Principal Investigator

Vivek Nanda, PhD

Vivek received his BSc in Bioinformatics from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York in 2006 and went on to work as a research technician at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston. After having gained a couple of years, he then moved back to snowy Rochester to pursue his MSc and PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Rochester, New York. As a predoctoral candidate he defined the expression and transcriptional regulation of a rather understudied gene called Leiomodin1 (LMOD1) and designed a targeting vector to inactivate this locus in mice. After completing his PhD in 2013, Vivek was recruited to Stanford University as a postdoctoral scholar. During his time at Stanford, Vivek worked on investigating the function of genes located on the 9p21 locus, and developed an independent research project further studying the role of LMOD1 in atherosclerosis, for which he was awarded a prestigious NIH sponsored K99/R00 award. Following the completion of his postdoctoral training, Vivek was recruited to University of Alabama, Birmingham as an Assistant Professor in 2020. When away from lab, Vivek enjoys hiking and playing racquetball.


John Lee Franklin, MSc

Originally from Gadsden, I am completing my 20th year as a researcher and lab manager at UAB. I graduated with an Advanced degree in Chemistry from the University of North Alabama and obtained a Master of Science in Cell Biology from the University of Alabama. My research and publications have focused on the cellular mechanisms of insulin resistance in cultured rat hepatoma cells and tissue insulin response in rodents after traumatic injury. My wife Tracy and I reside in Pelham with our two children, Baker (13) and Emery (9). We are members of Westwood Baptist Church and serve with the children’s ministry. We enjoy hiking and exploring beaches along the Gulf Coast. Our children are active in youth sports including cheerleading, soccer and tennis, and I have had the pleasure of coaching soccer with the YMCA and Birmingham United. We are also proud to be Blazer Boosters and support UAB Athletics.

Hongxia Wang, PhD

Dr. Hongxia Wang holds a B.Med. in Public Health, an M. Med. and Ph.D. in Pathogen Biology from China CDC, Beijing, China. She served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Southern Research Institute, and then became a Staff Scientist at Morehouse School of Medicine, in 2016 joined UAB and worked on a2A receptor pharmacology in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Depression. She has published more than 30 papers. She is currently working in Dr. Nanda’s lab on the projects about the role and the mechanism of LMOD1 on pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and angiogenesis. In her spare time, Dr. Wang enjoys gardening and reading.


Pranav Danasekar

Pranav Danasekar, is a high school student attending the Alabama School of Fine Arts and is in the Math-Science department. He is a member of the Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society and is a school ambassador. After high school, he plans to study Biology on a Pre-Med track with the goal of attending medical school and becoming a doctor. Some of his hobbies include hiking, mountain biking, spending time with friends and family, and watching football on the weekends. 


Mery C. Marimoutou, PhD

Mery Marimoutou was a researcher V in the Nanda Lab. She received her Master from the University of La Reunion, France, in 2010 and her PhD in 2014 where she developed her specialization in cell biology and biochemistry. Then she joined the National Institutes of Health based in Bethesda, Maryland, as a postdoctoral fellowship for 3 years followed by a second postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She focused on the study of the signaling pathways implied in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.  After completing her postdoctoral fellowship, she became a researcher V at the Nanda Lab at UAB. Now Mery is working as a respiratory toxicologist, study director at the Institutes of In Vitro Sciences in Maryland.