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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
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.
Our research is focused on understanding the basic mechanisms of programmed cell death in disease pathogenesis. Billions of cells die per day in the human body. Like cell division and differentiation, cell death is also critical for normal development and maintenance of healthy tissues. Apoptosis and other forms of cell death are required for trimming excess, expired and damaged cells. Therefore, many genetically programmed cell suicide pathways have evolved to promote long-term survival of species from yeast to humans. Defective cell death programs cause disease states. Insufficient cell death underlies human cancer and autoimmune disease, while excessive cell death underlies human neurological disorders and aging. Of particular interest to our group are the mechanisms by which Bcl-2 family proteins and other factors regulate programmed cell death, particularly in the nervous system, in cancer and in virus infections. Interestingly, cell death regulators also regulate many other cel...lular processes prior to a death stimulus, including neuronal activity, mitochondrial dynamics and energetics. We study these unknown mechanisms.
We have reported that many insults can trigger cells to activate a cellular death pathway (Nature, 361:739-742, 1993), that several viruses encode proteins to block attempted cell suicide (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 94: 690-694, 1997), that cellular anti-death genes can alter the pathogenesis of virus infections (Nature Med. 5:832-835, 1999) and of genetic diseases (PNAS. 97:13312-7, 2000) reflective of many human disorders. We have shown that anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins can be converted into killer molecules (Science 278:1966-8, 1997), that Bcl-2 family proteins interact with regulators of caspases and regulators of cell cycle check point activation (Molecular Cell 6:31-40, 2000). In addition, Bcl-2 family proteins have normal physiological roles in regulating mitochondrial fission/fusion and mitochondrial energetics to facilitate neuronal activity in healthy brains. view less
Kalina Hristova Lab
The Kalina Hristova Lab investigates the structure and assembly of biological membranes. Our team conducts research on the structural and thermodynamic principles that enable membrane protein folding and signal transduction across biological membranes. Part of our work has involved developing new tools to study the structure of thermally disordered fluid membranes and the energetics of biomolecular interactions in biological membranes. Through our studies, we have established a better understanding of the physical principles behind complex biological processes and the mechanisms of disease development in humans.
Katherine Wilson Lab
Research in the Wilson Lab focuses on three components of nuclear lamina structure: lamins, LEM-domain proteins (emerin), and BAF.
These three proteins all bind each other directly, and are collectively required to organize and regulate chromatin, efficiently segregate chromosomes and rebuild nuclear structure after mitosis. Mutations in one or more of these proteins cause a variety of diseases including Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD), cardiomyopathy, lipodystrophy and diabetes, and accelerated aging.
We are examining emerin's role in mechanotransduction, how emerin and lamin A are regulated, and whether misregulation contributes to disease.
Landon King Lab
The Landon King Lab studies aquaporins water-specific membrane channel proteins. We hope to understand how these proteins contribute to water homeostasis in the respiratory tract and how their expression or function may be altered in disease states.
Research in the Mark Donowitz Lab is primarily focused on the development of drug therapy for diarrheal disorders, intestinal salt absorption and the proteins involved including their regulation, and the use of human enteroids to understand intestinal physiology and pathophysiology. We study two gene families initially recognized by this laboratory: mammalian Na/H exchangers and the subgroup of PDZ domain containing proteins present in the brush border of epithelial cells called NHERF family. A major finding is that NHE3 exists simultaneously in different sized complexes in the brush border, which change separately as part of signal transduction initiated by mimics of the digestive process. Relevance to the human intestine is being pursued using mini-human intestine made from Lgr5+ stems cells made from intestinal biopsies and measuring function via two-photon microscopy.
The Mass Spectrometry Core identifies and quantifies proteins that change expression in well-characterized protein fractions from cancerous cells or tissues. This includes identifying and quantifying changes in binding partners and post-translational modifications. Column chromatography and gel electrophoresis-based one and two-dimensional separations of protein complexes coupled to mass spectrometry are used. Techniques such as difference gel electrophoresis (DIGE), isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) and 18O-labeling as well as non-labeling methods (MudPit, multi-dimensional protein identification technology) are available for quantifying relative differences in protein expression and post-translational modifications. We developed methods to detect post-translational modifications such as LCMS methods to accurately determine the intact mass of proteins, selective fluorescent labeling of S-nitrosothiols (S-FLOS) to detect nitrosated cysteines in proteins, and i...on mapping methods to map post-translational modifications that produce a signature mass or mass difference when the modified peptide is fragmented. view more
Michael Caterina Lab
The Caterina lab is focused on dissecting mechanisms underlying acute and chronic pain sensation. We use a wide range of approaches, including mouse genetics, imaging, electrophysiology, behavior, cell culture, biochemistry and neuroanatomy to tease apart the molecular and cellular contributors to pathological pain sensation. A few of the current projects in the lab focus on defining the roles of specific subpopulations of neuronal and non-neuronal cells to pain sensation, defining the role of RNA binding proteins in the development and maintenance of neuropathic pain, and understanding how rare skin diseases known as palmoplantar keratodermas lead to severe pain in the hands and feet.
Michael Matunis Lab
Research in the Michael Matunis Lab focuses on the SUMO family of small ubiquitin-related proteins. We study the covalent conjugation of SUMOs to other cellular proteins, which regulates numerous processes needed for cell growth and differentiation, and which, when defective, can lead to conditions such as cancer, neurodegenerative disease and diabetes.