Congratulations to Scott Ginebaugh, from Dr. Stephen Meriney's lab, who successfully defended his thesis titled: "Short duration presynaptic action potentials shape calcium dynamics and transmitter release at the neuromuscular junction in healthy and diseased states." Scott has accepted a position as a postdoctoral researcher at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in the department of Medical Oncology. 

Congratulations to Andrew Clugston, from Drs. Jackie Ho and Dennis Kostka's labs, who successfully defended his thesis titled: "Regulation of RNA expression in nephron progenitor cells." Andrew has accepted a postdoc position at University of California San Francisco. 

Congratulations to Dr. Anne-Ruxandra Carvunis on being selected as a 2021 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow for her work in Computational & Evolutionary Molecular Biology! This fellowship is awarded to early-career researchers whose “achievements and potential place them among the next generation of scientific leaders.”

See link for additional information.


Congratulations to Megan Yates on receiving a F30 fellowship award.

Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA for Individual Predoctoral MD/PhD Degree Fellows (F30), National Cancer Institute 

Title: Functional Characterization and Clinical Prevalence of ESR1 Fusions in Advanced Endocrine Resistant Breast Cancer

Congratulations to Sarah Munyoki on receiving the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development F31 research fellowship award titled 'High Resolution Transcriptome Analysis of the Primate Testis'. 

Congratulations to Tyler Fortuna who has been awarded with a Research Advisory Committee (RAC) pre-doctoral fellowship from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

The Pandey lab identified a novel genetic modifier of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis  

“Mutations in fused in sarcoma (FUS) lead to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with varying ages of onset, progression and severity. This suggests that unknown genetic factors contribute to disease pathogenesis. Here we show the identification of muscleblind as a novel modifier of FUS-mediated neurodegeneration in vivo. Muscleblind regulates cytoplasmic mislocalization of mutant FUS and subsequent accumulation in stress granules, dendritic morphology and toxicity in mammalian neuronal and human iPSC-derived neurons. Interestingly, genetic modulation of endogenous muscleblind was sufficient to restore survival motor neuron (SMN) protein localization in neurons expressing pathogenic mutations in FUS, suggesting a potential mode of suppression of FUS toxicity. Upregulation of SMN suppressed FUS toxicity in Drosophila and primary cortical neurons, indicating a link between FUS and SMN. Our data provide in vivo evidence that muscleblind is a dominant modifier of FUS-mediated neurodegeneration by regulating FUS-mediated ALS pathogenesis."

The Gao’s lab has recently reported the tumor suppressive role of arginine sensor CASTOR1 in oncogenic virus KSHV-induced cellular transformation and delineated a novel mechanism of mTORC1 activation in KSHV-induced cancer, providing a scientific basis for therapy.

The Integrative Systems Biology graduate program and the Pittsburgh Center for Evolutionary Biology and Medicine are offering a track in Evolutionary Medicine. Training in this specialization will give students the basis required to perform cutting-edge research - computational, experimental or both - in one of the many laboratories at Pitt that are pushing the boundaries of evolutionary medicine across topics including, but not limited to: cancer, immunology, microbiome, antibiotic resistance, comparative systems biology, infectious disease. Prospective graduate students interested in this topic are encouraged to apply to ISB!

ISB Application System


Congratulations to Dr. Steffi Oesterreich on receiving the 2019 William E. Brown Outstanding MSTP Mentor Award.

Congratulations to ISB graduate student, Kate Shipman, on recently receiving an F31 award entitled, "Megalin Traffic in Dent Disease."

Congratulations to Dr. Robin Lee and his lab on their recent publication in Nature Communications. 

Chemical perturbation of specific protein-protein interactions (PPI) is notoriously difficult, yet necessary when complete inhibition of a signaling pathway is detrimental to the cell. Here, the authors use a systems approach and identify two first in class small molecules that specifically inhibit TNF-induced NF-κB activation.


The Thomas and Gronenborn labs recently reported the mechanism by which insulin switches liver cell metabolism from fat burning to fat storage. Using a holistic approach—from the atom to the whole organism—they showed how insulin triggers PACS-2 to inhibit SIRT1 and provided new insight into how anti-obesity, sirtuin-activating compounds (STACs) may work. Congratulations to Dr. Gary Thomas and Angela Gronenborn.

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Congratulations to Dr. Adrian Lee who was the recipient of the Biomedical Graduate Student Association Distinguished Mentor Award at the 2018 BGSA Symposium. 

The ISB program is pleased to announce that we will no longer require GREs to be submitted as part of your application packet.  All ISB applicants will be judged on their GPA (especially courses within their major), research experience, and letters of recommendation. 

Congratulations to Dr. Anne Ruxandra Carvunis who has been selected as one of the 2018 recipients of the Searle Scholars Program Award. This award is made annually to only 15 exceptional young faculty in the country in biomedical science and chemistry considered most promising. The award recognizes faculty who have made important and innovative research contributions. 

At the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Gary Thomas has engaged ISB students directly with world leaders in medicine and patient care. Clinical scientists introduce ISB students to biological systems—from the bedside to the bench (B2B)—and identify pressing needs awaiting solution by our next generation of researchers. This experience equips our PhD students with unique insight into biomedical research and how they can best contribute to understanding and curing human disease.  

See Pitt article on B2B!


The Institute for Precision Medicine uses systems biology research to understand the biology of disease and enable personalized healthcare.

Drs. Patrick Moore and Yuan Chang are recipients of the prestigious 2017 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize.  The award from the Paul Ehrlich Foundation is bestowed annually in the Immunology, Cancer Research, Hematology, Microbiology, and Chemotherapy medical fields.  It is one of the most distinguished awards in medicine in Germany.  Dr. Moore is the Director of the Cancer Virology Program, an American Cancer Society Research Professor, and Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Medical Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh.  Dr. Chang is an American Cancer Society Research Professor and Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh.  Congratulations to Drs. Moore and Chang for winning this prestigious award!

"Understanding how genes co-evolve in animals could reveal links between human diseases"

Dr. Nathan Clark and his lab are looking at connections between what we think of as different diseases and how these connections can help lead to innovations in treatment of those diseases.  See the complete article in Pitt Med

Congratulations to Dr. Cecilia Lo and Dr. Michael Tsang on their recently funded NIH administrative supplement, "Assaying Heterotaxy Patient Genes in a Cilia Motility and Left-Right Patterning". This project will examine whether expression of the RCV can rescue the HTX phenotype elicited by MO gene knockdown in the zebrafish embryo. Also, it will establish genotype-phenotype correlation in ciliary motion defects and develop software for quantitative classification of ciliary motion defects using a computational approach with computer vision and machine learning algorithms for visual pattern recognition. Using this software, we will determine whether different RCVs are associated with different ciliary motion defects. This will provide insights into structure-function relationships in the regulation of cilia motility.

Congratulations to Dr. Carlton Bates and Co-Investigator Dr. Dennis Kostka on their recently funded National Institutes of Health proposal, "Critical Roles for Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors in Bladder Development". The broad long-term objective of this project is to elucidate the molecular control of bladder development to develop effective therapies for structural bladder disease.