Research in the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology is diverse and broadly based, as befits our name, offering exciting opportunities for study across a range of disciplines.
Such diversity complements and strengthens our commitment to answering important questions at the interface between basic research and the mechanisms of human disease and pathology using techniques from across the range of biomedical disciplines.
Among the many experimental and analytical approaches currently employed in the department, those exploiting genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics techniques are being increasingly utilized by a majority of our laboratories.
Broadly speaking, research activities can be classified under one of four major "focus areas" as described below.
Clicking on any of these links, or on the individual topics in the navigation pane to the left, will provide more detailed information on particular focus areas, and on the individual faculty members involved.
Cancer Biology/Developmental Genetics
Numerous avenues of research that directly impinge on cancer development and progression are ongoing, utilizing both human and model organisms. Among the current programs, several are studying the mechanisms of mutation and genetic instability, as well as the influence of viruses or environmental agents on such processes. Several groups are concerned with alterations in cell growth and development and include programs studying a variety of signal transduction pathways, alterations in chromosome structure and the regulation of gene expression.
Cardiovascular Biology/Biochemistry and Disease
The department has several major research programs in "systems biology" aimed at understanding the molecular basis of cardiovascular, pulmonary and renal function in mammals.
Animal models in which the role of ion transporters, signal receptors and molecular motors are investigated using physiological, genetic and imaging techniques can provide novel biological insights into human heart disease, congenital heart defects, high blood pressure and vascular damage.
Microbiology and Pathogenic Mechanism
Of the major medical concerns prevalent in the 21st century, it was once assumed that infectious agents would not likely be among them, presumably having succumbed to 20th century pharmaceuticals. Unfortunately, the challenge to human health from the microbial world remains enormous, as microorganisms evolve into new niches.
We have strong programs in bacterial, viral and fungal pathogenesis that confront several contemporary concerns, including many types opportunistic infections found in cystic fibrosis, AIDS and immunocompromised patients for example.
The department has assembled an outstanding group of investigators having in common an interest in understanding the relationships among structure, dynamics and function in macromolecules.
The very latest instrumentation for both NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography has been assembled in the department to permit detailed investigation of macromolecular complexes integral to processes that participate in the development of cardiac pathology and cancer among others, while allowing investigators the opportunity to create novel small molecule therapeutics or engineered antibodies in response.