Research

CTOC Mentors

Michael Bailey, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity, College of Medicine
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
Research Interests:  Role of intestinal epithelial cells in stressor-induced exacerbation of infectious colitis.


John Bartlett, PhD
Associate Dean for Research, College of Dentistry
Professor, Division of Biosciences
Research Interests: Dental enamel development, understand the molecular events that cause dental fluorosis.


Prosper Boyaka, PhD
Professor, Department of Veterinary Biosciences
Research Interests: Understanding of how innate responses that take place in mucosal tissues regulate adaptive immune responses to pathogens, allergens and vaccines.


* Brian Foster, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Biosciences
Research Interests: Molecular biology of tooth root development and mineralization, with interests including genes, mechanisms, diseases, and novel regeneration strategies.


Jonathan Godbout, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience, College of Medicine
Research Interests:  Determining the degree to which the bi-directional communication between the brain and the immune system is affected by age, stress, and traumatic CNS injury. In addition, to delineate the mechanism by which inflammatory cytokine pathways cause long-lasting complications.


Patrick Green, PhD
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, College of Veterinary Medicine
Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine
Research Interests: The contribution of a novel HTLV-1 antisense genome transcript and protein to HTLV-1-mediated immortalization of primary T cells in vitro and HTLV-1 infection in the rabbit animal model.


Tsonwin Hai, PhD
Professor, Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry, and Center for Molecular Neurobiology
Research Interests:  ATF3 in various stress-associated diseases.


Sissy Jhiang, PhD
Professor, Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, Department of Internal Medicine
Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms underlying thyroid tumorigenesis and tumor progression using cultured cell lines, genetic engineered mouse models, and patients’ samples; (2) gene regulation, structural and functional analysis, and clinical applications of sodium iodide symporter, the membrane protein that mediates iodide influx into thyroid cells; (3) novel strategies to eliminate/reduce salivary dysfunction during radioiodine therapy for patients with thyroid cancer; and (4) cell mechanics underlying EMT and cell cycle progression.


Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD
Director, Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research; S. Robert Davis Chair of Medicine; Distinguished University Professor; Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology
Research Interests:  Daily stressors, marital discord, and a history of major depressive disorder alter obesity-related metabolic responses to high-fat meals, lowering post-meal energy expenditure and fat oxidation while heightening insulin production, changes that would promote weight gain.


Purnima Kumar, BDS, MDS, PhD
Associate Professor, Division of Periodontology
Research Interests: The effects of smoking on the oral microbiome.


Binnaz Lebelebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD
Professor, Division of Periodontology
Research Interests:  Peri-implant wound healing and treatment outcomes; specifically focusing on soft tissue healing, the formation of soft tissue sealing as well as host response against dental devices.


Susan Mallery, DDS, MS, PhD
Chair, Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and Radiology
Professor, Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and Radiology
Research Interests:  Chemoprevention of oral cancer by natural products, using a continuum of experimental designs that range from cell and animal models to human clinical trials to provide mechanistic insights and determine chemopreventive efficacy, with a focus on controlled-release, local delivery methods.


Dana McTigue, PhD
Professor, Department of Neuroscience
Research Interests: Spinal cord injury and recovery of function, gliogenesis, adult progenitor cell function, demyelination and remyelination of the CNS.


Randy Nelson, PhD
Distinguished University Professor and Chair, Department of Neuroscience
Research Interests: Biological rhythms, sleep, neuroinflammation, behavioral endocrinology.


Michael Ostrowski, PhD
Professor and Vice-Chair in the Molecular Virology, Immunology and Human Genetics Department
Research Interests: Understanding how signaling pathways elicit selective changes in gene transcription in mammalian cells.


* Sara Palmer, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Biosciences
Research Interests:  Understanding the mechanisms of virulence factor regulation in streptococcal species within the oral cavity, with an emphasis on genes involved in secretion systems and membrane protein biogenesis.


Jeffrey Parvin, MD, PhD
Professor, Division of Computational Biology & Bioinformatics, Department of Biomedical Informatics
Research Interests:  Understanding the biology that underlies cancer tumorigenesis, focusing on the breast and ovarian cancer associated proteins, BRCA1, BRCA2, and their protein interactors.


Phillip Popovich, PhD
Professor, Department of Neuroscience
Research Interests:  Neuroimmunology of spinal cord injury, immunological influences on neuronal degeneration and regeneration, neuroendocrine influences (e.g., stress/HPA axis activation) on inflammatory mediated injury/repair of the CNS.


* Leah Pyter, PhD
Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Research Interests:  Cancer behavioral comorbidities, psychoneuroimmunology, wound healing, stress.


Ning Quan, MS, PhD
Professor, Division of Biosciences
Research Interests:  The pathophysiology of neuroimmune communication.  Investigating the mechanisms by which chronic peripheral inflammation/infection triggers the degeneration of the central nervous system and how various different types of psychosocial stress alter the susceptibility to peripheral infection.  The expression and regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines is a key focus of our research.


Peter Reiser, MS, PhD
Chair and Professor, Division of Biosciences
Research Interests:  exploring differences in muscle properties between species.  Focusing on the roles of sarcomeric protein isoforms in regulating contractile properties of muscle. Specific areas of interest include craniofacial (extraocular, jaw-closing and laryngeal) muscles, limb skeletal muscles and cardiac muscle, with an emphasis on comparative muscle physiology and biochemistry.


Thom Rosol, DVM, PhD
Professor, Veterinary Biosciences
Adjunct Professor, Division of Urology
Research Interests:  Endocrine, reproductive, bone pathology, animal models of cancer and bone metastasis, pathology and pathophysiology.


Abhay Satoskar, MD, PhD
Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Pathology
Research Interests: The mechanisms of immunity and immune evasion in parasitic diseases, particularly infections caused by kinetoplastid​.


John Sheridan, MS, PhD
Associate Director, Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research
Professor, Division of Biosciences
Research Interests:   Neuroendocrine regulation of inflammation, psychoneuroimmunology, neuroimmunology, stress biology, host repair of tissue damage, immunity to viral and bacterial challenges.


Joseph Travers, PhD
Professor, Division of Biosciences
Research Interests: Circuits in the brainstem reticular formation are necessary for coordinated oromotor function. Our lab is using neuroanatomical, neurophysiological and neuropharmacological approaches to analyze how these circuits process sensory information to switch between multiple behaviors.


Susan Travers, PhD
Professor, Division of Biosciences
Research Interests: Investigating how the central nervous system processes sensory signals arising from the mouth. The oral cavity is richly innervated and supplies the organism with information critical to regulating eating and drinking. Our focus is the sense of taste, but we also study oral tactile and thermal sensations because all these modalities interact to give rise to the complex experience of flavor.


Susheela Tridandapani, PhD
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
Research Interests:  Examining the molecular mechanisms of innate immune responses to bacterial pathogens and IgG-immune complexes, particularly in the context of monoclonal antibody therapy for cancer.


John Walters, DDS, MMSc
Associate Dean, Advanced and Graduate Education, College of Dentistry
Professor, Division of Periodontology
Research Interests:  Inflammation, PMN chemotactic receptor polymorphisms and their association with aggressive periodontitis, mechanisms for enhancing chemotherapy against invasive bacterial pathogens, and factors that influence the distribution of antimicrobial agents in periodontal tissues. Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents, with a focus on the role of transporters in the distribution of these agents in periodontal tissues.


Christopher Weghorst, PhD
Associate Dean for Research, College of Public Health
Professor, Division of Environmental Health Sciences
Research Interests:  Cancer, Carcinoma, Squamous Cell, Mouth Cancer, Adenoma, Carcinoma, Leukoplakia, Glioma, Microsatellite Instability.


* These faculty mentors are able to co-mentor with a more senior faculty member.