Faculty Mentor Lab Website Department Research Topic
Dr.Anthony Aldave Website Ophthalmology Focuses on the molecular genetics of the corneal dystrophies, a group of inherited disorders that affect corneal clarity and constitute one of the primary indications for corneal transplantation.
Dr. Arthur Arnold Website Integrative Biology and Physiology The Arnold lab studies biological factors that make males and females different. Many diseases affect the two sexes differently, but the factors that cause the sex differences are poorly understood. Because one sex is often protected from a disease, it makes sense to identify the mechanisms underlying the sex difference as one strategy to find factors that are protective. These factors might be targets for novel therapies.
Dr. Utpal Banerjee Website Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology We study the effect of signal transduction pathways on the control of cellular metabolism and the proper balance between cellular growth and metabolism that goes awry in cancer. We also explore the control of metabolic pathways and mitochondrial activity and biogenesis during development using early mouse embryo and the embryonic stem cells derived from them as a model.
Dr. Douglas L. Black Website HHMI/MIMG Our lab is interested in the regulation of pre-mRNA splicing and the biochemical mechanisms that control changes in splice sites. The sequences of metazoan genomes with their relatively low gene numbers have highlighted the question of how protein number can be expanded beyond the gene number for a complex organism. Alternative splicing, in allowing the production of multiple mRNAs and hence multiple proteins from a single gene, is a major contributor to protein diversity. However, in spite of its key role in gene expression, this process is poorly understood mechanistically. We aim to determine the mechanisms of action of splicing regulators and to understand their roles in neural development. We are focused on four regulatory factors: Polypyrimidine Tract Binding Protein (PTB), neuronal PTB, Fox-1, and Fox-2. PTB and nPTB are primarily splicing repressors, while Fox-1 and Fox-2 act to enhance splicing.
Dr. Louis-Serge Bouchard Website Chemistry and Biochemistry Our group does research in various subfields of physical chemistry ranging from catalysis to biomedicine. We specialize in the development of measurement techniques and methodologies applied to chemical systems and condensed matter systems. We are generally interested in chemical structure, biological, static and nonequilibrium (e.g. transport) electronic and magnetic properties.
Dr. David G. Brooks Website Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics My laboratory is focused on understanding the mechanisms of viral pathogenesis and immunity that lead to effective virus clearance versus viral persistence. In particular, we are interested in the interplay between the myriad of signals and factors that program T cell immunity and how they culminate in distinct functional outcomes. In order to understand the mechanisms that lead to divergent T cell responses my laboratory uses the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) model of murine infection.
Dr. Stanley Carmichael Website Neuroscience The goal of the Carmichael laboratory is to identify the mechanisms of recovery after stroke. We study the cells and molecules that begin to repair the brain after stroke, and the how these are limited or incomplete. We focus on molecular mechanisms of neural repair that might provide for new therapies to promote recovery in stroke. By combining molecular, genetic, cellular and behavioral studies into a systems biology approach to neural repair after stroke, we hope to develop new molecular therapies for stroke recovery.
Dr. Marie-Francoise Chesselet Website Neuroscience/Neurobiology Her laboratory uses behavioral, anatomical, molecular and cellular methodologies in cell models and in a number of genetic animal models, to investigate the underlying processes responsible for degeneration. For example, how do environmental insults, such as traumatic brain injury or pesticides, combine with genetic mutations to cause degeneration in PD? Are there neuroprotective mechanisms that can delay or reduce the loss of neurons in HD or PD?
Dr. Christopher Colwell Website Psychiatry/Biobehavioral Science The focus of our research is circadian rhythms and sleep .Our strategy is to explore mouse models of the human disease and behaviorally determine the impact of the mutations on circadian rest/ activity cycle
Dr. Rachelle Crosbie-Watson Website Integrative Biology and Physiology Our laboratory is focused on understanding the function of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex and how perturbation of this complex causes many forms of muscular dystrophy. In particular, we are interested in identifying mechanisms to increase expression of compensatory proteins that ameliorate dystrophic pathology.
Dr. Edward De Robertis Website Biological Chemistry During early vertebrate development, coordinated movements of groups of cells lead to the formation of the three germ layers, the ectoderm, the mesoderm and the endoderm. This process is called gastrulation, and by the end of it the main regions of the embryo - head, trunk and tail - become determined. Our work is aimed at identifying the genetic mechanisms that direct the formation of the body plan in frog or mouse embryos.
Dr. Esteban Dell'Angelica Website Human Genetics The goal of this laboratory is to understand the molecular bases of human diseases that affect the biogenesis of intracellular organelles. Current efforts are focused on the study of Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS).
Dr. Reggie Edgerton Website Integrative Biology and Physiology Dr. Edgerton’s laboratory focuses on two main research questions. One question is how do the neural networks in the lumbar spinal cord of mammals, including humans, regain control of standing, stepping and voluntary control of fine movements after paralysis, and how can these motor functions be modified by chronically imposing activity-dependent interventions after spinal cord injury. In conjunction with these efforts we are also focused on technological developments that can facilitate the application of the different methods of neuromodulation of the spinal circuitry.
Dr. David L. Glanzman Website Integrative Biology and Physiology/Neurobiology My laboratory's interests are in the cell biology of learning and memory in the marine snail Aplysia californica. This animal has a relatively simple nervous system that provides a valuable experimental model for analysis of the cellular mechanisms underlying simple forms of learning, such as habituation, sensitization, and classical conditioning. Another experimental advantage of Aplysia is that the sensory and motor neurons which mediate specific reflexes may be dissociated from the animal’s nervous system and placed into cell culture, where they will reform their original synaptic connections. These in vitro sensorimotor synapses are ideal for cellular studies of synaptic plasticity, involving such techniques as intracellular electrophysiology, whole-cell recording with patch pipettes, and imaging of activity-associated changes in intracellular calcium and using fluorescent dyes.
Dr. Fernando Gomez-Pinilla Website Integratice Biology and Physiology The focus of our research is to understand some of the molecular mechanisms by which aspects of daily living, such as diet and exercise, enhance cognitive abilities through the action of specific neurotrophins on synaptic plasticity as well the environmental factors that affect neuronal health. Our research has shown the individual benefits of the regulation of these aspects of daily life, as well as the coordinative effect these activities can have towards providing even greater mental and physical benefits.
Dr. Warren Grundfest Website Bioengineering, Electrical Engineering, Surgery The laboratory investigates a variety of laser applications for cardiovascular, ophthalmologic, orthopedic, urologic, and neurosurgical procedures. Studies are underway to develop improved "optical biopsy techniques" to further reduce the invasiveness of surgery.
Dr. Elissa A. Hallem Website Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics A major focus of the lab is on the neurobiology of host-seeking behavior in parasitic nematodes. We are interested in the behavioral responses of parasitic nematodes to host-emitted sensory cues, and in the neural circuits and signaling pathways that underlie these responses. We are also interested in how parasitic nervous systems have evolved to mediate specific parasite-host interactions. We study the responses of C. elegans to the same sensory cues to better understand how the nervous system of a parasitic animal differs from that of a free-living animal. By comparing the responses of C. elegans to those of other nematode species, which have similar neuroanatomy but very different behavioral repertoires, we hope to gain insight into the specific features of a neural circuit that determine its behavioral output. We also use C. elegansas a model system for understanding the context-dependent modulation of sensory behaviors.
Dr. Hartenstein Volker Website Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology We are studying stem cell-niche development/interaction in the Drosophila blood system, the intestine, and the brain. We are currently investigating the molecular mechanisms of stem cell maintenance in these model systems and further understand the signaling required for cell fate specification.
Dr. Kent L. Hill Website Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics My laboratory is investigating flagellar motility in African trypanosomes. These protozoan parasites cause a disease that is commonly called "African Sleeping Sickness". They are transmitted to the bloodstream of their mammalian hosts through the bite of an insect vector, the tsetse fly. Once in the bloodstream, these highly motile, unicellular parasites burrow through the blood vessel endothelium and eventually invade the central nervous system, where they initiate a cascade of events that ultimately results in fatal sleeping sickness.
Dr. Luisa Iruela-Arispe Website Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology Our research focuses in understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate angiogenesis during development and in pathological conditions. For this we have undertaken investigations to determine the contribution of three key signaling pathways, namely VEGF, Notch and integrins during vascular morphogenesis and tumor growth.
Dr. Barbara Knowlton Website Behavioral Neuroscience/Cognitive Psychology The focus of our lab is the study of the neural bases of memory. We use a number of different approaches, including neuroimaging and testing neuropsychological patients to describe functional differences between memory systems and the brain regions that support different memory processes.
Dr. Carla Koehler Website Chemistry and Biochemistry Our research encompasses two major areas: Understanding the mechanism of protein import into mitochondria and determining the process by which defects in mitochondrial protein translocation lead to disease.
Dr. Albert Lai Website Neuroscience Accordingly, the major focus of the lab is to use CpG island methylation profiling techniques on patient tissue resources and glioma cell models to identify novel epigenetically silenced tumor suppressor genes in glioma, to validate their use as biomarkers of outcome, and determined their mechanistic/therapeutic significance. The Lai Lab is committed to pursuing the concept that exhaustive molecular and phenotypic investigation of each patient will lead to the cure.
Dr. Julian Antonio Martinez Website Human Genetics Our research program focuses on the molecular regulation of tissue and organismal growth. The major areas of investigation include the role of signaling pathways in the hormonal regulation of tissue growth, the interaction between environment and nutrition and growth, the role of stem cell niches in tissue growth, and the dysregulation of growth signaling pathways in human diseases including cancer, overgrowth, and IUGR/failure to thrive syndromes.
Dr. Heather D. Maynard Website Chemistry and Biochemistry Research in the Maynard Group lies at the frontiers of chemistry, biomaterials, and nanotechnology and involves an exciting combination of organic and polymer synthesis, materials characterization, and biomedical research.
Dr. Paul Micevych Website Neurobiology The research of the laboratory is focused on steroid hormone interactions with the central nervous system. Throughout life, sex steroid hormones profoundly influence the structure and function of specific circuits that regulate reproduction and reproductive behaviors. Previous work had focused on the regulation of neuropeptide and transmitter expression. However, relatively little is known about the mechanisms by which steroids affect postsynaptic activation and signal transduction. The sex steroid hormone estrogen is also implicated in modulation of pain processing and neuroprotection. Again, the mechanisms through which estrogen acts remain to be elucidated.
Dr. Istvan Mody Website Neurology and Physiology A major focus of the Mody Lab is to investigate alterations in nerve cell and circuit excitability responsible for offsetting the frail balance between excitation and inhibition. Our laboratory focuses on studying alterations in neurotransmitter systems underlying epileptogenesis.
Dr. Vickie M. Mays Website Psychology My research is shaped by underlying themes reflecting my interests in furthering empirically based research on underserved populations, particularly ethnic minority communities and women: 1) explicating factors related to threats to physical and mental health among underserved populations, 2) guiding policy development pertinent to these issues, and 3) developing new methodologies to advance the development of science that is responsive to the health and mental health care needs of underserved populations.
Dr. Novitch Bennett Website Neurobiology Our primary research focus is to determine the molecular mechanisms that underlie the formation, function, and repair of neural circuits in the central nervous system, with a emphasis on how neural stem cells contribute to these processes.
Dr. Matteo Pelligrini Website Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology Our lab is interested in the development of computational approaches to interpret genomic data. These methodologies allow us to develop annotated genomes, epigenomes and transcriptomes. Our approach is to integrate varied data that is produced using the latest generation of high throughput sequencers. Our research focuses on the development of both low and high-level analyses. For instance we are developing suites of tools for the analysis of DNA methylation data, as well as tools to annotate genomes using RNA sequences.
Dr. Amy Rowat Website Integrative Biology and Physiology Our research efforts currently focus on the cell nucleus: we want to understand the role of nuclear physical and mechanical properties in whole cell mechanics and physiology, and ultimately the physical and molecular origins of these properties. The cell nucleus is central to genome integrity, gene expression, and mechanobiology; despite the major changes that occur in differentiation and disease, the basic physical and mechanical properties of this important organelle remain poorly understood, but such knowledge can provide insight into fundamental questions in the life sciences ranging from tissue regeneration to cancer.
Dr. Alvaro Sagasti Website Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology Our developmental work focuses on identifying cell-cell signaling pathways that guide peripheral axons to the skin and regulate axonal branching within it. To study the molecular events controlling axon degeneration, we perform laser axotomies to precisely sever axons in the skin and monitor axon degeneration in live animals with time-lapse imaging. Using related techniques, we are also studying how an axon’s regenerative potential changes during development and how skin cells and peripheral axons interact during wound healing.
Dr. Barney Schlinger Website Integrative Biology and Physiology The research in the Schlinger lab focuses on two questions: 1) How are steroids made available in active forms to distinct neural circuits at appropriate periods of the animal's life?2) How have some neural circuits, but not others, become sensitive to control by steroidal signalling molecules?
Dr. James Tidball Website Integrative Biology and Physiology Research in the Tidball lab is focused on understanding how the immune system interacts with muscle. Discoveries in the lab have shown that the immune system can regulate muscle growth and regeneration, and can also have a great influence on the course of pathology in muscular dystrophy. Some of the most recent work in the lab has also revealed that the aging of muscle is also under the influence of the immune system. Ongoing studies are now directed toward identifying mechanisms through which manipulations of the immune system can slow muscular dystrophy and protect muscle from wasting that occurs in old age.
Dr. Joan S. Valentine Website Chemistry and Biochemistry The primary objective of our research in this area is to discover how mutations in copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) cause familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (fALS) and to explore the possibility that CuZnSOD is also linked to sporadic ALS (sALS).
Dr. Eric Vilain Website Human Genetics His laboratory explores the genetics of sexual development and sex differences, focusing on the molecular mechanisms of gonad development, as well as on the genetic determinants of brain sexual differentiation. An internationally renowned expert in the field of gender-based biology, he has identified a large number of mutations in sex-determining genes, developed animal models with atypical sexual development, and identified novel mechanisms of sex differences in the brain.
Dr. David Walker Website Integrative Biology and Physiology Our lab is using the powerful genetics of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to better understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of aging. Drosophila has proven to be an invaluable resource for understanding many molecular and cellular mechanisms of human disease, powered by versatile gene discovery methods and a biology that has much in common with that of humans. The long-term aim of this research is to provide novel therapeutic targets to counteract age-related human diseases.
Dr. Yibin Wang Website Med-Cardio Our lab has a long standing interest in studying stress signaling network in cells and their implication in human diseases, such as heart failure. Our overall experimental approaches in this area include molecular interrogation at protein and gene expression levels; development of genetic models with gain/loss of function of targeted genes in zebrafish and mice; and finally functional characterization at cellular and intact organ level to establish the physiological/pathological role of stress kinases mediated signaling.
Dr. Nancy Wayne Website Physiology The focus of my research is to understand cell physiological mechanisms controlling reproduction. In vertebrates, there are neurons in the central nervous system that synthesize and secrete the decapeptide hormone called gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) -- these are the command cells that control all aspects of reproduction. Because GnRH neurons are few in number and scattered in the CNS, their cell physiology has been difficult or unfeasible to study. We have overcome this obstacle by using transgenic fish in which GnRH neurons are genetically tagged with fluorescent proteins for identification in living intact brain and in embryos. This allows us to target single, identified neurons within their neural network for neurophysiological analysis under different reproductive and developmental conditions. We use a combination of electrophysiology and optical imaging to analyze neurophysiological functions under different reproductive and developmental conditions. In collaboration with molecular geneticists, we use transgenic and gene knock-down strategies to manipulate gene expression.
Dr. Stephanie Ann White Website Integrative Biology and Physiology We are interested in how social interactions influence neural plasticity. To investigate this, we focus on the neural basis of vocal learning. Speech requires vocal learning, i.e. the ability to modify innate vocalizations in order to produce new ones. Only a handful of animal groups are known to exhibit this trait, with human speech and songbird song learning being the best-characterized. Presently, the lab uses the zebra finch, a songbird species and a well-established model of vocal learning, to investigate the neural basis of this important trait.
Dr. Lily Wu Website Molecular and Medical Pharmacology Our research is aimed at developing a better understanding of cancer biology and creating an improved gene-based therapy by exploiting special properties of the adenovirus. We have utilized the efficient gene transfer property of adenovirus to create improved, tissuetargeted therapeutic strategies for cancer. Our ultimate goal is to create a potent and effective cancer-targeted gene therapy to diagnose and treat advanced stage and metastatic cancer.
Dr. Otto Orlean Yang Website Medicine and Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics His laboratory pursues research on these questions, with projects ranging from controlled in vitro models of CTL-HIV interaction to clinical observational studies. The goals of this research are: to understand how the immune system keeps HIV-1 under control during asymptomatic infection, why this immunity eventually fails, and how the virus has developed mechanisms to avoid cellular immunity.