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NameEmailPhD ProgramResearch InterestPublications
Toomer, Drew

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Molecular Biology, Pathology

Pajon, Camryn

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Pathogenesis & Infection, Pathology, Translational Medicine

Nagel, Jon

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Neurobiology, Pathology, Translational Medicine

Miller, Sarah

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bacteriology, Pathology, Toxicology

Markov Madanick, Justin

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Immunology, Pathology, Translational Medicine

Grimsley, Skylar

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Pathology, Translational Medicine

Bose, Pria

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Pathology, Physiology, Toxicology

Chen, Xiaoxin
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pathobiology & Translational Science

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Pathology

My lab has multiple research interests in oro-esophageal cancer. We were interested in targeting oxidative stress and aberrant arachidonic acid metabolism for chemoprevention of oral squamous cell carcinoma and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Later we were interested in the molecular mechanisms of Barrett’s esophagus (BE) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Over time, we have shifted our focus on cancer cell signaling and metabolism in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) with a translational intention.

1. Molecular mechanisms and targeted therapy of Nrf2high-ESCC: The goal is to understand how Nrf2 hyperactivation (due to DNA mutations) contribute to ESCC and to develop inhibitors of Nrf2 or its downstream kinases for targeted therapy of Nrf2high-ESCC. Our long-term goal is to translate some of these inhibitors into clinical trials. We believe Nrf2 inhibitors will be potentially used in combination with chemoradiotherapy and immunotherapy.

2. Molecular mechanisms and chemoprevention of alcohol-associated ESCC: We focus on the roles of Notch-Pax9 signaling and Nrf2-Acss2 axis-mediated metabolism in alcohol-associated carcinogenesis. Our long-term goal is to develop “benign cell boosters” (Nrf2 activators, Notch activators) as chemopreventive agents based on the concept of cancer evolution.

Fedoriw, Yuri
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pathobiology & Translational Science

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Immunology, Pathology, Translational Medicine

Our research interests focus on the immunologic and genetic mechanisms of lymphomagenesis, particularly in the setting of HIV infection. While hematologic malignancies and lymphoproliferative disorders in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) arise under intrinsic and extrinsic pressures very different from those in the United States, comprehensive analyses of these diseases have not been performed. We use advanced sequencing, immunophenotypic and cellular analyses to address gaps in our understanding of lymphomagenesis and tumor microenvironment in the context of HIV-associated immune dysregulation, with the goal of translation to clinical care and future clinical trials.

Jacox, Laura
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Oral & Craniofacial Biomedicine, Pathobiology & Translational Science

RESEARCH INTEREST
Behavior, Developmental Biology, Molecular Biology, Pathology, Translational Medicine

The Jacox Lab aims to improve patient care and outcomes in oral health. This goal takes shape via several tracks of interdisciplinary human studies:

-A primary focus of the lab has been on outcomes of jaw surgery patients, who suffer from Dentofacial Disharmonies (DFD). Patients with DFD have severe skeletal disproportions with underbites or open bites, necessitating orthodontics and jaw surgery for full correction. Roughly 80% of our patients with DFD exhibit speech distortions, compared to 5% of the general population, which negatively impact their self-confidence and quality of life. Despite patients pursuing invasive surgery, it is unknown whether jaw surgery is palliative for articulation errors. We are using ultrasound, audio and video imaging to explore the mechanism of articulation errors among patients with DFD. Furthermore, our lab is conducting a longitudinal study of DFD patients to determine if jaw surgery improves speech distortions, in collaboration with oral surgeons, linguistics and speech pathology.

-An additional focus of our lab has been studying use of Animal Assisted Therapy for management of anxiety and pain in dentistry. Dental anxiety effects 21-50% of patients and is associated with poor long-term oral health outcomes and need for urgent care due to dental avoidance. Non-pharmacological behavior interventions like dog therapy holds promise for reducing pain and anxiety perception for patients, and therefore improving dental experiences and promoting improved health outcomes. The lab is conducting a randomized controlled trial to evaluate best practices for canine therapy in pediatric dentistry, in collaboration with pediatric dentists, a psychology professor whose expertise is anxiety, and the UNC Biobehavioral Lab.

-As part of the COVID-19 research response, we are studying FDA-approved antiseptic mouth rinses for their ability to limit salivary viral infectivity to reduce risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. If an oral rinse is found to be efficacious at inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it could be a valuable preventative measure in settings where masks are removed, such as dental care, social settings, eating out, or work presentations. This study is conducted in collaboration with leading virologists and infectious disease experts at UNC.