HHMI Special Research Seminars

The objective of the HHMI Special Research Series is to enhance MIT’s, and the Department of Biology’s, efforts to increase diversity in science by featuring seminar speakers from minority-serving institutions and from non-research-intensive universities and colleges.

Faculty invited to speak in this series have strong records of mentoring and training undergraduates in basic research, and of curriculum development at their institutions. Many are also undergraduate research program directors. Guest faculty meet individually with MIT faculty members and with graduate students and postdocs, as well as interested undergraduates. They are able to discuss their research and learn about the biology graduate curriculum and how best to prepare their students for the rigors of graduate school. The faculty are also able to explore opportunities for research collaborations with MIT faculty as well as the possibility of a more extended visit to MIT through our HHMI Mini-sabbatical program or MIT’s year-long Martin Luther King visiting faculty program.

Seminar Speaker

Seminar Title

Seminar Date


Atanu Duttaroy
Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Howard University

"A regulator of thermogenesis in the Drosophila genome: The story of Drosophila PGCB1 homolog, spargel" 6/26/2014 Troy Littleton

Gokhan Hacisalihoglu
Professor, Department Biology, Florida A&M University

"Exploring Seed Nutrient Composition: from Signaling to Genes to Predicting Quality Traits" 5/22/2014 Jing-Ke Weng
Juan Carlos Martinez-Cruzado
Professor, Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez
"Population Histories in Puerto Rico: Education Opportunities Through Research in the Genomics Era" 3/5/2014 Chris Burge

Jason Sello
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Brown University

"New Insights from the Blueprints of Lignocellulose Biorefineries" 2/27/2014 Bob Sauer

Taras Oleksyk
Assistant Professor, Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez

"Parrots of the Caribbean and other tales from the Enchanted Island: or how to build a genomics program with undergraduate student research" 7/12/2013 Mandana Sassanfar

Antonio Baines
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology & the Cancer Research Program, North Carolina Central University

Oncogenic K-Ras and Pim Kinases as molecular targets in pancreatic cancer 5/22/2013 Mike Hemann

José E. García-Arrarás
Professor, Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras

Organ regeneration in echinoderms: are stem cells involved? 4/24/2013 Hazel Sive

Mulumebet Worku
Associate Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, North California A&T State University

"Studies on genomic diversity and innate immunity of ruminatns"  3/27/2013 Jeroen Saeij

Jose Lasalde
Professor and VP of Research and Technology, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras

Nicotinic Receptors; from structure to disease


Mandana Sassanfar

Erika Camacho
Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics, Arizona State University

Tracing the Progression of Retinitis Pigmentosa via Photoreceptor Interactions


Chris Burge

Irving Vega
Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras

Epiproteomic changes in tau-mediated neurodegeneration: A research and training approach


Troy Littleton

Jonathan Levitt
Professor and MARC Program Director, Department of Biology, The City College of New York

Developmental remodeling of interareal projections in mammalian visual cortex


Martha Constantine-Patton

James Whyche
Provost, Howard University

Howard University: New research directions for 2012 and beyond


Chris Kaiser and Graham Walker

Carlos González
Professor, Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras

ARE-Mediated Post-Transcriptional Regulation of Human IL-3


Harvey Lodish

Rene Herrera
Professor, Department of Molecular & Human Genetics, Florida International University

Genetic insights into the peopling of the world


David Page

Maggie Werner-Washburne
IMSD Program Director, Department of Biology, University of New Mexico

The Genomics of Yeast Stationary Phase: Birth, Death, and Wild Flings in a Flask


Chris Kaiser

Nikolas Nikolaidis
Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Science, California State University at Fullerton

Evolution and Functional Characterization of the Lipid-Hsp70 Interactions


Susan Lindquist

Mentewab Ayalew
Department of Biology, Spelman College

Is a new mechanism of antibiotic resistance associated with a plant ABC transporter?


Wendy Gilbert

Richard Goldsby
Professor of Biology & John Woodruff Simpson Lecturer, Amherst College

Cooperative therapies for Staphylococcus toxins using engineered antibodies & small molecules


Harvey Lodish

Franklin Carrero-Martínez
Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez

Towards Rewiring the Brain: Understanding Cell-Cell Interactions at the Neuromuscular Junction


Troy Littleton

Leticia Vega
Associate Professor Department of Biology, Barry University

Pif1p, telomeres and chromosomes in Saccaromyces cerevisiae


Angelika Amon

Pamela Padilla
University of North Texas

Oxygen Deprivation: A Regulator of a Prophase Checkpoint and Suspended Animation in C. elegans


Robert Horvitz

Marie-Alda Gilles-Gonzalez
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Heme Proteins as Oxygen Sensors:  Impact on Bacterial-Host Interactions and c-di-GMP Transactions


Uttam RajBhandary

Maria Bykhovskaia
Chair, Department of Neuroscience, Universidad Central del Caribe

Presynaptic vesicle cycle & plasticity


Troy Littleton

Dwayne Simmons
Professor of Neuroscience, MARC Program Director, UCLA

Deconstructing cholinergic synaptogenesis in the inner ear


Winston Anderson
HHMI Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Howard University

Mentoring By Example


Graham Walker

Derrick Brazill
MARC Program Director, Department of Biology, Hunter College

Of Molds and Men: Using Dictyostelium discoideum to model mammalian cell motility


Gerald Fink

Gerald Downes
Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Fishing For Genes Required For Locomotive Behavior:  Genetic Analysis of Movement Disorders in Zebrafish


Hazel Sive

Belinda Pastrana
Department of Chemistry, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez

A Comparative Analysis of a Centrosomal Associated Protein: Centrin


Tania Baker

Ophelia Weeks
Associate Professor of Neuroanatomy, Department of Biological Sciences, MARC Program Director, QBIC Program Director, Florida International University

QBIC:  An Interdisciplinary & Quantitative Program in the Biological Sciences


Elly Nedivi

Fernando Noriega
Associate Professor of Biology, Florida International University

Nutritional regulation of Juvenile Hormone synthesis in mosquitoes: To survive in hard times sometimes is better not to use the head


Mandana Sassanfar

Ikhide Imumorin
Department of Biology, Spelman College

When Mothers and Fathers are Unequal: Epigenetic Studies in the Bovine Genome


Chris Kaiser

Kai Griebenow
Department of Chemistry, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras

Chemical Protein Glycosylation: Implications for Protein Dynamics, Function, and Stability


Jonathan King

Lilliam Casillas
Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico in Humacao

Geomicrobiology, Ecology and Molecular Studiesfrom the Cabo Rojo Salterns in Puerto Rico


Alan Grossman