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Potential Mentors

Potential Mentors - Research Areas & Contact Information

Potential mentors from the faculty at VA-MD Vet Med and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are listed below with a brief description of their research interest. Detailed information is available through the links provided. Applicants may contact these faculty to discuss their application and research interests.

These faculty were selected because they have active research funding (mostly from NIH) as well as substantial experience in mentoring research trainees at the pre- and post-doctoral level.

Immunology and Inflammation Team

Dr. Ansar Ahmed

Ansar Ahmed, DVM, Ph.D., Head of Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology and Professor of Immunology (ansrahmd@vt.edu, 540-231-5591). By using relevant animal models for inflammation and autoimmune diseases, the laboratory focus is to investigate: (1) the molecular basis of how pro-inflammatory cytokines are induced and decipher aberrant cell signaling events; (2) why these disorders occur predominantly in females? and (3) the role of microRNAs in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Dr. Liwu Li

Liwu Li, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (lwli@vt.edu, 540-231-1433). Molecular and cellular mechanism underlying the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases such as sepsis and atherosclerosis.

Dr. Xin Luo

Xin Luo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Immunology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (xinluo@vt.edu, 540-231-0977). Regulatory mechanisms of Type I interferon response in plasmacytoid dendritic cells; Roles of Type I interferons and plasmacytoid dendritic cells in autoimmunity; Fundamental mechanisms of human B cell development; Genetic engineering of antigen-specific immunity against human pathogens

Dr. Christopher Reilly

Christopher Reilly, Associate Professor and Discipline Chair of Physiology in the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Adjunct faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine (creilly@vcom.vt.edu, 540-231-5345). Defining the molecular mechanisms and signal transduction cascades involved in inflammation associated with lupus nerphritis.


Virology Team

Dr. X.J. Meng

XJ Meng, M.D., Ph.D., University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (xjmeng@vt.edu, 540-231-6912). Molecular mechanisms of viral replication and pathogenesis and the development of vaccines against emerging and zoonotic viral diseases, including Hepatitis E.

Dr. Frank Pierson

Frank Pierson, DVM, Ph.D. Associate Professor in the Department of Large animal Clinical Sciences, Director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (pierson@vt.edu, 540-231-7823). Infectious diseases of poultry, particularly in the pathophysiology of multi-factorial diseases, the classification and pathophysiology of the genus Siadenovirus, and Salmonella bioremediation on poultry products.

Dr. Elankumaran Subbiah

Elankumaran Subbiah, BVSc., MVSc., Ph.D. Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (kumarans@vt.edu, 540-231-0761). Negative strand RNA viruses, their structure, function, and the diseases produced by them.

Dr. Lijuan Yuan

Lijuan Yuan, Ph.D. Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (lyuan@vt.edu, 540-231-9053). Animal models for human enteric viral diseases.

Dr. Tanya LeRoith

Tanya LeRoith, DVM, Ph.D. Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (tleroith@vt.edu, 540-231-7627). Immunopathogenesis of viral diseases and how viruses modulate the immune system to cause disease.

Dr. Zachary Adelman

Zachary Adelman, Ph.D. Assistant Professor in the Department of Entomology (zachadel@vt.edu, 540-231-6614). Interactions between arthropod-borne viruses and the insect vectors responsible for their transmission to humans.

Dr. Kevin Myles

Kevin Myles, Ph.D. Assistant Professor in the Department of Entomology (mylesk@vt.edu, 540-231-6158). Small RNA-directed antiviral immune responses using mosquito-borne alphaviruses and flavivruses to study innate immune responses.


Population / Public Health

 

Kaja M. Abbas, M.S., MPH, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases in Public Health in the Department of Population Health Sciences (kaja.abbas@vt.edu, 540-231-1865). Systems science modeling of public health dynamics, focusing on infectious disease epidemiology

 

Andrea S. Bertke, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases in Public Health in the Department of Population Health Sciences (asbertke@vt.edu, 540-231-2707).  Pathogenesis, latency, and reactivation of herpes simplex viruses, comparing HSV1 and HSV2; development of antivirals to prevent reactivation; autonomic nervous system pathways; interactions between nociceptors and autonomic neurons.

Dr. Francois Elvinger

Francois Elvinger, DMV, Ph.D., Professor in Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (elvinger@vt.edu, 540-231-3532). Dynamics of infectious diseases and tools to detect disease in populations.

 

Stephen Eubank, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences (seubank@vbi.vt.edu, 540-231-2504).  Computational modeling and simulation of sociotechnical system, especially its application to infectious disease epidemiology.


Environmental Medicine

Dr. Marion Ehrich

Marion Ehrich, Ph.D. Professor of Toxicology/Pharmacology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (marion@vt.edu, 540-231-4938). Derivatized fullerenes for their capability to ameliorate acute toxicities and decrease dermal penetration of organophosphorus (OP) surrogates for chemical threat agents.

Dr. Terry Hrubec

Terry Hrubec, DVM, Ph.D. Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy in the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Adjunct faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine (thrubec@vcom.vt.edu, 540-231-1702). Determining the mechanisms regulating embryonic and fetal development to create interventions that can prevent birth defects caused by environmental contaminants in drinking water that may be causing fetal malformations in rodents.

Dr. Renee Prater

Renee Prater, DVM, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Discipline Chair of Immunology in the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Adjunct faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine (rprater@vcom.vt.edu, 540-231-5457). Interaction between prenatal environmental exposures and their relationship to fetal programming and lifelong elevated risk of osteoporosis and obesity.


Bacteriology

Dr. Clayton Caswell

Clayton Caswell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Bacteriology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (caswellc@vt.edu, 540-231-5591).  Roles of small regulatory RNAs in the biology of Brucella spp.; mechanism of interactions between bacteria and hosts; common regulatory pathways in related bacteria

Dr. Thomas Inzana

Thomas Inzana, Ph.D. Tyler J. and Francis F. Young Chair of Bacteriology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (tinzana@vt.edu, 540-231-4692). Bacterial pathogens, including the select agents Francisella tularensis and Burkholderia mallei, MRSA, and the bovine respiratory pathogen Histophilus somni, the latter as a model to study biofilm formation in the natural host.

Dr. Namalwar Sriranganathan

Namalwar Sriranganathan, BVSc., MVSc, Ph.D. Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (nathans@vt.edu, 540-231-7171). Develop alternate treatment strategies by improving the bioavailability of therapeutic agents and by targeting specific cells using block-copolymers and amorphous nanoparticles.

Dr. Sharon Witonsky

Sharon Witonsky, DVM, Ph.D. Associate Professor in Equine Field Service in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (switonsk@vt.edu, 540-231-2773). Host immune response to infectious diseases, primarily with the most prevalent zoonotic disease, Brucella.


Nutrition and Obesity

Josep Bassagaanya-Riera

Josep Bassagaanya-Riera, DVM, Ph.D. Associate Professor in the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (jbassaga@vbi.vt.edu, 540-231-7421). Leads the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Nutrition Group, a transdisciplinary research group working at the interface of nutrition, immunology, and inflammation.

Deborah Good-Wiedmer

Deborah Good-Wiedmer, Ph.D. Associate Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (goodd@vt.edu, 540-231-0430). Hypothalamic gene expression, especially as it relates to the regulation of body weight, exercise, fat deposition in muscle, and motivated behaviors.

Matthew Hulver

Matthew Hulver, Ph.D. Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (hulvermw@vt.edu, 540-231-7354). Role of local pro-inflammatory responses in skeletal muscle metabolic dysregulation.

Eva Schmelz

Eva Schmelz, Ph.D. Associate Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (eschmelz@vt.edu, 540-231-3649). Use of dietary sphingolipids in cancer prevention.

Dr. Terry Swecker

Terry Swecker, DVM, Ph.D. Professor and Associate Department Head in Large Animal Clinical Sciences (cvmwss@vt.edu, 540-231-7375). Translational science from lab to clinic.


Cancer and Oxidative Stress

Dr. Irving C. Allen

Irving C. Allen, M.S., MBA, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Inflammatory Disease in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (icallen@vt.edu, 540-231-7551). Cancer immunology; animal models of innate immunity; animal models of allergic disease; host-pathogen interactions

Dr. Nick Dervisis

Nick Dervisis, DVM, Ph.D., Diplomate ACVIM: Oncology (Dervisis@vt.edu).  Translational research – modeling of neoplastic processes using spontaneously-arising canine and feline cancers; Pharmacogenetics – effect of genetic polymorphic variants at the metabolism and kinetics of anti-cancer agents.

Dr. John H. Rossmeisl

John H. Rossmeisl, Jr., DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM: Internal Medicine and Neurology in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (jrossmei@vt.edu).  Vascular biology and tumor angiogenesis; primary brain neoplasms; traumatic brain injury; endocrinology.

Dr. Edward Smith

Edward Smith, Ph.D. Professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (esmith@vt.edu, 540-231-6797). Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in eukaryotic genomes, including human and different avian species.


Regenerative Medicine

Dr. Jennifer Barrett

Jennifer G. Barrett, DVM, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Equine Surgery at Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center (jgbarret@vt.edu, 703-771-6800). Tendon, ligament, and cartilage healing, stem cell and platelet rich plasma therapies, and tissue regeneration.

Dr. Linda Dahlgren

Linda Dahlgren, DVM, Ph.D. Associate Professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (lad11@vt.edu, 540-231-5234). Mesenchymal stem cells and tissue engineering in tendon/wound biology and healing.

Dr. Will Eyestone

Will Eyestone, Ph.D. Research Assistant Professor in Reproductive Biology/Biotechnology in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (weyest@vt.edu, 540-231-4834). Prion gene expression and disease resistance in murine and bovine models.

Dr. Jia-Qiang He

Jia-Qiang He, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Stem Cell Physiology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (jiahe@vt.edu, 540-231-2032). Controlled cardiac lineage differentiation of embryonic stem cells, iPSCs & adult cardiac stem cells; iPSC reprograming and characterization; Electrophysiological and functional maturity of stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes.

Dr. Bill Huckle

Bill Huckle, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Cell Biology/Pharmacology in Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (wrhuckle@vt.edu, 540-231-3620). Angiogenesis and vasculogenesis in tumors and vascular diseases using murine models.

Dr. Michelle Theus

Michelle Theus, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (mtheus@vt.edu).  Stem cell therapies for adult central nervous system repair following traumatic injury.

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