Faculty

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Faculty

The Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BMB) doctoral program includes faculty members from the following colleges, departments and institutes:  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cellular and Integrative Physiology, College of Dentistry, College of Pharmacy, College of Public Health, Eppley Institute, Genetics Cell Biology and Anatomy, five different Internal Medicine departments, Munroe-Meyer Institute, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pathology and Microbiology, Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, and Radiation Oncology.

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Maher Abdalla

Maher Abdalla, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), Heme Oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and immune cells in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and prostate cancer.


Yazen Alnouti Yazen Alnouti, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Research focus:  Drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK), with a focus on the application of Bioanalytical Chemistry, in vitro and in vivo animal models to support ADMET (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity) and pharmacokinetic (PK) studies; Biomarkers for hepato-biliary diseases based on bile acid metabolism by sulfation.

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Vimla Band

Vimla Band, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Research focus:  Delineate molecular mechanisms of early steps in transformation of mammary epithelial cells with the goal of identifying novel molecular diagnostic/prognostic markers and potential therapy targets of breast cancers.


Surinder Batra

Surinder K. Batra, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Structure/function analysis of tumor-associated genes; cancer diagnostics, cancer vaccines; monoclonal antibodies, genetic engineering of antibodies.


Robert Bennett Robert Bennett, PhD
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (DEM)
Research focus:  Antifibrotic effects of the hormone relaxin and related peptides; expression and signaling of relaxin receptors; internalization and degradation of relaxin, insulin and related hormones; the role of relaxin in adipose function.

Kishor Bhakat, PhD Kishor K. Bhakat, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Research focus:  Mitotic gene bookmarking: A novel dimension of epigenetic memory in cancer for post-mitotic transcriptional reactivation; APE1 and its acetylation: A potential prognostic and predictive biomarker in cancer.

Jennifer Black Jennifer Black, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Colon cancer; endometrial cancer; pancreatic cancer; cell signaling (kinases and phosphatases) cell cycle regulation; control of protein translation in cancer; protein kinase C; PP2A.

Stephen Bonasera Stephen Bonasera, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine -  Geriatrics
Research focus:  Age related changes in brain function.

Gloria Borgstahl Gloria Borgstahl, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Structural biology, superoxide dismutase and double-strand DNA repair by homologous recombination.

Shilpa Buch Shilpa Buch, PhD
Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience
Research focus:  Therapeutic strategies that may enhance neural function and survival in NeuroAIDS, with possible implications in other neurodegenerative diseases.

buckley_small.jpg Shannon Buckley, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Research focus:  Utilize genomic and proteomic approaches to identify key ubiquitin ligases and their substrates that regulate mechanisms of hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal, differentiation, and malignant transformation (i.e. Leukemia and Lymphoma).

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Steve Caplan Steve Caplan, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Study of endocytic membrane trafficking, receptor recycling, vesicular transport, endosomes, mechanisms of mitochondrial fission/fusion, ciliogenesis and centrosome biology.

Carol Casey

Carol A. Casey, PhD
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Research focus:  Biochemistry of alcoholism and digestive system diseases.


Kishore Challagundla

Kishore Challagundla, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Role of extra cellular vesicles (EV's) and the non-coding RNAs in affecting immunotherapy response and escaping immune surveillance in pediatric cancers, in particular neuroblstoma and acute myeloid leukemia.


Pi-Wan Cheng Pi-Wan Cheng, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Mechanism of altered glycosylation in cancer development/progression and alcohol abuse, and development of altered glycans-based markers for identification and targeted therapy of advanced cancers.

Vinai Chittezham Thomas Vinai Chittezham Thomas, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  Staphylococcal physiology and metabolism; staphylococcus stress response.

Martin Conda Sheridan Martin Conda-Sheridan, PhD
Assistant Professor, College of Pharmacy
Research focus:  Design of complex multifunctional biomaterials and bioactive small molecules for medicinal applications.

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Kaustabh Datta Kaustubh Datta, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Molecular mechanisms of cancer progression and metastasis.

John Davis John S. Davis, PhD
Professor, Director of Research and Development - Olson Center for Women's Health, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Research focus:  Reproductive endocrinology and oncology.

Rebecca Oberley-Deegan Rebecca Oberley-Deegan, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Role of free radicals signaling to transform fibroblasts and inflammatory cells in normal tissue, which results in damage to these tissues; understanding the mechanisms by which ROS promote radiation induced fibrosis and prostate cancer progression.

Paul Denton, PhD Paul Denton, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology (UNO)
Research focus:  Improving immunotherapies to treat malignancies.

Punita Dhawan Punita Dhawan, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Development of novel therapeutic targets for Gastrointestinal Cancer progression and chemoresistance; Role of signaling pathways and cancer stem cells involved in this process using cell culture, mouse and organoid models.

Jixin Dong Jixin Dong, PhD
Associate Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Hippo signaling and cancer.

Terrence Donohue Terrence Donohue, Jr, PhD
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Research focus:  Role of autophagy in the pathogenesis of alcohol-induced liver disease.

Andrew Dudley Andrew Dudley, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Research focus:  Mechanisms that regulate the development and homeostasis of musculoskeletal tissue using methods from embryology, molecular biology, cell biology, genetics and tissue engineering, with the goal of generating novel therapies for regenerative medicine.

Anna Dunaevsky Anna Dunaevsky, PhD
Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences
Research focus:  Learning induced structural and functional synaptic plasticity, neuron glia interactions and neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Dalia ElGamal, PhD

Dalia Elgamal, PhD
Assistant Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Understanding the pathogenesis of B-cell malignancies; evaluating novel targeted therapies for B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and Richter's transformation (RT).


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Howard Fox, MD, PhD

Howard Fox, MD, PhD
Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences
Research focus:  Neurodegeneration, brain dysfunction and viral infections of the brain.


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Gargi Ghosal, PhD

Gargi Ghosal, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Research focus:  Understand the basic science underlying replication stress response in cancer and aging, identify new targets and bio-markers for cancer therapy and facilitate the development of strategies to overcome drug resistance and improve cancer therapies.


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Tony Hollingsworth Michael A. (Tony) Hollingsworth, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Basic and transactional research in pancreatic cancer, including investigation of the biology of tumor progress, discovery and validation of biomarkers of early detection and disease progression, development and testing of novel therapeutics, including targeted therapies and immunotherapies.

Sarah Holstein

Sarah Holstein, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Oncology and Hematology
Research focus:  Development of novel agents for the treatment of multiple myeloma and pancreatic cancer, with a particular focus on Rab inhibitors of the isoprenoid biosynthetic.


Sung Ho Huh

Sung-Ho Huh, PhD
Assistant Professor, Munroe-Meyer Institute
Research focus:  Understanding mechanisms by which signaling pathways regulating sensory and nephron progenitor cells generation and maintenance during development and regeneration and use these findings as tools for regenerative medicine.


Kate Hyde R. Katherine (Kate) Hyde, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Understand the mechanisms that regulate leukemia development; develop treatments for hematological malignancies.

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Maneesh Jain Maneesh Jain, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Development of genetically engineered antibody fragments for improved radioimmunotherapy for solid tumors; development of serum assays for the early diagnosis of lethal pancreatic cancer.

Keith Johnson Keith R. Johnson, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  The role the cell adhesion molecules (cadherins) play in metastasis.

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Sukhwinder Kaur Sukhwinder Kaur, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Developing a combined diagnostic and prognostic panel, utilizing disease associated altered gene, metabolic and exosomal signatures; delineating role of mucins and associated proteins in tumor progression and metastasis using cell line, organoid and genetically engineered mouse models.

Kusum Kharbanda Kusum Kharbanda, PhD
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Research focus:  Alcohol liver injury with emphasis on alcohol's deleterious effect in altering the methionine metabolic pathway and lowering the ratio of the methyl dontor, SAM, to its product, SAH.

Kim_SoYoun.jpg

So-Youn Kim, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Research focus:  Oncofertility, cachexia, ovarian cancer.


David Klinkebiel, PhD David Klinkebiel, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  dynamics associated with changes in the genome and epigenome of human disease.

Zeljka Korade Zeljka Korade, DVM, PhD
Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Research focus:  Cholesterol metabolism in the central nervous system; study of an inborn error of metabolism Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome; desmosterolosis; development of neuronal cell lines with defects in different enzymes of cholesterol biosynthesis pathway and their characterization.

Sushil Kumar, PhD

Sushil Kumar, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Tumor microenvironment; Pancreatic pathologies including pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis using multiple murine models, organoid, and 3D cell culture-based technologies.


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Marilynn Larson Marilynn Larson, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  Development of diagnostics and therapeutics for pathogen identification and treatment; respectively; determining the molecular mechanisms that allow pathogens to replicate and persist.

Oksana Lockridge Oksana Lockridge, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Mass spectrometry to diagnose exposure to organophosphates; production of human butyrylcholinesterase.

Brian Lowes Brian Lowes, MD, PhD
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Cardiology
Research focus:  Novel education clinical trainees and education program with a goal to develop clinicians and scientists in sub-Saharan Africa.

Xu Luo

Xu Luo, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Regulation of mitochondria-dependent cell death.


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Richard MacDonald Richard G. MacDonald, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Signal transduction/biological effects of the insulin-like growth factors with emphasis on structure-function relationships of the IGF-II/mannose 6-phosphate receptor.

Luis Marky

Luis Marky, PhD
Professor, College of Pharmacy
Research focus:  Biophysical chemistry and molecular forces that control the conformational stability and flexibility of nucleic acids, including Okazaki fragments, hairpin loops, intramolecular triplexes, G-quadruplexes, C-quadruplexes, and three- & four-arm DNA junctions and their interaction with drugs.


Benita McVicker Benita McVicker, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology-Hepatology
Research focus:  Alcohol liver injury and mechanisms.

Jane Meza Jane Meza, PhD
Professor, College of Public Health - Biostatistics
Research focus:  Statistical issues related to small-area estimation. These methods have been extended to disease mapping applications and combining national and state data to estimate the probability of a rare event.

Karoly Mirnics Karoly Mirnics, MD, PhD
Director, Munroe-Meyer Institute
Research focus:  Animal models of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders; effects of Gene-Environmental-Drug interactions on the developing brain; role of disrupted cholesterol biosynthesis of brain function - all using genetic, molecular, cellular and biochemical tools in our studies, coupled with drug screening and mouse behavioral assessments.

Justin Mott Justin L. Mott, PhD, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Receptor tyrosine kinase and microRNA regulation of apoptosis in liver cancer and bile duct injury.

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Praba Narayanasamy

Prabagaran (Praba) Narayanasamy, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  Drug design, discovery and development (including drug delivery by nanomedicine) for infectious diseases; study of physiology and pathogenesis of bacteria and virus towards drug discovery; design, synthesis and characterization of substrates, inhibitors, intermediates, products and mechanisms for drug discovery and development.


Naava Naslavsky Naava Naslavsky, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Development of new strategies to treat diseases involving traffic and recycling events related to the control of receptor localization to the plasma membrane that is central to normal cell function, and dysregulation as the underlying cause for diseases as diverse as atherosclerosis, diabetes and cancer.

Wasim Nasser, PhD

Wasim (Mohd) Nasser, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Cancer metastasis; brain metastasis; tumor microenvironment; microRNA's; cytokines/chemokines.


Amar Natarajan

Amarnath (Amar) Natarajan, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Developing novel target and mechanism specific therapeutics.


Caroline Ng

Caroline Ng, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology & Microbiology
Research focus:  Biology and pathogenesis of Plasmodium falciparum, genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying drug resistance.


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Michael Ouellette Michael M. Ouellette, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Research focus:  Molecular mechanisms that determine the lifespan of human cells, including telomeres and telomerase.  Role of the small GTPases K-Ras and Rac1 in the development of pancreatic cancer and its response to conventional therapies.

Scot Ouellette

Scot Ouellette, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology & Microbiology
Research focus:  Chlamydial microbiology: bacterial cell division, gene regulation, host-pathogen interactions.


David Oupicky David Oupicky, PhD
Professor, College of Pharmacy
Research focus:  Design of multifunctional nanoparticles and polymers with application in the treatment of metastatic cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and acute kidney injury.

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Babu Padanilam Babu Padanilam, PhD
Professor, Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology
Research focus:  Cellular, biochemical and molecular analysis of the pathophysiology of acute ischemic renal injury and chronic kidney disease.

Youri Pavlov Youri Pavlov, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Cellular systems of mutagenesis and antimutagenesis.

Aimin Peng Aimin Peng, PhD
Associate Professor, College of Dentistry
Research focus:  Cell cycle regulation and the DNA damage response (DDR); cellular recover process from DNA damage; protein phosphatase-dependent cell cycle and DDR regulation and its implication for cancer progression and therapy.

Armen Petrosyan Armen Petrosyan, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Mechanism of Golgi alteration in advanced prostate cancer: focus on aberrant glycosylation; role for non-muscle Myosin IIA in alcohol-induced Golgi fragmentation.

Moorthy Ponnusamy Moorthy Ponnusamy, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Characterization of cancer stem cells; mechanism of metastasis and tumor glycobiology.

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Satyanarayana Rachagani Satyayanarayana Rachagani, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Study of pathogenesis and targeting strategies for pancreatic and colorectal cancers through miRNA, natural agents and other novel combination therapies using human and mouse derived cell lines and GEM models.

William Rizzo William Rizzo, MD
Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Research focus:  Sjogren-Larsson Syndrome and other inherited metabolic diseases.

Shyamal Roy Shyamal K. Roy, PhD
Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Cellular & Integrative Physiology
Research focus:  Endocrine regulation of follicular development, growth factors, signal transduction in ovarian cells and biochemistry of granulosa cells.

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Polina Shcherbakova Polina Shcherbakova, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Mechanisms controlling genome stability in eukaryotic cells, particularly the functions of DNA polymerases, DNA replication fidelity and the relationship between DNA polymerase defects and cancer.

Amar Singh Amar Singh, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Molecular mechanisms inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer; renal pathobiology.

Pankaj Singh Pankaj Singh, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Cancer metabolism, immuno-metabolism, signal transduction in cancer, tumor-microenvironment interactions, therapy resistance, metastasis, cancer cachexia, personalized cancer medicine, and multi-omics systems biology.

Rakesh Singh Rakesh K. Singh, PhD
Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  Tumor growth and metastasis, angiogenesis, tumor immunology, cytokine biology.

Joyce Solheim Joyce Solheim, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Mechanisms regulating the immune response to tumors and infectious pathogens, and development of new immunotherapies.

Paul Sorgen Paul Sorgen, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Advancing our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of gap junction regulation in the heart, with particular interest and expertise in protein-protein interactions mediated by the carboxylterminal domain of connexins.

Kelly Stauch, PhD Kelly Stauch, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences
Research focus:  Role of mitrochondrial dysfunction and altered energy metabolism in the context of neurodegerative diseases and aging.

Laurey Steinke Laurey Steinke, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Staphylococcus aureus biofilms.

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Melissa TeohFitzgerald Melissa Teoh-Fitzgerald, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Role of oxidative tumor microenvironment in regulating the reciprocal tumor-stroma interactions.

Geoffrey Thiele Geoffrey M. Thiele, PhD
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Rheumatology
Research focus:  Autoimmunity, immune system disorders, immunopathology; infectious diseases/agents; Rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, breast cancer and the immune system, bone loss and erosion, alcoholic liver disease.

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Saraswathi Viswanathan Saraswathi Viswanathan, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Diabetes, Endocrine and Metabolism
Research focus:  Determine the role of obesity in modulating the pathogenesis of insulin resistance, alcohol-associated liver injury, and pancreatic cancer.

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Gus Wang Guangshun (Gus) Wang, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  host defense antimicrobial peptides; structural bioinformatics; biomolecular NMR.


Nicholas Woods Nicholas Woods, PhD
Assistant Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Systems biology based analysis of cancer signaling pathways.

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Ying Yan Ying Yan, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology
Research focus:  Rac1 as a therapeutic target in triple negative breast cancer; protein phosphatase 2A in pancreatic cancer.

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