GSBS Research Opportunities | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
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Research Opportunities Available

Below are descriptions of research projects of faculty who are planning to accept new rotation students in the current academic year (2023-2024). This list is updated annually in the summer and may be referenced for students or others seeking a TTUHSC faculty research mentor. Importantly, rotating graduate students should take note of how likely the faculty members are to accept students into their laboratories, based on the availability of space and/or funding—or whether the experience is available for educational purposes only.

Faculty Name   Research Area/Project Title Keywords
Almodovar, Sharilyn * Our lab investigates the impact of viruses like Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and coronaviruses on pulmonary vascular cell biology and function. We work to increase the understanding of HIV evolution in the lung and its implications in lung comorbidities. We are also interested in alternate cellular sources of HIV in the lungs, and mechanisms of HIV-associated vascular comorbidities in the context of drug abuse. Our research approaches utilize bioengineering partnerships, mice with humanized immune systems, and cell co-cultures in vitro.  Infectious diseases, pulmonary vascular diseases, HIV, respiratory virology
Bailoo, Jeremy * I am a Developmental Psychobiologist who studies animals to gain insight into how genetic and environmental factors contribute to individual differences in health and welfare across lifespan. My research is organized under three core areas. The first evaluates how exposure to environmental toxins in diet, such as arsenic, are associated with presentation of behavioral and physiological correlates of neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. The second evaluates evaluates whether the manner in which we house and care for laboratory animals affects their welfare, the validity of the models for which they are used, and the generalizability and reproducibility of experimental results derived from such use. The third is focused on the refinement of existing as well as the development of novel behavioral phenotyping tasks for use in health-related biomedical research and for assessments of animal welfare. As a mentor and educator, I am committed to providing access to opportunities for groups underrepresented in science. As an academic, I am committed to engaging in public education and dialogue with the goal of contributing to local and broad efforts to improve understanding and protect public interests in humane and ethical scientific research. Animal Welfare, Animal Cognition, Behavioral Neuroscience,Environmental Toxicology, Research Ethics and Policy
Decourt, Boris * Alzheimer's disease and neurodegenerative disorders pharmacotherapies. We carry out translational projects from initial testing of drug candidates in cell cultures, then in transgenic mice, and, if results are positive, up to human subjects in clinical trials. W also process, store, and analyze human biofluid samples (e.g. blood, saliva) for biomarker development. Alzheimer's disease, biomarker development, cell cultures, clinical trials, dementia, drug development, multiple sclerosis, rural cohort, transgenic mice
Guan, Lan * Structural biology of cancer-related nutrient transporters for drug development; mechanism of solute transport. CryoEM single-particle analysis, ligand binding, protein-protein interaction, transport biochemistry, molecular microbiology
Guindon, Josee * Mechanisms of Modulating  Acute, Chronic and Cancer Pain Pathways Using Physiological Processes, Reference Compounds, and Endocannabinoid Modulators Inflammatory, surgical, chemotherapy and cancer pain models; behavioral pharmacology; immunohistochemistry; molecular biology
Hardy, Daniel   Evolution of protein structure and function in animal fertilization. Sex differences in connective tissue maintenance and repair underlying injury susceptibility. Sperm protein biotechnology species-specificity; molecular evolution; cell adhesion; matrix metalloproteinases; gene expression profiling
Jansen, Michaela *  
Mechanisms, functions and drug targets of neurotransmitter receptors and their protein networks. Mechanisms of clinically used drugs and novel drug target discovery and characterization.
Drug targets, protein-protein interactions, molecular pharmacology, molecular biology, pharmacology
Kang, Min * Mechanisms of Drug Resistance in Pediatric Cancers: MYC is one of the oncogenes dysregulated in many cancers. Our lab is investigating modalities of targeting MYC. Pharmacology is one of the essential areas of drug development. Our pharmacology laboratory studies drug ADME in clinical and preclinical studies. chemoresistance; pediatric cancers; molecular pharmacology; BCL-2; MYC
Karamyshev, Andrey   Molecular mechanisms of human diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, regulation of protein synthesis and protein transport. Molecular and cellular biology; human diseases; neurodegenerative disorders; translational control; protein synthesis; ribosome; RNA stability and degradation; protein quality control
Karamysheva, Zemfira   Fundamental mechanisms of gene expression regulation and its dysregulation in human diseases. Translational control in protozoa and mammalian organisms. Molecular mechanisms of drug resistance. Ribosome specialization, polysome profiling, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, Leishmania parasites, antimony drug resistance, environmental stressors and human diseases.
Koneru, Balakrishna   Cancer Developmental Therapeutics, Targeting Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres in Osteosarcoma using Novel Drugs, Drug Combinations and Antibody Drug Conjugates Osteosarcoma, Pediatric Cancers, Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres, Telomere Maintenance Mechanisms, Antibody Drug Conjugates , Novel Drugs and Combinations
Lawrence, J. Josh * Nutrigenomics and cellular/synaptic physiology in Alzheimer’s disease, with emphasis on maintaining learning and memory circuits over lifespan. Nutritional deficiencies, excitation/inhibition balance, electrophysiology, GABAergic neurons, circuit analysis, learning tests, transcriptomics, multi-omics, epigenetics, neuromodulation, aging, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, autism
Li, Dawei   Our Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics Lab is seeking PhD and MD/PhD students in genomic sequencing data (e.g., genome, transcriptome, methylome, etc.) analyses and pipeline development (e.g., integrative multi-omics analyses, transposable element analyses, etc.) to join our new lab and planned new center for genomic medicine. Please check our lab ( for detail. Genomics; Sequencing; Bioinformatics; Data-analysis; Software Development
Liang, Henry   Membrane protein-mediated transport and recognition performance in artificial systems; Development of novel antimicrobials with high activity, low toxicity, and target specificity; Drug delivery for cancer therapy; Nanodiscs. Antibiotics and biofilms; drug delivery; biomembranes and biomimetic membranes; membrane protein bionanotechnology; nanodiscs.
Nandana, Srinivas * Signaling mechanisms that drive Prostate Cancer (PCa) Progression and Metastasis. A current focus area in the lab is investigating the role of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) particularly Exosomes in PCa progression and creating a metastatic niche Prostate Cancer, Bone Metastatic progression, Signaling Mechanisms, Extracellular Vesicles, Exosomes, Mouse Models of tumor progression and metastasis
Neugebauer, Volker   Brain research: Neuroplasticity in clinically relevant conditions such as chronic pain with a particular focus on neuroimmune signaling and neuropeptides. Neuroplasticity, translational neuroscience, preclinical disease models, neuroimmune signaling, optogenetics, chemogenetics, pharmacology, behavior, electrophysiology, multiphoton calcium imaging, confocal microscopy. 
Noureen, Nighat * Understanding the role of telomerase in cancer and normal tissues, Mining the cancer and normal genome to identify oncogenic patterns and those associated with therapy resistance, Developing new tools to effectively mine big data Bioinformatics, Omics, Tools Development, Cancer Genomics
Palle, Kumar * Cancer biology, drug discovery, preclinical models and therapeutics development Cancer biology; DNA repair, cancer signaling; therapeutics development; chemoresistance; ovarian cancer; breast cancer, colorectal cancer 
Ponomarev, Igor   Neuroimmune signaling in Alcohol Use Disorder and comorbid conditions: The role of specific brain cell types. Brain mechanisms of alcohol and drug abuse, Neurogenomics, Epigenomics, Single cell sequencing, Bioinformatics
Reddy, Hemachandra   The Molecular and Cellular Bases of Aging in Age-related Neurodegenerative Diseases, Human Healthy Aging and AD Studies, Caregivers and AD/ADRD in Hispanics, African Americans Studies, Diabetes/Obesity Mouse and Human Studies, Drug Discovery Preclinical and Clinical Studies. Neurogenetics; mouse models; neurodegenerative diseases; aging; mitochondria; oxidative stress; mitochondrial therapeutics
Reynolds, Patrick *  Cancer Developmental Therapeutics Childhood cancers (neuroblastoma, sarcomas, brain tumors) and adult cancers (breast cancer and sarcomas); telomere maintenance and  DNA repair mechanisms as biomarkers and drug targets.  Antibody therapy.
Thomas, Jeffrey H. * Cell Shape Change and Movement in Development; Regulation of the Cytoskeleton; Src Signal Transduction morphogenesis; embryonic development; cell shape change; actomyosin dynamics; cytoskeleton
Tripathi, Manisha * Multi-approach strategy that involves Computational and Experimental analyses to understand the Cellular and Molecular drivers of disease progression in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and Prostate Cancer (PCa). Two focus areas in the lab are: 1) to identify therapeutic targets for BPH using Computational and Experimental approaches; and 2) to investigate the Stromal and Immune Microenvironments in understanding disease pathology of the Prostate. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, Prostate Cancer, Tumor Microenvironment, Disease Associated Fibroblasts, Disease Associated Macrophages
Urbatsch, Ina * Understanding Polyspecific Drug Binding in P-glycoprotein ABC transporter function; multi-drug resistance; genetic disease
Wang, Hongmin   Proteostasis in Alzheimer’s Disease, FOXOs in Ischemic Stroke, Discovery of Alzheimer’s Disease Biomarkers, Modeling and Treating Neurodegenerative Diseases with Stem Cells  ABC transporter function; multidrug resistance; genetic disease
Wiener, Michael * Bacterial Outer Membrane Active Transport: Fundamental Structure/Function Studies & Application to Discovery of Novel Antibacterial Drugs Structural biology, protein biochemistry, membrane biophysics, bacteriology, bioinformatics, drug discovery

*Asterisk shows faculty pays student health insurance

Faculty Name   Location Research Area/Project Title Keywords
Abbruscato, Thomas   Amarillo Our Lab has broad interest in approaches to understand the mechanisms by which the neurovascular unit responds to brain ischemia with respect to transport protein expression, cell-cell interactions, and the transport of drugs, ions and nutrients that are vital for brain recovery after stroke. We utilize a variety of in vitro and in vivo blood-brain barrier, stroke and neuropathic pain models to both measure drug and nutrient uptake/transport and to characterize the mechanisms involved in the maintenance of the paracellular barrier during pathophysiologic states. We also study the neurovascular impact of nicotine exposure from emerging tobacco products, including prenatal exposure. Blood-brain barrier; brain drug discovery; brain drug delivery, stroke, nicotine, pain
German, Nadezhda   Amarillo Design, synthesis, and evaluation of compounds with potential utilization for treating CNS disorders.  Medicinal chemistry, pain, opioid ligands, cannabinoids, chemotherapy-induced pain, neuroinflammation.
Karbowniczek, Magdalena   Abilene Cancer biology and signaling, molecular pathology, pathogenesis of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), mechanisms regulating pre-metastatic niche. Contribution of Notch signaling, TP53 polymorphism and extracellular vesicle (exosomes) pathway in TSC tumorigenesis, cancer metastasis, cell phenotype/fate modifications. In collaboration: Innate Immunity; Tumor Immunology; Cancer Immunotherapy Cancer Biology and Signaling; Extracellular Vesicles (exosomes); Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC); Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM); Renal carcinoma; Innate Immunity; Tumor Immunology; Cancer Immunotherapy
Markiewski, Maciej   Abilene Prognostic biomarkers of breast and gastrointestinal malignancies, inflammatory mechanisms leading to extravasation of leukocytes, functions of complement and innate immunity in liver regeneration and liver pathologies, contributions of complement to pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis, sepsis, respiratory disorders, kidney disorders and cancer. Contributed to the original discovery of complement as mechanism of tumor-driven immunosuppression (Nature Immunology 2008, Markiewski et al.) that initiated several studies on a role of complement in cancer and ultimately led to the first clinical trial of complement-based anticancer therapy. Research laboratory focusing on a role of complement in cancer.  Complement Biology; Innate Immunity; Tumor Immunology; Cancer Biology; Cancer Immunotherapy
Obeng, Samuel * Amarillo Our lab focuses on investigating novel treatments for substance use disorders and pain. We use in vitro models like receptor binding and functional assays, and behavioral models like drug discrimination and self-administration procedures to identify novel compounds and understand the mechanisms of action of novel treatments for pain and substance use disorders. Opioid addiction, substance use disorder, pain, receptor binding assay, GPCR functional assays, drug discrimination, self-administration, respiratory depression, antinociception.
Srivastava, Sanjay   Abilene My laboratory is interested in understanding the mechanism of resistance of several chemotherapeutic drugs at the molecular level in breast, pancreatic and brain cancer. Using novel compounds or drugs, we are trying to modulate tumor microenvironment to make immunologically cold tumors into hot tumors for immunotherapy. In addition, we are repurposing non-cancer drugs for cancer therapy, and have successfully used anti-malarial, anti-helminthic and anti-psychotic drugs for cancer. Cancer Biology; Experimental Therapeutics; Molecular Pharmacology; Cancer Chemotherapeutics; Cancer Chemoprevention; Immunotherapy; Toxicological Evaluation; Drug Repurposing; Drug Resistance; Cell Signaling
Triplett, Todd   Abilene Research focused on T cell responses to pediatric leukemias and the challenges for finding cancer immunotherapies targeting T cells to treat malignancies of the same origin such as T-All and how distinct tumor microenvironments impact the generation of leukemia-specific T cell responses  Immunology, T cells, leukemia, cancer immunotherapy 
Wang, Ming-Hai   Amarillo Preclinical/clinical development of antibody-based biotherapeutics such as antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) targeting receptor tyrosine kinases for cancer therapy. Our focus is on: 1) ADC generation & characterization; 2) Therapeutic efficacy validation in both in vitro and in vivo models; 3) ADC pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles; and 4) ADC toxicological activities in animals.   Receptor tyrosine kinases; Antibody-drug conjugates; Anticancer therapeutic efficacy; Pharmacokinetic profiles; Toxicological activities; Animal tumor models.  
Wilkerson, Jenny * Amarillo Project title: Examination of sex hormone alteration on post-operative pain development and treatment; pain, drug addiction/dependence, neuropharmacology, natural product pharmacology behavioral pharmacology, pain, preclinical research

*Asterisk shows faculty pays student health insurance