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The Advanced Optics Lab uses innovative optical tools, including laser-based nanotechnologies, to understand cell motility and the regulation of cell shape. We pioneered laser-based nanotechnologies, including optical tweezers, nanotracking, and laser-tracking microrheology. Applications range from physics, pharmaceutical delivery by phagocytosis (cell and tissue engineering), bacterial pathogens important in human disease and cell division.
Other projects in the lab are related to microscopy, specifically combining fluorescence and electron microscopy to view images of the subcellular structure around proteins.
Research in the Alex Kolodkin Laboratory is focused on understanding how neuronal connectivity is established during development. Our work investigates the function of extrinsic guidance cues and their receptors on axonal guidance, dendritic morphology and synapse formation and function. We have investigated how neural circuits are formed and maintained through the action of guidance cues that include semaphorin proteins, their classical plexin and neuropilin receptors, and also novel receptors. We employ a cross-phylogenetic approach, using both invertebrate and vertebrate model systems, to understand how guidance cues regulate neuronal pathfinding, morphology and synaptogenesis. We also seek to understand how these signals are transduced to cytosolic effectors. Though broad in scope, our interrogation of the roles played by semaphorin guidance cues provides insight into the regulation of neural circuit assembly and function. Our current work includes a relatively new interest in ...understanding the origins of laminar organization in the central nervous system. view more
Anne Murphy Laboratory
Anne Murphy’s laboratory studies cardiomyopathy and key proteins that are part of the contractile apparatus. The team is looking at how modifications to these proteins might affect various diseases and heart failure. She also investigates the role of genetics in pediatric heart failure associated with acute heart failure, which is sometimes attributed to myocarditis. Her laboratory has received grants from the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health and the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation. Murphy received the Rowe Award for Cardiology Research from the Society for Pediatric Research and other awards. Her research on the molecular basis of myocardial stunning was named one of the top 10 research achievements for 1999 by the American Heart Association.
The Machamer Lab is interested in the structure and function of the Golgi complex, an ubiquitous eukaryotic organelle that plays a central role in post-translational processing and sorting of newly synthesized proteins and lipids in the secretory pathway. One goal of our research is to understand the role of this structure in Golgi function by targeting and function of resident Golgi proteins. The other research interest in the lab is the assembly mechanism of coronaviruses, enveloped viruses that bud into Golgi compartments. We are addressing how coronaviruses target their envelope proteins to Golgi membranes, and how they interact with each other at the virus assembly site. We are also exploring how coronaviruses are exocytosed after they bud into the Golgi lumen. Our long-term goal is to understand the advantages of intracellular assembly for coronaviruses.
The CRCIF was established to foster collaborative efforts aimed at elucidating the role of intermediate filaments (IFs) in the heart. Intermediate filaments constitute a class of cytoskeletal proteins in metazoan cells, however, different from actin microfilaments and tubulin microtubules, their function in cardiac cells is poorly understood. Unique from the other two components of the cytoskeleton, IFs are formed by cell type-specific proteins. Desmin is the main component of the IFs in the cardiac myocytes. We measured the consistent induction of desmin post-translational modifications (PTMs, such as phosphorylation, etc.) in various clinical and experimental models of heart failure. Therefore, one of our main focuses is to determine the contribution of desmin PTMs to the development of heart failure in different animal and clinical models.
• Quantification of desmin PTM-forms in different forms of heart failure at the peptide level using mass spectrometry
• F...unctional assessment of the role of desmin PTMs in heart failure development using single site mutagenesis and biophysical methods
• Molecular characterization of desmin preamyloid oligomers using mass spectrometry, in vitro and in vivo imaging
• Assessment of the diagnostic and pharmacological value of desmin PTMs in heart failure development view more
David Graham Lab
The David Graham Lab studies the consequences of HIV interactions with the immune system, the resulting pathogenesis and how to sabotage these interactions. We apply advanced technologies like mass spectrometry to dissect processes at the molecular level. We are also actively involved in cardiovascular research and studies the ways proteins are organized into functional units in different cell types of the heart.
Major projects in our lab are organized into three major areas: (1) H/SIV pathogenesis and neuropathogenesis, (2) Cardiovascular disease, and (3) High technology development
Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology
Research in the Dolores Njoku Lab focuses on immune-mediated liver injury caused by drugs such as anti-seizure medications and antibiotics. We use an animal model to understand the pathways involved in the injury process, recognizing that this model can also uncover pathways involved with other drugs that cause similar liver injury. We hope to uncover the immunogenic epitopes, or pieces, of the proteins that trigger the autoimmune reaction and identify the key regulatory pathways involved.
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 less
The Erika Darrah Lab is primarily interested in the mechanisms underlying the development and progression of autoimmunity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), with a particular focus on the peptidyl arginine deiminase (PAD) enzymes. We’re focused on understanding the development of PAD4-activating autoantibodies over time and how they contribute to the development of erosive disease. Studies are underway to determine if the newly discovered antibody is mimicking a naturally occurring PAD4 binding partner and to identify potentially pro-inflammatory effects of citrullinated proteins on effector cells of the immune system.
The Foster Lab uses the tools of protein biochemistry and proteomics to tackle fundamental problems in the fields of cardiac preconditioning and heart failure. Protein networks are perturbed in heart disease in a manner that correlates only weakly with changes in mRNA transcripts. Moreover, proteomic techniques afford the systematic assessment of post-translational modifications that regulate the activity of proteins responsible for every aspect of heart function from electrical excitation to contraction and metabolism. Understanding the status of protein networks in the diseased state is, therefore, key to discovering new therapies.
D. Brian Foster, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiology, and serves as Director of the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Biochemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Work in the Green Lab is centered on the ribosome. The overall fidelity of protein synthesis appears to be limited by the action of the ribosome, which is the two-subunit macromolecular machine responsible for decoding and translating messenger RNAs (mRNAs) into protein in all organisms. Our work is divided into four general project areas. The longest-standing research area concerns the interactions of eubacterial ribosomes and release factors. The goal is to understand the mechanism of action of release factors on the ribosome. A second research area involves biochemical and structure/function studies of the miRNA pathway, particularly the mechanism of action of the Argonaute proteins and their interacting factors. A third area of work in the lab is centered around regulation of eukaryotic translation, specifically in understanding the mechanism behind various mRNA quality control pathways and the interactions of proteins therein, as well as with the ribosome. The newest area of rese...arch in the lab extends our strengths in ribosome biochemistry to characterize the translation status of the cell using the ribosome profiling. We are using this technique to better understand the role of several factors involved in eukaryotic and prokaryotic translation fidelity. view more
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
Jeffry Corden Laboratory
Jeffry Corden's lab is using genetic and biochemical approaches to investigate the functional role of the C-terminal domain (CTD) in the biogenesis of mRNA. We use both yeast and mammalian systems to conduct research.
A major effort in the lab is directed at studies of proteins that bind the CTD. Using the yeast two-hybrid approach, we've identified a family of proteins that interact with the CTD. These proteins are similar to the serine/arginine-rich proteins involved in pre-mRNA splicing. A current focus of the laboratory is to determine how these proteins function in mRNA biogenesis and how CTD phosphorylation regulates this function. Other research in our lab investigates the mechanism by which RNA sequences in the nascent transcript trigger Pol II termination.
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