Courageous Medicine

The A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute supports some of today’s most aggressive medical science researchers, all members of the University of Michigan Medical School faculty, with three-year grants that they use to fund their investigations.

These clinician-scientists and their laboratory teams are working to combat a wide array of diseases: childhood and adult cancer, neurodegentative diseases, diabetes, ALS, cardiovascular disease, obesity and many other debilitating conditions.

Scholars also serve as advocates for research by taking part in U-M efforts to educate the public about the importance of biomedical research and the need to provide support for scientific study.

The original Taubman Scholars, they continue to serve as leaders and advisers to the institute.

  • Russell N. DeJong professor of Neurology

  • Director of the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery

Dr. Feldman is a clinical neurologist and sees patients in the U-M Neurology and ALS Clinics. She has pioneeredthe use of stem cells as a treatment for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and her research efforts are also makingstrides towards understanding and identifying new therapies for diabetic complications affecting nerves.


  • The R. Jamison and Betty Williams Professor of Otolaryngology

  • Founding Taubman Scholar, The A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute

  • Kresge Hearing Research Institute

  • Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

  • The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Dr. Yehoash Raphel’s research interests include inner ear biology, protection and regeneration, gene therapy, genetic deafness, CHARGE Syndrome and stem cell therapy.

  • Ravitz Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatric and Communicable Diseases Pediatrician-in-Chief

  • Director of the Taubman Institute’s Neuroblastoma Research Program

Dr. Opipari heads the Pediatrics Department at U-M. Her research and clinical interests focus on the pediatricsolid tumor, neuroblastoma, and she is devoted to uncovering the underlying mechanisms in the development ofthis devastating cancer in children so that new treatments can be identified.

  • J. Griswold Ruth MD & Margery Hopkins Ruth Professor of Internal Medicine

  • Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology

  • Chief, Cardiovascular Medicine

  • Director, Cardiovascular Center

Dr. Pinsky’s clinical practice focuses on stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, and in the laboratory, he isseeking to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to treat patients stricken by these all-too-common human afflictions.


Max S. Wicha, M.D.
  • Founding Director of U-M’s Comprehensive Cancer Center

  • Distinguished Professor of Oncology and Internal Medicine

As a clinical oncologist, Dr. Wicha has devoted his career to helping patients with cancer. His team was the firstto identify cancer stem cells in breast cancer, and he is developing new therapies that can target and eliminatethese cells to significantly improve the outcome for women with advanced breast cancer. Importantly, targetingcancer stem cells holds great promise for other cancers as well.


The Taubman Scholars are senior level physician-researchers and thought leaders in discovery-driven science.


New Approaches in Understanding and Treating Obesity

  • S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology

  • Professor of Urology

  • Director, U-M Center for Translational Pathology

  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

Dr. Chinnaiyan is an expert in the clinical care of patients with cancers, particularly prostate cancer. In thelaboratory, he is using functional genomic, proteomic, and bioinformatics approaches to study the genetic andmolecular lesions that drive cancer progression for the purposes of understanding cancer biology and developingcancer biomarkers and therapeutics.


Improving therapies for HIV

  • Professor of Internal Medicine

Dr. Collins has focused her clinical and research career on improving therapies for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. To this end, her studies are enhancing our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of viral persistence within long-lived cells and supporting the development of drugs that will inhibit these pathways and bring us closer to a cure.
Visit Collins Lab Website


The Science Behind Blood Clotting

  • James V. Neel Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine and Human Genetics

  • Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Medicine

  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

Dr. Ginsburg’s clinical specialty is in hematology, and in the laboratory, he is studying components of the blood
clotting system to understand the genes and biomolecules that control the blood-clotting response, stroke, and heart disease. Using state-of-the-art genomic methods, he has identified novel genes that are paving the way for improved diagnosis and the development of novel therapeutics to treat human bleeding and blood clotting disorders.


Improved Targeting of Liver and Pancreas Cancer

  • Isadore Lampe Professor

  • Chair of Department of Radiation Oncology

Dr. Lawrence has devoted his clinical and research career to developing new treatments for patients with liver and pancreas cancer. Using an approach that combines molecularly targeted drugs with functional imaging to both enhance and guide radiation therapy, he is increasing our ability to control and cure these cancers.


Developing Cellular and Molecular Therapies for the Nervous System

  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Neurology at U-M

  • Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at Emory University

As a neurosurgeon, Dr. Boulis has pioneered numerous innovative approaches to deliver gene and cellulartherapies to the nervous system to keep neurons healthy in the face of neurodegenerative and functional diseasesof the nervous system. His work has culminated in a variety of groundbreaking clinical trials, including the firststem cell transplantation trial for ALS.


New Approaches in Understanding and Treating Obesity

  • Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Professor of Metabolism

  • Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular and Integrative Physiology

  • Director, U-M Metabolomics and Obesity Center

  • Director of the Taubman Institute

Dr. Burant’s clinical and research interests are centered on metabolic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes,and related metabolic disorders. His research has improved our understanding of the metabolic changes associatedwith obesity and weight loss, and it is also supporting the identification of clinically useful therapies forsuccessfully losing and maintaining weight loss.


Protecting Kidney Cells from Diabetic Disease

  • Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular and Integrative Physiology

  • Division Chief of Nephrology

Dr. Brosius is expert in the clinical care of individuals with kidney diseases. In his laboratory, he is identifying thecritical pathways that cause progressive kidney disease in diabetes so that therapies that halt the progression ofthis serious complication of diabetes can be developed.


The role of inflammation in colon cancer

  • John G. Searle Professor

  • Chair, Department of Internal Medicine

Dr. Carethers’ clinical interests are in hereditary colon cancer syndromes, and in the laboratory, he is studying
both tumor genetics and how inflammation impacts the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal cancers in order toidentify new targets and approaches to improve the outcome for colon cancer patients.


Seeking to prevent and cure eye damage caused by diabetes

  • Healthy Eyes Taubman Scholar

  • Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

  • Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology

  • Director, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Diabetic Retinopathy Center

The overall goal of Dr. Gardner’s clinical care and research is to help people with diabetes maintain good vision.
By combining evaluations of patients with his laboratory research, he is determining how diabetes impacts the eye, uncovering the molecular mechanisms that give rise to these changes, and developing new therapies.

Donna Martin, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Donita B. Sullivan Research Professor in Pediatrics

  • Professor of Pediatrics

  • Professor of Human Genetics


Finding novel therapies for epilepsy

  • Professor, Neurology

  • Director, Neurodevelopment and Regeneration Laboratory

  • Co-director, Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

Dr. Parent’s clinical interests are focused on helping patients with brain anomalies caused by injury or neurologic conditions. Using neural stem cells to model genetic neurological disorders, study the mechanisms of brain development, and screen for precision therapies, his ultimate goals are to promote brain repair after stroke,discover novel therapies for genetic neurological disorders, and prevent epilepsy.


Causes and treatment of age-related neurodegenerative diseases

  • Lucile Groff Professor of Neurology for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders

  • Director of the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center

Dr. Paulson’s research and clinical interests concern the causes and treatment of age-related neuro degenerative diseases, with a focus on hereditary ataxias, Alzheimer’s disease, and frontotemporal dementia. His laboratory investigates the mechanisms underlying degenerative brain diseases and seeks preventive therapies for these largely untreatable and often fatal disorders.


Understanding the role of inflammation in graft-versus-host disease after bone-marrow transplant.

  • Moshe Talpaz Professor of Translational Oncology

Dr. Reddy’s clinical interests focus on graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a severe and life-threatening complication that can result following bone marrow transplantation to cure hematologic cancers. His efforts in the laboratory have enhanced our understanding GVHD immunobiology, and the resulting clinical trial, if successful,may lead to an entirely novel strategy for treatment of GVHD.

The Emerging Scholars Program provides support for clinician-scientists on the U-M faculty who are in the early stages of their research careers.

There is a pressing need in the scientific community to do more to support early-career researchers who are increasingly choosing to leave the laboratory due to financial pressures. We are at risk of losing the next generation of our best and brightest scientists.

The Emerging Scholars Program offers an opportunity for them to establish their credentials in order to secure traditional funding in the future.  They are aggressive “high risk, high reward” scientists who already have initiated a number of human clinical trials of new therapies for disease.

Adam Stein, MD, PhD

  • Taubman Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor, Internal medicine

Dr. Stein studies epigenetic mechanisms in the heart, and how this relates to cardiovascular aging and disease.

Sami Barmada

Sami Barmada, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Neurology

  • Angela Dobson Welch and Lyndon Welch Research Professor

  • Danto Emerging Scholar

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Speeding recovery after muscle and joint injuries

  • Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor, Sports Medicine, Shoulder, & Hip Preservation Surgery

  • Director, Sports Medicine Research Program, U-M MedSport

In addition to helping patients as an orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Bedi is using cellular and molecular studies on human tissues to fuel discoveries that may help speed the healing of muscle tissue and identify or prevent the causes of joint deterioration.


Sung Won Choi, MD

  • Edith S. Briskin and Shirley K. Schlafer Foundation Research Professor

  • Associate Professor, Pediatrics

Dr. Choi’s research is on the prevention and treatment of graft versus host disease (GVHD), the major
complication of bone transplantation treatment for hematologic cancers. With her collaborator, Dr. Pavan Reddy,she has taken laboratory insights into a novel clinical trial of GVHD prevention and is working to lower the incidence of acute GVHD and ultimately improve upon survival and quality of life following bone marrow transplantation.


Katherine Gallagher, MD

  • Friends of Judy and Alfred Taubman Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor of Surgery

Dr. Gallagher is a vascular surgeon with expertise in the management and treatment of peripheral arterial disease,particularly in patients with diabetes. Her research focuses on understanding how inflammation, immune cell function, and bone marrow stem cells influence wound healing in diabetes in an effort to design novel therapeutic agents and treatments.

Johann Gudjonsson, MD, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Dermatology

  • Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholar

Dr. Gudjonsson has a clinical practice in dermatology, and in the laboratory, studies psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases at the genetic level. He has initiated several human clinical trials of new therapies, including one that studies the use of Vitamin B12 in treating psoriasis.


J. Michelle Kahlenberg, MD, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine (Rheumatology)

  • Parfet Emerging Scholar

Dr. Kahlenberg research focuses on how the innate immune system, specifically the inflammasome, impacts the development of autoimmune diseases and their subsequent complications. Currently, she is investigating how the inflammasome contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease in lupus.


Alon Kahana, MD, PhD

  • Mrs. William Davidson Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor and Helmut F. Stern Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Dr. Kahana is a surgeon with a clinical interest in disorders affecting the eye, such as tumors, cancers, thyroid disease,and other inherited eye diseases. In the laboratory, he is harnessing the power of zebrafish and stem cells to understand the molecular basis of eye disorders, regenerate human tissue, and develop new approaches to treat eye conditions.


Todd Morgan, MD

  • Assistant Professor, Urology

  • Taubman Institute Emerging Scholar

Dr. Morgan is a urological surgeon specializing in the treatment of genitourinary malignancies, and his research focuses on understanding the early spread of prostate cancer cells in the blood. His aim is to identify patients with the most aggressive tumors and develop appropriate therapeutic strategies for these individuals.


Erika A. Newman, MD

  • Edith Briskin Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatric Surgery

Dr. Newman’s clinical interest in pediatric oncology led her study neuroblastoma, the most common extra cranial solid cancer in children. Through research aimed at understanding the developmental pathways in the cells that underlie this disease, she is enhancing our understanding of neuroblastoma pathogenesis and supporting the development of improved treatment strategies.


Parag Patil, MD, PhD

  • Young Friends of the Taubman Institute Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor Neurosurgery, Anesthesiology, and Biomedical Engineering

  • Co-Director, Movement Disorders Program and Psychiatric Neuromodulation Program

Dr. Patil is a neurosurgeon with clinical expertise in deep brain stimulation therapies for movement disorders and depression and surgical therapies for neurological conditions. In the laboratory, he is using engineering, imaging,and operative techniques to study deep brain stimulation treatments in order to develop the next generation of future brain pacemaker devices. He also works with Dr. Eva Feldman in the first-ever stem cell trial for patients with ALS.


Rajesh C. Rao, MD

  • Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

  • Assistant Professor, Pathology

  • Leslie and Abigail Wexner Emerging Scholar

Dr. Rajesh Rao is an ophthalmologist and his long-term goal is to use stem cell biology and epigenetics to decipher the pathogenesis of retinal disease. He is developing a stem cell therapy for age-related macular degeneration and also hopes to develop novel pharmacologic gene and cell-based clinical therapies to promote regeneration and reduce scar and tumor formation for patients with blinding retinal diseases.


Srijan Sen, MD, PhD

  • Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Professor of Depression and Neurosciences

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry

Dr. Sen is a psychiatrist with an interest in depression. Using cutting-edge genomic techniques, his laboratory is studying medical interns, a unique cohort of individuals subjected to chronic stress, to identify gene-stress interactions that moderate stress and depression, identify non-genetic biomarkers that predict depression development, and ultimately to identify novel therapies for people suffering from depression.


Kanakadurga Singer, MD

  • Assistant Professor, Pediatric Endocrinology

  • Edith Briskin / SKS Foundation Emerging Scholar

Dr. Singer is a pediatric endocrinologist, and her research seeks to understand how obesity-induced inflammation progresses to cardiovascular and metabolic diseases like insulin resistance and diabetes. By investigating the mechanisms linking obesity and systemic inflammation, she hopes to identify effective medical and dietary interventions to prevent the diseases associated with pediatric obesity.


Scott Tomlins, MD, PhD

  • The A. Alfred Taubman Emerging Scholar
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology

Dr. Tomlins is a pathologist with expertise in prostate cancer genomics. His laboratory is focused on utilizing high-throughput approaches to characterize prostate, bladder, and adrenocortical cancers at the molecular level to understand cancer biology and identify clinically relevant biomarkers and therapeutic targets.

Karen McLean, MD, PhD

Karen McLean, MD, PhD

  • Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Dr. McLean’s research focuses on the role of stem cells in ovarian cancer development and recurrence, and the preclinical and clinical investigation of new treatments for ovarian cancer.

Sascha Goonewardena, MD

Sascha Goonewardena, MD

  • Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor, Cardiology

Dr. Goonewardena’s research focuses on nanotechnology to improve and refine therapies for cardia disorders.

Corey Speers, MD, PhD

Corey Speers, MD, PhD

  • Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology

Dr. Speer’s research focuses on a personalized approach to breast cancer treatment, finding more effective, targeted therapies for patients depending on the genetic characteristics of their tumors.

  • Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine

  • Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering

  • Assistant Professor, Macromolecular Science and Engineering

  • Investigator, Biointerfaces Institute

  • Assistant Director, MCIRCC

  • Leslie and Abigail Wexner Emerging Scholar

Sriram Venneti, MD, PhD

  • Julie Reyes Taubman Emerging Scholar

  • Assistant Professor, Neuropathology

Dr. Venneti studies how genetic alterations make cancer cells use fuels such as glucose and amino acids, and how that makes certain tumors aggressive.

Scott Visovatti

Scott Visovatti

  • Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine

  • Thomas G. Ruth Emerging Scholar