The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

MCIBS Cell and Developmental Biology Faculty

Faculty associated with the cell and developmental biology emphasis area of the MCIBS Graduate Degree Program at Penn State, and a summary of their research interests



Faculty are listed in alphabetical order by last name. To see more information about a faculty member, click on his/her name.

Sarah Ades
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Signal transduction and antibiotic-induced stress responses in bacteria.

Charles Anderson
Assistant Professor of Biology

Sarah Assmann
Waller Professor of Biology

Molecular biology of plant G-proteins and kinases. Phytohormone regulation of signal transduction and RNA processing. Second messenger regulation of ion channels in plant cells.

Michael Axtell
Professor of Biology

Functional genomics of plant microRNAs and siRNAs.

Lu Bai
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Assistant Professor of Physics

Single cell / single molecule study of chromatin and gene regulation

Craig Cameron
Paul Berg Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Defining the molecular details of genome replication in positive-strand RNA viruses and identifying components of this process suitable for antiviral drug development.

Margherita Cantorna
Distinguished Professor in Molecular Immunology
Chair, Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Vitamin A and vitamin D regulation of the microbiota and host immunity. Utilizing animal models of multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and gastrointestinal infection.

Douglas Cavener
Dean of Penn State's Eberly College of Science

Regulation of protein synthesis and control of translation initiation of mRNAs in higher eukaryotes and the evolution of tissue specific transcriptional regulation.

Gong Chen
Professor of Biology
Verne M. Willaman Chair in Life Sciences

Molecular mechanism of synaptogenesis and plasticity.

Daniel Cosgrove
Eberly Chair and Professor of Biology

Mechanism of plant growth. Function and evolution of expansins. Biochemistry and rheology of plant cell walls. Growth responses to light, hormones, and water stress and other stimuli.

Diana Cox-Foster
Professor of Entomology

Insect biochemistry and physiology; evolutionary development; molecular biology; host/pathogen interactions.

Liwang Cui
Professor of Entomology

Molecular parasitology; host-parasite interactions; malaria parasite development and epigenetics; malaria epidemiology and population biology

Francisco Diaz
Associate Professor of Reproductive Biology

Ovarian physiology. Role of SMAD-mediated signaling in follicular and female germ cell (oocyte) development.

Patrick James Drew
Assistant Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

Control and development of the cerebral blood flow, neurovascular coupling.

Pamela Giblin
Professor of Immunology

Regulation of cell-mediated immunity, hematopoiesis, receptor tyrosine kinases, cellular transformation.

Santhosh Girirajan
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Assistant Professor of Anthropology

To understand the genetic basis of neurodevelopmental disorders

Ying Gu
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

William Hancock
Professor of Bioengineering

The detailed workings of motor proteins and their role in intracellular transport and cell motility.

Wendy Hanna-Rose
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Developmental genetics of organogenesis and morphogenesis in C. elegans.

Ross Hardison
T. Ming Chu Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Regulation of gene expression during development.

Jun Huang
Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics

Explores nanoscience and nanotechnology at the interface of physics, materials, engineering and biology.

Timothy Jegla
Associate Professor of Biology

We are interested in understanding how ion channels control signaling in the nervous system. We focus on potassium channel-mediated control of firing threshold and ionic mechanisms involved in the generation and processing of sensory potentials. Our research relies on a combination of mouse genetics, electrophysiology, cell biology and compound screening approaches.

Alan Leslie Johnson
Walther H. Ott Professor in Avian Biology

Ovarian dynamics and follicle differentiation; granulosa cell tumors.

Kenneth Keiler
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Protein quality control and new antibiotics

Zhi-Chun Lai
Professor of Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Chair, Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Cell and Developmental Biology

Signal Transduction, Growth Control, and Cancer Genetics

Todd LaJeunesse
Associate Professor of Biology

Microbial Ecology and Evolution

Tae-hee Lee
Associate Professor of Chemistry

Structural and functional studies of the ribosome and the nucleosome.

Xiaojun (Lance) Lian
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Cell and Developmental Biology

Scott Lindner
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Our laboratory couples molecular parasitology and structural biology to study the malaria parasite (Plasmodium spp.).

Aimin Liu
Associate Professor of Biology

Biogenesis and function of cilia in mammalian embryonic development.

Bernhard Luscher
Professor of Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Psychiatry
Director, Center for Molecular Investigation of Neurological Disorders (CMIND)

Structure, function and regulation of GABA-A receptors and their role in anxiety disorders.

Yingwei Mao
Assistant Professor of Biology

My lab studies the mechanisms that regulate neurogenesis using cellular and mouse models. In the short term, I would like to focus my research program in determining how abnormal neural progenitor cell (NPC) proliferation and differentiation may lead to mental illnesses. My long-term plan is to use the reagents, experimental systems, mouse models that I develop to further screen novel drugs that can reverse the behavior phenotype in our mouse model and eventually benefit patients with psychiatric disorders.

Costas Maranas
Donald B. Broughton Professor of Chemical Engineering

Computational studies of metabolism and gene regulation.

Gustavo Nader
Assoc. Professor, Kinesiology

Skeletal muscle growth control and adaptations to exercise. Ribosome biogenesis, transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of RNA Polymerase I.

B. Tracy Nixon
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Signal transduction in prokaryotes; functional domains of Rhizobium dct genes.

Curtis Omiecinski
Professor of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences
H. Thomas and Dorothy Willits Hallowell Chair
Co-chair, Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Molecular Toxicology

Human variability in xenobiotic metabolism.

Richard Ordway
Professor of Molecular Neuroscience and Genetics

Cellular neurobiology using Drosophila.

Robert Paulson
Professor of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences

The Paulson lab studies the mechanisms that regulate tissue regeneration with a focus on understanding the response to anemic and hypoxic stress

B. Franklin Pugh
Willaman Professor in Molecular Biology

Biochemistry and genomics of eukaryotic transcription regulation.

Joseph Reese
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Gene regulation in cell cycle and DNA damage control; regulation of DNA damage-induced transcription.

Melissa Rolls
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Director, Center for Cellular Dynamics
Chair, Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Biosciences program

The Rolls lab investigates the cellular basis of neuronal polarity and neuronal responses to injury including degeneration and regeneration.

Lorraine Santy
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Anthony Schmitt
Associate Professor of Molecular Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Assembly and budding of paramyxovirus particles.

Song Tan
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Structural biology of eukaryotic gene regulatory complexes.

Claire Thomas
Associate Professor of Biology and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Roles of the cytoskeleton at the cell membrane in epithelial cells, including issues of cell polarity and adhesion, cell signaling, and morphogenesis.

Yanming Wang
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Epigenetic histone modifications in cell differentiation and cancer.

Na Xiong
Associate Professor, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences

Development and function of gamma/delta T cells.

Jian Yang
Professor of Bioengineering

Development of new biodegradable polymers for use in engineering elastic tissues such as blood vessel, tendon, ligament, and cardiac tissue, and in other applications such as biological labeling, bioimaging and drug delivery

Yinong Yang
Professor, Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology

Signal perception and transduction in rice-pathogen interactions; Molecular and genomic strategies for increasing disease resistance and drought tolerance in cereal crops.

Siyang Zheng
Associate Professor of Bioengineering

My laboratory aims at developing and applying micro/nano technologies for biological and medical applications.