PCRC Leadership

Shaad AhmadDr. Shaad Ahmad
PCRC Director
Associate Professor of Biology
Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine
Phone: 812-237-2390
Email: Shaad.Ahmad@indstate.edu
Office: Science Building 287H

Dr. Ahmad uses integrated genetic, genomic, and computational strategies to study organogenesis, with a primary focus on heart development and transcriptional regulation.  His areas of research therefore include the correct division and proliferation of cardiac progenitor cells, adoption of correct cell fates, and the proper migration and positioning of cardiac cells.  Intriguingly, the genetic networks, signaling pathways, and molecular mechanisms responsible for these processes are also the very same ones that cause cancer in other tissues when they go awry.  Since Dr. Ahmad’s goal is to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of these processes which incorporates both a systems-level view of the underlying genetic networks and detailed examinations of the roles of individual genes, his research will also shed light on the related mechanisms responsible for cancer.

Jeff Kinne

Dr. Jeff Kinne
PCRC Executive Committee, Co-chair
Professor of Computer Science
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Phone: 812-237-2126
Email: Jeffrey.Kinne@indstate.edu
Office: Root Hall A-140D

Dr. Kinne is active in research spanning bioinformatics and computer science. Dr. Kinne collaborates with researchers in biology to create computational tools and software for processing and analyzing research and clinical data. Dr. Kinne's recent focus has been on both raw next-gen sequencing data and gene expression analysis. The tools that have been developed are typically stress tested on a variety of data sets, including data from The Cancer Genome Atlas, to test hypotheses or perform exploratory analysis to suggest genes or drugs that warrant further study. Dr. Kinne is a PI on an NIH-funded training program that is a collaboration between ISU and The Ohio State University's Department of Biomedical Informatics. Dr. Kinne is also an associate directory of ISU's Center for Genomic Advocacy.

Kyu Hong Cho

Dr. Kyu Hong Cho
PCRC Executive Committee, Co-chair
Associate Professor of Biology
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Phone: 812-237-2412
Email: KyuHong.Cho@indstate.edu                                               
Office: Science Building 231

The Cho lab is a molecular bacterial pathogenesis lab and studies how bacteria cause diseases. It has been shown links between bacterial infections causing chronic inflammation and cancer development. Exemplary bacteria are Helicobactor pylori, Helicobacter hepaticus, and Fusobacterium nucleatum. H. pylori infection is a major risk factor for gastric cancer. The people infected by H. pylori appear eight times more likely to develop gastric cancer than non-infected people. Mice infected with H. hepaticus shows increased mammary gland tumor burden. F. nucleatum activates cancer-promoting genes and may cause colorectal cancer.

Kris Schwab

Dr. Kris Schwab
PCRC Executive Committee, Ex-officio

Ph.D., University of Cincinnati
Assistant Professor of Biology
Phone: 812-237-2683
Email: Kris.Schwab@indstate.edu
Office: Science Building 287-L

My laboratory investigates the molecular and cellular mechanisms of gene expression involved in embryogenesis and development of tissues and organs.  Developmental gene regulatory networks govern the dynamic gene expression changes that occur during both cell differentiation and proliferation.  The genes operating in these networks consist of signaling pathway members and transcriptional regulators that are often are dysregulated in cancer resulting in both abnormal cell function and uncontrolled cellular proliferation.  By experimentally investigating the function of these genes in a developmental system, we can enhance our understanding of gene function, genetic interactions, and genetic mechanisms that are perturbed in tumorigenesis and cancer.   

Rusty Gonser

Dr. Rusty Gonser
Biology Department Chairperson
Professor of Biology
Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany
Phone: 812-237-2395
Email: Rusty.Gonser@indstate.edu
Office:  Science Building 298

Dr. Gonser is the director of The Center for Genomic Advocacy (TCGA) and Chairpoerson for the Department of Biology.   TCGA initiatives have included the creation of a Genome Sequencing Core Facility, hiring of faculty, and remodeling of molecular and cell culture facilities.  Dr. Gonser developed the Genetic Counseling program at Indiana State University and initiated the conversation that led to the development of a Genetic Counseling Clinic in Terre Haute that serves the Wabash Valley. Additionally, Dr. Gonser is one of the principal investigators of the NIH funded BD4ISU grant in collaboration with The Ohio State University. The BD4ISU program is a training program for biomedical informatics. Dr. Gonser’s past work includes microsatellite instability in colon cancer and his most recent PhD student (currently a post-doc at UCLA) worked on alternate splicing of genes in cancer. 

Catherine Steding

Dr. Catherine Steding, Marian University
PCRC Founding Director
Ph.D., Indiana University at IUPUI (IU School of Medicine)

Dr. Steding was founding director of the center. She oversaw the establishment of the center and the recruitment and selection of the first class of fellows. Dr. Steding has moved on to teach in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Marian University. We thank Dr. Steding for her leadership and vision and wish her the best going forward.



PCRC Affiliated Faculty

Hugo Gante

Dr. Hugo Gante
Assistant Professor of Biology
Ph.D., Arizona State University
Phone: 812-237-2405
E-mail: hugo.gante@kuleuven.be
Office: Science Building 287K

In the Gante lab we use fishes to learn about the genotype–phenotype axis from an evo-devo perspective. In particular, we are looking into interspecific differences in coloration and what they can teach us about skin patterning, pigment synthesis and deployment, and pigment cell differentiation. Their regulation will inform us about cellular processes such as melanogenesis and melanoma development. In a similar fashion, we are looking at how genome size varies across species (C-value), and its consequences on organismal size, performance, and cellular processes including regeneration and tumorigenesis.

Sheikh Fahad FerdousDr. Sheikh Ferdous
Ph.D., University of Texas at Arlington
Assistant Professor of Engineering (Mechanical Concentration)
Phone: 817-237-3809
Office: Technology Center 201U
Email: Sheikh.Ferdous@indstate.edu

Dr. Ferdous is involved in developing multiscale models for cytoskeletal components which is important for the analysis of traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative diseases. Cytoskeletal components such as microtubules, actin filaments, neurofilaments which are essential parts of neuron.  His recent focus is to predict the mechanical properties (e.g. strength) of individual components in neuron by using molecular dynamics simulation technique. Dr. Ferdous is also involved in developing a multiscale computational model to estimate the change of fracture toughness of bone due to remodeling process and pin point the causes of degradation of bone.

Richard W. FitchDr. Richard Fitch
Ph.D., University of Louisville
Professor of Bioorganic/Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy
Phone: 812-237-2244
Office: Science Building 035E 
Email: Richard.Fitch@indstate.edu

Dr. Fitch is a bioorganic/medicinal chemist specializing in natural products research.  Natural products represent a large fraction of cancer chemotherapeutics such as paclitaxel from the pacific yew and vinca alkaloids from periwinkle. Humble plants can be powerful allies in the fight against cancer.

Jennifer K. InlowDr. Jennifer Inlow
Ph.D., Texas A&M University
Professor of Biochemistry and Bioinformatics
Phone: 812-237-2242
Office: Science Building 035N
Email: Jennifer.Inlow@indstate.edu

Dr. Inlow is interested in the use of bioinformatics methods to compare gene and protein sequences, and to predict protein structures based on sequence homology.

Whitney NesserDr. Whitney Nesser
Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham
Associate Dean, College of Health and Human Services
Phone: 812-237-3105
Office: 401 N 4th St, A-403
Email: Whitney.Nesser@indstate.edu

Dr. Nesser completed a postdoctoral fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center and has served as Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on NIH NCI funded grants. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Indiana Cancer Consortium, and her research focuses on quality of life, cancer, and public health.

Other Faculty

Faculty from departments in related areas collaborate with PCRC students and faculty.  The following departments are the most closely related.