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Faculty Labs

The Department of Medicine houses a large breadth of basic, translational, and implementation science laboratories across many disciplines. Our currently featured laboratories provide a snapshot of the cutting-edge discoveries produced by our department’s faculty. Keep checking in to see newly highlighted labs and research groups in the Department of Medicine. To view a comprehensive list of labs, please see the school's faculty labs directory.

Desai Lab

The Desai Lab, led by Ankit Desai, MD, is dedicated to dissecting the genetic mechanisms of pulmonary vascular disease and sickle cell cardiomyopathy, complimented by my active clinical practice serving patients with pulmonary hypertension for nearly 15 years. The lab group, which consists of five members, utilizes genome-wide strategies to prioritize functional and preclinical studies of candidate genes and pathways leading to the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

Recent Work:

Genetic determinants of risk in pulmonary arterial hypertension: international genome-wide association studies and meta-analysis (Lancet Respiratory Medicine)

IL-18 mediates sickle cell cardiomyopathy and ventricular arrhythmias (Blood)

Clinical pharmacology

Desta Lab

The Desta Lab, led by Zeruesenay Desta, PhD, seeks comprehensive understanding of mechanisms controlling interindividual variability in drug response and then applies this knowledge base to personalize drug therapy. Specifically, the lab's bench and clinical studies test how pharmacogenomics and nongenetic factors (e.g., drug-drug interactions (DDIs)) influence drug metabolizing enzymes, drug transporters and ultimately, drug or active metabolite exposure and effect. Their research encompasses drug and metabolite quantification; metabolite profiling; drug metabolism; DDIs; pharmacogenomics; discovery of molecular and clinical tools to study drug disposition; and mechanistic understanding and quantitative prediction of clinical drug exposure and DDIs from in vitro or clinical data by utilizing mathematical models. Their research is funded by RO1s and other grants from NIH.

Recent Work:

 PharmVar GeneFocus: CYP2B6 (Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics)

Influence of Uridine Diphosphate Glucuronosyltransferase Family 1 Member A1 and Solute Carrier Organic Anion Transporter Family 1 Member B1 Polymorphisms and Efavirenz on Bilirubin Disposition in Healthy Volunteers (Drug Metabolism and Disposition)

 CYP2B6 Genotype-Dependent Inhibition of CYP1A2 and Induction of CYP2A6 by the Antiretroviral Drug Efavirenz in Healthy Volunteers (Clinical and Translational Science)

Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC) Guideline for CYP2B6 and Efavirenz-Containing Antiretroviral Therapy (Clinical Pharmacology Therapeutics)

Inhibitory Effects of Probenecid on Pharmacokinetics of Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate and Emtricitabine for On-Demand HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis (Clinical Pharmacology Therapeutics)

general internal medicine and geriatrics

Fowler Team

The 12-member Fowler Team is based at the IU Center for Aging Research and led by Nicole Fowler, PhD. Their person-centered clinical research has two areas of focus: one, the early detection of Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the primary care setting; and two, on developing behavioral interventions for persons with dementia and their caregivers. They work collaboratively with other institutions across projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and various foundations, and have also partnered with institutions such as University of Colorado, UC San Diego, and NYU.

Recent Work:

Supporting breast cancer screening decisions for caregivers of older women with dementia: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial (Trials)

Examining the benefits and harms of Alzheimer's disease screening for family members of older adults: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial (Trials)

Feasibility and acceptability of an acceptance and commitment therapy intervention for caregivers of adults with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias
(BMC Geriatrics)

One-year effect of the Medicare annual wellness visit on detection of cognitive impairment: a cohort study (Journal of the American Geriatrics Society)

Infectious Diseases

Tran Malaria Immunology Lab

Led by Tuan Tran, MD, the Tran Malaria Immunology Lab tries to understand how protective immunity against the malaria parasite is achieved in the context of natural infections and experimental vaccines. This lab’s six members take advantage of well-designed cohorts in which the risk of clinical malaria or malaria infections can be prospectively determined. They apply “systems biology” to blood samples collected from individuals from these cohorts before and after immune perturbation (i.e. infection or immunization). The data-intensive approach, which relies heavily on -omics technology, allows them to determine which variables can best explain and/or predict whether someone will be protected from malaria when naturally or experimentally challenged with the parasite.

Recent Work:

Longitudinal analysis of naturally acquired PfEMP1 CIDR domain variant antibodies identifies associations with malaria protection (JCI Insight)

Increased circulation time of Plasmodium falciparum underlies persistent asymptomatic infection in the dry season (Nature)

A Molecular Signature in Blood Reveals a Role for p53 in Regulating Malaria-Induced Inflammation (Immunity)


Aldred Lab

The researchers in the Aldred Lab, led by Michaela Aldred, PhD, focus on the genetics of pulmonary vascular disease, including Pulmonary Hypertension, a life-threatening condition affecting the blood vessels in the lungs, and Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT), where abnormal connections between the arteries and veins lead to risk of hemorrhage. Both conditions can be caused by variants in genes of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway. Projects in the lab, funded by an NHLBI Outstanding Investigator Award, address different aspects of the underlying biology, including the role of DNA damage, alterations in mitochondrial metabolism and increased reactive oxygen species, and approaches to correct BMP signaling abnormalities.

Recent Work:

Increased Mutagen Sensitivity and DNA Damage in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine)

Mitochondrial Haplogroups and Risk of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PLOS One)

Correction of nonsense BMPR2 and SMAD9 mutations by ataluren in pulmonary arterial hypertension (American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology)

Identification of rare sequence variation underlying heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension (Nature Communications)

Mutational and phenotypic characterization of hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (Blood)

DNA Damage and Repair in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (Genes)

Comparison of whole genome sequencing and targeted sequencing for mitochondrial DNA (Mitochondrion)