Universtiy of Miami Miller School of Medicine Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

Faculty Profiles: MDB

Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology


Santanu Banerjee, PhD

Santanu Banerjee, PhD

Assistant Professor, Cancer Biology
santanu.banerjee@med.miami.edu

My laboratory is focused on understanding the role of microbiome in inflammation, under multiple insults of HIV, clinical/recreational use of drugs and opportunistic infections. We are also studying the role of normal and dysbiotic microbiota on host metabolism in health and disease. All these studies are done using appropriate murine models, including NSG-BLT humanized mice.


Glen Barber, PhD

Glen Barber, PhD

Chair, Cell Biology
Professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology
Associate Director, Basic Science for SCCC
gbarber@med.miami.edu


Diego Alejandro Caicedo-Viekant, PhD

Diego Alejandro Caicedo-Viekant, PhD

Associate Professor, Medicine
acaicedo@med.miami.edu

Cellular mechanisms that lead to the highly orchestrated insulin and glucagon secretion by human pancreatic islets.


Gregory Conner, PhD

Gregory Conner, PhD

Associate Professor, Cell Biology
gconner@med.miami.edu


Dalton Dietrich, PhD

Dalton Dietrich, PhD

Professor, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Cell Biology
ddietrich@med.miami.edu

I investigate the pathobiology and treatment of CNS injury and repair in both the acute and chronic setting. Animal models of cerebral ischemia, and brain and spinal cord trauma are utilized to investigate the mechanisms of tissue injury and to test novel therapeutic interventions including temperature modification, pharmacological treatment and cell therapies. The ultimate goal is to develop clinically relevant therapies that can be translated to people living with brain and spinal cord injury.


Ronald Desrosiers, PhD

Ronald Desrosiers, PhD

Professor, Pathology
r.desrosiers@med.miami.edu


Juan Dominguez-Bendala, PhD

Juan Domínguez-Bendala, PhD

Research Associate Professor, Diabetes Research Institute
Research Associate Professor, Surgery
Research Associate Professor, Cell Biology
jdominguez2@med.miami.edu


Nevis Fregien, PhD

Nevis Fregien, PhD

Associate Professor, Cell Biology
nfregien@med.miami.edu


Katrin Hacke, PhD

Katrin Hacke, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Cell Biology
khacke@med.miami.edu


Barry Hudson, PhD

Barry Hudson, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Cell Biology
bhudson@med.miami.edu

Dr. Hudson lab’s research is focused on understanding receptor based mechanisms underlying disease states including breast cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and translating these basic observations to human clinical studies. His research efforts have focused on the role of the Receptor for Advanced Glycation End-products (RAGE) and its ligands (AGEs, s100s and HMGB1) in these disease settings. Most recently, his laboratory has made important observations of the role RAGE and its ligand in breast cancer progression and metastasis, and that blocking RAGE signaling may be an attractive therapeutic target for reducing tumorigenesis and metastasis.


Roland Jurecic, PhD

Roland Jurecic, PhD

Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy
rjurecic@med.miami.edu

The research in the lab focuses on: (1) Molecular pathways that regulate self-renewal and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and cancer stem cells, (2) Novel multi-target immunosuppressive approaches to treat immune-mediated Aplastic Anemia and bone marrow failure, (3) Characterization and mitigation of long-term effects of cancer chemotherapy on HSC function, hematopoiesis and immune system function,  (4) Characterization and mitigation of acute and delayed effects of ionizing radiation on the hematopoietic system and HSC function, and (5) Characterization of molecular and cellular pathways regulating emergency hematopoiesis in response to bacterial and viral infections.


Noriyuki Kasahara, MD, PhD

Noriyuki Kasahara, MD, PhD

Pending Rank at Professor, Cell Biology
nkasahara@med.miami.edu


Mary Lou King, PhD

Mary Lou King, PhD

Professor, Cell Biology
Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
mking@med.miami.edu


Theodore Lampidis, PhD

Theodore Lampidis, PhD

Member, Cancer Center
Professor, Cell Biology
tlampidi@med.miami.edu


Richard Lee, MD, PhD

Richard Lee, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Ophthalmology, Cell Biology
rlee@med.miami.edu

My lab focuses on the molecular, cellular, proteomic, and neurophysiologic basis of glaucoma in experimental and human models. Using cutting edge experimental techniques and technologies, my lab is identifying pathways important for the development of glaucoma and retinal nerve cell death. These molecular pathways represent important new targets for the development of neuroprotective strategies to prevent blindness associated with glaucoma.


Carlos Moraes, PhD

Carlos Moraes, PhD

Professor, Neurology
cmoraes@med.miami.edu

Our lab studies the molecular basis of mitochondrial defects in metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases and in normal aging, using genetically-modified mouse models. Three major funded projects are: 1) Development of genetic therapies for mitochondrial diseases. 2) Development of animal models to study the pathogenesis of mitochondrial disorders. 3) Compensating for a defect in oxidative phosphorylation by increasing mitochondrial biogenesis.


Stephen Nimer, MD

Stephen Nimer, MD

Director, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Professor, Medicine
Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
snimer@med.miami.edu

Dr. Nimer has spent several decades conducting basic science and clinical research into the genetic basis and treatment of hematological malignancies. His laboratory has been trying to decipher the normal and abnormal regulatory mechanisms that control the expression of genes implicated in hematopoiesis and the biological mechanisms that control the formation of blood cells. The ultimate goal of his research is to identify new critical, cellular mechanism implicated in leukemogenesis and develop molecularly targeted therapies.


David Robbins, PhD

David Robbins, PhD

Professor, Surgery
drobbins@med.miami.edu
Developmental signaling pathways, such as those driven by Hedgehog and Wnt, are constitutively active in many of the most common human cancers, where they affect the mortality and morbidity of large numbers of cancer patients. My laboratory is focused on elucidating the rate limiting steps in these signaling pathways, and then targeting them with novel small molecule inhibitors. We have identified a number of FDA approved drugs that can be quickly repurposed to treat patients harboring Hedgehog or Wnt driven cancers, one small molecule that was recently designated by the FDA for the orphan precancerous disorder familial adenomatous polyposis, and a novel small molecule Wnt inhibitor in late stage preclinical development. Currently, the lab is investigating the role constitutive Hedgehog or Wnt signaling play in pediatric brain tumors, as well as in colorectal and esophageal cancer.


Richard Rotundo, PhD

Richard Rotundo, PhD

Professor, Cell Biology
rrotundo@med.miami.edu

Our laboratory focuses on the regulation of neurotransmission via the enzyme, acetyl cholinesterase. We study: 1) The contributions of protein folding and assembly in regulating active molecules at synapses. 2) The development of novel probes for identifying cholinergic synapses. 3) RNA binding proteins that control protein translation at muscle and neuronal synapses in response to specific signals. 4) The repair of neuromuscular and CNS cholinergic synapse following acetylcholinesterase inactivation.


Claudia De Oliveira Rodrigues, PhD

Claudia De Oliveira Rodrigues, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
crodrigues@med.miami.edu

We are interested in identifying target pathways that are essential to preserve endothelial function under stress conditions for therapeutic intervention. My research interests focus on understanding the role of the transcription factor cMyc in vascular progenitors and endothelial cells, and its contribution to endothelial dysfunction and disease. Although cMyc has been widely studied in cancer, its role in vascular function has not been fully explored. Recent findings from our group have shown that cMyc plays an essential role in vascular homeostasis, and is a central regulator of vascular inflammation. We currently have two main undergoing research projects in the laboratory.


Pedro Salas, MD, PhD

Pedro Salas, PhD


Professor, Cell Biology
Director, Programs in Biomedical Sciences
psalas@med.miami.edu


Valery Shestopalov, PhD

Valery Shestopalov, PhD

Professor, Ophthalmology
Professor, Cell Biology
vshestopalov@med.miami.edu


Mario Stevenson, PhD

Mario Stevenson, PhD

Professor, Medicine
Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases
mstevenson@med.miami.edu

Research in the Stevenson lab is aimed at understanding how HIV-1 persists in the face of antiretroviral suppression. While antivirals can control viral replication, they don’t eliminate the virus and identifying how the virus persists is key to developing strategies to cure the infection. The lab is also trying to harness the antiviral activity of cellular factors known as antiviral restrictions. Several host proteins have been identified that potently suppress HIV-1 replication. However, the virus has evolved counter defenses that neutralize these antiviral restrictions. We are developing small molecules that neutralize viral defenses so as to allow the antiviral restrictions to neutralize the virus.


Emmanuel Thomas, MD, PhD

Emmanuel Thomas, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Cell Biology
ethomas1@med.miami.edu

The mission of Dr. Thomas’s program is to develop integrated, multidisciplinary approaches to the study of liver cancer / liver diseases and to bridge clinical medicine and basic science with translation of fundamental knowledge to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of liver diseases.  The laboratory mainly focuses on viral hepatitis (Hepatitis B and C) and has developed models to study interactions between these viruses and cells in the liver including hepatocytes and macrophages.  Cellular pathways studied include innate antiviral responses and the contribution ofthese pathways in oncogenesis.


Pantelis Tsoulfas, PhD

Pantelis Tsoulfas, PhD

Associate Professor, Neurological Surgery
ptsoulfa@med.miami.edu

Our research focuses on development of the nervous system, neurotrophin signaling, and repair of the CNS after spinal cord injury. Using live fluorescent imaging techniques, we examine how mitogenic factors influence cell numbers and how cell fates are linked to specific transcriptional networks, We also are exploring spinal cord injury repair strategies utilize neurotrophins and grafting of CNS-derived cells.


Fulvia Verde, PhD

Fulvia Verde, PhD

Associate Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Associate Professor, Cell Biology
fverde@med.miami.edu


David Watkins, PhD

David Watkins, PhD

Professor, Pathology
Vice Chair, Research
dwatkins@med.miami.edu

The Watkins laboratory is involved in two broad areas of investigation; finding a vaccine for HIV and a treatment for Dengue.


Xiang-Xi

Xiang-Xi “Mike” Xu, PhD

Professor, Cell Biology
xxu2@med.miami.edu