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NameEmailPhD ProgramResearch InterestPublications
Lazear, Helen
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EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Immunology, Molecular Biology, Pathogenesis & Infection, Virology

We use molecular virology approaches and mouse models of infection to understand innate immune mechanisms that control arbovirus pathogenesis (e.g. West Nile, Zika, and La Crosse viruses). Bat flaviviruses have unusual vector/host relationships; understanding the viral and host factors that determine flavivirus host range is important for recognizing potential emerging infections. We are studying the antiviral effects of interferon lambda (IFN-λ) at barrier surfaces, including the blood-brain barrier and the skin. We also use mouse models of atopic dermatitis and herpes simplex virus infection to understand the effects of IFN- λ in the skin.

Nimchuk, Zachary
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EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biology

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

Understanding how cells communicate and co-ordinate during development is a universal question in biology. My lab studies the cell to cell signaling systems that control plant stem cell production.  Plants contain discrete populations of self-renewing stem cells that give rise to the diverse differentiated cell types found throughout the plant.  Stem cell function is therefore ultimately responsible for the aesthetic and economic benefits plants provide us. Stem cell maintenance is controlled by overlapping receptor kinases that sense peptide ligands. Receptor kinase pathways also integrate with hormone signaling in a complex manner to modulate stem cell function.  My lab uses multiple approaches to dissect these networks including; genetics, genomics, CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, live tissue imaging, and cell biological and biochemical methods.  This integrated approach allows us to gain an understanding of the different levels at which regulatory networks act and how they contribute to changes in form and function during evolution.

Dowen, Jill
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EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biochemistry & Biophysics, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Biology, Genetics & Molecular Biology

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

My lab studies how genes function within the three-dimensional context of the nucleus to control development and prevent disease. We combine genomic approaches (ChIP-Seq, ChIA-PET) and genome editing tools (CRISPR) to study the epigenetic mechanisms by which transcriptional regulatory elements control gene expression in embryonic stem cells.  Our current research efforts are divided into 3 areas: 1) Mapping the folding pattern of the genome 2) Dynamics of three-dimensional genome organization as cells differentiate and 3) Functional analysis of altered chromosome structure in cancer and other diseases.

McCullough, Shaun D.
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EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology, Toxicology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cardiovascular Biology, Cell Signaling, Molecular Biology, Toxicology, Translational Medicine

Dr. McCullough’s lab takes a translational research approach that incorporates primary cell and organotypic in vitromodels with clinical research (controlled human exposures) to study the role of cellular and molecular mechanisms in mediating the local and systemic effects of exposure to inhaled chemicals.  His laboratory utilizes primary cell/organotypic in vitro models, live cell imaging of fluorescent biosensors, and both traditional and advanced molecular biology/biochemistry methods to characterize the relationship between redox dysfunction/oxidative stress, inflammation, cell signaling pathway activation, epigenetic changes, gene expression, and cell-specific functional outcomes.  In addition to identifying the mechanisms involved in the effects of toxic exposures, Dr. McCullough’s research also aims to identify biomarkers of toxic exposure effects, predicting susceptible populations, and identifying factors that can be used to mitigate adverse exposure outcomes.

Han, Zongchao
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EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cell Biology, Drug Delivery, Genomics, Molecular Biology, Nanomedicine

My research focus centers on retinal gene/drug therapy using nanotechnologies. My laboratory is interested in developing gene therapies for inherited blinding diseases and eye tumors. We are particularly interested in understanding the gene expression patterns that are regulated by the cis-regulatory elements. We utilize compacted DNA nanoparticles which have the ability to transfer large genetic messages to overcome various technical challenges and to appreciate the translational potential of this technology. This multidimensional technology also facilitated targeted drug delivery. Currently, we are working on the design and development of several specific nano formulations with targeting, bioimaging and controlled release specificities.

Bressan, Michael
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EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biophysics, Cardiovascular Biology, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Developmental Biology, Genetics, Microscopy, Molecular Biology, Molecular Medicine, Physiology, Stem Cells

How do networks of cells synchronize behaviors across differing spatial and temporal scales? This fundamental aspect of cellular dynamics is broadly relevant to understanding many biological systems in which the coherence of electrical or chemical signals is required for multicellular patterning or organ function. Our group’s primary research interests are related to understanding the cellular and microenvironmental conditions that are required to support the biorhythmic behavior of the system of cells that natively control heart rate, cardiac pacemaker cells. We utilize a variety of techniques including computational modeling, next generation sequencing, in vivo genetic manipulation, super-resolution imaging, and direct physiological recording to investigate the developmental processes that assemble the hearts pacemaking complex. The ultimate goals of these studies is to determine how the pacemaker cell lineage is patterned in the embryo, build strategies towards fabricating this cell type for therapeutic purposes, and identify vulnerabilities that may lead to pacemaker cell pathologies in humans.

Giudice, Jimena
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EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology

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

During development transcriptional and posttranscriptional networks are coordinately regulated to drive organ maturation, tissue formation, and cell fate. Interestingly, more than 90% of the human genes undergo alternative splicing, a posttranscriptional mechanism that explains how one gene can give rise to multiple protein isoforms. Heart and skeletal muscle are two of the tissues where the most tissue specific splicing takes place raising the question of how developmental stage- and tissue-specific splicing influence protein function and how this regulation occurs. In my lab we are interested on two exciting aspects of this broad question: i) how alternative splicing of trafficking and membrane remodeling genes contributes to muscle development, structure, and function, ii) the coupling between epigenetics and alternative splicing in postnatal heart development.

Phanstiel, Doug
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EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cell Biology & Physiology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Developmental Biology, Genomics, Molecular Biology, Systems Biology

It is estimated that less than 2% of the human genome codes for a functional protein.  Scattered throughout the rest of the genome are regulatory regions that can exert control over genes hundreds of thousands of base pairs away through the formation of DNA loops.  These loops regulate virtually all biological functions but play an especially critical role in cellular differentiation and human development. While this phenomenon has been known for thirty years or more, only a handful of such loops have been functionally characterized.  In our lab we use a combination of cutting edge genomics (in situ Hi-C, ATAC-seq, ChIP-seq), proteomics, genome editing (CRISPR/Cas), and bioinformatics to characterize and functionally interrogate dynamic DNA looping during monocyte differentiation.  We study this process both in both healthy cells and in the context of rheumatoid arthritis and our findings have broad implications for both cell biology as well as the diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

Baldwin, Albert S.
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EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology, Pathobiology & Translational Science

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

Our laboratory studies an amazing regulatory factor known as NF-kappaB. This transcription factor controls key developmental and immunological functions and its dysregulation lies at the heart of virtually all major human diseases.

Ahmed, Shawn
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EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biology, Genetics & Molecular Biology

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

Our research group utilizes the nematode C. elegans to investigate germ cell immortality: mechanisms that allow germ cells remain eternally youthful as they are transmitted from one generation to the next. We also study how telomerase functions at chromosome termini, as well as the consequences of telomere dysfunction.