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NameEmailPhD ProgramResearch InterestPublications
Montore, Luca

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Metabolism, Neurobiology, Structural Biology

“I am interested in exploring multiple different types of research including structural biology, neurobiology, and metabolism. I want to be a part of research that focus on the dynamic interactions within the body and relate to overall human and environmental health.”

Lee, Craig
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pharmaceutical Sciences

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cardiovascular Disease, Genetics, Metabolism, Pharmacology, Translational Medicine

Craig Lee, Pharm.D, Ph.D. is a professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics (DPET). A key aspect of DPET’s mission is to optimize drug therapy through translating experimental and clinical pharmacology discoveries into precision medicine and accelerating application of these discoveries to improve patient care.

Dr. Lee is trained as a clinical/translational pharmaceutical scientist with expertise in cytochrome P450 metabolism, cardiovascular experimental therapeutics, and precision medicine/pharmacogenomics. He is an active member of the UNC McAllister Heart Institute and UNC Program for Precision Medicine in Healthcare, and has an adjunct faculty appointment in the UNC School of Medicine’s Division of Cardiology.

The overall objective of Dr. Lee’s research program is to improve the understanding of the central mechanisms underlying inter-individual variability in drug response as a means to develop novel therapeutic strategies that will improve public health. A major scientific focus of the Lee laboratory is the metabolism of drugs and eicosanoids by the cytochromes P450 enzyme system. The major therapeutic area of application of their research is cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

The Lee laboratory seeks to identify and elucidate the key factors that exacerbate inter-individual variability in the metabolism of and response to drugs currently on the market, and determine whether implementation of genomic and biomarker-guided drug selection and dosing strategies can reduce this variability in metabolism and response and improve patient outcomes. The Lee laboratory also seeks to develop a thorough understanding of how cytochrome P450-derived eicosanoids (bioactive lipid mediators of arachidonic acid) regulate hepatic and extra-hepatic inflammatory responses, and determine whether modulation of this pathway will serve as an effective anti-inflammatory and end-organ protective therapeutic strategy for cardiovascular and metabolic disease. Using genomics and biomarkers, the lab seeks to translate their preclinical discoveries into humans and determine which subsets of the population may be most likely to respond to the therapeutic strategies under evaluation in the laboratory.

The Lee laboratory is a highly collaborative and translational research program that integrates mechanistically-driven rodent and cell-based preclinical models with observational and interventional clinical studies. They have received funding from the National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association, authored over 100 manuscripts and over 100 abstracts in the areas of cytochromes P450, eicosanoid and drug metabolism, pharmacogenomics, and experimental therapeutics. Dr. Lee has served as the major research advisor for over 40 graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and professional students.

Bartelt, Luther
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Antibiotics/Antivirals, Bacteriology, Immunology, Metabolism, Microbiome, Model Organisms, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Translational Medicine, Virology

Our lab performs translational investigations of nutritional and microbiota determinants of host-pathogen interactions. We use gnotobiotic techniques (eg. germ free) mice to investigate complex microbe-microbe interactions in the context of host malnutrition, a common but poorly understood global health problem. Specific pathogens we model include Giardia (a ubiquitous parasite with unclear mechanisms of pathogenesis) and other intestinal parasites and multi drug resistant Enterobacterales (eg. Klebsiella). We work with several collaborators to translate findings in experimental models to outcomes in human cohorts. Emerging projects include determinants of host immune responses to mucosal viral infections and vaccines (eg. Polio and SARS-CoV-2).

Hwang, Janice

EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Aging/Alzheimer's, Diabetes, Human Subjects Research, Medical Imaging, Metabolism, Neurobiology, Physiology, Translational Medicine

My group is interested in understanding the effects of obesity and diabetes on the brain, particularly related to cerebral function and energetics. We conduct physiology based, mechanistic human and rodent studies to investigate fundamental questions such as how does the brain sense various nutrients (sugar, fat, etc), how does metabolic disease, sleep, aging impact brain function and metabolism? Using classic human metabolic techniques including hyperinsulinemic and hyper/hypoglycemic clamps coupled with advanced neuroimaging modalities including 1H and 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy, functional MRI, and PET-CT imaging, my group has shown that glucose transport capacity into the human brain can be modified by factors such as obesity and insulin resistance as well as hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia and glycemic variability. We also have interests in using novel human imaging modalities to understand how obesity and diabetes impact neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration.

Edwards, Whitney

EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cardiovascular Biology, Cardiovascular Disease, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Developmental Biology, Developmental Disorders, Disease, Genetic Basis of Disease, Metabolism, Molecular Biology, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

Our lab aims to identify the fundamental molecular mechanisms underlying heart development and congenital heart disease. Our multifaceted approach includes primary cardiac cell culture, genetic mouse models, biochemical/molecular studies, and transcriptomics. Additionally, we employ proteomics-based methods to investigate 1) protein expression dynamics, 2) protein interaction networks, and 3) post-translational modifications (PTMs) in heart development. Current research projects focus on investigating the function of two essential PTMs in cardiogenesis: protein prenylation and palmitoylation.

McCauley, Heather
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Developmental Biology, Gastrointestinal Biology, Metabolism, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Physiology, Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cells

The McCauley Lab is interested in how the food we eat changes our physiology. Rare, nutrient sensing cells in the intestine called enteroendocrine cells secrete hormones in response to environmental cues that orchestrate systemic metabolism. How these cells regulate their neighbors in the gut is not well understood. We use mouse models which lack enteroendocrine cells and human pluripotent stem cell derived intestinal organoids to discover new roles for these master metabolic cells in the regulation of intestinal physiology and function. Enteroendocrine cells are dysregulated in inflammatory bowel disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, and loss of enteroendocrine cells results in malabsorptive diarrhea with poor survival. Our research has the potential to improve human health for a wide segment of the global population.

Guardia, Charly
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Developmental Disorders, Disease, Metabolism, Microscopy/Imaging, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Physiology, Structural Biology

The human placenta is the first organ to develop after fertilization and is the least studied! We hope to change this by using a multidisciplinary approach. From iPSC-derived trophoblasts in culture to mouse models and human placenta tissue, the Placental Cell Biology Group at NIEHS answers fundamental questions about placenta cell and developmental biology. Our lab uses a range of microscopy (cryo-EM, fluorescence), recombinant protein production, and -omics techniques. The goal of our research is to understand how autophagy controls placenta development, differentiation, and function.

Kim, Boa
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology, Pathobiology & Translational Science

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cardiovascular Biology, Cardiovascular Disease, Cell Biology, Metabolism, Microscopy, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Physiology

Endothelial cells, which comprise the innermost wall of all blood vessels, are involved in a broad range of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases that represent a global challenge with high morbidity. Endothelial cell metabolism is an active process, and altered endothelial metabolism drive disease progression. The research in my lab focuses on the molecular mechanisms of endothelial cell metabolism and how they affect cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Thurlow, Lance

EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bacteriology, Cell Signaling, Immunology, Metabolism, Pathogenesis & Infection

By 2035, more than 500 million people worldwide will be diagnosed with diabetes. Individuals with diabetes are prone to frequent and invasive infections that commonly manifest as skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs). Staphylococcus aureus is the most commonly isolated pathogen from diabetic SSTI. S. aureus is a problematic pathogen that is responsible for tens of thousands of invasive infections and deaths annually in the US. Most S. aureus infections manifest as skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) that are usually self-resolving. However, in patients with comorbidities, particularly diabetes, S. aureus SSTIs can disseminate resulting in systemic disease including osteomyelitis, endocarditis and sepsis. The goal of my research is to understand the complex interactions between bacterial pathogens and the host innate immune response with focus on S. aureus and invasive infections associated with diabetes. My research is roughly divided into two project areas in order to understand the contributions of the pathogen and the host response to invasive infections associated with diabetes. Project 1: Defining mechanisms of immune suppression in diabetic infections. Project 2: Determine the role of bacterial metabolism in virulence potential and pathogenesis.

Thaxton, Jessica
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology, Metabolism

The Thaxton laboratory studies the intersection of stress and metabolism in immune cells for applications in cancer immunotherapy. Our pursuits center around the biology of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). We aim to define how stress on the ER defines changes in protein homeostasis, metabolic fate, and antitumor efficacy of immune subsets in human tumors. In order to pursue our goals we collaborate vigorously with clinicians, creating a highly translational platform to expand our discoveries. Moreover, we design unique mouse models and use innovate technologies such as metabolic tracing, RNA-sequencing, and spectral flow cytometry to study how the stress of solid tumors impacts immune function. Ultimately, we aim to discover new ways to restore immune function in solid tumors to offer unique therapies for cancer patients.