• 2017

    Researcher Appreciation Day

    In recognition of Researcher Appreciation Day the Emory Medicine Recognitions Committee sent out a call for nominations for researchers across the School of Medicine who are making a difference in their field. Over 40 Emory researchers were nominated by their peers and colleagues for their groundbreaking research, development of new technologies, and continued pursuit of novel and innovative ideas.


    Read more about the amazing research happening at Emory below and join us in congratulating these faculty!

  • Featured Researchers

    Rafi Ahmed

    Department of Microbiology & Immunology

    Research focus: Immune cell memory and vaccine development


    One of the many contributions over the last year was to identify the characteristics of immune T cells that respond to PD-1 checkpoint blockade therapy in cancer. His group identified a particular subset of cells that respond to the therapy and become reinvigorated to respond to the cancer cells. By identifying the type of cells that respond, better prognostics for cancer therapies can be made.

    I. Raul Badell

    Department of Surgery

    Research Focus: Transplant immunology


    Dr. Badell's research focuses on the mechanisms by which donor-reactive antibodies are generated following organ transplantation. His work has the potential to significantly expand access to transplantation in patients that possess alloantibodies, and to better protect grafts from antibody-mediated destruction.

    Larry Boise

    Department of Hematology/Medical Oncology

    Research focus: Mechanisms of cellular death/apoptosis, plasma cell disorders/myeloma


    Dr. Boise is a highly respected senior scientist. In his role as vice chair of basic research in the Department of Hematology/Oncology, he has brought the scientific community in the department together in ways that did not exist before. He is a dedicated teacher, and is always willing to review anyone’s grants or papers, even when not an author or collaborator. His keen sense of successful grant strategies have helped him mentor many in the department.

    Nicholas Boulis

    Department of Neurosurgery

    Reserach focus: Biological neurorestoration and neuromodulation


    Dr. Boulis developed a clinical program focusing on peripheral nerve regeneration, spasticity, pain and Parkinson's Disease, applying advanced microsurgical, radiosurgical and ablative and neural augmentation approaches. He founded Project Shunt in 1997, gathering donated equipment and organizing a team of neurosurgeons to care for patients with congenital hydrocephalus and neural tube defects.Over 300 children have received free operations from Project Shunt.

    Luke Brewster

    Department of Surgery

    Research focus: Peripheral arterial disease


    Dr. Brewster is developing novel models for hind limb ischemia and doing groundbreaking basic research. He has highly cited work and prominent leadership positions in the American Heart Association and Society for Vascular Surgery.

    Ann Chahroudi

    Department of Pediatrics

    Research focus: HIV


    Dr. Chahroudi is developing strategies to induce HIV remission in children which could eliminate the need for life-long daily medicine. Dr. Charoudi and her team defined the cellular and anatomic reservoirs for HIV/SIV persistence in postnatally-infected infants. This research is part of the very first steps towards curing HIV. They also identified previously unrecognized neurodevelopmental and neuroanatomical abnormalities following postnatal Zika virus infection of infants using a rhesus macaque model.

    Craig Coopersmith

    Department of Surgery

    Research focus: Sepsis immunology


    As a world-class immunologist with a clinical/translational perspective, Dr. Coopersmith is called upon by the community to make sense of treating the sickest of our hospitalized patients. He is an expert in relating bench to bedside, molecules and patient care and distills the latest research in easy terms for media.

    Michael E. Davis

    Department of Biomedical Engineering

    Research focus: Stem cell therapy for pediatric heart failure


    Dr. Davis studies how to apply cell-based and biomaterials approach to treat heart failure. He has developed methods to obtain stem-cells from pediatric hearts and use them in conjunction with biomaterial to treat heart failure, especially pediatric patients. He recently recieved a 4 million dollar grant from the Marcus Foundation to begin a clinical trial based on his work in stem-cell based therapy for pediatric heart failure patients.

    Boadie Dunlop

    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

    Research focus: Mood disorders


    Dr. Dunlop is a translational researcher who conducts research to find answers to determine the most appropriate treatments for mood disorders. He has been lead author on several papers focused on identification of moderators of antidepressants and medications for treatment of major depression. He has also done ground breaking research on variations in patient metabolism of different psychiatric medications.

    Jennifer Felger

    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

    Research focus: Depression


    Dr. Felger's work is revealing that inflammation is disrupting dopamine in the brain to lead to depression, and therefore drugs that increase dopamine activity may be the best treatment for depressed patients with high inflammation. She won the 2017 Klerman Prize for Exceptional Clinical Research from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation and has published a groundbreaking study on the impact of inflammation on reward circuitry in the brain published in the prestigious journal Molecular Psychiatry.

    Paul Garcia

    Department of Anesthesiology

    Research focus: Neuroanesthesia


    Dr Garcia's research program runs the gamut from cell biology to animal studies to clinical research. His work has shed new light on how the brain's emergence from general anesthesia can impact the post-operative course of our patients. His work may one day help us optimize emergence and recovery.

    Eldon Geisert

    Department of Ophthalmology

    Research focus: Response of the retina to injury


    Dr. Geisert studies the molecular mechanisms governing the response of the retina to injury. He also received a large grant from the US army to study ocular blast injury and the role of the immune system. He uses transcriptome analysis to identify transcriptional networks in retinal ganglion cells.


    Michael Gottschalk

    Department of Orthopeadics

    Research focus: Clinical outcomes


    As Director of Clinical Research Dr. Gottschalk coordinates the clinical research infrastructure including a Department Patient Reported Outcomes Database and clinical research coordinators. His duties include facilitating clinical research for all Ortho faculty members. He also serves on the IRB. Orthopaedic Department clinical research results have increased exponentially since Dr. Gottschalk assumed this position.

    Criss Hartzell

    Department of Cell Biology

    Research focus: Ion channel physiology and cell signaling


    Dr. Hartzell's research has major implications for the future development of therapies to treat retinal degeneration, cystic fibrosis and muscle disease. He has been an Emory faculty member for over 40 years and currently has two major NIH funded grants in addition to a grant from the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation.

    Eric Hunter

    Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

    Research focus: HIV/AIDS


    Dr. Eric Hunter's work continues to provide crucial advances on how HIV is transmitted which will help the design of an effective AIDS vaccine.

    Joshy Jacob

    Department of Microbiology & Immunology

    Research focus: Immunology


    In his most recent paper in the journal Immunity 46:587–595, Dr. Jacob has identified an amphibian host defense peptide that can kill influenza virus. Thus, he is identifying novel ways of finding drugs and determining how they work and can be beneficial in preventing disease. This work represents a blend of cell biology, biochemistry, and immunology, merging those fields in new ways.

    Hanjoong Jo

    Department of Biomedical Engineering

    Research focus: Vascular mechanobiology and nanomedicine


    Dr. Jo studies genes in blood vessels that are regulated by blood flow to understand why atherosclerosis and aortic valve disease occurs where the blood flow is bad. By targeting those flow-sensitive genes including microRNAs and mRNAs, his lab has developed a few therapeutics and targeted nanoparticles that can inhibit atherosclerosis at least in small animal models. His group is now moving toward a next pre-clinical studies to help translating them for patients.

    Dean Jones

    Department of Medicine

    Research focus: Metabolomics in precision medicine


    Dr. Jones has led the development of high-resolution metabolomics as a central platform for affordable, high-throughput metabolic analysis for precision medicine. The new laboratory analyses and software packages create exciting new opportunities for large-scale, systematic research for improved diagnosis and management of disease and address impact of environmental exposures and complex gene-environment interactions.

    Warren Jones

    Department of Pediatrics

    Research focus: Social neuroscience


    Dr. Jones has led the Marcus Autism Center's development of new technologies and algorithms to detect differences in visual patterns between developing children, including those with autism. His work is groundbreaking and has both basic and clinical research applications. He recently had his work published in Nature. 

    Cassandra Josephson

    Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

    Research focus: Clinical trials to optimize transfusion therapy for children


    Dr. Josephson has organized and conducted the largest clinical trials ever undertaken in transfused neonates, in the process significantly impacting controversial issues such as optimal approaches to prevent CMV transmission, identification of risk factors for necrotizing enterocolitis, and determination of hemoglobin trigger levels to improve the efficacy of transfusion.

    Elizabeth Krupinski

    Department of Radiology & Imaging Science

    Research focus: Medical image perception


    Dr. Krupinski is an experimental psychologist with research interests in medical image perception, observer performance, medical decision making, and human factors as they pertain to diagnostics (radiology and pathology) and telemedicine. The goal of her research is to improve our understanding of the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms underlying the interpretation of medical images in order to reduce diagnostic errors, improve training, and optimize patient care and outcomes. She is recognized as among a small handful of the world's leading scholars in this research arena. Recently she has been elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and as a Senior Member of the International Society of Optics and Photonics. She has also guided Emory in its telemedicine efforts based on her experience establishing and leading Arizona's statewide telemedicine network.

    Subra Kugathasan

    Department of Pediatrics

    Research focus: Inflammatory bowel diseases


    Dr. Kugathasan's research is truly groundbreaking. He is a proponent for bench side to bedside research and has made this the focus of his career. His research has been featured on WSBTV's People2People Segment twice, and has just published an article in Lancet that will change the way IBD is treated going forward.

    James Lah

    Department of Neurology

    Research focus: Alzheimer’s disease


    Dr. Lah leads several initiatives that are impacting the community, including the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center Clinical Core, and recently, he has played key roles in planning, operations and leadership of the Emory Healthy Aging Study and associated Emory Brain Study, focused on discovery of mid-life biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease.

    Dorian Lamis

    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science

    Research focus: Suicide and mood disorders


    Dr. Lamis' research is having important impacts on the prevention of suicides in youth, especially those in high risk groups. In addition, he is developing therapies for those with mood disorders (depression and Bipolar Disorder). Currently he is investigating the roles of genetics, childhood maltreatment, and substance use in suicidal behavior among African Americans diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Results from this project are helping us improve our understanding, assessment, and treatment of individuals most at-risk for suicide.

    Adam Marcus

    Department of Hematology/Medical Oncology

    Research focus: Cancer cell invasion and metastasis


    Dr. Marcus is a star in the basic science cancer world. He conducts groundbreaking work on the lung cancer tumor suppressor protein and epithelial signaling protein, LKB1. He also searches for natural compounds that are potential anti-metastatic agents in breast cancer. He is very collaborative, well funded, and focuses not only on the science, but is also heavily invested in the education mission of cancer.


    Gregory Melikian

    Department of Pediatrics

    Research focus: Mechanisms of entry/fusion of human pathogenic envelope viruses and their regulation by host factors, with the primary focus on HIV


    The Melikian laboratory works on gaining insights into the molecular basis of virus entry/fusion and the host factors involvement in modulating these key steps in virus life cycle. Understanding the mechanisms of virus entry/fusion and its regulation can reveal new viral and cellular targets for therapeutic intervention.

    Ann Mertens

    Department of Pediatrics

    Research focus: Childhood cancer survivorship


    Dr. Mertens’ current research centers on supporting pediatric cancer survivor care via a web-based tool, Cancer SurvivorLink. SurvivorLink is a free electronic personal health record (ePHR) and educational resource for childhood cancer survivors. SurvivorLink has over 1,400 ePHR users and approximately 12,500 visitors to the educational site from 116 countries. Her extensive publication record on issues related to childhood cancer survivorship has helped shape the trajectory of pediatric oncology treatment and clinical trials over time.

    Jennifer Mulle

    Department of Human Genetics

    Research focus: Genetic mechanisms in schizophrenia


    Dr. Mulle's research could lead to insights into schizophrenia -- a devastating psychiatric illness affecting 1% of people worldwide. She has identified the association between a deletion syndrome (3q29DS), a rare chromosomal disorder associated with schizophrenia, and established a nationwide registry of people with 3q29DS.

    Eric Ortlund

    Department of Biochemistry

    Research focus: Structural biology of nuclear receptors


    Dr. Ortlund's group has studied liver receptor homolog 1 (LRH-1), an orphan nuclear hormone receptor that regulates diverse biological processes, including metabolism, proliferation, and the resolution of endoplasmic reticulum stress. Although preclinical and cellular studies demonstrate that LRH-1 has great potential as a therapeutic target for metabolic diseases and cancer, their work has identified distinct modes of binding by agonists to the receptor. These findings will lead to novel and rationale drug designs to take advantage of the biological properties of this receptor.

    Cheng-Kui Qu

    Department of Pediatrics

    Research focus: Hematopoietic stem cell; Leukemia


    Dr. Qu’s recent research has made a ground breaking finding in understanding the mechanisms underlying leukemic progression in Noonan syndrome, which has tremendous clinical implications. This work has also substantially advanced our understanding of the microenvironmental regulation of hematopoietic stem cells, which has an even broader impact. He recently had his work published in Nature.

    Cassandra Quave

    Department of Dermatology

    Research focus: Botanical ingredients used in traditional medicines for infectious disease


    Dr. Quave's work on the development of antimicrobials is unique, focusing on the botanical ingredients used in traditional medicines for infectious disease to discover new solutions for one of the world’s most pressing medical issues: antibiotic resistance. Her team's research has already shown that some medicinal plants are good sources of novel druggable compounds that can be used to either enhance or restore the efficacy of existing lines of antibiotics.

    Augustine Rajakumar

    Department of Gynecology/Obstetrics

    Research focus: Pathophysiology of preeclampsia and other pregnancy complications


    The soluble form of the FLT protein (sFLT) is one of the most promising biomarkers for preeclampsia. Dr. Rajakumar's research seeks to discriminate the molecular isoforms of the protein most predictive of preeclampsia and other related pregnancy complications. This work has provided a training platform for the next generation of clinical researchers, thus enhancing its translational potential.

    Suresh Ramalingam

    Department of Hematology/Medical Oncology

    Research focus: Lung cancer


    As Deputy Director of the Winship Cancer Institute, Dr. Ramalingham leads the integration of the research, clinical, and educational programs. His own research involves developing immune checkpoint inhibitors. He has conducted several phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical trials with molecularly targeted agents in the treatment of small cell and non-small cell lung cancer.

    Philip Rather

    Department of Microbiology/Immunology

    Research focus: Microbial physiology and antibiotic resistance


    Dr. Rather’s group has made seminal observations describing both the phase variation and molecular basis of the variation in the bacteria Acinetobacter that is associated with its pathogenicity. Acinetobacter infections are on the rise and are one of the leading multi-drug resistant species of bacteria. Thus, his insight into the molecular causes of this resistance is critical to our ability to develop novel antibiotics to treat infections.

    Mehul Raval

    Department of Surgery

    Research focus: Pediatric health services research


    Dr. Raval's work is improving local and national surgical quality and safety. Furthermore, he is pushing the envelope in terms of value based care for children undergoing surgery. He received an R01 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in a record breaking 3rd year as a faculty member.

    Jonathan Rupp

    Department of Emergency Medicine

    Research focus: Transportation injury and injury prevention


    Dr. Rupp is a superstar at Emory and Grady who’s goal is to mitigate morbidity and mortality due to injury. He was just funded to lead a prestigious NHTSA Crash Injury Center at Emory and Grady. Transforming research within the Department of Emergency Medicine


    Alejandra San Martin

    Department of Medicine

    Research focus: Mitochondrial biology and metabolism


    Dr. San Martin has made important discoveries about how lipoylation is regulated, which impacts many important biochemical pathways. She has identified a novel role for Poldip2 in regulating cell mitochondrial activity. This may be especially important in cell types that contribute to disease such as cancer and cardiomyopathy.

    David Schuster

    Department of Radiology & Imaging Science

    Research focus: Oncologic imaging


    Dr. Schuster's research efforts have help develop a new PET imaging agent for cancer prostate approved by FDA. He has developed a team of researchers and brought in a culture of scientific curiosity to the department.

    Mehul Suthar

    Department of Pediatrics

    Research focus: Flaviviruses cause disease in humans


    Dr. Suthar’s research on the Zika virus has directly impacted the community by revealing a permissive cell type within the placenta, how the virus antagonizes host antiviral defenses, and how cross-reactive flavivirus antibodies may impact ZIKV pathogenesis. These findings are directly informing antiviral drug discovery and rationale vaccine design.

    Guillermo Umpierrez

    Department of Medicine

    Research focus: Diabetes


    Dr. Umpierrez has been studying diabetes with the goal of improving people's lives by creating improved guidelines and new treatments. He has not only been conducting research himself, but has mentoring countless others to pursue research in this field.

    Miriam Vos

    Department of Pediatrics

    Research focus: Fatty liver disease


    Dr. Vos is a leader in the field of pediatric nonalcoholic liver disease, a rapidly increasing disease affecting millions of children in the world. Her innovative research program spans from mechanistic studies investigating effects of diet and environment on disease progression to large, clinical trials and real world outcomes. Her groundbreaking studies include an ongoing trial investigating the role of the microbiome and endotoxin in pediatric nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

    Nick Willett

    Department of Orthopeadics

    Research focus: Bone induction and repair; articular cartilage and intervertebral disc degeneration


    In addition to managing his own funded lab at the VA on bone regeneration, Dr. Willett coordinates and facilitates basic research for the Orthopaedic Residents. He manages a department funded basic science seed grant program for residents. Dr. Willett is collaborating with several junior clinical faculty with funded bench research.

    Elizabeth Wright

    Department of Pediatrics

    Research focus: Cryo-electron microscopy and molecular biology approaches to explore the three dimensional structures of viruses and cells


    Dr. Wright’s cryo-EM research has defined the 3D structures of many enveloped RNA viruses, which supports the development of vaccines and drug targets. This University-wide research facility is an internationally-recognized resource for both cryo- and conventional biological EM. She is one of the few researchers in the world to develop and apply state-of-the-art correlative cryo-light and cryo-electron microscopy technologies and protocols to native-state structure-function studies of bacteria, viruses, and pathogen-infected human cells.

  • Congratulations to all of our nominees!

    • Douglas Graham - Pediatrics
    • Lisa Haddad - Gynecology/Obstetrics
    • Jordan Kempker - Medicine
    • Jennifer Kwong - Pediatrics
    • Greg Lesinkski - Hematology/Medical Oncology
    • Anne Spaulding - Medicine

  • Emory School of Medicine