The table below provides a list of available Texas A&M faculty members willing to host high school students this summer in their labs, with a brief description of their research focus. Identify your top three research interests from this list and input the names of the corresponding faculty in the application.

TAMU faculty

College/School within TAMU

Research Description

Dr. Carl Gregory

Associate Professor

College of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, Institute for Regenerative Medicine; College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Genetics





Dr. Gregory’s lab studies mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MSCs are present in virtually all adult mammalian connective tissues such as bone, fat and muscle. MSCs also provide proteins that support the health of tissues and modulate our immune responses. His lab uses cultured human MSCs from donated human bone marrow and alters their capacity to build bone tissue. These so-called osteogenically enhanced human mesenchymal stem cells (OEhMSCs) are able to repair bone defects and generate bone-like cell cultures. His lab is currently exploring whether OEhMSCs could be used for the repair of serious bone injuries in humans and also whether they can be used to understand how some cancers interact with bone tissue.

Dr. Carolyn Cannon

Associate Professor

College of Medicine, Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology

Dr. Cannon’s lab focuses on the development of novel antimicrobials and formulations including targeted, nanoparticle delivery devices to treat infections with multi-drug resistant pathogens. Projects in her lab include structure activity relationship studies, mechanism of action studies and animal toxicity activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Her lab also investigates aerosolized nanoparticles of ibuprofen, which has antimicrobial activity that may be broadly applicable as a therapeutic.

Dr. Farida Sohrabji

Professor and Associate Department Chair

College of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics

Dr. Sohrabji’s lab focuses on brain-immune interactions and its implications for neuro-inflammatory diseases such as stroke in women. Our current studies use an animal model to examine age and sex differences in recovery from stroke, focusing at the cellular level on the endothelium and astrocytes, which are the principal components of the blood brain barrier. At the molecular level, we are examining sex and age differences in miRNA and epigenetic markers, with a view to developing biomarkers for diseases and uncovering new therapeutic targets.

Dr. Fei Liu

Associate Professor

College of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Dr. Liu’s lab focuses on active nanoparticles made from tissue-derived adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to target tumor cells. These nanoparticles have superior anti-cancer effects than conventional synthesized nanoparticles when loaded with drugs. Her laboratory derives MSCs from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that are originated from normal adult cells but can give rise to any kind of cells in the body and have almost unlimited expandability. These iPSC-MSCs migrate to tumors efficiently after infusion and maintain the expression of membrane proteins that target tumor cells. Nanoparticles made from our iPSC-MSCs selectively accumulated in primary and metastatic breast and prostate cancer in mouse models. My lab now works on improving the tumor-targeting capacity and validating anti-cancer effects of these nanoparticles.

Dr. Geoffrey Kapler

Professor and Chair


College of Medicine, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine; College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Departments of Genetics and Biochemistry 

Dr. Kapler’s research interests are concerned with the replication and transmission of eukaryotic chromosomes. The failure to completely replicate the genome during S phase or partially re-replicate chromosomes leads to genome instability- a hallmark of cancer cells. The central questions investigated in Dr. Kapler’s lab are concerned with how replication initiation sites are established in chromosomes and how they are regulated during cell cycles. The lab uses the early branching model eukaryote, Tetrahymena thermophila, as its model system to study these questions.     

Dr. Gerard L. Coté

Director, TEES Center for Remote Health Technologies and Systems Charles H. & Bettye Barclay Professor of Engineering

College of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Coté’s Center for Remote Health Technologies and Systems specializes in the development of medical technologies and systems. This includes hand-held devices (like a glucose meter) and wearable sensors (like in a watch device) for use at the point-of-care such as in the clinic, ambulance, or home. The student can gain knowledge in developing systems that use nanoparticles, microfluidic and paper fluidic cartridges, and electronic and optical components. There is a wide range of applications for these technologies, including monitoring of blood glucose in patients with diabetes, monitoring perfusion and oxygenation in tissue transplants, remote detection of cardiac biomarkers and monitoring of heart rate and blood pressure.

Dr. James Samuel

Regents Professor and Department Head

Wofford Cain Endowed Chair in Infectious Disease

College of Medicine, Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology

Dr. Samuel’s lab studies the molecular pathogenesis of Coxiella burnetii, the bacterial organism responsible for Q fever, as well as vaccine and diagnostic development. The long-term goal of his research is to understand the molecular pathogenic mechanisms involved in the host-pathogen interaction. To accomplish this broad goal, projects in the lab are designed to test the molecular mechanisms employed by both the host and pathogen. Novel vaccine strategies are being tested in rodent models of human Q fever with future studies planned for non-human primate testing. 

Dr. Jun-Yuan Li

Assistant Professor

College of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine; College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Genetics

Dr. Li’s lab is interested in cell cycle and transcriptional regulation during development and tumorigenesis. Using Drosophila and cultured human cancer cell lines as model systems, his lab combines genetic, cell biological, and biochemical approaches to explore the molecular and genetic regulatory circuits that control cell proliferation and gene expression.

Dr. Kristen Maitland

Associate Professor, Director, Microscopy and Imaging Center


College of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Raman spectroscopy enables measurement of molecular vibrations within a sample, making it a sensitive tool to detect binding changes in biomarkers. One major pitfall of this technique stems from the weak signal strength, however metal nanoparticle can be used for signal enhancement through surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Fluorescence enables the detection of biomarkers by conjugating fluorescent probes onto target molecules. The signal produced by fluorescence is orders of magnitude stronger than those produced by Raman, but its molecular specificity and broad, often overlapping, peaks limit its application to a subset of relevant biomarkers. In combination, these techniques can provide complementary information to further enhance the robustness of biomarker detection. The research project is focused on developing a multi-modal optical system that is handheld, robust and low-cost for use at the point-of-care to quantify exogenous biomarkers contained in a cartridge.

Dr. Lisako McKyer

Associate Professor, Associate Dean for Climate and Diversity


School of Public Health, Department of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences; College of Education and Human Development, Department of Health and Kinesiology 

Dr. McKyer’s lab is interested in socioecological influences on child and adolescent health statuses and behaviors. She holds a long-standing interest in child and adolescent health, with training and experiences in both health and in psychology. The majority of her current research efforts focus on familial (parents, siblings), physical and other socioenvironmental (friends, peers) influences on childhood obesity/overweight and nutrition.     

Dr. Natalie Johnson

Assistant Professor

School of Public Health, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health

Dr. Johnson’s environmental toxicology laboratory in the School of Public Health is focused on studying how air pollution exposure leads to respiratory diseases. Her lab utilizes a variety of analytical chemistry techniques to measure air pollution exposure in communities. In addition, her lab employees immunology and molecular biology techniques to understand the role of immune cells underlying asthma and lower respiratory tract infection susceptibility using in vivo and in vitro models. Dr. Johnson’s lab is also examining nutritional compounds to combat oxidative stress associated with air pollution exposure.

Dr. Pao-Tai Lin

Assistant Professor

College of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Our lab investigates the use of infrared technology in wearable sensors (“lab on a wrist") to detect diabetes, asthma and other chronic diseases. We are especially interested in developing sensors to accurately monitor patients who live in remote or rural areas, which will provide better, faster response to health issues. Students will measure the infrared absorption spectrum from the patients’ breath using the developed wearable sensors. We will correlate the collected infrared data with patient’s health condition to build a remote and real-time monitoring platform.

Dr. Paul de Figueiredo

Associate Professor

College of Medicine, Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology; College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Genetics, Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology

Dr. de Figueiredo’s lab investigates molecular mechanisms mediating interactions between bacterial and fungal pathogens and their human or animal hosts. Bacterial and fungal pathogens cause diseases that kill millions of people each year. His lab works on the development of interventions to prevent these pathogenic infections and on advanced therapeutics for combating these organisms.

Dr. Raquel Sitcheran

Assistant Professor

College of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine

Dr. Sitcheran’s lab studies the role of regulatory proteins in regulating cancer cell behavior, particularly acquisition of motility and invasive potential. Her lab uses multi- and interdisciplinary approaches to study how different signals regulate biochemical pathways that control cancer cell growth, self-renewal and survival. Current research efforts are focused on gaining new insight into how mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to disease and cancer progression.

Dr. Ricardo Gutierrez-Osuna 


College of Engineering, Department of Computer Science and Engineering





Dr. Ricardo's lab focuses on how man-made and biological sensory systems interact with, learn from, and adapt to their environments. They develop interface circuits, interfaces for mobile platforms, biosignal processing algorithms, pattern recognizers and biofeedback games. Other research areas include speech processing and chemical sensors. The current research project would likely involve developing signal processing algorithms for either glucose sensors or pulse sensors. The link to his research webpage is :

Dr. Robin Fuchs-Young

Professor, Director Community Outreach and Engagement Core, Center for Translational Environmental Health Research; Primary Investigator, MENTORS Project

College of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine; Institute for Biosciences and Technology

Dr. Fuchs-Young’s lab studies the basic mechanisms of breast carcinogenesis, including the role of early dietary exposures in determining breast cancer risk, and the role of mammary stem cells in mediating breast cancer risk. Her lab uses a variety of in vitro and in vivo approaches. An underlying theme of her research is the discovery of bio-physiological factors that determine the disparities in breast cancer incidence and outcome. A new project in the lab is focused on investigating the impact of exposure to metabolic syndrome during different stages of development on metabolic function and mammary cancer risk.

Dr. Sarah Bondos

Associate Professor

College of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine

Dr. Bondos’ lab studies the regulation of protein function and synthesis of protein-based materials. Her lab is studying intramolecular factors that enhance DNA binding specificity, and her lab is currently developing protein materials as tissue engineering scaffolds and biosensors.

Dr. Theodora Chaspari

Assistant Professor

College of Engineering, Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Dr. Chaspari’s lab focuses on the study of human behavior through the use of artificial intelligence and data science techniques. Human behavior is a complex phenomenon that involves the interaction of the mind, the body, and the brain. By capturing atypical manifestations of human behavior, we can better understand the people around us and better manage high-risk diseases or disorders. For example, computational models of glucose monitoring can help individuals with diabetes better self-manage their disease by reliably detecting abnormal sugar levels in their blood. Similarly, self-care technologies can help patients with depression predict or even avoid potential depressive episodes. Our research investigates the integration of multimodal signals (e.g. speech, language, human physiology) and machine learning techniques for the development of individualized diagnostic, rehabilitation, and intervention tools for empowering physical and mental health applications.

Dr. Timothy Lightfoot

Director, Sydney and JL Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance; Omar Smith Professor of Kinesiology


College of Education and Human Development, Department of Health and Kinesiology; College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Genetics

Dr. Lightfoot’s lab studies the genetics of daily physical activity and exercise endurance, as well as the physiological response to high acceleration (high-G) exposure and hemorrhage. His lab also has a unique interest in the physiological responses of athletes in a variety of non-traditional venues such as auto racing and in musicians.

Dr. Xia (Ben) Hu

Assistant Professor

College of Engineering, Department of Computer Science & Engineering

At the DATA Lab, we develop data management programs to discover important patterns. Better handling of these large data sets provides improved insights into social, health and security systems, which plays an essential role in making sense of modern information systems that are overwhelmed by big data. Students will be expected to work on developing programs for collecting data from the Web, analyzing the data using open sourced computational tools, and present their findings.