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College of Graduate Studies

Molecular Cell Regulation

Robin Muise-Helmericks, Ph.D. - Division Director

Current Students

Molecular Cell regulation encompasses all the functions cells carry out to maintain homeostasis, in particular their responses to extracellular signals (hormones, neurotransmitters, etc.) and how they produce an intracellular response. In addition to these endogenous agents, many drugs and environmental agents use these same mechanisms to produce their most important effects. Numerous research opportunities exist within this program ranging from studies exploring new cell signaling mechanisms, to those examining basic the aberrant signaling mechanisms associated with disease states. Significantly, many of the recent breakthroughs in drug development stem from basic studies on signaling molecules.

The Molecular Cell Regulation program is comprised of over 30 faculty members whose research interests and expertise is related to cell regulation. In addition to a track-specific Molecular Cell Regulation Journal Club, advanced courses in Cell Signaling are available to students who select this track as their major emphasis.


Molecular Cell Regulation Course Descriptions

MCBP-725D/PCOL 747 Topics in Cancer Research
Two presentation formats will be used for the course. Initially, a faculty member will introduce and direct all students in the discussion of selected literature concerning a single topic. Subsequent topics will be presented by individual students in Journal Club style. Each student will have two opportunities to present selected topics during the course and will be active discussants when other students present. Topics to be covered include: Cell Proliferation and Cycle Control Apoptosis Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressor Genes Metastasis Angiogenesis Tumor Invasion Cell Adhesion Cell Migration Signal Transduction and Growth Regulation Molecular Profiling Translation Applications Transgenic and Knockout Models.  Offered in Fall Semester of alternate years.
Prerequisites: None
Credits: 3 (Pass/Fail)
Rosenzweig, Ph.D., and Dennis Watson, Ph.D.

MCBP 743 - Cellular Signaling During Development
This course is designed to build on the Regulation of Gene Expression, Biomembranes, Receptors and Signaling and Systems Biology units of the first year curriculum for Ph.D. and complement ongoing Department-specific seminars and journal clubs. Cellular Signaling during development will provide the students with an indepth look at ongoing research in the field of developmental biology with a strong focus on the signaling networks that control these important processes. It will allow for a broad scope of understanding of the techniques, theories and practices involved in the delineation of cellular signaling in complex systems.  Offered every Spring Semester.
Credits: 3.00
Director: Robin C. Muise-Helmericks, Ph.D.

MCBP 748/BMB 748 Lipids in Pathobiology
This multidisciplinary course addresses biochemical, applied, and translational approaches to the study of lipids.  The course is composed of three main sections: lipid biosynthesis, lipid signaling, and lipids and disease.  The first section is a comprehensive treatment of nomenclature and synthesis of major lipid classes including glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, and sterols, as well as methodology for lipid study.  The second section addresses roles of bioactive members of these lipid classes in regulation of cell signaling and downstream events.  The third section is largely translational, with many lectures on human diseases that involve the lipids and signaling pathways discussed.  This course contains a brief hands-on laboratory segment.    This course is open this to graduate students, residents, postdocs, and third and fourth medical students.
Credits: 3
Director:  Samar M. Hammad (Co-Director:  Ashley Cowart)
Offered every two years in the Spring

MCBP 753 - Cell Biology and Cancer Journal Club
This is a journal club counting for 1 credit hour which will meet 2X per month during the fall and spring semesters. Each student will be required to lead a discussion (approximately 2 hours) on at least one article which has been recently published on a broad range of topics including basic cellular mechanisms, cancer biology and disease. All students will be encouraged to ask questions and participate in discussions. Student presentations will be augmented by the addition of interested postdoctoral fellows and faculty.
Course Directors: Dr. R. Muise-Helmericks and Dr. Alan Diehl

MCBP 762 - Mechanisms of Development
This course will provide a general overview of fundamental developmental mechanisms focused on a comparison of different model organisms. This 7 week long course covers early and intermediate developmental events (gastrulation and cardiovascular), stem cell biology, mouse molecular genetics and gene regulation, perinatal maturation through induction of stemness in differentiated adult cells and regenerative medicine. Comparative systems discussed include Drosophila, zebrafish, Xenopus, chick, mouse models and humans. The course is intended for graduate student training in any aspect of biomedical research. Offered in every Spring Semester (Spring Selectives).
Credits: 3.00
Course Director: Yukiko Sugi, Ph.D.

MCBP 779 - Immunogenetics
Initial lectures will review the fundamental principles of genetics.  The principle focus of the course will be the genetics of human MHC and immunoglobulin allotypes.  Major blood genes will also be discussed.  Statistical methods employed in delineating the genetic contribution to human diseases will be reviewed.
Credits: 2.00
Course Director: Janardan Pandey, Ph.D.

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Molecular Cell Regulation Faculty

Zsolt Ablonczy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Ophthalmology
RPE cell biology, age-related macular degeneration, mass spectrometry

Alexander Awgulewitsch, Ph.D.
Role of Hox genes in cartilage & muscle development and transgenic models for skin and hair defects

John E. Baatz, Ph.D.
Department of Pediatrics, Division of
Non-receptor mediated endocytic mechanisms

Craig Beeson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Drug Discovery and Biomedical Science
Regulation of bioenergetics

Narayan R. Bhat, Ph.D.
Department of Neurology
Glial cell differentiation and myelinogenesis; MAP Kinases in neurodevelopmental and neuroinflammatory cell signaling

Galina Bogatkevich, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
Alveolar epithelial cells and myofibroblasts in pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis associated with scleroderma

Amy Bradshaw, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Role of Extracellular Matrix in the Regulation of  Cell Behavior

Lee Chao, Ph.D.
Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Eukaryotic gene structure, function, regulation, and evolution

Kenneth D. Chavin, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Surgery
Liver transplantation, liver regeneration, and mitochondrial uncoupling proteins

Craig Crosson, Ph.D.
Professor and Vice Chairman for Research
Department of Ophthalmology
Cell signaling system associated with growth factors and GPCR

Stephen A. Duncan, Dphil
Smartstate Chair in Regenerative Medicine
Professor and Chair
Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Liver Development

L. Ashley Cowart, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Regulation of sphingolipid biosynthesis; sphingolipid-mediated transcriptional regulation; diabetic myopathy and muscle wasting

Stephen Ethier, Ph.D.
Professor, Endowed Chair
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Growth Factor/Receptor Interactions, Regulation of Cell Growth Proliferation

Carol Feghali-Bostwick, Ph.D.
Division of Rheumatology and Immunology
Fibrosis, Systemic Sclerosis (SSc), Inflammation

Gary Gilkeson, M.D.
Division of Rheumatology
Control of the inflammatory response

Monika Gooz, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Medicine
Crosstalk among Growth Factors, ADAMs and Integrins

Stanley R. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Signaling mechanisms induced by specific ECM proteins and MMP's

Philip Howe, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Signaling pathways activated by TGFB1 and Wnt and their potential cross-talk in cellular models of differentiation and cancer

Jennifer Isaacs, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Dept of Pharmacology
Role of cancer secreted chaperones as mediators of tumor promotion and metastasis

Christine B. Kern, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology
Prrx Regulation of Extracellular Matrix Genes during Craniofacial Development

Michael Kern, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology
Defining the molecular/genetic circuitry of patterning genes in bone, craniofacial, and cardiovascular development.
Target genes of homeobox transcription factors: microarrays and beyond

Keith Kirkwood, Ph.D .
Associate Dean for Research
College of Dental Medicine
P38/MK2 /signaling and post transcriptional mRNA regulation

Masahiro Kono, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Ophthalmology
Structure and Function of G protein-coupled receptors


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Yiannis Koutalos, Ph.D.
Department of Ophthalmology
Sensory signal transduction and cell biology of visual receptor neurons; regulation of cell metabolism

Dhandapani Kuppuswamy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology
Mechanism of focal complex formation following integrin activation and the role of this complex in altering cell architecture and survival

Roger R. Markwald, Ph.D.
Distinguished University Professor
Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology
Cardiac morphogenesis

Donald R. Menick, Ph.D.
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology
Signal transduction pathways mediating gene expression

Thomas A. Morinelli, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
G Protein-Coupled Receptor Trafficking

Robin C. Muise-Helmericks, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Regenerative Medicine & Cell Biology
Hollings Cancer Institute
Role of the Ets family of transcription factors in angiogenesis and lymphoid development

Anna-Liisa Nieminen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Drug Discovery and Biomedical Science
Mechanisms of photodynamic therapy, Thiol-dependent sensitization of tumors to hypoxic cell killing

Russell A. Norris, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology
Formation of the Cardiac Valves and Pathological Processes that Result in Valve Disease

Besim Ogretmen, Ph.D.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Regulation of cell growth by novel ceramide and reulation of telomerase

Visu Palanisamy, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Craniofacial Biology
Regulation of mRNA stability mechanisms in oral cancer

Janardan P. Pandey, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Microbiology and Immunology
Role of cytokine and immunoglobulin genes in infectious and autoimmune diseases.

Chandrakala Puligilla, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Molecular Induction, Cellular Fate Specification and Patterning of the Mammalian Auditory System

Baerbel Rohrer, Ph.D.
Retinal development and genetics of retinal degeneration

Steven A. Rosenzweig, Ph.D.
Cell and Molecular Pharmacology
Tumorigenesis, angiogenesis, hypoxia-inducible factor, IGF-binding proteins, receptor tyrosine kinases, and protein:protein interactions

Adam J. Smolka, Ph.D.
Department of Medicine
Host/pathogen interactions

Demetri D. Spyropoulos, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Medicine
Mammary gland & male urogenital system development, and hematopoiesis

Elena Tourkina, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology & Immunology
Role of Caveolin-1 during lung fibrosis and inflammation in Scleroderma and other Intenstitial lung diseases

Paula Traktman, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Graduate Studies
Professor, Microbiology & Immunology
We study the cellular protein kinase VRK1 and its roles in regulating nuclear morphology, cell proliferation, cell migration, mammary oncogenesis, spermatogenesis, and oocyte maturation

Dennis K. Watson, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Cancer Genomics
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation

Andy Wessels , Ph.D.
Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology
Cardiovascular Development Biology Center
Cardiovascular Development

Elizabeth Yeh, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Cell and Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Growth factor receptors, Protein Kinase Signaling, Cell death/survival mechanisms


Current Students in Molecular Cell Regulation

Tanjina AkterRan JingAye Mon
Xinh-Xinh NguyenCharles Reese 

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