PhD Training Faculty

We are deeply grateful for the hard work by all our faculty in teaching the core and elective graduate courses, serving on advisory committees, and providing opportunities for doctoral research projects.  Our students are successful because they gain discipline-specific knowledge and critical thinking skills in a curriculum led by Course Directors and expert teaching faculty.


We require that first-year students complete 3 different rotations and rotate only with approved trainers who might serve as PhD trainers. 


In general, PhD trainers are expected to have a high quality independent research program, recent research publications and available funding for student support. Faculty with "research" professor designations, and those with mentored awards (eg K awards) are not eligible to host a PhD student, although many actively contribute to research education efforts. The list below is reviewed annually by research leadership at GW and Childrens, to include potential PhD trainers. Please note that in any particular year, not every research group will have an opening for a graduate student, and additional faculty may apply to be PhD trainers.

Last First Title Research Interests Inst.
Bethony Jeff PhD Vaccine preclinical and clinical research, including clinical trials; controlled human infection models (hookworm); HIV/AIDs-associated malignancies; biospecimen science research.   GW
Bollard Catherine MD Development of novel cell therapeutics for cancer and infection CNHS
Bosque-Pardos Alberto PhD, MBA Development of therapeutic strategies towards an HIV cure GW
Brindley Paul PhD

Functional genomics for schistosomes and other helminth pathogens; gene-editing; neglected tropical diseases; helminth infection associated malignancy; microbiomes and infection

Bukrinsky Michael PhD Molecular pathogenesis of HIV-associated metabolic diseases GW
Chiappinelli Katherine PhD Epigenetic regulation of immune signaling in cancer, specifically focusing on noncoding regions of the genome and the tumor cell immune response GW
Chiaramello Anne PhD Epigenomic and metabolomic-based approaches to understand mitochondrial pathogenesis; Therapeutic targets for rare mitochondrial diseases GW
Chung Inhee PhD Biophysical studies of metastatic cancer progression driven by overexpression of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK), using and developing cutting edge tools such as single molecule tracking, and super-resolution microscopy, as well as conventional cell/cancer biology methods GW
Colonnese Matthew PhD Circuit spcializations of the developing brain GW
Corbin Joshua PhD Genetic and cellular basis for development of mammalian amygdala CNHS
Crandall Keith PhD Development, testing, and application of methodological and bioinformatic approaches for studying the evolutionary biology of infectious diseases  GW
Cruz Russell MD, PhD Development of immune based therapies for cancer and opportunistic infections for patients with various degrees of immune deficiency GW
Efimova  Tatiana PhD Understanding how stress-activated signal transduction pathways regulate skin homeostasis and repair, and how perturbations in this regulation contribute to skin disease, including skin cancer GW
Eleftherianos Ioannis PhD Molecular and evolutionary insect immunity, bacterial symbiosis and nematode parasitism GW
Fernandes Rohan PhD Development of theranostic nanoparticles, capable of simultaneous therapy and diagnostics, for pediatric inflammatory diseases and cancers. GW
Fiorillo Alyson PhD The role of dysregulated microRNAs in inflammatory muscle disorders. CNHS
Freishtat Robert MD, MPH Gene-environment interactions in asthma CNHS
Gallo Vittorio PhD Neurogenesis and gliogenesis; oligodendrocyte development myelination; glial signaling; regulation of glial ionic channels during brain development CNHS
Ghosh Mimi PhD Immune biomarkers and anti-HIV activity in the reproductive tract GW
Hashimoto-Torii Kazue PhD Environmental factors/pharmacological agents in fetal brain malformations related to mental illnesses in adulthood CNHS
Hawdon John PhD Hookworm infective process, nematode growth and development, hookworm population genetics GW
Heier Christopher PhD  Next generation drugs and biomarkers for childhood diseases CNHS
Hovel-Miner Galadriel PhD Molecular mechanisms of antigenic variation with an emphasis on this pathogenic process in African trypanosomes.  GW
Hsieh Michael  MD, PhD Anti-pathogenic inflammation induced by bacteria such as uropathogenic E. coli, and chronic inflammation mediated carcinogenesis studied using models of nitrosamine and Schistosoma haematobium exposure CNHS
Hu Valerie PhD Autism spectrum disorders GW
Hu Yanfen PhD

Germline mutations in BRCA1 predispose women to breast and ovarian cancers. Dr. Hu’s research investigates: 1. What is the molecular mechanism of BRCA1 as a tumor suppressor? 2. Why do BRCA1-associated tumors display sex- and tissue-specificity? 3. BRCA1-associated cancer treatment and therapeutic resistance.

Jaiswal Jyoti PhD Use of imaging and omics to study cell biology of tissue repair and develop therapies to prevent tissue loss in genetic and degenerative diseases CNHS
Jeremic Aleksander PhD Pancreatic Beta cell disorders  GW
Jose Pedro MD,PhD Genetic and pharmacogenetic bases of human essential hypertension and the metabolic syndrome; role of dopamine, adrenergic, and angiotensin receptors subtypes and dopamine regulatory genes GW
Khan Imtiaz PhD Immune responses to infections by opportunistic pathogens GW
LaMantia Anthony PhD Genetic and molecular mechanisms of early forebrain development GW
Lee Norman PhD Cancer genomics; cancer health disparities; molecular mechanisms of metastasis and cancer drug resistance; regulation of RNA splicing GW
Leitenberg David MD, PhD Regulation of T-cell activation and differentiation; modulation of signal transduction during T-cell development GW
Li Rong PhD Molecular understanding of risk factors for breast cancer GW
Li Wei PhD Using genome editing technology (including CRISPR/Cas9 and CRISPR/Cas9 screening) and new computational algorithms to better understand how coding and non-coding elements function especially in human cancer, and to further identify novel molecular targets to inform precision medicine CNHS
Limperopoulos Catherine PhD Neuroimaging CNHS
Lu Hui PhD Mechanisms and rescue of neural circuit dysfunction  GW
Lynch Rebecca PhD Harnessing antibodies for HIV therapy and cure and flavivirus antibody responses.  GW
Maggirwar Sanjay PhD, MBA Underlying mechanisms of HIV-associated illnesses such as thrombosis, atherosclerosis, cancers and neurocognitive impairments GW
Marvar Paul PhD Characterization of the neurocircuitry in the brain that contributes to stress-induced hypertension and other stress-related disorders such as PTSD GW
Mazumder Raja PhD Applied bioinformatics; comprehensive comparative analysis at the genomic level GW
McCaffrey Timothy PhD Genomics; cardiovascular disease; growth factors; molecular biology; microarray; apoptosis; biochemistry GW
Mendelowitz David PhD Focus on the autonomic nervous system, and particularly how this system is altered in cardiorespiratory diseases. Our overarching goal is to identify novel targets for treating diseases such as sleep apnea and heart failure. GW
Miller Robert PhD CNS neural development, biology of neural diseases including Multiple Sclerosis, brain tumors and Cerebral Palsy; cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate glial cell determination GW
Moody Sally PhD Transcriptional specification of neural and cranial placode ectoderms; proteomics of inner ear development; role of Six1 mutations and its cofactors in branchio-oto-renal syndrome. GW
O'Brien Travis PhD Pharmacogenomics GW
Penn Anna  MD, PhD Neuroplacentology- The role of placenta in protecting and shaping the fetal brain  CNHS
Polter Abigail PhD Circuit and synaptic-level effects of stress and adversity.  GW
Posnack Nikki PhD Cardiovascular physiology, pharmacology and pediatric heart models CNHS
Preciado Diego MD, PhD Otolaryngology CNHS
Sandler Anthony MD Solid tumors in childhood CNHS
Sarvazyan Narine PhD Cellular origins of ectopic arrhythmias, ischemia-reperfusion injury, cell-to-cell coupling, targeted stem cell differentiation GW
Scafidi Joseph PhD

Metabolic adaptations after perinatal brain injury in the acute and long-term recovery phase and development of novel targeted therapies that promote this neurorehabilitative process

Sen Sabyasachi  MD, PhD Hemopoetic and mesenchymal stem cell use for treatment of diabetes and obesity; role of stem cells in response to changes in glycemic level in their environment. GW
Seto Edward PhD Epigenetics; histone deacetylase (HDAC), enzymes that catalyze the removal of acetyl groups from the lysine residues of histones GW
Shanmugam Victoria MD Wound healing; Scleroderma GW
Shibata Maho PhD Prostate stem/progenitor cells, patient-derived prostate cancer organoids, KRAB zinc finger proteins in prostate organogenesis and cancer GW
Shook Brett PhD Molecular and cellular regulation of immune cells in mammalian skin GW
Simon Gary MD, PhD HIV/AIDS Pathogenesis GW
Sotomayor Eduardo MD immunobiology and immunotherapy of B-cell malignancies, with special emphasis on the design of novel immunotherapeutic approaches for these diseases GW
Stepp Mary Ann PhD Cell-cell and cell-substrate interactions; integrins; wound healing; re-epithelization GW
Torii Masaaki PhD Molecular and cellular regulation of neuronal and glial subtypes in normal development of the cerebral cortex; etiology of cognitive and psychiatric disorders CNHS
Triplett Jason PhD

Molecular- and activity-dependent mechanisms of neuronal wiring during normal development and in the context of neurodevelopmental disorders

Tzatsos Alexandros MD, PhD Epigenetic progression model of pancreatic cancer;  Epigenetic regulation of Hematopoietic Stem Cells GW
Vilain Eric MD, PhD the impact of genetic changes on human development in health and disease; the genetics of sexual development, focusing on the molecular mechanisms of gonad development; genetic determinants of brain sexual differentiation, including sexual orientation and gender identity CNHS
Villagra Alejandro PhD Tumor immunoepigenetics and molecular basis of immunotherapy GW
Wu Guangying PhD Electrophysiological, imaging and behavioral methods to elucidate neural circuitry mechanisms underlying sensory information processing GW
Wu Ray-Chang PhD Oncogenic steroid receptor coactivators and their molecular targets in the development and progression of cancer  GW
Young Colin PhD CNS molecular mechanisms underlying cardiovascular and metabolic diseases GW
Zheng Xiaoyan PhD Identification of target genes regulated by the Hedgehog signaling pathway and molecular mechanisms activated by Hedgehog in regulating cell-cell interactions GW
Zhu Wenge PhD DNA replication. DNA damage checkpoint and repair, histone modification, and identification of small molecules for cancer therapy GW
Zhu Yuan PhD Using mouse models and human patient-derived induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to investigate the role of neural stem and progenitor cells in the pathogenesis of low-grade and high-grade gliomas as well as other nervous system tumors CNHS
Zohn Irene PhD Developmental mechanisms mediating gene-environment interactions underlying structural birth defects such as spina bifida and congenital heart defects CNHS