Universtiy of Miami Miller School of Medicine Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

Mentor Selection


Selection of a mentor to supervise dissertation research is a major function during the first year of graduate study. Mentor selection is intended to be an experience in decision-making in a supportive environment that begins a very important developmental relationship.

The process of choosing a mentor will be discussed at the beginning of the first semester, formal discussions of research interests with faculty and informal meetings between students and faculty. Program choice is made simultaneously with mentor choice. Students may choose to enter any PhD program with which their mentors are affiliated.

Students are expected to choose a dissertation mentor by the end of the third rotation period, but may defer this decision to the end of the fourth rotation period (if necessary). Rotations beyond a fourth are limited to special cases and requires prior approval. Faculty and students may not commit to a permanent mentorship agreement until after the third rotation.

In the interim between mentor selection and the appointment of the dissertation committee, your advisor will work closely with the faculty mentor to ensure progress in academic and research matters. Following each laboratory rotation, students are evaluated by the rotation mentor until the dissertation committee assumes these responsibilities.

Should you need guidance or advise, please arrange an appointment with the PIBS Director.


Highlighted Faculty Research Interests

Updated: 30 NOV 2016

These are examples of possible faculty mentors, but please note that this is not a comprehensive list. Click on their names to access their faculty profile and CVs. We recommend thoroughly researching potential mentors and reaching out to them about their research. Should you need assistance finding appropriate rotation mentors, arrange an appointment with the PIBS Director for advising.

Last NameFirst NameAffAreas of Research
AtkinsColeenNEUTraumatic brain injury, learning, synaptic plasticity, hippocampus, memory, long term potentiation
BanerjeeSantanuMDBMicrobiome, HIV, opportunistic infections, drugs of abuse, metabolism, inflammation, humanized mice, cholesterol, bile acids, toll-like receptors, mu-opioid receptor, morphine, heroin, cocaine, lung mucosa, ocular mucosa, gut mucosa.
BanerjeeSulagnaCABPancreatic cancer, tumor initiating cells, metabolism, chemoresistance and therapy
BarberGlenCAB MDB MICHost defense, cancer, immunology, Viruses, interferon, STING
BarrientosAntonioBMB MCP NEUMechanisms governing biogenesis of mitochondrial protein complexes in health, disease and aging.  Specifically, we are interested in the mitochondrial translation machinery, respiratory chain and oxidative phosphorylation system components.
BeurelEleonoreBMB, NEUInflammation, depression, T cells, cytokines, glycogen synthase kinase-3, nanoparticles
BhattacharyaSanjoyBMB NEUNeuroproteomics, posttranslational modification of diminution, local protein synthesis in neuronal dendrites.
BianchiLauraNEU, PHSsensory perception, touch and pain perception, neurodegeneration, C. elegans, glia/neurons functional interaction, ionic homeostasis
BishopricNanetteCAB MCPEpigenetics, histone deacetylase, breast cancer, heart failure, non-coding RNA, microRNA, Stem cell, genetics, apoptosis, RNASeq, gene targeting
BrambillaRobertaNEUNeuroinflammation, multiple sclerosis, remyelination, neuroimmune disease, cytokines, neurodegenerative disorders
BriegelKarolineBMB CABStem Cells, Developmental Biology, Breast Cancer,Transcription Factors, WNT Signaling
BuchwaldPeterMCPdrug discovery, small molecules, costimulatory blockade, TNF superfamily, Smad7 modulation, pancreatic islets
BurnsteinKerryCAB MCPprostate cancer, novel therapeutics, androgen receptor, microRNAs, vitamin D
Caicedo-ViekantAlejandroNEUCellular mechanisms that lead to highly orchestrated secretion of insulin and glucagon by human pancreatic islets.
CapobiancoAnthonyCABdrug discovery, cancer, Notch, WNT, stem cells
ChenZhibinCAB MICautoimmunity, diabetes, cancer, inflammation, tolerance, regeneration
DaunertSilviaBMBBioluminescent Proteins, Targeted Imaging, Targeted Delivery, Biosensors, Nanocarriers, Microbiome and Quorum Sensing, Breath Sensors
DeoSapnaBMBbionanotechnology, biochemistry, drug delivery
DharShantaBMBNanomedicine, Mitochondrial Medicine, Cisplatin, Combination therapy, Drug Delivery, Biodegradable Nanoparticles
DeutscherMurrayBMBribonucleases-function, mechanism and regulation, RNA processing, RNA degradation, post-transcriptional regulation
FaghihiMohammadNEU Involvement on non-protein-coding RNAs in neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Fragile X Syndrome.
FornoniAlessiaBMB MCPkidney disease and transplantation, diabetes and cell metabolism, molecular and translational medicine, proteinuria and podocytes, reverse cholesterol transport, renal pathology and in vivo imaging, insulin signaling
HackamAbigailNEUCellular mechanism of photoreceptor degeneration, the role of inflammation in photoreceptor survival, signaling and neuronal-glial interactions and ocular tumor stem cells.
HareJosephMCP
HuJenniferCAB HGGDNA damage/repair, genomics, metabolomics, cancer risk, precision medicine
HudsonBarryMDBCancer, diabetes, inflammation, cell signaling, RAGE
IsomDanielMCPstructural informatics, cancer informatics, pH sensors, drug design, high throughput screening
JainChaitanyaBMBRNA regulation, Prokaryotes, DEAD-box proteins, Ribonucleases, Ribosome Assembly
JopeRichardBMB NEUDepression, lithium cognition, Fragile X syndrome, multiple sclerosis
KasaharaNoriyukiMDB
KingMary LouMDB
LandgrafRalfBMB, CABReceptor signaling, membrane gangliosides, protein quality control, fluorescent probes, aptamers, drug resistance
LarssonPeterNEU, PHSCardiac arrhythmias, ion channel physiology, voltage-gated ion channels, fluorescence, FRET, voltage clamp
LeeJaeNEUThe primary goal of our laboratory is to understand how glial cells respond to CNS injury in order to promote tissue repair and axon regeneration.
LeeStephenBMB CABTumor microenvironment adaptation, cancer cell dormancy, long noncoding RNA, protein mobility, hypoxic translation, drug discovery
LemmonVanceNEUSpinal cord injury, specifically axon regeneration, Drug discovery
LiWeiMCP NEUVision research, eye diseases, disease mechanism, therapy, retinal degeneration, vascular diseases
LieblDanielNEUBrain and spinal cord injury, synaptic regeneration, neurogenesis, apoptosis, translational research
LippmanMarcCABBreast Cancer, Stromal Epithelial Interactions, Cancer Associated Fibroblasts, Depression, Myeloderived Suppressor Cells
LichtenheldMathiasMICCD8 and CD4 T-cells, nuclear programming for cytotoxicity, HIV, immune defense
LiuZhao-JunCABAngiogenesis, Vasculogenesis, Athetosclerosis, Notch, Bone Marrow Stem Cells, Melanoma, Wound Healing.
MalekThomasMICRegulatory T cells, T cell memory, interleukin-2, autoimmunity, type 1 diabetes, tumor immunotherapy
MashDeborahMCP NEUEpigenetics, gene expression, chemical neuroanatomy, toxicology, cocaine dependence, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, biospecimen science, postmortem human brain
Merscher-GomezSandraMCPKidney disease, mouse models, podocyte injury, cell signaling, cholesterol, lipids, sphingolipids, TNF alpha, ABCA1, SMPDL3b.
MesriEnriqueCAB, MIC Epigenetics, gene expression, chemical neuroanatomy, toxicology, cocaine dependence, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, biospecimen science, postmortem human brain
MoraesCarlosCAB, HGG, MDB, NEUMolecular basis of mitochondrial defects in metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases and in normal aging. We develop genetically-modified mouse models and develop models for gene therapy and for manipulating mitochondrial biogenesis.
MunsonGeorgeMICPerforin-2, innate immunity, multidrug resistant Klebsiella and Acinetobacter, enterotoxigenic E. coli
PahwaSavitaPHSImmune dysfunction in HIV infected pediatric and adult patients
ParkKevinNEUMolecular mechanisms of axon regeneration in traumatic CNS injuries and neurodegenerative diseases. We use in vivo models, gene therapy and mouse genetics.
PeiXin-HaiCABCell Cycle Control, Breast Cancer, Tissue Stem Cells, Differentiation
PercivalJustinMCPObesity, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, nitric oxide signaling
Perez-PinzonMiguelNEUMechanisms of neuroprotection by ischemic preconditioning (IPC) against cerebral ischemia.  Specifically, we study pathways based on protein kinase C-epsilon or on NAD+-dependent class III histone deacetylase SIRT1. Synaptic plasticity, mitochondrial function and epigenetics in ischemic tolerance.
PorciattiVittorioNEUInvestigating retinal ganglion cell functional plasticity in human and mouse models of optic nerve diseases
RaiPriyamvadaCAB, MCPLung cancer, prostate cancer, oxidative stress, senescence, oncogenic RAS, DNA damage
RajguruSuhrudBMBOptical neural stimulation, neuroprosthetics, neurophysiology, and neuroprotection
RobbinsDavidCAB, MDB
RodriguesClaudia De OliveiraMCP, MDBVascular Biology, vascular homeostasis and endothelial dysfunction.
RosenblattJosephCAB MICImmune Therapy, Antibody Engineering, Vasculogenesis, B Regulatory Cells
SchatzJonathanCAB MIClymphoma, ALK, cap-dependent translation, preclinical therapeutics, kinase inhibitors, oncogene overdose
SchesserKurtMICHost-pathogen interactions; bacterial pathogenesis; cell biology
SchürerStephenHGG, MCPdrug discovery, cheminformatics, systems chemical biology, network poly-pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, big data
ScottWilliamHGG
ShedadehLinaMCPMciroRNAs, long noncoding RNAs, and aptamers in Cardiovascular Disease and Stem cells
ShestopalovValeryMDBvision research, cell biology, lens, retina, ganglion cells, astrocytes, pannexin1, purinergic signaling, danger signaling, systems biology of disease, glaucoma, ischemia, intraocular pressure, ocular microbiome, ocular microbial ecology
ShiekhattarRaminCAB HGG NEUTranscription, Chromatin, Long noncoding RNAs, Cancer Biology, Super-enhancers
SlepakVladlenMCP NEUNovel mechanisms in G protein signal transduction. We work on receptors in the eye, neuronal and pancreatic cells, with relevance for hormonal regulation of obesity, diabetes and ocular disorders.
SlingerlandJoyceBMB CABCell cycle, signal transduction, PI3K, SRC, stem cells, estrogen receptor
StevensonMarioMIC MDBViral etiology of HIV/AIDS. Viral persistence. Host restriction factors. Molecular virology. Clinical research.
SzczesnaDanutaMCPStriated Muscle Contraction, EC Coupling, Sarcomeric Proteins, Myosin, Genetic Cardiomyopathies, Transgenic Mice
ThomasEnmanuelCAB MDB MICvirology, cell biology, innate immunity, HIV, cancer, viral hepatitis, liver
ToborekMichalBMBHIV, blood-brain barrier, drug abuse, neuroinflammation, neuroscience, molecular biology
Vazquez-PadronRobertoMCPc-Kit, atherosclerosis, research/mechanistic, cardiovascular, animal models
VelazquezOmaidaBMB Angiogenesis, Vasculogenesis, Athetosclerosis, Notch, Bone Marrow Stem Cells, Melanoma, Wound Healing.
VerdunRamiroCABDNA repair, genomic instability, mechanisms of genotoxicity, telomeres, antibody class switching.
WahlestedtClaesCAB HGG MCP NEUDrug discovery, epigenetics, gene expression, RNA, brain diseases, cancer.
WangGaofengHGG NEUfunctional genomics of hereditary diseases, redox in epigenetic regulation, regulation of epigenome by vitamin C and the chromosome 10q26 locus in age-related macular degeneration
WatkinsDavidMDBVaccines, treatment, HIV, Dengue, CD8 T cells, neutralizing antibodies.
Widerström-NogaEvaNEUIdentifying clinical correlates to mechanisms underlying pain after neurological injury. We use in-depth assessments of pain, psychosocial impact, neurological dysfunction, and biomarkers.
XuMingjiangBMB CABepigenetic regulation, DNA demethylation, hematological malignancies, TET2, disease murine model, hematopoietic stem cells
YangFeng-ChunBMBEpigenetics, myeloid malignancies, translational research, ASXL1, murine model, histone modification.
ZhangFangliangMCPPosttranslational Modification, Arginylation, Stress Response, Cell-Cell Adhesions, Talin, Caherin