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Rotation Faculty (past four years)


MSTP students are required to do at least two rotations before choosing a thesis mentor. 

Photo Department or Graduate Program Research Description
(taken from their page or lab website)
MSTP Student
Ted Abel, PhD

* Psychiatry
* Psychological & Brain Sciences
* Neuroscience Graduate Program
* Biochemistry Molecular Medicine
* Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
* Neuroscience & Pharmacology
Research in the Abel lab focuses on the molecular mechanisms of memory storage and the molecular basis of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. We use mouse models to examine the role of molecular signaling pathways as well as transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of gene expression in defining how neural circuits mediate behavior. Hassan Ahamed
(Summer 2019)

Gage Liddiard
(Summer 2019)
Ferhaan Ahmad, MD, PhD

* Internal Medicine - Cardiovascular Medicine
* Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
* Radiology
Dr. Ahmad directs a laboratory conducting basic and translational research into the genetic and genomic mechanisms underlying inherited cardiovascular disorders, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, glycogen storage cardiomyopathy, inherited arrhythmias, and pulmonary hypertension. Lucas Barrett
(Summer 2020)
Christopher Ahern, PhD  

* Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
 
Function and pharmacology voltage-gated sodium channels that drive the rapid upstroke of the action-potential throughout the body. Miranda Schene
(Summer 2020)
Brad Amendt, PhD

*Anatomy & Cell Biology
*Orthodontics
*Cell & Developmental Biology Graduate Program
My laboratory is dedicated to understanding the role of transcription factors & signaling pathways in tooth & craniofacial development by: 1) studying the expression & regulation of transcription factor genes & signaling processes involved in craniofacial/tooth development 2) the molecular basis of selected human genetic disorders & 3) the role of stem cells & microRNAs in regulating craniofacial & regenerative medicine. Amelia Hurley-Novatny
(Summer 2021)
James Ankrum, PhD

* Biomedical Engineering
My lab utilizes biomaterials and drug delivery strategies to influence the fate and function of cells both in vitro and in vivo. My long-term goal is to engineer enhanced cell-based and -inspired therapeutics to restore function to diseased and damaged tissues. Riley Behan-Bush
(Summer 2020)
Natoshia Askelson, MPH, PhD

* Community & Behavioral Health
Her research is focused on maternal, child and family health, with an emphasis on elementary-aged children and adolescents. She uses mixed methods to understand how policy and program changes influence positive and maladaptive behavior. Emily Janio
(Summer 2022)
Kelly Baker, PhD

* Epidemiology
* Occupational & Environmental Health
Global maternal and child health, Water, sanitation, and hygiene, Ecology and evolution of enteric disease transmission: the human-environment-microbial system interface, Environmental microbiology and exposure assessment, Evaluation of global health and development interventions Sahaana Arumugam
(Summer 2019)
Alex Bassuk, MD, PhD

* Pediatrics
* Neurology
* Neuroscience Graduate Program
* Genetics Graduate Program
* Molecular Medicine
* Cell & Developmental Biology Graduate Program
Congenital defects of the nervous system, especially neural tube defects, familial epilepsy, neurogenetics, neural stem cell biology Our laboratory is interested in understanding the basic mechanisms underlying both normal and disordered development of the nervous system. Our approach to these issues includes investigating the genetics of human neural tube defects (NTDs) and familial epilepsies, and elucidating the biology regulating neural stem cell development. Maddie Mix
(Summer 2019)

Brittany Todd
(Summer 2019)
Jennifer Bermick, MD

*Pediatrics - Neonatology
*Immunology
The Bermick laboratory is interested in how the neonatal immune system develops under normal conditions and after early life inflammatory exposures. Jessie Knobbe
(Summer 2021)
Aaron Boes, MD, PhD

* Pediatrics
* Neurology
* Psychiatry
* Neuroscience Graduate Program
Our laboratory is interested in the link between brain structure and function across the lifespan, particularly network-based localization of neurological and psychiatric symptoms. We approach this topic using multi-modal neuroimaging methods that include lesion mapping, resting state functional connectivity MRI, and structural MRI. Hassan Ahamed
(Summer 2020)

Saul Rodriguez
(Summer 2020)

Molly Larson
(Summer 2022)
Gordon Buchanan, MD, PhD

* Neurology
* Neuroscience Graduate Program
Research efforts in the Buchanan laboratory are focused on understanding basic mechanisms of epilepsy and sleep-wake regulation. We are particularly interested in the effects of seizures and vigilance state on cardio-respiratory control and how these may interact to lead to death following a seizure, or sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Our goal is to understand factors that render a given seizure fatal in an effort to help prevent SUDEP. Ben Kreitlow
(Fall 2020)

Molly Larson
(Summer 2021)
Mary Charlton, PhD

* Epidemiology
* Cancer Biology
Health services epidemiology, Cancer surveillance and epidemiology, Assessment of differences in access and health services use between rural and urban populations related to the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer Madi Wahlen
(Summer 2019)
Kris DeMali, PhD

* Biochemistry
* Dermatology
* Molecular Medicine
* Cell & Developmental Biology Graduate Program
* Cancer Biology
A major focus of the work in my lab is to understand cellular mechanisms involved in assembly and maintenance of cell-cell adhesions by examining the function and regulation of proteins recruited to the cytoplasmic face of cadherins. Miranda Schene
(Summer 2019)
Rebecca Dodd, PhD

* Internal Medicine - Heme/Onc
* Molecular Medicine
* Cancer Biology
The Dodd lab studies soft-tissue sarcomas, a type of cancer that develops in connective tissue such as muscle, nerves, fat, or tendons. Specific areas of research include 1) the genetics of sarcoma, 2) the tumor microenvironment, 3) preclinical platform applications, and 4) novel genome editing tools. Akshaya Warrier
(Summer 2021)
Adam Dupuy, PhD

* Anatomy & Cell Biology
* Pathology
* Cancer Biology
* Cell & Developmental Biology Graduate Program
* Genetics Graduate Program
* Molecular Medicine
The goal of my current research is to understand the role that somatic mutation plays in all aspects of tumor biology. Much of our work has made use of the Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon system to engineer mouse cancer models in which somatic mutations are generated by transposon insertions. The current work in my laboratory focuses on the genetics of hepatocellular carcinoma and T-cell leukemia. Levi Doyle
(Summer 2022)
Joel Geerling, MD, PhD

*Neurology
*Neuroscience Graduate Program
Identifying and deciphering previously unknown connections between neurons in the brainstem and other subcortical brain region Fillan Grady (co-mentor)
(Fall 2020)
Joseph Glykys, MD, PhD

* Pediatrics
* Neurology
* Neuroscience Graduate Program
* Molecular Medicine
The long-term goal of our research is to understand the pathways of water and chloride accumulation in neurons and how it affects the inhibitory system of the brain. We will then aim to modulate these mechanisms to better treat seizures, especially during the neonatal period. Our research areas include studying changes in neuronal chloride concentration and cellular volume during pathological conditions, neonatal seizures, epilepsy, and GABAA receptor physiology. We approach these scientific questions in the neocortex with electrophysiological techniques and two-photon imaging. Gage Liddiard
(Summer 2021)

Brittany Todd
(Summer 2021)
David Gordon, MD, PhD

* Pediatrics
Our laboratory is focused on developing innovative approaches to creating genetically defined, as well as biologically relevant, models of cancer in human cells by combining genomic data from the sequencing of cancer genomes with the pluripotent nature of human embryonic stem cells. Using this approach, we have generated a genetically defined model of Ewing sarcoma, a common pediatric tumor, from human stem cells differentiating through an embryoid body intermediate. The goal of our work is to now use these model cells to study the pathophysiology of Ewing sarcoma tumors, as well as develop additional human tumor models through more advanced stem cell differentiation methodologies. Ellen Voigt
(Summer 2020)
  Lyndsay Harshman, PhD

*Pediatrics - Nephrology, Dialysis & Transplantation
My research focuses on linking neuroimaging & neurocognitive assessments in children with chronic kidney disease (CKD) to inform greater understanding of changes that may be occurring in the developing brain in parallel with progression of CKD. A greater understanding of the neurocognitive changes observed in this population will allow for targeted provider assistance with patient/family medical decision-making & medication compliance. Lucas Barrett (co-mentor)
(Summer 2021)
John Harty, PhD

* Pathology
* Cancer Biology
Current projects in the lab: Basic immunology and imaging of CD8 T cell immunity to liver-stage malaria; CD4 T cell and antibody mediated immunity to blood-stage malaria; Basic immunology and imaging of cerebral malaria; Tissue resident memory CD8 T cell dynamics and protection from influenza virus infection of the lung; Impact of repetitive influenza exposure on generation and persistence of protective CD8 T cells; Regulating memory CD8 T cell differentiation through inflammatory cytokines. Maddie Mix
(Summer 2019)
Jon Houtman, PhD

* Microbiology & Immunology
* Internal Medicine
* Molecular Medicine
* Microbiology Graduate Program
* Immunology Graduate Program
* Cancer Biology
T cell activation is critical for the ability of the human immune system to properly fight an infection by a pathogen. However, inappropriate or aberrant T cell induction drives the initiation and progression of numerous human diseases, including T cell lymphoma/leukemia, human malignancies, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, and transplant rejection. The goal of my laboratory is to understand the molecular mechanism of the formation of the multiprotein signaling complexes that occur after TCR and to investigate the ability of therapeutic agents to alter TCR signaling. Levi Doyle
(Summer 2021)
Rainbo Hultman, PhD

* Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
My lab studies networks of electrical activity in the brain using pre-clinical rodent models of disease and is working to identify the cellular and molecular factors that contribute to the organization of such networks. Our overarching goal is to promote the development of precision medicine (i.e. therapeutics targeted to specific individuals) by identifying therapeutic targets that promote healthy brain electrical network activity. Michelle Chen
(Summer 2022)
Ali Jabbari, MD, PhD

* Dematology
* Cancer Biology
* Immunology
Dr. Jabbari's overall research goals are, broadly, to define mechanisms of cutaneous as well as systemic autoimmune disease, identify potential therapeutic targets, construct or discover novel therapeutics, and assess the efficacy of these new therapies. Ryan Reis (co-mentor)
(Summer 2022)
Julia Klesney-Tait, MD, PhD

*Internal Medicine - Pulmonary
*Immunology Graduate Program
Dr. Klesney-Tait’s research focuses on the role of the innate immune system in the regulation of inflammation as it impacts on the evolution of sepsis and the development of bronchiolitis obliterans following lung transplantation. Jayden Bowen
(Summer 2019)
Dominique Limoli, PhD

* Microbiology & Immunology
Interactions between microbial species can have profound influences on health and disease. We seek to understand the cellular mechanisms driving these interactions in order to modulate polymicrobial community behavior and improve patient outcomes. Xavier Tijerina
(Summer 2019)

Steven Huang
(Summer 2022)
Ashutosh Mangalam, MD, PhD

* Pathology
* Immunology
* Molecular Medicine
The major goal of my research is to develop better treatment options to cure multiple sclerosis (MS). Jessie Knobbe
(Summer 2020)

Lauren Tabor
(Summer 2021)
Catherine Marcinkiewicz, PhD

* Neuroscience & Pharmacology
* Neuroscience Graduate Program
In light of its complex role in human psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders, the lab is currently investigating how environmental factors like stress, alcohol, and the use of antidepressant drugs can alter serotonin neurons in the dorsal raphe and their efferent projections to stress and reward processing centers in the brain. Gage Liddiard
(Summer 2020)

Gabby Bierlein-De La Rosa
(Summer 2021)
Wendy Maury, PhD

* Microbiology & Immunology
* Molecular Medicine
* Immunology Graduate Program
* Microbiology Graduate Program
* Cancer Biology
The goal of our research is to understand interactions between enveloped viruses and the host. We currently focus on two main areas of research: enveloped virus entry and innate host immune responses to virus infection. Using filoviruses and flaviviruses, we have identified a novel set of cell surface receptors and continue to explore the cellular biology of these interactions as well as the pathological consequences. Hannah Van Ert
(Summer 2020)

Jonah Elliff
(Summer 2021)
Paul McCray, PhD

* Pediatrics - Pulmonary Allergy & Immunology
* Microbiology & Immunology
* Genetics Graduate Program
* Human Toxicology
* Molecular Medicine
* Informatics
* Microbiology Graduate Program
Our research interests include airway epithelial cell biology and the pathogenesis and treatment of the recessive disease cystic fibrosis. We are using large scale gene expression and genomics approaches to study epithelial cell mRNA and microRNA gene networks regulating biologic processes involved in health and disease. Daniel Sands
(Summer 2021)
Jacob Michaelson, PhD

* Psychiatry - Computational & Molecular Psychiatry Division
* Communication Sciences & Disorders
* Biomedical Engineering
* Genetics Graduate Program
* Informatics
We are interested in the use of computing to improve the understanding, diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental conditions. 1) Genetics & comorbidities in Autism, 2) Genetics of language impairment, 3) Predictions of top autism gene candidates, 4) Genetics of twice-exceptionality. Chris Hunter
(Summer 2021)
Robert Mullins, MD

* Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
* Molecular Medicine
* Genetics Graduate Program
Biology and pathology of the choroidal microvasculature in aging and macular disease; Mechanisms involved in the development of drusen; Structural and compositional changes in Bruch's membrane in aging and disease, and their effects on ocular physiology; Animal and in vitro models of age-related macular degeneration; Cell biology of inherited retinal diseases. Nate Mullin
(Summer 2019)

Lola Lozano
(Summer 2021)
Nandakumar Narayanan, MD, PhD

* Neurology
* Neuroscience
The specific problem we are interested is cognitive dysfunction in Parkinsons disease: mainly the on the influence of dopamine on prefrontal networks controlling cognitive behaviors such as timing & performance monitoring. Mackenzie Conlon
(Summer 2021)

Chris Hunter
(Summer 2022)
Elizabeth Newell, MD

* Pediatrics
Our laboratory studies how neuorinflammation contributes to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) so that novel targeted therapies may be developed. Brittany Todd
(Summer 2020)
Peg Nopoulos, MD

* Psychiatry
* Neurology
* Pediatrics
* Neuroscience Graduate Program
Our lab studies the structure and function of the brain using imaging tools such as MRI and cognitive / behavioral assessment. In the healthy brain we study topics such as brain development over the lifespan, gender differences and social cognition. Disease populations that we work with include patients with schizophrenia, Huntington's Disease, and children with clefts of the lip/palate. Gabby Bierlein-De La Rosa
(Summer 2020)
Stanley Perlman, MD, PhD

* Microbiology & Immunology
* Pediatrics
* Neuroscience Graduate Program
* Microbiology Graduate Program
* Immunology Graduate Program
* Cancer Biology
My laboratory has been interested in the pathogenesis of murine coronavirus infections for several years. Now, we also study three respiratory human coronavirus infections: SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)-coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory syndrome (MERS)-coronavirus, human coronavirus-OC43 and human coronavirus-NL63. Daniel Sands
(Summer 2020)
Christine Petersen, DVM, PhD

*Epidemiology
Dr. Petersen is also the principal investigator and last author in studies that follow the immunopathology of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and tick-borne diseases, including Borreliosis (LD) in a canine natural disease model. We have ongoing studies of dogs infected with visceralizing Leishmania spp in the US, Brazil and India and in people in Brazil and Ethiopia. Sahaana Arumugam
(Summer 2020)
Dawn Quelle, PhD

* Neuroscience & Pharmacology
* Cancer Biology
* Molecular Medicine
Our goal is to define the critical regulators of ARF signaling and determine their significance to tumor suppression using molecular approaches and in vivo models of cancer. In so doing, we will advance our fundamental understanding of ARF-mediated tumor suppression and also identify novel regulators of growth (both positive and negative) whose characterization will likely contribute to new paradigms of carcinogenesis. Akshaya Warrier
(Summer 2020)
Joseph Reinhardt, PhD

*Biomedical Engineering
*Biostatistics
*Informatics
*Radiology
Structural and functional evaluation of the normal and abnormal lung; lung tissue functional assessment to guide radiation therapy; analysis of breathing sounds to predict sputum accumulation during mechanical ventilation; segmentation, measurement, and network analysis of the retinal vasculature; pediatric airway segmentation, measurement, and shape modeling Qi Wang
(Summer 2020)
Thomas Rutkowski, PhD

* Anatomy & Cell Biology
* Internal Medicine
* Cell & Developmental Biology Graduate Program
* Molecular Medicine
The cellular response to ER stress (also known as the Unfolded Protein Response, or UPR) serves as a model for understanding not only the mechanisms by which stress is sensed, but also the ways in which the consequences of alterations of homeostasis in one location (i.e., the ER) impact diverse areas of cell function, including gene expression, metabolism, cancer, cell signaling, & apoptosis. Renato Jensen
(Summer 2021)
Edward Sander, PhD

* Biomedical Engineering
Our lab - the Multi-scale Mechanics, Mechanobiology, and Tissue Engineering Laboratory (3MT) - is focused on integrating experiment with theory to understand the dynamic and multi-scale mechanical interplay between cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions in forming and remodeling tissues. Riley Behan-Bush
(Summer 2021)
Richard Smith, MD, PhD

*Otolaryngology
*Pediatrics
*Internal Medicine
*Genetics Graduate Program
*Molecular Medicine
*Informatics
*Immunology Graduate Program
*Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
My laboratory focuses on inherited hearing impairment and complement-related renal diseases like membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis type II (MPGN II; also known as Dense Deposit Disease) and atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. Inherited hearing impairment can occur with other co-inherited clinical features to form a recognized phenotype (syndromic hearing loss) or appear in isolation (non-syndromic hearing loss). We are using RNAi to develop novel methods to correct hearing loss. Joseph Chin
(Winter 2019)
Maria Spies, PhD

*Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
*Molecular Medicine
*Cancer Biology
*Free Radical & Radiation Biology
Current projects in our lab focus on regulation of RAD51 protein, which orchestrates the central step of homologous genetic recombination, on deciphering the molecular mechanisms and regulation of several motor proteins (FBH1, FANCJ, RTEL, CHLR1 and XPD) involved in control of RAD51-mediated recombination, replication fork progression and chromosome segregation, as well as on interplay between recombination and mismatch repair. Andrew Kalenkiewicz
(Spring 2022)
Doug Spitz, PhD

* Radiation Oncology
* Free Radical & Radiation Biology
* Human Toxicology
* Pathology
In this work his lab has showed that tumor cell mitochondria were producing much greater levels of O2•- and H2O2, relative to normal cells and this apparent defect in cancer cell mitochondrial metabolism could be exploited for therapeutic purposes...(view profile for full descriptions) Ellen Voigt
(Summer 2021)
Hanna Stevens, MD, PhD

* Psychiatry
* Neuroscience Graduate Program
* Molecular Medicine
* Human Toxicology
Her research seeks to understand molecular and cellular aspects of early brain development and their relevance to psychiatric disorders. Her work is particularly focused on understanding how prenatal stress, environmental exposures and genes that play a role in early development have an impact on childhood behavior and act as risk factors for multiple psychiatric disorders. Hannah Van Ert
(Summer 2019)

Mackenzie Conlon
(Summer 2022)
David Stoltz, MD, PhD

* Internal Medicine - Pulmonary
* Biomedical Engineering
* Molecular Medicine
* Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
Dr. Stoltz's research focuses on the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis related airway disease with a particular emphasis on studying airway epithelial and smooth muscle cells, the role of paraoxonases (PONs) on Pseudomonas aeruginosa quorum-sensing regulation, mucociliary clearance, and advanced airway imaging modalities and analysis. Lauren Tabor
(Summer 2022)
Edwin Stone, MD, PhD

* Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
* Genetics Graduate Program
* Informatics
* Neuroscience Graduate Program
Dr. Stone is interested in finding and characterizing genes that are involved in three classes of human eye disease: macular degeneration, glaucoma, and heritable photoreceptor degeneration. Lola Lozano (co-mentor)
(Summer 2020)

Renato Jensen
(Summer 2022)
James Torner, PhD

* Epidemiology
* Informatics
Dr. Torner has conducted research in clinical trials, women’s health and disability related to injuries. He has been teaching, designing and conducting clinical trials for four decades. He has directed the Iowa Trauma Registry and has evaluated effective triage and critical care. Madi Wahlen
(Summer 2020)
Budd Tucker, PhD

* Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
* Molecular Medicine
* Neuroscience Graduate Program
Dr. Tucker’s Laboratory is focused on combining state-of-the-art patient-specific stem cell, gene therapeutic and human retinal engineering technologies to study and treat inherited retinal degenerative blindness. Lola Lozano (co-mentor)
(Summer 2020)
Mary Weber, PhD

* Microbiology & Immunology
Our laboratory studies how obligate intracellular pathogens, such as Chlamydia trachomatis and Orientia tsutsugamushi, co-opt host processes and subvert host defense mechanisms to establish their unique intracellular niches. To address these questions, we employ a multi-faceted approach using cell biology, microbial genetics, and immunology. Xavier Tijerina
(Summer 2020)
George Weiner, MD

* Internal Medicine - Heme/Onc
* Pharmacy - Pharmaceutical Sciences & Therapeutics Dept (PSET)
* Immunology Graduate Program
* Informatics
* Cancer Biology
Dr. Weiner’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of action of anti-cancer monoclonal antibodies, and on development of novel approaches to immunotherapy of lymphoma. Ryan Reis (co-mentor)
(Summer 2022)
Michael Welsh, MD

*Internal Medicine - Pulmonary
*Neurosurgery
*Neuroscience Graduate Program
*Molecular Medicine
*Genetics Graduate Program
*Informatics
*Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
The Welsh laboratory emphasizes research in two main areas. The first is understanding the biology of cystic fibrosis, and developing new treatments. Cystic fibrosis is caused by mutations in the gene that encodes the CFTR anion channel. Welsh and his colleagues are learning how the CFTR anion channel is regulated and how mutations disrupt its function. They also focus on the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis lung disease, learning how the loss of CFTR causes the bacterial airway infections and inflammation that destroy the lung. Akansha Jain
(Summer 2019)
 
Kristan Worthington, PhD

*Biomedical Engineering
In our lab, 1) we utilize a method of high resolution 3D printing called two-photon polymerization (TPP). This technique has successfully created 3D structures from both synthetic and biological polymers. 2) Utilizing two-photon polymerization for creating degradable 3D structures which release drugs targeting a specific disease. 3) Implementing photo-polymerization of various polymers and combining the polymerized structure with cells to restore and maintain normal physiological function. 4) The samples created within the lab are tested to determine their viscosity and elastic modulus as well as observing microscopic topography through use of a rheometer and atomic force microscope (AFM). Qi Wang
(Summer 2019)