Systems Biology Research


Manzoor Bhat, Ph.D.  (Physiology) – We are investigating the genetic and molecular basis of complex and reciprocal interactions between various types of glial cells, which play a key role in axonal insulation, blood-brain barrier formation and axon guidance during Drosophila development. Our lab identified Neurexin IV, Contactin and Neuroglian as key molecular components of the glial- and axo-glial septate junctions and showed that these proteins are crucial for the organization and function of the septate junctions.

Jean Bopassa, Ph.D.  (Physiology) – Our general research interest is to investigate the role of mitochondria in cardio-protective effect of hormones against ischemia/reperfusion injury and heart failure. Our research is focused to determine the molecular mechanism involved in cardio-protection induced by both acute and chronic administration of hormones (estrogen, in particularly).

Tien-cheng (Arthur) Chang, Ph.D.  (Ob/Gyn) – My clinical and research interests include in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete and embryo development, cryopreservation, preimplantation genetic diagnosis and screening (PGD/PGS), embyro implantation, andrology, ART laboratory quality management, as well as nonhuman primate embryology and stem cell biology for modeling reproductive and regenerative medicine.

Lyn Daws, Ph.D.  (Physiology) – The broad area of my research is studying the function and regulation of biogenic amine transporters, including the classical serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine transporters, as well as more recently identified transporters in brain, such as the organic cation transporters and plasma membrane monoamine transporter.

Timothy Duong, Ph.D.  (Research Imaging Institute) – Our lab’s research focuses on the development and application of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), spectroscopy (MRS), and speckle and optical imaging, to the study of brain and retinal anatomy, physiology and function in animal models and humans.

Alan Frazer, Ph.D.  (Pharmacology) – My primary research interest is the mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs. The focus of my lab has been to study how chronic treatment of rats with antidepressants affects the functioning of two monoamine systems, noradrenergic and serotonergic, that are important targets for their clinical effects.

Veronica Galvan, Ph.D.  (Physiology) – The broad goal of my research group is to identify molecular pathways that make the aged brain vulnerable to Alzheimer's, and potentially to other neurodegenerations. Our hypothesis is that these pathways can be harnessed to delay, treat or prevent Alzheimer’s, and we have identified the target-of-rapamycin (TOR), a major regulator of metabolism and organismal aging, as a central driver of AD pathogenesis.

Stephen Harris, Ph.D.  (Periodontics) – In vitro and in vivo approaches to study osteocyte biology.

Feng Liu, Ph.D.  (Pharmacology) – The major focus of our research effort concerns the mechanisms of obesity-induced metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Currently we are using molecular biology, biochemical, and cell biology approaches as well as tissue-specific transgenic and knockout mouse models to identify and characterize key molecules involved in the regulation of glucose metabolism and energy homeostasis.

Daniel Lodge, Ph.D.  (Pharmacology) – Our research centers around how the mesolimbic dopamine system is regulated by afferent structures, such as the ventral hippocampus. We combine in vivo electrophysiology with activation and/or inactivation of afferent structures to examine how these pathways interact to control dopamine neuron output. To complement this systems-oriented approach, behavioral and neurochemical methods are employed to provide an important correlate for changes observed at the cellular level.

Xin-Yun Lu, Ph.D.  (Pharmacology) – My laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms and neural circuits underlying obesity, eating disorders, and depression. Current research focuses on the role of the melanocortin system and adiposity hormone leptin in the control of appetite, mood, and emotion.

David Morilak, Ph.D.  (Pharmacology) – We study the negative impact of stress, and mechanisms for better treatment of stress-related psychiatric disorders. Our focus is on the brain neurotransmitter norepinephrine (NE) and its role in a) acute behavioral, cognitive and endocrine responses to stress; b) adaptive and maladaptive responses to chronic stress; and c) regulatory mechanisms of action of psychotherapeutic drugs.

Les Myatt, Ph.D.  (Ob/Gyn) – Dr Myatt’s research interests are control of fetal placental vascular reactivity, the role of oxidative and nitrative stress in placental function and the regulation of prostaglandin synthesis and action in intrauterine tissues at parturition.

Martin Paukert, M.D.  (Physiology) – Astroglia are recognized for their homeostatic support functions during neuronal activity. Much less is known about how astroglia modulate neuronal activity in a behavioral state-dependent manner. A particular focus of our work lies on understanding molecular events and behavioral context leading to astroglia Ca2+ dynamics in awake mice, consequences for neuronal signaling and alterations of these signals in transgenic mouse models of neurodegenerative and neurobehavioral disease. We are pursuing these goals combining behavioral manipulations with two-photon microscopy and electrophysiology to observe activity in ensembles of neurons and astrocytes with cellular resolution.

Shane Rea, Ph.D.  (Physiology) – My laboratory utilizes the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a facile model organism to help us understand the fundamental mechanisms of aging and mitochondrial dysfunction in humans.

Paula Shireman, M.D.  (Surgery) – Our lab studies the inflammatory-mediated mechanisms of angiogenesis and skeletal muscle regeneration. We are particularly interested in how hematopoietic stem cells, myogenic stem cells and inflammatory cells interact to form muscle after injury and how microRNAs regulate this process. A better understanding of muscle regeneration will be useful in tissue regeneration strategies for limb salvage.

Jim Stockand, Ph.D.  (Physiology) – My laboratory uses a number of contemporary methodologies, including electrophysiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genomics and proteomics, and fluorescence microscopy to investigate regulation of ENaC and aldosterone signaling. We routinely use yeast, bacteria, immortalized cell lines and animals in this regard.

Glenn Toney, Ph.D.  (Physiology) – Major goals for my lab are to provide new knowledge regarding the basic function of specific groups of autonomic neurons and to determine how these groups of neurons are involved in cardiovascular disease. We are currently interested in determining how the PVN contributes to autonomic disturbances that accompany angiotensin II- and sodium-sensitive models of hypertension as well as congestive heart failure.

Michael Wargovich, Ph.D.  (Molecular Medicine) – Our laboratory investigates ways to prevent colon cancer. Our focus is on the chemoprevention of cancer - “Chemoprevention” is a discipline of cancer research that is less than 20 years old and embraces the idea that cancer can be prevented or precancers can be inhibited from progressing to cancer by the use of natural compounds or pharmaceuticals.