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NameEmailPhD ProgramResearch InterestPublications
Mohlke, Karen
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Cardiovascular Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Molecular Medicine

We identify genetic variants that influence common human traits with complex inheritance patterns, and we examine the molecular and biological mechanisms of the identified variants and the genes they affect. Currently we are investigating susceptibility to type 2 diabetes and obesity, and variation in cholesterol levels, body size, body shape, and metabolic traits. We detect allelic differences in chromatin structure and gene expression and examine gene function in human cell lines and tissues. In addition to examining the primary effects of genes, the lab is exploring the interaction of genes with environmental risk factors in disease pathogenesis. Approaches include genome-wide association studies, molecular biology, cell biology, genetic epidemiology, sequencing, and bioinformatic analysis of genome-wide data sets.

Pardo-Manuel de Villena, Fernando
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Developmental Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Organismal Biology

Non-Mendelian genetics including, meiotic drive, parent-of-orifin effects and allelic exclusion.

Peifer, Mark
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

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

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Developmental Biology, Genetics

Cell adhesion, cytoskeletal regulation and Wnt signaling in development and cancer
The Peifer lab works at the interface between cell, developmental, and cancer biology, focusing on the epithelial tissues that form the basic architectural unit of our bodies and of those of other animals. We explore how the machinery mediating cell adhesion, cytoskeletal regulation and Wnt signaling regulates cell fate and tissue architecture in development and disease. We take a multidisciplinary approach, spanning genetics, cutting edge cell biology including super-resolution microscopy, biochemistry and computational approaches. We use the fruit fly Drosophila as an animal model and combine that with work in cultured normal and colorectal cancer cells. Possible thesis projects include exploring how connections between cell junctions and the cytoskeleton are remodeled to allow cells to change shape and move without tearing tissues apart or exploring how the tumor suppressor protein APC assembles a multi-protein machine that negatively regulates Wnt signaling and how this goes wrong in colorectal tumors. I am a hands on-mentor with an open-door policy and my office is in the lab. I value and advocate for diversity. Our lab has a strong record of training PhD students and postdocs who move on to success in diverse science-related careers. Our lab is funded by a long-standing NIH grant that extends to July 2021, and just received a good score for renewal. To learn more about or research, our recent publications, our team and our alumni check out the lab website at: https://proxy.qualtrics.com/proxy/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fpeiferlab.web.unc.edu%2F&token=1rPNJvHEEfhAAiwkSviuOG0Fg8%2ByN3Q3GMob1A2GJwM%3D

Perou, Charles M.
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Genetics & Molecular Biology, Pathobiology & Translational Science

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Cancer Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Translational Medicine

The focus of my lab is to characterize the biological diversity of human tumors using genomics, genetics, and cell biology, and then to use this information to develop improved treatments that are specific for each tumor subtype and for each patient. A significant contribution of ours towards the goal of personalized medicine has been in the genomic characterization of human breast tumors, which identified the Intrinsic Subtypes of Breast Cancer. We study many human solid tumor disease types using multiple experimental approaches including RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq), DNA exome sequencing, Whole Genome Sequencing, cell/tissue culturing, and Proteomics, with a particular focus on the Basal-like/Triple Negative Breast Cancer subtype. In addition, we are mimicking these human tumor alterations in Genetically Engineered Mouse Models, and using primary tumor Patient-Derived Xenografts, to investigate the efficacy of new drugs and new drug combinations. All of these genomic and genetic studies generate large volumes of data; thus, a significant portion of my lab is devoted to using genomic data and a systems biology approach to create computational predictors of complex cancer phenotypes.

Ramsden, Dale
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biochemistry & Biophysics, Genetics & Molecular Biology, Toxicology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Cancer Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology

The end joining pathway is a major means for repairing chromosome breaks in vertebrates.  My lab is using cellular and cell-free models to learn how end joining works, and what happens when it doesn’t.

Reed, Jason
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biology, Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cell Signaling, Developmental Biology, Genetics, Plant Biology, Systems Biology

Regulation of plant development:  We use techniques of genetics, molecular biology, microscopy, physiology, and biochemistry to study how endogenous developmental programs and exogenous signals cooperate to determine plant form.  The model plant Arabidopsis thaliana has numerous technical advantages that allow rapid experimental progress.  We focus on how the plant hormone auxin acts in several different developmental contexts.  Among questions of current interest are i) how auxin regulates patterning in embryos and ovules, ii) how light modifies auxin response, iii) how feedback loops affect kinetics or patterning of auxin response, iv) how flower opening and pollination are regulated, and v) whether natural variation in flower development affects rates of self-pollination vs. outcrossing.

Rogers, Steve
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

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

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Developmental Biology, Genomics

The research in our lab is centered on understanding the mechanisms and principles of movement at the cellular level. Cytoskeletal filaments – composed of actin and microtubules – serve as a structural scaffolding that gives cells the ability to divide, crawl, and change their shape.  Our lab uses a combination of cell biological, biochemical, functional genomic, and  high resolution imaging techniques to study cytoskeletal dynamics and how they contribute to cellular motion.

Sancar, Aziz
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biochemistry & Biophysics, Genetics & Molecular Biology, Toxicology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Molecular Biology

We have three main areas of research focus: (1) Nucleotide excision repair: The only known mechanism for the removal of bulky DNA adducts in humans. (2) DNA damage checkpoints:  Biochemical pathways that transiently block cell cycle progression while DNA contains damage.  (3) Circadian rhythm:  The oscillations in biochemical, physiological and behavioral processes that occur with the periodicity of about 24 hours.

Sekelsky, Jeff
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biology, Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Molecular Biology

Genome instability is a major cause of cancer. We use the model organism Drosophila melanogaster to study maintenance of genome stability, including DNA double-strand break repair, meiotic and mitotic recombination, and characterization of fragile sites in the genome.  Our primary approaches are genetic (forward and reverse, transmission and molecular), but we are also using biochemistry to study protein complexes of interest, genomics to identify fragile sites and understand the regulation of meiotic recombination, fluorescence and electron microscopy for analysis of mutant phenotypes, and cell culture for experiments using RNA interference.

Slep, Kevin
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biology, Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology, Structural Biology

Our lab examines cytoskeletal dynamics, the molecules that regulate it and the biological processes it is involved in using live cell imaging, in vitro reconstitution and x-ray crystallography.  Of particular interest are the microtubule +TIP proteins that dynamically localize to microtubule plus ends, communicate with the actin network, regulate microtubule dynamics, capture kinetochores and engage the cell cortex under polarity-based cues.