Research Program Faculty


Miriam L. Greenberg, PhD

Dr. Miriam L. Greenberg is a Professor of Biological Sciences in the WSU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She received her Ph.D. degree from the Department of Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, under the direction of Dr. Susan Henry. She carried out postdoctoral studies at Harvard University with fellowships from the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Foundation and the Medical Foundation. She was a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, and joined the faculty at WSU in 1993. During her sabbatical leave, she was a Visiting Professor in the Department of Biochemistry of Membranes, Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and a Dozor Visiting Professor in the Psychiatry Research Unit, Ben Gurion University, Israel. She is currently a member of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of the Barth Syndrome Foundation.

Dr. Greenberg’s research focuses on phospholipid metabolism using the yeast model to address questions of fundamental importance to human health. A major research focus is to understand the role of the phospholipid cardiolipin in mitochondrial biogenesis and function. Cardiolipin is found in all mammalian tissues, but it is most abundant in the heart, where it comprises up to 20% of phospholipids. Dr. Greenberg’s laboratory identified and characterized the first yeast cardiolipin mutant (crd1), as well as the yeast model (taz1) for Barth syndrome (BTHS), a life-threatening cardiomyopathy resulting from defective cardiolipin remodeling. Current studies are based on the discovery that cardiolipin is required to maintain iron homeostasis, and that cardiolipin mutants exhibit defects in iron-sulfur (Fe-S) biogenesis leading to perturbations in the TCA cycle. A major goal is to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the role of cardiolipin in Fe-S biogenesis and mitochondrial energy production. She is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Barth Syndrome Foundation.


Allon Goldberg, PT, PhD

Dr. Allon Goldberg is Assistant Professor of Health Care Sciences at Wayne State University. Dr. Goldberg received his PhD in Physical Anthropology from Wayne State University in 2003. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in Gerontology at the Institute of Gerontology, University of Michigan. In 2005, Dr. Goldberg was awarded the Fellowship for Advanced Study in Aging and Lifespan from the Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University.

Dr. Goldberg’s primary research interests include balance and mobility issues in older adults and in people with neurogenetic disease and genomics education for physical therapists.


Lawrence I. Grossman, PhD

Dr. Lawrence I. Grossman is Professor of Molecular Medicine and Genetics and the Henry L. Brasza Director of the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics at Wayne State University. Dr. Grossman received his PhD in Genetics and Biochemistry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, training with Dr. Julius Marmur, and did his postdoctoral training in Molecular Biology with Dr. Jerome Vinograd at the California Institute of Technology, where he was a Fellow of the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research.

Dr. Grossman's research interests center on the mitochondrion. He is studying in depth two genes that are part of the cytochrome oxidase complex, one expressed largely in lung and the other in heart and muscle. Using mouse models in which these genes are diluted or removed altogether, he is studying the role of mitochondria in asthma and in dilated cardiomyopathy.

Dr. Grossman previously worked on the structure, genetic code, and replication of yeast mitochondrial DNA and later turned his attention to the interaction of the mitochondrion with the nucleus. Current work centers around cytochrome oxidase, the enzyme at the end of the mitochondrial electron transport chain that uses most of the oxygen we breathe. Since a robust energy supply is a prerequisite for normal life, not surprisingly diseases are increasingly being shown to result from mutations that alter energy production systems, and Dr. Grossman's work on the molecular genetics of mitochondria underlies a deeper understanding of many such pathologies.


Maik Hüttemann, PhD

Dr. Maik Hüttemann is Associate Professor of Molecular Medicine and Genetics. He studied chemistry, molecular biology, and biochemistry at the Philipps-University of Marburg, Germany, where he obtained his PhD degree in 1999. In 2000 Dr. Hüttemann joined Dr. Grossman’s group in the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics (CMMG) at Wayne State University as a postdoctoral fellow, where he identified new tissue-specific isoform genes of cytochrome c oxidase. In 2002 he became a CMMG faculty member, where he built up a research group with a focus on biochemical and functional processes related to mitochondrial function and dysfunction.

The Hüttemann lab studies a newly emerging research field of cell signaling targeting the mitochondria. Such signaling pathways are altered in all common human diseases, but the effect on mitochondria remains largely unknown. The lab focuses on two important enzymes, cytochrome c and cytochrome c oxidase, which are part of the energy production machinery in the mitochondria. Diseases under investigation are cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and ischemia-reperfusion injury as seen in stroke and myocardial infarction. The goal of this research is to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, such as early cancer detection using mitochondrial markers, and improvement of stroke and myocardial infarction outcome using mitochondria-targeted therapy.


Moh Malek, PhD

Dr. Moh H. Malek graduated from the Claremont Colleges, in Claremont, California with two Bachelors of Arts degrees (Biology and Psychology) and subsequently graduated from California State University Fullerton with his Masters of Science degree in Exercise Physiology. Dr. Malek completed his PhD in Exercise Physiology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He completed his Postdoctoral training in the Division of Physiology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine Department of Medicine. Dr. Malek is currently Associate Professor at Wayne State University and the Director of the Integrative Physiology of Exercise Laboratory.

Dr. Malek is a reviewer for a number of international sport medicine journals as well as on the Editorial Board of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Dr. Malek’s lines of research include assessment of muscle energetics, gas exchange parameters in healthy and clinical populations as well as issues related to research methodology and statistical analyses. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (FACSM) and National Strength and Conditioning Association (FNSCA). In 2010, Dr. Malek was awarded the Terry J. Housh Young Investigator of the Year by the NSCA.


Lobelia Samavati, MD

Dr. Samavati is Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Critical and Sleep Medicine. Dr. Samavati received her medical degree from the University of Cologne Medical School in Germany. She completed a Pulmonary Critical Care Fellowship at the University of Iowa. Prior to joining Wayne State University in 2004, Dr. Samavati was a pulmonary physician at Central Hospital Bad Berka in Germany. In both 2006 and 2007, Dr. Samavati received the Award for Excellence in Sarcoidosis Research from the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research.

Her research interests include signaling pathways underlying the sustained inflammation in sarcoidosis and mitochondrial disease.


Thomas Sanderson PhD

Dr. Thomas Sanderson is Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and the Cardiovascular Research Institute and Associate Director of Basic Science Research for the Department of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Sanderson received his Ph.D. in Physiology from Wayne State University in 2007.

Dr. Sanderson is reviewer for multiple neuroscience journals and serves on the grant review committee for the American Heart Association.

Dr. Sanderson’s lines of research focus on the molecular mechanisms of post-ischemic encephalopathy and neuroprotective strategies to preserve neurologic integrity following ischemia. He focuses on the role of mitochondrial dysregulation in the pathophysiology of brain ischemia/reperfusion injury and develops mitochondrial-based neuroprotective therapies. Specific research projects include:

  • Design, development, and translation of a novel non-invasive method to modulate mitochondrial function to prevent oxidative damage and protect the brain during reperfusion.
  • The regulation of oxidative phosphorylation during ischemia/reperfusion and how this controls reactive oxygen species generation and subsequent neuronal death.
  • Investigation of mitochondrial fission dynamics induced by neonatal hypoxia/ischemia and adult global brain ischemia and the role this plays in cellular death.

A major goal of the Sanderson lab is the translation of insights gained from experimental models to the clinical setting.


Kelley Kennelly, MS, CGC

Ms. Kennelly is a genetic counselor with the Department of Neurology at Wayne State University. She received her Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from Wayne State University and is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Ms. Kennelly has prior experience reseraching the genetics and epidemiology of lung cancer and has clinical experience in neurogenetics and muscular dystrophies. She is also responsible for the clinical training of medical students, residents, fellows and genetic counseling students and serves as a small group instructor for the Year 1 Medical Genetics course.