Research Mentors

Institution and Department

Research Focus

Ivet Bahar

Pitt – Computational Biology

Analytical models and computational methods for predicting the dynamics of large biomolecular systems and networks of proteins.

Takis Benos

Pitt – Computational Biology

Protein-DNA interactions and the development of new tools for efficient ID of transcriptional regulatory signals.

Carlos Camacho

Pitt – Computational Biology

Modeling of physical interactions responsible for molecular recognition; Developing new techniques for predicting protein complex strucures.

Chakra Chennubhotla

Pitt – Computational Biology

Develop new image analysis methods for (i) Extracting spatio-temporal correlation hierarchy from neuronal activation profiles, (ii) Reconstructing neuronal struture from histological data, and (iii) Building automated segmentation algorithms for sub-cellular structures from microscopy data.

Lillian Chong

Pitt – Chemistry

Protein structure and function, natively unfolded proteins, molecular sensors, MD simulations, distributed computing.

Nathan Clark

Pitt – Computational Biology

Study of coevolutionary signatures between genes in order to infer novel interactions and functional changes throughout the genome.

Rob Coalson

Pitt – Chemistry, Physics, and the Center for Molecular and Materials Simulations

Models kinetics and struture.function relations in biological ion channels.

Lance Davidson

Pitt - Bioengineering

Multidisciplinary (mathematics, developmental biology, biophysics, and bioengineering) approach to understanding how molecular and genetic programs drive the formative tissue mechanics and self-assembly processes that generate living structures in developing embryos.

Markus Dittrich

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

Computer simulations of cellular systems.

The main focus is on using simulations to understand the structure and function of synapses, which are the connections between individual nerve cells.

G. Bard Ermentrout

Pitt – Mathematics, CMU - Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition

Application of nonlinear dynamics to problems from cell biology and physiology.

Jim Faeder

Pitt – Computational & Systems Biology

Mathematical (rule-based) modeling of intracellular signal transduction pathways.

Eleanor Feingold

Pitt – Human Genetics

Statistical methods for gene mapping; genetic epidemiology of Down syndrome; statistical approaches to bioinformatics.

Madhavi Ganapathiraju


Pitt – Biomedical Informatics and Intelligent Systems

Systems Biology (Protein-protein interaction prediction) and Translational Bioinformatics by applying machine learning, signal processing and knowledge discovery.

David Koes

Pitt – Computational & Systems Biology


Developing novel computational algorithms and building full-scale systems to support rapid and inexpensive drug discovery.

Sanford Leuba

Pitt – Cell Biology and Physiology

Single molecule approaches to protein-DNA interactions.

Timothy Lezon

Pitt – Cell Biology and Physiology

Developing coarse-grained models for studying large-scale protein dynamics.

Yang Liu

Pitt – Bioengineering

Developing optical imaging instruments, signal and image processing tools to improve the early detection of cancer.

Jeffry Madura

Duquesne - Chemistry & Biochemistry and the Center for Computational Sciences

Development and application of methods to study the structure, function, and dynamics of proteins and enzymes in solution and at interfaces.

Kartik Mohanram

Pitt - Electrical and Computer Engineering

Models and algorithms for stochasticity in cellular processes

Sandra Murray

Pitt – Cell Biology and Physiology

Role of gap junctions and cell-to-cell communication in endocrine cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, and hormone production using time-lapse video microscopy, transmission immuno-electron microscopy, and molecular biological techniques

Mark Rebeiz

Pitt – Biological Sciences

Studying how morphology (size, shape, color, form) evolves in the animal world utilizing tools of classical developmental biology, as well as genetics, evolution, genomics, and bioinformatics.

Roni Rosenfeld

CMU – Computer Science, Machine Learning, and The Language Technology Institute

Using growing databases of viral sequences to build descriptive and generative models of viral molecular evolution.  Modeling the evolution of Influenza.

Hanna Salman

Pitt – Physics & Astronomy

Understanding the factors that shape phenotypic variability in populations of bacteria and how the populations benefit from such variability. Studies utilize tools of physical biology, which combines physical techniques, both experimental and theoretical, with biological methods.

John Shaffer

Pitt – Human Genetics

Applied statistical methods of gene mapping;  genetic epidemiology of oral health.

Sanjeev Shroff

Pitt – Bioengineering


Large-scale mathematical simulations of biological systems for research, education, and engineering design.

Ian Sigal

Pitt – Ophthalmology

Computational and experimental methods to understand the biomechanics of the eye and soft tissue remodeling.

Matt Smith

Pitt - Ophthalmology and Bioengineering

Computational approaches to modeling neuronal communication and interactions, combined with experimental techniques to measure the activity of populations of neurons.

Pei Tang

Pitt – Structural Biology

Action of low-affinity drugs (general anesthetics and alcohols) on neurotransmitter-gated receptor channels.

Ben Van Houten

Pitt – Pharmacology and Chemical Biology

The formation and repair of DNA damage in nuclear and mitochondrial genomes, with particular interest in the structure and function of proteins that mediate nucleotide excision repair and the role of oxidative stress in human disease.

Tim Verstynen

CMU - Psychology and CNBC

Structure-function associations in response selection and sensorimotor skill learning.

Art Wetzel

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

Image processing and large data handling, 10s of TBytes, for neural circuit reconstruction from optical and electron microscopy. This work involves both biological analysis and computational program development.

Michael Widom

CMU - Physics


Professor Widom's research focuses on theoretical modeling of novel materials in condensed matter and biological physics settings. Methods of statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics and computer simulation are used to investigate structure, stability and properties of these materials.

Sean Xie

Pitt – Pharmaceutical Sciences/Drug Discovery Institute

His research interests are: 1) GPCR CB2 membrane protein structure/function studies. 2) Methods and algorithms development for knowledgebase-target identifications and structure-based drug design for multiple myeloma, osteoporosis and hematopoietic stem cell expansion by using the integrated computational chemical genomics virtual screening, bioassay validation and medicinal chemistry synthesis approaches. (www.CBligand.org/xielab and www.CBLigand.org/CCGS)

Leming Zhou

Pitt – Health Information Management


Agent-based, equation-based, and statistical modeling of cardiovascular disease; comparative genomics and its applications in personalized medicine

Dan Zuckerman

Pitt – Computational Biology

Developing statistical-mechanics-based methods to study protein fluctuations and binding.