SURF Administration


Yatrik Shah

Yatrik Shah

Dr. Shah is Associate Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan Medical School. Dr. Shah's laboratory seeks to understand the mechanisms by which cellular oxygen levels regulate colon and liver cancer. Regulation of hypoxia-mediated genes is dependent on the nuclear transcription factor, hypoxia inducible factor (HIF). HIF signaling is critical in the adaptive response to low oxygen levels by activating genes involved in metabolism, angiogenesis, cell proliferation and cell survival. We have developed novel animal models to study accurately the role of hypoxia and HIF in the liver and intestine-derived cancers. In these animal models we have shown that increased HIF signaling leads to liver and intestinal inflammation and chronic induction of HIF signaling leads to vascularized tumors. Our current goals are to identify molecular mechanisms by which HIF regulates colon and liver inflammation and assess if HIF signaling is a critical link between inflammation and cancer.


Ormond MacDougald

Dr. MacDougald is the John A. Faulkner Collegiate Professor of Physiology within the Molecular & Integrative Physiology department. To combat the rising incidence of obesity and associated metabolic diseases, the goal of his lab is to investigate how adipocytes throughout the body develop, function, and interact with other cell types near and afar.

Santiago Schnell

Dr. Schnell is a Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, a Brehm Investigator in the Brehm Center for Diabetes Research, and a Professor of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan Medical School. He received his initial training in biological science (degree equivalent to an MSc) from Universidad Simón Bolívar (Venezuela) and doctorate in mathematical biology from the University of Oxford (UK). Dr. Schnell's research focuses on developing methods for modeling reactions inside cells, and how to quantify and model complex reactions in metabolic pathways.

Student Program Administrator:

Heather MacFarland

Heather is the coordinator of the SURF Program, as well as the STEP & SURP Programs. You can contact her at