The MSTP Advisory Committee (MSTPAC) consists of eight members from the SOM faculty, one member from the School of Engineering, and one member from the School of Public Health.  The MSTP Director and MSTP Associate Director occupy two of these positions.

In addition to serving as a policy advisory group, the MSTPAC acts as the  admissions committee for the Program.  

 Robin Lorenz2

Robin Lorenz MD PhD
Associate Dean of
Physician-Scientist Development
Department of Pathology


Dr. Robin Lorenz was named Director of the UAB, Medical Scientist Training Program on October 1, 2006. Dr. Lorenz attended Stanford University from 1980 to 1984, where she received a B.S. in Biological Sciences. From 1984 to 1990 she attended Washington University School of Medicine as a Medical Scientist Training Program Fellow and received her Ph.D. in Immunology and M.D. in 1990. Her graduate work was done in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Allen, Department of Pathology at Washington University School of Medicine, and focused on the recognition of self-antigens by the immune system. From 1990 to 1994 she was a resident in Laboratory Medicine (Clinical Pathology) at Barnes Hospital. During that time she did a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, focusing on the development of novel animal models to study the development and differentiation of the gastric epithelium. From 1994-2002 she was an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Medicine at Washington University. In addition to directing the basic science research lab focused on chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, she was co-director of the Joint Clinical Immunology Laboratory of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children's Hospital, and Associate Director of the Laboratory Medicine Residency Training Program at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Dr. Lorenz joined the UAB faculty in 2002 as an Associate Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Microbiology. The National Institutes of Health and the Sandler Program for Asthma Research fund her laboratory research investigating the mucosal immune system. She has been a member of numerous NIH and American Cancer Society study sections, and currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation Research Training Awards Committee. At UAB, her administrative duties include being the Associate Director of the Pathology Residency Program, Program Director of the SIBS Undergraduate Research Program, and Associate Director of the Mucosal HIV and Immunobiology Center. She is married to Dr Kevin Roth and has two children, Theo and Loren.


L Justement MSTPAC

 Louis Justement PhD
Associate Director
Department of Microbiology


Dr. Louis Justement joined the MSTP as Assistant Director on July 1, 2005 and became Associate Director on July 1, 2006. Dr. Justement, Professor of Microbiology, received his B.A. degree in Microbiology from Miami University. He subsequently received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Ohio State University in the field of Microbiology with a special emphasis in Immunology. As a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. John Cambier at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, Colorado he developed an interest in studying cell biology, and in particular the signal transduction processes underlying lymphocyte activation.

Since that time he has continued these studies first as an Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas (1990-1996) and subsequently as a member of the Department of Microbiology at UAB where he is currently a Professor and Associate Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program. When not working he enjoys spending time with the family, as well as gardening, fishing or hiking. 



Geisler William.fall.2012

William M Geisler MD MPH
Clinical Associate Director
Associate Professor
Department of Medicine





William M. Geisler, M.D., M.P.H, joined the MSTP as Clinical Associate Director on June 1, 2013. Dr. Geisler is an Associate Professor in the UAB Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, and he has an adjunct faculty appointment in the UAB Department of Epidemiology. He received his B.S. Degree in Microbiology from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville (1988-1992) and his M.D. from the University of Tennessee in Memphis (1992-1996). He subsequently completed Internal Medicine Residency training at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (1996-1999) and Infectious Diseases Fellowship training at the University of Washington in Seattle (1999-2002); during his fellowship, he also received his M.P.H. Degree in Epidemiology from the University of Washington, School of Public Health. Dr. Geisler joined the UAB faculty in 2002. His research program focuses on the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, natural history, diagnosis, treatment, immunology, and genetics of genital Chlamydia trachomatis infections. A major goal of his research is to contribute to the development of a chlamydia vaccine and to the availability of novel therapeutics for chlamydia. Dr. Geisler is on the editorial board of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and serves as an expert consultant for the CDC. At UAB, he also serves as Co-Director of the SOM Fundamentals II Medical Microbiology Laboratory Course and as a faculty member of the Alabama-North Carolina STD/HIV Prevention Training Center. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, as well as kayak fishing. 

Jeff Engler PhD
Associate Dean for
Academic Affairs
UAB Graduate School
Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics


Dr. Engler completed undergraduate studies in chemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduate studies in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin. His postdoctoral studies at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island, New York led to a staff appointment there in 1980. Twice during his tenure there, the Leukemia Society of America awarded support for his work on adenoviruses. Dr. Engler joined the faculty at UAB in 1982, and he is currently Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. In May of 2006 he was appointed Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the UAB Graduate School. His past laboratory programs have included the retargeting of adenovirus vectors for gene therapy using small peptides identified through phage display.

MFanucchi MSTPAC

Michelle Fanucchi PhD 
Associate Professor
Chair, Environmental
Health Sciences
School of Public Health



Michelle Fanucchi, PhD, is the chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the UAB School of Public Health and the Director of the Pathobiology & Molecular Medicine Theme in the Graduate Biomedical Sciences program.

Dr. Fanucchi earned her bachelor’s degree from the College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, MN and her doctorate in Pharmacology & Toxicology from the University of California at Davis. She completed postdoctoral fellowships in Environmental and Toxicologic Pathology at Michigan State University and in Interdisciplinary Pulmonary Disease at UC Davis.   In 2007, Dr. Fanucchi joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham faculty and in an Associate Professor of Public Health.  Dr. Fanucchi’s laboratory focuses on understanding the susceptibility of the respiratory system to air pollutants and air toxics. The laboratory is currently involved in creating new animal models for cystic fibrosis research, elucidating the early-life impacts of ozone on lung development and developing post-exposure therapies to reduce the toxicity of inhaled chlorine exposures.

In addition to her academic interests, Dr. Fanucchi also serves as a member of the One Great Community Council, the community engagement component of the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science.




 Jennifer Pollock, PhD


Department of Nephrology

Dr. Jennifer S. Pollock is a Professor in the Cardio-Renal Physiology and Medicine Section of the Division of Nephrology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She earned her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with her thesis work on structure-function analysis of prothrombin receiving classical training as a protein biochemist with Dr. Richard Hiskey. Dr. Pollock’s postdoctoral training with Dr. Ferid Murad, 1998 Nobel Laureate, involved the initial purification and characterization of NO synthase and this work received recognition as a highly cited publication in 1993 and continues to garner citations. This work has provided the basis of her enduring research focus to date. Subsequent to her post-doctoral training, she worked as a Drug Discovery Scientist at Abbott Laboratories for 4 years before moving to Georgia Regents University (formerly Medical College of Georgia) in 1995 as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Pollock received tenure in 2001 and promoted to Professor in 2005. In 2010, Dr. Pollock was appointed as the Director of the University System of Georgia MD/PhD Program. Dr. Pollock received the Distinguished Research Award, Distinguished Teacher Award, and Outstanding Faculty Award from the School of Graduate Studies as well as the Distinguished Faculty Award for Basic Science from the School of Medicine and named Weiss Professor during her academic career at Georgia Regents University. In 2014, Dr. Pollock relocated to the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she is a Professor and Co-Director of Cardio-Renal Physiology & Medicine Section, Associate Director of the Center for Free Radical Biology, and member of the Steering committee for the MSTP training grant and MD/PhD program. Her research career has solely been involved in cardiovascular and renal research, hypertension-related and, most recently, sickle cell-related research. Her laboratory focuses on the vasculature and renal NO and endothelin physiological and pathophysiological pathways. For the last 10 years, Dr. Pollock's laboratory has been instrumental in determining the mechanisms of early life stress on the NO and endothelin pathways in cardiovascular and renal disease in rodent models and most recently deciphering mechanisms of human cardiovascular and renal disease by translating their research from animal models to humans. Dr. Pollock has authored over 160 peer-reviewed publications during her scientific career. Her research is currently supported by two Program Project Grants and a Center grant from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Pollock is active in several scientific societies and serves in leadership positions with the American Heart Association, American Physiological Society, American Society of Nephrology, and American Society of Hypertension. Dr. Pollock serves as a member of AHA study sections and as an ad-hoc reviewer for NIH Program Project Grants. Dr. Pollock has trained and mentored over 75 undergraduate, medical, and graduate students as well as post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty during her career.


White coat portait

Erik Roberson MD PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Neurology



Dr. Roberson is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology and the Virginia B. Spencer Professor of Neuroscience at UAB. He received his A.B. with highest honors from Princeton University. He then earned his M.D. and Ph.D in neuroscience through the MSTP at Baylor College of Medicine where he studied molecular mechanisms of learning and memory using a combination of electrophysiology and biochemistry. He completed a residency in neurology at the University of California San Francisco, where he also served as Chief Resident in Neurology. After residency, he completed a clinical fellowship in behavioral neurology with Dr. Bruce Miller at UCSF and resumed basic research in the laboratory of Dr. Lennart Mucke at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, initiating his current studies of neurodegenerative disease using mouse models. He moved to UAB in 2008.The Roberson lab studies the neurobiology of two common neurodegenerative disorders, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), with a focus on understanding the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms that will lead to better treatments. Areas of interest include determining how tau reduction makes the brain resistant to AD-related neuronal dysfunction and seizures, investigating tau’s function in dendrites, targeting tau’s protein–protein interactions as potential therapeutics, and studying how tau mutations and progranulin deficiency cause the social, emotional, and behavioral disturbances seen in FTD.






Chad Steele 14 RT


Chad Steele, PhD
Assistant Dean for
Research Administration
Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine




Chad Steele, Ph.D., is a professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine.  

Dr. Steele attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe (formerly Northeast Louisiana University), receiving a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry in 1995. After an 18 month stint as an industrial chemist, Dr. Steele entered graduate school in the Department of Microbiology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-New Orleans, earning a Master’s degree in December 1998, followed by a Doctorate in December 2000, both under the mentorship of Dr. Paul Fidel. Dr. Steele remained at LSUHSC for his post-doctoral fellowship, conducting lung host defense research in the laboratories of Dr. Jay Kolls and Dr. Judd Shellito. In July 2003, Dr. Steele was recruited as faculty to the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh, where he remained until June 2007.

Research in Dr. Steele's Laboratory of Lung Immunology and Host Defense is focused on understanding innate and adaptive immune responses against opportunistic fungal pathogens that cause life-threatening lung infections in immunocompromised individuals with such diseases as HIV, COPD and leukemia. Dr. Steele's research on the fungal pathogen Pneumocystis carinii has uncovered a role for alternative macrophage activation, termed M2a that is associated with more efficient elimination of P. carinii from the lungs. Dr. Steele's lab is currently characterizing multiple M2a-associated innate host defense molecules in an effort to understand what influences alveolar macrophage effector responses against P. carinii.


Timothy M. Wick PhD
Department of Biomedical Engineering


Timothy M. Wick, PhD, is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UAB and co-Director of UAB's BioMatrix Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Center located in the Shelby Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building. My research interests are in blood cell adhesion and tissue engineering. We have developed precisely engineered flow systems to identify receptors and ligands involved in pathological blood cell adhesion to blood vessel wall endothelium and biomaterials and to test pharmaceuticals that inhibit adhesion contributing to disease progression, for example, in sickle cell anemia, malaria, atherosclerosis or cancer. In tissue engineering, our interests range from fundamental studies of tissue development to bioprocessing for large-scale production. We have developed novel bioreactors to grow cartilage and blood vessels to replace diseased or damaged tissues in humans. Dr. Wick is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society and the Society for Biological Engineering. He earned his Bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder and his doctorate in chemical engineering from Rice University.

I like running and weightlifting to keep in shape. I also enjoy photography. I like to photograph flowers, nature and appealing subjects.



Talene Yacoubian MD PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Neurology


Dr. Yacoubian is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Parkinson Association of Alabama Scholar in the Division of Movement Disorders and Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. Yacoubian received her A.B. in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University. She then attended Duke University School of Medicine as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program where she studied the effects of neurotrophin receptors on dendritic development in the visual cortex. She received her Ph.D. in Neurobiology and M.D. in 2001. She completed her internship at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston and her neurology residency at Massachusetts General Hospital/ Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston. Prior to joining the UAB Neurology faculty, Dr. Yacoubian was a Research and Clinical Fellow in Movement Disorders at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, where she first began her studies on the role of alpha-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease.

Since joining the UAB faculty in 2007, she divides her time between patient care and laboratory research. She cares for patients with movement disorders at the Kirklin Clinic. She also directs a specialized clinic focused on ataxia. Her laboratory is focused on understanding mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration and testing proteins with neuroprotective potential in cellular and animal models of Parkinson’s disease. Her research has been funded by the American Parkinson Disease Association, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Parkinson Association of Alabama, and NINDS.


Eddy Yang

Eddy S Yang MD PhD
ROAR Southeast Cancer Foundation Endowed Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology

Eddy S. Yang, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of radiation oncology; cell, developmental, and integrative biology; and pharmacology and toxicology at UAB. He is also an associate scientist in the experimental therapeutics program in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. In September 2012, Dr Yang was named the inaugural holder of the ROAR Southeast Cancer Foundation Endowed Professorship. 

Dr Yang received his undergraduate education at the John Hopkins University (1993-1996) and MD/PhD training at the University of Miami School of Medicine (1997-2005).  He subsequently completed internal medicine internship at Mount Sinai Medical Center Miami Beach (2005) and residency training in radiation oncology as an American Board of Radiology Holman Research Pathway Scholar at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (2006-2010). In 2010, Dr. Yang joined the faculty in the department of radiation oncology at UAB. As a physician scientist, Dr. Yang hopes to translate basic research findings into the clinic. His research program aims to target DNA repair pathways as part of cancer therapeutic strategies using rational combinations of targeted therapies. Additionally, he hopes to understand mechanisms of treatment response and resistance to develop biomarkers for clinical use.  Ultimately he aims to not only improve patient outcomes, but, more importantly, preserve patient quality of life. Dr Yang's research program has been funded by the Department of Defense, NIH, Susan G Komen Foundation, American Association for Cancer Research, Sidney Kimmel Foundation, and various pharmaceutical company support for both preclinical and clinical studies. In his spare time, Dr. Yang spends time with his wife and 3 children and enjoys watching college sports (football, basketball, lacrosse) and playing basketball.