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NameEmailPhD ProgramResearch InterestPublications
Gordon, Kacy

EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biology, Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Evolutionary Biology, Genetics

The Gordon lab is brand new to UNC, and studies stem cell and stem cell niche biology in the model organism C. elegans. The germ line stem cells make the gametes, which make the next generation of worms. These cells are therefore at the nexus of development, genetics, and evolution. We will be getting started with projects pertaining to evolutionary comparative gene expression in the stem cells and stem cell niche and niche development. The techniques we use include molecular biology, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing, worm genetics, and microscopy.

Scherrer, Gregory
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology, Genetics & Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Pharmacology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cell Biology, Genetics, Neurobiology, Pharmacology, Physiology

Pain is a complex experience with sensory and emotional components. While acute pain is essential for survival, chronic pain is a debilitating disease accompanied by persistent unpleasant emotions. Efficient medications against chronic pain are lacking, and the absence of alternative to opioid analgesics has triggered the current Opioid Epidemic. Our lab studies how our nervous system generates pain perception, at the genetic, molecular, cellular, neural circuit, and behavioral levels. We also seek to understand how opioids alter activity in neural circuits to produce analgesia, but also side effects such as tolerance, addiction and respiratory depression. To this aim, we investigate the localization, trafficking and signaling properties of opioid receptors in neurons. These studies clarify pain and opioid mechanisms for identifying novel non-addictive drug targets to treat pain and strategies to dissociate opioid analgesia from deleterious effects.

Dowen, Rob
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biology, Cell Biology & Physiology, Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Computational Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Metabolism

Appropriate allocation of cellular lipid stores is paramount to maintaining organismal energy homeostasis. Dysregulation of these pathways can manifest in human metabolic syndromes, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. The goal of my lab is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that govern the storage, metabolism, and intercellular transport of lipids; as well as understand how these circuits interface with other cellular homeostatic pathways (e.g., growth and aging). We utilize C. elegans as a model system to interrogate these evolutionarily conserved pathways, combining genetic approaches (forward and reverse genetic screens, CRISPR) with genomic methodologies (ChIP-Seq, mRNA-Seq, DNA-Seq) to identify new components and mechanisms of metabolic regulation.

Isaeva, Natalia
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Genetics & Molecular Biology, Molecular & Cellular Pathology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Molecular Medicine, Translational Medicine

The incidence of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) has significantly elevated in the last years and continues to increase; however, despite the continuous rise of HPV-related OPSCC, molecular mechanisms of how HPV promotes OPSCC are not well defined. Our ongoing research projects focus on understanding the role of HPV in the development, maintenance, and progression of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). These discoveries are leveraged to identify and test novel therapeutic strategies that exploit susceptibilities of HPV-associated HNSCC.

Gupta, Gaorav
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biochemistry & Biophysics, Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Translational Medicine

Our lab studies pathways that regulate genome instability in cancer, which is a cancer hallmark associated with clinically aggressive disease. We utilize CRISPR-enhanced murine models of breast cancer to interrogate the impact of DNA damage response gene mutations on cancer pathogenesis and therapeutic susceptibility. We have identified an alternative DNA double strand break repair pathway as a driver of genome instability in a subset of breast cancers, and are investigating its potential as a therapeutic target.  We also study how deficiencies in DNA repair can impact responsiveness to immunotherapy. Finally, we have developed sensitive assays for detecting circulating tumor DNA (i.e., “liquid biopsy”) in cancer patients, with an interest in validating predictive biomarkers for personalized cancer therapy.  These translational studies are currently being performed in patients with breast cancer and cancers that arise in the head/neck.

Zannas, Anthony
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Genetics & Molecular Biology, Neuroscience

RESEARCH INTEREST
Computational Biology, Genomics, Molecular Biology, Molecular Medicine, Translational Medicine

Psychosocial stress is abundant in modern societies and, when chronic or excessive, can have detrimental effects on our bodies. But how exactly does stress “get under the skin?” Our lab examines how stress shapes the human epigenome as age advances. Epigenetic changes are a set of chemical modifications that regulate gene transcription without altering the genetic code itself. We examine how lasting epigenetic patterns result from stressful experiences, accrue throughout life, and can in turn shape health or disease trajectories. We address these questions through a translational approach that combines large-scale analyses in human cohorts with mechanistic work in cellular models. We use both bioinformatics and wet lab tools. Our passion is to promote creative team work, offer strong mentorship, and foster scientific growth.

Linnstaedt, Sarah
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Behavior, Computational Biology, Genetics, Neurobiology, Translational Medicine

Trauma and stress are common in life. While most individuals recover following trauma/stress exposure, a substantial subset will go on to develop adverse neuropsychiatric outcomes such as chronic pain, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and postconcussive symptoms. Our research is focused on understanding individual vulnerability to such outcomes and to identify novel biomarkers and targets for therapeutic intervention. We use translational research approaches, including bioinformatics analysis of large prospective human cohort data, animal model research, and systems and molecular biology to better understand pathogenic mechanisms. We are particularly interested in the genetic and psychiatric/social factors influencing adverse outcome development, as well as biological sex differences that contribute to higher rates of these outcomes in women vs men.

Won, Hyejung
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Genetics & Molecular Biology, Neuroscience

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Genetics, Genomics, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology

We try to bridge the gap between genetic risk factors for psychiatric illnesses and neurobiological mechanisms by decoding the regulatory relationships of the non-coding genome. In particular, we implement Hi-C, a genome-wide chromosome conformation capture technique to identify the folding principle of the genome in human brain. We then leverage this information to identify the functional impacts of the common variants associated with neuropsychiatric disorders.

Tsagaratou, Ageliki
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology, Genetics & Molecular Biology, Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Immunology, Molecular Biology

We aim to dissect the epigenetic and transcriptional mechanisms that shape T cell lineage specification during development in the thymus and in the periphery upon antigen (microbial, viral) encounter. Aberrant expression of transcription and epigenetic factors can result in inflammation, autoimmunity or cancer. We are using gene deficient mouse models, multiparameter Flow Cytometry, molecular biology assays and next generation sequencing technologies to elucidate the regulatory information in cells of interest (transcriptome, epigenome, transcription factor occupancy).

Hoadley, Katherine A.
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Cancer Biology, Computational Biology, Genetics, Genomics

My research interest is in genomic characterization and integrative genomic approaches to better understand cancer. My group is part of the NCI Genome Data Analysis Center focused on RNA expression analysis. We have a number of ongoing projects including developing molecular classifications for potential clinical utility, developing methods for deconvolution to understand bulk tissue heterogeneity, analysis of driver negative cancers, and analysis of ancestry markers with cancer features.