Graduate Program Faculty

Cancer Biology


Philip Lazarus, Ph.D.
My laboratory is focused on the regulation of metabolic pathways, carcinogenesis and pharmacogenetics. My research interests include nicotine and carcinogen metabolism and pharmacogenetics, tobacco cessation agent development, breast cancer agent pharmacogenetics, and epigenetic regulation of metabolic pathways.


Jiyue Zhu, PhD
Telomeres, synthesized by telomerase, are chromosomal ends and function as an aging clock. My laboratory works on genetic/epigenetic regulation of telomerase gene during tumorigenesis, human aging, and stem cell differentiation, using molecular biology techniques, cell culture, and mouse models.


David Liu, Ph.D.
My laboratory studies the molecular mechanism that controls cell proliferation, survival and genomic stability. Our research has provided major insights into the mechanism underlying the pathology of several human diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and ciliopathy.


Shobhan Gaddameedhi, Ph.D.
My laboratory investigates the molecular aspect of the circadian clock that governs cancer prevention and its impact on improving the therapeutic efficacies of current anti-cancer modalities.


Grant Trobridge, Ph.D.
My laboratory is developing novel approaches for hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy and using retroviral vectors to identify genes that cause leukemia, prostate cancer and breast cancer. We also develop bioinformatic tools to identify genes near vector proviruses that may cause cancer.


Kathryn E. Meier, Ph.D.
My laboratory studies the molecular pharmacology of signal transduction, with a recent focus on GPCR receptor-mediated mechanisms by which omega-3 fatty acids inhibit the growth of certain cancers. Model systems include several types of cancer cells, including prostate and breast cancer.


Shuwen Wang, PhD
Human telomerase plays an important role in biological processes such as cell differentiation, tumorigenesis and aging. My research has been focused on developing novel molecular methods to study the epigenetic regulation of telomerase gene and animal models to track cancer formation.


Gang Chen, Ph.D.
My research has been focused on characterizing metabolic pathways important in nicotine, carcinogen and drug metabolism, and on establishing genetic markers of cancer risk and biomarkers of carcinogen and drug exposure.


Hui Zhang, Ph.D.
Chronic alcohol consumption increases the morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases and cancer through compromising immune system. The research in my laboratory is focused on cancer biology and alcohol-related pathophysiology and immunotoxicology with a specific emphasis on cancer immunology and immunotherapy.



Drug Discovery


Kathryn E. Meier, Ph.D.
My laboratory studies the molecular pharmacology of signal transduction, with a recent focus on GPCR receptor-mediated mechanisms by which omega-3 fatty acids inhibit the growth of certain cancers. Model systems include several types of cancer cells, including prostate and breast cancer.


Salah-uddin Ahmed, Ph.D.
My laboratory is interested in understanding the epigenetics and post-translational mechanisms that contribute to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and gout. We are also interested in identifying novel therapeutic targets in the pro-inflammatory cytokine signaling networks.


Grant Trobridge, Ph.D.
My laboratory is developing novel approaches for hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy and using retroviral vectors to identify genes that cause leukemia, prostate cancer and breast cancer. We also develop bioinformatic tools to identify genes near vector proviruses that may cause cancer.


Zhenjia Wang, Ph.D.
My laboratory’s goals are to develop interdisciplinary research on nanomedicines using molecular biology, materials science and engineering, and advanced imaging tools to improve therapy for inflammatory disorders, infectious diseases and cancer.


Travis Denton, PhD
My laboratory is developing selective ligands for the potential treatment of nicotine addiction and neurodegenerative diseases.



Philip Lazarus, Ph.D.
My laboratory is focused on the regulation of metabolic pathways, carcinogenesis and pharmacogenetics. My research interests include nicotine and carcinogen metabolism and pharmacogenetics, tobacco cessation agent development, breast cancer agent pharmacogenetics, and epigenetic regulation of metabolic pathways.


Zuping Xia, PhD
My research interests include drug metabolite identification in bio-samples by using organic synthesis, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and liquid chromatography- tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) techniques. I am also interested in preclinical drug discovery with particular emphasis in the organic synthesis, structure-activity relationship studies and lead compound discovery.


Senthil Natesan, Ph.D.
My laboratory develops structure-based computational models for lead optimization in drug discovery. We utilize advanced modeling techniques to investigate molecular interactions such as protein-ligand, protein-peptide, drug-membrane, membrane-protein, and membrane-protein-drug interactions.


Zhaokang Cheng, Ph.D.
Abnormal cell death often leads to diseases. My laboratory uses cutting-edge technology to understand how cell death can be controlled. Our goal is to identify novel drug targets that can be used in the development of new therapies for cardiovascular diseases, the number one cause of death in the world.



Translational Pharmacology


Susan Marsh, Ph.D.
My laboratory investigates the mechanisms underlying cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling induced by exercise, diabetes and hypertension.



K. Michael Gibson, Ph.D.
My laboratory investigates the disorders of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) degradation, specifically succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase (SSADH) deficiency. We seek to understand pathophysiology of the Mendelian disorders of metabolism and to develop novel preclinical treatment approaches with translational relevance.


Sayed Daoud, Ph.D.
My laboratory is investigating the use of various ‘omics’ approaches in the molecular pharmacology of cancer, with particular emphasis on the interplay of racial disparities and cancer. Our goals are to discover novel molecular targets/pathways for the development of individualized therapy.


Joshua J. Neumiller, Pharm.D.
My clinical research involves the study of pharmacist-based interventions to improve medication safety during transitions of care, and patient-provider communication to better meet patient-centered health outcomes. I serve as an investigator on several clinical trials involving the treatment of diabetes and its complications.


Salah-uddin Ahmed, Ph.D.
My laboratory is interested in understanding the epigenetics and post-translational mechanisms that contribute to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and gout. We are also interested in identifying novel therapeutic targets in the pro-inflammatory cytokine signaling networks.


Mary F. Paine, Ph.D.
Natural product usage rates are escalating, fueling concern for harmful interactions between natural products and concomitant drugs. We are using an integrative approach involving human-derived tissue, pharmacokinetic modeling, and clinical studies to predict the risk of natural product-drug interactions.


John White, PA-C, Pharm.D.
My research interests include pharmacokinetics of caffeine, naloxone, nicotine, and drug-drug interactions.




Jean-Baptiste Roullet, Ph.D.
My primary research focus is the study of rare diseases caused by genetic mutations in the sterol and isoprenoid pathway with emphasis on understanding the pathogenesis of the Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome and the Sjögren-Larsson syndrome.


Connie Remsberg, Pharm.D., Ph.D.
My research efforts include understanding drug-drug interactions involving drug transporters. Additionally, my research interests include faculty development in teaching and learning and implementation of new teaching methods.


Gary M. Pollack, Ph.D.
My research has centered on the disposition and action of drugs and toxicants in the central nervous system. My laboratory has made major contributions towards understanding the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of opioid tolerance.


Hui Zhang, Ph.D.
Chronic alcohol consumption increases the morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases and cancer through compromising immune system. The research in my laboratory is focused on cancer biology and alcohol-related pathophysiology and immunotoxicology with a specific emphasis on cancer immunology and immunotherapy.


Sergei Tolmachev, Ph.D.
Our lab in the USTUR Research Center studies actinide biokinetics (uptake, translocation and retention), tissue dosimetry of actinides and possible biological effects of radiation by following up occupationally exposed workers. USTUR data is used to validate and refine the internal dose assessment methods in support of radiological protection.


Shobhan Gaddameedhi, Ph.D.
My laboratory investigates the molecular aspect of the circadian clock that governs cancer prevention and its impact on improving the therapeutic efficacies of current anti-cancer modalities.


Jeannie Padowski, Ph.D.
My research areas include pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic modeling of substrate distribution across the blood-brain barrier, nasal delivery for brain-targeted drugs, and magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy-based analysis of neurodegenerative diseases.


Andrea Lazarus, Ph.D.






Lisa Woodard, Pharm.D., MPH
My research interests are in diabetes education and prevention, and STEM and interprofessional education.



Zhaokang Cheng, Ph.D.
Abnormal cell death often leads to diseases. My laboratory uses cutting-edge technology to understand how cell death can be controlled. Our goal is to identify novel drug targets that can be used in the development of new therapies for cardiovascular diseases, the number one cause of death in the world.

John D. Clarke, Ph.D.
Xenobiotic exposures occur both intentionally (drugs and dietary supplements) and unintentionally (environmental contamination and naturally occurring toxins). My laboratory seeks to understand how perturbations in two or more factors in absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion affect xenobiotic exposures and toxicities.

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