Participating Faculty

MCDB currently has over 75 affiliated faculty members from 15 participating university departments. 

Name Department Research Interests
Hua Bai GDCB Cellular and molecular mechanisms of aging
Adam Barb BBMB Glycoprotein structure/function relationships including antibodies and antibody receptors
Diane Bassham GDCB Signal transduction during nutrient stress; role of vacuolar autophagy
Thomas Baum Plant Pathology Molecular biology of the interaction between cyst nematodes and their hosts
Gwyn Beattie Plant Pathology Genetics, physiology and ecology of plant-associated bacteria; bacteria as biosensors
Phil Becraft GDCB Developmental genetics of plants, cell interactions, cell fate acquisition, signal transduction
Donald Beitz Animal Science & BBMB Improving animal-derived foods; Lipid metabolism; Cholesterol homeostasis
Madan Bhattacharyya Agronomy Soybean-Phytophthora interaction; soybean disease resistance; phosphoinositide signalling

Diane Birt
Retiring Faculty Member


Cancer and diet; assessing botanical supplements.

Bradley Blitvich VMPM Molecular determinants of arthropod-borne virus-vector interactions; apoptotic regulation in mosquito vectors; epidemic potential of West Nile virus in Mexico
Byron Brehm-Stecher FSHN Food safety and biosecurity. Rapid molecular detection of foodborne pathogens and food spoilage organisms. Flow cytometry and other single cell analytical methods
Baoyu (Stone) Chen BBMB We study the fundamental mechanisms by which cells control the actin cytoskeleton to drive diverse normal and disease-related processes, including cell morphogenesis, cell migration, and pathogen infections.
Michael Cho BMS Development of a vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1), the virus that causes AIDS. In connection with this research, we characterize biochemical and immunological properties of viral envelope glycoprotein, develop and evaluate novel vaccine vectors, and examine virus-host interactions at various levels.
Clark Coffman GDCB Cell migration; programmed cell death; cell fate; Drosophilia development
Drena Dobbs GDCB Bioinformatics and computational biology; protein and nucleic acid interactions
N. Matthew Ellinwood Animal Science Companion animal models of human genetic disease, pathogenesis and therapy for neuropathic lysosomal storage diseases, brain targeted gene therapy, enzyme replacement therapy, pharmacoperone therapy, novel enzyme constructs.
Jeffrey Essner GDCB Genomics approach using zebrafish to model migration of and formation of blood supply for cancer cells and identify genes that are required at specific steps in cancer progression
Clark Ford FSHN Protein engineering, enzyme structure and function, microbial biotechnology

Mohan Gupta

GDCB We study microtubule cytoskeleton driven processes to understand fundamental principles of biology and to improve treatment strategies for cancer and other diseases. We exploit experiments in live cells and with purified proteins using an interdisciplinary approach including cell biology, biochemistry, genetics, biophysics, and high-resolution microscopy.
David Hannapel Horticulture Control of vegetative meristem development by transcription factors
Eric Henderson GDCB Scanning probe microscopy; nanotechnology
Jack Horner GDCB Cellular and developmental biology; light microscopy and scanning and transmission electron microscopy, histo- and cytochemistry.
Jorgen Johansen BBMB Molecular basis for neuronal cell recognition and axonal guidance
Kristen Johansen BBMB Regulation of nuclear architecture and chromatin structure during the cell cycle
Doug Jones Vet Path Immune response to the protozoal parasite Leishmania and bacteria intracellular parasites
Russell Jurenka Entomology Moth sex pheromones; synthesis of polyunsaturated fatty acids and prostaglandins in insects
Anumantha Kanthasamy BMS Parkinsons disease and its related movement disorders
Arthi Kanthasamy BMS Identify and characterize the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying cerebral ischemia and Parkinson's disease (PD) associated pathogenesis. Investigation of the role of kinase dependent cell signaling pathways in neuronal degeneration. Developing gene therapy technologies aimed at limiting ischemia-induced brain damage. Evaluation of the role of autophagic protein degradation machinery in experimental models of PD and ischemia. Molecular mechanisms of prion pathogenesis.
Dior KelleyGDCB

Using a systems integration of large-scale omics approaches to explore how auxin signaling modules control diverse developmental processes in roots

Michael Kimber BMS Neuromuscular biology of parasitic worms, and in particular the role played by neuropeptide transmitters, in an effort to identify novel targets for antiparasitic drugs.
Julie Kuhlman GDCB We are interested in studying the signals that direct the formation and function of the peripheral nervous system, particularly the enteric nervous system, during early development.
Dennis Lavrov EEOB Animal evolution, phylogenetics and mitochondrial genomics; use of gene order data for the analysis of ancient relationships; comparative and population mitochondrial genomics of lower (non-bilaterian) animals.
Gustavo MacIntosh BBMB Gene expression and metabolic changes during plant defense responses to pests; RNA decay and functional genomics of plant nucleases
Gunnar MairBMSResearch Description Coming Soon
Richard Martin BMS Electrical properties of cells and their responses to drugs; mode of action of antiparasite drugs and mechanisms of resistance. The neuropharmacology and toxicology of nematode ion channels studied using patch-clamp techniques. Development of new target sites for anthelmintic drugs
Maura McGrail GDCB Molecular basis of animal development and the mechanisms underlying cancer in humans.
Cathy Miller VMPM How reoviruses commandeer cellular space for replication, translation and virion assembly
W. Allen Miller Plant Path Plant RNA virus replication and genomics; translation mechanisms; RNA structure
Chris Minion VMPM Mycoplasma pathogenesis; molecular vaccines; persistance of Salmonella and E. coli O 157:H7
Walter Moss BBMB Discovery and characterization of noncoding and regulatory RNAs involved in viral pathogenesis.
Alan Myers BBMB Mechanisms of cellular morphogenesis; mechanisms of starch biogenesis
Basil Nikolau BBMB Biochemistry and functional genomics of plant metabolism
Marit Nilsen-Hamilton BBMB Growth factors; tissue remodeling; RNA aptamer probes for medical applications
Reuben Peters BBMB Investigation of natural products biosynthesis and physiological function, spanning a range of systems that include cereal crop plant defense, rhizobacteria-legume symbiosis, the plant pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola, and the human pathogen Mycobactericum tuberculosis.
Greg Phillips VMPM Bacterial membrane protein biogenesis and localization; antimicrobial persistence in bacterial pathogens
Jo Anne Powell-Coffman GDCB C. elegans development; aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling; hypoxia signaling
Jim Reecy Animal Science Gene expression during vertebrate development; genes controlling skeletal muscle growth
Julien Roche BBMB Study of protein folding, intrinsically disordered proteins and amyloid peptides by solution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscop.
Jason Ross Animal Science Identification and the study of the effects miRNAs have on transcriptome and proteome during oocyte maturation, early embryonic development and implantation in the pig. These mechanisms are studied in vivo, in vitro and SCNT derived embryos.
Matthew Rowling FSHN Nutrient and hormone transport mechanisms in relation to chronic disease. Health protective effects of nutritional supplementation relevant to chronic disease
Randy Sacco NADC & VMPM Host immune response to bovine respiratory pathogens; regulation of cytokine signaling pathways; marine mammal immunology.
Don Sakaguchi GDCB Stem cell transplants for CNS repair, development of vertebrate visual systems
Dipali Sashital BBMB Mechanisms of bacterial adaptive immunity; CRISPR-Cas technology; RNA-protein structure and function
Kevin Schalinske FSHN Nutritional biochemistry; folate-dependent one-carbon pool and metabolism of methyl groups
Pat Schnable Agronomy & GDCB Plant genetics and genomics: cytoplasmic male sterility and meiotic recombination
Ian Schneider CBE Cell migration, paracrine loops, proteases, fluorescence microscopy and mathematical modeling
Joshua Selsby Animal Science Muscle physiology with a particular emphasis on mechanisms of pathology in Duchenne muscular dystrophy and disuse atrophy as well as the development of interventions for these conditions.
Yeon-Kyun Shin BBMB Structure and function of selected membrane proteins; Mechanisms of secretory vesicle fusion with membranes
Michael Shogren-Knaak BBMB Role and establishment of histone modifications; chromatin structure
Ravindra Singh BMS Role of alternative splicing in human and animal diseases
Ryan Smith Entomology Focus on host-parasite interactions between the mosquito vector and malaria parasites using a multi-disciplinary approach to examine how the mosquito innate immune system limits parasite infection.
Robert Thornburg BBMB Regulation of plant defense genes; nectar proteins
Jeff Trimarchi GDCB Our research aims to understand the gene expression programs responsible for generating neuronal diversity in the developing retina. Single cell gene profiling experiments will be used to develop molecular taxonomies of the different classes of retinal neurons, specifically focusing on the retinal ganglion cells. In addition, the gene networks that produce these different ganglion cells will be identified.
Christopher Tuggle Animal Science Spatial gene expression in vertebrate development; animal gene identification and mapping
Geetu Tuteja GDCB Our lab is broadly interested in transcriptional regulation, which is directed in part by the binding of sequence-specific transcription factors (TFs) to enhancer regions.   Identifying cell-type specific enhancers is crucial for understanding the genetic architecture underlying development and disease.
Rudy Valentine Kinesiology Improving our understanding of bio-behavioral factors linking excess body fat and sedentary lifestyle with risk for cardiometabolic diseases. As both a basic and applied exercise physiologist, my work probes into mechanistic pathways and addresses public health issues associated with obesity, diabetes, and aging. To tackle these challenges, we use a variety of methods, including cell culture, rodent models, and clinical human studies.
Erik Vollbrecht GDCB Molecular genetics of plant development, plant genomics, evolution of plant development, cellular mechanisms of plant reproduction
Justin Walley Plant Pathology & Microbiology Research in my lab is focused on enhancing our understanding of the molecular basis of plant-microbe interactions. We combine systems biology approaches to analyze global transcriptome and proteome datasets with directed biochemical and genetic experiments.
Kan Wang Agronomy Provide services in genetic transformation of corn, soybean and rice for academic researchers. Develop advanced technology for genetic transformation. Develop corn-based edible vaccines for livestock. Elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which plants respond to environmental stress and hormonal signals. Develop stress-tolerant crops. Develop cellulase producing corn for biorenewable material.
Xuefeng Wang Physics & Astronomy Study cell mechanics with single molecule approach. Develop molecular force sensors to measure cellular forces. Regulate cell adhesion, migration and differentiation with a global molecular force control. Utilize single molecule imaging microscopy to study protein aggregation in live cells.
Eve Wurtele GDCB Plant development, metabolic networking and computational biology
Marna Yandeau-Nelson GDCB My research interests integrate classical and molecular genetics with biochemical, metabolomic and computational approaches to study the biosynthetic and regulatory genetic networks of metabolic traits, to increase both the fundamental knowledge of metabolism and to use that knowledge for practical applications.
Bing Yang GDCB The long term goal of research in my laboratory is to better understand the plant disease, and gain knowledge to aid the design of more intelligent breeding strategies for disease control by blocking the host disease susceptibility pathway in addition to deployment of genetic disease resistance genes in crop plants.
Yanhai Yin GDCB Vascular differentiation in Arabidopsis; function of brassinosteroid receptors
Edward Yu Physics & Chemistry Structural and mechanistic aspects of membrane transport; X-ray crystallography of membrane proteins
Olga Zabotina BBMB Plant Cell Wall Structure; Polysaccharide Biosynthesis, Modification and Degradation; Bioactive Carbohydrates
Qijing Zhang VMPM Molecular and cellular basis of pathogen-host interaction, antimicrobial resistance mechanism, and horizontal gene transfer in bacterial pathogens.