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Michael Caterina Lab
The Caterina lab is focused on dissecting mechanisms underlying acute and chronic pain sensation. We use a wide range of approaches, including mouse genetics, imaging, electrophysiology, behavior, cell culture, biochemistry and neuroanatomy to tease apart the molecular and cellular contributors to pathological pain sensation. A few of the current projects in the lab focus on defining the roles of specific subpopulations of neuronal and non-neuronal cells to pain sensation, defining the role of RNA binding proteins in the development and maintenance of neuropathic pain, and understanding how rare skin diseases known as palmoplantar keratodermas lead to severe pain in the hands and feet.
The Mihaela Pertea Lab develops computational tools for RNA sequence analysis, gene finding, splice-site prediction and sequence-motif finding. Previous research projects led to the development of open-source software systems related to finding genes.
Ryuya Fukunaga Lab
The Fukunaga Lab uses multidisciplinary approaches to understand the cell biology, biogenesis and function of small silencing RNAs from the atomic to the organismal level.
The lab studies how small silencing RNAs, including microRNAs (miRNAs), small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), are produced and how they function. Mutations in the small RNA genes or in the genes involved in the RNA pathways cause many diseases, including cancers. We use a combination of biochemistry, biophysics, fly genetics, cell culture, X-ray crystallography and next-generation sequencing to answer fundamental biological questions and also potentially lead to therapeutic applications to human diseases.
Research in the Salzberg Lab focuses on the development of new computational methods for analysis of DNA from the latest sequencing technologies. Over the years, we have developed and applied software to many problems in gene finding, genome assembly, comparative genomics, evolutionary genomics and sequencing technology itself. Our current work emphasizes analysis of DNA and RNA sequenced with next-generation technology.
Sean Taverna Laboratory
The Taverna Laboratory studies histone marks, such as lysine methylation and acetylation, and how they contribute to an epigenetic/histone code that dictates chromatin-templated functions like transcriptional activation and gene silencing. Our lab uses biochemistry and cell biology in a variety of model organisms to explore connections between gene regulation and proteins that write and read histone marks, many of which have clear links to human diseases like leukemia and other cancers. We also investigate links between small RNAs and histone marks involved in gene silencing.
The Stivers Lab is broadly interested in the biology of the RNA base uracil when it is present in DNA. Our work involves structural and biophysical studies of uracil recognition by DNA repair enzymes, the central role of uracil in adapative and innate immunity, and the function of uracil in antifolate and fluoropyrimidine chemotherapy. We use a wide breadth of structural, chemical, genetic and biophysical approaches that provide a fundamental understanding of molecular function. Our long-range goal is to use this understanding to design novel small molecules that alter biological pathways within a cellular environment. One approach we are developing is the high-throughput synthesis and screening of small molecule libraries directed at important targets in cancer and HIV-1 pathogenesis.
The Arking Lab
The Arking Lab studies the genomics of complex human disease, with the primary goal of identifying and characterizing genetics variants that modify risk for human disease. The group has pioneered the use of genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which allow for an unbiased screen of virtually all common genetic variants in the genome. The lab is currently developing improved GWAS methodology, as well as exploring the integration of additional genome level data (RNA expression, DNA methylation, protein expression) to improve the power to identify specific genetic influences of disease.
The Arking Lab is actively involved in researching:
• autism, a childhood neuropsychiatric disorder
• cardiovascular genomics, with a focus on electrophysiology and sudden cardiac death (SCD)
• electrophysiology is the study of the flow of ions in biological tissues
Dan E. Arking, PhD, is an associate professor at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine and Department of Medicine, D...ivision of Cardiology, Johns Hopkins University. view more
Our research laboratory studies the roles mobile DNAs play in human disease. Our group was one of the first to develop a targeted method for amplifying mobile DNA insertion sites in the human genome, and we showed that these are a significant source of structural variation (Huang et al., 2010). Since that time, our group has continued to develop high throughput tools to characterize these understudied sequences in genomes and to describe the expression and genetic stability of interspersed repeats in normal and malignant tissues. We have developed a monoclonal antibody to one of the proteins encoded for by Long INterspersed Element-1 (LINE-1) and showed its aberrant expression in a wide breadth of human cancers (Rodi? et al., 2014). We have demonstrated acquired LINE-1 insertion events during the evolution of metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and other gastrointestinal tract tumors (Rodi? et al., 2015). We have major projects focused on studying functional consequences of inh...erited sequence variants, and exciting evidence that these predispose to cancer risk and other disease phenotypes. Our laboratory is using a combination of genome wide association study (GWAS) analyses, custom RNA-seq analyses, semi-high throughput gene expression reporter assays, and murine models to pursue this hypothesis. view less
We are devoted to developing and deploying cutting edge technologies that can be used to define human immune responses. Much of our work leverages ‘next generation’ DNA sequencing, which enables massively parallel molecular measurements. Examples of our technologies include:
- bacteriophage display of synthetic peptidome libraries for comprehensive, quantitative profiling of antibodies;
- display of ORFeome libraries for antigen discovery, protein-protein interaction studies, and drug target identification;
- ultrasensitive, multiplex RNA quantification techniques to monitor gene expression and detect microbes;
- pooled genetic screening to elucidate immune cell function and identify new therapeutic targets.
The Larman Laboratory uses these and other approaches to identify opportunities for monitoring and manipulating immune responses.
The nervous system has extremely complex RNA processing regulation. Dysfunction of RNA metabolism has emerged to play crucial roles in multiple neurological diseases. Mutations and pathologies of several RNA-binding proteins are found to be associated with neurodegeneration in both amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). An alternative RNA-mediated toxicity arises from microsatellite repeat instability in the human genome. The expanded repeat-containing RNAs could potentially induce neuron toxicity by disrupting protein and RNA homeostasis through various mechanisms.
The Sun Lab is interested in deciphering the RNA processing pathways altered by the ALS-causative mutants to uncover the mechanisms of toxicity and molecular basis of cell type-selective vulnerability. Another major focus of the group is to identify small molecule and genetic inhibitors of neuron toxic factors using various high-throughput screening platforms. Finally, we are also highly i...nterested in developing novel CRISPR technique-based therapeutic strategies. We seek to translate the mechanistic findings at molecular level to therapeutic target development to advance treatment options against neurodegenerative diseases. view more