GBCB Faculty

For more information about the program Admission process and fellowships Graduate School GBCB Liason
Dr. David Bevan
Program Chair
Department of Biochemistry
201 Fralin Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540/ 231-5040, drbevan@vt.edu
Dr. T. M. Murali
Admissions Committee Chair & Associate Professor
Department of Computer Science
2160B Torgerson Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540/ 231-8534, murali@vt.edu
Dennie Munson
Graduate Program Assistant
Office of the Dean of the Graduate School
Virginia Tech and VBI
Washington Street, Phase I (0477)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540/ 231-1968, dennie@vt.edu

 

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Faculty Name Department Affiliation Accepting Students Research Focus Area Research Summary

Williams Mark Williams

markhw@vt.edu
web site
  • Associate Professor, Dept. of Horticulture
Yes
  • Biological Data Mining and Statistics
Dr. Williams utilizes molecular and computation methods to describe how extraordinarily diverse environmental microorganisms develop into functional and interacting systems. Habits of study include, soil, root, ecosystem, and nano-scale environments. Research utilizes both applied and basic experimental systems to enhance plant growth, understand global carbon and nitrogen cycling, and mechanisms of microbial stress response. GBCB students are needed to begin integrating knowledge derived from meta-omic (genome, transcriptome, protreome) data produced in the laboratory and by the research community. Research areas are: Biological Data Mining and Statistics, Plant-environment Microbiomics, Soil metagenomics, Plant-microbial ecology

Mather William Mather
Assistant Professor
wmather@vt.edu
web site
  • Dept. of Physics
Yes
  • High Performance Computing
All biological cells, from bacterial to human, must cope with limited resources. We are increasingly becoming aware of the fundamental importance of finite "processing" resources that are behind a myriad of tasks, including not only metabolism but also protein production, degradation, and modification. This reality is now colliding with our current understanding of the principles behind the structure of synthetic and native circuits in cells. The Mather Lab is currently pursuing the experimental and theoretical development of a biological queueing theory, which fundamentally assumes limited processing resources and will provide an intuitive framework for these systems. We combine fluorescence microscopy, microfluidics, and synthetic biology with quantitative modeling to infer queueing theoretical principles behind the dynamics of biological networks in "E. coli" cells.
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Holliday Jason Holliday
Assistant Professor
jah1@vt.edu
web site
  • Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
Yes
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Cimini Daniela Cimini
Associate Professor
cimini@vt.edu
web site
  • Biological Sciences
  • VBI Biology Research Fellow
Yes
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Systems Biology
Research in the Cimini lab focuses in two major areas: (i)role of mechanics and dynamics of mitotic apparatus components in ensuring accurate chromosome segregation during cell division; (ii) causes and consequences of aneuploidy (abnormal chromosome numbers) in normal and cancer cells.
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Hauf Silke Hauf
Assistant Professor
silke.hauf@vt.edu
web site
  • Biological Sciences
  • VBI Biology Research Fellow
Yes
  • Computational Biology
  • Cyberinfrastructure and Bioinformatics
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Systems Biology
We want to understand the mechanisms behind the extremely reliable and robust execution of cellular processes. To this end, we study cell division, a highly complex process that – despite its complexity – is typically completed flawlessly, even when external or internal conditions vary. Our methods include yeast molecular genetics, quantitative live cell imaging, computational modeling and bioinformatics.

Li Liwu Li
Professor
lwli@vt.edu
web site
  • Biological Sciences
Yes
  • Biomedicine
  • Computational Biology
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Systems Biology
Major Field of Interest: Molecular and Cellular Mechanism of Human Inflammatory Diseases Current Research: Molecular pathways controlling innate immunity and inflammation, Dynamic programming of innate immune leukocytes, and Pathogenesis of acute and chronic inflammatory diseases such as sepsis and atherosclerosis
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Maroof Saghai Maroof
Professor
smaroof@vt.edu
web site
  • Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences
Yes
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Zhu Jinsong Zhu
Assistant Professor
zhujin@vt.edu
web site
  • Biochemistry
Yes

Tu Zhijian (Jake) Tu
Professor
jaketu@vt.edu
web site
  • Biochemistry
Yes
  • Computational Biology
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Genomics
  • Systems Biology
We employ systems biology and bioinformatic approaches to 1) develop a synthetic gene drive in mosquitoes for the control of malaria and dengue, and 2) investigate mosquito sex determination, which may offer novel control strategies based on genetic manipulations of sex ratio and male fertility.

Murali T. M. Murali
Associate Professor
tmurali@vt.edu
web site
  • Computer Science
  • School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering
  • Computational Tissue Engineering interdisciplinary graduate education program
Yes
  • Biological Data Mining and Statistics
  • Computational Biology
  • Microbiology, including microbe host interactions
  • Systems Biology
Phenomenological and predictive models of molecular interaction networks. Fusing top-down and bottom-up approaches in systems biology. Computational tissue engineering. Host-pathogen molecular interaction networks. Hypergraph representations of molecular interactions.

Eubank Stephen Eubank
Professor
eubank@vt.edu
web site
  • VBI
  • Department of Physics
  • Public Health Program
Yes
  • Computational Biology
  • High Performance Computing
  • Math
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Systems Biology
Research in simulating large socio-technical systems; computational epidemiology; scaling in complex systems; network structure / graph theory.
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Grene Ruth Grene
Professor
grene@vt.edu
web site
  • Plant Pathology
  • Physiology
  • Weed Science
Yes
  • Biological Data Mining and Statistics
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Genomics
  • Plant Sciences
  • Systems Biology
Functional genomics: global effects of stress imposition on gene expression and regulatory pathways. Relationships between environmental signaling and stress resistance: mechanisms in plants. Bioinformatics and visualization tools for analysis and depiction
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Veilleux Richard Veilleux
Professor
potato@vt.edu
web site
  • Horticulture
Yes
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Genomics
  • Plant Sciences
We are working on two major projects, one centered on genes for micronutrient (Fe and Zn) acquisition in potato and the other on sequencing monoploid potato with just a single allele per locus to understand copy number variation and genomic complexities of the heterozygous tetraploid crop.

Helm Richard Helm

helmrf@vt.edu
web site
  • Biochemistry
Yes
Program Focus: The laboratory works collaboratively with numerous groups on campus using mass spectrometry to help answer biological questions in all kingdoms of life. Key areas of expertise are in the proteomics and metabolomics, or the analysis, identification and quantification of proteins and metabolites. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry is the main tool that we use to analyze samples for detecting and measuring levels of proteins and small molecules.
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Michalak Pawel Michalak
Associate Professor
pawel@vt.edu
web site
  • VBI
Yes
Research in comparative genomics and evolution; hybrid genomes and phenotypes; genome reconfigurations due to hybridization, polyploidization, and cancer; genome regulation and genetic conflicts; evolution of stress resistance.
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Ramakrishnan Naren Ramakrishnan
Professor
naren@vt.edu
web site
  • Computer Science
Yes
  • Computational Biology
  • Cyberinfrastructure and Bioinformatics
Mining scientific datasets in domains such as systems biology, neuroscience, sustainability, and intelligence analysis.

Paul Mark Paul

mrp@vt.edu
web site
  • Mechanical Engineering
Yes
  • Math

Marathe Madhav Marathe
Professor
marathe@vt.edu
web site
  • VBI
  • Department of Computer Science
Yes
Research in interaction-based modeling and simulation of complex systems; design and analysis of algorithms and computational complexity; wireless and next generation communication networks; HPC and grid computing; computational epidemiology and economics.
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Zhang Liqing Zhang
Associate professor
lqzhang@vt.edu
web site
  • Computer Science
Yes
  • Biological Data Mining and Statistics
  • Computational Biology
  • Cyberinfrastructure and Bioinformatics
  • Genomics
  • High Performance Computing
  • Systems Biology
My research interest includes computational prediction of the effect of genetic variants on human diseases and phenotypes, designing programs for analyzing and mining of large-scale biological data including NGS data, microarray data, proteomics data, and cancer genomics.
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Heath Lenwood Heath
Professor
heath@vt.edu
web site
  • Computer Science
Yes
  • Biological Data Mining and Statistics
  • Computational Biology
  • Cyberinfrastructure and Bioinformatics
  • Genomics
  • Plant Sciences
I work in computational biology and bioinformatics, concentrating on algorithms, databases, and bioinformatics tools. I enjoy sequence analysis from the nucleotide to the genome levels and analyzing and modeling biological data, especially omics data. Looking for students with a CS background.
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Watson Layne Watson
Professor
ltw@vt.edu
web site
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
Yes
  • Biological Data Mining and Statistics
  • Computational Biology
  • Cyberinfrastructure and Bioinformatics
  • High Performance Computing
  • Math
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Systems Biology
Dr. Watson's current research interests include numerical analysis, nonlinear programming, mathematical software, solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, image processing, scientific computation, and bioinformatics. His work is at the interface of mathematics, computer science, and science and engineering disciplines (including biology).

Hilu Khidir Hilu
Professor
hilukw@vt.edu
web site
  • Biological Sciences
Yes
  • Biological Data Mining and Statistics
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Genomics
Major Field of Interest: Molecular Systematics and Evolution of Flowering Plants and Crops Current Research: Research has been focused on the evolution of flowering plants (angiosperms) as well as land plants in general using DNA sequence information. This aspect of our work includes both basal angiosperms as well as eudicots. We are emphasizing the rapidly evolving plastid gene matK and the trnT-trnF region.

Myles Kevin Myles
Associate Professor
mylesk@vt.edu
web site
  • Entomology
  • Fralin Life Science Institute
Yes
  • Computational Biology
  • Cyberinfrastructure and Bioinformatics
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology, including microbe host interactions
Research in my laboratory is being conducted at the confluence of several different areas of study that include molecular virology, the mechanisms and biology of RNA silencing, next-generation sequencing, and bioinformatics.
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Bassaganya-Riera Josep Bassaganya-Riera
Professor, Director
jbassaga@vt.edu
web site
  • VBI
  • Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences
  • Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
Yes
  • Biomedicine
  • Cyberinfrastructure and Bioinformatics
  • High Performance Computing
  • Microbiology, including microbe host interactions
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Systems Biology
Josep Bassaganya-Riera is the Director of the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory (NIMML, www.nimml.org) and a Professor of Immunology at VBI. He leads large-scale research programs on infectious diseases, gastrointestinal health, and obesity-related inflammatory complication
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Tyson John Tyson
University Distinguished Professor
tyson@vt.edu
web site
  • Biological Sciences
  • VBI Faculty Fellow
Yes
  • Computational Biology
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Systems Biology
Temporal and spatial organization in cellular regulatory systems. Cell cycle, DNA damage and cell signaling. Apoptosis, autophagy and unfolded protein response. T cell differentiation. Circadian rhythms. Nonlinear dynamical systems. Stochastic modeling.

Jelesko John Jelesko
Associate Professor
jelesko@vt.edu
web site
  • Plant Pathology and Weed Science
Yes
  • Biomedicine
  • Computational Biology
  • Cyberinfrastructure and Bioinformatics
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • High Performance Computing
  • Modeling and Simulation
The Jelesko laboratory investigates the molecular evolutionary processes responsible for plant chemical diversity. Our studies range from the deep evolutionary origins of plant specialized metabolism, to the molecular evolutionary patterns responsible for recent enzyme neo-functionalization. Current Projects: “Identification of Poison Ivy Urushiol Biosynthetic Genes Using RNAseq” – this project is funded by the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute & Fralin Life Science Institute Small Grants Program and is aimed at developing informatic resources enabling the identification and cloning of urushiol biosynthetic genes.
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Turner James Turner
Full Professor
turnerj@vt.edu
web site
  • Mathematics
Yes
  • Biomedicine
  • Computational Biology
  • High Performance Computing
  • Math
  • Modeling and Simulation
Research involves development of simulations for electrical activity of the heart and blood flow in the circulatory system. The close link between the electrical activity in the body and heart problems is the basis of the diagnostic power of the electrocardiogram (ECG); making the field of heart di
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Lazar Iuliana M. Lazar
Associate Professor
malazar@vt.edu
web site
  • Biological Sciences
Yes
  • Biomedicine
  • Systems Biology
Major Fields of Interest: Oncoproteomics, breast cancer cell cycle, signaling, biomarker discovery, development of advanced mass spectrometry and microfluidic technologies for the interrogation of biological systems. Current Research: Cancer is a disease of the cell cycle that results in uncontrolled proliferation of cells. In our laboratory, we explore the molecular mechanisms of breast cancer cell cycle regulation by using holistic, mass spectrometry-based systems biology approaches. We develop proteomic technologies for investigating the pathways that enable cancer cells to bypass tightly regulated molecular checkpoints, proliferate in an unrestrained manner, metastasize and hijack normal biological function. Further, we capitalize on the power of our proteomic data to identify novel therapeutic drug-targets, and to develop microfluidic architectures for targeted detection of biomarkers indicative of disease.
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Hoeschele Ina Hoeschele
Professor
inah@vt.edu
web site
  • VBI
  • Department of Statistics
  • Adjunct, Wake Forest University Medical School
Yes
  • Biological Data Mining and Statistics
  • Biomedicine
  • Computational Biology
  • Cyberinfrastructure and Bioinformatics
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Genomics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Systems Biology
Statistical genetics/genomics, applied statistics & statistical bioinformatics; QTL linkage and association mapping in human populations and inbred line crosses; statistical design and analysis of (multi) omics experiments and genetical systems biology studies; large human population studies.
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Sharakhov Igor Sharakhov
Associate Professor
igor@vt.edu
web site
  • Entomology
  • Public Health Program at Virginia Tech
  • Fralin Life Science Institute
Yes
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Genomics
Dr. Sharakhov seeks to understand how mosquito genomes are organized and evolve as mosquitoes adapt to diverse environments and change their ability to transmit malaria parasites.
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Mortveit Henning Mortveit
Associate Professor
Henning.Mortveit@vt.edu
web site
  • VBI
  • Department of Mathematics
  • NDSSL
Yes
  • High Performance Computing
  • Math
  • Modeling and Simulation
Research in discrete, finite dynamical systems (sequential dynamical systems, generalized cellular automata); graph dynamics and the interplay between graph structure and dynamical properties; mathematical modeling of discrete dynamical systems. See: http://www.math.vt.edu/people/hmortvei/research/
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Schubot Florian Schubot

fschubot@vt.edu
web site
  • Biological Sciences
Yes

Smith Ed Smith
Professor
esmith@vt.edu
web site
  • Animal and Poultry Sciences
Yes
  • Animal Sciences
  • Computational Biology
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Genomics
Using genomic tools, especially those that can reliably define genome variation, to identify genes that influence traits important to poultry, livestock, and humans.
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Bevan David Bevan
Associate Professor
drbevan@vt.edu
web site
  • Biochemistry
Yes
  • Biomedicine
  • Computational Biology
  • Modeling and Simulation
Research involves the application of computational molecular modeling to the study of protein structure, function, and dynamics. Current projects are related to Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, obesity, and inflammation. In addition, we are designing enzymes with desired substrate specificity.

Shaffer Cliff Shaffer
Professor
shaffer@vt.edu
web site
  • Computer Science
Yes
  • Computational Biology
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Systems Biology
My focus is on modeling and simulation tools for systems biology. Model representation is the biggest bottleneck for Systems Biology today. Improved tools can support the creative process, enabling development of more complex models that are needed to advance the science.

Lawrence Christopher Lawrence
Associate Professor
cblawren@vt.edu
web site
  • Department of Biological Sciences
Yes
Major Field of Interest: Fungal pathogenesis and human respiratory disease. Current Research: (1) The role of fungi in invasive and chronic respiratory disorders including asthma, allergic rhinitis, and chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS); (2) Molecular immunobiology of allergens and other proinflammatory proteins from fungi; (3) Alternaria genome sequencing, annotation, and development of database platforms; (4) Hormone-protein interactions including human and plant systems with a particular emphasis on NSAID allergy; (5) Fungal Biotechnology.
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Barrett Christopher Barrett
Professor, Director NDSSL and NCR
cbarre04@vt.edu
web site
  • Virginia Bioinformatics Institute
  • Department of Computer Science
Yes
Research in integrated high-performance simulation and data service architectures; human population dynamics and associated social networks; epidemiology and spread of infectious diseases; computational and behavioral economics and systems biology.
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North Chris North

north@vt.edu
web site
  • Computer Science
Yes

Vinatzer Boris Vinatzer
Associate Professor
vinatzer@vt.edu
web site
  • Plant Pathology,
  • Physiology & Weed Science
Yes
  • Biological Data Mining and Statistics
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Genomics
  • Microbiology, including microbe host interactions
  • Plant Sciences
Dr. Vinatzer uses the latest technological advances in genomics in combination with population genetics and microbial genetics to better understand the emergence, spread, and virulence mechanisms of bacterial crop pathogens in order to develop new avenues to control crop diseases.
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Mukhopadhyay Biswarup Mukhopadhyay
Associate Professor
bmukhopa@vt.edu
web site
  • VBI
  • Department of Biochemistry
  • Department of Biological Sciences
Yes
Research in methanogenic archaea; remnants or precursors of sulfate reduction pathway genes; redox regulation of energy metabolism; structure-function relationships in archaeal-type PEPC; coal bed microbiology; role of coenzyme F420 in cell material biosynthesis and biodegradation.
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Onufriev Alexey Onufriev
Associate professor
alexey@vt.edu
web site
  • Computer Science and Physics
Yes
  • High Performance Computing
  • Modeling and Simulation
We use theoretical and computational methods to understand dynamics and function of biomolecular systems such as proteins, DNA, and their complexes. In particular, we seek to uncover major principles that govern DNA compaction in living cells at several scales, from nucleosome to chromosomes.

Sandu Adrian Sandu

sandu@vt.edu
web site
  • Computer Science
Yes

Cao Yang Cao
Associate Professor
ycao@vt.edu
web site
  • Computer Science
Yes
  • Computational Biology
  • High Performance Computing
  • Math
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Systems Biology
Our group focuses on the development of multiscale, multiphysics modeling and simulation methods and tools that help biologists build, simulate and analyze complex biological systems, simulate their dynamics and analyze their functions.
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Yes - I am presently accepting student applications
No - I am not presently accepting student applications
Maybe - I would consider accepting an application from the right student