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NameEmailPhD ProgramResearch InterestPublications
Schrank, Travis

EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pathobiology & Translational Science

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Cancer Signaling & Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, Computational Biology, Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Molecular Biology, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Translational Medicine, Virology

I am a surgeon-scientist specialized in head and neck cancers. My goal is to address translationalquestions with genomic data and bioinformatic methods, as well as benchtop experimentation. My clinical practice as a head and neck cancer surgeon also influences my research by helping me seek solutions to problems that will directly inform gaps in the current treatment protocols.

I have developed a strong interest in HPV genomics as well as HPV/host genome integrations, as these factors are intrinsically related to transcriptional diversity and patient outcomes in HPV-associated head and neck cancers. Our work has helped to demonstrate that a novel mechanism of HPV-mediated oncogenesis requiring NF-kB activation is present in nearly 50% of oropharyngeal tumors. In this vein, we are aggressively investigating the cellular interplay between the NF-kB pathway and persistent HPV infection, tumor radiation response, NRF2 signaling, and more.

Another outgrowth of this work has been investigating APOBEC3B and its non-canonical roles in regulating transcription. Our preliminary work has demonstrated that APOBEC3B has surprisingly strong transcriptional effects in HPV+ HNSCC cells and may promote oncogenesis and tumor maintenance by suppressing the innate immune response and influencing the HPV viral lifecycle.

Our group also have a strong interest in translational genomic studies. Our group is working to develop methods that will make gene expression-based biomarkers more successful in the clinic, as well as studying many aspects of genomic alterations that contribute to the development of squamous cell carcinomas.

Popov, Konstantin
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biochemistry & Biophysics, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Biophysics, Drug Discovery

The Popov Lab develops inventive, cutting-edge approaches to solve problems in modern computational structural biology and drug discovery. Their computational research, in collaboration with experimental screening and medicinal chemistry efforts in the Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery enables the identification of novel chemical probes and drug candidates to advance understanding of biological processes.

Chung, Kay
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Cancer Biology, Cancer Immunology, Cancer Signaling & Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, Computational Biology, Gene Therapy, Immunology, Molecular Biology, Signal Transduction, Systems Biology, Translational Medicine, Virology

The Chung lab is engineering immune cells, particularly T cells, to achieve maximum therapeutic efficacy at the right place and timing. We explore the crossroads of synthetic biology, immunology, and cancer biology. Particularly, we are employing protein engineering, next-gen sequencing, CRISPR screening, and bioinformatics to achieve our objectives:

(1) Combinatorial recipes of transcription factors for T cell programming.

(2) Technologies for temporal regulation and/or rewiring of tumor and immune signal activation (chemokine, nuclear, inhibitor receptors).

(3) Synthetic oncolytic virus for engineering tumor-T cell crosstalk.

Pruitt, Kevin
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pharmacology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Cancer Biology, Cancer Genomics, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Epigenetics & Chromatin Biology, Immunology, Pharmacology

Pruitt lab research involves 3 broad areas. Interest in the first area (cancer epigenetics) stemmed from discoveries made during postdoctoral training assessing how tumor progression disrupts epigenetic mechanisms of control. The second area (Wnt pathway regulation) was the result of early screens as an Assistant Professor at LSU Health Sciences Center. We uncovered novel regulators of oncogenic Wnt signaling and published the first observation that epigenetic enzymes regulate a critical mediator of Wnt signaling (Dishevelled). The third project involves elucidating mechanisms of aromatase regulation which emerged from the obsession of early trainees in the lab with understanding mechanisms cancer-associated estrogen biosynthesis. Within the context of these three projects, I have mentored and guided multiple trainees at every level over the course of 17 years.

Liu, Qingyun

EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bacteriology, Bioinformatics, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Microscopy/Imaging, Molecular Biology, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Pathogenesis & Infection

Traditionally, basic science has sought to enter the translational pipeline through what can be referred to as “Bottom-Up” science, that is, studies that start with a hypothesis in the lab and aim to develop clinical relevance of the findings. In some cases, notably in conventional antibiotic development, this has worked well – but it assumes one-size fits all solutions that are only as good as our assumptions about the biology of many infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. By contrast, my research focuses on a “Top-Down” approach, leveraging the power of bacterial population genomics to identify bacterial processes important for Mtb success in people and to then employ cutting-edge experimental techniques to mechanistically dissect these processes with the goal of leveraging them using new translational tools.

In my work to date, I have applied this “Top-Down” strategy to define bacterial determinants of treatment outcomes and transmission success, as evident in first-author/corresponding author publications in prestigious journals such as Science, Nature Ecology Evolution, Cell Host Microbe, Science Advances, Genome Biology, PNAS, etc. My work combines expertise in evolutionary biology and bacterial genomics, cutting-edge bacterial genetics and high-throughput experimental phenotyping.

In my own lab, I will use these tools to (1) define the biological mechanisms that enable Mtb to survive antibiotic treatment; (2) identify bacterial determinants of TB transmission success; and (3) elucidate the evolutionary mechanisms underlying the emergence of new bacterial pathogens.

Landis, Justin

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Virology

“I am passionate about developing new tools or models for visualizing and analyzing biological data. I am interested in understanding the pathogenesis of cancer-causing viruses through various NGS technologies.”

Kenney, Grace

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Genomics

“I am interested in the application and development of bioinformatic tools for high-throughput genomic data analysis to answer questions in functional genomics. I am particularly interested in multi-omic data integration to understand epigenomic and transcriptomic mechanisms responsible for cell fate decisions. I enjoy taking an interdisciplinary approach to my projects, working in both the wet and dry lab when possible.”

Huang, Emma

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Genetics

“I would like to focus on developing statistical methods for modeling the effect of genetic variation among immunologic phenotypes in lung diseases, especially asthma.”

Kavalipati, Archishma

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Genomics

“My primary interest is understanding the functions of intronic DNA sequences and noncoding RNA. I’m interested in contributing to the development of methods and algorithms to uncover these functions with respect to their role in human disease. Specific areas of interest include cancer development and women’s health.”

Fisher, Caleb

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Structural Biology

“Broadly, I have an interest in studying enzymology and structural biology to answer questions related to immune and metabolism diseases such as cancer. I think that advancing our understanding of such diseases requires structure-function studies of large protein families, such as GPCRS, to be driven by bioinformatics paired with fundamental biochemistry. A particular question I’m curious about is how the structure of such enzymes contribute to the big-picture of cellular dynamics? More specifically, how does regulation of enzymes change their structural dynamics and how does this fit into the big-picture phenomena of disease?”