Projects Seeking PhD & MS Applicants

Below are some of the available research opportunities for PhD and MS applicants. Please email the listed contact person for more information.

The Interface Between Animal-Based Medical Research and Animal Well-Being

The Preclinical Research Center uses an integrated interdisciplinary approach to address issues in human and animal health and well-being. The lab has a unique focus on developing methods to understand immunometabolism towards innovative therapies for diseases with high public health impact (e.g. diabetes, obesity, and infectious disease), and providing solutions to improve the efficacy and well-being of animal models.  Current projects include 1) the impacts of behavioral management on coping, physiology and well-being of primates, and 2) development of predictive biomarkers and regenerative medicine in primates-to reverse metabolic disease, induce immune tolerance, and replace damaged cells through xenotransplantation.  Contact Dr. Melanie Graham at [email protected]

Comparative Medicine and Pathology

We are accepting applications from veterinarians seeking state-of-the-art research training in an NIH comparative medicine and pathology training program. Our goal is to provide sufficient broad based knowledge, quality communication skills, and advanced research training essential for a career as an independent investigator. Areas of study include cell biology, infectious disease, neurobiology, physiology, genetic diseases, molecular biology, and pharmacology. Applicants must be US citizens and graduates of an accredited veterinary school. Contact the T32 Directors, Dr. Cathy Carlson ([email protected]) or Dr. Molly McCue ([email protected]).

Veterinary Public Health Scientist Training

The Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) is the veterinary public health (VPH) service unit of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. We are seeking a candidate for a combined PhD/VPH residency program. The focus of research for the PhD will be a problem of VPH importance.  After completing the preliminary PhD examination and while working on the final chapters of the dissertation, the student would initiate a 2-year VPH residency program that will help them gain field experience and leadership skills in Public Health. Candidates for this position are required to hold DVM and MPH degrees.  Contact Dr. Andres Perez at [email protected] for additional information.

Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

My position as a clinical-scientist is to recognize “gaps” in our understanding in both basic science and clinical arenas. I employ a “bedside to bench, back to bed” approach in my work. My work is unified by the study of the biology surrounding the hematopoietic system following hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT). Each area that I focus on has both a clinical and laboratory component: brain engraftment, graft failure after HCT, stem cell homing, the biology & biomarkers of metabolic storage disease including mucopolysaccharidosis type-IH, and Adrenoleukodystrophy. In engraftment studies, I try to understand how the microenvironment influences recruitment of hematopoietic stem cells to the marrow. In rare metabolic diseases (MPS-1H, Hunter Syndrome ALD, MLD, etc) I try to improve HCT for the treatment these diseases. I also try to develop biomarkers associated with disease that can predict outcomes. Finally, my lab studies how oxidative stress effects the above disease conditions and specifically trying to understand how oxidative stress changes the function of the hematopoietic system. For more information, contact Dr. Troy Lund at [email protected].

PhD Fellowship Training Program in Dairy Production Systems

The Dairy Population Medicine Program at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, is excited to announce a new PhD fellowship training program in dairy production systems. Fellowships will support training of PhD scientists capable of applying their research acumen to improve dairy health and well-being, while enhancing the safety and security of our food chains. Learn more

Alternative to Antibiotics for the Dairy Industry

Mastitis is a highly prevalent disease in the dairy industry and the main reason for the use of antibiotics in US dairy farms. There is increasing pressure on the industry to reduce antibiotic usage, and immunotherapeutics have emerged as an alternative to antibiotics for the prevention and control of mastitis. The Caixeta lab seeks a PhD student with interest in mastitis and immunology of the mammary gland in dairy cows. Potential dissertation topics include (a) immunological adaptations of the mammary gland during the non-lactating period and (b) alternatives to increase the resistance of the mammary gland to bacterial infection. Contact Dr. Luciano Caixeta ([email protected]) for more information.

Purposeful Genetic Mutation in Viral and Tumor Immunity

The Harris Lab uses a large repertoire of model systems and experimental approaches to understand how DNA mutating enzymes (APOBECs) provide immunity against viral infections and, in many cases, also catalyze genomic DNA mutagenesis and contribute to tumor evolution. We often leverage molecular and comparative biology approaches to solve problems and are particularly interested in developing novel murine models for studying mutagenesis and tumorigenesis by human APOBEC enzymes (ex. Law et al., 2020, Journal of Experimental Medicine). Comparative biology and/or veterinary medicine students would be exceptionally good fits for this exciting and rapidly expanding project. Please email Dr. Reuben Harris to arrange a meeting to discuss this project ([email protected]).

Molecular Virology of HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2

We work on exciting research directions to understand and target HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 entry at the molecular and cellular levels.  We use interdisciplinary approaches at the interface of synthetic and molecular virology, immunology, and cell biology to gain new insights into complex biological processes with the aim of translating them into novel immunotherapies and vaccines.  Potential projects include 1) mechanisms of HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 resistance to broadly neutralizing antibodies, 2) viral evolution, 3) mapping the vulnerabilities of viral entry, and 4) development of next generation anti-viral vaccines.  Contact Dr. Alon Herschhorn for additional information ([email protected]).

Pediatric Cancers: Osteosarcomas and Neuroblastomas

The Largaespada lab is seeking graduate students interested in the molecular drivers of osteosarcoma metastasis and chemoresistance in the lung metastatic niche, the role of hyaluronic acid in cancer drug responses, and the role of a novel oncogene called FOXR2 in pediatric neuroblastoma.  Contact Dr. David Largaespada at [email protected].

Graft versus Host Disease

Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a multi-organ system disorder in which donor T cells recognize host alloantigens present on antigen-presenting cells and tissues in the context of an inflammatory response.  We are using a newly developed model of chronic GVHD that results from T-follicular helper/germinal center B cell cooperativity, leading to alloantibody and subsequently, collagen deposition, culminating in multi-organ system injury and pulmonary and liver fibrosis. Studies include targeted approaches that affect T-follicular helper or regulatory cells, germinal center B cells, and anti-fibrogenic directed therapies to treat established chronic GVHD.  A PhD trainee is preferred.  For more information, contact Dr. Bruce Blazar at [email protected].