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Molecular Biology Faculty

The research interests of the more than forty program faculty include structure and function of nucleic acids, mechanisms of DNA replication, RNA transcription and mRNA translation, the structure and function of viruses, genes and gene products controlling cell cycle progression, cell death and development, protein trafficking, signal transduction, hormone receptors, and structural biology. To study these important and exciting fields, our faculty employ experimental systems such as bacteria, viruses, yeast cells, Xenopus oocytes, Drosophila, C. elegans, human tissue culture cells, and genetically engineered mice. Our faculty also provide training in high resolution structure of proteins and RNA/DNA by x-ray crystallography and NMR. Because of the solid funding record of all participating faculty, graduate students find unlimited opportunities to perform research in an atmosphere of both guidance and freedom.

Research Description
Anderson, Steven
My lab is interested in signaling pathways that regulate mammary gland development and tumorigenesis.
Appel, Bruce
Development and repair of the vertebrate nervous system
Artinger, Kristin
Molecular, genetic, and developmental mechanisms involved in the patterning of the early spinal cord (neural plate) during vertebrate embryogenesis.
Asturias, Francisco
Many essential cellular processes are carried out by "macromolecular machines", large assemblies that often include tens of different proteins, each making a specific contribution to the function of the machine. Characterization of these large macromolecular complexes using a combination of techniques constitutes the next frontier in structural biology.
Barton, David
Enterovirus RNA replication.
Bates, Emily
The use of genetics to determine the molecular mechanisms of pediatric disorders.
Bayer, Ulli
Molecular memory and synaptic plasticity, cellular signal transduction and neuronal function, CaMKII and Ca2+ signaling.
Bentley, David
Eukaryotic mRNA biogenesis: transcription and RNA processing.
Black, Joshua
Regulation of genome stability, cancer cell heterogeneity and chemotherapeutic responses by the chromatin microenvironment.
Bradford, Andrew
Regulation of tissue specific gene expression in response to hormonal and growth factor stimuli, characterization of fibroblast growth factor signaling in the pituitary, and the role of protein kinase C in endometrial cancer.
Catalano, Carlos
The studies performed in my lab fall into three broad categories that seek to understand the molecular mechanisms of virus development in the complex double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses. The first project centers on the enzymology of terminase, the DNA packaging motor of bacteriophage lambda. The second project focuses on the procapsid into which the genome is packaged. The third project seeks to harness the lambda capsid as nanoparticle for “theragnostic” applications (Viral Bioengineering).
Churchill, Mair
Structural biology of gene regulatory mechanisms
Colgan, Sean
Understanding how epithelial and endothelial cells coordinate inflammatory bowel disease.
D'Alessandro, Angelo
Omics technologies, especially metabolomics and proteomics, have helped us revealing emerging patterns in systemic responses to acute or chronic hypoxia.
Davis, Richard
Programmed DNA elimination, novel RNAs, and RNA metabolism.
DeGregori, James

Cancer - understanding its evolution and targeting its dependencies.

DiPaola, Jorge
The DiPaola laboratory dedicates all efforts to scientific and clinical problems related to the effect that critical components of the hemostatic system, such as platelets and coagulation factors, have on human disease... Our ultimate hope is that through research we can contribute to the improvement of lives of individuals with bleeding and thrombotic disorders.
Duerkop, Breck
My lab studies bacterial viruses (known as bacteriophages) and their interactions with their hosts. We aim to understand 1) how intestinal bacteriophages contribute to host-microbe interactions and their overall impact on human health and 2) the molecular mechanisms of bacteriophage infection of multidrug resistant bacteria.
Eisenmesser, Elan
Viral protein/host protein interactions and enzyme motions.
Ernst, Patricia
Hematopoietic Stem Cell Development and Maintenance: The Role of the "Mixed Lineage Leukemia" Gene in Normal Blood Cell Development, Differentiation and Leukemia.
Evans, Chris
Research in the Evans lab focuses on how airway mucins regulate respiratory health and disease.
Evans, Thomas
The control of embryonic polarity.
Fantauzzo, Katherine
Receptor tyrosine kinase signaling in mammalian craniofacial development
Ford, Heide
The SIX family of homeobox genes and their role in development, cell cycle control and tumorigenesis.
Gerber, Anthony
The inter-relationship of glucocorticoid receptor signaling, inflammatory response, and lung function.
Gutierrez-Hartmann, Arthur
My laboratory focuses on two main projects: (1) elucidating the molecular mechanisms governing pituitary-specific gene expression; and, (2) determining the role of Ets transcription factors in breast cancer.
Hagman, James
Epigenetics and RNA splicing in lymphocyte development and function.
Hesselberth, Jay

Genomics of DNA and RNA Repair

Holers, Michael
Signal transduction through complement receptors.
Hu, Cheng-Jun
Role of hypoxic response in tumor progression and metastasis
Huang, Mingxia
Function and regulation of the DNA damage response.
Hughes, Ethan
Oligodendrocytes and their Precursors in the Adult Central Nervous System.
Jagannathan, Sujatha
Our lab studies how cells detect and degrade aberrant RNAs, and how dysregulation of this surveillance process contributes to human muscle development and disease. 
Johnson, Aaron
Our work focuses on the formation and regulation of chromatin domains and their ultimate roles in the nucleus. We are particularly interested in the mechanisms of heterochromatin establishment and function.
Johnston, Mark
Functional genomics, glucose sensing and signaling.
Jones, David
How the three-dimensional structure of proteins and nucleic acids controls their biological function. NMR is used to study the structure and dynamics of biological molecules implicated in the development and progression of disease.
Jordan, Craig
The characterization and targeting of leukemia stem cells.
Kieft, Jeffrey
RNA structure and plasticity, viral RNA manipulation of host cell machines and enzymes, RNA-protein interactions, ribosome structure and function, use of RNA in engineered nanomachines, development of new tools for structural biology.
Kutateladze, Tatiana
Biochemistry and Structural Biology; determination of the three-dimensional structures of proteins implicated in cancer by NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography; the study of epigenetics and deciphering the histone code; molecular mechanisms of protein-phospholipid interactions; structure-based drug design.
Liu, Changwei
The ubiquitin proteasome pathway.
Macklin, Wendy
Oligodendrocyte Differentiation and Myelination in the Central Nervous System
Martin, Sandy*
Mechanism of LINE-1 retrotransposition. Differential gene expression during hibernation.
McManaman, James
Lactation and Lipid secretion.
McMurray, Michael
Mechanisms of assembly and inheritance of dynamic macromolecular structures: Higher-order septin assemblies in budding yeast
Moore, Jeff
Research description:  Molecular regulation of the microtubule network in cell division and disease
Mukherjee, Neelanjan
The Mukherjee lab studies RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and their roles in health and disease. Specifically, we utilize systems biology approaches to understand the mechanisms by which RBPs and lncRNAs control gene expression. Current projects in the lab focus on human steroid hormone production and cancer.
Nichols, James
Skeletal development and variability.
Pearson, Chad
Centriole assembly and function
Pietras, Eric
Dr. Pietras is a scientist who supervises a research laboratory focused on understanding the signals and molecular mechanisms that allow blood-forming stem cells to tailor their output in response to inflammation and other physiological challenges. His laboratory is also involved in understanding how these  mechanisms contribute to deregulated blood production in chronic inflammatory disease and leukemia.
Potter, Huntington
Our current research is devoted to laboratory and clinical investigation of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and trisomy 21/Down syndrome (DS), which also induces AD by age 40. We hypothesized and showed that AD patients develop trisomy 21 and other aneuploid cells, including neurons, during the course of their life and thus that AD is a mosaic form of DS.
Prekeris, Rytis
The role of cell polarity during cell division, epithelial tissue morphogenesis and cancer cell metastasis
Ramanchandran, Srinivas
Regulation of genome access underlies growth, development, differentiation, and disease states including tumor initiation and genome access is regulated by dynamic chromatin landscapes. We want to uncover fundamental mechanisms that shape chromatin landscapes by mapping chromatin structure at high temporal and spatial resolution using new experimental and computational methods.
Reis, Tânia
The Genetic Basis of Obesity and Neuronal Control of Energy Balance in Drosophila melanogaster
Reyland, Mary
Regulation of apoptosis in epithelial cells by signal transduction pathways.
Richer, Jennifer
The focus of my research is on the role of estrogen and progesterone receptors in breast and gynecological cancers, mechanisms of resistance to hormone therapy, and the differences between hormone dependent and independent breast cancer.
Rissland, Olivia
RNA post-transcriptional, decay and mechanisms of translational regulation.
Russ, Holger
Generation and gene editing of human functional pancreatic and thymic cells to interrogate underlying mechansims of autoimmune diabetes.
Sikora, Matthew
The overall goal of the Sikora Laboratory is to understand mechanisms of response and resistance to steroid hormones and anti-estrogen therapies in breast cancer.
Sussel, Lori
The main focus of our research is to understand the complex transcriptional networks that regulate development, differentiation and function of the pancreas
Taliaferro, Matt

We study how the expression of genetic information is spatially regulated within a cell through the trafficking and local translation of mRNA molecules.

Tamburini, Beth
Understanding how lymphatic endothelial cells are regulated by their microenvironment in the context of infection, chronic inflammation and cancer.
Tucker, Chandra L.
Protein engineering and optogenetics. Developing engineered protein tools to control protein activity, localization, and interactions using light.
VanDyk, Linda
Control of growth regulation and differentiation of host cells in viral infection and persistence.
Vázquez-Torres, Andrés
Understanding the role that mononuclear phagocytes play in the host response to intracellular pathogenic microorganisms
Vladar, Eszter
How the multiciliated cells of the airway epithelium differentiate during development and regeneration and how ciliary defects contribute to respiratory disease.
Voskuil, Martin
Mechanisms of Mycobacterium tuberculosis for survival during latent disease.
Wang, Jing
Genomic instability and cancer development; molecular mechanisms of somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination; metastasis and genomic instability.
Wang, Xiao-Jing
Head, Neck, and Skin Cancer Research
Transcriptional regulation of mouse embryonic development and the role of transcription factors in mammary gland development and breast cancer.
Zhao, Rui
Molecular mechanism of pre-mRNA splicing; drug design targeting transcriptional complex in breast cancer
​* Non-training faculty member

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