• Kurt Gust, Ph.D.

    Team Lead

    My current position is Team Leader of Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology (EGSB) at the US Army, Engineer Research and Development Center. My research interests span multiple disciplines within the biological sciences. Systems biology represents a unifying thread in my work. Systems biological approach provide the ability to functionally connect observations from multiple levels of biological organization including the integration of molecular-level (especially genomic) signaling to key metabolic and physiological functions that underlie fundamental phenomena in individuals and populations. As of May 2016, my work has resulted in 36 peer reviewed publications and a variety of national awards.I find biological research to be intensely interesting, challenging and rewarding as a professional endeavor and as a life pursuit. It has afforded me the opportunity to work closely with amazingly talented people brought together with the common goal of discovering and learning how life (biology) works. It is very gratifying to contribute to this scientific community of practice. The following publications provide some highlights of recent work:Gust KA, Stanley JK, Wilbanks MS, Mayo ML, Chappell P, Jordan SM, Moores LC, Kennedy AJ, Barker ND (2017) The Increased Toxicity of UV-Degraded Nitroguanidine and IMX-101 to Zebrafish Larvae: Evidence Implicating Oxidative Stress. Aquat Toxicol. 190:228-245. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2017.07.004.Gust KA, Kennedy AJ, Melby N, Wilbanks MS, Laird J, Meeks B, Muller EB, Nisbet RM, Perkins EJ (2016) Daphnia magna’s Sense of Competition: Intraspecific Interactions (ISI) Alter Life History Strategies and Increase Metals Toxicity. Ecotoxicology. 25(6):1126-35.Gust KA, Collier ZA, Mayo M, Stanley JK, Gong P, Chappell (2015) The current limitations of toxicity characterization in life cycle assessment – can adverse outcome pathways serve as a new foundation? Integr Environ Assess Manag. DOI: 10.1002/ieam.1708.Gust KA, Nanduri B, Rawat A, Wilbanks MS, Ang CY, Johnson DR, Pendarvis K, Chen X, Quinn Jr. MJ, Johnson MS, Burgess SC, Perkins EJ (2015) Systems Toxicology Identifies Mechanistic Impacts of 2-amino-4,6-dinitrotoluene (2A-DNT) Exposure in Northern Bobwhite. BMC Genomics. 16:587. doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1798-4.Ananthasubramaniam B, McCauley E, Gust KA, Kennedy AJ, Muller EB, Perkins EJ, Nisbet RM (2015) Relating sub-organismal processes to ecotoxicological and population end points using a bioenergetic model. Ecol Applications. 25:1691–1710. https://dx.doi.org/10.1890/14-0498.1.Gust KA, Najar FZ, Habib T, Lotufo GR, Piggot AM, Fouke BW, Laird JG, Wilbanks MS, Rawat A, Indest KJ, Roe BA, Perkins EJ. (2014) Coral-Zooxanthellae Meta-Transcriptomics Reveals Integrated Response to Pollutant Stress. BMC Genomics. 15:591. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-591.Wilbanks MS, Gust KA, Atwa S, Sunesara I, Johnson DS, Ang CY, Meyer SA, Perkins EJ (2014) Validation of a genomics-based hypothetical adverse outcome pathway: 2,4-dinitrotoluene perturbs PPAR signaling impairing energy metabolism and decreasing exercise endurance, Toxicol Sci.141(1):44-58. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfu104.

  • Natalia Vinas, Ph.D.

    Research Biologist

    Natàlia Garcia-Reyero Vinas received her BS in Biology from Universitat de Girona, and her MS and PhD from Universitat de Barcelona, in Barcelona, Spain. She is now a researcher at the US Army Engineer Research & Development Center Environmental Laboratory. Her research focuses on environmental pollutants and their effects on aquatic species while trying to elucidate their mechanisms of action using ecotoxicogenomics and a systems biology approach. She is also developing tools for predictive toxicology and is particularly interested in alternative non-animal methods. She also uses the latest biomolecular approaches and techniques for different purposes including genomics, transcriptomics, metagenomics, and paleogenomics projects.

  • Michael Mayo, Ph.D.

    Research Physicist

    Research background/interestsCan the tools of complex network theory be used to understand how biology processes information at different scales in order to resist, attenuate, or compensate for disruptions? Leveraging microarray data, we identified regulatory interactions in the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad (HPG) axis of the teleost fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) involving a novel androgen receptor mechanism though which vertebrates first sense, adapt, and then respond to aqueous exposures to the aromatase inhibitor fadrozole. I used chemical kinetics modeling (ODEs) to model the data, numerical optimization to infer rate constants from data, and sensitivity analyses to analyze the model. I validated these predictions using exposure data from independent experiments.I have recently been investigating how the cellular environment can resolve stimuli encoded in the fluctuations of protein concentrations regulated at the transcriptional level. Specifically, my colleagues and I have used tools from nonequilibrium statistical mechanics to model sequential transcriptional interactions along regulatory daisy-chains to show that more information, not less, can be conveyed using longer chains of more transcriptional interactions, in seeming contradiction to the data processing inequality (DPI) of information theory. Roughly, the DPI states that more information than contained in the initial state cannot be gained from a transformative process rife with noise.I am broadly interested in how time-dependent nonequilibrium phenomena at smaller scales affects linked processes at higher scales. Although ongoing work leverages information flow, transfer entropy, and causation entropy concepts to model the behavior of coordinating animals, such as flocking birds or schooling fish, I am also investigating the extent to which populations can be effected by adverse individual response, such as through reproductive impacts or by the spread of gene-drives over generational time scales.

    • Mathematical & Systems Biology
      • Metabolic Network Modeling; Information Theory; Statistical Mechanics
    • Programming
      • MATLAB; c++; python
    • Statistics
      • Significance Testing (t-test, KS-test, etc.); Distribution Fitting (parametric & non-parametric methods); Analysis (ANOVA, PCA, etc.)
    • Mathematical Modeling
      • Analytical Complex Network modeling; Stochastic Modeling (e.g., Langevin equations); Chemical Kinetics Modeling (ODEs); Diffusion-Reaction Modeling (Fokker-Planck); Master Equations
    • Computational Modeling
      • Curve Fitting & Numerical Optimization; Stochastic & Agent-Based Modeling (SSA); High-Performance & Cluster Computing (e.g., HPC)

    Educational backgroundPhD Physics, University of Missouri, 2009PhD Thesis: Hierarchical Model of Gas Exchange within the Acinar Airways of the Human LungSelected publications

    • Conolly RB, Ankley GT, Cheng W-Y, Mayo ML, Miller DH, Perkins EJ, Villeneuve DL, and Watanabe KH (2017). Quantitative Adverse Outcome Pathways and Their Application to Predictive Toxicology, Environmental Science & Technology, 51(8) :4661-4672. (https://dx.doi.org/1021/acs.est.6b06230)
    • Rowland MA, Perkins EJ, and Mayo ML. (2017). Physiological fidelity or model parsimony? The relative performance of reverse-toxicokinetic modeling approaches. BMC Systems Biology, 11:35. (https://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12918-017-0407-3)
    • Watanabe KH, Mayo ML, Jensen KM, Villeneuve DL, Ankley GT, and Perkins EJ. (2016). Predicting fecundity of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) exposed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals using a MATLAB(R)-based model of oocyte growth dynamics. PLoS One, 11:1
    • Pilkiewicz KR, and Mayo ML. (2016). Fluctuation Sensitivity in a Transcriptional Signaling Cascade. Physical Review E, 94(3):032412 (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.94.032412)
    • Mayo ML, Collier ZA, Winton C, and Chappell M. (2015). Data-Driven Method to Estimate Nonlinear Chemical Equivalence. PLoS One, 10(7):e0134652. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134652 (https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0130494).
    • Mayo ML, Georghiu S, and Pfeifer P. (2012). Diffusional Screening in Treelike Spaces: an Exactly Solvable Diffusion-Reaction Model. Physical Review E, 85 :011115. (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.85.011115)
    • Hou C, and Mayo ML. (2011). Pulmonary Diffusional Screening and the Scaling Laws of Mammalian Metabolic Rates. Physical Review E, 84:061915 (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.84.061915)


  • Ping Gong, Ph.D.

    Dr. Gong is a Principal Investigator with the Environmental Laboratory of U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He specializes in environmental genomics, bioinformatics, mechanistic and predictive toxicology, and molecular modelling. As a research biologist, he has initiated and led to completion more than ten military and civil works projects. Findings from these projects have greatly improved the fundamental and mechanistic understanding underlying the observed toxicities of military unique and other environmental contaminants. He also led the development of nine bioinformatics programs and pipelines. His current research interests focus on mode of action-guided predictive toxicology, genetic variations-induced herbicide resistance, epigenetics-driven transgenerational inheritance of phenotypic traits, and synthetic biology-based control of invasive species. And he applies the genetics, genomics, molecular biology, bioinformatics and computational modeling approaches to develop novel biotechnologies that can solve environmental problems facing the Army, the Nation and the World, such as environmental hazard assessment of military materials, life-cycle risk assessment for military material acquisition, control of disease-vector mosquitoes, aquatic invasive plants and harmful algal blooms, conservation of endangered amphibians and the monarch butterfly, and bio-disposal/biotreatment of plastic wastes.Ping was a founding member of the Global Soils Advisory Group of SETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry) and served on its Steering Committee. He also served as associate graduate faculty in the University of Southern Mississippi and graduate committee member in East Carolina University, and has advised more than 18 PhD and MSc students. He has published over 75 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters and served on several editorial boards, including Frontiers in Genetics, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, International Journal of Environmental Monitoring and Analysis, and Korean Journal of Environmental Biology. Currently, he sits on the Board of Directors of MCBIOS (MidSouth Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Society). He has chaired many conference sessions and has been selected as expert review panelist by ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry), Research Corporation’s Science Advancement Programs (Cottrell College Science Award), NSERC Collaborative Research and Development Program, Romanian National Council for Scientific Research, and Arizona Department of Health Services/Arizona Biomedical Research Commission.Ping earned a Bachelor‘s degree in Environmental Biology and Ecology from Peking University and a PhD in Environmental Toxicology from the Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He completed his postdoc studies in the Technology University of Berlin (TU Berlin), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), and Biotechnology Research Institute of National Research Council of Canada.


    1)         AKOGWU I., WANG N., ZHANG C.-Y. AND GONG P.* (2016): A comparative study of K-mer-spectrum based error correction methods for next-generation sequencing data analysis. Human Genomics 10(Suppl 2):20.2)         HONG H., SHEN J., NG H.W., SAKKIAH S., YE H., GE W., GONG P., XIAO W., AND TONG W. (2016): Rat α-fetoprotein binding activity prediction model to facilitate assessment of endocrine disruption potential of environmental chemicals. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 13: 372.3)         GONG P.* AND PERKINS E.P. (2016): Earthworm toxicogenomics: A renewed genome-wide quest for novel biomarkers and mechanistic insights. Applied Soil Ecology 104: 12-24.4)         GONG P.*, NAN X., BARKER N.D., BOYD R.E., CHEN Y., WILKINS D., JOHNSON D.R., SUEDEL B.C. AND PERKINS E. J. (2016): Predicting chemical bioavailability using microarray gene expression data and regression modeling: A tale of three explosive compounds. BMC Genomics 17: 205.5)         COLLIER Z.A., GUST K.A., GONZALEZ-MORALES B., GONG P., WILBANKS M.S., LINKOV I. AND PERKINS E.J. (2016) A weight of evidence assessment approach for adverse outcome pathways. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 75: 46-57.6)         GUST K.A., COLLIER Z.A., MAYO M., STANLEY J.K., GONG P. AND CHAPPELL M. (2016): Limitations of toxicity characterization in life cycle assessment – Can adverse outcome pathways provide a new foundation? Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 12(3): 580-590.7)         GONG P.*, HONG H., AND PERKINS E.P. (2015): Ionotropic GABA receptor antagonism-induced adverse outcome pathways for potential neurotoxicity biomarkers. Biomarkers in Medicine 9 (11): 1225-1239.8)         KENNEDY A.J., LAIRD J.G., LOUNDS C., GONG P., BARKER N.D., BRASFIELD S.M., RUSSELL A. AND JOHNSON M.S. (2015): Inter- and intra-species chemical sensitivity: A case study using 2,4-dinitroanisole. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 34 (2): 402-411.9)         PENG Y., MAXWELL A.S., BARKER N.D., LAIRD J.G., KENNEDY A.J., WANG N., ZHANG C.-Y.* AND GONG P.* (2014): SeqAssist: A novel toolkit for preliminary analysis of next-generation sequencing data. BMC Bioinformatics 15 (Suppl 11): S10.10)       MCCONNELL E.R., BELL S.M., COTE I., WANG R.-L., PERKINS E.J., GARCIA-REYERO N., GONG P. AND BURGOON L.D. (2014): Systematic Omics Analysis Review Tool (SOAR) to support risk assessment. PLoS One 9(12): e110379.11)       LI P., GONG P.*, LI H., PERKINS E.J., WANG N. AND ZHANG C-Y.* (2014): Gene regulatory network inference and validation using relative change ratio analysis and time-delayed dynamic Bayesian network. EURASIP Journal on Bioinformatics and Systems Biology 2014: 12.12)       VAN OMMEN KLOEKE A.E.E., GONG P., ELLERS J. AND ROELOFS D. (2014): Effects of a natural toxin on life-history and gene expression of Eisenia andrei. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 33(2): 412-420.13)       YANG Y., MAXWELL A., ZHANG X., WANG N., PERKINS E. J., ZHANG C.-Y. AND GONG P.*, (2013): Differential reconstructed gene interaction networks for deriving toxicity threshold in chemical risk assessment. BMC Bioinformatics 14 (Suppl 14): S3.14)       GONG P.*, GUAN X., PIROOZNIA M., LIANG C. AND PERKINS E.J. (2012): Gene expression analysis of CL-20-induced reversible neurotoxicity reveals GABAA receptors as potential targets in the earthworm Eisenia fetida. Environmental Science & Technology 46(2): 1223-32.15)       NAN X., WANG N., GONG P., ZHANG C., CHEN, Y. AND WILKINS D. (2012): Biomarker discovery using 1-norm regularization for multi-class earthworm microarray gene expression data. Neurocomputing 92: 36-43.16)       GONG P.*, LOH P.-R., BARKER N.D., TUCKER G., WANG N., ZHANG C., ESCALON B.L., BERGER B. AND PERKINS E.J. (2012): Building quantitative prediction models for tissue residue of two explosives compounds in earthworms from microarray gene expression data. Environmental Science & Technology 46 (1): 19-26.17)       LI Y., GONG P.*, PERKINS E.J., ZHANG C. AND WANG N. (2011): RefNetBuilder: A platform for construction of integrated reference gene regulatory networks from expressed sequence tags. BMC Bioinformatics 12 (Suppl 8): S20.18)       GARCIA-REYERO N., HABIB T., PIROOZNIA M., GUST K., GONG P., WARNER C., WILBANKS M. AND PERKINS E.J. (2011): Conserved toxic responses across divergent phylogenetic lineages: A Meta-analysis of the neurotoxic effects of RDX among multiple species using toxicogenomics. Ecotoxicology 20(3): 580-594.19)       LI H., WANG N., GONG P., PERKINS E.J. AND ZHANG C. (2011): Learning the structure of gene regulatory networks from time series gene expression data. BMC Genomics 12 (Suppl 5), S13.20)       WU X., LI P., WANG N., GONG P., PERKINS E.J., DENG Y. AND ZHANG C. (2011): State space model with hidden variables for reconstruction of gene regulatory networks. BMC Systems Biology 5 (Suppl 3): S3.21)       CHAITANKAR V., ZHANG C., GHOSH P., GONG P., PERKINS E.J. AND DENG Y. (2011): Predictive Minimum Description Length Principle Approach to Inferring Gene Regulatory Networks. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 696: 37-43.22)       LI Y., WANG N., PERKINS E.J., ZHANG C. AND GONG P.* (2010): Identification and optimization of classifier genes from multi-class earthworm microarray dataset. PLoS One 5 (10): e13715.23)       CHAITANKAR V., GHOSH P., PERKINS E.J., GONG P. AND ZHANG C. (2010): Time lagged information theoretic approaches to the reverse engineering of gene regulatory networks. BMC Bioinformatics 11 (Suppl 6): S19.24)       CHAITANKAR V., GHOSH P., PERKINS E.J., GONG P., DENG Y AND ZHANG C. (2010): A novel gene regulatory inference algorithm using predictive minimum description length approach. BMC Systems Biology 4 (Suppl 1): S7.25)       GONG P.*, PIROOZNIA M., GUAN, X. AND PERKINS E.J. (2010): Design, validation and annotation of transcriptome-wide oligonucleotide probes for the oligochaete annelid Eisenia fetida. PLoS One 5(12):e14266.26)       GONG P.*, XIE F., ZHANG, B. AND PERKINS E.J. (2010): In silico identification of conserved microRNAs and their target transcripts from expressed sequence tags of three earthworm species. Computational Biology and Chemistry 34: 313-319.27)       GONG P.*, BASU N., SCHEUHAMMER A.M. AND PERKINS E.J. (2010): Neurochemical and electrophysiological diagnosis of reversible neurotoxicity in earthworms exposed to sublethal concentrations of CL-20. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 17 (1): 181-186.28)       BANNON D. I., JOHNSON M., WILLIAMS L., ADAMS V., PERKINS E.J., GUST K.A. AND GONG P. (2009): RDX and miRNA expression in B6C3F1 mice. Environmental Health Perspectives 117 (3): A98.29)       GUST K.A., PIROOZNIA M., QUINN M.J. JR., JOHNSON M.S., ESCALON B.L., INDEST K.J., GUAN X., CLARKE J., DENG Y., GONG P. AND PERKINS E.J. (2009): Neurotoxicogenomic investigations to assess mechanisms of action of the munitions constituents RDX and 2,6-DNT in Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus). Toxicological Sciences 110 (1): 168-180.30)       PIROOZNIA M., GONG P., YANG J.Y., YANG M.Q., PERKINS E.J. AND DENG Y. (2008): ILOOP – A web application for two-channel microarray interwoven loop design. BMC Genomics 9 (Suppl 2): S11.31)       GONG P.*, GUAN X., INOUYE L.S., DENG Y., PIROOZNIA M. AND PERKINS E.J. (2008): Transcriptomic analysis of RDX and TNT interactive sublethal effects in the earthworm Eisenia fetida. BMC Genomics 9 (Suppl 1): S15.32)       GONG P.*, ESCALON L., HAYES C.A. AND PERKINS E.J. (2008): Uptake of hexanitrohexa-azaisowurtzitane (CL-20) by the earthworm Eisenia fetida through dermal contact. Science of the Total Environment 390 (1): 295-299.33)       GONG P.*, GUAN X., INOUYE L.S., PIROOZNIA M., INDEST K.J., ATHOW R.S., DENG Y. AND PERKINS E.J. (2007): Toxicogenomic analysis provides new insights into molecular mechanisms of the sublethal toxicity of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene in Eisenia fetida. Environmental Science & Technology 41 (23): 8195-8202.34)       PIROOZNIA M., GONG P.*, GUAN X., INOUYE L.S., YANG K., PERKINS E.J. AND DENG Y.* (2007): Cloning, analysis and functional annotation of expressed sequence tags from the earthworm Eisenia fetida. BMC Bioinformatics 8 (Suppl 7): S7.35)       LI P., ZHANG C., PERKINS E.J., GONG P. AND DENG Y. (2007): Comparison of probabilistic Boolean network and dynamic Bayesian network approaches for inferring gene regulatory networks. BMC Bioinformatics 8 (Suppl 7): S13.36)       GONG P.*, INOUYE L.S. AND PERKINS E.J. (2007): Comparative neurotoxicity of two energetic compounds, hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane and hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine, in the earthworm Eisenia fetida. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 26 (5): 954-959.37)       SONG Y.-F., GONG P., WILKE B.-M., ZHANG W., SONG X.-Y., SUN T.-H. AND ACKLAND M.-L. (2007): Genotoxicity assessment of soils from wastewater irrigation areas and bioremediation sites using Vicia faba root tip micronucleus assay. Journal of Environmental Monitoring 9 (2): 182-186.38)       ZHANG W., SONG Y.-F., GONG P., SUN T.-H. AND LIU M. (2006): Earthworm cytochrome P450 determination and application as a biomarker for diagnosing PAH exposure. Journal of Environmental Monitoring 8 (9): 963-967.39)       SONG Y.-F., WILKE B.-M., SONG X.-Y., GONG P., ZHOU Q.-X. AND YANG G.-F. (2006): Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyles (PCBs) and heavy metals (HMs) as well as their genotoxicity in soil after long-term wastewater irrigation. Chemosphere 65 (10): 1859-1868.40)       ROCHELEAU S., KUPERMAN R.G., MARTEL M., PAQUET L., BARDAI G., WONG S., SARRAZIN M., DODARD S., GONG P., HAWARI J., CHEKAI R.T. AND SUNAHARA G.I. (2006): Phytotoxicity of nitroaromatic energetic compounds freshly amended or weathered and aged in sandy loam soil. Chemosphere 62 (4): 545-558.41)       WILKE B.-M., MAI M., GATTINGER A., SCHLOTER M. AND GONG P. (2005): Effects of fresh and aged copper contaminations on soil micro-organisms. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 168: 668-675.42)       DODARD S.G., SUNAHARA G.I., KUPERMAN, R.G., SARRAZIN M., GONG P., AMPLEMAN G., THIBOUTOT S. AND HAWARI J. (2005): Survival and reproduction of Enchytraeid worms, Oligochaeta, in different soil types amended with energetic cyclic nitramines. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 24 (10): 2579-2587.43)       BARDAI G., SUNAHARA G.I., SPEAR P., MARTEL M., GONG P. AND HAWARI J. (2005): Effects of dietary administration of CL-20 on Japanese quail Coturnix coturnix japonica. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 49: 215-222.44)       SONG Y.-F, ZHOU Q.-X., GONG P. AND SUN T.-H. (2005): Ecotoxicity of soils contaminated with industrial and domestic wastewater in western Shenyang, China. Science in China Series C-Life Sciences 48 (Suppl I): 48-56.45)       SONG Y.-F, GONG P., ZHOU Q.-X. AND SUN T.-H. (2005): Phytotoxicity assessment of phenanthrene, pyrene and their mixtures by a soil-based seedling emergence test. Journal of Environmental Sciences-China 17 (4): 580-583.46)       GONG P.*, SUNAHARA G.I., ROCHELEAU S., DODARD S., ROBIDOUX P.Y. AND HAWARI J. (2004): Preliminary ecotoxicological characterization of a new energetic substance, CL-20. Chemosphere 56 (7): 653-658.47)       ROBIDOUX P.Y., GONG P., SARRAZIN M., BARDAI G., PAQUET L., HAWARI J., DUBOIS C. AND SUNAHARA G.I. (2004): Toxicity assessment of contaminated soils from an antitank firing range. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 58 (3): 300-313.48)       ROBIDOUX P.Y., SUNAHARA G.I., SAVARD K., BERTHELOT Y., DODARD S., MARTEL M., GONG P. AND HAWARI J. (2004): Acute and chronic toxicity of the new explosive CL-20 to the earthworm (Eisenia andrei) exposed to amended natural soils. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 23 (4): 1026–1034.49)       WILKE B.-M., GATTINGER A., FRÖHLICH E., ZELLES L. AND GONG P. (2004): Phospholipid fatty acid composition of a 2,4,6-trinitrotolune contaminated soil and an uncontaminated soil as affected by a humification remediation process. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 36 (4): 725-729.50)       GONG P.*, KUPERMAN R.G. AND SUNAHARA G.I. (2003): Genotoxicity of 2,4- and 2,6-dinitrotoluene as measured by the Tradescantia microcunleus (Trad-MCN) assay. Mutation Research/ Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis 538 (1-2): 13-18.51)       GONG P.*, SICILIANO S. D., SRIVASTAVA S., GREER C. W. AND SUNAHARA G. I. (2002): Assessing pollution-induced microbial community tolerance to heavy metals in soil using ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and Biolog assay. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 8 (5): 1067-1081.52)       GONG P.*, HAWARI J., THIBOUTOT S., AMPLEMAN G. AND SUNAHARA G. I. (2002): Toxicity of octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX) to soil microbes. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 69 (1): 97-103.53)       SONG Y., ZHOU Q., XU H., REN L., AND GONG P. (2002): Eco-toxicology of heavy metals on the inhibition of seed germination and root elongation of wheat in soils. Ying Yong Sheng Tai Xue Bao [The Journal of Applied Ecology] 13: 459-462. [in Chinese]54)       SONG Y., ZHOU Q., XU H., REN L., SUN T., AND GONG P. (2002): Acute toxicological effects of heavy metal pollution in soils on earthworms. Ying Yong Sheng Tai Xue Bao [The Journal of Applied Ecology] 13: 187-190. [in Chinese]55)       SONG Y., XU H., REN L., GONG P., ZHOU Q. (2002): Eco-toxicological effects of heavy metals on the inhibition of seed germination and root elongation of Chinese cabbages in soils. Huan Jing Ke Xue [Environmental Science] 23: 103-107. [in Chinese]56)       GONG P.*, GUAN X. AND WITTER E. (2001): A rapid method to extract ergosterol from soil by physical disruption. Applied Soil Ecology 17 (3): 285-289.57)       GONG P.*, HAWARI J., THIBOUTOT S., AMPLEMAN G. AND SUNAHARA G. I. (2001): Ecotoxicological effects of hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) on soil microbial activities. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 20 (5): 947-951.58)       GONG P.*, WILKE B.-M., STROZZI E. AND FLEISCHMANN S. (2001): Evaluation and refinement of a continuous seed germination and early seedling growth test for the use in the ecotoxicological assessment of soils. Chemosphere 44 (3): 491-500.59)       GONG P.*, GASPARRINI P., RHO D., HAWARI J., THIBOUTOT S., AMPLEMAN G. AND SUNAHARA G.I. (2000): An in situ respirometric technique to measure pollution-induced microbial community tolerance in soils contaminated with 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 47 (1): 96-103.60)       WITTER E., GONG P., BÅÅTH E. AND MARSTORP H. (2000): A study of the structure and metal tolerance of the soil microbial community 6 years after cessation of sewage sludge applications. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 19 (8): 1983-1991.61)       SICILIANO S. D., GONG P., SUNAHARA G. I. AND GREER C. W. (2000): Assessment of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene toxicity in field soils by pollution induced community tolerance (PICT), denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and seed germination assay. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 19 (8): 2154-2160.62)       MARSTORP H., GUAN X. AND GONG P. (2000): Relationship between dsDNA, chloroform labile C and ergosterol in soils of different organic matter contents and pH. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 32 (6): 879-882.63)       GONG P.*, SICILIANO S. D., GREER C. W., PAQUET L., HAWARI J. AND SUNAHARA G. I. (1999): Effects and bioavailability of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene in spiked and field-contaminated soils to indigenous microorganisms. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 18 (12): 2681-2688.64)       GONG P.*, WILKE B.-M. AND FLEISCHMANN S. (1999): Soil-based phytotoxicity of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene to higher plants. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 36 (2): 152-157.65)       GONG P.*, SUN T.-H., BEUDERT G. AND HAHN H.H. (1997): Ecological effects of combined organic or inorganic pollution on soil microbial activities. Water, Air and Soil Pollution 96 (1): 133-143.66)       GONG P.* (1997): Dehydrogenase activity in soil: A comparison between the TTC and INT assay under their optimum conditions. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 29 (2): 211-214.67)       GONG P.* AND SUN T.-H. (1996): Ecological engineering land treatment systems: a new development in China. Journal of Environmental Sciences-China 8 (3): 341-353.68)       GONG P.*, SUN T.-H., BEUDERT G. AND HAHN H.H. (1996): Side-effects of organic and inorganic pollutants on soil nitrification and respiration. Journal of Environmental Sciences-China 8 (1): 66-76.69)       SONG Y.-F., SUN T.-H., GONG P. AND CHANG S.-J. (1994): Resourceful ecological treatment of wastewater in urban ecosystem. Journal of Environmental Sciences-China 6 (4): 487-495.

  • Kevin R. Pilkiewicz, Ph.D.

    Research Physical Scientist

    Dr. Pilkiewicz received his bachelor’s in chemistry and physics and his master’s in chemistry from Harvard University, graduating summa cum laude. He went on to receive his doctorate in chemistry from Stanford University under the tutelage of Dr. Hans Andersen. After spending three years doing postdoctoral work with Dr. Joel Eaves of the University of Colorado Boulder, he joined the EGSB team in 2015, bringing along his wealth of experience deriving mathematical models for complex soft and condensed matter systems across physics and biology. As a member of the EGSB team, Dr. Pilkiewicz’s research has recently focused on the study of information flow in bacterial transcriptional networks, the impact of attention mechanisms on animal flocking, and the underlying reaction-diffusion dynamics of microtubule self-assembly; but his strong background in fundamental physics and mathematics enables him to continually expand the boundaries of his locus of expertise to encompass an increasingly diverse range of subjects.


    Information theory, active soft matter, molecular communication, collective motion

    Selected Publications

    1. K. R. Pilkiewicz and M. L. Mayo, Magnetic induction inspires a schematic theory for crosstalk-driven relaxation dynamics in cells. Phys. Rev. E, 103(4), 042417 (2021).
    2. M. A. Rowland, K. R. Pilkiewicz, and M. L. Mayo, Devil in the details: Mechanistic variations impact information transfer across models of transcriptional cascades. Plos one, 16(1), e0245094 (2021).
    3. K. R. Pilkiewicz et al., Decoding collective communications using information theory tools. J. Roy. Soc. Interface, 17(164), 20190563 (2020).
    4. E. Barnes, X. Guan, E. M. Alberts, T. L. Thornell, C. M. Warner, and K. R. Pilkiewicz, Interplay between convective and viscoelastic forces controls the morphology of in vitro paclitaxel-stabilized microtubules. Crystals, 10(1), 43 (2020).
    5. K. R. Pilkiewicz, P. Rana, M.  L. Mayo,  and P. Ghosh, Molecular communication and cellular signaling from an information-theory perspective. In Nanoscale Networking and Communications Handbook (pp. 235-257), CRC Press (2019).
    6. P. Rana, K. R. Pilkiewicz, M. L. Mayo, and P. Ghosh, Benchmarking the communication fidelity of biomolecular signaling cascades featuring pseudo-one-dimensional transport. AIP Advances, 8(5), 055220 (2018).
    7. K. R. Pilkiewicz and M. L. Mayo, Fluctuation sensitivity of a transcriptional signaling cascade. Phys. Rev. E 94, 032412 (2016).
    8. C. Price, K. R. Pilkiewicz, T. G. W. Graham, D. Song, J. D. Eaves, and J. J. Loparo, DNA Motion Capture Reveals the Mechanical Properties of DNA at the Mesoscale. Biophysical Journal 108, 2532-2540 (2015).
    9. K. R. Pilkiewicz and J. D. Eaves, Reentrance in an active glass mixture. Soft Matter 10, 7495-7501 (2014).
    10. K. R. Pilkiewicz and H. C. Andersen, A diagrammatic kinetic theory of density fluctuations in simple liquids in the overdamped limit. I. A long time scale theory for high density. J. Chem. Phys. 140, 154506 (2014).
    11. K. R. Pilkiewicz and H. C. Andersen, A diagrammatic kinetic theory of density fluctuations in simple liquids in the overdamped limit. II. The one-loop approximation. J. Chem. Phys. 140, 154507 (2014).
    12. K. R. Pilkiewicz and J. D. Eaves, Flocking with minimal cooperativity: The panic model. Phys. Rev. E 89, 012718 (2014).
  • Michael Rowland, Ph.D.

    Research Biologist

    Dr. Rowland received his bachelor’s in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006. During his undergraduate career he worked as an undergraduate assistant in Dr. David Clemmons’ lab under the mentorship of Dr. Walker H. Busby and Dr. Laura Maile within the UNC-CH School of Medicine studying the IGF-I signaling network and its relation to diabetes and heart disease. After graduating, he stayed on full time as a research technician. In 2009 he started graduate school with the Center for Computational Biology (formerly the Center for Bioinformatics) in the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowland worked with Dr. Eric Deeds studying how the behaviors of enzymes and the topology of the signaling network ultimately impact cellular signaling. After graduating, Dr. Rowland joined the EGSB team as an ORISE postdoctoral fellow before becoming a PI.As a member of the EGSB team, Dr. Rowland’s research has focused on (1) understanding the impact of model architecture, kinetics, and parameterization on the accuracy of reverse toxicokinetic models and (2) elucidating the effects of gene regulatory network crosstalk on the dynamics of network motifs.

    Research: Signaling networks, crosstalk, computational biology, systems biology


    • 2018 Army Modeling and Simulation Award, Individual – Test and Evaluation
    • 2019 US Army, Engineer Research and Development Center – Research and Development Achievement Award


    1. Rowland MA, Abdelzaher A, Ghosh P, Mayo M. (2017) Crosstalk and the dynamical modularity of feed-forward loops in transcriptional regulatory networks. In review
    2. Rowland MA, Perkins EJ, Mayo M. (2017) Physiological fidelity or model parsimony? The relative performance of reverse-toxicokinetic modeling approaches. BMC Sys Bio.
    3. Perkins EJ, Mayo M, Habib T, Rowland MA, Garcia-Reyero N. (2017) Network reconstruction identifies feed-forward loops involved in compensation to endocrine disruption. In progress
    4. Rowland MA, Greenbaum J, and Deeds EJ (2017) Crosstalk and the evolvability of intracellular communication. In review.
    5. Wani PS, Rowland MA, Odracek A, Deeds EJ, and Roelofs J (2015) Maturation of the proteasome core particle induces an affinity switch that controls regulatory particle association. Nature Comm 6: doi:10.1038/ncomms7384
    6. Rowland MA, Harrison B, and Deeds EJ. (2015) Phosphatase specificity and pathway insulation insignaling networks. Biophys J 108(4): 986996
    7. Rowland MA and Deeds EJ. (2014) Crosstalk and the evolution of specificity in two-component signaling. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 111(15):5550-5.
    8. Rowland MA, Fontana W, Deeds EJ. (2012) Crosstalk and competition in signaling networks. Biophys J. 103: 2389-2398.
    9. Maile L, Busby W, Nichols T, Bellinger D, Merricks E, Rowland M, Veluvolu U, Clemmons DR. (2010) A novel anti-αVβ3 integrin antibody that inhibits IGF-I signaling and atherosclerotic lesion development in a porcine model of hyperglycemia accelerated atherosclerosis. Sci Trans Med 2(18): 18ra11.
    10. Maile L, Allen LB, Veluvolu U, Capps BE, Busby WH, Rowland M, Clemmons DR. (2009) Identification of compounds that inhibit IGF-I signaling in hyperglycemia. Exp Diabetes Res. 2009: 267107.
    11. Busby W, Yocum S, Rowland M, Kellner D, Lazerwith S, Sverdrup F, Yates M, Radabaugh M, Clemmons DR. (2009) Complement 1s is the Serine Protease that Cleaves IGFBP-5 in Human Osteoarthritic Joint Fluid. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 17(4): 547-555.
    12. Nichols TC, Busby WH, Merricks E, Sipos J, Rowland M, Sitko K, Clemmons DR. (2007) Protease-resistant insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-binding protein-4 inhibits IGF-I actions and neointimal expansion in a porcine model of neointimal hyperplasia. Endocrinology. 2007 October; 148(10): 5002- 5010.
  • Mitchell Wilbanks

    Research Toxicologist

    Mitchell Wilbanks is an ecotoxicologist who started on the Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology Team in 2008. Mr. Wilbanks’s current research involves using zebrafish embryos as a model to test chemicals for adverse effects on behavior and development using the Adverse Outcome Pathway as a framework to understand how a chemical’s effect at the molecular level may lead to changes on the individual or population. His research interest includes gaining knowledge of how materials used by the military and/or public impact the environment. Previous research of Mr. Wilbanks included using a number of diverse species (bobwhite quail, Japanese quail, zebra finch, Western fence lizard, fathead minnow, coral, rat, mouse, daphnia magna, daphnia pulex, and hyalella azteca) to determine toxicity caused by materials used by the military. Mr. Wilbanks received his M.S. degree in Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 2008 and his B.S. degree in Toxicology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 2006.