Molecular Medicine

Interested in Molecular Medicine research?  Take a look at what MCDB faculty are doing in this area:

Accornero, Federica

Mechanisms underlying heart and skeletal muscle diseases, with a primary focus on the role of RNA-binding proteins in regulating the expression of pathologic genes during stress challenges.

Ackermann-Borzok, Maegen

My research interests focus on the intricate structural organization and functionality of striated muscle physiology and pathophysiology. Specifically, we focus on 1. the intercalated disc proteome and its role maintaining the synchronus beating of the heart and 2. the role of novel obscurins, a family of cytoskeletal and signaling proteins,in cardiac and skeletal muscle.

Basu, Sujit

Angiogenesis and vasculogenesis; tumor microenvironment including cancer stem cells; preclinical cancer chemotherapy; neural immune cross talk in cancer.

Biesiadecki, Brandon

Understanding the molecular mechanisms of how muscle protein post-translational modifications (phosphorylation, radical modification, degradation, etc) alter heart function.

Brigstock, David

Characterization of connective tissue growth factor: structure-function analysis and role in fibrotic disease.

Burd, Craig

Steroid hormones signal through proteins that are able to bind DNA and initiate transcriptional programs.  These transcription factors are critical mediators of virtually all physiological processes and are often deregulated in diseases such as cancer.  The focus of my research is to dissect the molecular mechanisms controlling these factor’s activity with a particular interest in chromatin/epigenetic regulation.

Burghes, Arthur

Genetics of motor neuron disorders and the muscular dystrophies.

Byrd, John

The Byrd laboratory is focused on the 1) study of molecular and immune pharmacology in hematologic malignancies and 2) biology of malignant leukemia B-cell transformation.   Our group is involved in identifying new targets for therapeutic exploitation and translating several novel targeted therapies and antibody based treatments from the lab to the clinic.

Davis, Jonathan

Dr. Davis’ lab focuses on the cellular and molecular basis of muscle contraction and relaxation via understanding how calcium binding proteins/enzymes are appropriately “tuned” kinetically to respond to calcium transients in vitro and in vivo.  One of the laboratory goals is to modulate cellular function through the design and engineering of calcium binding proteins.

Doseff, Andrea

Mechanisms involved in cell death during the innate immune response and oncogenic transformation.

Drew, Mark

Genetic, cell biological, and biochemical studies of the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum in an effort to discover novel therapeutics to treat human malaria.

Ganju, Ramesh

Chemokine-mediated breast cancer progression and metastasis; molecular mechanism of chemokine receptor CXCR4/CCR5-mediated pathogenesis during HIV infection; small molecular weight inhibitors for chemokine receptors and characterizing cross-talk between Slit/Robo and chemokine receptor pathways as a novel target for combating breast cancer metastasis and HIV infection.

Garzon, Ramiro

My lab is focusing on understanding the role of non coding RNAs in leukemogenesis and acute graft versus host disease.

Ghoshal, Kalpana

Role of DNA methylation and microRNAs in liver disease.

Guo, Peixuan

Dr. Guo's lab is really interdisciplinary with diverse technologies and variable projects involving the areas of cell biology, molecular medicine, virology, biophysics, biotechnology, biochemistry, chemistry, computation, biomedical engineering, single molecular optics, single molecular conductance, single pore sensing, RNA Nanotechnology, nucleic acid chemistry, cancer therapy, drug delivery, viral DNA packaging, and ATPase motors. The lab has been focused on the study of viral DNA packaging motor that is composed of a protein channel driven by six ATPase and geared by six RNA molecules.

Guttridge, Dennis

NF-kappa β regulation of cell growth and differentiation.

Hai, Tsonwin

Eukaryotic gene expression, stress responses, cell death (apoptosis), cell cycle regulation, signal transduction, molecular mechanisms of diseases including cancer, diabetes and liver dysfunction. Experimental systems include cell free system, cell culture, transgenic and knock-out mice models.

Harper, Scott

Gene therapy for dominant genetic diseases using RNA interference (RNAi), with particular focus on muscular dystrophy and neurodegenerative disease.

Herman, Paul

Eukaryotic cell proliferation; ras protein signaling; RNA pol II transcription.

Ibba, Michael

Our research is directed towards understanding the mechanisms that determine how cells ensure the accurate translation of the genetic code, and how changes in the underlying processes impact cellular health and contribute to microbial pathogenesis and disease. Many of these processes are essential and unique to particular systems, making them ideal potential drug targets.

Jacob, Naduparambil

Radiation therapeutics, mechanisms of radiation resistance in cancers, cancer metastasis.

Janssen, Paul

Muscle mechanics. EC coupling and energetics of cardiac muscle tissue, under physiological and pathophysiological conditions.

Jhiang, Sissy

Protein tyrosine kinases and cancers; transgenic mice for human diseases; gene transfer of sodium/iodide symporter for radioiodine treatment in human cancers.

Kaspar, Brian

Investigation of cell death pathways in Central Nervous System Disorders; delivery of Gene Therapy Vectors to the CNS; identification of Neural Stem Cell Signaling Pathways and Development.

Kirschner, Lawrence

Molecular events leading to the formation of tumors of the endocrine glands, and the relationship of these processes to the differentiation of these tissues.

Kudryashov, Dmitri

Actin is an abundant eukaryotic protein involved in a variety of vital cellular events including, but not limited to cell migration, cytokinesis, endo- and exocytosis, organelle transport, and muscle contraction.  We are interested in deciphering molecular and cellular mechanisms of actin-based processes, their regulation by actin binding proteins and disruption by bacterial and viral pathogens.

Lee, Robert

Targeted drug delivery systems for cancer. Gene therapy. Antisense and siRNA therapy. Liposomes and nanoparticles for drug delivery. Nanoparticle based nanomedicines. Immunotherapy for cancer.

Lesinski, Gregory

Research focuses on understanding the interactions between the host immune system and tumor cells. Ultimate goal is to develop novel therapeutic or chemo-preventative approaches to help patients with cancer and improve existing therapies. Inhibition of the oncogenic STAT3 pathway and maximizing the effect of immune based therapy are of particular interest.

Lessnick, Stephen

My research takes a translational approach to Ewing sarcoma, with the overarching goal of applying basic science discoveries to the clinical care of patients with this disease. We therefore have a significant focus on the basic biology of Ewing sarcoma, including the function of the EWS/FLI oncoprotein as a transcription factor, the associated epigenetic effects mediated by the fusion protein, and the phenotypic consequences mediated by EWS/FLI and its target genes important for the development of this disease.  We use a number of techniques, including high-throughput genomics, molecular biology, and biochemistry, to accomplish these goals.  We strive to translate these findings to patients, by assessing whether new discoveries might serve as critical nodes needed for tumor development.  For example, the lysine specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) enzyme is required for the transcriptional function of EWS/FLI.  We have been studying LSD1 inhibitors as potential therapies for Ewing sarcoma by analyzing the effects of LSD1 blockade on transcription, phenotype, and ultimately tumorigenesis both in vitro and in vivo.  Finally, we also analyze patient specimens as a means to validate our laboratory-based studies;  these samples also provide us with new hypotheses to study in the lab.  Together, this philosophy and approach allow us to take a comprehensive approach to understanding this disease, and in doing so, to make an impact on patients with this highly-aggressive pediatric and young-adult cancer.

Lilly, Brenda

The Lilly lab studies mechanisms of blood vessel formation and smooth muscle differentiation. Our specific interests include endothelial and smooth muscle cell interactions, mechanisms of Notch signaling, and transcriptional control of smooth muscle gene expression.

Lincoln, Joy

Focus is on understanding embryonic origins of adult heart disease, with a specific interest in heart valves. Lab uses in vitro and in vivo tools in combination with molecular biology, bioengineering and imaging skills to examine the mechanisms of how heart valves form in the developing embryo, and how alterations in embryogenesis give rise to dysfunctional heart valves after birth.

Martin, Paul

Research in the Martin lab is focused on the role of glycoyslation in synapse formation and muscular dystrophy. Other studies involve understanding the role of carbohydrates in the development of the brain, and the development of diagnostic and therapeutic reagents for Alzheimer's disease.

Mathe, Ewy

My goal is to develop and apply analytical methods in genomics, epigenomics, and metabolomics to carefully characterize disease, cancer especially, at a molecular level.  Please visit my website at for current research and news.

McBride, Kim

Focus is on elucidating causes of cardiovascular malformations, with the goal of developing novel therapies. We apply a variety of human genetic techniques (linkage, association, sequencing) to identify and characterize candidate genes. Functional consequences are studied in cell based systems. We use genetic and environmental models to examine cardiovascular developmental biology in the mouse.

McCarty, Douglas

The biology of adeno-associated virus (AAV), and its used as a gene delivery system for the treatment of human disease.

McHugh, Kirk

The research efforts in my laboratory rely upon an integrated scientific approach that is designed to identify the genetic pathways responsible for the ontogenesis and pathogenesis of smooth muscle tissues. The dysregulation of smooth muscle differentiation represe.

Mehta, Kamal

Signaling and transcriptional mechanisms regulating cholesterol homeostasis.

Muthusamy, Natarajan

Research interests are focused on the following areas: 1) Biological therapies for hematological malignancies with primary focus on acute and chronic leukemia; 2) Development and characterization of clinically relevant animal models of lymphoid malignancies; 3) Targeted delivery of RNA based therapeutics in lymphoid and myeloid malignancies.

Mykytyn, Kirk

Molecular genetics of complex diseases.

Niewiesk, Stefan

Immune modulation by measles virus and vaccination in the presence of maternal antibodies.

Partida-Sanchez, Santiago

Chemokine receptor signaling, generation of calcium second messengers, activation of calcium channels and their role in regulating migration of immune cells.

Pierson, Christopher

Elucidate the pathogenesis of the centronuclear myopathies, especially X-linked myotubular myopathy, and to develop novel therapies for these myopathies.

Rafael-Fortney, Jill

Mouse models of neuromuscular diseases.

Rosol, Thomas

The laboratory utilizes mouse models of human cancer to investigate the role of parathyroid hormone-related protein in bone metastasis and cancer-associated hypercalcemia. Metastases are monitored using in vivo bioluminescence of luciferase-transfected tumor cells. Molecular studies are focused on the regulation of PTHrP mRNA stability by transforming growth factors.

Schwab, Jan

My research aims to better understand and treat the maladaptive immune response after spinal cord injury. This is composed of i) the systemic spinal cord injury-induced immune deficiency syndrome (SCI-IDS), ii) consecutive infections and ii) the developing post-traumatic autoimmunity. Both maladaptive neuro-immunological syndromes and their consequences are contributing to the underlying neuropathology and represent a candidate target to improve neurological recovery. 

Sen, Chandan

MicroRNA biology, tissue injury and repair, regenerative medicine, nutrition, oxygen and hypoxia, wound healing, stroke and neurodegeneration, myocardial infarction.

Shields, Peter

The Shields’ laboratory focuses on carcinogenesis, cancer risk and the development of new biomarkers for cancer risk. This involves a combined laboratory and epidemiology research program. The current emphasis is on diet and lifestyle, and using various omic’s technologies.

Stanford, Kristin

My research program will focus on novel molecular mechanisms of exercise to improve metabolic health. This will be broken down into three different aspects; exercise-induced adaptations to white and brown adipose tissue, the effects of parental exercise on the metabolic health of offspring, and the effects of exercise to improve the hypermetabolic response to burn injury.

Sun, Qinghua

Air pollution, exercise, and ambient temperature changes and exposures on human health, especially pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Toland, Amanda

Identification and characterization of low penetrance cancer susceptibility genes.

Wang, Qianben

Understanding the molecular pathological mechanisms underlying the development and progression of prostate cancer. Currently using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) combined with massively parallel sequencing (ChIP-seq) technique to study combinatorial transcriptional regulation by androgen receptor, collaborating transcription factors and histone modifications in prostate cancer cells. We will also apply the genome-wide ChIP technique to clinical samples obtained from different stages of prostate cancer, which would allow identification of critical cis-regulatory sequences contributing to prostate cancer progression.

Weisleder, Noah

Our laboratory studies different aspects of skeletal muscle and cardiovascular physiology, principally focusing on mechanisms of plasma membrane repair, cellular metabolism and calcium homeostasis in normal physiology and how changes in these can contribute to heart failure and various neuromuscular diseases inculding muscular dystrophy, Membrane repair is a conserved cellular process where intracellular vesicles actively patch membrane disruptions to allow survival of the cell. These studies examine the role of tripartite motif (TRIM) family E3 ubiquitin ligases in these processes and how these can be targeted as therapeutic interventions.

Williams, Marshall

DNA replication and repair in eukaryotic cells and herpes viruses.

Yu, Chack-Yung

Molecular biology of the human major histocompatibility complex class III products and eukocyte antigen CD1.

Yu, Jianhua

Objective of first research area is to investigate natural killer (NK) cell innate immune response to tumor cells through understanding signaling pathways, cell activation, cell subsets, and cell development of NK cells. The goal of the project is to perform NK cell-based immunotherapy to treat leukemia, glioblastoma or hepatocellular carcinoma. The second research area is regarding hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). This includes stem cell mobilization and HSCT associated complications such as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and leukemia relapse.

Zweier, Jay

Ischemic Heart Disease, Mechanisms of Postischemic Injury, Free Radicals and their role in Cellular Function and Disease, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Imaging.