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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.

    Research Areas: epidemiology, mobile health, Hepatitis, neonatal, infectious disease, public health, biostatistics, nosocomial infections, molecular biology

  • Andrew Laboratory: Center for Cell Dynamics

    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.

    Research Areas: immunology, cancer, epithelial tube, nervous system, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Deborah Andrew, M.S., Ph.D.

    Department

    Cell Biology

  • 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.

    Research Areas: nasal polyps, olfaction, cell culture, transgenic mice, chronic rhinosinusitis, innate immunity, molecular biology

  • Brady Maher Laboratory

    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.
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    Research Areas: cell biology, neurodevelopment, imaging, schizophrenia, psychiatric disorders, Pitt Hopkins syndrome, elecrophysiology, genomics, drugs, optogenetics, molecular biology, phenotypes

  • Brendan Cormack Laboratory

    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

    Research Areas: candida glabrata, pathogenesis, virulence genes, yeast, molecular biology

    Principal Investigator

    Brendan Cormack, Ph.D.

    Department

    Molecular Biology and Genetics

  • Caren L. Freel Meyers Laboratory

    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.

    Research Areas: bacterial pathogens, biochemistry, enzymes, infectious disease, protein expression, synthetic chemistry, isoprenoid biosynthesis, malaria, pharmacology, chemistry, molecular biology

  • Chulan Kwon Laboratory

    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

    Research Areas: stem cells, cell biology, heart regeneration, congenital heart disease, cardiovascular, molecular biology, cardiac cells

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Chulan Kwon, M.S., Ph.D.

    Department

    Medicine

  • 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.

    Research Areas: molecular immunology, iron, anemia, malaria, molecular microbiology

    Principal Investigator

    David Sullivan, M.D.

    Department

    Medicine

  • Dong Laboratory

    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.

    Research Areas: skin cells, electrophysiology, genetics, itch, neuroscience, pain, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Xinzhong Dong, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • Dwight Bergles Laboratory

    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

    Research Areas: epilepsy, synaptic physiology, ALS, stroke, neuronal signaling, glutamate transport physiology and function, audiology, neuroscience, neurology, nervous system, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Dwight Bergles, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • Erika Matunis Laboratory

    The Erika Matunis Laboratory studies the stem cells that sustain spermatogenesis in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to understand how signals from neighboring cells control stem cell renewal or differentiation. In the fruit fly testes, germ line stem cells attach to a cluster of non-dividing somatic cells called the hub. When a germ line stem cell divides, its daughter is pushed away from the hub and differentiates into a gonialblast. The germ line stem cells receive a signal from the hub that allows it to remain a stem cell, while the daughter displaced away from the hub loses the signal and differentiates. We have found key regulatory signals involved in this process. We use genetic and genomic approaches to identify more genes that define the germ line stem cells' fate. We are also investigating how spermatogonia reverse differentiation to become germ line stem cells again.

    Research Areas: stem cells, spermatogenesis, genomics, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Erika Matunis, Ph.D.

    Department

    Cell Biology

  • Florin Selaru Lab

    Research interests in the Florin Selaru Lab comprise the molecular changes associated with the transition from inflammatory states in the GI tract (colon, stomach, biliary tree) to frank cancers. In addition, our current research—funded by the AGA, FAMRI and the Broad Foundation—works to further the understanding of cancer development and progression in the gastrointestinal tract.

    Research Areas: gastroenterology, cancer, inflammation, molecular biology

    Principal Investigator

    Florin Selaru, M.D.

    Department

    Medicine

  • Follow the Leader: Specialized Cancer Cells Lead Collective Invasion (Ewald Lab)

    Research in the Ewald laboratory starts from a simple question: Which cells in a breast tumor are the most dangerous to the patient and most responsible for metastatic disease? To answer this question, we developed novel 3-D culture assays to allow real-time analysis of invasion. Our data reveal that K14+ cancer cells play a central role in metastatic disease and suggest that the development of clinical strategies targeting these cells will provide novel breast cancer treatments.

    Research Areas: breast cancer, cellular biology, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Andrew Ewald, Ph.D.

    Department

    Cell Biology

  • Frueh Laboratory

    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.

    Research Areas: enzymes, proteomics, imaging, drugs, antibiotics, nuclear magnetic resonance, molecular biology

  • 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.

    Research Areas: biophysics, biochemistry, proteomics, genomics, drugs, molecular biology

  • Hey-Kyoung Lee Lab

    The Hey-Kyoung Lee Lab is interested in exploring the cellular and molecular changes that happen at synapses to allow memory storage. We use various techniques, including electrophysiological recording, biochemical and molecular analysis, and imaging, to understand the cellular and molecular changes that happen during synaptic plasticity.

    Currently, we are examining the molecular and cellular mechanisms of global homeostatic synaptic plasticity using sensory cortices as model systems. In particular, we found that loss of vision elicits global changes in excitatory synaptic transmission in the primary visual cortex. Vision loss also triggers specific synaptic changes in other primary sensory cortices, which we postulate underlies sensory compensation in the blind. One of our main research goals is to understand the mechanisms underlying such cross-modal synaptic plasticity.

    We are also interested in elucidating the events that occur in diseased brains. In collaboration with othe...r researchers, we are analyzing various mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, especially focusing on the possible alterations in synaptic plasticity mechanisms.
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    Research Areas: biochemistry, synaptic plasticity, memory, imaging, vision, molecular biology, Alzheimer's disease

    Principal Investigator

    Hey-Kyoung Lee, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • Holland Lab

    Research in the Holland Lab focuses on the molecular mechanisms that control accurate chromosome distribution and the role that mitotic errors play in human health and disease. We use a combination of chemical biology, biochemistry, cell biology and genetically engineered mice to study pathways involved in mitosis and their effect on cell and organism physiology. One of our major goals is to develop cell and animal-based models to study the role of cell-division defects in genome instability and tumorigenesis.

    Research Areas: cancer, genomics, molecular biology

  • Inoue Lab

    Complexity in signaling networks is often derived from co-opting one set of molecules for multiple operations. Understanding how cells achieve such sophisticated processing using a finite set of molecules within a confined space--what we call the "signaling paradox"--is critical to biology and engineering as well as the emerging field of synthetic biology.

    In the Inoue Lab, we have recently developed a series of chemical-molecular tools that allow for inducible, quick-onset and specific perturbation of various signaling molecules. Using this novel technique in conjunction with fluorescence imaging, microfabricated devices, quantitative analysis and computational modeling, we are dissecting intricate signaling networks.

    In particular, we investigate positive-feedback mechanisms underlying the initiation of neutrophil chemotaxis (known as symmetry breaking), as well as spatio-temporally compartmentalized signaling of Ras and membrane lipids such as phosphoinositides. In parallel,... we also try to understand how cell morphology affects biochemical pathways inside cells. Ultimately, we will generate completely orthogonal machinery in cells to achieve existing, as well as novel, cellular functions. Our synthetic, multidisciplinary approach will elucidate the signaling paradox created by nature. view more

    Research Areas: biochemistry, cell biology, chemotaxis, cancer, signaling paradox, signaling networks, molecular biology, synthetic biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Takanari Inoue, Ph.D.

    Department

    Cell Biology

  • Joel Pomerantz Laboratory

    The Pomerantz Laboratory studies the molecular machinery used by cells to interpret extracellular signals and transduce them to the nucleus to affect changes in gene expression. The accurate response to extracellular signals results in a cell's decision to proliferate, differentiate or die, and it's critical for normal development and physiology. The dysregulation of this machinery underlies the unwarranted expansion or destruction of cell numbers that occurs in human diseases like cancer, autoimmunity, hyperinflammatory states and neurodegenerative disease.

    Current studies in the lab focus on signaling pathways that are important in innate immunity, adaptive immunity and cancer, with particular focus on pathways that regulate the activity of the pleiotropic transcription factor NF-kB.

    Research Areas: immunology, neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, autoimmune, hyperinflammatory states, molecular biology

    Principal Investigator

    Joel Pomerantz, Ph.D.

    Department

    Biological Chemistry

  • Jun O. Liu Laboratory

    The Jun O. Liu Laboratory tests small molecules to see if they react in our bodies to find potential drugs to treat disease. We employ high-throughput screening to identify modulators of various cellular processes and pathways that have been implicated in human diseases from cancer to autoimmune diseases. Once biologically active inhibitors are identified, they will serve both as probes of the biological processes of interest and as leads for the development of new drugs for treating human diseases. Among the biological processes of interest are cancer cell growth and apoptosis, angiogenesis, calcium-dependent signaling pathways, eukaryotic transcription and translation.

    Research Areas: cancer, autoimmune, eukaryotic cells, drugs, cellular signaling, pharmacology, calcium-dependent signaling pathways, molecular biology, angiogenesis

  • Laboratory of Richard L. Huganir

    The Laboratory of Richard L. Huganir is interested in the mechanisms that regulate synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity. Our general approach is to study molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate neurotransmitter receptors and synapse function. We are currently focusing our efforts on the mechanisms that underlie the regulation of the glutamate receptors, the major excitatory neurotransmitter receptors in the brain.

    Research Areas: synapses, neurotransmitters, cell biology, brain, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Richard Huganir, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • Michael Wolfgang Laboratory

    The Wolfgang Laboratory is interested in understanding the metabolic properties of neurons and glia at a mechanistic level in situ. Some of the most interesting, enigmatic and understudied cells in metabolic biochemistry are those of the nervous system. Defects in these pathways can lead to devastating neurological disease. Conversely, altering the metabolic properties of the nervous system can have surprisingly beneficial effects on the progression of some diseases. However, the mechanisms of these interactions are largely unknown.

    We use biochemical and molecular genetic techniques to study the molecular mechanisms that the nervous system uses to sense and respond to metabolic cues. We seek to understand the neurometabolic regulation of behavior and physiology in obesity, diabetes and neurological disease.

    Current areas of study include deconstructing neurometabolic pathways to understand the biochemistry of the nervous system and how these metabolic pathways impact animal beh...avior and physiology, metabolic heterogeneity and the evolution of metabolic adaptation. view more

    Research Areas: metabolic biochemistry, obesity, diabetes, genomics, neurology, nervous system, molecular biology

    Principal Investigator

    Michael J. Wolfgang, Ph.D.

    Department

    Biological Chemistry

  • Mikhail Pletnikov Laboratory

    The Mikhail Pletnikov Laboratory is interested in the neurobiology of neurodevelopmental diseases such as schizophrenia and autism. The major focus of our laboratory is to evaluate how adverse environmental factors and vulnerable genes interact to affect brain and behavior development. We address these experimental questions by using methods of cell and molecular biology, neuroimmunology, neurochemistry, psychopharmacology and developmental psychobiology. The current projects in our laboratory are: (1) Genetic risk factors in neuron-astrocyte interaction during neurodevelopment, (2) Gene-environment interplay in the pathogenesis of psychiatric conditions, and (3) The neuroimmune interactions in abnormal neurodevelopment

    Research Areas: autism, immunology, neurobiology, cell biology, neurodevelopment, developmental psychobiology, schizophrenia, pharmacology, chemistry, molecular biology

  • Molecular Mechanisms of Cellular Mechanosensing (Robinson Lab)

    The Robinson Lab studies the way in which mechanical stress guide and direct the behavior of cells, including when they are part of tissues, organs and organ systems.

    Research Areas: cellular mechanosensing, tissues, organs, molecular biology

  • Nathaniel Comfort Lab

    Research in the Nathaniel Comfort Lab looks at the history of biology. Areas of particular interest include heredity and health in 20th century America, genetics, molecular biology, biomedicine, the history of recent science, oral history and interviewing.

    Research Areas: biomedicine, history of biology, genomics, history of medicine, molecular biology

  • Nicholas Zachos Lab

    Researchers in the Nicholas Zachos Lab work to understand variations in protein trafficking that occur during pathophysiological conditions that cause ion and water transport that result in diarrhea. We recently identified a clathrin-independent endocytic pathway responsible for elevated intracellular calcium-mediated inhibition of NHE3 activity in intestinal epithelial cells. We use advanced imaging techniques, including confocal and multi-photon microscopy, to characterize protein trafficking of intestinal transporters. We also perform functional assays using fluorescent probes (ratiometric and non-ratiometric) to measure ion transport in cell culture models, intact intestinal tissues and human small intestinal enteroids.

    Research Areas: imaging, protein trafficking, diarrhea, bioinformatics, molecular biology

    Principal Investigator

    Nicholas Zachos, Ph.D.

    Department

    Medicine

  • O'Rourke Lab

    The O’Rourke Lab uses an integrated approach to study the biophysics and physiology of cardiac cells in normal and diseased states.

    Research in our lab has incorporated mitochondrial energetics, Ca2+ dynamics, and electrophysiology to provide tools for studying how defective function of one component of the cell can lead to catastrophic effects on whole cell and whole organ function. By understanding the links between Ca2+, electrical excitability and energy production, we hope to understand the cellular basis of cardiac arrhythmias, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and sudden death.

    We use state-of-the-art techniques, including single-channel and whole-cell patch clamp, microfluorimetry, conventional and two-photon fluorescence imaging, and molecular biology to study the structure and function of single proteins to the intact muscle. Experimental results are compared with simulations of computational models in order to understand the findings in the context of the system as a whole....

    Ongoing studies in our lab are focused on identifying the specific molecular targets modified by oxidative or ischemic stress and how they affect mitochondrial and whole heart function.

    The motivation for all of the work is to understand
    • how the molecular details of the heart cell work together to maintain function and
    • how the synchronization of the parts can go wrong

    Rational strategies can then be devised to correct dysfunction during the progression of disease through a comprehensive understanding of basic mechanisms.

    Brian O’Rourke, PhD, is a professor in the Division of Cardiology and Vice Chair of Basic and Translational Research, Department of Medicine, at the Johns Hopkins University.
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    Research Areas: biophysics, ischemia-reperfusion injury, imaging, electrophysiology, cardiovascular, arrhythmia, physiology, sudden cardiac death, molecular biology, cardiac cells

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Brian O'Rourke, Ph.D.

    Department

    Medicine

  • Rong Li Lab

    Research in the Rong Li Lab aims to better understand the fundamental laws that regulate the behavior and interactions of cellular systems. Our team is currently examining how cells consolidate their damaged proteins and prevent them from spreading freely — work aimed at understanding how to better treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s and ALS. We are also applying insights gained through basic research to better understand diseases such as cancer and polycystic kidney disease.

    Research Areas: cell biology, ALS, kidney diseases, cancer, cellular dynamics, molecular biology, Alzheimer's disease

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Rong Li, M.S., Ph.D.

    Department

    Cell Biology

  • Sesaki Lab

    The Sesaki Lab is interested in the molecular mechanisms and physiological roles of mitochondrial fusion. Mitochondria are highly dynamic and control their morphology by a balance of fusion and fission. The regulation of membrane fusion and fission generates a striking diversity of mitochondrial shapes, ranging from numerous small spheres in hepatocytes to long branched tubules in myotubes. In addition to shape and number, mitochondrial fusion is critical for normal organelle function.

    Research Areas: brain, mitochondrial fusion, mitochondria, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Hiromi Sesaki, Ph.D.

    Department

    Cell Biology

  • Seydoux Lab

    The Seydoux Lab studies the earliest stages of embryogenesis to understand how single-celled eggs develop into complex multicellular embryos. We focus on the choice between soma and germline, one of the first developmental decisions faced by embryos. Our goal is to identify and characterize the molecular mechanisms that activate embryonic development, polarize embryos, and distinguish between somatic and germline cells, using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system. Our research program is divided into three areas: oocyte-to-embryo transition, embryonic polarity and soma-germline dichotomy.

    Research Areas: cell biology, soma cells, genomics, germ cells, embryo, molecular biology

  • Shanthini Sockanathan Laboratory

    The Shanthini Sockanathan Laboratory uses the developing spinal cord as our major paradigm to define the mechanisms that maintain an undifferentiated progenitor state and the molecular pathways that trigger their differentiation into neurons and glia. The major focus of the lab is the study of a new family of six-transmembrane proteins (6-TM GDEs) that play key roles in regulating neuronal and glial differentiation in the spinal cord. We recently discovered that the 6-TM GDEs release GPI-anchored proteins from the cell surface through cleavage of the GPI-anchor. This discovery identifies 6-TM GDEs as the first vertebrate membrane bound GPI-cleaving enzymes that work at the cell surface to regulate GPI-anchored protein function. Current work in the lab involves defining how the 6-TM GDEs regulate cellular signaling events that control neuronal and glial differentiation and function, with a major focus on how GDE dysfunction relates to the onset and progression of disease. To solve the...se questions, we use an integrated approach that includes in vivo models, imaging, molecular biology, biochemistry, developmental biology, genetics and behavior. view less

    Research Areas: glia, biochemistry, neurons, imaging, developmental biology, genomics, spinal cord, behavior, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Shanthini Sockanathan, D.Phil.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • Shigeki Watanabe Lab

    Research in the Shigeki Watanabe Lab focuses on the cellular and molecular characterizations of rapid changes that occur during synaptic plasticity. Our team is working to determine the composition and distribution of proteins and lipids in the synapse as well as understand how the activity alters their distribution. Ultimately, we seek to discover how the misregulation of protein and lipid compositions lead to synaptic dysfunction. Our studies make use of cutting-edge electron microscopy techniques in combination with biochemical and molecular approaches.

    Research Areas: microscopy, cell biology, proteins, lipids, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Shigeki Watanabe, Ph.D.

    Department

    Cell Biology

  • Steven Beaudry Lab

    Research in the Steven Beaudry Lab aims to better understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind cardiovascular disease in pregnancy. Our goal is to develop more effective treatments and improve patient outcomes.

    Research Areas: cell biology, cardiovascular diseases, pregnancy, molecular biology

  • Structural Enzymology and Thermodynamics Group

    The Structural Enzymology and Thermodynamics Group uses a combination of molecular biology, biochemistry and structural biology to understand the catalytic mechanisms of several enzyme families. Additionally, researchers in the group are studying protein-ligand interactions using structural dynamics. They are able to apply their knowledge of the mechanisms of these enzymes and of binding energetics to develop targets for drug design.

    Research Areas: biochemistry, enzymes, structural biology, molecular biology

  • Svetlana Lutsenko Laboratory

    The research in the Svetlana Lutsenko Laboratory is focused on the molecular mechanisms that regulate copper concentration in normal and diseased human cells. Copper is essential for human cell homeostasis. It is required for embryonic development and neuronal function, and the disruption of copper transport in human cells results in severe multisystem disorders, such as Menkes disease and Wilson's disease. To understand the molecular mechanisms of copper homeostasis in normal and diseased human cells, we utilize a multidisciplinary approach involving biochemical and biophysical studies of molecules involved in copper transport, cell biological studies of copper signaling, and analysis of copper-induced pathologies using Wilson's disease gene knock-out mice.

    Research Areas: biophysics, biochemistry, menkes disease, Wilson's disease, cell biology, multisystem disorders, physiology, copper, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Svetlana Lutsenko, Ph.D.

    Department

    Physiology

  • Tamara O'Connor Lab

    The O'Connor Lab studies the molecular basis of infectious disease using Legionella pneumophila pathogenesis as a model system.

    We are looking at the network of molecular interactions acting at the host-pathogen interface. Specifically, we use L. pneumophila pathogenesis to examine the numerous mechanisms by which an intracellular bacterial pathogen can establish infection, how it exploits host cell machinery to accomplish this, and how individual proteins and their component pathways coordinately contribute to disease.

    We are also studying the role of environmental hosts in the evolution of human pathogens. Using genetics and functional genomics, we compare and contrast the repertoires of virulence proteins required for growth in a broad assortment of hosts, how the network of molecular interactions differs between hosts, and the mechanisms by which L. pneumophila copes with this variation.

    Research Areas: infectious disease, Legionella pneumophila, genomics, pathogenesis, molecular biology

    Principal Investigator

    Tamara O'Connor, Ph.D.

    Department

    Biological Chemistry

  • The Nauen Lab

    Epilepsy affects 1-3% of the population and can have a profound impact on general health, employment and quality of life. Medial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) develops in some patients following head injury or repeated febrile seizures. Those affected may first suffer spontaneous seizures many years after the initial insult, indicating that the neural circuit undergoes a slow pathologic remodeling over the interim. There are currently no methods of preventing the development of MTLE. It is our goal to better understand the process in order to slow, halt, and ultimately reverse it.

    Our laboratory draws on electrophysiology, molecular biology, and morphology to study the contribution of dysregulated neurogenesis and newborn neuron connectivity to the development of MTLE. We build on basic research in stem cell biology, hippocampal development, and synaptic plasticity. We work closely with colleagues in the Institute for Cell Engineering, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Biomedical Engineering..., and Radiology. As physician neuropathologists our grounding is in tissue alterations underlying human neurologic disease; using human iPSC-derived neurons and surgical specimens we focus on the pathophysiological processes as they occur in patients.

    By understanding changes in cell populations and morphologies that affect the circuit, and identifying pathologic alterations in gene expression that lead to the cell-level abnormalities, we hope to find treatment targets that can prevent the remodeling and break the feedback loop of abnormal activity > circuit change > abnormal activity.
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    Research Areas: Medial temporal lobe epilepsy

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    David Nauen, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Pathology

  • Theresa Shapiro Laboratory

    The Theresa Shapiro Laboratory studies antiparasitic chemotherapy. On a molecular basis, we are interested in understanding the mechanism of action for existing antiparasitic agents, and in identifying vulnerable metabolic targets for much-needed, new, antiparasitic chemotherapy. Clinically, our studies are directed toward an evaluation, in humans, of the efficacy, pharmacokinetics, metabolism and safety of experimental antiparasitic drugs.

    Research Areas: sleeping sickness, infectious disease, drugs, malaria, pharmacology, antiparasitic chemotherapy, molecular biology

    Principal Investigator

    Theresa Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Medicine

  • Wei Dong Gao Lab

    Work in the Wei Dong Gao Lab primarily focuses on heart failure and defining molecular and cellular mechanisms of contractile dysfunction. We use molecular biology and proteomic techniques to investigate the changes that myofilament proteins undergo during heart failure and under drug therapy. We're working to determine the molecular nature of nitroxyl (HNO) modification of tropomyosin.

    Research Areas: heart disease, contractile dysfunction, heart failure, cardiovascular diseases, molecular biology

  • William Agnew Laboratory

    The Agnew Laboratory examines the structure, mechanism and regulation of ion channels that mediate the action potential in nerve and muscle, as well as intracellular calcium concentrations. Much of our work has centered on voltage-activated sodium channels responsible for the inward currents of the action potential. These studies encompass biochemical, molecular biological and biophysical studies of Na channel structure, gating and conductance mechanisms, the stages of channel biosynthesis and assembly, and mechanisms linked to channel neuromodulation.

    In recent molecular cloning and expression studies, we have characterized mutations in the human muscle sodium channel that appear to underlie certain inherited myopathies. New studies being pursued in our group also address the questions of structure, receptor properties, and biophysical behavior of intracellular calcium release channels activated by inositol-1,4,5-triphosphate. These channels are expressed at extremely high levels ...in selected cells of the central nervous system, and may play a role in modulating neuronal excitability. view more

    Research Areas: central nervous system, neuronal excitability, biophysiology, biochemistry, sodium channels, ion channels, molecular biology

    Principal Investigator

    William Agnew, Ph.D.

    Department

    Physiology

  • Xiao Group

    The objective of the Xiao Group's research is to study the dynamics of cellular processes as they occur in real time at the single-molecule and single-cell level. The depth and breadth of our research requires an interdisciplinary approach, combining biological, biochemical and biophysical methods to address compelling biological problems quantitatively. We currently are focused on dynamics of the E. coli cell division complex assembly and the molecular mechanism in gene regulation.

    Research Areas: biophysics, biochemistry, E. coli, cell biology, genomics, molecular biology

  • Yarema Laboratory

    The Yarema Lab uses chemical biology, molecular and cell biology, and materials science methods to study and manipulate glycosylation. The goal of our research is to better understand human disease while furthering carbohydrate-based therapies. Our laboratory's research goals are to (1) Develop sugar analogs into viable and versatile drug candidates, (2) Apply metabolic glycoengineering to tissue engineering and stem cell research, (3) Use non-invasive magnetic stimuli to probe the effects of glycoengineering (and also to treat neurological disorders), and (4) Extend our sugar-based drug candidates into animal models and the clinic

    Research Areas: carbohydrate-based therapies, chemical biology, stem cells, cell biology, materials science, neurological disorders, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Kevin Yarema, Ph.D.

    Department

    Biomedical Engineering

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