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Department of

Molecular and Cellular Physiology

Research Areas

The Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology conducts state-of-the-art research into a variety of basic and translational questions.

One major focus of the department is understanding the processes that lead to injury of gastric epithelial cells, and how to reverse those injuries. Experiments are designed to model the aging stomach, gastric ulcers, and gastric cancer. Model systems include normal and mutant mice, tissue culture models, and a transplantation model using mouse- and human-derived gastric organoids.

We are also active in systems-biology research. In particular, we use mathematical simulations to predict the dynamical properties of circadian rhythms and the cell cycle. Predictions from these models are experimentally validated using the tools of genetics and molecular biology. Model organisms range from the fungus Neurospora to mouse.

Other laboratories in the department explore transmembrane ion transport in a variety of systems, including the roles of Na+,K+-ATPase isoforms in skeletal muscle contraction; calcium signaling in normal and cystic cells of the kidney; and iron transport and homeostasis in health and disease.

An additional area of concentration is neurophysiology. In one project, conditional and non-conditional genomic knockout animals are used to study the requirement of critical proteins for neuronal development and maintenance. In another lab, injured nerves in model rats are guided to repair by resorbable magnesium wires.

Many of these projects take advantage of the department's two core facilities: the Live Microscopy Core (including high-resolution confocal and two-photon light microscopy) and the Mouse Core (for in depth analyses of cardiovascular, renal, and pulmonary systems in model mice).

For additional details on these projects, see the research interests listed for the individual faculty members.