors for cardiovascular disease in children with chronic kidney disease. The long-term goal of his research is to define biologic targets for interventions to prevent and slow progression of cardiovascular disease in children with chronic kidney disease.

Ardythe Morrow, PhD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Morrow's research is directly related to the biologic importance of human breast milk. She has founded multidisciplinary Human Milk Research Program involving clinical and basic scientists studying the effects of bioactive components of human milk on protection against infectious and chronic diseases.

Shailendra Patel, BM, ChB, DPhil, FACP, FRCP

Professor

Mentor - Other

Research Interests:

Dr. Patel’s lab has three main research interests: 1) the role of cholesterol in embryonic development (humans and mouse models for Smith-Lemli-Opits syndrome and Desmosterolosis), 2) pathophysiological effects of cholesterol trafficking disorders and development of atherosclerosis (Sitosterolemia), and 3) development of a mouse model to study the pathophysiology of Cerebrotendinous Xanthomatosis.

Scott Powers, PhD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Powers is investigating methods to increase adherence to dietary adherence in cystic fibrosis and evaluating the effectiveness of a combined coping skill training and amitriptyline intervention for children with chronic headaches.

Nancy Ratner, PhD

Professor

Mentor - Other

Research Interests:

The long term interest of the of the Ratner laboratory is to define the interactions between glial cells and axons during nervous system development and how those interactions go awry in disease such as Neurofibromatosis type 1, with the goal of providing novel therapies to patients with nervous system diseases.

William Ridgway, MD

Professor

Mentor - other

Research Interests:

Dr. Ridgway’s research focuses on the genetics of autoimmunity and autoimmune phenotypes. The primary emphasis is on investigating mouse models of spontaneous polygenic autoimmune syndromes including Type one diabetes, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosis and Relapsing Polychondritis.
Michael J. Rosen, MD, MSCI Assistant Professor Mentor - NIDDK-related research
Research Interests: Dr. Rosen's research is focused on the contribution of Type 2 (Th2) inflammation to pediatric colitis.  Studies from Dr. Rosen's lab have demonstrated increased mucosal activation of STAT6, a key Th2 cellular signaling protein, in children with ulcerative colitis and shown a role for STAT6 in perpetuating inflammation in a mouse model similar to ulcerative colitis.  Dr. Rosen is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the expression of genes related to Th2 inflammation in colon tissue form a large cohort of children with IBD.  In addition, his laboratory is conducting ongoing studies with transgenic animal models to determine the mechanisms by which proteins important in perpetuating Th2 inflammatory responses contribute to inflammation in colitis.

Marc Rothenberg, MD, PhD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Rothenberg's research is focused on elucidating the mechanisms of allergic responses especially in mucosal tissues such as the lung and the gastrointestinal tract. The goal of the research is to identify novel pharmaceutical approaches and treatment strategies for allergic disorders such as eosinophil-associated gastrointestinal disorders, asthma and food allergies.

Kenneth Sherman, MD, PhD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Sherman's research focuses on the interactions of hepatotropic viruses in immunosuppressed hosts. Inparticular, his laboratory investigates the relationship between hepatitis C virus (HCV) and immunodeficiency virus infection.

Manoocher Soleimani, MD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Soleimani is currently examining the role and regulation of acid-base transporters in the gastrointestinal tract and pancreatic duct by examining the mechanisms of HCO3-secretion in the pancreatic ducts by generating and examining animals deficient in Slc26a6 and SLC26a3, two main apical bicarbonate transporters in pancreatic duct.

Lori Stark, PhD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Stark has longstanding interest in examining behavioral and environmental factors that contribute to nutritional health and eating disorders. She is examining barriers and interventions to improve adherence to dietary treatment in cystic fibrosis (CF), and to improve calcium intake in order to improve bone mass.

Gregory Tiao, MD

Associate Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Tiao's laboratory is directed toward establishing a mechanistic basis by which viruses induce bilieary injury so that novel therapeutic strategies can be developed to prevent human biliary atresia.

Patrick Tso, PhD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Tso's laboratory is currently studying the mechanisms of fat and cholesterol absorption. They are also examining food intake regulation by gastrointestinal peptides and the effect of apo AIV on food intake and the factors that affect the absorption of metabolism of organochlorine compounds by the gastrointestinal tract.

Yvonne Ulrich-Lai, PhD

Assistant Professor

Mentor - other

Research Interests:

Dr. Alenghat and her lab investigates how the microbiota impact epithelial and immune cell homeostasis in the context of intestinal health and disease.

James Wells, PhD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Wells research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of endoderm development and disease which includes 1) identifying the cause of congenital defects affecting the pancreas, stomach, hepatobiliary system and intestines, 2) directing the differentiation of human embryonic and induced pluripotent stent cells (iPSCs) into endoderm organ tissues including pancreatic, gastric, and intestinal tissue, 3) identifying molecular pathways involved in diseases affecting adult endoderm organs, including cancer, cystic fibrosis and diabetes.

Roger Worrell, PhD Associate Professor Mentor - NIDDK-related research
Research Interests: Dr. Worrell's research interests are focused in two broad areas, 1) Mechanisms and regulation of fluid secretion and absorption primarily in gastrointestinal and renal systems and 2) the mechanisms of intestinal injury and repair.  Research efforts follow along four lines based on current projects, 1) Ammonium transport and effects on transport in colon, 2) Capsaicin (the "hot" in pepper) effect on colonic CI/HCO3-secretion, 3) Regulation of ion transporter polarization and trafficking, 4) Intestinal Ischemia/Reperfusion  injury, 5) Ion transport effects on the intestinal Microbiota.

Stavra Xanthakos, MD

Associate Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Xanthakos' primary research focus is to identify the biologic determinants of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), including potential gene-environment interactions during childhood and adolescence..

Bruce Yacyshyn, MD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Yacyshyn's research is focused in two patient oriented areas.  First the lab studies timely prediction of the development of inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn's and Ulcerative colitis and prediction of therapeutic success using serum proteomic analysis, and bioinformatics and biostatistics to identify biomarkers.  Thus project is done in collaboration with Children's flow cytometry core facilty (Alyssa Sproles) and bioinformatics investigators Drs. Bruce Aronow and Rebekah Karns, and biostatistics investigators, Matt Fenchel and Yin Zhang.  Secondly, the lab studies the human host immune system and etiology of angioectasia or arteriovenous malformations (AVM) in obscure gastrointestinal bleeding.  Our collaboration with bioinformatics investigators, Mayur Sarangdhur and Anil Jegga will hopefully identify new therapeutic avenues for AVM.

Mary Beth Yacyshyn, MD

Adjunct Associate Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Yacyshyn's research is focused on the study of human patient host immunity in Clostridium difficile infectionn, with attention to innate immunity and C. difficile recurrence.  These studies are leading to new methods to identify patients' biosystem biomarkers to help predict those who clear CDI or become recurrent, with the hope of changing therapeutic algorithms and treatments.

Yana Zavros, PhD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Zavros' research focuses on molecular mechanisms underlying the relationship between sonic hedge hog processing, inflammation, parietal cell function and cancer development and the role of pepsinogen A in the stomach.

Margaret Zeller, PhD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK- related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Zeller's primary research focus is the psychosocial adjustment, quality of life, and emerging risks for adolescents with extreme obesity and their psychosocial outcomes when they undergo bariatric surgery.

Aaron Zorn, PhD

Professor

Mentor - NIDDK-related research

Research Interests:

Dr. Zorn's lab's focus is to understand the molecular mechanisms controlling the development of the liver, pancreas and gastrointestinal tract derived from the embryonic endoderm.  They use frog and mouse embryos to investigate the genetic pathways underlying this poorly understood process of organ formation.  Their research will help our understanding of congenital diseases in these organ systems and the ability to direct the development of stem cells to make therapeutically useful tissue.


Test tubes

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