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GI Early Detection Biomarkers Lab
Dr. Meltzer is an internationally renowned leader in the molecular pathobiology of gastrointestinal malignancy and premalignancy. He invented molecular methods to detect loss of heterozygosity in tiny biopsies, triggering an avalanche of research on precancerous lesions. He was the first to comprehensively study coding region microsatellite instability, leading to the identification of several important tumor suppressor genes. He performed several groundbreaking genomic, epigenomic and bioinformatic studies of esophageal and colonic neoplasms, shifting the GI research paradigm toward genome-wide approaches. He directed an ambitious nationwide validation study of DNA methylation-based biomarkers for the prediction of neoplastic progression in Barrett’s esophagus.
Dr. Meltzer founded and led the Aerodigestive Cancer and Biomarker Interdisciplinary Programs at the University of Maryland, also becoming associate director for core sciences at that school’s Cancer Center. He currently hol...ds an endowed professorship and is the director of GI biomarker research at Johns Hopkins.
The laboratory group focuses its efforts on the molecular genetics of gastrointestinal cancers and premalignant lesions, as well as on translational research to improve early detection, prognostic evaluation, and treatment of these conditions. Below, some examples of this work are described. view more
Dr. Haughey directs a disease-oriented research program that address questions in basic neurobiology, and clinical neurology. The primary research interests of the laboratory are:
1. To identify biomarkers markers for neurodegenerative diseases including HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. In these studies, blood and cerebral spinal fluid samples obtained from ongoing clinical studies are analyzed for metabolic profiles through a variety of biochemical, mass spectrometry and bioinformatic techniques. These biomarkers can then be used in the diagnosis of disease, as prognostic indicators to predict disease trajectory, or as surrogate markers to track the effectiveness of disease modifying interventions.
2. To better understand how the lipid components of neuronal, and glial membranes interact with proteins to regulate signal transduction associated with differentiation, motility, inflammatory signaling, survival, and neuronal excitab...ility.
3. To understand how extracellular vesicles (exosomes) released from brain resident cells regulate neuronal excitability, neural network activity, and peripheral immune responses to central nervous system damage and infections.
4. To develop small molecule therapeutics that regulate lipid metabolism as a neuroprotective and restorative strategy for neurodegenerative conditions. view more
Healthy Brain Program
The Brain Health Program is a multidisciplinary team of faculty from the departments of neurology, psychiatry, epidemiology, and radiology lead by Leah Rubin and Jennifer Coughlin. In the hope of revealing new directions for therapies, the group studies molecular biomarkers identified from tissue and brain imaging that are associated with memory problems related to HIV infection, aging, dementia, mental illness and traumatic brain injury. The team seeks to advance policies and practices to optimize brain health in vulnerable populations while destigmatizing these brain disorders.
Current and future projects include research on: the roles of the stress response, glucocorticoids, and inflammation in conditions that affect memory and the related factors that make people protected or or vulnerable to memory decline; new mobile apps that use iPads to improve our detection of memory deficits; clinical trials looking at short-term effects of low dose hydrocortisone and randomized to 28 day...s of treatment; imaging brain injury and repair in NFL players to guide players and the game; and the role of inflammation in memory deterioration in healthy aging, patients with HIV, and other neurodegenerative conditions. view more
The Zhu lab is focused on characterizing the activities of large collection of proteins, building signaling networks for better understanding the mechanisms of biological processes, and identifying biomarkers in human diseases and cancers. More specifically, our group is interested in analyzing protein posttranslational modifications, and identifying important components involved in transcription networks and host-pathogen interactions on the proteomics level, and biomarkers in human IBD diseases.
Investigators in the IBD and Autoimmune Liver Diseases Laboratory conduct basic and translational research in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and autoimmune liver diseases. One area of focus is discovering and developing biomarkers for diagnosing and prognosticating IBD and other autoimmune liver diseases (AILDs). We also are exploring the molecular pathogenesis of—and developing novel therapies for—IBD. In addition, we are working to understand the molecular reason why many IBD patients fail to respond to mainstay drug therapies—and to develop diagnostic assays that can predict non-responders before starting them on those therapies. These biomarker studies have led to our application for four U.S. and international patents.
Currently supported research includes pathophysiology of fetal brain development with intrauterine insults, ultrasound and bio- markers of fetal well-being and biomarkers for fetal disease stratification and response to treatment (such as magnesium sulfate administration or head cooling as in cases of neuroinflammation).
James Hamilton Lab
The main research interests of the James Hamilton Lab are the molecular pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma and the development of molecular markers to help diagnose and manage cancer of the liver. In addition, we are investigating biomarkers for early diagnosis, prognosis and response to various treatment modalities. Results of this study will provide a molecular classification of HCC and allow us to identify targets for chemoprevention and treatment. Specifically, we extract genomic DNA and total RNA from liver tissues and use this genetic material for methylation-specific PCR (MSP), cDNA microarray, microRNA microarray and genomic DNA methylation array experiments.
Jean Kim Lab
The Jean Kim Laboratory performs translational research in the
area of chronic rhinosinusitis, with a niche interest in the pathogenesis of hyperplastic nasal
polyposis. Studies encompass clinical research to basic wet laboratory research in
studying the underlying immune and autoimmune mediated mechanism of polyp growth and
perpetuation of disease. Human cell and tissue culture models are used. Techniques in the
laboratory include cell and tissue culture, real time PCR, immunoblot, ELISA, flow cytometry,
immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, gene array analysis, and other molecular
approaches including genetic knockdowns. Approaches used in Dr. Kim’s clinical study
designs include prospective and retrospective analysis of patient outcomes and clinical
biomarkers, as wells controlled clinical trials.
John Aucott Lab
Research in the John Aucott Lab focuses on the development of accurate diagnostic tests for all stages of Lyme disease. We work closely with Dr. Mark Soloski on the Study of Lyme disease Immunology and Clinical Events (SLICE), a longitudinal, matched-control study of patients diagnosed with early untreated Lyme disease. The objective is to use the collected biological samples to help identify novel Lyme disease biomarkers that can inform diagnoses, outcomes and the knowledge about disease pathophysiology.
Jonathan Zenilman Lab
The Jonathan Zenilman lab conducts research related to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). We are working to develop biological markers for sexual behavior to use in other research. The lab studies sexual risk behaviors in highly vulnerable populations and studies datasets from the Baltimore City Health Department to understand STD trends and behaviors. Additionally, we study nosocomial infections at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, with a focus on developing an antimicrobial control program. We also conduct clinical research related to the natural history and microbiology of chronic wounds in the outpatient setting.