People

(Includes Name, Title, Research Interests)
Candilianne Serrano Zayas
Mentor:
Dr. David Ginsburg and Dr. Brian Emmer
Year:
2017
Undergraduate Institution:
Universidad Metropolitana Cupey and Case Western Reserve University
Awards/Honors:
Rackham Merit Fellowship, CMB Training Grant (2018-2019), and HHMI Gilliam Fellow
Research Interests:

CRISPR Screening, LDL uptake

Molec & Integrative Physiology
Research Interests:
The major goal of our research program is to determine the molecular mechanisms by which oxygen sensing transcription factors regulate gastrointestinal homeostasis, inflammation and cancer. Cellular oxygen level is an important systemic signal that modulates metabolic activities and disease in the liver and intestine. Low cellular oxygen also referred to as hypoxia is observed in several gastrointestinal diseases such as non-alcoholic and alcoholic fatty liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease and liver and colon cancers.

 

Professor of Pediatrics and Henry and Mala Dorfman Family Professor
Accepting new students?
Yes
Research Interests:

hematology, zebrafish, genome editing, genetics, modifier genes

Madeline Shay
Joined CMB:
2021
Mentor:
Dr. Nicole Koropatkin
Research Interests:

Structural biology, microbiomes, host-microbe interactions

Ariella Shikanov
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Accepting new students?
Yes
Trainings and Identities
MORE Mentor Training, Implicit Bias Training, Bystander Training, Gender Bias or Discrimination Training
Research Interests:

tissue engineering, reproduction, biomaterials

Pediatrics
Research Interests:

Research in the Singer lab is focused on understanding the influence of diet-induced obesity on hematopoiesis and the generation of activated macrophages that lead to metabolic disease.Current projects in the laboratory focus on (1) sexually dimorphic inflammatory responses responses to high fat diet and (2) mechanisms driving hematopoietic stem cell myeloid differentiation after high fat diet exposure. This work in mouse models uses bone marrow transplantation, stem-cell analysis techniques, and metabolic profiling.

Janet Smith, Ph.D.
Department of Biological Chemistry
Research Interests:

We investigate biological function and mechanism at the molecular level by developing a structure-based understanding of proteins and macromolecular complexes. The lab studies biosynthetic pathways for natural products, proteins of pathogenic viruses, and host proteins that defend against viral pathogens.

Pharmacology Department
Research Interests:

G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) form a large family of cell surface receptors responsible for triggering cellular responses to a variety of extracellular stimuli including drugs such as opiates, and hormones such as adrenaline, serotonin or acetylcholine.  We focus on analysis of G protein signal transduction pathways at a molecular, cellular and translational level with the goal of understanding how these pathways control physiology and disease. We use a broad range of approaches including biochemistry, molecular biology, live cell imaging technologies and cutting edge genetic...

Soleimanpour, Arash (Scott)
Internal Medicine
Research Interests:

The Role of Mitophagy in Diabetes 

All forms of diabetes share the common etiology of insufficient insulin release from pancreatic islet beta cells to meet peripheral insulin demand. Beta cells require mitochondrial function in order to maintain proper glucose stimulated insulin release.  Our lab focuses on the molecular and genetic regulation of the mitochondrial life cycle, with a focus on mitophagy, a pathway to dispose of unhealthy or damaged mitochondria. Our studies also focus on novel genetic targets affecting the mitophagy pathway, which are also associated with diabetes in...

Kaitlyn Speckhart
Mentor:
Dr. Billy Tsai
Year:
2020
Undergraduate Institution:
Blackburn College
Research Interests:

Understanding the mechanisms of HPV cellular entry.

Radiation Oncology
Research Interests:

The Speers laboratory is interested in “bench to bedside” research that includes basic mechanistic studies, translational pre-clinical studies, and clinical research. As PI or co-Investigator on several university-, industry-, private foundation- and NIH-funded grants, we remain active in the radiation and breast cancer research arena by looking for more effective, targeted therapies for women with breast cancer. These targeted therapies include PARP-inhibitors, CDK 4/6 inhibitors, and androgen receptor antagonists as agents for radiosensitization. We have also utilized kinome screens to...

Department of Internal Medicine
Research Interests:
Stem cells, developmental biology

 

Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Accepting new students?
No
DEI Statement:
Research has shown that diverse teams are more creative and productive. Our lab thus welcomes the opportunity to mentor students and postdocs with diverse backgrounds who share our enthusiasm for science in general and especially virology! We are dedicated to high quality research in an environment where we are respectful and kind to each other, and in which motivated people with diverse backgrounds can succeed!
Trainings and Identities:
MORE Mentor Training, Implicit Bias Training, Bystander Training, Gender Bias or Discrimination Training, ADVANCE STRIDE trainer
Research Interests:

Virology, pathogenesis

Associate Professor of Internal Medicine
Accepting New Students?
No
DEI Statement
Science, like all human endeavors, can only benefit from a diverse range of perspectives and backgrounds. I support the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in scientific training and practice.
Trainings and Identities:
Implicit Bias Training, Anti-Racism Training, Bystander Training
Research Interests:

virus-cell interaction, positive-strand RNA viruses, flaviviruses, cell biology of RNA virus infeciton

Greg Tall
Pharmacology
Research Interests:

G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) activate heterotrimeric G proteins to control myriad signaling pathways and physiological processes. Our lab broadly studies these signaling circuits with current emphasis on delineating the function of adhesion GPCRs and Ric-8 proteins (folding chaperones for all G protein alpha subunits).  Adhesion GPCRs appear to couple extracellular shear force events to intracellular G protein signaling.  We use a wide range of approaches, including purified protein structure/function, cell culture models, GPCR drug screening, and transgenic animal models. 

Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Accepting new students?
Yes
Research Interests:

Retroviruses RNA HIV epigenetics

Molecular mechanisms of disease
Research Interests:

We study nucleotide repeat expansions as both mediators of normal neuronal function and drivers of neurologic diseases such as Fragile X Syndrome, FXTAS, ALS, and Frontotemporal Dementia. We use Drosophila, human neurons, biochemical approaches and next gen sequencing to define the mechanisms by which repeats cause disease and develop novel therapeutics. Recent work has focused on both alternative modes of protein translation and the biology repeat containing RNAs. Visit our Lab Webpage

Biological Chemistry
Research Interests:

Our laboratory is interested in elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying chromatin modifications that regulate gene expression and other chromatin-associated functions. Our studies are primarily focused on the enzymes that dynamically control the methylation status of lysines in histones and non-histone proteins using structural and biochemical approaches.

CMB Mentor:
Jillian Pearring
Year:
2016
Honors:
Rackham Merit Fellowship
Research Interests:

Studying the photoreceptor specific role of the transition zone in ciliogenesis and outer segment formation.

Assistant Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Accepting new students?
Yes
Trainings and Identities:
Implicit Bias Training, Intercultural Training
Research Interests:

The Truttmann laboratory studies molecular chaperone functions in the context of proteostasis, aging and aging-associated diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Ataxias, etc.). We are particularly interested in the regulation and functions of heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) family proteins (e.g. HSC70, Grp78/BiP, etc.). We employ numerous genetic, biochemical as well as behavioral approaches in conjunction with several model systems (tissue culture, Caenorhabditis elegans, mice, primary human tissue) to address our research questions in a holistic fashion.

CDB
Research Interests:

The Tsai laboratory is interested in clarifying the cellular entry pathways of a bacterial toxin (cholera toxin) and a DNA tumor virus (polyomavirus). Specifically, we wish to identify the host factors hijacked by these toxic agents during the course of infection, and to illuminate the molecular nature of the host-pathogen interactions.

Mentor:
Peter Todd, M.D., Ph.D.
Year:
2018
Undergraduate Institution:
Tunghai University, Taiwan
Mentor:
Dr. Scott Leiser
Year:
2019
Undergraduate Institution:
Drexel University
Honors:
Senior Second Honors Award (Drexel University)
Service:
Representative of Rackham Student Government, Representative of Ann Arbor Student Advisory Committee
Research Interests:

Aging and stress response pathways

Mentor:
Dr. Matthias Truttmann
Year:
2018
Honors:
Nu Rho Psi - The National Honors Society in Neuroscience, former chapter president (2017); Nancy Robell Memorial Prize in Neuroscience (2018)
Research Interests:

Protein aggregation dynamics in C. elegans polyglutamine disease models; Behavior and function of physiological polyglutamine-containing proteins

Nicholas Vangos
Joined CMB:
2021
Mentor:
Dr. Michael Cianfrocco
Research Interests:

Investigating the mechanism behind recognition/regulation of modified microtubules using cryo-EM. 

Assistant Professor, Cancer Biology-Department of Pathology
Research Interests:

The aims of our research are to understand the core mechanisms that drive brain cancers such as diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas( DIPG) and ependymomas in children, as well as gliomas in adults. With this knowledge we aim to develop treatments and cures for these deadly tumors.We study the relationship between cancer metabolism and epigenetics in brain tumors. Oncogenes in primary brain tumors in adults and children reprogram uptake and metabolism of nutrients such as glucose and glutamine to modulate many cellular functions including epigenetics. We evaluate the effects of altered...

Dr. Kristen Verhey
Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
Accepting new students?
No
DEI Statement:
I believe that all differences – including field of study, lived experiences, culture, gender and ethnicity – widen our perspectives and help us to find the most innovative and impactful solutions to scientific questions. I am committed to an inclusive lab environment to which all their trainees may bring their whole selves.
Trainings and Identities
MORE Mentor Training, Implicit Bias Training, Bystander Training, Gender Bias or Discrimination Training
Research Interests:

cytoskeleton, intracellular trafficking, microtubules, kinesin motor proteins, cilia

Maria Virgillo
Mentor:
Kathy Collins
Year:
2017
Undergraduate Institution:
William Smith College
Alex Vizurraga
Mentor:
Gregory Tall
Year:
2017
Undergraduate Institution:
Michigan Technological University
Gunseli Wallace
MSTP Student
Undergraduate Institution:
University of Michigan
Faculty Mentor:
Gabriel Corfas, Ph.D.
Research Interests:

The mechanisms of myelin targeting in the inner ear.

Dr. Nils Walter
Francis S. Collins Collegiate Professor of Chemistry, Biophysics & Biological Chemistry; Founding Co-Director, Center for RNA Biomedicine
Accepting new students?
Yes
DEI Statement:
As long-time Rackham Diversity Ally in Chemistry, I built an understanding of the unique challenges that students from diverse backgrounds encounter during graduate school, before and beyond. A preview program I implemented has helped expand the diversity of the Chemistry graduate program. Still, more needs to be done, and I stand ready to help.
Trainings and Identities:
MORE Mentor Training, Implicit Bias Training, Allyship Training, Intercultural Training, Bystander Training
Research Interests:

The Walter group studies the cellular and molecular biology of ubiquitous non-coding RNAs, composing perhaps 90% of the human genome and broadly responsible for the regulation of gene expression, by mechanistic single molecule and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy tools inside and outside of live cells. Applications of this leading-edge, highly interdisciplinary work include the identification and optimization of novel RNA-targeting drugs for gene therapy and of RNA and DNA as diagnostic biomarkers.

Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Accepting New Students?
Yes
Research Interests:

Golgi biogenesis, function, and defects in diseases

Cardiac Surgery
Research Interests:
Heart regeneration using a combination of stem cells, small molecules, bioengineering, and large animal models.

 

Hill Miller
Mentor:
Scott Leiser
Year:
2015
Undergraduate Institution:
University of Washington
Service:
Science Fair Judge at Forsythe Science Fair and SE Michigan Science Fair; Science advocate at the Michigan Science Center representing AMS; FEMMES executive board member
Teaching Experience:
TA for Biology of Aging course led by Dr. Matt Kaeberlein and Dr. Daniel Promislow –Marine Biological Laboratory (Summer 2013, 2014); TA for Conservation Biology (Winter 2013) and Comparative Physiology (Spring 2013) – University of Washington
Funding Sources:
CMB T32 recipient 2016-2018 NRSA F31 recipient 2018-2021 Rackham Predoctoral Fellow 2020-2021
Research Interests:

Uncovering the mechanisms of serotonin-based signaling in food perception and DR-mediated longevity.

Lois Weisman
Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
Accepting new students?
Yes
DEI Statement:
Throughout my career I have strived to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. While these ideas have just begun to be discussed broadly, I have always sought to provide support to people who want to develop as scientists. I have served as the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) Faculty Ally for Diversity. I currently serve on the NGP Diversity committee and am a member of the NGP Climate task force. I also served on the Academic Affairs Diversity Planning Group (AADPG) for the LSI, and served on the LSI DEI Strategic Planning Team. In addition to these broad efforts, I have also worked to increase the diversity of conferences that I have organized. As the chair of the 2018 Lysosomes and Endocytosis Gordon Conference, I succeeded in greatly increasing gender equity and made inroads in increasing the number of speakers from diverse backgrounds. In my own laboratory, I have sought out opportunities to mentor postdoctoral fellows, graduate, undergraduate and high school students from diverse backgrounds. Moving forward, I am continuing to work at the local and national level to increase diversity.
Research Interests:

We seek to understand essential cellular processes — using cultured neurons, cell lines and yeast — in order to shed new light on neurodegeneration, cancer and other diseases.

Internal Medicine
Research Interests:

Normal as well as neoplastic cell populations remodel the extracellular matrix by regulating the expression of complex gene programs that control cell motility, proteolytic activity, proliferation and morphogenesis. However, the identity of the upstream and downstream gene products that regulate these activities in normal or pathologic states remain unclear, especially within the context of the 3-dimensional matrix. Current efforts focus on identifying the regulation of transcription factors that control epithelial-mesenchymal transitions in carcinomatous states as well as the genetic...

Periodontics and Oral Medicine
Research Interests:

Our lab profiles the mechanisms by which multi-nucleated osteoclasts stimulate osteoblastic bone formation in order to identify novel therapeutic targets to promote bone formation in aging and cancer-induced bone disease. We use cell culture and animal models to dissect out osteo-immunology signaling pathways differentially regulated in osteoclast resorption and stimulation of bone formation. We are working across disciplines (engineering, materials science, pharmacy, medicine) to develop novel tools to study resorption and single cell osteoclast dynamics.

Associate Professor of Cardiac Surgery
Accepting new students?
No
DEI Statement:
I welcome a diverse workplace in my laboratory. I believe inclusion of diversity is critical for the success and advancement of research and education at the University of Michigan. Members of my laboratory are encouraged to pursue research and educational opportunities to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
Research Interests:

Cardiac myocyte; Sarcomere; Post-translational Modifications; Protein kinase C

Internal Medicine
Research Interests:
Effects of extracellular matrix components on cell growth and differentiation. Cancer stem cells.

 

Professor of Pathology
Accepting new students?
Most likely
DEI Statement:
We actively encourage research training by individuals of all backgrounds. We have recently helped train and transition people with less or older research experience to become active in research, and had successful graduates move on to diverse roles with their degree. Throughout, we insist on rigorous academic training while in your UM degree program as the foundation for success, which we will help you build.
Research Interests:

DNA repair, mutagenesis, transcription, genomics, bioinformatics

CMB Faculty - Christiane Wobus, PhD
Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Accepting new students?
Yes
DEI Statement:
I am committed to building an equitable and inclusive work environment where cultural diversity is celebrated and valued. I believe that every member on our team makes important contributions that enrich and improve the scientific discoveries in our lab.
Trainings and Identities:
MORE Mentor Training, Bystander Training, Immigrant-Identified
Research Interests:

virus-host interactions in the intestine, norovirus, astrovirus, human intestinal organoids

Associate Professor of Dermatology
Accepting new students?
Yes
Research Interests:

cancer biology, stem cell biology, skin, epithelial tissue

Josephine Wu
Joined CMB:
2021
Mentor:
Dr. Sami Barmada
Undergraduate Institution:
University of Maryland, College Park
Research Interests:

Mechanism of neurodegeneration in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Assistant Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Accepting new students?
Yes
Research Interests:

diabetes, obesity, thermogenic fat, alcoholic liver disease

Professor of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
Research Interests:

The current research in our laboratory is focused on ion channels in the lysosome and  their roles in the pathogenesis  of lysosome storage diseases, metabolic diseases, and common neurodegenerative diseases.  We use an integrative approach with state-of-art techniques including molecular biology, bioinformatics, biochemistry, immunochemistry, electrophysiology, fluorescence imaging, spinning-disk confocal microscopy,  mouse genetics, and genome editing technologies. 

Professor of Life Sciences Institute; Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Accepting new students?
Yes
Research Interests:

Neuroscience; Sensory Biology; Aging; Behavior; Neural Circuits

Biological Chemistry
Research Interests:

We study the molecular mechanisms regarding protein folding and protein trafficking within eukaryotic cells.

Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
Accepting new students?
Yes
Trainings and Identities:
Immigrant scientist
Research Interests:

Neuroscience, Cell Biology, Live imaging, Circadian Rhythms, Genome Organization

Bing Ye
Burton L. Baker Professor of the Life Sciences, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
Accepting new students?
Yes
DEI Statement:
I am committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, and providing safe and supportive research environments. My lab has regular meetings for discussing DEI, particularly on what we can do to make our lab a welcoming and nurturing environment in which everyone feels encouraged to speak out their thoughts.
Trainings and Identities:
MORE Mentor Training, Implicit Bias Training, Anti-Racism Training
Research Interests:

Neuron development, neural circuits, neurological disorders, Down syndrome, Drosophila and mice

Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Research Interests:
Protein degradation in circadian rhythm regulation. Metabolic function of circadian rhythms.

 

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