The list of research faculty listed here is not all inclusive. It is a partial list of current projects. Our “Research Application & Opportunities for UM Undergrads” page offers additional information on current research work at UM. If you are interested in working with any of these researchers, please indicate this on your research application.

All students must have a complete research application, their resume, and unofficial transcripts on file in order to apply for a research position. If you obtain research on your own, please contact our office to submit your paperwork for approval to begin research.

If you are a research mentor and would like to be featured on this page, please email your information to ugrinfo@miami.edu.

                                                                                                                                 
Anesthesiology
Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Programs
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Biology
Cell Biology and Anatomy
Children’s Heart Center
Communications
Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism
Engineering, College of
Engineering, Biomedical
Engineering, Civil, Arch & Env
Engineering, Electrical & Computer
Engineering, Mechanical & Aerospace
Epidemiology
Gastroenterology
Genetics
Hematology/Oncology
History



Anesthesiology

Roy Levitt, Ph.D.
Persistent pain after neurologic disease or injury represents a major unmet medical need. Susceptibility to chronic pain differs among individuals; these differences strongly influenced by both environment and genetic background. With unbiased, cutting-edge approaches, our lab is systematically dissecting the biologic pathways responsible for persistent pain, by studying pain from the genetic level to the whole organism (“from base pairs to pain behavior”).  The major goals of our pain programs are to understand who develops persistent pain and the molecular mechanisms that underlying susceptibility.  Studies are also focused on understanding resistance to treatment, and the best ways to rehabilitate patients with persistent pain syndromes.
Our recent studies in animal models have shown that highly reproducible changes in pain thresholds after nerve injury are heritable. We are using clinically relevant endpoints to assess chronic pain using clinical quantitative traits (cQTLs), and with neuronal tissue gene expression as an independent expression quantitative traits (eQTLs). Collectively, these studies have identified novel polymorphic candidate genes underlying susceptibility to persistent pain or variable pain thresholds over time after injury. Transgenic models are being evaluated to test if these polymorphic genes influence pain susceptibility in peripheral nerve injury models, or as a result of diabetes, chemotherapy, or the use of HIV medications.  We are also working to translate our discoveries in animals to human pain syndromes through parallel human case-control association studies involving a variety of chronic pain conditions and more than 2,500 patients.  These studies focus on determining the impact of the human equivalents (orthologs) of the candidate genes revealed in our models. We are also running discovery analyses for known and novel variant genes predisposing to persistent pain using exome arrays. Additional translation is ongoing using targeted gene therapy approaches based on our gene discoveries.

Our innovative research and development programs have great potential to create new paradigms in the understanding and management of chronic pain.  The resulting discoveries could be rapidly translated into advances in the care of patients with persistent pain syndromes, such as better biomarkers of disease susceptibility, improved diagnostic methods, and more effective preventative and therapeutic strategies for persistent pain. The impact that these advances would have on the lives of those suffering with persistent pain drives us to pursue the answers to our research questions, and we hope that our goals inspire others as well. We would be very pleased to answer any questions that you may have about our programs.
Back to Top

Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Programs

Maria Galli Stampino, Ph.D.

Faculty in the Arts (Studio Art and Theatre Arts), Humanities (Art History, Classics, English, History, Modern Languages and Literatures, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Theatre Arts), Social Sciences (Anthropology, Geography & Regional Studies, International Studies, Political Science, and Sociology), and Interdisciplinary Programs (Africana Studies, American Studies, Latina American Studies, Ecosystem Policy, Judaic Studies, Urban Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies) engage in research and creative activities in a different way from those in the Natural Sciences. If you are interested in honing your thinking, writing, and research skills in the areas above, please contact Dean Maria Galli Stampino mgstampino@miami.edu with a short description of your interests and she will put you in contact with faculty members.

Back to Top

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Kenneth Rudd, Ph.D.
“EcoGene.org is a model organism database for Escherichia coli K-12, the most well-understood cellular organism. Our laboratory combines bioinformatics research and database/website development with experimental science. Although we know much about E. coli, much remains to be learned; there are still hundreds of genes in E. coli that do not have functional assignments. Using bioinformatics, biochemistry and genetics, we are studying E. coli genes and proteins of unknown function, including genes that have human homologs involved with disease states and genes that encode very small proteins.”  

Richard S. Myers, Ph.D.
(Note: Dr. Myers will only accept students able to work more than one semester).  
The Myers Laboratory for Genetic Recombination in the UM Miller School of Medicine studies the mechanics of inheritance, DNA damage repair and its consequences, and genome engineering using viral recombinases. Student researchers develop skill in one or more areas depending on the project. These areas include microbial genetics, bioinformatics, protein biochemistry, and molecular biology. Recent undergraduate projects have focused on 1) creation of an HIV genetic system using bacteriophage-mediated Recombineering and bacterial artificial chromosomes; 2) dissection of mechanistic coupling between recombination nucleases and binding proteins to determine how homologous DNA pairing regulates DNA resection; 3) reconstructive molecular paleontology to uncover a universal mechanism for DNA mismatch repair; 4) evaluating protein-protein interactions and the co-evolution of host and viral proteins to identify the “functional unit” of Recombineering; 5) fluorescent protein engineering by in vivo site-directed mutagenesis using viral SynExo recombinases. Current effort is directed toward 1) dissecting the structure of DNA intermediates in genetic recombination; 2) massively parallel genome engineering to create combinatorial genotypes for altering metabolic pathways; 3) evaluation of the role of proteases and chaperones in disassembling metastable protein/DNA complexes during genetic exchange; 4) resurrection of a viral transposon lying dormant in the genome of the world’s most radiation resistant bacterium. Students are expected to enroll in one of three research courses for credit with permission of Dr. Myers: BMB145 (2 cr), BMB245 (2 cr) or BMB545 (3 cr). Students are expected to fully participate in weekly lab meetings and will be trained in research design, methodology, analysis, record-keeping, ethics, presentations and authorship. BMB245 and BMB545 students keep an electronic notebook shared with other students enrolled in the class and write a paper describing their progress. BMB545 students present their progress at an end of term research symposium. Advanced students will have opportunities to present their work at research conferences and may contribute to research publications.

Research for credit information from Dr. Myers:
“I direct the BMB undergrad research program. I will not register a student for research until they have done some “pre-research research” to demonstrate to me (and their potential mentor) that they have the “right stuff”. A prospective student researcher is encouraged to visit Faculty web pages, browse through Faculty research interests, and see if any of the Faculty work on a problem of interest to the student. Having identified a few prospects, the student should go to PUBMED http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi to look at some papers about the subject (especially those by the Faculty of interest). After reading a couple papers and writing down a few questions about the reading, the student should arrange to visit a potential faculty mentor to discuss the papers and to determine if there is a good “fit” between the student’s interest and aptitude and the Faculty members research interests, expertise and resources. If everything looks like it will work out and the student and mentor come up with an acceptable project, I register the student for the course and get their online Research Journal set up in Blackboard. The student keeps a weekly record of her/his progress and challenges and each student in the course is expected to read the other student entries and ask/answer questions as appropriate. I also weigh in now and then, to keep folks on track and to offer advice. Students write up a research report and present their work at a course Research Symposium once a semester.”

Zafar Nawaz, Ph.D.
Understand the mechanisms of steroid hormone receptor and coactivator action in normal & cancerous tissues and neurodegenerative disorders.

Back to Top

Biology

Biology Research

Alexandra C. C. Wilson, Ph.D.
Work in the Wilson Lab focuses on symbiosis between insects that feed on plant sap and their intracellular bacterial symbionts using ecological, physiological, genetic and genomic approaches.  If you are interested in insect biology and basic research of ecological, evolutionary and economic importance this is the place for you.  More information about the Wilson Lab and its members can be found on our website:  http://www.bio.miami.edu/acwilson/

Barbara Whitlock Ph.D.
“I study the diversity of plants at many different scales, from DNA sequences of genes, to populations, species, and communities of plants. My goal is to explore the underlying evolutionary processes that produce and maintain diversity, as well as to document the morphology and geographic distribution of plants around us, much of which is surprisingly poorly known. Research in my lab often uses phylogenies as frameworks for addressing the origins of biodiversity.”  

Julia Dallman, Ph.D.
The Dallman lab studies developmental neuroscience using the zebrafish Danio rerio, as a model. Specifically, my lab focuses on the development of neuronal circuits that produce rhythmic motor behaviors like swimming, and how the development of these neuronal circuits is affected by genetic mutations. In particular we focus on mutations that affect glycinergic synapses, the major inhibitory synapse in the vertebrate spinal cord. We are also interested in compensatory mechanisms that allow the mutant nervous systems to produce functional motor behaviors. 

Back to Top

Cell Biology and Anatomy

Emmanuel Thomas, M.D., Ph.D.
The mission of Dr. Thomas’s program is to develop integrated, multidisciplinary approaches to the study of liver cancer/liver diseases and to bridge clinical medicine and basic science with translation of fundamental knowledge to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of liver diseases.
Since completing a Doris Duke Clinical Fellowship and graduating from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in May 2007, Dr. Thomas has made steady progress toward creating and implementing a translational research program focused on preventing liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. Our program leverages resources and clinical/scientific expertise available through the Miami CTSI, the Schiff Center for Liver Diseases, the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Miami Center for AIDS Research to address the rapid development of liver disease and Hepatocellular Carcinoma which occurs in patients with viral hepatitis. Infection by the Hepatitis B and C viruses and HIV impacts our South Florida community significantly and our efforts will help minimize their detrimental effects in our catchment area.

There are approximately 3 million individuals in the United States with chronic infection making HCV the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the United States and there are approximately 170 million individuals infected globally.  Chronic inflammation resulting from HCV infection causes a significant percentage of all cases of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and it is the most frequent cause of liver transplantation.  HCC is one of the few cancers whose incidence is on the rise and this cancer is predicted to continue to increase in incidence through 2020 due to the aging HCV infected population in the United States.  Although, HBV and HCV are particularly difficult pathogens to study in-vitro, research focused on these particular viruses is yielding tremendous insight into host responses to virus infections in general.  My research focus is aimed at limiting the morbidity and mortality associated with HCV and HBV infection and the subsequent development of HCC through three broad efforts. The first involves defining the intrinsic innate immune response hepatocytes mount immediately following infection with HCV and HBV. The second area of research is focused on determining the antiviral mechanisms of action of the agents used to treat HCV infection (i.e. interferon and ribavirin).  Data gleaned from these studies will be utilized to develop novel antivirals and innovative treatment regimens for HCV and HBV infected individuals.  In addition, a better understanding of hepatocyte-specific antiviral pathways may lead to the identification of adjuvants that specifically stimulate hepatocytes to strengthen the efficacy of vaccines targeting HCV.  The last effort is focused on understanding the effect of HIV on liver disease in patients with HCV and HBV infection.

Having been raised in Miami-Dade county, Dr. Thomas has a strong commitment to improving the health of our local community. Recently, breakthroughs have been achieved in the treatment of viral hepatitis and specifically for treatment of HCV. Potent all oral therapies are now available to cure patients with HCV infection. Through our community screening program, we are identifying HCV infected individuals and linking them to care so that they can be cured of this deadly virus. In addition, we are also facilitating the ability of uninsured patients to receive these costly medications through patient assistance programs.

Back to Top

Chemistry

Angel Kaifer, Ph.D.
“Our research focuses on the use of electron transfer reactions to control supramolecular structure. We are also interested on the effects that supramolecular structure may have on the thermodynamics and kinetics of electron transfer reactions. Most often we study heterogeneous electron transfer reactions, so our experimental approach relies heavily on electrochemical techniques, such as CV, SWV, DPV, etc.. Our research lies at the frontier between supramolecular chemistry and electrochemistry. We use many organic and organometallic molecules in our research work. Typically we synthesize the molecules that we want to investigate. Therefore, students in our group must develop synthetic, separation and purification skills, but they are also asked to characterize supramolecular interactions using electrochemical and spectroscopic techniques (NMR, EPR, UV-Vis, fluorescence, etc..).”  

N. Lewis, Ph.D.
“In our research program, we are using peptides as templates to prepare molecular wires.  These are one of the building blocks that are important in the field of nanotechnology.  It is difficult to prepare large batches of molecular wires in which all the “wires” are the same length without using the template procedure that we have developed.  Students working on this project will learn synthetic chemistry and how to interpret spectral results especially mass spectroscopy and nmr.  We are also now working on a project whose objective is to extract the active anti-bacterial chemical which is formed from precursors in garlic.  This involves collaboration with microbiologists.”

Children’s Heart Center

Michael S. Kapiloff, MD, Ph.D.
For information on Dr. Kapiloff’s research, please visit website:  http://pediatrics.med.miami.edu/childrens-heart-center/research/cardiac-signal-transduction-and-cellular/

Back to Top

Communications

Jyotika Ramaprasad, Ph. D.
Jyotika Ramaprasad’s current research focuses on communication for social change and journalism studies. Her current projects include studies of journalists in Botswana and India to gauge their opinions about several aspects of their job (ethics, technology, roles, influences, etc.) and functions as journalists as well as formative research about health practitioners attitudes and behavior towards Roma patients. Ramaprasad’s research is mostly quantitative and international but she also does qualitative studies using in-depth interviews and FGDs.

Back to Top

Dermatology, Cell Biology and Anatomy

Jie Li, MD, Ph.D.
“My laboratory uses advanced cellular, molecular biological techniques and animal models to study skin biology and diseases. The major research focuses are in wound repair and regeneration and skin cancers including melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. We are currently studying the function and regulation of extracellular matrix in cell growth and migration as well as blood vessel formation (angiogenesis).”  

Back to Top

Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism

Antonio Bianco, M.D., Ph.D
Thyroid hormone action starts and ends by deiodination. Thyroid hormone modulates gene expression in virtually every vertebrate cell through ligand-dependent transcription factors, the T3 receptors. Thyroid hormone is secreted as a pro-hormone (T4) that can be activated to T3 in a stage- and tissue-specific manner by two iodothyronine deiodinases, D1 and D2, while a third deiodinase, D3, prevents T4 activation and terminates T3 action. These three deiodinases are dimeric integral membrane proteins composed of a single N-terminal trans-membrane segment connected to a larger globular domain that contains the active center embedded in a thioredoxin fold. A striking feature of this pocket is the presence of the rare amino acid Selenocysteine (Sec) that is critical for catalysis. The Bianco Lab is focused in characterizing fundamental aspects of the pathways controlling thyroid hormone action that are regulated by the iodothyronine deiodinases D1, D2 and D3. His laboratory is currently investigating the molecular and cellular biology of these enzymes to better understand their physiological and pathophysiological roles as well as to develop therapeutic approaches in order to regulate thyroid hormone action in a tissue specific fashion.  Bianco Lab Website:  www.BiancoLab.org

Back to Top

Engineering, College of

To view a complete listing of all available research opportunities in the College of Engineering, visit their website: College of Engineering

If interested in any of these positions, apply online at www.miami.edu/ugr and indicate your position of interest in the “Research Areas” section of the application.

Back to Top

Engineering, Biomedical

To view a complete listing of all available research opportunities in the College of Engineering, visit their website:College of Engineering

If interested in any of these positions, apply online at www.miami.edu/ugr and indicate your position of interest in the “Research Areas” section of the application.

Fabrice Manns, Ph.D.
The general area of research in the Biomedical Optics and Lasers laboratory is the application of optics and lasers in medicine, with a particular focus on ophthalmic applications. Current research activities include 1) study of the optics of the crystalline lens of the eye and its role in the development of presbyopia, and 2) development of optical coherence tomography and other technology for ocular imaging and biometry to improve vision correction and other ocular surgery procedures. Students also have the opportunity to join the research laboratories of the Ophthalmic Biophysics Center of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, on the medical campus.

Herman S. Cheung, Ph.D.
“The main focus of our research is stem cell based regenerative medicine and mechano-biology. We have 2 laboratories. One at the College of Engineering at the Gables campus and the other one is at the Miami VA Medical Center, at the medical campus.”

Back to Top

Engineering, Civil, Arch & Env

To view a complete listing of all available research opportunities in the College of Engineering, visit their website: College of Engineering

If interested in any of these positions, apply online at www.miami.edu/ugr and indicate your position of interest in the “Research Areas” section of the application.

Ali Ghahremaninezhad, Ph.D.
Undergraduate research positions are available in the Mechanics of Solids and Materials Lab to perform interdisciplinary research in the area of smart civil materials/structures. This exciting opportunity provides life-long experience and hands-on skills with state-of-the-art materials microscopic instrument and micro mechanical testing device. Course credits are available for this research opportunity.

Sung Hee Joo, Ph.D.
Description of research projects (minimum 1 year commitment)
Environmental Nanotechnology
1. Physical-chemical properties of metal oxides in consumer products: Physical-chemical properties of metal oxides (TiO2, ZnO) used in consumer products (sunscreens) are investigated and the effect of contaminants on metal oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens will be studied. Various factors such as pH, the presence of organic matter, and oxidants attribute to aggregation property, which influences toxicity. The research findings could assist toxicological evaluation of metal oxides residuals due to potential effect of mutation of cells.
2. Fate and transport of nanoparticles in the environment: This project are to quantify fate of nanoparticles (NPs) in aquifers under various environmental factors, determine governing factors on changes in transport properties/behavior of NPs, and assess the impact of hydrodynamic conditions, natural organic matter, ionic strength on the fate of NPs residues.
3. Transformation of aquatic organisms by uptake of nanoparticles: This project involves investigating transformation mechanism using novel approaches, effect of adsorbed ENPs on algae in the absence and presence of contaminants,  influence of aggregation on ecotoxicity of ENPs to algae, effect of ROS production on algae under dark and sunlight conditions, and bioavailability of ENPs in different types of water.
4. Application of green nano-catalysts for degradation of emerging organic contaminants: This research includes developing variety of synthesis methods of nanoparticles using greener approaches, environmentally benign reducing as well as capping agents, lab bench/column studies based on lab treatability work plan, evaluating technology viability and factors affecting effectiveness of nanomaterials, and determining pollutant removal efficiency, delineating mechanism. Results from this work will aid in the fundamental understanding of how these useful nanoparticles behave in real environmental conditions.
5. Advanced oxidation technology for the degradation of EOCs: Advanced oxidation technology such as Fenton reaction or modified Fenton process is used for degrading recalcitrant organics. This project entails investigating degradation of emerging contaminants of concern (i.e. EOCs) and identifying transformation mechanism responsible for the treatment of emerging organic contaminants
6. Application of membrane technologies for water reuse: Membrane technology has been widely as advanced wastewater treatment and reuse. This project aims to develop and apply novel adsorbed and biocide nanomaterials to membranes, evaluate the technology viability vs. conventional treatment, and demonstrate efficient disinfection with minimum disinfection byproducts formation. The work includes qualitative and quantitative determination of DBPs formed from the new treatment technology at typical treatment conditions and pilot-testing / field study applying the treatment option.
Wangda Zuo, Ph.D.
Dr. Zuo’s Sustainable Building Systems Laboratory (http://www.coe.miami.edu/zuo/) conducts researches in sustainable buildings and cities by improving building energy and water efficiency as well as indoor environment quality. We invent the innovative simulation technology and apply them in real buildings by partnering with local industry and U.S. Department of Energy’s National Laboratories. Our research is funded by US Department of Energy, US Department of Defense, US Department of Homeland Security, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, and JPMorgan Chase Bank. We are looking for students with the passion in solving the most pressing sustainability issues.

Back to Top

Engineering, Electrical & Computer

To view a complete listing of all available research opportunities in the College of Engineering, visit their website: College of Engineering

If interested in any of these positions, apply online at www.miami.edu/ugr and indicate your position of interest in the “Research Areas” section of the application.

Manohar Murthi, Ph.D.
Quantization of signals for robustness to packet loss. (MM): This project involves fundamental work on signal/data compression for transmission of networks that feature packet loss. In particular, we are investigating distributed source coding principles to code speech with robustness to packet loss while featuring efficiencies closer to predictive coding models. This has applications to audio/video coding and transmission.

Mei-Ling Shyu, Ph.D.
1. Multimedia Multi-modal Content Analysis, Data Mining, and Big Data Analytics: To extract information about the content conveyed by the big data, possibly in various media types.
(a) Image, video, and audio processing
(b) Feature selection
(c) Segmentation and data preprocessing
(d) Event/Concept detection - Sports highlights (touchdown, corner kick, dunks, etc.), Surveillance (people entering and exiting room under security surveillance), 
    Concept detection and classification (weather, sports, indoor, outdoor, etc.)
(e) Information integration and fusion
(f) Deep learning
(g) Distributed and cloud-based computing, storage, and infrastructure - Hadoop, MapReduce, MongoDB, Hive, Spark, NoSQL, etc.

2. Network Security, Intrusion Detection, and Cybersecurity: To develop effective and efficient frameworks for network intrusion detection and cybersecurity.
(a) Network traffic generator/simulator
(b) Network programming/multi-threaded programming
(c) Intrusion detection systems
(d) Autonomous and self-adaptive security (multi-agent, data mining, etc.)
(e) Access control and privacy management
(f) Cyber-physical systems, cyberattacks and defense strategies

Michael Scordilis, Ph.D.
1. Miniature, low-power hydrophones: Low level acoustic signals such as those related to physiological processes are very difficult to detect with existing methods. This project investigates new piezoelectric materials and new transducer design geometries suitable for such applications and it is collaboration with the UM Medical School.
2. Whispered speech detection: This project investigates the detection the instances of switching between normal and whispered speech and the extraction of whispered speech in noisy conditions. The use of robust pitch detection is used as a useful tool for achieving this goal.
ECE senior Chris Valente and junior William Jahn are working on this project.

Miroslav Kubat, Ph.D.
Machine learning: Induction from examples containing irrelevant or redundant information

Onur Tigli, Ph.D.
Dr. Onur Tigli’s BioCMOS/MEMS/NANO lab is looking for highly motivated undergraduate summer interns to work on a variety of MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems) and VLSI (Very Large Scale Integrated Circuits) related projects under supervision of senior researchers in the group.
The candidates should have one or more of the following skills:
1. Hands on experience with electrical circuits
2. Programming experience with MATLAB and/or C
3. Experience or training in 3D modeling and animation tools such as 3ds Max
4. Knowledge of finite element analysis tools (specifically COMSOL Multiphysics)
5. Knowledge of CAD tools (specifically Cadence)
For more information on the research projects in our labs visit http://ece.miami.edu/tigli/

Shahriar Negahdaripour, Ph.D.
Automated Image and Sensor SIgnal Proceesing for Human-Assisted Operation of a Submersible Robotics Vehikcle (ROV):  Projects are available involving the development of Matlab programs and graphical User Interface (GUI) written in Visual C++ for image and sensor data processing and output display, as well as interaction with and control of a commercial submersible robotic owned by the Underwater Vision and Imaging Lab. The potential intern will work within PhD students and other interns, under the supervision of Professor Negahdaripour from the ECE Department.

Sung Jin Kim, Ph.D.
1. Nano for Sensors:  This research will focus on nanophotonics and their Biosensor applications. Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR), Meta-materials/structures and photonic bandgap structures, which are currently a cutting-edge research area, will be studied. This project will include FDTD (Finite Difference Time Domain) simulation for light-matter interaction and BPM (Beam Propagation Method) for waveguide structures. Also, there will be device fabrication for a prototype sensor system using optics and photonics based theory. This project will lead to students having deeper understanding of optics and nanophotonics for sensors.

2. Nano for optoelectronics: This research will focus on optoelectronic devices (solar cell, light emitting devices) using nanomaterials and nanostructures. There has been lots of research regarding unique optical properties of nanomaterials, which can be used for display or LED devices. This research will include techniques for solution processed device fabrication using nanomaterials and nanostructures. For example, next (3rd) generation solar cell will use nanotechnologies for flexible, low cost production. Various organic/inorganic materials (e.g., quantum dots, nanoparticles, carbon nanotube, grapheme and polymers) will be studied and students will have opportunities to learn how nanomaterials are synthesized and used for solution based device fabrication as well as electrical/optical device characterization techniques.

Xiaodong Cai, Ph.D.
1. Dynamic Modeling and Simulation of Gene Networks:  Apply dynamic systems and control theory as well as signal processing methods to model and simulate the dynamics of gene networks. Possible collaboration with professors in the medical school. The project is particularly suitable for engineering students who are interested in biological or biomedical research.

2. Identification of Gene Regulatory Elements: Use computational methods to analyze genome sequences and gene expression data and to identify possible gene regulatory elements in the genome.

Back to Top

Engineering, Mechanical & Aerospace

To view a complete listing of all available research opportunities in the College of Engineering, visit their website: College of Engineering

If interested in any of these positions, apply online at www.miami.edu/ugr and indicate your position of interest in the “Research Areas” section of the application.

KV Wong, Ph. D.
Dr. Kau-Fui Vincent Wong is a Professor at the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.  He works mostly on reviews of engineering, environmental and health topics, and unfunded research.  Dr. Wong is the recipient of the 2015 Dixy Lee Ray Award for Environment Protection.  It is the highest level international life-time achievement award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for the environment.  He runs the blog on Advanced Energy topics at the website of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He does a lot of research on energy policy issues, and the literature research of technical problems and solutions related to clean energy from wind, water and solar (WWS) sources.

Back to Top

Epidemiology

Erin Kobetz, Ph.D.
Dr. Kobetz has substantial experience with disparities-focused research, and has been involved in multiple community-based participatory research endeavors to understand racial differences in breast and cervical cancer outcomes. In 2004, Dr. Kobetz established Patnè en Aksyon (Partners in Action), the campus-community partnership between UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and key community-based organizations in Little Haiti, the predominately Haitian area in Miami, Florida. The primary goal of Patnè en Aksyon is to reduce the excess disability and death from breast and cervical cancer among Haitian women. To accomplish this goal, university and community partners work together to conduct research, which can inform behavioral and social change.  This partnership employs the methods of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to address the excess burden of cancer experienced by Haitian women residing in South Florida. Under Dr. Kobetz’s leadership, Patnè en Aksyon has since secured over one million dollars in extramural research funding.

Mark Stoutenberg Ph.D, MSPH.
Dr. Stoutenberg’s research interests involve investigating the use physical activity for health promotion and disease prevention. More specifically, Dr. Stoutenberg is involved in several unique lines of investigation involving physical activity. The first of these involves investigating the barriers and facilitators to implementing referral schemes that link patients from our healthcare systems to existing community programs and resources for physical activity and healthy eating. His second line of research interest involves physical activity, substance abuse and mental health. Dr. Stoutenberg recently served as the National Exercise Specialist for a study called “STimulant Reduction Intervention through Dosed Exercise (STRIDE)” - a national, multi-site trial that examined the efficacy of using an exercise program in residential drug treatment programs. He is currently looking at the impact of exercise training in individuals seeking treatment for alcohol abuse and the level of resources available to clients in Residential Treatment Programs. Finally, Dr. Stoutenberg is involved with Exercise is Medicine, which is the signature initiative of the American College of Sports Medicine. Exercise is Medicine is an effort to integrate physical activity as a vital sign into healthcare systems around the world. As a Program Officer, Dr. Stoutenberg support the development and expansion of the initiative in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.


Scott C. Brown, Ph.D.
Dr. Brown’s research examines the role of neighborhood conditions – including the built (physical) environment and social environment – in residents’ behaviors and health. For the past seven years, he has been the Project Director of a study funded by the National Institute on Aging, which examines the relationship of the built environment to Hispanic elders’ social behaviors and their cognitive, affective, and physical functioning (R01-AG-27527; PI: J. Szapocznik). He is also an Investigator on a study funded by the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases examining the relationship of built environment walkability to Hispanic immigrants’ progression on metabolic syndrome indicators (R01-DK-74687; PI: J. Szapocznik). In addition, Brown is currently working on grant submissions examining the relationship of the neighborhood built environment to multiple adolescent outcomes, including drug use, HIV risk, depressive and anxiety disorders, and conduct problems. In summary, Dr. Brown has a general interest in the impacts of neighborhood physical and social environments on residents’ health and well-being across the lifespan. 

Tatiana Perrino, PsyD
Dr. Perrino is a clinical psychologist whose research interests are in depression, stress and obesity, including: 1) the inter-relationship between these health risks; and 2) interventions designed to prevent depression and obesity. She has a special interest in how depression, stress and obesity affect minority populations and health disparities. Currently, she works on a study from the National Institutes of Health, which focuses on interventions to prevent and treat adolescent depression, specifically examining the mechanisms by which these interventions work, as well as for whom and for how long they work. This National Institute of Mental Health study is led by Dr. C. Hendricks Brown.

Back to Top

Gastroenterology

Maria T. Abreu, M.D.
Research focused in inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. Dr. Abreu’s basic projects are centered in innate immunity of the gut, and specifically the role of toll-like receptors in the homeostasis of the intestinal mucosa. Her lab works with mouse models and cell lines to pursue these goals. On the clinical side, she has translational projects to study new markers for an early diagnosis and a better description of patients with IBD (autophagy, microarrays) and colorectal cancer (expression of TLRs in sporadic and IBD-associated colorectal cancer). 

Back to Top

Genetics

Complete list at: http://biomed.miami.edu/default.asp?p=150&s=72

Derek M. Dykxhoorn, Ph.D.
Dr. Dykxhoorn is a molecular biologist interested in the role that small regulatory RNA molecules, microRNAs and small interfering RNAs, play in the pathogenesis of various diseases. He has worked extensively at developing tools that can harness these endogenous regulatory mechanisms as potential genetic therapies against several diseases, including HIV-1 and cancer.  

Gaofeng Wang, Ph.D.
Dr. Wang is a molecular geneticist. His research focuses on redox genomics, a new research field that is developed in the Wang lab. Currently, his research projects include the epigenomic regulation of ascorbate in diabetic complications and in cancer reprogramming.

Juan Young, Ph.D.
Epigenetic mechanisms regulating CNS function; mouse models of neurological diseases.  

Katherina Walz, Ph.D.
Dr. Walz is a biologist interested in the understanding of molecular bases of human genetic conditions, with special emphasis in those that are related to brain function and altered behavioral outcomes. Her research is focused in the validation of the genetic cause, the definition of the phenotypic outcomes and the elucidation of the molecular and physiological pathways related to Mendelian disorders. 

William K Scott, Ph.D.
Dr. Scott is a genetic epidemiologist interested in the influence of genetic and environmental factors on susceptibility to infectious diseases and complex traits associated with aging.  His research includes candidate gene studies in tuberculosis and sepsis, studies of gene-environment interaction in age-related macular degeneration and Parkinson disease, and genomic studies of longevity and successful aging in the Amish communities of Indiana and Ohio. 

Back to Top

Hematology/Oncology

Rakesh Singal, M.D.
I am a physician-scientist with interest in translational research and clinical aspects of prostate cancer. Research in my laboratory focuses on understanding epigenetic mechanisms of gene silencing in cancer, identification of gene targets, and use of epigenetic therapy to reverse drug resistance. We have identified the role of GADD45a, a pro-apoptotic gene, in docetaxel mediated cytotoxicity and identification of this gene as a potential therapeutic target in prostate cancer. This preclinical study led to the pioneering Phase I/II study clinical trial to study the safety and efficacy of Azacitidine and Docetaxel in metastatic CRPC patients.  Other research activities include identification of non invasive biomarkers for the early diagnosis of prostate cancer as well as for predicting the outcome of patients with prostate cancer. We have described the use of free circulating DNA as a diagnostic marker for prostate cancer.  Students will receive training in molecular biology techniques and their work may be submitted for presentation in conferences and for publication.  It is preferred that students are able to devote about 12 hours a week to lab research and work for at least 2 semesters. Recently, an undergraduate student from my lab was awarded the American Cancer Society summer fellowship. She also contributed significantly to two ongoing projects in my lab and published research article in a scientific journal.

Samita Andreansky, Ph.D.
“The interactions between the viruses and their host are dynamic and complex and is determined by the ability of the host responding to the infection. My laboratory is engaged in understanding mechanisms of such interactions using influenza and herpes viruses as model systems. Our ultimate goal is to develop novel therapies and vaccines as prevention strategies against diseases that causes significant morbidity in human population.”

Back to Top

History

Gregory Bush, Ph.D.
Dr.  Bush is the Executive Director of Nature Links and Associate Professor of History and Director, Institute of Public History.  For more information, visit their website at www.naturelinks.net

Back to Top