Potential Mentors in the NIH T32 Doctoral Training Program

A brief description of the UTA/UTSW faculty members who play major parts in the NIH T32 training program is specified below in alphabetical order.

Yuze "Alice" Sun

(Ph.D., Assistant Professor, EE, UTA): Sun has established a highly interdisciplinary research lab and education programs at the crossroad of photonics, micro/nanofluidics, nanotechnologies, and biomedicine. Her current research focuses on optofluidic sensing, nanophotonics, biophotonics, microfluidics/lab-on-a-chip, and bioinspired photonics and engineering, with a goal to develop innovative methodologies and enabling technologies to advance biomedical diagnostics and sensing in healthcare.

Yuze "Alice" Sun Profile

Benjamin Chen

(Ph.D., Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology, UTSW): Dr. Chen laboratory main research emphasizes in advancing the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of DNA-PKcs in DNA damage repair, genome protection upon double strand break (DSB), chromosomal stability maintenance, replication stress, and oxidative stress conditions to improve radiation therapy in cancer treatment. His team was the first in report that DNA-PKcs is phosphorylated in response to IR or double-strand break (DSB). Dr. Chen will be contributing to the effects of nanotechnology-based systems on disease development and therapy.

Benjamin Chen Profile

Michael Cho

(Ph.D., Professor and Department Chair, Bioengineering, UTA): Prof. Cho is an established scientist in stem cell tissue engineering and biomechanics. His expertise includes designing and applying biomaterials to functionalize engineered tissues. His laboratory developed various scaffolds to optimize stem cell differentiation and different implantable acellular synthetic scaffolds to entice cell migration from the host. Dr. Cho will contribute to the basic and translational sciences associated with nanotechnology and various diseases such as stroke, brain injury, and brain diseases.

Michael Cho Profile

Hak Choy

(M.D., Professor and Chair, Radiation Oncology, UTSW): Since the beginning of his academic career over twenty years ago, Dr. Choy has been committed to research in therapeutic interventions for cancer, specifically in the development of new combined chemo-radiation interventions for solid tumors such as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Recently, Dr. Choy’s focus has broadened to explore the current advanced technology in radiation oncology. He is the PI of a large multi-investigator grant titled "Technology-Directed Advances in Radiation Therapy of Lung Cancer." Dr. Choy will be contributing to the ITN efforts primarily by advising at the interface of current technology in radiation therapy and the scope of nanomedicine for a better clinical outcome. He will also be involved with the clinical rotation and research training efforts for advanced therapies to treat lung cancers.

Daniel W. Trott

(Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Kinesiology, UTA): Dr. Trott established the immunology laboratory at UTA in 2018, its primary interest is focused on the study of the aging immune system and the immune system interaction with other tissues to regulate cardiovascular and metabolic functions. In addition, he has experience in the study of the interaction of aging, exercise and the skeletal muscle vasculature, and age-related arterial inflammation and dysfunction. Dr. Trott will participate as a co-mentor for the ITN program to incorporate physiology and aging biology knowledge in conjunction with nanotechnology to enhance trainees’ skills to better develop novel technologies for cardiovascular diseases.

Daniel W. Trott Profile

Paul J. Fadel

(Ph.D., Professor of Kinesiology and Director of Nursing Clinical Translational Science, UTA): Prof. Fadel has been running a research program focused on the investigation of sympathetic control of circulation at rest and during exercise in human health and disease for several years. He has performed many animal and human studies to identify targets for the development of therapeutic strategies aimed at minimizing and protecting against the deleterious consequence of high sympathetic outflow and vascular dysfunction. Prof. Fadel will serve as a mentor and contribute to basic and translational sciences associated with cardiovascular and lung diseases for the ITN training.

Paul J. Fadel Profile

Georgios Alexandrakis

(Ph.D., Associate Professor, Bioengineering, UTA): Dr. Alexandrakis research expertise is in developing optical imaging technologies from the tissue to the single molecular level. He is working jointly with UTSW and UTA faculty to research Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS) based methodologies for DNA repair, and for the development of a brain imager. In addition, he is collaborating with Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the replication of the novel optical-electrical nanosensor prototype. Dr. Alexandrakis will serve as a mentor in the ITN program to train students in the implementation of nanotechnology principles for the development of imaging technologies.

Georgios Alexandrakis Profile

Hanli Liu

(Ph.D., Professor, Bioengineering, UTA): Dr. Liu is a nationally recognized expert in brain imaging with more than twenty years of experience as a professor and scientist. Her work is focused on non-invasive brain stimulation with light, minimally invasive spectroscopy for imaging of tissue, and optical diffuse imaging for cancer prognosis and brain activities. Dr. Liu will be part of the administrative and training part of the ITN program. Dr. Liu will contribute to the research training related to nanotechnology and imaging.

Hanli Liu Profile

Yaowu Hao

(Ph.D., Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, UTA): Dr. Hao has extensive experience in nanoparticle synthesis. In the last ten years, the research activities in Dr. Hao's group have been focused on producing novel gold and magnetic nanostructures for biomedical applications. Dr. Hao will be involved with using magnetic gold hybrid nanoparticles as theranostic agents for imaging-guided cancer treatments and nanoparticles for disease imaging and detection.

Yaowu Hao Profile

Hesham A. Sadek

(Ph.D. and M.D., Cardiologist, Internal Medicine, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, UTSW): Dr. Sadek is a cardiologist with more than twenty years of experience. His research focus on stem cell metabolism, cardiac regeneration in adult mammalian heart and the identification of regulators of cell cycle arrest and cardiomyocyte proliferation in the neonatal heart. Dr. Sadek will be serving as a co-mentor in the ITN program enhancing trainee’s cardiac regeneration knowledge.

Hesham A. Sadek Profile

Yi Hong

(Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Bioengineering, UTA): Prof. Hong has extensive experience in designing and developing nano-structural scaffolds for tissue repair and regeneration, and nanoparticles for drug delivery and bio-imaging applications, which are used for the treatment and detection of cardiovascular disease, lung disorders and cancers. Dr. Hong will be involved with the training efforts associated with nanotechnology strategies for vascular and lung tissue regeneration and nanomedicine for treatments of cardiovascular and lung diseases.

Yi Hong Profile

Justyn Jaworski

(Ph. D., Assistant Professor, Bioengineering, UTA): Prof. Jaworski has 10 years’ experience as an independent investigator, his research focus is on the screening of bacteriophage to identify receptors to recognize small and bio molecules, the identification of probes/reagents to screen proteins, and the development of novel assays and liposomal sensors for the detection of biological and chemical targets. The trajectory of his career includes belonging to the Medical Research Council’s Lab for Molecular Biology in Cambridge (UK) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Molecular Foundry. Dr. Jaworski will participate as mentor in the ITN program to further develop trainees’ skills in the implementation of nanotechnology for the development of bio sensors and assays.

Justyn Jaworski Profile

Kytai T. Nguyen

(Ph.D., Professor and Graduate Advisor, Bioengineering, UTA): Prof. Nguyen is an established scientist in nanomaterials and nanostructure scaffolds for tissue engineering applications and nanoparticles for detection and treatment of various diseases, including cardiovascular and lung disorders. She also has about 15 years of experience in research training for graduate and undergraduate students. Prof. Nguyen, serving as the program director and a mentor, will lead the ITN training efforts to create learning environments that facilitate interdisciplinary teaching and research training and to develop tools and approaches to achieve the training objectives for the ITN program.

Kytai T. Nguyen Profile

Juhyun Lee

(Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Bioengineering, UTA): Prof. Lee research is focused on the biomechanics of cardiac morphogenesis to understand the physiological significance of congenital heart diseases. Currently, he is studying hemodynamic forces underlying the initiation of cardiac trabeculation and he has developed an in-house cardiac light-sheet fluorescent microscopy (LSFM) to capture a zebra fish’ heart in vivo for computational fluid dynamics analysis. He also works on nanoparticles for drug delivery applications to treat heart disease. Dr. Lee will contribute to the ITN program by mentoring and training doctoral students in areas focused on cardiovascular biomechanics and nanotechnology.

Juhyun Lee Profile

Jun Liao

(Ph.D., Associate Professor, Bioengineering, UTA): Dr. Liao has a research background in soft tissue biomechanics and tissue engineering. His research interest is to better understand the role of biomechanics in maintaining optimal tissue performance in physiological conditions and biomechanical abnormality in diseased conditions. The hope is to apply the gained biomechanical knowledge and novel bioengineering means to better design medical interventions. His research directions focus on cardiovascular tissue biomechanics, tissue engineering, and soft tissue mechanics/computational modeling. He will contribute to the research training associated with basic sciences and nanotechnology associated with cardiovascular diseases as well as cardiac tissue biomechanics in the proposed training program.

Jun Liao Profile

Jacques Lux

(Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Radiology, UTSW): Dr. Lux is a chemist with a research focus on the development of nanomaterials and ultrasound activated contrast agents for detection and treatment of cancer and other diseases. He is the assistant director of the Translational Research in Ultrasound Theranostics (TRUST) Program at UTSW, within the program he developed the first generation of catalase-containing nanoparticles to image oxidative stress and successfully use them to differentiate between infected and non-infected abscess fluid collections in humans. Dr. Lux will participate in the ITN training, especially the implementation of nano-systems for cancer imaging/treatment and for monitoring biological processes in vivo.

Jacques Lux Profile

Ralph P. Mason

(Ph.D., Professor of Radiology & Director of the Cancer Imaging Center, UTSW): Dr. Mason has over 25 years of experience in blood vessel imaging, cancer imaging, and tumor pathophysiology and therapy. Dr. Mason’s primary research interest is prognostic radiology - developing and implementing methods for predicting optimal cancer therapy and assessing early response to treatment. Dr. Mason is the director of the Small Animal Imaging Research Program (SAIRP), which serves as a core of the Cancer Center Support Grant (P30), and consists of a team of experts who advise on diverse imaging techniques and modalities including optical, ultrasound, MRI, and radionuclides. Notably, Dr. Mason has access to the state-of-the-art imaging infrastructure and work with various animal models, including tumor models, which are often less readily available at UTA. He will contribute to the ITN program as imaging tools and nanomedicine for the detection and treatment of cardiovascular and lung diseases.

Ralph P. Mason Profile

Matthias Peltz

(Ph.D. and M.D., Cardiac Surgeon and Surgical Director of Cardiac Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support, Associate Professor, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering, UTSW): Dr. Peltz is an experienced cardiac surgeon with emphasis in cardiopulmonary disease. His main research focuses on the investigation of myocardial metabolism during surgery, metabolic strategies to improve the preservation of transplant thoracic organs, and the development of machine perfusion preservation technology. Furthermore, he is currently working on a project to evaluate the performance of the HeartWare left ventricular assist device and studying the use of spinal cord fiber optic for the prevention and detection of ischemic injury during aortic surgery. Dr. Peltz will continue to serve as co-preceptor/co-mentor and provide his expertise on the implementation of nanomedicine in cardiopulmonary diseases.

Matthias Peltz Profile

Hyejin Moon

(Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of the Integrated Micro and Nano-fluidics laboratory (IMNfL), Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, UTA): Dr. Moon primary research is focused on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), micro and nano fluidics, electro hydrodynamics, biosensors and modeling of transportation phenomena, lab-on-a-chip, and nanotechnology. In addition, she has experience in the separation of cells and biomolecules and the development of microfluidics chips including a DNA separation microfluidic chip, a 3-D cancer tissue-based drug screening chip, and an ion-selective sensor array chip for biosensing. Dr. Moon will serve as a co-mentor in the ITN training program to train students in nano-/micro-fluidics.

Hyejin Moon Profile

Raquibul Hannan

(Ph.D. and M.D., Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology and Immunology, UTSW): Dr. Hannan is a board-certified radiation oncologist and a physician scientist that specializes in stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). His primary research is focused on the design of early phase clinical trials for the optimization and identification of SBRT, and to analyze the immunogenic properties of radiation therapy and immunotherapy in animal models of prostate, breast, kidney, and lung cancer for future clinical translation. Dr. Hannan will participate as a mentor to enhance trainees understanding on immune-modulatory changes during ablative tumor irradiation therapy to further implement nanomedicine for the detection and treatment of cancers.

Raquibul Hannan Profile

Debabrata Saha

(Ph.D., Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology, UTSW): Dr. Saha has been working in the field of radiation biology for more than 16 years and is an expert specifically in the area of tumor radio-resistance. He has also developed several animal models for image guided radiotherapy for various cancers, including lung and prostate cancers. Currently, his laboratory is studying a novel function of tumor suppressor protein DAB2IP on chromosomal instability (CIN) in cancers. Dr. Saha will contribute to the ITN efforts related to interdisciplinary research training at the interface of nanotechnology, tissue specific drug delivery and radiation biology.

Debabrata Saha Profile

Liping Tang

(Ph.D., Professor, Bioengineering, UTA): Dr. Tang’s research interests cover a broad area of biocompatibility, biomaterials, inflammation, infection, stem cells, wound healing and cancer therapy. In addition, Dr. Tang’s group is actively working on the development of bioactive materials and drug delivery nanomaterials which enhance tissue regeneration associated with a variety of diseases. Dr. Tang will contribute to the aspects of nanoengineering strategies for vascular and lung tissue regeneration, nanomedicine and nanoprobes as therapeutic modalities and imaging tools for cardiovascular and lung diseases.

Liping Tang Profile

Young-Tae Kim

(Ph.D., Associate Professor, Bioengineering, UTA): Prof. Kim has research experience in various tissue engineering applications and microfluidic devices. He is currently investigating the effect of nerve stimulation parameters on blood pressure in order to develop various closed-loop control systems for sustainable reduction of hypertension via electrical stimulation. His group also develops nanotechnology-based systems to recapitulate the nature environment and to screen therapeutic agents for disease treatments. Prof. Kim will be contributing to the ITN efforts related to interdisciplinary research training in basic sciences and translational sciences associated nanotechnology to understand the disease development and therapy.

Young-Tae Kim Profile

Xiankai Sun

(Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director, Radiology and Advanced Imaging, UTSW): Dr. Sun serves as director of the Cyclotron and Radiochemistry program and co-director of the Preclinical Nuclear Imaging Laboratory at UTSW. His primary research is focused on the design and synthesis of molecular imaging probes and therapeutic agents with an emphasis on metabolic imaging with radioisotopomers and the development of biocompatible scaffolds for the disease detection and treatment. Dr. Sun will contribute to the ITN program in research focused on nanotechnology and molecular imaging.

Xiankai Sun Profile

Baohong Yuan

(Ph.D., Associate Professor, Bioengineering, UTA): Prof. Yuan is working on the field of biomedical imaging, specifically biomedical optical and ultrasonic imaging. Currently, his main research interest is in the development of an ultrasound-switchable fluorescence (USF) technique for imaging deep-tissue micro-events with super-high resolution. Prof. Yuan will contribute to the aspects of nanotechnology and nanoprobes as imaging tools for cardiovascular and lung diseases.

Baohong Yuan Profile

Zhi-Ping Liu

(Ph.D., Associate Professor, Internal Medicine and Molecular Biology, UTSW): Dr. Liu primary research interest is focused on the understanding of transcriptional regulation of genes in cancer and cardiovascular diseases using a multidisciplinary approach. In addition, she has an extensive background in molecular biology, computer programming, mouse genetics, cardiac biology, gene transcription and prediction and modeling of protein structures. Dr. Liu as a co-mentor will contribute to the research training related to effects of nanotechnology-based systems on the regulation of genes and their therapeutic aspects on cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Zhi-Ping Liu Profile

Weidong Zhou

(Ph.D., Professor, EE, UTA): Dr. Zhou has been working on various active research projects in the areas of photonic crystal infrared photodetectors/sensors, silicon-based detectors, modulators, bio-inspired photonics, semiconductor nanomembranes, quantum dots, and other nanoscale structures. In addition to material and device research, he also has industrial experience on integrated lasers and detectors for optical communication systems. Dr. Zhou will be involved in nanotechnology and imaging applications for the ITN program.

Weidong Zhou Profile

Zui Pan

(Ph.D., Associate Professor, Nursing and Biology, UTA): Dr. Pan has an extensive experience in molecular biology, imaging analysis and optical microscopy. Her current research is focused on cellular and molecular regulation of calcium channels and their mechanism in disease pathology including diabetes and apoptosis in prostate and esophageal cancer cells. In addition, her research expands to the study of physiological and pathophysiological function of different genes. Dr. Pan will participate as mentor and will provide her expertise in cancer, muscle physiology, high resolution imaging and tissue regeneration to the ITN program.

Zui Pan Profile

Robert M. Brothers

(Ph.D., Associate Professor, Kinesiology, Nursing, UTA): Prof. Brothers’ research focuses on mechanisms of neural and hormonal control of cardiac as well as peripheral and cerebral vascular functions in healthy individuals and populations with elevated cardiovascular/metabolic disease risks. In addition, his laboratory investigates the impact of lifestyle interventions on these impairments. Prof. Brothers will participate in the ITN efforts by contributing to integrative training for detection and prevention of cardiovascular diseases in both the classroom and laboratory settings.

Robert M. Brothers Profile

Marco A.P. Brotto

(Ph.D., Professor of Kinesiology and Director of the PhD Nursing Program, UTA): Dr. Brotto is the director of the doctoral nursing program at UTA. He has been studying muscle functions in a number of in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo models, including a host of cell lines, primary cells, animal models, and human subjects. On the clinical-translational front, his group was the first to propose the identification of serum biomarkers for the risk of falls and exercise efficiency in older adults. Dr. Brotto will contribute to basic and translational sciences associated with cardiovascular diseases.

Marco A.P. Brotto Profile