People: Faculty

Faculty members involved with the Bioinformatics and Genomics graduate program are at the vanguard of research in the biological sciences. Hailing from more than a dozen departments across Penn State, these faculty advisers collaborate to conduct research and to train graduate students. The community they have created provides a positive, collaborative environment that helps to position graduate students for career success. 

Istvan Albert

Associate Professor of Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics, large scale biological data analysis, microarrays and sequence analysis. Scientific programming, algorithm development. Database-driven web development.

Reka Albert

Professor of Physics and Biology

Biological physics and network modeling.

Naomi Altman

Professor of Statistics

Bioinformatics: the design and analysis of microarray studies, functional genomics and gene clustering. Functional data analysis and nonparametric smoothing.

Raquel Assis

Assistant Professor of Biology

Evolutionary genomics, molecular evolution, and bioinformatics. Particularly interested in how new functions evolve after gene duplication.

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

Discovery and characterization of plant microRNAs and siRNAs. Functions of microRNAs and siRNAs in the evolution of plant development. Genomics and bioinformatics of microRNAs, siRNAs, and their targets

Le Bao

Assistant Professor of Statistics

Bayesian methods, data mining, computational methods, applications in health, environmental and social sciences.

Colin Barnstable

Co-Chair, Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Neuroscience; Professor and Chair of Neural Behavioral Sciences
How interacting networks of transcription factors and signal transduction molecules guide the development of precursor/stem cells into mature neurons. Role of these networks in neurodegenerative diseases. Factors that can act as neuroprotective…

Arthur Berg

Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences and Statistics

Unlocking the mysteries of DNA and its connection to human health.

Philip Bevilacqua

Co-Director, Center for RNA Molecular Biology; Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Roles of RNA-binding proteins in plant physiology. Plant ribonomics. Identification and characterization of functional RNAs in plants.

Maciej F Boni

Associate Professor of Biology
Human influenza epidemiology and evolution, evaluating population-level malaria treatment strategies with individual-based microsimulation models, phylogenetic analysis of avian influenza evolution in southern Vietnam, economic epidemiology of avian…

James Broach

Professor and Chair, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

John Carlson

Professor of Molecular Genetics; Director, Schatz Center for Tree Molecular Genetics

Genome mapping, including genetic linkage mapping, molecular cytogenetics; studies of genetic diversity in forests.

Laura Carrel

Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Chromosome structure and function Genome organization Long-range control of gene expression Heterochromatin formation Epigenetic role in human disease Genetics and genomics of X chromosome inactivation in human and mouse

Keith Cheng

Distinguished Professor of Pathology; Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Professor of Pharmacology

Francesca Chiaromonte

Director of the Genome Sciences Institute; Professor of Statistics

Developing methods for the analysis of large, high-dimensional and complex data.

Surinder Chopra

Professor of Maize Genetics

Regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis during plant development and plant-pathogen interaction. Epigenetic regulation and allele specific patterns.

Michael DeGiorgio

Assistant Professor of Biology

Development and application of mathematical models, statistical methods, and algorithms to uncover genomic footprints of past evolutionary events.

Claude dePamphilis

Professor of Biology
Genomics, bioinformatics, and molecular evolution. Origin and diversification of flowers and developmental pathways. Comparative genomics of plants, organelles, and plant gene families. Genomics, evolution, and functional biology of parasitic…

Nikolay Dokholyan

G. Thomas Passananti Professor
We are a translational systems research group in the Pharmacology at the Penn State College of Medicine.  Our laboratory focuses on understanding etiologies of human diseases, such as cystic fibrosis (CF), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and…

Sinisa Dovat

Associate Professor of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology

Investigate the role of lymphoid master regulator, IKZF1/Ikaros, in the development of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL); other transcriptional factors in leukemia; CK2 activity; chromatin remodeling; super-enhancers.

Kristin Eckert

Professor of Pathology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Mechanisms of human cell mutagenesis and repetitive DNA replication in relation to genome evolution.

David Geiser

Professor of Plant Pathology

Molecular evolutionary genetics of pathogenic and toxigenic fungi.

Santhosh Girirajan

Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Associate Professor of Anthropology

To understand the genetic basis of neurodevelopmental disorders

Suzanne Gonzalez

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
My laboratory focuses on neuropsychiatric genetics in diverse populations. I am particularly interested in understanding how genetic polymorphisms within key physiological pathways translate into clinical phenotypes of psychiatric disorders, such…

Mark Guiltinan

J. Franklin Styer Professor of Horticultural Botany; Professor of Plant Molecular Biology; Director, Endowed Program in the Molecular Biology of Cocoa
Plant functional genomics, metabolomics and biotechnology. Research focuses on identification of key genes for disease resistance and important traits in the tree crop Theoboma cacao, the Chocolate tree. We collaborated with other labs at Penn State…

Molly Hall

Assistant Professor of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Building tools to elucidate the complex genetic and environmental underpinnings of human disease. Integrating genetic (genotype, sequence, structural variation) and exposure (derived from surveys and metabolomics methods) big data to predict disease…

Ross Hardison

Associate Director of the Genome Sciences Institute; T. Ming Chu Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Regulation of gene expression during development.

Heather Hines

Assistant Professor, Biology and Entomology

Genetics of adaptive mimetic color pattern variation in butterflies and bumble bees

Vasant Honavar

Professor and Edward Frymoyer Chair of Information Sciences and Technology

Statistical machine learning algorithms for predictive modeling; modeling and inference of biological networks; characterization and prediction of protein-protein, protein-RNA, and protein-DNA interactions.

Judie Howrylak

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Public Health Sciences, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Seogchan Kang

Professor of Plant Pathology & Environmental Microbiology

Genetic and cellular mechanisms underpinning plant-fungal interactions with Arabidopsis thaliana and Fusarium oxysporum as a model system. Molecular genetics and comparative genomics of fungal plant pathogens. Bioinformatics.

Vivek Kapur

Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences; Huck Distinguished Chair in Global Health; Professor of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

The basic mechanisms by which pathogenic microbes successfully infect, colonize, and cause disease in their hosts.

Daniel Kifer

Associate Professor (James L. Henderson Memorial Professorship) of Computer Science & Engineering

Jesse Lasky

Assistant Professor of Biology

Ecological & evolutionary genomics, genetic and ecophysiological basis of adaptation to environmental stress, evolutionary ecology of biological complexity.

Arthur Lesk

Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Qunhua Li

Associate Professor of Statistics

Developing statistical and computational methods for analyzing complex omics data and improving quality and reproducibility of high-throughout data

Lynn Lin

Assistant Professor of Statistics
Bayesian mixture model development for classification, variable selection, design and model selection, structured and hierarchical non-parametric Bayesian methods, rare event detection, and statistical computation involving simulation and…

Dajiang Liu

Associate Professor of Public Health Science

Wansheng Liu

Professor of Genomics

Functional annotation of farm animal genomes, structure and function of mammalian sex (X and Y) chromosome, spermatogenesis and male fertility.

Yanxi Liu

Associate Professor of Computational Science and Engineering

Manuel Llinas

Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Understanding the molecular mechanisms of gene regulation and metabolism in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum using functional genomics and metabolomics.

Hong Ma

Professor of Biology; Huck Distinguished Research Professor of Plant Molecular Biology

Plant development under favorable and stressful conditions;  phylogeny and evolutionary biology of plant groups containing major crops and ecologically important species.

Sally Mackenzie

Lloyd and Dottie Huck Chair for Functional Genomics; Professor of Biology; Professor of Plant Science

Organelle biology and cellular specializations. Plant epigenetics, memory and phenotypic plasticity. Crop epigenetic breeding.

Kamesh Madduri

Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering

Computational biology, algorithms, and high-performance computing.

Shaun Mahony

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Computational biology and regulatory genomics

Kateryna Makova

Director of the Center for Medical Genomics; Professor of Biology

Molecular evolution, population genetics, evolutionary genomics, bioinformatics, and human genetics.

Costas Maranas

Donald B. Broughton Professor of Chemical Engineering

Computational studies of metabolism and gene regulation.

James Marden

Associate Director of Operations, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences; Professor of Biology

How physiological variation within species affects their ecology and evolution. Primarily with insects, but recently also with plants, and a particular interest in allelic variation in the pathogen resistance genes of tropical trees.

Paul Medvedev

Director of the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics; Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering; Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Please see the researcher's homepage…

Anton Nekrutenko

Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Evolution of overlapping reading frames in eukaryotic genomes.

William Noid

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Edward O’Brien

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Developing and applying Physical Bioinformatic techniques to measure rates of translation transcriptome-wide and their molecular origins as relates to fundamental biology and disease.

Andrew Patterson

Associate Professor of Molecular Toxicology

The Patterson lab is focused on understanding the host-metabolite-microbiome axis

George Perry

Harry J. and Elissa M. Sichi Early Career Professor of Anthropology; Associate Professor, Departments of Anthropology and Biology

Human and non-human primate evolutionary ecology, parasite evolutionary biology as a proxy for studying human evolution, genomics, and paleogenomics (ancient DNA).

Elizabeth Proctor

Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Pharmacology, and Biomedical Engineering

Systems biology of complex disease. Integration of heterogeneous data types across length scales.

B. Franklin Pugh

Director of the Center for Eukaryotic Gene Regulation; Willaman Professor in Molecular Biology

Biochemistry and genomics of eukaryotic transcription regulation.

Matthew Reimherr

Assistant Professor of Statistics

Joan Richtsmeier

Professsor of Anthropology

Analysis of craniofacial phenotypes.

Marilyn Roossinck

Professor of Plant Pathology and Biology

Virus-plant interactions, virus evolution and ecology and evolution of disease

Howard Salis

Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering; Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Stephen Schaeffer

Professor of Biology

Population Genetics and Genomics of Chromosomal Rearrangements in Drosophila

Mingfu Shao

Assistant Professor of Engineering

Cooduvalli Shashikant

Assistant Director for Graduate Training Initiatives, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences; Chair, Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Bioinformatics and Genomics; Associate Professor of Molecular and Developmental Biology

Developmental and evolutionary aspects of regulation of patterning genes.

Mark Shriver

Professor of Biological Anthropology

Human population genomics and complex disease mapping.

Moriah L Szpara

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Neurovirology, genomics of pathogen variation, neuron-virus relationships

James Wang

Professor of Information Science and Technology

Modeling of objects, concepts, aesthetics, and emotions in big visual data from various domains.

Rongling Wu

Director of the Center for Statistical Genetics; Professor of Public Health Sciences

Xiang Zhan

Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences

Feng Yue

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Using a combination of experimental and bioinformatics approaches, we study 3D genome structure and epigenomic regulation in human cancer. 

Yu Zhang

Associate Professor of Statistics

Statistical and computational methods development for solving problems in molecular biology and human health.