Our Faculty & Current Programs of Study


*Cancer Immunology, Inflammation and Tolerance *Group leader: Dr. Esteban Cellis*

 
Yukai Hu

Member, Cancer Immunology, Inflammation and Tolerance Program

Associate Professor of Medicine and Graduate Studies

706-721-2728
 yhe@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN4150
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912

Dr. He studied biochemistry at the First Military Medical University in Canton, China, his native country. His pursuits took him to the University of Heidelberg in Germany where he focused on molecular virology and then to the University of Pittsburgh to work in tumor immunology and immunotherapy.

 
Kebin Liu

Member, Cancer Immunology, Inflammation and Tolerance Program

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
706-721-9483
kliu@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN1173
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Liu studies epigenetic and genetic regulation of tumor suppressor gene expression, molecular mechanisms of apoptosis resistance in tumor immune evasion and escape, and development of molecular target-based chemotherapy to enhance the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy
 
David Munn

Senior Advisor to the Cancer Center Director

Member, Cancer Immunology, Inflammation and Tolerance Program
Professor of Pediatrics
706-721-7171
 dmunn@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN1173
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Munn's lab investigates molecular mechanisms that suppress the immune system, making the body tolerant of a malignancy. The research has identified the enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) as a linchpin for several suppressive interactions and opened the way to novel strategies to block its activity. Research interests include macrophage and dendritic cell differentiation; regulation of T cell activation by antigen-presenting cells; immune function regulation by indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) and tryptophan metabolism; clinical trials of IDO inhibitors in cancer, HIV.
 
Nagendra Singh

Member, Cancer Immunology, Inflammation and Tolerance Program

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

706-721-6238
nasingh@augusta.eduGeorgia Cancer Research Building, CN1162
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Singh studies the role of inflammation in tumor promotion and development, probiotics in intestinal health and role of regulatory (Tregs) andeffector T cells (Teff) in cancer, autoimmunity infections and transplantations.
 
Gang Zhou

Member, Cancer Immunology, Inflammation and Tolerance Program

Assistant Professor of Medicine,
Section of Hematology/Oncology

706-721-4472
gzhou@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN4140
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Zhou's work focuses on investigating the diverse functions of the immune system’s CD4+ T cells in the presence of cancer. Dr. Zhou is conducting his studies in various animal models. The immune system’s CD4+ T cells can be primed to handle diverse assignments either as helper cells or suppressor (regulatory) cells. As helper cells, they can kill malignant cells directly or help to activate other immune cells to attack the tumors. Suppressor CD4+ T cells, however, act as brakes on the immune system, heading off autoimmune disorders.
 
Pandelakis Koni

Member, Cancer Immunology, Inflammation and Tolerance Program

Associate Professor of Medicine
Basic Science Faculty

706-721-6897
pkoni@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN4554
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Immunologists, such as Dr. Pandelakis Koni, put in many hours in their mouse model research laboratories, focusing their studies on which genes promote cancer and the molecular mechanisms that allow it to happen. He and other researchers have bred mice with particular DNA patterns, called knockout mice. By turning genes off or silencing their expression in these engineered mice, researchers can compare them to normal mice and find clues about which genes promote cancer in people. Research interests include immune regulation, inflammation, interface between antigen-presenting cells and T cells.
 
Santhakumar Manicassamy

Member, Cancer Immunology, Inflammation and Tolerance Program

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Basic Science Faculty

706-721-6238
smanicassamy@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN4158A
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Manicassamy is examining critical mechanisms that regulate adoptive immune responses at the ­­­mucoscal surfaces of the gastro-intestinal track. New insights from Dr. Manicassamy’s research will shed light on interactions between commensal micro-organisms and how these interactions can become dys-functional to cause increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancers.

 

 

*Molecular Oncology and biomarkers *Group leader: Dr. John Cowell*

 
Ahmed Chadli

Member, Molecular Oncology Program

Associate Professor of Radiology
Assistant Professor of Medicine

706-721-4661
achadli@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN3151
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Research in Dr. Chadli’s laboratory focuses on understanding and targeting the Hsp90 chaperoning machine for cancer therapy. Molecular chaperones are key players in the maintenance of a healthy proteome and in homeostasis of the cell. Dysregulation in the function of molecular chaperones leads to many metabolic and oncological diseases. Current information suggests that targeting the Hsp90 machine may have a powerful and combinatorial impact on dysfunctional circuitries that underlie cancer. We are developing a novel high-throughput technology to identify impactful chemical compounds to inactivate the core components of the Hsp90 chaperoning machine. We are also dissecting the role of co-chaperones in the initiation and progression of breast and prostate cancers using in vitro and mouse conditional knockout models
 
John Cowell

Associate Director for Basic Science

Co-Leader, Molecular Oncology Program
Professor of Pathology

706-721-4381
jcowell@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN4121
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. John Cowell studies the molecular genetics of cancer using a variety of genomics and cell and molecular biology approaches. He is currently investigating the role of the WASF3 gene in the promotion of cancer metastasis using in vivo models in mice and zebrafish. He also studies of the molecular etiology of Stem Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma (SCLL) syndrome which is characterized by chromosome 8p11 translocations activating the FGFR1 kinase.
 
Anatolij Horuzsko
Member, Molecular Oncology Program

Associate Professor of Radiology

706-721-8736
ahoruzsko@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN3154
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Horuzsko's current studies focus on organ transplantation and the role of a key molecule, Human Leukocyte Antigen-G (HLA-G). His aim is to improve allograft survival in patients and address allergy, autoimmune diseases and graft-versus-host disease. What is applicable in the transplantation field is also applicable in cancer. He also studies the inflammatory molecular mechanisms involved in physiology, host defense, and carcinogenesis.
 
Nahid Mivechi

Member, Molecular Oncology Program

Professor of Radiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

706-721-8759
nmivechi@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN3153
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Mivechi's laboratory is focusing on understanding the molecular mechanisms of stress response using genetically engineered mouse models. Her research has recently expanded to using zebrafish as a model system. The comparison between conserved biochemical and molecular pathways in mice and zebrafish facilitates understanding of how animals and thereby humans respond and cope with their environment.
 
Dimitrios Moskofidis

Member, Molecular Oncology Program

Professor of Radiology

706-721-8738
dmoskofidis@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN3143
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Moskofidis explores basic processes in the immune response against acute/persistent viral infections in well-established animal (mouse) models, with long-term goals of developing new or improving existing vaccination strategies for the prevention and treatment of viral infections in humans. He also studies the role of molecular chaperones in human illnesses such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
 
Huidong Shi

Member, Molecular Oncology Program

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

706-721-6000
hshi@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN2138
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Shi studies epigenomics, and development of high-throughput technologies for dissecting the complex epigenetic regulation in normal and tumor cells. Epigenetics is heritable chromatin organization and gene expression not coded by DNA sequence. While epigenetics refers to the study of single genes or sets of genes, epigenomics is the global analyses of epigenetic changes across the genome.

 
Jan Van Riggelen

Member, Molecular Oncology Program

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

706-721-0856
hshi@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN2138
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Shi studies epigenomics, and development of high-throughput technologies for dissecting the complex epigenetic regulation in normal and tumor cells. Epigenetics is heritable chromatin organization and gene expression not coded by DNA sequence. While epigenetics refers to the study of single genes or sets of genes, epigenomics is the global analyses of epigenetic changes across the genome.

 

*Signaling & Angiogenesis*Group leader: TBD*


 
Darren Browning

Department Director, Graduate Program in Biochemistry and Cancer Biology

Member, Signaling & Angiogenesis Program
Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

706-721-9526
dbrowning@augusta.eduGeorgia Cancer Research Building, CN1164
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Browning studies the functions of cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG). Characterization of the role of PKG in tumor biology, including angiogenesis, apoptosis and differentiation. Preclinical studies in animal models compliment in vitro work to establish PKG as a target for the treatment of colon cancer.
 
Han-Fei Ding

Department Director, Graduate Program in Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
Member, Signaling & Angiogenesis Program
Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

706-721-4286
hding@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN4132
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
As a member of the molecular oncology program, Dr. Ding's research focuses on the molecular and cellular bases of cancer development in selected model systems.
 
Honglin Li

Member, Signaling and Angiogenesis Program

Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

706-721-6143
hli@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN2176
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Li studies the long-term goals of the Li laboratory are to identify and characterize novel molecular mechanisms that regulate cellular stress response and cell death signaling.  We hope that our study will shed light on therapeutic targets for treatment of human diseases, such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
 
Pamela Martin

Member, Signaling and Angiogenesis Program

Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology

706-721-4220
pmmartin@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN1160
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Martin's focus is on the discovery and analysis of novel biochemical transporters and receptors in retina which may be useful in the development of new therapeutic targets in the treatment and prevention of diabetic retinopathy.
 
Betty Pace

Francis J. Tedesco, MD Distinguished Chair in Pediatrics

Acting Chief of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Member, Signaling and Angiogenesis Program
Professor of Pediatrics and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

706-721-6893
bpace@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN2011
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
The Pace laboratory conducts research related to the developmental regulation of globin gene expression using primary erythroid progenitors. The major effort has been the role p38 MAPK cell signaling in drug-mediated fetal hemoglobin induction as a treatment for sickle cell disease. The laboratory also has conducted high throughput drug screens to identify novel gamma globin inducers. Genome-wide studies are being conducted to identify genetic modifiers of fetal hemoglobin.
 
Puttur Prasad

Member, Signaling and Angiogenesis Program

Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

706-721-1761
pprasad@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN1163
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Prasad studies the nutrient and drug transporters in the placenta as well aa post-partum depression.

Member, Signaling and Angiogenesis Program
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

706-721-1018
dsakamuro@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN1176
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
The Sakamuro laboratory is interested in the signaling mechanisms by which advanced cancer cells acquire resistance to a) DNA damage, b) p53-dependent apoptosis, and c) substratum dissociation stress. One of our research interests is the dual roles of the c-MYC transcription factor in genomic instability and DNA damage resistance. We are also interested in the mechanisms of apoptosis induced by the p53 tumor suppressor in the presence of chromatin remodeling factors. The other area of research interest in our laboratory is the molecular mechanisms of normal epithelialization (or reverse EMT).
 
Dorothy Tuan-Lo

Member, Signaling and Angiogenesis Program

Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

706-721-6281
dtuanlo@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN2173
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Tuan's research focuses on transcriptional control of globin gene expression during erythroid cell commitment and differentiation; gene therapy for hereditary erythroid cell diseases.
 
Muthusamy Thangaraju

Member, Signaling and Angiogenesis Program

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

706-721-0272
mthangaraju@augusta.edu
Georgia Cancer Research Building, CN1161
Augusta University, Health Sciences Campus
Augusta, GA 30912
Dr. Thangaraju studies the role of plasma membrane transporters in the uptake of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors into tumor cells; Relevance of these transporters to tumor suppression in mammary gland via HDAC inhibition; Physiologic role of these transporters in apoptosis associated with mammary gland involution; Epigenetic mechanisms responsible for silencing of these transporters in breast cancer.