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Aravinda Chakravarti's Lab
Aravinda Chakravarti's Lab focuses on the development and applications of genetic, genomic, and computational technologies and perspectives for gene discovery in a variety of complex human diseases.
Our goal is to assess how genomic information can be used in modern clinical medicine in the era of personalized medicine. Specifically, we use a variety of disease models to infer the features of complex disease gene architecture in birth defects (namely, Hirschsprung disease), cardiovascular disorders (including hypertension and sudden cardiac death) and mental illness (autism, bipolar disease and schizophrenia).
The main focus of the Becker lab has been on the mechanisms and consequences of post-ischemic myocardial inflammation.
Genomic control of platelet function:
Aggregation of blood platelets initiates clotting in coronary arteries, the main cause of heart attacks. Our laboratory conducts experiments to understand how genes control platelet function. Through funding by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, we have performed candidate gene analysis, linkage studies, whole genome association studies, and now whole genome sequencing in about 2000 healthy subjects from families with early onset coronary artery disease. The subjects are siblings or offspring of an individual identified with coronary artery disease before age 60 in the GeneSTAR Research Program (Genetic Studies of Atherosclerosis Risk). We have identified a large number of common and rare genetic variants associated with platelet aggregation, and although some variants are located in genes known to be important in... the biology of platelet function, most are in non-protein coding regions of genes (introns) or in intergenic regions of the genome. To understand better how these variants influence platelet function, we created pluripotent stem cells from blood mononuclear cells in 257 genotyped GeneSTAR subjects and then transformed the stem cells to megakaryocytes, the source of platelets in the bone marrow. We have determined the entire transcriptome of these megakaryocytes to measure gene expression levels in an effort to functionally link genetic variation with platelet function. We are also interested in epigenetic effects which regulate the amount of gene transcription and resulting protein formation. We have done similar transcriptomic and proteomic studies in blood platelets as we have in stem cell-derived megakaryocytes.
Our goal is to identify new therapeutic targets for drug development to control excessive platelet aggregation and reduce the risk of heart attack in susceptible individuals. We also hope to use the genetic information to predict who is at greatest risk for platelet aggregation or bleeding, and tailor treatment to effectively apply individualized precision medicine.
The Becker laboratory also extends its cardiovascular work well beyond platelet function, as noted on the GeneSTAR Research Program website. view more
The Cammarato Lab is located in the Division of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. We are interested in basic mechanisms of striated muscle biology.
We employ an array of imaging techniques to study “structural physiology” of cardiac and skeletal muscle. Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly, expresses both forms of striated muscle and benefits greatly from powerful genetic tools. We investigate conserved myopathic (muscle disease) processes and perform hierarchical and integrative analysis of muscle function from the level of single molecules and macromolecular complexes through the level of the tissue itself.
Anthony Ross Cammarato, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine in the Cardiology Department. He studies the identification and manipulation of age- and mutation-dependent modifiers of cardiac function, hierarchical modeling and imaging of contractile machinery, integrative analysis of striated muscle performan...ce and myopathic processes. view more
The Carlo Colantuoni Laboratory explores the genetics of human brain development. His team uses genomic technologies to examine the Lieber Institute's human brain tissue collection, stem cell collection, and vast public data resources.
Dhananjay Vaidya Lab
Research conducted in the Dhananjay Vaidya Lab focuses on the prevention of heart disease, with special emphasis on cardiometabolic risk factors, genetics in high-risk families, cardiovascular epidemiology, statistics and vascular biology. We also provide consultation on study design as well as plan and oversee data analyses for projects supported by the Center for Child and Community Health Research.
Established in 1979, the Johns Hopkins DNA Diagnostic Laboratory is a CLIA and CAP certified; Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania licensed clinical genetics testing laboratory specializing in rare inherited disorders. Led by renown professor of pediatrics and medical genetics Dr. Garry R. Cutting, the lab offers testing for a range of approximately 50 phenotypes and disorders totaling 3,500 tests annually.
The Dong Laboratory has identified many genes specifically expressed in primary sensory neurons in dorsal root ganglia (DRG). Our lab uses multiple approaches, including molecular biology, mouse genetics, mouse behavior and electrophysiology, to study the function of these genes in pain and itch sensation. Other research in the lab examines the molecular mechanism of how skin mast cells sensitize sensory nerves under inflammatory states.
The goal of the lab's research is to identify molecular abnormalities that can improve the outcome of patients with pancreatic cancer and those at risk of developing this disease. Much of our work is focused on translational research evaluating markers and marker technologies that can help screen patients with an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Thus, marker efforts have been focused mostly on identifying markers of advanced precancerous neoplasia (PanINs and IPMNs) that could improve our ability to effectively screen patients at risk of developing pancreatic cancer. We lead or participate in a number of clinical research protocols involved in the screening and early detection of pancreatic neoplasia including the CAPS clinical trials. We maintain a large repository of specimens from cases and controls with and without pancreatic disease and use this repository to investigate candidate markers of pancreatic cancer for their utility to predict pancreatic cancer risk.
In addition, we have been working to identify familial pancreatic cancer susceptibility genes and identified BRCA2 as a pancreatic cancer susceptibility gene in 1996. We participate in the PACGENE consortium and the familial pancreatic cancer sequencing initiative. My lab also investigates pancreatic cancer genetics, epigenetics, molecular pathology, tumor stromal interactions and functional analysis of candidate genes and miRNAs. Dr. Goggins is the principal investigator of a phase I/II clinical trial evaluating the Parp inhibitor, olaparib along with irinotecan and cisplatin for patients with pancreatic cancer. view less
Frank Bosmans Lab
Research in the Bosmans Lab seeks to address fundamental questions regarding the identities of the components of the voltage-activated sodium (Nav) channel signaling complex and to resolve their mechanisms of action at the molecular level. Our research combines several techniques including molecular biology, electrophysiology, genetics and biochemistry. Successful completion of these goals will reveal key elements in the Nav channel signaling complex, help define Nav channel function in normal and pathological states, and may offer novel strategies for developing therapeutic drugs.
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 less