Areas of Research

UCF faculty members from the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences (BSBS), the Department of Biology, and the Department of Chemistry have sponsored projects for PURE students.  Any faculty member who utilizes techniques in molecular biology can host a Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) student.  The diverse research interests of the participating faculty create a unique environment for cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research.  Burnett School faculty members have expertise in a wide range of biomedical science disciplines which encompass the broad research areas of infectious disease, neurobiology, cancer biology, and molecular cardiology.  Other UCF faculty members have additional expertise in nanoscience, forensic science, biophysics, biological chemistry, developmental biology, and genetics.

Below is a list of UCF faculty members who have previously sponsored a PURE student.  To identify other potential faculty mentors, students should consult the following websites:






As noted on the BSBS website, Burnett School faculty members are located at one of three sites:  the Biomedical Sciences Building (BMS, main campus), the Biomedical Research Annex (BRA, research park), and the Burnett Building (BBS, Lake Nona).

PURE faculty mentors:

Infectious Diseases

Debopam Chakrabarti, Ph.D.
Molecular mechanisms of the intraerythrocytic life cycle of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum

Saleh A. Naser, Ph.D.
Role of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in Crohn’s disease pathogenesis

William T. Self, Ph.D.
Elucidating the antioxidant mechanism of ceria nanoparticles and determining the impact of arsenicals on selenium metabolism

Ken Teter, Ph.D.
Cell biology of host-toxin interactions

Sean D. Moore, Ph.D.
Genetic analysis to elucidate the function of essential bacterial ribosomal proteins

Kyle Rohde, Ph.D.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis genomic diversity and survival in macrophages

Herve Roy, Ph.D.
Bacterial remodeling of the cellular envelope to withstand antimicrobial agents, host defenses, and other environmental stressors

Alexander M. Cole, Ph.D.
Innate immunity to bacterial and viral pathogens


Kiminobu Sugaya, Ph.D.
Stem cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS

Yoon-Seong Kim, Ph.D.
The molecular mechanism underlying selective degeneration of the specific neuronal population in neurodegenerative disorders, especially Parkinson’s disease

Cancer Biology

Karl X. Chai, Ph.D.
Role of prostasin in tumor invasion and metastasis

Antonis S. Zervos, Ph.D.
Induction of apoptosis by the protein Omi/HtrA2

Deborah A. Altomare, Ph.D.
Role of AKT kinase activation in tumor progression

Molecular Cardiology

Steven Ebert, Ph.D.
Molecular signals that control cardiovascular development

Dinender Singla, Ph.D.
Embryonic stem cell biology and cardiac regeneration

Biological Chemistry

Otto Phanstiel, Ph.D.
Synthesis of new drugs and drug-delivery agents to aid in the treatment of human diseases

Jingdong Ye, Ph.D.
Structure/function analysis of riboswitches by synthetic organic, bioorganic, biochemical, and structural biological techniques

Forensic Science

Jack Ballantyne, Ph.D.
Forensic molecular genetics/biochemistry

Genetics and Developmental Biology

Laurie von Kalm, Ph.D.
Hormonal control of epithelial development and polyamine transporter biology in Drosophila