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.


Justement web

 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. 

Daniel Bullard Picture for Graduate School Website

Daniel C Bullard PhD 

Department of Genetics
Interim Associate Dean,
Graduate School


Danile Bullard, PhD, is the Interim Associate Dean of the Graduate School and a Professor in the Department of Genetics.

Dr. Bullard received his Ph.D. in 1992 from Case Western Reserve University in the field of genetics. During his postdoctoral studies in the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, he initiated research investigating the roles of leukocyte/endothelial cell adhesion molecules in inflammatory diseases such as lupus, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. He has continued this work in his laboratory at UAB. 

Dr. Bullard has also been very active in graduate education.Since coming to UAB in 1996, he has helped start three new graduate programs and currently serves as the Director of the Genetics, Genomics, and Bioinformatics (GGB) theme. In addition, he has developed six graduate level classes related to genetics and genomics, and has mentored many different postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students in his laboratory.


Farah D Lubin PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Neurobiology
NINDS Neuroscience 
Roadmap Scholars Program



Farah D. Lubin, PhD graduated from Alabama State University, summa cum laude in Biology and Chemistry and SUNY Binghamton University in New York, Department of Biology with a Ph.D. degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. After completing two postdoctoral fellowships at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston Texas, she obtained a faculty position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the Department of Neurobiology. 

Dr. Lubin is a past recipient of a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH/NIMH) and FASEB Award. Dr. Lubin is co-Director of the NINDS Neuroscience Roadmap Scholar (RMS) Program at UAB. The goal of the RMS program is to enhance engagement and retention of underrepresented graduate trainees in the neuroscience workforce. She has served on the UAB GBS Neuroscience theme admissions committee since 2009. 

Her main research work focuses on investigating the molecular and genetic basis of learning, memory, and its disorders. She has coauthored numerous publications in various research journals including J. Neuroscience and Neuron. She continues to serve on NIH study sections and editorial boards of various scientific journals. Dr. Lubin’s work is currently funded by grants from NIMH and NINDS, the Epilepsy Foundation, Civitan International, and the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute.




 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.


Trent Tipple1

Trent Tipple MD
Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics-Neonatology



Dr. Tipple is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in Neonatology at UAB. He received his BS from Butler University. He then earned his M.D. from Indiana University-School of Medicine. He completed a residency in general pediatrics and neonatal-perinatal medicine at Nationwide (formerly Columbus) Children's Hospital. 






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.

Rakesh Pic

Rakesh P Patel PhD
Department of Pathology


Dr Patel was born in England and received in BSc (Hons) and PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Essex in Colchester, England which was followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at UAB between 1997-1999 in free radical biology.

Rakesh Patel, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Pathology, and Director of the UAB Center for Free Radical Biology. Rakesh has served as the Department’s Graduate Program director since 2008 and also co-directed the Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine theme in the Graduate Biomedical Sciences, between 2011 and 2016, and is currently director of the NIGMS funded pre-doctoral T32 program in Translational and Molecular Sciences. He has served as an Associate editor for the American Journal of Physiology (2012-2105), is currently Reviews editor for the Nitric Oxide journal and served on the editorial board for the Free Radical Biology and Medicine journal since 2000. 

His laboratory uses an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses basic science to translational / clinical trial studies focusing on understanding mechanisms linking reactive species to inflammatory injury in different tissues and disease settings, and then using these insights to develop and test therapeutics. A constant theme of his research has been heme and nitric oxide biochemistry which his lab is currently investigating in the context of transfusion toxicity. Other active projects are in the areas endothelial function / dysfunction, environmental exposure to irritants, lung injury and nitric oxide therapeutics. 



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.


Chris Willey

Christopher Willey, MD PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology

Dr. Willey completed undergraduate training in biomedical engineering at Duke University where he received a Bachelor’s of Science of Engineering in 1996. Following graduation, he matriculated to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). This combined MD/PhD program is sponsored by the NIGMS section of NIH and is intended to train scientist-physicians. He ultimately joined Dhan’s lab and successfully completed the Molecular and Cell Biology Pathobiology PhD Program at MUSC. His doctoral thesis was entitled “The Mechanism of c-Src Activation and its Role During Cardiac Hypertrophy.” These studies involved the development of a cell culture model system that mimicked in vivo observations in which adult primary cardiac muscle cells were embedded within a three-dimensional collagen matrix and were stimulated with small integrin-binding peptides.

After graduating from MUSC, he entered a transitional year internship for one year and then went to Vanderbilt for radiation oncology residency. He was accepted into the American Board of Radiology (ABR) Holman Pathway that provides 2 years of 80% protected research time during residency. His primary mentor was Dennis Hallahan, MD, who was professor and chair of the department. During residency, he twice received grant support from RSNA investigating inherent radioresistance of tumor vasculature. He also received DOD funding for my research on prostate cancer. These research projects involved phospholipid and kinase signaling cascades that complemented his previous research experience as well as his current investigations. Just before completing residency, he was awarded the ASTRO Junior Faculty Career Research Training Award for his work examining PKC/MARCKS in vascular endothelium.

He accepted an Assistant Professor position at The University of Alabama at Birmingham in the Department of Radiation Oncology where he started on July 1, 2008. He has 30% clinical effort and 70% research/teaching/administrative effort. Clinically, his focus is predominantly CNS, head and neck, and lung cancer.