Graduate Faculty


Graduate Faculty for the Master's and Ph.D. in Biological Sciences programs are listed alphabetically below. These faculty may mentor students and serve on student supervisory committees. There are faculty listed with primary appointments in other departments and Carolinas Medical Centers who may also mentor a student in our program and serve on student supervisory committees. These faculty are listed under their respective departments. A brief description of area of research expertise also is given. Click on each name to view more information. 

Department of Biological Sciences

Richard J. Chi, Assistant Professor. Ph.D., Florida State University.  Molecular and Cell Biology. Membrane trafficking, yeast genetics, protein biochemistry, molecular biology and live cell fluorescence microscopy. 

Tuan Cao, Lecturer, Ph.D. Associate member of graduate faculty who may co-mentor a Master's student and serve on any graduate student committeeBehavioral and physiological ecology and the evolution of cooperation in social insects.

Kausik Chakrabarti. Assistant Professor. Ph.D., University of Calcutta, India. Genome replication, dynamic structure of telomerase,  mRNA folding in translational control of human parasitic and viral diseases.

Didier Dréau, Associate Professor. Ph.D., College of Agriculture of Rennes, France. Mechanisms of Cancer Metastasis, Vascular and Immune Interactions During Cancer Growth.

Kristen Funk, Assistant Professor. Ph.D., The Ohio State University. Neuroimmune system in brain aging processes, cognitive function, and neurodegeneration; Alzheimer's disease; neuroinfectious diseases.

Valery Grdzelishvili, Professor. Ph.D., Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia. Molecular virology, virus-host interactions, virus-based vectors.

Eugenia Lo, Assistant Professor. Ph.D., malaria life cycle.

Paola C. López-Duarte, Assistant Professor. Ph.D., Florida Institue of Technology. Behavior and ecology of invertebrates and fish, larval population connectivity, food web interactions in coastal communities.

Ian Marriott, Professor. Ph.D., Tulane University. The initiation of immune responses.

Pinku Mukherjee, Professor. Ph.D., University of London, UK. Cancer Biology and Immunology.

Dan A. Nelson, Research Associate Professor. Ph.D., Florida State University.Associate member of graduate faculty who may co-mentor a Master's student and serve on any graduate student committeeTachykinin expression and function. 

Matthew Parrow, Associate Professor. Ph.D., North Carolina State University. Eukaryotic microbial ecology and physiology; biology of harmful algae.

Ken Piller, Research Associate Professor. Ph.D., University of Illinois, Chicago. Associate member of graduate faculty who may co-mentor a Master's student and serve on any graduate student committeePlant biotechnology, edible vaccine development.

Christine Richardson, Professor. Ph.D., Columbia University Medical Sciences. DNA recombination and repair, genome stability, chromosomal rearrangements, ecotoxicology in mammals, leukemia, ovarian cancer biomarkers and targeted nanoparticle therapy. 

Adam Reitzel, Associate Professor.  Ph.D., Boston University. Evolution and ecology of coastal invertebrates using comparative genomics, molecular biology, population genetics, evolutionary ecology, and field studies.

Bao-Hua Song,  Associate Professor.  Ph.D., Beijing Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China. Plant evolutionary and ecological genetics and genomics.

Todd R. Steck, Associate Professor. Ph.D., University of Rochester. Microbial molecular genetics, environmental microbiology, bacterial source tracking.

Junya Tomida, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Kyoto Univeristy, Japan. DNA repair, mechanisms of carcinogenesis and metastasis in prostate and breast cancers.

Andrew W. Truman, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., University of London, UK. Understanding the role of molecular chaperones in cancer using quantitative proteomics, molecular biology, systems biology and model organisms.

Jennifer Warner, Teaching Professor, Ph.D. Associate member of graduate faculty who may co-mentor a Master's student and serve on any graduate student committee.

Chandra Williams, Adjunct Professor, Vetrinarian. DVM, Tuskegee University. Associate member of graduate faculty who ay co-mentor a Master's student and serve on any graduate student committee. Animal models, animal surgery, pharmakokinetic studies, in vivo imaging.

Carrie Wells, Lecturer. Ph.D., Clemson University. Associate member of graduate faculty who may co-mentor a Master's student and serve on any graduate student committee.

Ellen Wisner, Lecturer. Ph.D., Syracuse University. Associate member of graduate faculty who may co-mentor a Master's student and serve on any graduate student committeeBehavioral ecology, sexual selection and the evolution of communication in birds

Tingting Xiang, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing, China. Molecular basis of coral-algal symbiosis; toxin biosynthesis in red tide dinoflagellates using large scale genomics approaches and cell biology and genetics

Shan Yan, Professor. Ph.D., Fudan University, Shanghai, China. Oxidative DNA damage, replication stress, and DNA repair of single-strand breaks. Developmental biology of Xenopus.

Ru Zhou, Research Assistant Professor. Ph.D. Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Shanghai, China. Associate member of graduate faculty who may co-mentor a Master's student and serve on any graduate student committee. Cancer immunotherapy against solid tumors.

Department of Chemistry

Kirill Afonin, Assistant Professor. Ph.D., Bowling Green State University, Center for Photochemical Sciences. Computational and experimental RNA biology, mainly on studying RNA nanotechnology with potential diagnostic and therapeutic applications to biomedicine

Jerry Troutman, Assistant Professor. Ph.D., University of Kentucky Medical Center. Biochemistry of polymeric sugars called polysaccharides that coat the surface of specific bacteria; interactions between symbiotic gut microbes and their mammalian hosts

Juan-Luis Vivero-Escoto, Assistant Professor, Ph.D. Design, and synthesis of novel hybrid inorganic-organic materials for biomedical applications

Department of Kinesiology

Susan Arthur, Associate Professor. Ph.D., University of Toledo. The influence of classic developmental signaling pathways on young and aged adult skeletal muscle stem cells using physiological stimuli models of muscle injury; injurious exercise, in situ skeletal muscle lengthening, synergistic ablation.

Luke Dovovan, Assistant Professor, Ph.D. Utilization of an impairment-based rehabilitation model for the treatment of chronic ankle instability (CAI) and further refining the model by creating novel gait re-training and rehabilitation interventions to improve long-term function in patients with CAI. 

Reuben Howden, Associate Professor. Ph.D., De Montfort University, UK. Pulmonary control, blood pressure and heart rate control, exercise physiology. 

Yvette Huet, Professor. Ph.D., University of Kansas Medical School. Reproductive and developmental biology.

Joseph Marino, Assistant Professor. Ph.D., University of Virginia. Insulin resistance, mechanisms that alter the ability of skeletal muscle to adapt to various types of stress, such as exercise.

Abbey Fenwick Thomas, Assistant Professor, Ph.D. Long-term consequences of knee injury; neuromuscular and biomechanical assessment techniques including transcranial magnetic stimulation and 3D motion capture to better understand how knee injuries translate to post-traumatic osteoarthritis so that we may better treat affected individuals and improve long-term health outcomes. 

Tricia Hubbard Turner, Associate Professor. Ph.D., Penn State University. Chronic ankle instability, mechanical instability, lower extremity pathology.

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Hansong Cho, Assistant Professor. Ph.D., Bioengineering University of California Berkeley. Brain on chip systematic biology of neurodegeneration and cancer; nanoplasmonics for optgenetics and optofluidics.

Gloria Elliott, Professor. Ph.D. Michigan State University. Cryo- and anhydro-biology; cell and tissue preservation; protein stabilization; green chemistry and engineering; biocompatible materials development and biofuels.

Department of Physics and Optical Sciences

Yuri Nesmelov, Assistant Professor. Ph.D. Physics and Mathematics - Kazan State University, Kazan, Russian Federation. Biological molecular motors, elecron paramagnetic resonance/EPR, transient time-resolved fluorescence resonce energy transfer/TR2FRET

Irina Nesmelova, Assistant Professor. Ph.D. Kazan State University, Russia. Structure/function and dynamics of biological macromolecules. Interdisciplinary approach combines experimental spectroscopic methods, modeling, and basic biochemistry

Levine Cancer Institute and Canon Research Center at the Carolinas Medical Center

Belinda Avalos, Adjunct Professor, Vice Chair of Hematologic Oncology and Blood Disorders. M.D., The Ohio State University. Clinical and translational research in hematopoiesis, leukemogenesis, cytokines and resceptors, and the innate immune system.

Farah Bahrani-Mougeot, Adjunct Associate Professor, Research Group Director, Oral Medicine Laboratory. Ph.D., University of Maryland School of Medicine. Oral infections, bacterial communities

Qi Lu, Adjunct Professor, Director and Senior Scientist McColl Lockwood Laboratory for Muscular Dystrophy Research. M.D. - Ph.D. Shanghai Medical University, Shanghai, China.

Jean-Luc Mougeot, Adjunct Professor, Research Group Director, Translational Genomics and Computational Biology, Dept Oral Medicine. Ph.D. Universite Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.

David Tait, Adjunct Professor, Associate Director of Gynecologic Oncology. M.D., University of Tennesee. Gynecological oncology, ovarian cancer treatment, detection, and biomarkers.