Mentors


Biology

Dr. Anthony Burgos-Robles
Anthony Burgos-Robles, Ph.D.

Anthony.Burgos-Robles@utsa.edu

The main interest of Dr. Burgos-Robles' lab is to understand alterations on brain function by psychological stress. Using animal models, the lab uses sophisticated tools to evaluate the evolution of stress-induced alterations in the activity of discrete neural populations and circuits. Particularly, they focus on limbic regions such as the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex, which are necessary for emotional learning, as well as their projections to key downstream regions that promote aversive and rewarding behavior, such as the periaqueductal gray and the nucleus accumbens, respectively.

Dr. Melanie Carless
Melanie Carless, Ph.D.

Melanie.Carless@utsa.edu

Research focuses on identifying genetic and epigenetic factors associated with complex diseases, and in understanding how these might contribute to disease risk, and be leveraged as potential novel therapies. Dr. Carless is particularly interested in how epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, DNA hydroxymethylation, and microRNAs contribute to gene regulation, and consequently risk for metabolic disorders and neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Dr. Mark Eppinger
Mark Eppinger, Ph.D.

Mark.Eppinger@utsa.edu

The focus of my research is on the application of microbial genomics to address fundamental questions in emerging infectious diseases. My current interests are directed towards large-scale sequencing and phylogenomic studies investigating major public health threats, such as the causative agents of plague and cholera, Yersinia pestis and Vibrio cholerae, and the dominant cause of food-borne disease in North America, Escherichia coli O157:H7. Experimental approaches include Microbial Genome Sequencing, Phylogenomics, and Pathogenicity.

Dr. Brian Hermann
Brian Hermann, Ph.D.

Brian.Hermann@utsa.edu

Student projects in my lab will revolve around cell-fate decisions in Spermatogonial Stem Cells (SSC). SSCs are adult-tissue stem cells in the mammalian testis that balance self renewing and differentiating fate decisions to give rise to and sustain the entire spermatogenic lineage. The molecular mechanisms that control these fate decisions in SSCs are largely unknown transcriptional programs critical for SSC function. We are testing the hypothesis that specific transcription factors form regulatory networks to execute gene expression programs important for SSC fate decisions (self-renewal and differentiation), and ultimately, spermatogenesis. My laboratory also studies fertility preservation in male cancer patients.

Dr. Jenny Hsieh
Jenny Hsieh, Ph.D.

Jenny.Hsieh@utsa.edu

The Hsieh laboratory is a neural stem cell biology laboratory that focuses on 4 major areas: (1) epilepsy-in-a-dish, (2) 3D cerebral organoids, (3) patient recruitment, and (4) mechanisms of adult neurogenesis.

Dr. Soo Chan Lee
Soo Chan Lee, Ph.D.

Soochan.Lee@utsa.edu

My laboratory studies mucormycosis, an emerging fungal infection that poses serious threats to public health. In particular, one of the goals of my research is to elucidate the interactions between hosts and human pathogenic Mucoralean fungi, which will subsequently contribute to the development of therapeutic options.

Dr. Jose Lopez-Ribot
Jose Lopez-Ribot, Pharm.D., Ph.D.

Jose.Lopezribot@utsa.edu

Research focuses on opportunistic pathogenic fungus Candida albicans. C. albicans is part of the normal human microbiota. However, as an opportunistic pathogen it is capable of causing overt disease (candidiasis), but usually only in hosts with defective immunity. The frequency of candidiasis has increased dramatically in the last decades as a result of an expanding population of immunocompromised patients. As a result, candidiasis is now the fourth most common nosocomial infections. Even with treatment using available antifungal agents, mortality rates lie in the 30- 40% range for these infected patients. As an opportunistic pathogen, it is clear that mechanisms of host immunity and pathogen virulence intertwine, giving rise to the highly complex nature of host-fungus interactions. However, most investigations into these topics are overwhelmingly "one-sided" which has resulted in a dangerous dichotomy between "microorganism-centered" and "host-centered" views of candidal pathogenesis.

Dr. Lindsey Macpherson
Lindsey Macpherson, Ph.D.

Lindsey.Macpherson@utsa.edu

Our lab is interested in investigating the sense of taste and the molecules, cells, and circuits involved in chemosensation from the tongue and gut to the brain. We are interested in understanding how this gustatory circuit is organized at the cellular and molecular level and we aim to identify the cells and signaling mechanisms necessary for this gut-brain communication.

Dr. Matthew Wanat
Matthew Wanat, Ph.D.

Matthew.Wanat@utsa.edu

Research examines the neurobiology mediating motivated behavior, with a particular focus on the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in these processes. Research approach utilizes a number of experimental techniques including electrophysiology, voltammetry, pharmacology, and behavioral manipulations.

Dr. Yufeng Wang
Yufeng Wang, Ph.D.

Yufeng.Wang@utsa.edu

Research focuses on the comparative genomics, molecular evolution, and population genetics of gene families. Approaches range from the use of cutting edge bioinformatic and genomic tools, to statistical modeling and analysis based on evolution and population genetics theory. Interest is in (1) the evolutionary mechanisms and population genetics of infectious diseases; and (2) the molecular evolution of vertebrate gene families, with a particular emphasis on the age distribution and functional divergence of duplicated genes, which are believed to provide the raw material for functional novelty in higher eukaryotes.

Dr. Nicole Wicha
Nicole Wicha, Ph.D.

Nicole.Wicha@utsa.edu

Research focuses on understanding how the brain processes language in real time using both behavioral and brain-imaging techniques, in particular event-related brain potentials (ERPs), which is a non-invasive direct measure of electrical brain activity with excellent precision in the time domain. These techniques to study the brain processes underlying language comprehension, such as how the monolingual brain comprehends written and spoken sentences, and when and how different sources of linguistic information (e.g., grammar and word meaning) affect our ability to understand an utterance.

 

Chemistry

Dr. Michael Doyle
Michael Doyle, Ph.D.

Michael.Doyle@utsa.edu

The major focus of our research program is the development of highly selective and efficient catalytic processes for the synthesis of biologically relevant compounds. Investigations are built upon unique, highly efficient and selective, catalytic uses of dirhodium and other transition metal catalysts.

Dr. Ghezai Musie
Ghezai Musie, Ph.D.

Ghezai.Musie@utsa.edu

The primary research interest revolves around understanding the role transition metal ions play in small molecule recognition and catalysis in biological systems. Our efforts have been focused on the design, synthesis, and characterization of metal complexes as synthetic models for active sites of metalloenzymes involved in carbohydrate recognition, CO2 activation, and hydrolysis of phosphoester bonds.

Dr. Zachary Tonzetich
Zachary Tonzetich, Ph.D.

Zachary.Tonzetich@utsa.edu

Research activities in my laboratory are concerned with the synthesis, characterization, and reactivity of new transition-metal containing molecules relevant to catalysis and biomimetic chemistry. We are particularly interested in the chemistry of alkyl complexes of Mn, Fe, and Co, as these compounds occupy a unique place at the interface of traditional organometallic molecules that obey the 18-electron rule, and classical coordination complexes that tend to display various spin states.

 

Engineering

Dr. Nehal Abu-Lail
Nehal Abu-Lail, Ph.D.

Nehal.Abu-Lail@utsa.edu

My research program is focused on fundamental understanding of how cells interact with surfaces and respond to stresses within their environments. We are interested in prokaryotic as well as eukaryotic cells. While some of our projects are standalone projects of our lab, the majority of them represent interdisciplinary collaborative efforts with other groups.

Dr. Eric Brey
Eric Brey, Ph.D.

Eric.Brey@utsa.edu

My laboratory is focused on the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine through acontrol and evaluation of vascularized tissue formation. We have expertise in biomaterials, tissue engineering, imaging and vascular biology.

Dr. Hugo Giambini
Hugo Giambini, Ph.D.

Hugo.Giambini@utsa.edu

My current research addresses the mechanical and biomechanical factors influencing hard and soft tissue integrity and performance, as well as non-invasive tissue assessment and modeling using medical imaging. My research interests lie in using biomechanics and imaging tools to improve predictive methods and better understand pathogenesis of musculoskeletal conditions. The long-term goal of my research is to develop clinical tools to enable earlier diagnosis, prescribe effective interventions, and assess outcomes for individuals with musculoskeletal disorders.

Dr. Teja Guda
Teja Guda, Ph.D.

Teja.Guda@utsa.edu

My current interests are focused on developing regenerative strategies for musculo-skeletal tissue engineering. On-going projects focus on bio-printing of tissues, drug delivery technology and the development of bioreactors for stimulating tissue regeneration.

Dr. Gabriela Romero Uribe
Gabriela Romero Uribe, Ph.D.

Gabrielaromero.Uribe@utsa.edu@utsa.edu

Our research group focuses developing exclusive, powerful nanomaterials systems to manipulate cellular signals and behaviors. We engineer stimuli-responsive soft matter and biocompatible nanomaterials for their applications in drug delivery.

Dr. Marissa Weschler
Marissa Weschler, Ph.D.

Marissa.Weschler@utsa.edu@utsa.edu

Dr. Weschler's areas of research interest are: biosensing, cell and tissue engineering, drug delivery, nanotechnology, and soft biomaterials.

Dr. Jing Yong Ye
Jing Yong Ye, Ph.D.

JingYong.Ye@utsa.edu

The research in our lab covers a wide range of areas in biomedical optics and nanobiotechnology, with special emphasis on the development of cutting-edge ultrasensitive and ultrafast laser-based detection techniques and methodologies to address critical issues at the frontier of biomedical research and applications, including cancer research, drug delivery, drug toxicity assays, and neuroscience.

 

Physics

Dr. Lorenzo Brancaleon
Lorenzo Brancaleon, Ph.D.

Lorenzo.Brancaleon@utsa.edu

Two main research areas include: (i) protein conformational changes induced by exogenous molecules: research investigates the binding of porphyrin-like photosensitizers to globular proteins (currently lactoglobulin and tubulin) and the effect of the irradiation of the porphyrin/protein complex on the conformation (secondary and tertiary) of the protein; and (ii) use of smart materials for the formation of coexisting phospholipid phases: investigating the deposition of phospholipid bilayers on highly epitaxial ferroelectric film.

Dr. Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer, Ph.D.

Kathryn.Mayer@utsa.edu

Our lab uses optical techniques to study the bio-nano interface. In particular, we specialize in the detection and imaging of single molecules, and the interaction of molecules with metal surfaces. We are currently developing three major projects: 1) the use of ultra-sensitive localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) sensors to measure molecular binding and conformational changes on surfaces; 2) super-resolution microscopy studies of surface bound molecules, including nanoparticle-bound antibodies; and 3) single-molecule kinetics studies based upon microwell technology.

Dr. Kelly Nash
Kelly Nash, Ph.D.

Kelly.Nash@utsa.edu

Our group investigates various nanomaterials through their unique optical signatures. The goal is to understand the structure-function relationship of these materials through their unique optical signatures and responses in a variety of matrices. Our fabrication techniques include wet chemical synthesis and characterization techniques focus on optical spectroscopy. Additionally, we work with collaborators to establish unique applications for these materials, particularly in the area of biophotonics.

 

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