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Current projects include:
The evaluation of mechanisms of immune tolerance to cancer in mouse models of breast and pancreatic cancer. We have characterized the HER-2/neu transgenic mouse model of spontaneous mammary tumors.
This model demonstrates immune tolerance to the HER-2/neu gene product. This model is being used to better understand the mechanisms of tolerance to tumor. In addition, this model is being used to develop vaccine strategies that can overcome this tolerance and induce immunity potent enough to prevent and treat naturally developing tumors. More recently, we are using a genetic model of pancreatic cancer developed to understand the early inflammatory changes that promote cancer development.
The identification of human tumor antigens recognized by T cells. We are using a novel functional genetic approach developed in our laboratory. Human tumor specific T cells from vaccinated patients are used to identify immune relevant antigens that are chosen... based on an initial genomic screen of overexpressed gene products. Several candidate targets have been identified and the prevelence of vaccine induced immunity has been assessed .
This rapid screen to identify relevant antigenic targets will allow us to begin to dissect the mechanisms of tumor immunity induction and downregulation at the molecular level in cancer patients. More recently, we are using proteomics to identify proteins involved in pancreatic cancer development. We recently identified Annexin A2 as a molecule involved in metastases.
The analysis of antitumor immune responses in patients enrolled on vaccine studies. The focus is on breast and pancreatic cancers. We are atttempting to identify in vitro correlates of in vivo antitumor immunity induced by vaccine strategies developed in the laboratory and currently under study in the clinics. view more
Eric Nuermberger Lab
Research in the Eric Nuermberger Lab focuses primarily on experimental chemotherapy for tuberculosis. We use proven murine models of active and latent tuberculosis infection to assess the effectiveness of novel antimicrobials. A key goal is to identify new agents to combine with existing drugs to shorten tuberculosis therapy or enable less frequent drug administration. We're also using a flow-controlled in vitro pharmacodynamic system to better understand the pharmacodynamics of drug efficacy and the selection of drug-resistant mutants during exposure to current agents.
Ernesto Freire Laboratory
The Ernesto Freire Lab studies the use of novel drugs to treat disease. Our research has resulted in the development of a thermodynamic platform for drug discovery and optimization. Our aim is to achieve high binding affinity and selectivity as well as appropriate pharmacokinetics with the platform. We are currently focusing on drug targets such as HIV/-1 protease inhibitors (HIV/AIDS), plasmepsin inhibitors (malaria), HCV protease inhibitors (hepatitis C), coronavirus 3CL-pro protease inhibitors (SARS and other viral infections), HIV-1 gp120 inhibitors (HIV/AIDS), chymase inhibitors (cardiovascular disease) and beta lactamase inhibitors (antibiotic resistance).
The Frueh Laboratory uses nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to study how protein dynamics can be modulated and how active enzymatic systems can be conformed. Non-ribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS) are large enzymatic systems that biosynthesize secondary metabolites, many of which are used by pharmaceutical scientists to produce drugs such as antibiotics or anticancer agents. Dr. Frueh's laboratory uses NMR to study inter- and intra-domain modifications that occur during the catalytic steps of NRPS. Dr. Frueh and his team are constantly developing new NMR techniques to study these complicated enzymatic systems.
Gabsang Lee Lab
Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) provide unprecedented opportunities for cell replacement approaches, disease modeling and drug discovery in a patient-specific manner. The Gabsang Lee Lab focuses on the neural crest lineage and skeletal muscle tissue, in terms of their fate-determination processes as well as relevant genetic disorders.
Previously, we studied a human genetic disorder (familial dysautonomia, or FD) with hiPSCs and found that FD-specific neural crest cells have low levels of genes needed to make autonomous neurons--the ones needed for the "fight-or-flight" response. In an effort to discover novel drugs, we performed high-throughput screening with a compound library using FD patient-derived neural crest cells.
We recently established a direct conversion methodology, turning patient fibroblasts into "induced neural crest (iNC)" that also exhibit disease-related phenotypes, just as the FD-hiPSC-derived neural crest. We're extending our research to the ne...ural crest's neighboring cells, somite. Using multiple genetic reporter systems, we identified sufficient cues for directing hiPSCs into somite stage, followed by skeletal muscle lineages. This novel approach can straightforwardly apply to muscular dystrophies, resulting in expandable myoblasts in a patient-specific manner.
The Green Group is the biomaterials and drug delivery laboratory in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Our broad research interests are in cellular engineering and in nanobiotechnology. We are particularly interested in biomaterials, controlled drug delivery, stem cells, gene therapy, and immunobioengineering. We are working on the chemistry/biology/engineering interface to answer fundamental scientific questions and create innovative technologies and therapeutics that can directly benefit human health.
Gregory Kirk Lab
Research in the Gregory Kirk Lab examines the natural history of viral infections — particularly HIV and hepatitis viruses — in the U.S. and globally. As part of the ALIVE (AIDS Linked to the Intravenous Experience) study, our research looks at a range of pathogenetic, clinical behavioral issues, with a special focus on non-AIDS-related outcomes of HIV, including cancer and liver and lung diseases. We use imaging and clinical, genetic, epigenetic and proteomic methods to identify and learn more about people at greatest risk for clinically relevant outcomes from HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections. Our long-term goal is to translate our findings into targeted interventions that help reduce the disease burden of these infections.
Herschel Wade Lab
The emergence of structural genomics, proteomics and the large-scale sequencing of many genomes provides experimental access to regions of protein sequence-structure-function landscapes which have not been explored through traditional biochemical methods. Protein structure-function relationships can now be examined rigorously through the characterization of protein ensembles, which display structurally convergent--divergent solutions to analogous or very similar functional properties.
In this modern biochemical context, the Herschel Wade Lab will use protein libraries, chemistry, biophysics, molecular biology and structural methods to examine the basis of molecular recognition in the context of several important biological problems, including structural and mechanistic aspects of multi-drug resistance, ligand-dependent molecular switches and metal ion homeostasis.
James Barrow Laboratory
The James Barrow Laboratory studies drug discovery at the Lieber Institute. He leads research related to medicinal chemistry, biology, and drug metabolism, with the goal of validating novel mechanisms and advancing treatments for disorders of brain development.
Jay Baraban Laboratory
The Jay Baraban Laboratory studies key aspects of neuronal plasticity induced by environmental stimuli, including drugs. The ability of the microRNA system to regulate protein translation in the vicinity of synapses indicates it is well positioned to play a central role in regulating synaptic plasticity. Accordingly, we are studying how this system regulates synaptic function. In particular, we have identified the translin/trax RNAse complex as a key regulator of microRNA processing and are using genetically engineered mice that lack this complex to understand its role in neuronal function. For example, these mice display defects in responsiveness to cocaine and in certain forms of synaptic plasticity. We use a combination of behavioral and molecular approaches to conduct studies aimed at understanding how the microRNA system regulates these processes.