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.

                                                                                                                                           
International Studies
Management Science
Marine and Atmospheric Science
Marketing
Medicine
Microbiology and Immunology
Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Neuroscience
Ophthalmology
Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
Pathology
Pharmacology
Physics
Plastic Surgery
Political Science
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Psychology
Spanish and Latin American Studies
Surgery
Urology



International Studies


Bruce Michael Bagley, Ph.D.
Dr. Bagley’s research interests focus on in U.S.-Latin American relations, with an emphasis on drug trafficking and security issues. He is currently working on a book on “Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime and Democracy in Latin America.”  and is co-coordinating a two-year research project on “Energy Security in the Americas”.

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Management Science

Edward Baker, Ph.D
Application of multivariate objective optimization to “Green” building design, Development of a simulation model of the Bascom Palmer-Lions Club International Eye Bank operations, and The study of computational complexity in solving special instances of the set partitioning problem. “A Linear Programming Study Auction Pricing of South Florida Groundwater” done in conjunction with the South Florida Water Management District. Current Project: “Is it Profitable to be Ethical: Do Companies Identified as Ethical Outperform Market and Industry Averages?

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Marine and Atmospheric Science

Douglas Crawford, Ph.D.
“My research focuses on the evolution of gene expression and its effect on metabolism and physiology. This research combines “Next-Generation” DNA technology with high-throughput analyses of mRNA expression to define changes responsible for adaptation. These evolutionary analyses provide insight into the genes of importance and thus inform us about human health and disease.”

M. Danielle McDonald, Ph.D.
“The work in my laboratory is a mixture of whole animal physiology, molecular biology, pharmacology and toxicology. Using these different approaches, I am trying to establish a greater understanding of the role of serotonin (5-HT; 5-hydroxytryptamine) within teleost fish by investigating the receptors that mediate its response and the transporters that facilitate its movement. 5-HT is a neurochemical that has been intensely studied in mammals for some time. It is most commonly known for its role in depression, however, it has many critical functions within the body and disruptions have negative consequences: drug addiction, behavioral disorders (in addition to depression; stress, anxiety, aggression, violence) and physiological problems (cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, migraines, nausea). My work focuses on the gulf toadfish, Opsanus beta, a marine teleost fish found along the coast of Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico. The toadfish is an excellent model to study the interactions between 5-HT, its receptors and transporters and the stress hormone, cortisol, as toadfish have a unique physiological process, pulsatile urea excretion, that involves all these components. Another aspect of my work is looking at the impact of waterborne pharmaceuticals on physiological processes in fish. As a consequence of human consumption and inadequate sewage treatment, pharmaceuticals, such as antidepressants, which specifically inhibit 5-HT transporters, are now found in measurable quantities in some US watersheds. This work has toxicological as well as human health relevance as it gives some insight on the impact of chronic antidepressant administration, which has many negative side effects in humans.“

Margie Oleksiak, Ph.D.
“My research focuses on understanding the effects of chronic pollution by examining evolved differences among individuals and populations. This research uses a combination of molecular and genomic approaches to define genes that change due to man made pollutants. To accomplish this, we use the model organism Fundulus heteroclitus, a salt marsh minnow exposed to some of the highest concentrations of aromatic hydrocarbons of any vertebrate species. We use F. heteroclitus because they have evolved resistance to the pollutants in their environment, and thus we can use this small fish to determine which genes are biologically important. These data inform us about how pollutants affect human health and disease.”

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Marketing

Michael Tsiros, Ph.D.
“In general, my research applies phenomena examined in the areas of behavioral decision theory, social, and cognitive psychology into consumer decision making as well as to managerial strategic decision making by examining their impact on pricing and profitability. My research incorporates constructs such as regret (a cognitively-based emotion) and attributions in the decision making process and examines their effect on satisfaction, loyalty, and repurchase intentions). In addition, I examine the effect that the above research has on managerial strategic decision making and on profitability. More recently, I examine the impact of logo frames and brand name length on consumer decision making as well as biases that result from consumers’ poor mathematical skills (innumeracy) in assessing different price promotions and other heuristics used when comparing products or making financial investments.”

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Medicine

Priyamvada Rai, Ph.D.
Our research focuses predominantly on understanding and integrating the molecular and cellular mechanisms behind the dual phenomena of aging and cancer. Cancer is mainly a disease of the aged.  Both advanced tumors and aging cells are characterized by oxidative stress, due to inefficient mitochondrial respiration, oncogene activation, dysfunction in redox-protective mechanisms, and/or exposure to environmental stressors such as tobacco smoke. Research, including ours, shows that oxidative stress appears to be a double-edged sword in that not only does it promote cellular and likely tissue aging, but also creates conditions under which malignant and invasive cancers can be established. Thus the goal of our research is two-fold - understanding how protecting cells from oxidative stress prevents them from engaging the senescence pathway and contributing to cellular aging, and targeting redox pathways in tumor cells that facilitate evasion of tumor suppressor responses in order to sensitize these cells to chemotherapeutic and other anti-cancer interventions.  Lab website: http://sites.google.com/site/railabwebsite/

Ramiro E. Verdun, Ph.D.
The goal of this laboratory is to increase our knowledge in the molecular mechanisms used by our cells to keep the integrity of our genomic DNA. Maintenance of genome stability depends on appropriate responses to DNA damage. This involves the mobilization of DNA damage factors to the site of damage and the activation of checkpoint pathways that consequently delay cell cycle progression. Lack of these controls can produce an accumulation of chromosomes aberrations, genome instability and finally transformation. In our laboratory we use mainly cellular and molecular biology, and biochemistry techniques to learn how the DNA Damage and Repair machineries recognize, process, and repair our DNA without stopping the cell division.

Stuti Dang, M.D.
Gerentology and Geriatric Medicine.  Use of technology and telehealth for chronic disease management in the elderly with diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc.

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Miami Project to Cure Paralysis

Coleen Atkins, Ph.D.
The long-term research objectives of Dr. Atkins’ laboratory are to determine how the cellular signaling mechanisms that underlie learning and memory become dysfunctional after traumatic brain injury.  Our laboratory uses preclinical models of traumatic brain injury and electrophysiological, molecular and behavioral techniques to identify the relevant therapeutic targets for improving cognitive deficits induced by traumatic brain injury. Currently, we are partnering with pharmaceutical companies, clinical researchers at the University of Miami, and researchers at other institutions to develop cognitive enhancers for chronic TBI survivors.

Damien D. Pearse, PH.D.
“My laboratory focuses on several key aspects of CNS injury repair:  1) the utility of exogenous and endogenously harnessed cell therapeutics (particularly when used in combinatory approaches), 2) understanding the role of, and developing therapies for, altered cyclic AMP (adenylyl cyclase, phosphodiesterases and PKA) and MAPK signaling in neurons and glia after CNS injury, 3) the use of nanotherapeutics for multifunctional and site-directed gene/drug targeting to the injured CNS and 4) the application of methodologies for improved imaging of axonal regeneration and cell integration within the injured CNS such as 3D ultramicroscopy and diffusion tensor imaging. 
Importantly, my laboratory has focused on performing studies essential to translating Schwann cell and Stem cell implantation as well as the delivery of the cyclic AMP modulating drug, Rolipram, to Phase 1/2 clinical trials in people with SCI.  These studies have examined the safety and potential toxicity of these interventions as well as their optimization before clinical implementation.  Primary among these experimental endeavors has been to (1) investigate the safety of Schwann cell and Stem cell implantation following both acute and chronic SCI, to determine if these cells enhance neuropathic pain, distribute to other organs, or form tumors when used as a therapy in clinically relevant models of injury and (2) identify the optimal methods for delivering Rolipram as a neuroprotective therapy for acute SCI by determining the best dose, route, and timing of its administration to achieve maximal tissue protection.  We have successfully translated Schwann cell transplantation to Phase 1 clinical trials for sub-acute and chronic SCI and are now producing critical data needed to submit an Investigational New Drug application to the Food and Drug Administration to request approval to begin a Phase 1/2 clinical trial to test Rolipram’s safety and efficacy in acute human SCI as well as move stem cell therapeutics to clinical investigation.

Jeffrey Datto, Ph.D.
Design/build a new device to assess locomotor recovery following spinal cord injury in rodents. Strong interest in physics and engineering preferred.

Ross Bullock, Ph.D.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) represents a major cause of death and injury, resulting in more than 50,000 deaths annually in the U.S.  Further, penetrating traumatic brain injury (PTBI), although less common than other forms of TBI, often carries the worst prognosis and presents a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in warfare.  The long-term effects of PTBI include both immediate motor and cognitive deficits as well as progressive neurodegeneration (loss of neurons).  Treatments to restore lost neurons do not exist.  The preclinical studies (including from this lab) with rodents, cell therapy with non-neural and neural cell transplants have shown modestly ameliorate TBI deficits. However such improvements that are not yet ready for clinic. Our lab is testing the hypothesis that transplantation of fetal neural stem cells cells could help restore function following neuronal differentiation and integration into injured brain. To test this hypothesis we are currently addressing the following issues: Transplant location, time of transplantation after injury, cell concentration, and would such optimized transplants induced brain repair. Finally what is tumorigenicity of transplanted human NSCs in injured rat brain.

Vance Lemmon, Ph.D.
Nerve regeneration, neuronal differentiation, high content screening, kinases, transcription factors, adhesion molecules. Visit: http://www.lembixlab.net

William D. Dietrich, III, Ph.D
For the last 25 years, Dr. Dietrich’s laboratory has been working on investigating various pathophysiological mechanisms associated with neuronal vulnerability, including cytotoxicity, free radicals, apoptosis and inflammatory cascades.  In terms of neuroprotection, he and his colleagues provided the initial preclinical data indicating that small differences in the temperature of the brain and spinal cord critically determine whether neurons die or not following an ischemic or traumatic injury.  These preclinical studies of modest hypothermia have now been translated to the clinical arena, where patients are being cooled following strokes, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury.  More recently, the testing of novel strategies to enhance recovery of function by the use of cellular therapies has been conducted.  His laboratory has recently shown that neural progenitor cells (NPCs) transduced to synthesize a novel synthetic protein, multineurotrophin-1 have significant benefits on traumatic injury outcome.  These studies show great promise for using transduced NPCs to promote plasticity and recovery of function following brain and spinal cord injury.

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Microbiology and Immunology

Bonnie Blomberg, Ph.D.
“Our primary research is on the immune system and aging – in mice and humans. We have found particular cell and molecule deficiencies in aged mice and humans in B lymphocytes and antibodies. Recently in studying the human influenza vaccine response we discovered biomarkers which can predict an optimal response.”

Roland Jurecic, Ph.D.
The research in the lab focuses on: (1) Molecular pathways that regulate self-renewal and differentiation of the Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) and cancer stem cells, (2) Preclinical and clinical studies of long-term adverse effects of cancer chemotherapy on the function of HSCs and hematopoietic and immune systems, and their responses to infections,  (3) Long-term effects of acute and chronic infections on HSCs and the hematopoietic system,  (4) Characterization of molecular and cellular pathways regulating Emergency Hematopoiesis in response to bacterial and viral infections, and (5) Novel immunosuppressive approaches to attenuate the progression and severity of immune-mediated Aplastic Anemia and Bone Marrow Failure.

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Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology

Sandra K. Lemmon, Ph.D.
Membrane traffic in eukaryotic cells:  My lab is interested in how proteins are transported from one compartment of the cell to another, particularly in the endocytic and secretory pathways. Movement along this elaborate membrane system is achieved by the budding, transport and fusion of membrane vesicles.  Understanding the basic mechanisms of membrane transport is critical for defining the causes of the many diseases that are affected by defects in this process.  This includes hypercholesterolanemias, lysosomal storage disorders, cancer and many others.  We use the powerful yeast model system for our work, in which understanding of many cellular processes and identification of the proteins involved was pioneered.  This is an ideal system for young scientists to get their first exposure to biological research, as they apply the awesome power of yeast genetics.  We apply a combination of molecular genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, and sophisticated live cell imaging approaches in our work.  Come check us out! http://uhealthsystem.com/researchers/profile/133730

Suzy Bianco, Pharm.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Bianco’s lab is investigating how receptors on cell surface are regulated, as well as how these receptors regulate cell function and reproductive physiology. G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the biggest family of proteins in our genome and correspond to the majority of receptors on cell surface membranes. The relevance of these receptors is evidenced by an impressive number of human diseases associated with abnormal GPCR signaling. Dr. Bianco is particularly interested in kisspeptin receptor (KISS1R) or GPR54, a master regulator of puberty and reproduction.  Inactivating mutations in KISS1R are associated with lack of sexual maturation and infertility in humans. On the other hand, our studies show that mutations in KISS1R or its endogenous ligand, kisspeptin, lead to acceleration of sexual maturation (precocious puberty) in children carrying the mutations. Dr. Bianco’s lab is interested in characterizing normal KISS1R signaling to understand how genetic mutations change KISS1R signaling leading to reproductive abnormalities. Additionally, Dr. Bianco’s lab is investigating the underlying cause of infertility in a mouse model that lacks the enzyme that inactivates thyroid hormone (type-3 deiodinase or Dio3). Male and female mice homozygous for the inactivation of Dio3 are incapable of reproducing.
The following link provides access to a figure (with caption) of a publication by Dr. Bianco’s lab featured on the cover of ENDORINOLOGY (April of 2011): http://endo.endojournals.org/content/152/4.cover-expansion.

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Neuroscience

Neuroscience Majors, please visit the Neuroscience Ph.D. Program website faculty page at www.biomed.miami.edu, click on “Faculty Research”, and then on “Neuroscience”.  This will give you a list of the 90 or so neuroscience labs at UM.  Click on each name to read about their research. If interested in working with one of these mentors, please contact them through Dr. Philip McCabe at pmccabe@miami.edu . Dr. McCabe will then refer you as appropriate.  Non-Neuroscience majors, please indicate your mentors of interest in the “Research Interests” area of the UGR Research application (see How to Apply).

Antonio Barrientos, Ph.D.
Dr. Barrientos is a member of three graduate programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Neuroscience and Pharmacology.
Current Research: “My main research interest concerns the biogenesis of mitochondrial membrane complexes involved in biological energy transduction, specifically the components of the mitochondrial respiratory chain and oxidative phosphorylation system as well as the mitochondrial ribosomes and the mitochondrial protein synthesis machinery.  We work towards understanding how mitochondrial biogenesis is regulated and how it impacts on cellular bioenergetics in health and in human neuromuscular and neurodegenerative disorders. To achieve these goals we are using several model organisms, including the facultative anaerobe yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, primary or transformed human cultured cells as well as inducible pluripotent stem cells derived from patient’s somatic cells.
Current projects include 1) Biogenesis of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase in health and disease, 2) Biogenesis of mitochondrial ribosomes, 3) Suppression mechanisms of cell energy deficiencies associated with alterations in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, 4) Biogenesis of mitochondrial respiratory supercomplexes and respirasomes,  5) Mitochondrial mechanisms of cytotoxicity in age-associated neurodegenerative disorders (polyglutamine diseases and alpha-synucleinopathies) and in the aging process.

Clinton Wright, M.D., M.S.
“My lab is studying the role of vascular disease in cognitive aging, with an emphasis on structural brain imaging and quantitative neuropsychological assessment. We use population-based epidemiologic methods to relate certain exposures, for example obesity, to brain markers of aging, vascular damage, and neurodegeneration as well as cognitive function.”

Dileep R. Yavagal, M.D.
“I am the Director of Interventional Neurology division in the Department of Neurology at the Miller school of Medicine and Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery. My research is focused on translational studies of novel catheter based treatments for acute stroke. In conjunction with the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, I am currently studying intra-arterial delivery of stem cells (Mesenchymal Stem Cells) in small and large animal models of Ischemic Stroke. I co-led the first multi center US intra-arterial stem cell stroke trial RECOVER-Stroke. I also conduct multi-center acute stroke intervention trials at Jackson Memorial Hospital and University of Miami.”

Dr. Philip McCabe
Dr. Philip McCabe’s research deals with the neurobiology of emotion, and how emotional behavior can
influence the progression of cardiovascular disease.

Fatta B. Nahab, M.D.
Dr. Nahab is director of the Functional Imaging of Neurodegenerative Disorders laboratory.  Areas of interest include the use of functional and structural MRI to study mechanisms of disease progression and treatment response.  The FIND lab is currently investigating a variety of neurodegenerative disorders in humans, including:  Parkinsonian disorders, Essential Tremor, and Cognitive Aging.

Kunjan Dave, Ph.D.
“My laboratory investigates mechanisms of cerebral ischemia/stroke-induced brain damage, interactions of recurrent hypoglycemia to diabetics and cerebral ischemic damage, and neuroprotective strategies in models of stroke (ischemic and hemorrhagic).” 

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Ophthalmology

For a complete list of research mentors and additional information, visit http://bascompalmer.org/site/current/current_training.asp

Abigail S Hackam, Ph.D.
Cellular mechanisms of retina development and degeneration; bioinformatics, microarray and proteomics technologies; Genetic basis of human neurodegenerative diseases; age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa

Delia Cabrera-Fernandez, Ph.D.
Medical applications of optical imaging technology and mobile health applications, with a particular focus on the human eye, including the development and application of quantitative ophthalmic imaging analysis and electrophysiological techniques to enhance ocular health capabilities. Major research undertaking not only includes novel experimental approaches and imaging technologies but also encompasses a more complete study design to better characterize the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy and other neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. This particular research will make it possible to provide clinicians with a powerful method for screening, follow-up, and consideringearly prophylactic treatment of the retinal tissue in patients with diabetes, MS and AD.  More information provided at http://bascompalmer.org/researchers/profile/133431

Pirouz Daftarian, Ph.D.
Also: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
I work on novel methods for immunotherapy. With my collaborators, we have created nanocarriers that a) home in on professional cells that display antigens also called antigen presenting cells (APC) including macrophages and dendritic cells and b) has intrinsic immunopotentiating effects. The nanovehicles were shown to bind to vaccines, escort them in host and shuttle them into macrophages and dendritic cells.  We now use this flexible system to design/ develop multifunctional drug delivery and imaging platforms. 

Sanjoy K. Bhattacharya Ph.D.
Cell biology of the trabecular meshwork


Anat Galor, MD, MPH
Our long-term goal is to greatly impact the management of dry eye (DE) by identifying novel mechanism-based diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic strategies for a disorder that affects the physical and mental functioning of 15% of the population worldwide. DE is generally believed to be an inflammatory disorder of the ocular surface. However, our preliminary studies suggest DE is more complicated and that severity and persistence of DE symptoms are closely associated with clinical descriptors of neuropathic ocular pain (NOP) and pathologic hypersensitivity of the ocular sensory apparatus (including central sensitization). This may occur in the absence of ocular surface stress and explain the observed clinical diversity in DE with frequent discordance between DE signs and symptoms. To build upon our observations, in Aim 1 we will evaluate for clinical features of NOP (signs and symptoms) using a comprehensive phenotyping protocol. Aim 1A utilizes advanced pain assessment methods (quantitative sensory testing, temporal summation, conditioned pain modulation) for the first time in a DE population. In Aim 1B, to define the stability of NOP clusters and to evaluate whether NOP sub-groups are more likely to have severe, persistent DE symptoms, we will utilize this comprehensive phenotyping protocol to reassess signs and symptoms of DE at 1 year of follow-up. Ocular treatment of DE will be standardized during this time period. Because virtually all diseases are due to a combination of genetic and modifiable environmental factors, and inflammation is known to play an important role in DE, in Aim 2A we will define the relationship between dry eye clinical variability and biomarkers of ocular surface environmental stress (e.g., proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory lipids in the tear metabolome, MMP-9, osmolarity) over time. In Aim 2B we will attempt to replicate variant inflammatory pathway genes thought to be associated with DE in a well-characterized DE population for the first time, and identify novel gene variants using proprietary gene-based genome-wide testing methods. Our methods include a state-of-the-art novel pain gene exome array that may identify gene variants and mechanistic pathways relevant to DE and NOP, and assess variants in common with other potentially overlapping chronic pain conditions as targets for future diagnostic testing, preventive and therapeutic trials. Current symptom-based therapies for DE are inadequate and this innovative program will address a major unmet need to understand the role of NOP and potential biomarkers in DE diversity, and greatly impact the field by facilitating work toward new mechanism-based strategies in the management of DE and NOP.

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Pathology

Carolyn Cray, Ph.D.
The Division of Comparative Pathology provides veterinary clinical pathology services to UM investigators and veterinarians around the United States.  Training and exposure is available in routine hematology and biochemistry as well as specialized testing for infectious diseases, hormones, and serum proteins.  Short projects involving retrospective studies by species or by test are sometimes available.  View our current activities at: www.cpl.med.miami.edu

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Pharmacology

Stephan Schürer, Ph.D.
Drug Discovery (Department of Pharmacology and Center for Computational Science)
The core research theme at the Schürer group is systems drug discovery. We integrate and model small molecule-protein interaction, systems biology ‘omics’, and chemistry data to improve translation of disease models into novel functional small molecules.  Using distributed and parallelized big data analytics, bio- and chemoinformatics tools we build sophisticated modeling pipelines to understand and predict drug mechanism of action, promiscuity and polypharmacology with a particular focus on kinases and epigenetic bromodomain reader proteins. In several focused as well as larger-scale projects, we develop formal ontologies (e.g. BioAssay Ontology, Drug Target Ontology), data standards, and end-user multi-tier software applications. We have several drug discovery collaborations ranging from cancer to neurological disorders.
To generate and test the most promising small molecules, we are developing computationally-optimized synthetic routes and we use parallel synthesis technologies to make small compound libraries.
Dr Schürer is a PI in two national Consortia, the Library of Integrated Network-based Cellular Signatures (LINCS) project (http://bd2k-lincs.org/), which is also part of the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program (https://datascience.nih.gov/bd2k), and the Illuminating the Druggable Genome (IDG) project (http://targetcentral.org/).
More information at: http://ccs.miami.edu/focus-area/drug-discovery/.

Keywords:
drug discovery, big data analytics, systems chemical biology, network poly-pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, chem-/bio-informatics

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Physics

Fulin Zuo, Ph.D.
“My research interests are twofold. One is in the studies of new phenomena of novel materials, especially low dimensional materials such as the cuprate and organic superconductors, meso and nano-magnetic materials by probing experimentally their transport and magnetic properties. These experiments are usually carried out as a function of temperature, electric and magnetic field to differentiate various models. The other is in the technological applications of novel electronic properties. For example, the study of excess noises in the superconducting transition to optimize the use of transition edge microcalorimeters in x-ray detection.”  

Joshua Cohn, Ph.D.
“My research involves measuring low-temperature electronic, magnetic, and thermal properties of novel materials that manifest interesting physics and show some potential to be useful in future electronic devices. These physical properties measurements, like electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and thermoelectricity, involve attaching very small wires to small crystalline specimens (mm sized), cooling them in liquid cryogens (liquid nitrogen and liquid helium), and using specialized voltmeters, current sources, and occasionally high-field magnets to study their properties. A separate research effort involves making “thin films” of some of these same materials—thin coatings of 10-1000 atomic layers of a material of interest deposited on a crystalline insulating surface. The method of deposition involves a high-powered laser that vaporizes a “target” of the material of interest inside a high-vacuum chamber (pulsed-laser deposition). We study these films using x-ray crystallography (to determine their structural properties) and measure their low-temperature properties with the techniques mentioned above. Thin films are a first step toward making useful devices.”

Joshua Gundersen, Ph.D.
“My research is focused on three main research topics; studies of the cosmic microwave background polarization, studies of the far infrared dust polarization, and astrophysical foreground characterization.
Cosmic Microwave Background Polarization- The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is the oldest light in the universe and it comes to us from the most distant regions of the universe. This light is a fossil remnant of the universe and it encodes significant amounts of information about the universe when it was much younger and simpler. In the process of quantifying various characteristics of this light (such as the spatial distribution and polarization), we are beginning to answer many age-old questions about the universe: How old is the universe? How did the universe begin, and will it one day end? What are the primary constituents of the universe?

How did the various structures in the universe, such as galaxies and clusters, come to be? The Experimental Cosmology Group is currently involved in the Q/U Imaging ExperimenT (QUIET) that attempts to address these and many other questions.

Far Infrared Dust Polarization- The Experimental Cosmolgy Group is involved in the BLAST-Pol experiment which detects polarized dust emission primarily from galactic star forming regions. These observations will enable us to better understand the role of magnetic fields during the early stages of star formation.
BLAST-Pol uses a balloon-borne far-infrared telescope to make these observations. BLAST-Pol had a very successful science flight from Antarctica at the end of 2010 and data analysis is underway.
Astrophysical Foreground Characterization- Astrophysical foregrounds pose a particular challenge for CMB polarization experiments. These foregrounds primarily come from polarized synchrotron radiation and dust emission from our own galaxy; as well as polarized extragalactic radio galaxies and dusty infrared galaxies. Both QUIET and BLAST-Pol can inform us about these interesting polarized foregrounds since they both fill unique niches with their frequency coverage.”

Kenneth Voss, Ph.D.
“My research involves experimental ocean and atmospheric optics. This involves building novel instrumentation to measure the light field in the ocean and atmosphere. We then use this instrumentation on ships, during oceanographic cruises and at different locations in Miami, Bermuda and throughout the world. The applications of this research extend from understanding imaging and light transmission processes in the ocean to understanding the optical affects of aerosols (small particles) in the atmosphere, and their impact on energy transmission in the atmosphere.”  

Massimiliano Galeazzi, Ph.D.
Astronomical object emit, in general, at all wavelength, not just visible light. Moreover, there are specific objects, such as Black Holes and Supernovae, that emit primarily in X-rays. X-rays, such as the ones used in radiography, are similar to visible light, but with wavelength 1000 times shorter. My work involves the construction of X-ray detectors for space. Since X-ray do not penetrate Earth’s atmosphere, the detectors are mounted either on board of sounding rockets or satellites. The same detectors are also used in the laboratory for particle physics and the search for dark matter. Using data from existing satellites, I also study the property of interstellar and intergalactic gas (the reservoir for future galaxies and stars) to understand the evolution of our Universe.  

Neil Johnson, Ph.D.
Neil Johnson runs a inter-disciplinary research group in Complexity looking at collective behavior and emergent properties in a wide range of real-world Complex Systems: from the physical, biological, medical domains through to social domains. His focus in on systems containing many interacting objects, with strong feedback from both inside and outside the system, and which are typically far from equilibrium and exhibit extreme behavior. Examples under active study in his group include human disease, conflict, financial trading and online groups. He is also involved in a number of studies at the microbiological level, in particular calculating how to manipulate the metabolic output in photosynthetic purple bacteria with a view to developing novel hybrid energy sources. He collaborates with researchers both inside and outside academia, across the globe.  

Olga Korotkova, Ph.D.
“My group focuses on various issues relating to interaction of electromagnetic radiation (predominantly light) with such random media as atmospheric and oceanic turbulence, particulate media (e.g. human tissues), rough surfaces, etc. Two basic problems: a) direct - modulation of properties of radiation and b) inverse - active/passive sensing of the random structures are of interest. Our research runs from intrinsically theoretical (prediction of new phenomena) to purely practical (new approaches for communication and radar systems) and often involves, as an auxiliary stage, computer simulations. One of our new concentration areas is the possibility of using light with arbitrary spectral, coherence and polarization properties for enhancement of performance of the systems of interest.”  

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Plastic Surgery

Christopher Salgado, M.D.
Research Areas: Genital and Transgender surgery, Osteomyelitis, Flap physiology, Bovine collagen studies, Stem cells and peyronie disease, Vulvovaginal reconstructive and aesthetic surgery Penile surgery.

Seth. R. Thaller, MD,DMD, FACS
“We are currently engaged in a basic science research project evaluating the potential beneficial effects of both topical estrogen and vitamin d on wound healing and aging.  We also have available clinical projects looking into various aspects of plastic reconstructive and aesthetic surgery including cosmetic and breast surgery and patient safety.”

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Political Science


Gregory Koger, Ph.D.
“In 1892 the state of Michigan changed the way it selected presidential electors—that is, how the popular vote in Michigan would translate into Electoral College votes for the Presidential candidates. Soon after the 1892 election, Michigan switched back to the more conventional plurality-winner-take-all method. I would a student researcher to do independent historical research to understand why the legislature of Michigan opted to change its rules, and why it changed back.”

Cole D. Taratoot, Ph.D.
” I have an ongoing research project for which I am looking for an assistant(s). My research is broadly based in public law with a specialty in administrative law. More specifically, I study the decision making behavior of administrative law judges (ALJs) to determine to what degree the personal political preferences of judges influence decision making across a variety of agencies. I characterized my research as ongoing as my ultimate goal is to develop a database of ALJ decisions and biographical information for other researchers. Thus far, I have published work on the NLRB, EPA, and FCC, but am looking to move forward to other agencies. A student researcher would be valuable for assisting with the coding of data, which would involve reading these judicial decisions. I have worked with undergraduate students in the past and many have found the work quite rewarding and to be a valuable learning tool outside the classroom.”

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Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Amanda Myers, Ph.D.
Dr. Myers is the PI of the Laboratory for Functional Neurogenomics. The focus of her work is to understand the downstream effects of DNA risk variation, specifically risk variation involved in Alzheimer’s disease. This is done by merging information from several large datasets, including genomic variation, transcriptome abundances and protein abundances. For further information please see: http://labs.med.miami.edu/myers/LFuN/LFuN.html 

John E. Lewis, Ph.D.
Dr. Lewis investigates the effects of nutrition and exercise interventions on a wide range of physiological, psychosocial, and genetic outcomes in chronic disease.  He is currently conducting the following studies:  (1) aloe vera and other micronutrients on Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis; (2) food sensitivity testing study on disease-specific symptoms in weight loss, headaches, and stomach problems; (3) gingko Biloba, grape seed and green tea extract, and other micronutrients on cognition in healthy, elderly adults; (4) combined aerobic and strengthening exercise training study on metabolic syndrome variables in HIV; (5) comparing bio-electrical impedance to a standardized assessment on cardiac output and body composition; (6) methylated vitamin B complex on depression; (7) rice bran and Shiitake mushroom on immune system functioning in healthy adults; (8) vitamin D on inflammation, bone mineral density, and quality of life in elderly adults; (9) pulsed electromagnetic frequency device on chronic knee pain; and (10) magnesium sulfate on treatment-resistant depression.
Nagi Ayad Ph.D.
Laboratory for Molecular Neuroendocrinology & Neurotransmitters; cancer

Sara J. Czaja Ph.D.
Sara J. Czaja is a Leonard M. Miller Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She holds secondary appointments in Industrial Engineering, Psychology and Neurology at the University of Miami. She is also the Director of the Center on Aging at the University of Miami and the Director of the Center on Research and Education for Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE).  The focus of CREATE is on making technology more accessible, useful, and usable for older adults. Dr. Czaja has extensive experience in aging research and a long commitment to developing strategies to improve the quality of life for older adults. Her research interests include: aging and cognition, aging and healthcare access, family caregiving, aging and technology, and functional assessment. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and the Gerontological Society of America. She served as a member of the Technical Advisory Panel of the APA Presidential Task Force on Integrative Healthcare for an Aging Population. In addition, she is a member of the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences Board on Human Systems Integration.

Sari Izenwasser, Ph.D.
Dr. Sari Izenwasser’s lab is focused on studying the effects of drugs of abuse and include both behavioral and neurochemical studies. Current research interests include studying the effects of addictive drugs, such as cocaine, ecstasy, nicotine and marijuana in males and females during adolescence, a developmental period of increased vulnerability to drug addiction. Other projects in the lab are focused on the development of new compounds as potential medications to be used as treatments for psychostimulant and marijuana abuse. 

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Psychology

Please note: If you are a Psychology major or are taking a research for credit class in Psychology, you need to apply through the Psychology Department.

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Spanish and Latin American Studies

Lillian Manzor, Ph.D.
“My interdisciplinary research focuses on the use of new technologies in the creation of theater archives with a focus on Cuba, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Working at the intersection of Humanities and Digital Media, the Cuban Theater Digital Archive (www.cubantheater.org) is a unique digital collection of theater resources that includes materials digitized and filmed in Cuba, as well as resources and information related to Cuban theater in the diaspora with a special focus on theater produced by the Cuban community in the United States. Research involves working with primary theatrical materials at the library, preparing and conducting oral history projects, digitizing, editing, analyzing and writing about filmed theatrical productions, in Spanish or English, as well as analyzing scripts and photographs. My research also includes a forthcoming book on performance and politics in U.S.-Cuban communities. We are looking for students who have some of the following skills: reading knowledge of Spanish; film, video editing, and/or new media; GIS and/or mapping tools; computer programming and interest in the arts; interest in theater.”
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Surgery

David Robbins, Ph.D.
“The Hedgehog (Hh) signal transduction pathway plays a critical role in both early development and in cancer.  In fact, mutations in components of this pathway underlie a number of human developmental disorders, and contribute to a broad range of malignancies.  Besides numerous developmental abnormalities, individuals afflicted with Gorlin’s syndrome have an inherited predisposition to a variety of tumor types.  Components of the Hh signaling pathway are also found mutated in sporadic forms of these same tumors, underlying the importance of the Hh pathway in human oncogenesis.
The mechanism by which this pathway contributes to oncogenesis remains unknown.  My research program is focused on elucidating Hh’s mechanism of action.  This goal is approached in two ways: 1) elucidating the production and presentation of the Hh ligand, and 2) dissecting the signaling pathway downstream of the Hh receptor.  We are studying this pathway in both developmental and pathological settings, making our research highly complementary and mutually supporting. Such an approach will more rapidly decipher the mechanism by which the Hh pathway contributes to human oncogenesis.”

Kenneth Proctor, Ph.D.
Professor of Surgery and Anesthesiology
In 1999, a report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science summarized the state of the art for civilian and military trauma care.  Despite all the advances in other areas of medicine in the 20th century, there had been relatively few fundamental changes in initial care and treatment of the severely injured trauma patient over the same time period.  With the support of the Department of Defense, the purpose of our 21rst century research program is to develop new training methods, and to evaluate novel monitoring and therapeutic strategies for civilian and military patients with traumatic injuries.  We are proud to participate in the training of every US Army Forward Surgical Teams deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11.  In addition, we are conducting approximately fifteen different clinical trials and reviews of various management protocols to develop new,and to modify existing, evidence-based guidelines for trauma care.  Each of these projects is led by a dedicated surgical research fellow who is assisted by a team consisting of other physicians, nurses, medical students, and/or undergraduate student volunteers.

Omaida C. Velazquez, MD
Dr. Velazquez is the Principal Investigator of a NIH-funded basic science laboratory that investigates endothelial cell biology, angiogenesis, and vasculogenesis. The long term goal of Dr. Velazquez’s research is to develop novel tools and approaches to treat various peripheral artery diseases (PAD) including lower extremity arterial occlusive disease and diabetes-related wound healing defects. Current studies focus on regulating bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to contribute to neovascularization, wound healing, and repair of atherosclerosis plaque. Her clinical expertise focuses on endovascular and other minimally invasive approaches in the surgical treatment of vascular diseases. She has extensive expertise in both open and endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms, open and endovascular treatments for carotid, mesenteric, and renal stenosis and novel treatments for critical limb ischemia.

Xin-Hai Pei, Ph.D.
Dr. Pei’s research is primarily focused on how cell cycle inhibitors control adult stem cells and tumorigenesis in multiple organs. He is very interested in how tumor suppressors (Brca1, Pten, Men1) and transcription factors (GATA3, Bmi1) regulate and collaborate with the INK4 family of CDK inhibitors to control cell proliferation, differentiation, and tumorigenesis.  Dr. Pei discovered that p18Ink4c is a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor and that its function is wholly dependent on Cdk4.  He demonstrated that p18Ink4c collaborates with Men1 to suppress neuroendocrine tumorigenesis.  He also discovered that p19Ink4d controls pituitary anterior lobe cell proliferation and tumorigenesis, which is independent of Cdk4.  He identified that p18Ink4c is a downstream target of GATA3, constrains luminal progenitor cell expansion, and suppresses luminal tumorigenesis in the mammary gland.  He further discovered that germline mutation of Brca1 alters the fate of mammary luminal cells, and that Brca1 suppresses EMT and stem cell dedifferentiation during mammary and tumor development. In addition, he demonstrated that CUL9/PARC, a p53-binding E3 ligase, is a tumor suppressor gene, and that it ubiquitylates Survivin to maintain genome integrity.

Zhao-Jun Liu, MD., Ph.D.
“My research interests span two areas. One of my research interests focuses on signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms involved in tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis. Current research is directed toward elucidation of the Notch signaling pathway and how dysregulation of this pathway leads to melanocytic transformation and melanoma progression. Moreover, I am interested in targeting tumor microenvironment; in particular, stromal fibroblasts and tumor vasculatures, through manipulating Notch signaling. My lab has recently identified Notch signaling to be a critical molecular switch in determining biological function of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF), and demonstrated that tumor-promoting role of CAF can be re-programmed and converted into tumor suppressor if Notch pathway is activated. The major goal of my research is to determine if Notch pathway could be a potential therapeutic target for melanoma treatment. An additional research interest of mine is to investigate the role of Notch signaling in angiogenesis and vascular diseases, including atherosclerosis and aortic aneurysm, as well as the signals and mechanisms underlying homing of endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) and mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) to wound and tumor tissues.”

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