People

(Includes Name, Title, Research Interests)
Anna Michmerhuizen
Mentor:
Corey Speers
Year:
2017
Undergraduate Institution:
Calvin College
Honors:
American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting Scholar-In-Training Award (2020, 2021), Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship (2021-2022)
Service:
Association for Women in Science (AWIS), Michigan DNA Day Ambassador
Research Interests:

Understanding the role of nuclear hormone receptors in the radiosensitization of breast cancers.

Harihar Milaganur Mohan
Mentor:
Henry Paulson, M.D., Ph.D.
Year:
2019
Undergraduate Institution:
SASTRA University, India
Honors:
SASTRA University Dean’s Merit Scholar (2013-17)
Service:
Treasurer, AMS (2020-21); Volunteer for SACNAS science outreach workshop at Sault Ste. Marie, MI (2019); Michigan DNA Day microbiology module (2017)
Research Interests:

Using cell lines and neuronal models to investigate molecular mechanisms of Ubiquilin-2 (UBQLN2) regulation in normal cellular function and ALS caused by UBQLN2 mutations.

Associate Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Accepting new students:
Yes
DEI Statement:
Ann Miller and the members of the Miller lab are committed to creating a positive lab environment that is inclusive, safe, and respectful of scientists of all races, genders, sexual orientations, nationalities, cultures, and religious beliefs. We believe that “science is for everyone”! We will work to recognize and address our own biases while celebrating our unique differences and perspectives. We aim to be proactive in our efforts to support equity in the lab, in the classroom, on campus, and in our communities. Building a lab culture that prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion is an ongoing and dynamic process, and we pledge to continue learning and growing as individuals and as a team.
Trainings and Identities:
MORE Mentor Training, Implicit Bias Training, Anti-Racism Training, Gender Bias or Discrimination Training, Being Human in STEM training and include a HSTEM session in my undergrad cell bio class; Inclusive Teaching Training; Equity and Excellence in Promotion Processes Training; presenter for DFB; panelist for NextProf; founder of WISAY and the WISAY mentoring program when I was a graduate student (https://wisay.sites.yale.edu/); etc.
Research Interests:

Rho GTPases, cell-cell junctions, cytokinesis, cytoskeleton, mechanotransduction

Professor of Pathology
Accepting new students?
Yes
DEI Statement:
I treat all students as individuals and do my best to help them develop into successful scientists.
Research Interests:
Aging 
Mentor:
Dr. Peter Todd
Year:
2019
Undergraduate Institution:
University of Colorado Boulder
Research Interests:

Understanding translation regulation of G4C2 repeat-containing transcripts in C9orf72-associated ALS/FTD.

CMB Faculty - Stephanie Moon, PhD
Human Genetics
Research Interests:

Coordinated regulation of mRNA function, degradation and localization to RNA-protein granules in human neurological diseases and cellular stress responses.

Gilbert S. Omenn Collegiate Professor of Human Genetics
Accepting new students?
Yes
Research Interests:

Mobile Genetic Elements; Human Genome structure, function, and evolution; molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics

Mentor:
Sue Hammoud
Year:
2015
Undergraduate Institution:
Miami University
Research Interests:

Identification of novel non-histone substrates of methyltransferases as well as structural and functional characterization of KDM5 demethylases

Internal Medicine/Mol. Integ. Physiol
Research Interests:

Molecular Mechanisms of Insulin Resistance, inflammation, metabolic disorders and associated cardiovascular disease.

Human Genetics
Assistant Professor
Accepting New Students?
Yes
Research Interests:

Sex chromosomes, spermatogenesis, large palindromes, selfish genes

Allyson Munneke
Mentor:
Scott Pletcher
Year:
2016
Undergraduate Institution:
Butler University
Services:
FEMMES and WISE, CMB DEI Task Force Student Ally
Research Interests:

Aging, Neuroscience, Behavior

Professor of Internal Medicine; Director of the Michigan Diabetes Research Center and the Caswell Diabetes Institute
Accepting new students?
Yes
DEI Statement:
Actively recruiting and mentoring diverse trainees.
Trainings and Identities:
Implicit Bias Training
Research Interests:

hypothalamus, brainstem, obesity, diabetes, leptin

Jayakrishnan Nandakumar
Associate Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology
Accepting new students?
Possibly
DEI Statement:
Being one of few (or the only) POC in my cohort/lab during various stages of training in the US has helped me be aware and receptive of the unconscious biases and barriers that minorities and historically marginalized groups face in an academic setting. It has also revealed how having people from different backgrounds actually enriches the environment with diverse views, leading to a more complete learning/training experience. I was recently (Fall 2021) appointed the DEI officer for my department, and even in my early days, I have learned so much about the need for better intercultural skills and strategies to tackle unconscious bias in an academic setting.
Trainings and Identities:
MORE Mentor Training, Intercultural Training, Self-Identified: International, Person of Color, South Asian, Indian
Research Interests:

Telomerase, Telomeres, Meiosis, Cancer, Stem cells.

Goutham Narla, MD, PhD
Genetic Medicine - Internal Medicine
Research Interests:

My research interests focus on understanding the mechanisms driving human cancer development and progression. (Click name to read more.)

Charles Nino
Joined CMB:
2021
Mentor:
Dr. Corey Speers
Research Interests:

Targeted Therapy Radiosensitization in Breast Cancer

Pathology
Research Interests:
Role of Innate Immunity in Host Defense and Cancer

 

Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry
Accepting new students?
Yes
DEI Statement:
Our community is improved by striving to maintain a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. I regularly attend workshops and discussions surrounding issues of DEI and I make every effort to consider the importance of diversity in recruiting faculty and students and in advising and supporting trainees at all levels.
Trainings and Identities:
MORE Mentor Training, Implicit Bias Training, Anti-Racism Training, CMB DEI Month Book Club, Gender Bias or Discrimination Training
Research Interests:

Molecular mechanisms of DNA repair, replication, and mutagenesis. Biochemical, biophysical and cellular studies of dynamic protein-DNA interactions. We are interested in basic mechanisms and abnormal mechanisms associated with cancer, immunodeficiency, and aging.

Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
Accepting new students?
Yes
Research Interests:

pathogenesis, cryo-EM, structural biology, membrane proteins

Cell and Developmental Biology
Research Interests:

The organization of intracellular components is dependent on the microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton, a network of rod-like filaments that form and disassemble on a rapid timescale. During cell division, MTs assemble into the mitotic spindle, where they generate forces that move chromosomes. MTs are also essential for cytokinesis, where they facilitate cleavage plane specification, constriction of the cleavage furrow, and abscission. The R. Ohi laboratory uses live cell imaging and reconstitution biochemistry to understand how MTs are organized and remodeled during cell division. Over the past...

Akira Ono
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Accepting new students?
Yes
Trainings and Identities:
Implicit Bias Training, Anti-Racism Training, Intercultural Training, Bystander Training, I am a Rackham Faculty Ally for Diversity and a previous Lead of the DEI Committee for my home department (Microbiology & Immunology).
Research Interests:

virus assembly; virus entry; protein trafficking; protein-RNA interaction; protein-membrane interaction

Amanda Orosco
Joined CMB:
2021
Mentor
Dr. Pierre Coulombe
Research Interests:

Role of keratin proteins in epithelial differentiation and epithelial homeostasis

Carole Parent
Raymond and Lynne Ruddon Collegiate Professor of Cancer Biology and Pharmacology, Research Professor of the Life Sciences Institute
Accepting new students?
No
DEI Statement:
My academic activities provide a platform from which I strive to support DEI initiatives and practices. First, the trainees in my group come from diverse scientific and socio-cultural backgrounds, which provides a rich environment that enhances the scientific enterprise and code of conduct in the laboratory. Second, through my role as the Director of the Michigan Pioneer Postdoctoral Program - a program that supports the training of outstanding postdoctoral fellows in the setting of collaborative research projects involving 2-3 faculty PIs at the University of Michigan – I work to promote a robust professional development environment with a strong focus on inclusiveness and diversity. Third, as the Director of Admissions and Recruitment for the Pharmacology Graduate Program, I actively implement an inclusive and holistic review process with the goal of having well-represented and diverse cohorts. Finally, I participate and engage in various Departmental and University initiatives to raise awareness and establish policies related to DEI issues.
Trainings or Identities:
MORE Mentor Training, Implicit Bias Training
Research Interests:

cell migration, signaling, immune responses, cancer invasion

Cell and Developmental Biology
Associate Director of CMB
Research Interests:
Our laboratory investigates the formation and progression of pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal human malignancies. We study embryonic signaling pathways, such as Hedgehog and Wnt, which are activated during pancreatic carcinogenesis. The Hedgehog signaling pathway is not active in healthy adult pancreas. However, in pre-malignant lesions and in invasive pancreatic cancer Hedgehog signaling becomes activated via overexpression of one of the ligands, Sonic Hedgehog (Shh).

 

Neurology
Research Interests:

Polyglutamine neurodegenerative disease; Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 3; RNA interference as potential therapy including studies of polyglutamine diseases and Alzheimer's disease; Protein quality control in normal brain function in disease.

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Accepting new students:
Yes
DEI Statement:
I currently have trainees from a variety of backgrounds who are interested in many career avenues. All encourage all trainees to explore the multitude of workshops, networking, seminars, training sessions available to UM and the broader scientific community. I also feel it is important to continue to educate myself and improve my own mentorship style.
Trainings and Identities:
MORE Mentor Training, Implicit Bias Training, EMBO Laboratory Leadership Training
Research Interests:

Photoreceptor Cell Biology, Membrane Trafficking, Ciliogenesis, Inherited Retinal Disease

Lauren Perl
CMB Program Administrator
Mentor:
Pierre Coulombe, Ph.D.
Year:
2018
Service:
UCSF STEM Career Day ambassador; Center for Cellular Construction representative for Bay Area Science Festival; Marine Biological Laboratory representative for professional development Face-to-face Networking.
Honors:
Rackham Merit Fellowship; Benard L. Maas Foundation Endowed Medical Fellowship Fund; Genentech Foundation Dissertation, Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE), and Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC), and a SBD Choose Development scholar;
Teaching:
MBL Embryology Course assistant; Assisted with lab demos and mentorship while participating in discussion of STEM related topics for local Carver Scholars from middles schools in the bay area.
Research Interests:

Using biochemical and microscopy approaches with cell culture and mouse models, I am fascinated to reveal nuclear Keratin’s role in DNA damage response mechanisms.

Mentor:
Billy Tsai
Year:
2018
Undergraduate Institution:
Hillsdale College
Research Interests:

Understanding how polyomaviruses exploit host cell machinery to enter the nucleus

Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Research Interests:

Our goal is to identify and investigate genetic mechanisms that are likely to be important for aging and age-related disease in humans by focusing on equivalent, conserved processes in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Currently we are studying neuronally-expressed genes involved in linking diet, obesity, and immune function with aging and aging-related disease.

Lev Prasov
Assistant Professor of Ophthamology and Visual Sciences
Accepting new students?
Yes
DEI Statement:
We are committed to having a diversity and inclusive laboratory environment and appreciate perspectives from individuals of different backgrounds. Our human genetic studies are very collaborative and involve people with diverse backgrounds and all over the world.
Research Interests:

Genetics, eye disease, developmental disorders

MSTP Student
Mentor:
Sriram Venneti
Undergrad Institution:
Duke University
Research Interests:

Chromatin, transcription, cell differentiation, cancer

Manoj Puthenveedu
Director of CMB
Pharmacology, Associate Professor
Accepting New Students?
Yes
Research Interests:

The Puthenveedu lab studies how receptor signaling pathways are organized in the cell, focusing on GPCRs relevant to drug addiction. We investigate the exciting new idea that signaling is specified not just by the drug/receptor pair, but also by where in the cell the receptors are located. We use innovative microscopy and molecular genetic techniques to directly track receptor trafficking and function in real time in living cells. The long-term goal is to identify factors that will allow us to actively relocate receptors to specific sites in the cell to fine-tune signaling.

Molecular & Integrative Physiology, Internal Medicine-Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes
Research Interests:

We are interested in the role of protein folding and degradation in endoplasmic reticulum and inflammation in human health and disease. We generate new animal models recapitulating human obesity, type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetes. Using cell biological, immunological and physiological tools, we strive to make discoveries and gain novel insights into the pathogenesis of human diseases.

Malini Raghavan
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Accepting new students?
Yes
Trainings and Identities:
MORE Mentor Training, Implicit Bias Training, Allyship Training, Anti-Racism Training, CMB DEI Task Force, Intercultural Training, First Generation-Identified
Research Interests:

Immunity to Virus Infections and Cancers

Biological Chemistry
Research Interests:

We study how organisms use gases (CO, CO2, CH4) in metabolism and in metabolic regulation, how metals catalyze reactions and how thiol/disulfide redox switches regulate the activity of enzymes, ion channels and transcriptional regulators. We target systems that are important in human health, environmental biology, and biological energy conversion.

Biological Chemistry
Research Interests:

My lab is interested in the molecular mechanisms that define how the combinatorial logic of histone modifications and its dynamic interactions with histone binding proteins encodes stable and heritable patterns of gene expression. We take a multidisciplinary perspective that synthesizes genetics, biochemistry and biophysical approaches to capture cellular processes across different spatial and temporal regimes. 

Brynne Raines
Faculty Mentor:
Goutham Narla, MD, PhD
Year:
2019
Undergraduate Institution:
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Service:
Community Outreach for the Society of Black Brain and Behavioral Sciences, Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and Science (FEMMES), & Reviewer for Journal of Emerging Investigators (JEI)
Honors:
Outstanding Research Staff Award (2017), Rackham Merit Fellowship (2019), &Regents Fellowship (2020)
Research Interests:

I am interested in understanding and identifying mechanisms of resistance to anti-neoplastic drugs. My work focuses on protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) - a key regulator of signaling pathways implicated in drug resistance mechanisms. 

Rajesh Rao
Leonard G. Miller Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, and Pathology
Accepting new students?
Yes
Research Interests:

stem cells, organoids, retina, epigenetics, epitranscriptomics

Mentor:
Margaret Westfall
Year:
2016
Undergraduate Institution:
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Service:
Volunteer for Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development (CORD), volunteer for Females Excelling More in Mathematics Engineering and Science (FEMMES) capstone, participant in Women In Science and Engineering (WISE), participant and former executive board member of Association for Women In Science (AWIS), Michigan DNA Day pharmacogenomics lecture.
Research Interests:
Our lab tests whether phosphorylation of the cardiac contractile apparatus acts as both an accelerator and a brake for pump performance and whether chronic phosphorylation contributes to heart failure. These ideas are tested using mouse models expressing either a phospho-mimetic or –null substitution at specific phosphorylation sites within contractile proteins. Both structural remodeling and functional performance are studied to determine the impact of these substitutions. Recent work led to a focus on sarcomere- mitochondrial communication and the contribution mitochondrial reactive oxygen species to the development and progression of heart failure caused by a phospho-mimetic substitution in a molecular switch contractile protein. The rationale for this idea is that a critical component of the cardiac contractile apparatus, myosin, uses the majority of mitochondria-derived ATP to drive cardiac pump function. Intuitively, then, impairments in mitochondrial function and subsequent output of reactive oxygen species may play a role in development and progression of heart failure. Indeed, alterations in mitochondrial function (specifically overproduction of reactive oxygen species) are linked to many cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure. Our lab aims to develop a clear understanding of how changes in a sarcomeric protein can trigger changes in mitochondrial redox to potentially cause heart failure.
Radiation Oncology
Research Interests:

Genetic basis of therapeutic resistance in glioblastoma and identification of therapeutic targets that reverses resistance to standard of care therapies.

Tony Robinson
Faculty Mentor
Roman Giger, PhD
Year:
2019
Undergraduate Institution:
University of Michigan-Dearborn
Research Interests:

How the regulation of Semaphorin and Plexin signaling affect brain development.

Faculty Mentor:
Peter Freddolino
Year:
2021
Undergraduate Institution:
Wayne State University
Research Interests:

 Evasion of enteric pathogens to the host immune system, and conversely, host immune system resistance against infection by enteric pathogens.

Mol. and Integ. Physiol
Research Interests:

Cell signaling and molecular mechanism of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases
Research Interests:

Dr. Russell is studying mechanisms of cardiac and skeletal myofibril assembly, alignment and structural support, topics central to the pathophysiology of, and development of new therapies for, heart failure, myopathy and muscular dystrophy. His laboratory is currently using cell culture as well as mouse and zebrafish model systems to determine the functions of a novel pair of genes, obscurin and obscurin-like 1, that have been cloned and characterized in his laboratory.

Charles Ryan
MSTP Student
Faculty Advisor:
Indika Rajapakse, Ph.D.
Undergraduate Institution:
Syracuse University
Honors:
Department Award for Exceptional Performance in Biochemistry
Service:
Medical student tutoring
Research Interests:

Controllability of cell fate decision making. Cell reprogramming and transcription factor delivery modalities.

Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Research Interests:

The Schnell lab investigates multiscale cellular physiology mechanisms. We develop models for the analysis of biochemical reactions and biophysical processes. We used these models to investigate a variety of cell physiology problems. We are particularly interested in investigating the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic b-cells turnover and dysfunction in diabetes, the dynamics of metabolic pathways in cancer cells and the mechanisms of protein misfolding and aggregation in conformational diseases.

Biological Chemistry
Research Interests:

Molecular mediators of stress and anxiety; regulation and role of CRH, the CRH receptors and CRH-binding protein in stress; mechanisms of transcriptional regulation; transgenic mice.

Internal Medicine
Research Interests:
Our lab studies mechanisms of DNA repair and how aberrant repair processes affect genomic stability, predisposition to cancer and immune system development.

 

MSTP Student
Mentor:
Jason Spence, Ph.D.
Year in CMB:
2019
Undergraduate Institution:
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Research Interests:

Using a human-based model organoid systems to recapitulate early embryonic development in vitro. Particularly interested in using these models to study the regulatory signaling pathways during lung development 

Mentor:
Dr. Kaushik Ragunathan
Year:
2019
Undergraduate Institution:
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Service:
AWIS
Honors:
National Science Foundation (NSF) Honorable Mention
Research Interests:

Epigenetics, Heterochromatin, S pombe

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