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Alain Labrique Lab
The Alain Labrique Lab conducts research on infectious diseases and public health. Our team studies the various factors that lead to maternal and neonatal mortality, particularly in underserved populations in South Asia, using the tools of infectious disease epidemiology, molecular biology and biostatistics. We work to better understand factors such as the interface of micronutrient deficiency and maternal/infant mortality and the prevention of nosocomial infections through mechanistic or nutritional interventions. We also have a longstanding interest in technologies that may enable early detection of disease.
Researchers in the Center for Cell Dynamics study spatially and temporally regulated molecular events in living cells, tissues and organisms. The team develops and applies innovative biosensors and imaging techniques to monitor dozens of critical signaling pathways in real time. The new tools help them investigate the fundamental cellular behaviors that underlie embryonic development, wound healing, cancer progression, and functions of the immune and nervous systems.
Andrew Lane Lab
The Lane laboratory is focused on understanding molecular mechanisms underlying chronic rhinosinusitis and particularly the pathogenesis of nasal polyps. Diverse techniques in molecular biology, immunology, physiology, and engineering are utilized to study epithelial cell innate immunity, olfactory loss, the sinus microbiome, and drug delivery to the nose and sinus cavities. Ongoing work explores how epithelial cells participate in the immune response and contribute to chronic sinonasal inflammation. The lab creates and employs transgenic mouse models of chronic sinusitis to support research in this area. Collaborations are in place with the School of Public Health to explore mechanisms of anti-viral immunity in influenza and rhinovirus, and with the University of Maryland to characterize the bacterial microbiome of the nose and sinuses in health and disease.
The Brady Maher Laboratory is interested in understanding the cellular and circuit pathophysiology that underlies neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. Our lab focuses on trying to understand the function of genes that are associated with neurodevelopment problems by manipulating their expression level in utero during the peak of cortical development. We then use a variety of approaches and technologies to identify resulting phenotypes and molecular mechanisms including cell and molecular biology, optogenetics, imaging and electrophysiology.
Current projects in the lab are focused on understanding the function of transcription factor 4 (TCF4), a clinically pleiotropic gene. Genome-wide association studies have identified genetic variants of TCF4 that are associated with schizophrenia, while autosomal dominant mutations in TCF4 result in Pitt Hopkins syndrome. Using our model system, we have identified several interesting electrophysiological and cell biological phenotypes as...sociated with altering the expression of TCF4 in utero. We hypothesize that these phenotypes represent cellular pathophysiology related to these disorders and by understanding the molecular mechanisms responsible for these phenotypes we expect to identify therapeutic targets for drug development.
The Brendan Cormack Laboratory studies fungal pathogenesis, particularly the host-pathogen interaction for the yeast pathogen Candida glabrata.
We are trying to identify virulence genes (genes that evolved in response to the host environment) by screening transposon mutants of C. glabrata for mutants that are specifically altered in adherence to epithelial cells, in survival in the presence of macrophages and PMNs. We also screen mutants directly in mice for those unable to colonize or persist in the normal target organs (liver, kidney and spleen).
We also focus research on a family of genes--the EPA genes--that allow the organism to bind to host cells. Our research shows that a subset of them are able to mediate adherence to host epithelial cells. We are trying to understand the contribution of this family to virulence in C. glabrata by figuring out what the ligand specificity is of different family members, how genes are normally regulated during infection, and what mechanism...s normally act to keep the genes transcriptionally silent and how that silence is regulated. view more
The long-term goal of the Caren L. Freel Meyers Laboratory is to develop novel approaches to kill human pathogens, including bacterial pathogens and malaria parasites, with the ultimate objective of developing potential therapeutic agents.
Toward this goal, we are pursuing studies of bacterial isoprenoid biosynthetic enzymes comprising the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway essential in many human pathogens. Studies focus on understanding mechanism and regulation in the pathway toward the development of selective inhibitors of isoprenoid biosynthesis. Our strategies for creating new anti-infective agents involve interdisciplinary research in the continuum of organic, biological and medicinal chemistry. Molecular biology, protein expression and biochemistry, and synthetic chemistry are key tools for our research.
The C. Kwon Lab studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms governing heart generation and regeneration.
The limited regenerative capacity of the heart is a major factor in morbidity and mortality rates: Heart malformation is the most frequent form of human birth defects, and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Cardiovascular progenitor cells hold tremendous therapeutic potential due to their unique ability to expand and differentiate into various heart cell types.
Our laboratory seeks to understand the fundamental biology and regenerative potential of multi-potent cardiac progenitor cells – building blocks used to form the heart during fetal development — by deciphering the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control their induction, maintenance, and differentiation. We are also interested in elucidating the maturation event of heart muscle cells, an essential process to generate adult cardiomyocytes, which occurs after terminal differentiation ...of the progenitor cells. We believe this knowledge will contribute to our understanding of congenital and adult heart disease and be instrumental for stem cell-based heart regeneration.
We have developed several novel approaches to deconstruct the mechanisms, including the use of animal models and pluripotent stem cell systems. We expect this knowledge will help us better understand heart disease and will be instrumental for stem-cell-based disease modeling and interventions for of heart repair.
Dr. Chulan Kwon is an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University Heart and Vascular Institute. view more
David Sullivan Lab
Research in the David Sullivan Lab focuses on malaria, including its diagnosis, treatment, molecular biology as it relates to iron, and pathology as it relates to severe anemia. We test and develop new malaria diagnostics — from real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to novel urine and saliva detection platforms. This includes the adaptation of immuno-PCR (antibody coupled to DNA for PCR detection) to malaria and a lead blood stage drug that contains a quinine derivative used to treat malaria in the 1930s.
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 Bergles Laboratory studies synaptic physiology, with an emphasis on glutamate transporters and glial involvement in neuronal signaling. We are interested in understanding the mechanisms by which neurons and glial cells interact to support normal communication in the nervous system. The lab studies glutamate transport physiology and function. Because glutamate transporters play a critical role in glutamate homeostasis, understanding the transporters' function is relevant to numerous neurological ailments, including stroke, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Other research in the laboratory focuses on signaling between neurons and glial cells at synapses. Understanding how neurons and cells communicate, may lead to new approaches for stimulating re-myelination following injury or disease. Additional research in the lab examines how a unique form of glia-to-neuron signaling in the cochlea influences auditory system development, whethe...r defects in cell communication lead to certain hereditary forms of hearing impairment, and if similar mechanisms are related to sound-induced tinnitus. view more