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NameEmailPhD ProgramResearch InterestPublications
Ikonomidis, John S.
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biology, Cell Biology & Physiology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Cardiovascular Biology, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Translational Medicine

My research focus pertains to vascular remodeling as it relates to the pathogenesis and progression of thoracic aortic aneurysms. Using murine and porcine models, as well as human aneurysm tissue samples, we study proteinase and signaling biology with a view towards defining novel modalities targets for diagnosis, tracking, risk stratification and non-surgical treatment of this devastating disease.

Williams, Scott E.
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology, Genetics & Molecular Biology, Oral & Craniofacial Biomedicine, Pathobiology & Translational Science

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Genetics, Pathology, Stem Cells

Interest areas: Developmental Biology, Cell Biology, Cancer Biology, Stem Cells, Genetics

PhD programs: Pathobiology & Translational Sciences, Genetics & Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Physiology, Oral Biology, Biology

Tissue development and homeostasis depend on the precise coordination of self-renewal and differentiation programs. A critical point of regulation of this balance is at the level of cell division. In the Williams lab, we are interested in stratified epithelial development, stem cells, and cancer, with a particular interest in how oriented cell divisions contribute to these processes. Asymmetric cell divisions maintain a stable pool of stem cells that can be used to sustain tissue growth, or mobilized in response to injury. However, dysregulation of this machinery can lead to cancer, particularly in epithelia where tissue turnover is rapid and continuous. Using the mouse epidermis and oral epithelia as model systems, we utilize cell biological, developmental and genetic approaches to study the molecular control of oriented cell divisions and mitotic spindle positioning, and how division orientation impacts cell fate choices in development, homeostasis, injury, and disease.

Williams, Carmen J.
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Toxicology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Developmental Biology, Toxicology, Translational Medicine

Reproductive biology of early mammalian embryogenesis including gametogenesis, fertilization, and preimplantation embryo development. Effects of environmental disrupting chemicals on female reproductive tract development and function, with a focus on epigenetic alterations.

Liu, Zhi
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Immunology, Pathogenesis & Infection

Biochemistry, cell biology, and immunology of skin, immunopathogenesis of autoimmune and inflammatory skin blistering diseases.

Liu, Pengda
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biochemistry & Biophysics

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Drug Discovery

If you are interested in developing new biochemical/molecular techniques/tools to advance our understanding of biology, and if you are interested in signal transduction pathway analyses and identification of cancer biomarkers, our research group may help you to achieve your goals, as we have the same dreams. We are especially interested in deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying aberrant signaling events that contribute to tumorigenesis, mediated through protein modifications and protein-protein interactions. Understanding these events may lead to identification of novel drug targets and provide new treatment strategies to combat human cancer.

Liu, Jiandong
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology, Pathobiology & Translational Science

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cardiovascular Biology, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Developmental Biology, Genetics

Congenital heart diseases are one of the most common birth defects in humans, and these arise from developmental defects during embryogenesis.  Many of these diseases have a genetic component, but they might also be affected by environmental factors such as mechanical forces. The Liu Lab combines genetics, molecular and cell biology to study cardiac development and function, focusing on the molecular mechanisms that link mechanical forces and genetic factors to the morphogenesis of the heart.  Our studies using zebrafish as a model system serve as the basic foundation to address the key questions in cardiac development and function, and could provide novel therapeutic interventions for cardiac diseases.

Tarran, Robert
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cell Biology, Pathology, Physiology

A critical component of airways innate defense is the thin liquid layer lining airway surfaces, the periciliary liquid (PCL), that provides a low viscosity solution for ciliary beating and acts a lubricant layer for mucus transport. Normal airways appear to be able to sense the PCL volume and adjust ion channel activity accordingly. The long term goal of this laboratory is to understand how homeostasis of PCL volume occurs in airway epithelia under normal and pathophysiological conditions. Currently, research in the Tarran lab is focused on three main areas: 1) Regulation of epithelial cell function by the extracellular environment, 2) Gender differences in cystic fibrosis lung disease and 3) The effects of cigarette smoke on epithelial airway ion transport. We utilize cell biological and biochemical techniques coupled with in vivo translational approaches to address these questions.

Pearce, Ken`
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pharmaceutical Sciences, Toxicology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Biophysics, Cell Biology, Chemical Biology, Drug Discovery

We are a comprehensive, collaborative group with a primary focus on lead and early drug discovery for oncology and epigenetic targets and pathways. Our research applies reagent production, primary assay development, high-throughput screening, biophysics, and exploratory cell biology to enable small molecule drug discovery programs in solid partnership with collaborators, both within the Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery and across the UNC campus. We apply small molecule hit discovery to highly validated biochemical targets as well as phenotypic cell-based assays. Our methods include various fluorescence-based readouts and high content microscopy. Examples of some of our collaborative small molecule discovery programs include, inhibition of chromatin methyl-lysine reader proteins, hit discovery for small GTPases such as K-Ras and Gaq, inhibitors of inositol phosphate kinases, inhibitors of protein-protein interactions involving CIB1 and MAGE proteins, and several cell-based efforts including a screen for compounds that enhance c-Myc degradation in pancreatic cancer cells. In addition, we are developing a DNA-encoded library approach for hit discovery to complement traditional high-throughput screening. Our ultimate goal is discovery of new chemical probes and medicines for exploratory biology and unmet medical needs, respectively.

Hahn, Klaus
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cell Biology & Physiology, Neuroscience, Pharmacology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Biophysics, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Chemical Biology, Computational Biology, Systems Biology

Dynamic control of signaling networks in living cells; Rho family and MAPK networks in motility and network plasticity; new tools to study protein activity in living cells (i.e., biosensors, protein photomanipulation, microscopy). Member of the Molecular & Cellular Biophysics Training Program and the Medicinal Chemistry Program.

Gupton, Stephanie
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology, Neuroscience

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Genetics, Neurobiology, Stem Cells

During cell shape change and motility, a dynamic cytoskeleton produces the force to initiate plasma membrane protrusion, while vesicle trafficking supplies phospholipids and membrane proteins to the expanding plasma membrane. Extracellular cues activate intracellular signaling pathways to elicit specific cell shape changes and motility responses through coordinated cytoskeletal dynamics and vesicle trafficking. In my lab we are investigating the role of two ubiquitin ligases, TRIM9 and TRIM67, in the cell shape changes that occur during neuronal development. We utilize a variety techniques including high resolution live cell microscopy, gene disruption, mouse models, and biochemistry to understand the complex coordination of cytoskeletal dynamics and membrane trafficking driving neuronal shape change and growth cone motility in primary neurons.