Department of Biological Sciences

School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Faculty and Research
Zachary Campbell, PhD

The Campbell lab examines how regulatory elements present in RNA coordinate gene expression in humans. To do so, we have pioneered new genomic approaches to overcome technical limitations in comprehensive analysis of RNA-binding using next-generation sequencing. Our ultimate goal is to translate these findings to a multitude of outstanding problems that will inform our understanding of development and disease.



Heng Du, PhD

Dr. Heng Du’s research is focusing on the mitochondrial role in neurodegenerative diseases. Specifically, the research interests fall under two themes: (a) mitochondria particular synaptic mitochondria-associated mechanisms of neurodegeneration in neurological diseases; and (b) translational study on mitochondrial medicine to protect neurodegeneration under pathological states, by using a combination of molecular biology, cell biology, electrophysiology and pathology on research models including gene-modified animal, cell models and embryonic & induced pluripotent stem cells.

Faruck Morcos, PhD
Assistant Professor

Faruck Morcos, PhD

Dr. Morcos lab focuses on solving problems at the interface between biology, computation, mathematics and biophysics. The primary focus of the lab is the development and application of methods to extract biological information from sequence and genomic data in combination with physical models to study molecular evolutionary landscapes, biomolecular structure and function, macro-complex formation, specificity in biological networks and its applications to understand and fight disease.

Morcos Lab

Lawrence Reitzer, PhD

Dr. Reitzer’s research involves the regulation of gene expression and metabolism in Escherichia coli and pathogenic bacteria with a focus on responses to environmental stresses, such as nitrogen limitation. Work in progress is also analyzing pathways of the catabolism of polyamines, compounds which correlate with growth rate, and the function of transaminases, especially with respect to the function of their broad specificity.

research interests

Duane Winkler, PhD

Metallo-chaperones exist as part of a multi-pronged defense force used by aerobic organisms to guard against toxic levels of oxidative stress. Our lab uses a structure-guided approach to develop a complete molecular mechanism for the action of these molecules. Maintaining proper metal ion homeostasis is essential for the health and survival of all organisms.

lab website

Emeritus Professors

Hans Bremer, PhD

Claud Rupert, PhD

Affiliated Faculty

Sheena D’Arcy
Assistant Professor 
BE 2.328 

Sheena D'Arcy

Our research looks at the molecular basis of enhancer function in cell-specific gene expression. We study large protein assemblies that influence chromatin dynamics. We use biochemical, structural and in vivo approaches including x-ray crystallography and hydrogen-deuterium exchange coupled to mass spectrometry. Our research has implications for cancer treatment and regenerative medicine.

Jonathan E. Ploski, PhD

Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year, causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty. While each anxiety disorder has different symptoms, all the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear. Currently the neurobiological basis for these disorders remains poorly understood and treatments for these disorders remain inadequate. Therefore research in my laboratory focuses on identifying the molecular and biochemical mechanisms that contribute to the development of fear and the maintenance of fear.

Collectively my laboratory utilizes a myriad of molecular, biochemical and behavioral approaches to study learned fear (cue-induced anxiety) and innate fear. In particular we manipulate gene expression within the rodent brain utilizing recombinant viruses to establish respective roles for individual genes/proteins in neural plasticity, memory formation and anxiety.

research interests


Irina Borovkov, PhD

Dr. Borovkov, who joined the faculty in 2005, has a broad research background as well as teaching experience. Her main research interests included mapping of disease resistance genes in plants and development of new molecular approaches to analysis of genetically engineered plants.  She has more than 20 scientific publications.

Mehmet Candas, PhD

Dr. Candas teaches courses in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, Biotechnology, Cellular Microbiology and Body Systems. Blending experience in academia and biotechnology industry, Dr. Candas has a broad-based research background with projects spanning the fields of aging, cancer and infectious diseases. His studies concern biochemical and genetic pathways involved in cellular responses to signaling molecules, microbial toxins, drugs and insecticides.


Monique Duncan, PhD

Dr. Duncan received a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University, an MS in Genetic Counseling from Indiana University and a PhD in Genetics from Duke University.  Dr. Duncan completed post-doctoral work in antiviral drug development for HIV-1 at Emory University.  Prior to joining the faculty at UTD, Dr. Duncan was a Patent Agent admitted to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Dr. Duncan is currently instructing a course focused on the interplay between genetics and clinical disease.  She is also involved in the UT-PACT collaboration between UTD and UT Southwestern Medical School. 

[email protected]
Lecturer II
FN 3.208

Brenna R. Hill, PhD

Dr. Hill joined the UTD faculty as of Spring 2014. She teaches Introduction to Biology (Biol2281), Anatomy & Physiology I laboratory (Biol3455) and Anatomy & Physiology II laboratory (Biol3456), as well as Mammalian Physiology (Biol4V95 – Fall 2014). Dr. Hill received a B.S. in Biology from Shippensburg University (2004), a M.Ed. in Clinical Exercise Physiology from Temple University (2007) and a PhD in Physiology from Penn State University (2013). Her PhD thesis involved the study of how chronic deficits in energy balance impact metabolic and gastrointestinal hormone profiles in exercising women. Throughout her time as a graduate student, Dr. Hill was heavily involved in teaching courses in anatomy, physiology and exercise physiology. She obtained a teaching certificate from Penn State University and in 2013, received the Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award.


Wen-ju Lin, PhD

Dr. Lin joined the faculty in 2009 as a Senior Lecturer. Her instructional duties include teaching a Microbial World with Laboratory (BIO13120) for non-majors, and the Introductory Biology Laboratory (BIO2281). Dr. Lin received a B.S. in Biology from National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan (1986), a PhD (1996) in Molecular and Cell Biology from The University of Texas at Dallas. Her PhD thesis involved the study of chromosomal suppressors of a mutation in the mitochondrial tRNAASP gene of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Col. (ret) David Murchison, DDS, MMS
Pre-Dental Advisor, HPAC

Dr. Murchison joined the UT Dallas faculty in 2011after retiring from the Air Force where he served as Dean of the USAF Postgraduate Dental Programs and Assistant Deputy Surgeon General for Dental Services.  He received a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Arkansas, his DDS from Baylor College of Dentistry, and an MMS from St. Francis University.  He has conducted and mentored biomaterial and clinical dental research in Air Force Advanced Education in General Dentistry and Specialty Programs. 

Jing Pan, PhD

Dr Jing Pan joined the faculty in 2013 as a Senior Lecturer. Her current instruction duties include teaching Eukaryotic Molecular and Cell Biology (BIOL3102) and RNA world (BIOL6V29). Dr Pan received a B.S. (1998) from Nankai University in Tianjin, China, and a Ph.D. (2004) in Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cell Biology from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Her PhD work focused on the study of spindle checkpoint, a cell cycle surveillance mechanism, in budding yeast. After her PhD, she completed postdoc training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City (2004-2008), where she worked on meiotic recombination in budding yeast and in mice; and at University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas (2009-2013), where she worked on miRNA modulation of cell polarity.

Elizabeth Pickett, PhD

Dr. Pickett joined the faculty in 2011 as a Senior Lecturer. Her primary instructional duties include teaching Biochemistry Laboratory (BIOL 3380) and Introductory Biology Laboratory (BIOL 2281). Dr. Pickett received a B.S. in Genetics from Texas A&M University (2001) and a PhD in Genetics and Development from UT-Southwestern (2007). Her PhD thesis involved the study of PDGFR-alpha signaling in mouse embryonic development.

Prior to joining the faculty at UTD, Dr. Pickett was an instructor at Richland College in the Dallas County Community College District. In 2010 she received the district-wide Excellence in Teaching Award for Adjunct Faculty. Dr. Pickett is a member of the Society for Developmental Biology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Science Teachers Association.

Ruben D. Ramirez, MD, PhD

Dr. Ramirez joined the faculty in 2009 as a Senior Lecturer. His instructional duties include teaching a Medical Microbiology (BIOL 4350), Human Anatomy & Physiology I (BIOL 3455), and Introduction to Modern Biology II (BIOL 2312). Dr. Ramirez received an M.D. (1980) from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Monterrey, Mexico, and a PhD (1999) in Cell Regulation from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. His PhD thesis involved the study of "telomerase expression in rapid regenerative tissues: the epidermis and hair follicle."

Scott A. Rippel, PhD

Dr. Rippel joined the faculty in 1999 as a Senior Lecturer. His primary instructional duties include teaching a Biotechnology Laboratory BIO2V00) for non-majors,and the junior-level Biochemistry Laboratory (BIO4380).

Dr. Rugg joined the faculty as a Senior Lecturer in 2012. Her instructional duties include teaching a Special Topics in Biology course (BIOL4V00).  Dr. Rugg received a BSc. in Biochemistry from the University of London, London, UK (1976) and a PhD in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, UK (1989).  Dr. Rugg has a broad research and teaching background. Her teaching experience includes facilitating Problem Based Learning components of the 1st year Medical Course, at Queen Mary College, University of London and lecturing on the Cell Biology Graduate Training Program and the Dermatology Residents’ Program at the University of California Irvine. Dr. Rugg’s research interests include understanding the function of the epithelial intermediate filament cytoskeleton, the molecular basis of epithelial diseases (particularly those associated with tissue fragility), wound healing and tissue regeneration. She has identified of the underlying genetic lesions for a number of inherited epithelial disorders.

Ilya Sapozhnikov, MD, PhD

Dr. Sapozhnikov received his Diploma of a Medical Doctor as well as the PhD degree in Russia. He was the Head of the Research Group for the primary prevention and non-drug treatment of cardiovascular diseases at the USSR Research Cardiology Center for the Academy of the Medical Sciences in Moscow, Russia.

Uma Srikanth, PhD

Dr. Uma Srikanth received her B.S., and M.S., in Biochemistry from University of Madras, India. She received her PhD, in Molecular and Cell Biology under the guidance of Dr. Dennis Miller. Her doctoral thesis was titled "Evolution of Mitochondrial RNA editing in the SSU rRNA of Myxomyctes". Dr. Srikanth, then went on, to pursue clinical research during her post-doctoral training at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. During her stint at UT Southwestern, Dr. Srikanth researched Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis using both in vitro and in vivo models in the lab of Dr. Jeffrey Elliott (Director of Muscular Dystrophy Association - ALS, Dallas Chapter).

Dr.Srikanth has extensive experience in lab techniques and their applications. She has also trained a number of students and high school teachers during her career at UT Southwestern. Dr. Srikanth is very interested in topics related to neurodegenerative research and their implications. Dr.Srikanth currently teaches BIOL 2311- Introduction to Modern Biology (core course for BS in Biology and Biochemistry students), BIOL 3302 - Eukaryotic Cell and Molecular Biology and BIOL 6356 - Graduate section of Eukaryotic Cell and Molecular Biology. Dr. Srikanth also mentors students for BIOL 4390 - Independent Research writing. Dr.Srikanth has extensive teaching experience and enjoys interacting with students.

Research Explorer

Michelle Wilson, PhD
Senior Lecturer

Dr. Michelle Wilson joined the department in Fall 2012 and is currently teaching Introduction to Modern Biology II, Anatomy & Physiology I laboratory and Anatomy & Physiology II laboratory. She obtained her Doctoral degree in Biochemistry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX in 2003 working on protein function in small intron splicing. Her interests are science education and molecular biology.

Wen-Ho Yu, PhD

Dr. Yu’s primary responsibility is to teach human anatomy and physiology and biology II to the pre-professional health care and graduate students.

He received a Ph. D. in Physiology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas in 1988. Prior to his joining the faculty in 2006, Dr. Yu was a member of the physiology faculty at UT Southwestern Medical School and assistant professor of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana State University.

He is interested in the research of neuroendocrinology, reproductive physiology and obesity.

Adjunct Faculty

Santosh D’Mello, PhD

Research in the lab is centered on understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating neurodegeneration.  Specifically, primary cultures of neurons, transgenic and knockout mice, and animal models of neurological disease are used to study genes, proteins, and signal transduction pathways regulating neuronal cell death.  We are also interested in identifying chemical compounds that protect the brain from neurodegeneration. The long-term objective of the laboratory’s research is to develop strategies to prevent, treat, or cure degenerative diseases of the brain.  Recently, we have expanded our interests to investigate neurodevelopmental disorders. 

research interests
faculty profile

Jian Q. (Jerry) Feng, PhD

Dr. Feng performs research in craniofacial, tooth and bone developmental biology, with a particular interest in understanding the roles of Dentin matrix protein-1, Bmp receptor 1A, beta-catenin, periostin and mechanical loading during development. In addition, Dr. Feng is interested in understanding tooth root formation using a naturally occurring osteoporosis mouse model. Lastly, Dr. Feng is interested in understanding the mechanism by which Pax-9 in mutation in exon 3 leads to tooth agenesis.

Ralph Kittler, PhD

Our lab takes genomics approaches to decipher the functions of cancer-relevant transcription factors in breast, lung and prostate cancer and to translate this knowledge into new approaches for detection and treatment of cancer:

  1. We combine analyses of the genomic binding sites of cancer-relevant transcription factors, epigenetic, gene expression and clinical outcome data to make specific predictions about the role of transcription factors and functional interaction of multiple transcription factors in the regulation of cancer-relevant gene networks
  2. We use RNAi screening to identify druggable modulators of transcription factors whose direct therapeutic targeting is challenging as molecules for targeted therapies.
  3. We analyze the expression of the target genes of oncogenic transcription factors in tissues and serum of cancer patients to identify novel biomarkers.

McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development

Rueyling Lin, PhD

The major interest of my lab is the understanding of the molecular events that determine various aspects of animal development. We use the nematode Caenorhabditis elegansas a model system and our research combines genetic, molecular biological, and cell biological approaches as well as advanced imaging technology.

Rueyling Lin Lab

Betty Sue Pace, MD

Elucidating mechanisms of fetal hemoglobin induction through p38 MAPK cell signaling. Approaches used include DNA microarray analysis to characterize the transcriptome in erythroid progenitors during the gamma to beta hemoglobin switch as well as to identify gamma globin trans-activators. The molecular work is complimented by high throughput drug screens to identify novel fetal hemoglobin inducing agents as a treatment strategy for sickle cell disease.

research interests


Dorothy Sendelbach, PhD
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Department of Pediatrics


Dorothy Sendelbach, PhD

  • Complete blood counts (CBC) in term infants with exposure to pretreted chorioamnionitis
  • Duration of antibiotic treatment of pneumonia in term newborns
  • Noninvasive bilirubin measurements

UTSW Profile

Edward K. Wakeland, PhD
UT Southwestern Medical Center


Mouse genetics to delineate the genetic basis for autoimmune disease pathogenesis. Our primary focus has been on systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a debilitating autoimmune disease initiated via a profound loss of immunologic tolerance to nuclear antigens. We have used genetic manipulation of the lupus-prone NZM2410 murine model of SLE to dissect SLE pathogenesis into a series of discrete stages.

We are currently in the process of identifying the individual susceptibility genes and defining the genetic pathways responsible for the initiation and progression of systemic autoimmunity in lupus-prone mouse models of SLE. Additional projects within the laboratory include genetic dissections of autoimmune diabetes and the analysis of a variety of polymorphisms in normal immune functions. The use of microarray technology in combination with genetic fine mapping to identify polymorphic genes with potent immunologic effects is a major new thrust within the laboratory.

Wakeland Laboratory

  • Updated: March 24, 2017