Ph.D. Program

Training Faculty

Training Program Members

The training faculty consists of primary (or tenure-track), collateral (or research), and affiliate faculty of the Program.  Primary and affiliate faculty maintain research programs mainly funded from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, while research faculty support the research program of primary faculty.  If a faculty member experiences a lapse in funding, he/she cannot accept new students for dissertation work until funding is re-established.  Primary training faculty members are those with primary appointments in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics.   Names of primary training faculty are listed below.  For a description of each faculty member’s research program, please visit the Department of Physiology and Biophysics Faculty Directory.

Primary Faculty (Potential Doctoral Student Research Mentors)

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Clive M. Baumgarten

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Richard M. Costanzo

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Louis J. DeFelice

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Carlos R. Escalante

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Javier Gonzalez-Maeso

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John R. Grider

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John Hackett

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S. Murthy Karnam

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Qinglian Liu

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Diomedes Logothetis

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John R. Grider

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Roland N. Pittman

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Liya Qiao

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I. Scott Ramsey

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Montserrat Samso

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Gea-Ny Tseng

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Lei Zhou



Collateral or Research Faculty

Eltit Ortega José Miguel, PhD (Instructor, De Felice lab)
Golub Aleksander, PhD (Associate Professor, Pittman Lab)
Kawano Takeharu, PhD (Assistant Professor, Logothetis Lab)
Mahavadi Sunila, PhD (Instructor, Karnam Lab)
Villalba-Galea Carlos A., PhD (Assistant Professor)
Zarate-Perez, Francisco, PhD (Instructor, Escalante Lab)

Affiliate Faculty (Potential Doctoral Student Research Mentors)

Affiliate faculty have their primary appointments in departments other than Physiology and Biophysics but participate actively in the Physiology and Biophysics Graduate Training Program. Membership of affiliate faculty is reviewed each year for level of participation and interest in the program.   For more information on affiliate faculty see the Department of Physiology and Biophysics Affiliate Faculty Directory.


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Antonio Abbate

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Hamid I. Akbarali

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Paul Dent

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Shobha Ghosh

John_Kuemmerle [View Image]

John Kuemmerle

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Rakesh Kukreja

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Edward Lesnefsky

Pin-Lan_Li [View Image]

Pin-Lan Li

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Christina Marmarou

Bruce-Rubin [View Image]

Bruce Rubin

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Fahdi Salloum

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Jerome F. Strauss

Scott_Walsh [View Image]

Scott W. Walsh



Research Areas

Current Physiology and Biophysics faculty members (primary and affiliate) concentrate in ten areas of research:

  • Apoptosis and Cell Cycle Control [Dent]
  • Chemical Senses (Taste and Smell) [DeSimone/Lyall, R. Costanzo)
  • Cardiovascular (Cardiac Ion Channels, Microcirculation, Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury, Atherosclerosis, Hypertension) [Abbate, Baumgarten, Ghosh, Kukreja, Li P-L, Logothetis, Pittman, Salloum, Tseng, Zhou]
  • Gastrointestinal (Molecular/Cellular Biology of smooth muscle cells/enteric neurons and Whole Organ Reflexes, such as peristalsis and acid secretion) [Akbarali, Grider, Karnam, Kuemmerle, Qiao]
  • Mitochondrial Physiology/Cardiovascular Diseases [Baumgarten, Lesnefsky, Liu]
  • Molecular Biophysics (Structural/Computational Biology and Ion Channel, Receptor, and Transporter Biophysics) [De Felice, Escalante, Gonzalez-Maeso, Hackett, Liu, Logothetis, Ramsey, Samso, Tseng, Zhou]
  • Physiology of Pregnancy/Pre-eclampsia [Strauss, Walsh]
  • Respiratory (Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis) [Rubin]
  • Wound/tissue repair, Head Trauma, regeneration [Marmarou, R. Costanzo]
  • Neuropsychiatric diseases [Gonzalez-Maeso, Logothetis]

For more information, please visit the Research section of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics web site.

Faculty Research Seminars

A collaborative research spirit is nurtured in the program by bimonthly research meetings where faculty members (tenure, research track, and affiliates) present ongoing and planned future research for critical feedback. These meetings have proven invaluable in making each faculty aware of what research questions others are pursuing and the research tools they utilize. This awareness has promoted discussions and collaborations.

Research Core Facilities

Core facilities are defined as research facilities that are open to multiple members within the graduate program and the institution at large. Core facilities aim to make advanced or specialized technologies available to members of the VCU research community for a nominal fee.

1) Measurement of intracellular calcium (Director: Dr. Jose Miguel Eltit)

2) Cryo-Electron Microscopy (Director: Dr. Montserrat Samso)

3) Xenopus Oocytes for heterologous expression of proteins (Director: Dr. Diomedes Logothetis)

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