Summer Program Faculty

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston - UTHealth

Eric Boerwinkle, PhD
The Kozmetsky Family Chair in Human Genetics
Professor and Director, Division of Epidemiology
Human Genetics Center
UTHealth School of Public Health

Research interests: Genetic analysis of the common chronic diseases in humans, including coronary artery disease, hypertension, and non-insulin dependent (type II) diabetes.

David Gorenstein, PhD
Associate Dean for Research, School of Medicine
Chair, Department of NanoMedicine and Biomedical Engineering
Deputy Director and James T. Willerson Distinguished Chair
Director, IMM Center for Proteomics and Systems Biology

Research interests: Structural biology; drug design; nucleic acid and protein chemistry; proteomics and nanomedicine for both diagnostics and therapeutics in both infectious diseases and cancer.

Barrett Harvey, PhD
Assistant Professor, Center for Molecular Imaging
The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine

Research interests: Utilizing high throughput strategies the lab investigates the design of new technology for the discovery of novel therapeutic targets, maturation of antibody fragments, and for efficient antibody generation. In addition, the lab explores specific features of antibodies that make them best suited for individual applications. Specific research programs include the evaluation of passive immunization strategies against gram positive pathogens, the design of mouse models to examine the potency of directed cancer therapies, and the exploration of potential cardiac risk candidates as targets for recombinant antibody therapy.

Diana M. Milewicz, MD, PhD
Professor and President George Bush Chair In Cardiovascular Medicine
Professor of Internal Medicine
MD/PhD Program Director
UTHealth Medical School

Research interests: Human genetic diseases of the cardiovascular system; developmental biology of the extracellular matrix; inherited disorder of connective tissues.

F. Gerard Moeller, MD, PhD
Louis A. Faillace Professor of Psychiatry
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
UTHealth Medical School

Research interests: clinical research and education in the field of neurobiology of impulsivity, especially as it relates to substance abuse.

Hope Northrup, MD
Professor and Director, Pediatric Genetics
UTHealth Medical School

Research interests: Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) and Spina Bifida Cystica. Research in my laboratory focuses on two disorders: tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) and spina bifida cystica. TSC is inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion with two known genes. Current work underway includes mutational analysis and functional studies of both genes. The spina bifida project is using a candidate gene approach to search for genetic associations. A tutorial in my laboratory will expose the student to common molecular genetics techniques including subcloning, DNA sequencing, Southern blot analysis, single strand conformational polymorphic analysis, cell free transcription-translation, protein-protein interaction techniques, Western blotting and immunoprecipitation.

Kevin Rosenblatt, MD, PhD
Associate Professor
Center for Proteomics and Systems Biology
The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine

Research interests: Discovery and validation of biomarkers and novel drug targets for molecular pathways of disease in animal and cell models, and in human biological fluids and tissues.

Heinrich Taegtmeyer, MD, DPhil
Internal Medicine-Cardiology
UTHealth Medical School

Research interests: Energy substrate metabolism; gene expression and function of the heart; heart failure and diabetes.

Rick A. Wetsel, PhD
The William Kilroy, Sr. Chair in Pulmonary Disease
Professor and Director, Hans Müller-Eberhard and Irma Gigli Center for Immunology & Autoimmune Diseases
The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine

Research interests: Understanding the molecular events involved in mediating the inflammatory and immune response in both normal and pathological conditions; development of novel therapeutics via embryonic stem cell research.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Burton F. Dickey, MD
Pulmonary Medicine
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Research interests: Airway epithelial biology. The epithelial cells of the airways of the lungs show great plasticity in structure, function, and gene expression. In response to allergic inflammation, they produce large quantities of polymeric mucins, and our laboratory studies the molecular mechanism of mucin secretion. In response to bacterial inflammation, epithelial cells develop a high level of resistance to microbial infection, and our laboratory is studying the molecular mechanism. Airway inflammation also contributes to epithelial carcinogenesis, and we established mouse models of this phenomenon and are dissecting mechanism. For each of these programs, the laboratory uses primarily a mouse genetic approach, generating knockout and transgenic mice, and analyzing their responses in conditions of pathophysiologic challenge.

Gordon Mills, MD, PhD
Chairman and Professor
Systems Biology
Wiess Distinguished University Chair in Cancer Medicine
Director of the Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy (IPCT)

Research interests: Developing and implementing personalized molecular medicine; molecular analysis of cancer and currently serves as principal investigator or project investigator on many national peer review grants. He has published more than 500 papers; holds more than 20 patents related to novel technologies and molecular markers and has co-founded an early diagnostics company. Dr. Mills’ extensive experience with rapidly evolving technology used in the discovery of biomarkers and their application in clinical trials and patient care, directing the Kleberg Center for Molecular Markers, and his visionary T9 program (Ten Thousand Tumors, Ten Thousand Tests, Ten Thousand Therapies) that screens the 40+ most common mutationally activated genes, will ensure a timely transition from research to clinic.

Seyed Javad Moghaddam, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Pulmonary Medicine
Research Division of Internal Medicine

Research interests: My research is focused on airway inflammation and its role in airway epithelial carcinogenesis.  Our studies suggest a strong link between COPD-related airway inflammation and lung cancer.

Baylor College of Medicine

Aladin M. Boriek, Ph.D
Professor of Medicine and Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
Margaret M. & Albert B. Alkek Department of Medicine
Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine

Research interests:  Include the structure and function of the respiratory pump in chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), dysregulation of mechanosensitive pathways in the aging respiratory pump, respiratory muscle dysfunction in mouse models of muscular dystrophy, and the role of the cytoskeleton in the regulation of mechanosensitive pathways in airway smooth muscles.

Lawrence C.B. Chan, MD, DSc
Professor of Endocrinology
Baylor College of Medicine

Research interests: Dr. Chan’s laboratory is active in the following research areas: (1) type 1 and type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, (2) lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis, and (3) somatic gene therapy and other molecular therapies for the treatment of diabetes and obesity.

John A. Dani, PhD
Adjunct Professor
Department of Neurosciences
Baylor College of Medicine

Research interests: Processes that modify the brain and, thereby, underlie learned or shaped behaviors.

Andrew Groves, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Neurosciences
Baylor College of Medicine

Research interests: My laboratory uses the inner ear as a model system to address fundamental questions in developmental biology and regeneration. We are examining signaling pathways that specify the formation of the six auditory and balance sense organs of the ear and regulate the fine-grained and beautifully stereotyped pattern of sensory hair cells in these organs. We are also interested in trying to understand the mechanisms of how different sensory organs, such as the organ of Corti in the cochlea, arose during vertebrate evolution.

Hamed Jafar-Nejad, M.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Molecular & Human Genetics
Baylor College of Medicine

Research interests: Lies in the area of Developmental Glycobiology. Currently, we are pursuing the following projects:

  • Regulation of the Drosophila Notch signaling by O-linked carbohydrates
  • Dosage-sensitive regulation of mammalian Notch signaling by O-linked carbohydrates
  • Characterization of Notch-independent phenotypes of loss of O-linked carbohydrates

Thomas Kosten, MD
Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Baylor College of Medicine

Research interests: Substance dependence, post traumatic stress disorder, and neuroimaging research including detecting and treating cocaine induced cerebral perfusion defects, and using functional MRI to predict pharmacotherapy outcome. Dr Kosten’s medication contributions include a cocaine vaccine, immunotherapy for hallucinogens, buprenorphine for opioid dependence, disulfiram for cocaine dependence, vasodilators for cocaine induced cerebral perfusion defects, and combining medications with contingency management for opioid and cocaine dependence.

Hui-Chen Lu, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Pediatric Neurosciences
Baylor College of Medicine

Research interests: A prominent feature of the mammalian brain is the topographical representation of the external sensory world. These maps are characterized by remarkable precision with organized arrays of afferents that project into distinct neuronal modules.

Meng Wang, PhD
Assistant Professor
Program in Developmental Biology
Huffington Center on Aging
Baylor College of Medicine

Research interests: Biology of aging is composed of complex intrinsic deterioration on vital organs.  Adipose tissue and the reproductive system are essential endocrine units, releasing adipokines, lipokines and steroid hormones to coordinate organism physiology.  During aging, degenerative changes in these key endocrine organs are associated with various age-related diseases such as type II diabetes, central obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disorders.

Our research interests are to characterize age-associated changes in endocrine organs, identify their genetic causes and investigate the environmental impacts on these alterations.

  • Investigate the roles of lipid metabolism in the regulation of longevity.
  • Study the systemic control of reproductive homeostasis during aging.
  • Characterize the gene-environmental regulation of reproductive aging.
  • Identify the small chemical compounds that increase lifespan.