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NameEmailPhD ProgramResearch InterestPublications
Miao, Yinglong
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Pharmacology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Aging/Alzheimer's, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Cardiovascular Disease, Computational Biology, Drug Discovery, Pharmacology, Signal Transduction

Our research is focused on the development of novel theoretical and computational methods and AI techniques, which greatly enhance computer simulations and facilitate simulation analysis, and the application of these methods, making unprecedented contributions to biomolecular modeling and drug discovery. In collaboration with leading experimental groups, we combine complementary simulations and experiments to uncover functional mechanisms and design drugs of important biomolecules, including G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), membrane-embedded proteases, RNA-binding proteins, and RNA. At the interface of computational biology, chemistry, biophysics, bioinformatics and pharmacology, our research aims to address three major topics: (i) development of biomolecular enhanced sampling and AI techniques, (ii) multiscale computational modeling of critical cellular signaling pathways, and (iii) AI-driven drug discovery of medically important proteins and RNA for treatments of neurological disorders, heart failure and cancers.

Leiderman, Karin
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biochemistry & Biophysics, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biophysics, Cardiovascular Biology, Cell Signaling, Computational Biology, Enzymology, Hematology, Pharmacology, Quantitative Biology, Systems Biology

I am a mathematical biologist interested in the biochemical and biophysical aspects of blood clotting and emergent behavior in biological fluid-structure interaction problems. I especially love mathematical modeling, where creativity, biological knowledge, and mathematical insight meet. My goal is to use mathematical and computational modeling as a tool to learn something new about a biological system, not just to simply match model output to experimental data. My research paradigm includes an integration of mathematical and experimental approaches, together with statistical analyses and inference, to determine mechanisms underlying complex biological phenomena. This paradigm culminates in the contextualization of my findings to both the mathematical and biological communities. My research program is focused mainly on studying the influence of biochemical and biophysical mechanisms on blood coagulation, clot formation, and bleeding.

Yates, Melinda

EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pathobiology & Translational Science

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Cancer Genomics, Cancer Preclinical Models, Cancer Signaling & Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Toxicology, Translational Medicine

Our translational research lab is focused on the earliest changes that occur in the uterus (endometrium) during cancer development related to obesity and hereditary DNA repair defects. We use preclinical tools (rodents, organoids, and cell lines) to probe mechanisms of endometrial cancer pathogenesis, in parallel with human tissue studies. Our overall goal is to understand how environmental factors, including obesity, hormones, and other exposures, influence endometrial cancer development and disparities so that we can use pharmacologic agents to prevent or reverse cancer development.

Vetreno, Ryan

EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Neuroscience, Pharmacology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Addiction/Alcohol Research, Aging/Alzheimer's, Behavior, Biochemistry, Brain Development, Developmental Biology, Disease, Epigenetics & Chromatin Biology, Immunology, Microbiome, Molecular Biology, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Neurobiology, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Neuropharmacology, Pathology, Pharmacology, Regenerative Medicine

My research interests involve investigation of proinflammatory neuroimmune and epigenetic mechanisms in animal models of developmental neurobiology and neurodegeneration, including (1) alcohol pharmacology, (2) alcohol responsivity and tolerance, (3) adolescent neurodevelopment, (4) cholinergic system and neurocircuitry, (5) microglial function, and (6) Alzheimer’s disease. A major focus of the laboratory is elucidation of neuroimmune and epigenetic mechanisms underlying adolescent binge alcohol-induced disruption of basal forebrain cholinergic neurocircuitry in adulthood. A second major focus of the laboratory is investigation of lasting adolescent binge drinking-induced neuroimmune priming as a novel etiological factor contributing to the onset and progression of basal forebrain neuropathology in Alzheimer’s disease. Our laboratory combines ex vivo and in vivo rodent models of alcohol abuse and Alzheimer’s disease with innovative molecular techniques.

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.

Rowe-Conlon, Sarah
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Antibiotics/Antivirals, Bacteriology, Diabetes, Drug Delivery, Drug Discovery, Pathogenesis & Infection, Pharmacology, Translational Medicine

My lab studies recalcitrant bacterial infections and antibiotic treatment failure. Focusing on bacteremia and wound infection, we utilize a range of in vitro, tissue culture and mouse models to understand the precise nature of treatment failure and exploit this knowledge to modulate antibiotic activity in the host environment. My long-term goal is to bring improved therapeutic strategies to the bedside.

Williams, Morika
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Neuroscience, Pathobiology & Translational Science

RESEARCH INTEREST
Behavior, Neurobiology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Translational Medicine

Early life and adult pain can have drastic effects on neurodevelopment and overall quality of life. In the Williams’ Pain, Aging, and Interdisciplinary Neurobehavioral (P.A.I.N.) Lab, our research focuses on behavioral neuroscience and the mechanisms of neurobiology and neurophysiology of pain processing, with a special emphasis on the neonatal. The ultimate research goal is to better understand, recognize, and alleviate pain in the newborn to improve the quality of life in adulthood by uncovering new assessment tools and interventional strategies. Our research interests include the mechanisms of neurobiology and neurophysiology of pain processing, neonatal pain, chronic pain, neurobehavior, osteoarthritis, translational medicine, anesthesia/analgesics, and evoked and non-evoked pain assessment tools. The P.A.I.N. Lab has both pre-clinical and clinical studies to help close the gap in translation.

Brunk, Elizabeth
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Computational Biology, Genomics, Pharmacology, Structural Biology, Systems Biology, Translational Medicine

A growing body of work in the biomedical sciences generates and analyzes omics data; our lab’s work contributes to these efforts by focusing on the integration of different omics data types to bring mechanistic insights to the multi-scale nature of cellular processes. The focus of our research is on developing systems genomics approaches to study the impact of genomic variation on genome function. We have used this focus to study genetic and molecular variation in both natural and engineered cellular systems and approach these topics through the lens of computational biology, machine learning and advanced omics data integration. More specifically, we create methods to reveal functional relationships across genomics, transcriptomics, ribosome profiling, proteomics, structural genomics, metabolomics and phenotype variability data. Our integrative omics methods improve understanding of how cells achieve regulation at multiple scales of complexity and link to genetic and molecular variants that influence these processes. Ultimately, the goal of our research is advancing the analysis of high-throughput omics technologies to empower patient care and clinical trial selections. To this end, we are developing integrative methods to improve mutation panels by selecting more informative genetic and molecular biomarkers that match disease relevance.

Merker, Jason
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pathobiology & Translational Science

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

Our laboratory is focused on translating novel molecular biomarkers into clinical oncology practice, with the overarching goal of improving the care and survival of patients with cancer. Our group is highly collaborative and applies genomic, genetic, bioinformatic, informatic, statistical, and molecular approaches. Current projects in the laboratory include:

  1. Correlative genomic testing to support clinical trials
  2. Expanded clinical applications of RNA sequencing
  3. Development and application of cell-free circulating tumor nucleic acid assays
Walsh, Jessica
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Neuroscience, Pharmacology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Behavior, Neurobiology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Translational Medicine

Social behavior is composed of a variety of distinct forms of interactions and is fundamental to survival. Several neural circuits must act in concert to allow for such complex behavior to occur and perturbations, either genetic and/or environmental, underlie many psychiatric and neurodevelopment disorders. The Walsh lab focuses on gaining an improved understanding of the biological basis of behavior using a multi-level approach to elucidate the molecular and circuit mechanisms underlying motivated social behavior. The goal of our research is to uncover how neural systems govern social interactions and what alterations occur in disease states to inform the development of novel therapeutics or treatment strategies.

One of the major focuses of the Walsh lab is on understanding how genetic mutations, as well as experience, lead to circuit adaptations that govern impaired behavior seen in mouse models of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Our systems level analysis includes: 1) modeling these disorders with well described genetic markers, 2) defining causal relationships between activity within discrete anatomical structures in the brain that are critical to the physiology of the symptom under investigation (e.g. sociability), 3) performing deep characterization of the physiological profiles of these circuits and using that information to target specific receptors or molecules that may not have been considered for the treatment of specific ASD symptoms.