Entering Class of 2014

Paul Ahlquist

Email: ahlquist@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://morgridge.org/research/virology/

https://mcardle.wisc.edu/faculty/paul-ahlquist/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Virology; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms by which viruses replicate, interact with host cells, and promote tumor induction and maintenance. Our work spans fundamental studies in cell culture to translational studies with large collections of patient samples. The goals of these analyses are to advance understanding of virus infection and cell biology, and to use the results to prevent and treat virus infection and virus-induced tumors. To these ends, we focus on advanced models for the replication of positive-strand RNA viruses (which include the COVID-19 virus SARS-CoV-2 and many other pathogens); two cancer-relevant reverse-transcribing viruses, HIV-1 and hepatitis B virus; and the DNA tumor virus human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes over 5% of human cancers. Our research integrates molecular genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, cryo-EM and computational biology.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Biophysics Graduate Program, Cancer Biology Graduate Program, Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP)

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Nihal Ahmad

Email: nahmad@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://www.dermatology.wisc.edu

http://metc.wisc.edu/people/nihal-ahmad-phd/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our research focuses on two major lines of investigation; i) mechanism of cancer development, with specific focus on cell cycle and cell death and differentiation, and ii) prevention and experimental therapeutics of cancer by naturally occurring non-toxic agents including plant based agents, vitamins, hormones etc. Specific examples of my active research include 1) studying the role of mitotic regulators such as the serine/threonine kinase polo-like kinases in neoplastic transformation and cancer progression, 2) defining the role of NAD+-dependent class III histone deacetylase Sirtuin family of proteins in development and progression of cancers, and 3) studying the chemopreventive and therapeutic effects of naturally occurring agents such as resveratrol, vitamin E, selenium, melatonin etc., against cancer.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Molecular & Environmental Toxicology (METC), Cellular & Molecular Pathology Graduate Program (CMP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program (CBMS)

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Elaine Alarid

Email: alarid@oncology.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mcardle.wisc.edu/faculty/elaine-alarid/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Physiology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The research goal of my lab is to advance a fundamental knowledge of mechanisms governing steroid receptor function and to better understand how deregulation of these mechanisms contributes to cancer. We focus on estrogen receptor-α (ERα), one of two receptors that mediate the actions of estrogen, and a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily of transcription factors. ERα is one of the most important biomarkers in breast cancer and is used to predict both prognosis and treatment. Agents that disrupt ERα signaling are a mainstay for breast cancer therapy for the majority of patients. Hence understanding what governs ERα expression and activity is especially important as it directly impacts tens of thousands of women who suffer from breast cancer diagnoses each year and who will be prescribed ERα-targeted therapies. Current projects in our lab seek to understand how post-translational modifications govern specificity of ERα function in breast cancer cells and how other transcription factors act in concert with ERα during breast cancer progression and metastasis.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Cancer Biology Graduate Program, Affiliate of Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology Program (ERP)

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Caroline Alexander

Email: alexander@oncology.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mcardle.wisc.edu/faculty/caroline-alexander/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We are testing the hypothesis that mammalian skin is a regulatory metabolic organ which can be exploited to improve systemic metabolism. Our investigation of a mutant mouse strain (mutant for syndecan1; Sdc1) has shown that although these mice are healthy and grossly normal, they have “under-insulated” skins, allowing energy to be lost by evaporative cooling. Along with other mouse strains that show higher heat loss through skins, these mice are dramatically resistant to tumor development. The molecular investigation of skin permeability will allow us to understand how skin controls thermogenesis and total energy expenditure. Specifically, we aim to find out how genetic and environmental factors control the molecular composition of the lipidome of skins to control heat transfer. We use in vivo assays of genetically engineered mice and assays of lipid metabolism in vitro.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Cancer Biology Graduate Program, https://molpharm.wisc.edu

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Daniel Amador-Noguez

Email: amadornoguez@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://bact.wisc.edu/people_profile.php?t=rf&p=amadornoguez

FOCUS GROUPS:

Systems Biology; Molecular and Genome Biology of Microbes; Cellular and Molecular Metabolism

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The metabolic activities of microbes have shaped the evolution of life on Earth, they touch every aspect of our daily existence and have an enormous impact on the environment, agriculture, biotechnology, and human health. Our research program seeks to generate a quantitative and holistic understanding of how metabolic networks are regulated in microbes. We integrate systems-level approaches, especially LC-MS-based metabolomics, with computational modeling and genetic engineering to understand how metabolic fluxes are controlled and how microbes adapt their metabolism in response to environmental challenges and during developmental processes. My laboratory has two several research areas, including metabolic regulation in biofuel producers, metabolic remodeling during biofilm development, biochemical activity of the gut microbiome. 

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP); Masters in Bacteriology Program

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Meareg Amare

Email: mamare@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BA, Biology – Lawrence University
MS, Bacteriology – University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kabbage Lab

Richard Amasino

Email: amasino@biochem.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://biochem.wisc.edu/faculty/amasino/index.html

FOCUS GROUPS:

Plant Biology; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The major developmental change in the plant life cycle is the initiation of flowering. Many plant species have evolved the ability to regulate flowering in response to environmental variables such as changes in day-length or temperature. We have been studying how, at a molecular level, plants sense and respond to these environmental cues to initiate the transition to flowering. Our approach blends genetic analyses to identify genes involved in environmentally regulated flowering with studies of the biochemistry of how the gene products operate.

A summary of past work in Arabidopsis thaliana: We discovered a gene (FLC) that prevents flowering in Arabidopsis unless the plants have experienced the cold of winter. The FLC protein is a repressor that binds to the promoters of genes required for the flowering transition. Exposure to cold (through a process known as vernalization) enables flowering by triggering a stable epigenetic switch of the FLC gene to a repressed state. This epigenetic state of FLC is reset to an active state in the next generation.

Recently, we have shifted to studying the molecular basis of flowering in the model grass Brachypodium distachyon. Grasses are important components of many ecosystems on our planet and are also important crops (wheat, barley, rice, and corn are examples of grasses). Much of the environmental flowering responses in grasses evolved independently of those in Arabidopsis because it was only after the divergence of these the major lineages of flowering plants that continents drifted and climate changed such that a vernalization response was adaptive. We have identified several genes that are involved in flowering control in response to seasonal and developmental cues in Brachypodium. The homologs of these genes are not involved in flowering in Arabidopsis reinforcing the independent evolution of many aspects of flowering control in grasses versus the mustard family (Brassicaceae) which includes Arabidopsis. Our present goal is to further the understanding of how flowering in grasses is regulated at a molecular level.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB); Genetics

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Maya Amjadi

Email: mamjadi@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Biology and BA, Spanish – University of Iowa
Shelef Lab

Karla Anaya Aldrete

Email: anayaaldrete@wisc.edu

Class 2021
BS, Cellular, Molecular, Developmental Biology–University of California Riverside
Ahmad Lab

Richard Anderson

Email: raanders@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://anderson.research.labs.wisc.edu/richard-anderson.html

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Systems Biology; Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The goals of the Anderson lab’s research are to understand the biological roles of cell signaling and the underlying mechanisms by which receptors, cell stresses and second messengers modulate specific cellular processes. The research is currently focused in two broad general areas.

Signaling pathways that control cell proliferation, autophagy and cancer. This research is focused on signaling pathways that regulate multiple cellular processes including cell morphogenesis, migration, growth and differentiation. A major focus is on phosphoinositide lipid messengers. This is within the focus is on the role of growth factor and integrin receptor signaling pathways that controls the morphogenesis, proliferation, migration and cell death with an emphasis on downstream signaling and membrane trafficking of receptors. These pathways are fundamental to most cancers and this work is translated to several cancers by collaborations with other groups.

Signaling to the Nucleus and gene expression. We have discovered and pioneered the investigation of novel nuclear signaling pathways that ultimately control gene expression. Within the nucleus that there are phosphoinositide lipid messengers pathways at nuclear compartments that are separate from known membrane structures. We have shown that nuclear phosphoinositide pathways control the 3’-processing of mRNAs, activation of select transcriptional pathways, and modulation of pathways that posttranslationally modify nuclear proteins. Most recently we have discovered that both wild type p53 (a tumor suppressor) and mutant p53 (an oncogene) are control by phosphoinositide lipid messengers and this regulates all aspects of p53 function. These nuclear pathways are fundamental to all aspects of cellular function and are important in many human diseases.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Graduate Program (MCP), Molecular & Environmental Toxicology (MET)

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Rozalyn Anderson

Email: rozalyn.anderson@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://andersonlab.medicine.wisc.edu

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The Anderson Lab research program focuses on understanding interconnections between metabolism and aging. Reduced calorie intake without malnutrition, a strategy known as caloric restriction (CR), delays aging the onset of age-related disorders in many different species, including rhesus monkeys. There are three linked project areas that focus on the role of metabolism in aging and the role of metabolic regulators in the mechanisms of delayed aging by CR. The first is a highly translational rhesus monkey project involving and interdisciplinary team that explores mechanisms of aging and CR through high resolution molecular profiling. The second area investigates the tissue specific (liver, adipose tissue, skeletal muscle) impact of CR on cellular energy metabolism in mice with complementary mechanistic studies conducted in cultured cells. The third project area investigates the role of metabolic regulators in brain aging and aims to understand the role that metabolism plays in cognitive decline and brain atrophy as a function of age and how age and metabolism intersect with pathology in Alzheimer’s disease.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS)

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Thomas Anderson

Email: tanderson23@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Biochemistry – University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kirchdoerfer Lab

Jean-Michel Ané

Email: jane@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://anelab.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Plant Biology; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

I am a plant geneticist and a microbiologist by training. My primary research interest is understanding the establishment of symbiotic associations between plants and microbes, and the application of this knowledge to maximize the benefits of such associations in agriculture. Our first goal is to understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms allowing symbiotic associations between plants and microbes. We particularly focus on two types of associations: nitrogen-fixing associations with bacteria and mycorrhizal associations with fungi. For this, we are working with various plant genetic models such as Medicago truncatula (legume), Populus trichocarpa (poplar), Brachypodium distachyon (C3 cereal) and Setaria viridis (C4 cereal). We are particularly interested in signals produced by symbiotic microbes and in the plant signaling pathways allowing host plants to perceive and transduce these microbial signals. We are also transferring information from model systems to crops such as soybean, rice and maize. Our second goal is to understand the evolution of these mechanisms in order to identify the critical innovations that allowed the evolution of efficient associations between plants and microbes. Our third goal is to use this knowledge on genetic mechanisms and their evolution to engineer more efficient associations between cereals and nitrogen-fixing bacteria in order to improve the sustainability of our agriculture for food, feed and biofuel production.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP), Genetics Training Program, Plant Breeding & Plant Genetics Program (PBPG), Plant Pathology, Agronomy, Agroecology

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Lisa Arendt

Email: lmarendt@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/lab/arendt/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Obesity is becoming a global epidemic in both adults and children, leading to increased rates of multiple  types  of  cancer  including  breast,  kidney,  colorectal,  pancreatic,  and  esophageal.  Elucidating the role of adipose tissue biology in cancer is critical for prevention and treatment of obesity-­‐associated  cancer.    My  research  goal  is  to  examine  the  interactions  among  the  epithelia  and stromal cells that are deregulated under conditions of obesity leading to tumorigenesis, and our work is currently focused on breast cancer. We are interested in understanding how obesity alters cell signaling among stromal cells, including adipocytes, adipose stromal cells, and immune cells  within  the  microenvironment  of  the  normal  breast,  as  well  as  determining  how  obesity  increases the incidence of breast tumors and promotes the formation of metastasis.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Cancer Biology Graduate Program, Cellular & Molecular Pathology (CMP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERP), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Molecular and Environmental Toxicology (METC)

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Nick Arp

Email: narp@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BS, Biochemistry- Wartburg College
Fan Lab

Alan Attie

Email: adattie@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://biochem.wisc.edu/faculty/attie

FOCUS GROUPS:

Systems Biology; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The obesity epidemic is evoking a parallel epidemic in metabolic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, fatty liver, neurological diseases, and kidney failure. Genetic factors contribute to these diseases and obesity acts as a stressor that elicits phenotypes that might otherwise be silent. Our laboratory uses mouse genetics to identify novel causal and responsive genes leading to metabolic diseases.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), Genetics Training Program, Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS), Genomic Sciences Training Program (GSTP), Cellular & Molecular Pathology  Graduate Program (CMP)

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Anjon Audhya

Email: audhya@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://audhyalab.org/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

All eukaryotic cells contain an elaborate membrane system necessary for the transport and compartmentalization of various proteins and lipids. This architecture permits numerous biochemical and signaling processes to occur simultaneously within specialized organelles. While the core machinery necessary to direct vesicle movement has been largely defined, the regulatory mechanisms that modulate membrane trafficking remain poorly understood. In particular, we are interested in determining how the fates of membrane-associated proteins are regulated by developmental cues. Failure to respond efficiently to such signals can result in a variety of disease states including cancer, neurodegeneration, and diabetes. By combining high-resolution fluorescence microscopy, functional genomics approaches, and in vitro biochemistry, we have been using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), transgenic rats, and human induced pluripotent stem cells to identify critical components necessary for membrane reorganization during development and differentiation.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB)

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Reji Babygirija

Email: babygirija@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Microbial Biotechnology – University of Kerala (India)
MS, Biotechnology – Mahatma Gandhi University (India)
Lamming Lab

Megan Bacabac

Email: bacabac@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Biology – San Diego State University
Xu Lab

Adam Bailey

Email: albailey@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

bailey.pathology.wisc.edu 

FOCUS GROUPS:

Immunology; Virology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The goal of the Bailey Laboratory is to make meaningful contributions to the fight against global infectious diseases. This includes using patient data and patient specimens to study the pathogenesis of infectious diseases in humans; developing new animal models to explore the pathophysiology of viral diseases; using animal models to evaluate new therapeutics and vaccines; utilizing in vitro technologies and high-throughput screens to investigate molecular mechanisms governing host-pathogen interactions; and developing new tools for the diagnosis of emerging infectious diseases. Current projects focus on a variety of areas including the mechanistic basis of hemorrhage in viral hemorrhagic fever; host factors governing yellow fever virus tropism and pathogenesis; virus discovery; and characterization of the immune evasion mechanisms of several RNA viruses. Providing a culture of curiosity, creativity, respect, and rigor in which the next generation of scientists can maximize their learning potential is also a critical component of the Bailey Lab’s mission. 

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Yutong Bao

Email: ybao32@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Human Biology – University of California, San Diego

Janna Bashar

Email: sjbashar@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Biology – Queen’s University (Canada)
MS, Physiology and Behavioral Biology – San Francisco State University
Shelef Lab

Arash Bashirullah

Email: bashirullah@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://pharmacy.wisc.edu/bashirullah-lab/research/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTIONS:

Development after embryogenesis requires exquisite control of signaling between individual tissues to build an adult organism of the proper shape and size. This intercellular communication is directed by groups of specialized secretory cells that release systemic signals; these signals then orchestrate biological responses in target tissues. Once a tissue has received a signal, it can respond by growing, remodeling, or dying. Thus, the interplay between secretion of systemic signals and response in receiving tissues is essential to unfold the genetically-encoded developmental program of multicellular organisms. One of the most dramatic examples of this interplay between signals and responses occurs during insect metamorphosis, the developmental stage that transforms a crawling larva into a flying adult. In the Bashirullah Lab, we combine forward genetic approaches with cellular and molecular biology to uncover novel essential genes and new biological processes that regulate the onset of and progression through Drosophila metamorphosis. We have discovered important new roles for endocrine and exocrine biology during metamorphosis that have important implications for human development and disease.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Genetics, Pharmaceutical Sciences

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Sebastian Bednarek

Email: sybednar@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://biochem.wisc.edu/faculty/bednarek

FOCUS GROUPS:

Plant Biology; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

A major focus of my research program is on two key interrelated processes that control plant morphogenesis; the construction of the plant-specific cytokinetic organelle known as the cell plate and cell expansion. Previous morphological studies have demonstrated that both of these critical processes involve the cytoskeleton and require highly polarized trafficking of protein, membrane and cell wall material to the division plane and specific plasma membrane domains, respectively. However, given their importance in plant development it is surprising how little is known about the molecular mechanisms that guide these interrelated events. Our current research objectives are to understand (1) what are the molecular cues that position the division plane and direction of expansion and (2) what are the cytosolic and membrane factors that interpret this information and subsequently carryout the processes of membrane transport and fusion required for cell plate assembly and polarized cell expansion. To address these issues we are utilizing proteomic, biochemical, genetic and live cell imaging approaches to identify and characterize proteins involved in membrane transport during cytokinesis, polarized cell growth and other cellular process. This information will in the long-term aid in efforts to improve the quality and quantity of plants for food, biofuels and other agronomically important products. In addition, as membrane trafficking is essential in plants and animals our studies will generate fundamental knowledge into the function of evolutionarily conserved membranetrafficking proteins in other eukaryotic systems.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), Plant Breeding & Plant Genetics Program (PBPG)

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David Beebe

Email: djbeebe@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

mmbwisc.squarespace.com

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The Microtechnology, Medicine and Biology lab is focused on the novel and simple use of microscale physics and phenomena to create tools and methods to further biological and medical goals ranging from basic science to research tools to diagnostics.  We are especially interested and engaged in applying the lab’s technologies to cancer, inflammation, multi kingdom interactions,  and global health.  The MMB lab is very multidisciplinary and collaborative, working across disciplines and disease boundaries to create solutions that can be translated into widespread use.

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Ian Begeman

Email: begeman@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Genetics – University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kang Lab

William Bement

Email: wmbement@facstaff.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://bement.molbio.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We seek to understand how cells build transient cytoskeletal structures at the right place and right time. Such structures include the cytokinetic apparatus (which pinches the cell in half) and the “wound array”, a cytoskeletal structure that forms around and closes over the sites of cell damage. In each case we are particularly interested in understanding how the relevant signals (ie for cytokinesis or cell repair) are generated and interpreted by the cell to result in the assembly and closure of the structure in question. We conceptualize these processes in terms of single cell pattern formation: in each case the cell somehow manages to develop a precise signaling pattern at the cell cortex and then converts this pattern into the appropriate structure.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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Andrew Bent

Email: afbent@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://genetics.wisc.edu/staff/bent-andrew/

FOCUS GROUP:

Plant Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We study the molecular basis of plant immune system function. We study initial pathogen recognition mechanisms, downstream signal transduction events that lead to activation of resistance, and unique responses in which the host organism gains resistance by disrupting the basic cellular processes of infected host cells. Most of our work studies soybean, one of the most important crop plants worldwide, and Arabidopsis thaliana, the most successful model organism for laboratory-based plant research.

Three specific areas of study are:

1) The control of soybean resistance to soybean cyst nematode.

2) The role of poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation in plant responses to microbial infections.

3) The structure and function of immune system receptor proteins that carry a leucine-rich repeat domain.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Plant Pathology, Genetics, Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics (PBPG), Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP)

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Anita Bhattacharyya

Email: bhattacharyy@waisman.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.waisman.wisc.edu/stem-cell-research-program/bhattacharyya-lab

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My research focuses on the dysregulation of developmental processes in neurodevelopmental disorders. The research builds on my background in developmental biology, stem and progenitor cells, neural development, neuron/glial interactions, and signaling. My overall goal is to investigate aspects of neurodevelopmental disorders that are uniquely human and therefore necessitate the use of human stem and progenitor cells.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience Training Program (NTP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS)

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Christiana Binkley

Email: cgbinkley@wisc.edu

Class of 2017
BA, Molecular Biology – Kenyon College
Landick Lab

Seth Blair

Email: ssblair@facstaff.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://sites.google.com/a/wisc.edu/blair-lab/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We are currently pursuing two main avenues of research, both centered around the development of the wing of the fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster. First, we have been examining general aspects of pattern formation and cell lineage within the developing imaginal discs, the structures that give rise to the wing and notum. We have been concentrating upon the role of the lineage “compartments” and transcompartmental induction in specifying the basic axes of appendages, and the mechanisms by which both transcompartmental signaling (especially via the Hedgehog and Notch pathways) and the compartmental lineage restrictions are maintained. Second, we have been examining mutations that affect wing patterning as a means of uncovering novel players in cell signaling and signal transduction pathways. We are currently concentrating on signaling via the protocadherins Dachsous and Fat and their roles in proximodistal patterning, planar cell polarity and growth control, and especially how that signaling is transduced by the intracellular domain of Fat. We have also recently worked on the role of the secreted and cytoplasmic proteins in the regulation of BMP, Hedgehog and Wnt signaling.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics, Neuroscience Training Program (NTP), Zoology

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Barak Blum

Email: bblum4@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://crb.wisc.edu/staff/blum-barak/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The research in my lab aims at understanding the molecular regulation of terminal differentiation of stem/progenitor cells, with focus on pancreatic beta cells, and to understand the role of the islet of Langerhans as a mini organ in controlling functional beta-­‐cell maturation. We use both mouse models and human pluripotent stem cell differentiation to identify genetic and molecular regulatory nodes important for the functionally mature cell state, which is determined by characteristic gene expression, and by the correct secretion of insulin to physiologically relevant levels of glucose. We use genetic engineering to manipulate gene regulatory networks and reintroduce diabetes-­‐susceptibility alleles into the cells and the mice, and study the role of the affected pathways in beta cell maturation and the development of diabetes.

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Grace Boekhoff-Falk

Email: boekhofffalk@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://crb.wisc.edu/staff/boekhoff-falk-grace/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My lab is using Drosophila to investigate mechanisms of brain regeneration. We are focused on both the cell types and molecular pathways that contribute to the regenerative response.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience Training Program (NTP), Genetics

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Dennis Bolshakov

Email: bolshakov@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Biology – College of Wooster

Curtis Brandt

Email: crbrandt@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://vision.wisc.edu/staff/brandt-phd-curtis/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Virology; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

1) Injection of viral gene delivery vectors into the eye triggers an inflammatory response. We are trying to identify the trigger so we can block it. Currently we are looking at several pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6. In addition, we are making viral delivery vectors for several labs on campus.

2) Herpes simplex virus (HSV) causes blinding keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) and we are interested in identifying genes in the virus that contribute to severe infection. Recently, we demonstrated that multiple genes are involved and have identified a number of novel mutations in several viral proteins. New sequencing technology allows us to rapidly sequence an entire HSV genome in about a week. This allows us to directly compare virulence characteristics in animal models with the sequence of several strains to identify disease associated markers.

3) We have an active program of antiviral drug discovery and development and have worked with several companies. We have also identified novel antivirals. One was isolated from an edible mushroom that grows in Wisconsin. This novel protein appears to block several previously unknown steps in viral infection. The second group of antivirals is a series of peptides that block virus entry into cells. The peptides block HSV, Papillomavirus, HIV, and vaccinia virus. We have also shown one peptide blocks Influenza including bird flu strains. We are also using peptide based strategies to study protein function. We are currently developing the peptides as novel microbicides to block sexually transmitted viral infections. The peptides are also being used to study the poorly-understood process of viral entry.

4) Gene therapy for ocular diseases. We are currently developing vectors to deliver anti-apoptotic genes to retinal ganglion cells that die in glaucoma. We are also studying microbial proteins that disrupt actin filaments for their ability to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP). Increased IOP is the single most important risk factor for glaucoma.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP), Molecular Virology, Microbes in Host and Disease, Biotechnology

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Annemarie Branks

Email: branks@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BS, Human Biology–University of California San Diego
MS, Biology–University of California San Diego
Harrison Lab

Emery Bresnick

Email: ehbresni@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://crb.wisc.edu/staff/bresnick-emery/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We use multidisciplinary approaches to understand normal and malignant blood cell development/function (hematopoiesis), gene/chromosome regulation (including epigenetics), and vascular biology. Our team has expertise in genomics, proteomics, chemical genetics, and computational analysis, as well as powerful molecular, cellular, and biochemical science.

A major effort involves discovering mechanisms that regulate the genesis and function of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. This program encompasses both basic discovery science and translational/clinical science. Defining such mechanisms has enormous importance, as their disruption leads to the development of adult and pediatric blood cell cancers (leukemias, lymphomas, myelodysplastic syndrome) and additional blood cell disorders, including immunodeficiency. While hematopoietic stem cells are routinely transplanted to treat diverse diseases, their critical long-term repopulating activity is poorly understood and cannot be readily modulated for therapeutic application. Mechanistic insights can be exploited to develop novel approaches to therapeutically modulate hematopoietic stem cells, hematopoiesis, and blood cell malignancies.

Another program focuses on the transcriptional/epigenetic control of red blood cell development and function. Goals of this work include discovering the cause of red blood cell disorders, including anemias and hemoglobinopathies, developing translational strategies, and advancing fundamental knowledge in broadly important areas of biomedical science.

Since GATA-2 controls the emergence of hematopoietic stem cells from hemogenic endothelium, angiogenesis, vascular integrity, and developmental of the lymphatic system, we are studying how GATA-2 functions in the vascular system in normal and pathological states, including cancer.

Dr. Bresnick and his team are passionate about making biological and mechanistic discoveries, translating such discoveries into clinical insights and strategies, and training the next-generation of multidisciplinary researchers/scholars (undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows).

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:  Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Cancer Biology, Medical Science Training Program (MSTP)

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David Brow

Email: dabrow@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://browlab.bmolchem.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

RNA; Transcriptional Mechanisms; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We study eukaryotic DNA transcription and pre-mRNA splicing, using brewer’s yeast as a model system. We are interested in fundamental mechanisms as well as regulation, and focus on how RNA-protein and RNA-RNA interactions direct accurate and efficient gene expression. We utilize biochemical, genetic, genomic and single-cell approaches, and collaborate with structural biologists.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), Genetics

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Jacob Brunkard

Email: brunkard@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://brunkardlab.wixsite.com/brunkardlab

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Plant Biology; RNA Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

TARGET OF RAPAMYCIN (TOR) is a conserved eukaryotic protein kinase that integrates diverse physiological cues to coordinate metabolism. TOR is intensely studied by biomedical researchers for its roles in human diseases, including most cancers, but much less is known about TOR in the other major eukaryotic lineage, plants. Our group investigates the evolution and molecular mechanisms of TOR signaling in model plant species using a combination of approaches, including genetics, functional genomics/proteomics, biochemistry, and cell biology.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics Training Program

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Mark Burkard

Email: mburkard@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://www.medicine.wisc.edu/hemonc/burkardlab

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My research focus is understanding mechanisms of mitotic control, primarily in human systems. To do this, my group has developed and implemented chemical biology techniques to probe kinase function at discrete times and locations within the mitotic cell. Over the next 5 years, this project will focus on dissecting signaling of kinases within the kinetochore, a 200 nm structure that links the mitotic spindle to chromosomes during mitosis. Additionally, we seek to understand how mitotic signaling goes awry in cancer and the impacts this has on the cell biology function of human cancer cells.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:  Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Genomic Sciences Training Program (GSTP)

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Briana Burton

Email: briana.burton@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://burtonlab.bact.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We are interested in the mechanisms that especially bacterial cells use to transport biological macromolecules such as nucleic acid and protein across membrane barriers. We currently study three related systems, i. chromosome segregation at cell division barriers, ii. DNA import into cells, and iii. protein export.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP), Biophysics

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Julian Bustamante

Email: jbustamante@wisc.edu

Class of 2015
BS, Microbiology – San Francisco State University
Spalding Lab

Michael Cahill

Email: michael.cahill@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://cahilllab.wiscweb.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The research of my laboratory focuses on understanding how gene-based alterations identified in schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, and autism spectrum disorders impact neuronal morphology and function. Particular attention is devoted to understanding how disease-associated genetic variants regulate synaptic structure and the receptor content of dendritic spines. Further, using in vivo optogenetics and DREADDs (designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs), my research aims to identify how disease-associated genetic manipulations affect the strength of specific interbrain region connections, and how manipulating the activity of specific connections regulates synapse formation, maturation, and stability, and the consequent effects on behavioral phenotypes.

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Susana Calle-Castañeda

Email: callecastaed@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Biological Engineering and MS, Materials and Processes Engineering – Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellín-Columbia
Schwartz Lab

Mariah Calubag

Email: calubag@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Cellular Neuroscience – Florida Atlantic University
Lamming Lab

Jason Cantor

Email: jcantor@morgridge.org

LAB WEBSITE:

https://biochem.wisc.edu/faculty/cantor

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our lab is interested in combining cutting-edge technologies with novel tools that we develop to better understand how environmental factors influence the metabolic landscape of diverse hematological cancers and normal lymphocytes. We apply a highly interdisciplinary approach that combines principles from biochemistry, engineering, and molecular biology with methods in metabolomics, functional genomics, and chemical genetics

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), Cancer Biology, Biomedical Engineering (affiliate)

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Christian Capitini

Email: ccapitini@pediatrics.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.pediatrics.wisc.edu/research/research-groups/capitini

FOCUS GROUPS:

Immunology; Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

I joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an Assistant Professor in 2011, and lead an NIH and NSF funded laboratory in transplant immunology with a focus on immunotherapy of pediatric cancers. The goal of my research group is to improve graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effects against pediatric solid tumors, and treat any associated graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) using cell-based therapies in models of allogeneic bone marrow transplant (alloBMT). To improve GVT, we are using ex vivo activated NK cells against several GD2+ pediatric tumors in the alloBMT setting. My group was the first to track NK cells in vivo by fluorine-19 MRI. In addition, we are improving the biomanufacturing of CAR T cells against GD2+ solid tumors, and I am a site Principal Investigator for CAR T cell clinical trials for leukemia and lymphoma. To treat GVHD, we are educating macrophages ex vivo with mesenchymal stromal cells (called MEMs) to make them anti-inflammatory, and we are developing MEMs for clinical testing.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), ICTR, Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS)

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Caleb Carlson

Email: clcarlsen@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Biochemistry – University of Wisconsin-Madison

Silvia Cavagnero

Email: cavagnero@chem.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://cavagnero.chem.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; RNA Biology; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our lab focuses on exploring the principles that govern protein folding and misfolding in the cellular environment. The group specifically addresses kinetic and structural aspects and employs a variety of methods including in vitro transcription-translation, incorporation of unnatural amino acids into proteins, fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry, ultrarapid mixing, and cell-free transcription/translation. We are particularly interested in unveiling the general rules underlying the in vivo folding and misfolding of small cytoplasmic proteins at the amino-acid-specific level.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: ChemistryIntegrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP), Biophysics, Quantitative Biology Initiative (QBI)

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Shalini Chakraborty

Email: schakrabor25@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
B.Tech in Biotechnology – National Institute of Technology (Durgapur, India)
Halloran Lab

Qiang Chang

Email: qchang@waisman.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.waisman.wisc.edu/stem-cell-research-program/chang-lab/#research-statement

FOCUS GROUP:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our long-term goal is to understand the molecular mechanism underlying DNA methylation-dependent epigenetic regulation of brain functions.  Our current focus is on the central role of MeCP2 (methyl-CpG binding protein 2), a molecular linker between DNA methylation and chromatin remodeling and transcriptional control, in the development and function of the nervous system.  The functional significance of such a molecular linker is highlighted by the fact that mutations in the MECP2 gene cause Rett syndrome (RTT), a debilitating neurodevelopmental disorder that shares many features with autism.  Naturally, our studies include basic research aimed at understanding the molecular and cellular function of MeCP2 and translational research aimed at understanding disease pathology and developing effective treatment.  These two types of research are tightly interwoven, because on one hand, the need to solve a practical problem in translational research will always influence the direction of basic research; and on the other hand, fundamental mechanisms revealed by basic research will ultimately guide the effort in treating/curing the disease.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience Training Program (NTP), GeneticsMolecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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Edwin Chapman

Email: chapman@wisc.edu

THE CHAPMAN LAB WEBSITE

FOCUS GROUPS:

Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our laboratory studies membrane trafficking and fusion in neurons; our over-arching goal is to understand presynaptic aspects of synaptic transmission and plasticity. To address these questions, our laboratory is divided into three related and highly interactive subgroups:

Nanomechanics of membrane fusion

This subgroup uses a variety of technologies and approaches to understand how proteins catalyze the fusion of lipid bilayers. This includes a nanodisc-black lipid membrane electrophysiology system that allows us to study single recombinant fusion pores with µsecond time resolution. This work has led to new insights concerning the function of SNARE proteins, which form the core of the presynaptic fusion machine, and synaptotagmin (syt) 1, which we have shown – via chemical genetics and other approaches – operates as a Ca2+ sensor that triggers rapid synaptic vesicle exocytosis. We are currently adding-back numerous additional factors, with the goal of reconstituting fusion machines that operate on physiological time scales. We also study membrane fusion using proteolipsomes, including giant unilamellar vesicles that allow us to monitor membrane deformations via light microscopy.  We also use single molecule fluorescence, atomic force microscopy, and DNA nanostructures/origami (to reconstitute fusion pores for cryo-electron microscopy and single particle analysis, among other applications), to address the structure and dynamics of the membrane fusion machinery.

Neuronal cell biology

The main focus of this subgroup is to determine the function of each of the seventeen isoforms of synaptotagmin (syt). We found that a number of isoforms regulate dense core vesicle exocytosis to modulate synaptic transmission, while others are targeted to distinct destinations, including: Golgi, lysosomes, endosomes, and the plasma membrane. In some cases, the same isoform is present in more than one compartment and subserves more than one function in the same cell. We are currently developing new HaloTag/Halo-ligand approaches to identify the organelles that are marked by each syt isoform. This subgroup also seeks to understand: a) how various syt isoforms are sorted within neurons, b) the life cycle of synaptic vesicle proteins as they are created and destroyed, c) how synaptic vesicles themselves are created, and d) the physical properties of these tiny organelles. They also work to assign functions to orphaned synaptic vesicle proteins. This work has resulted in numerous discoveries; e.g. using the RUSH system and a new generation of Halo ligands to study the itinerary of a syt isoform, we recently discovered a new membrane trafficking pathway in mammalian neurons. We also carry out tool development, including new methods to acutely disrupt integral membrane proteins.

Synaptic transmission and plasticity

This subgroup uses electrophysiological and optical approaches (including iGluSnFR [an optical sensor for glutamate release], high speed Ca2+ imaging, etc.) to understand the molecular mechanisms that mediate spontaneous, synchronous, and asynchronous neurotransmitter release in cultured neurons and brain slices. We and others have identified the Ca2+ sensors that mediate these modes of exocytosis and have used this information to tune the properties of synaptic communication. We also study how large dense core vesicle exocytosis converges on synaptic vesicle release, to modulate aspects of synaptic transmission. Another major focus is on short-term synaptic plasticity, including paired pulse facilitation, augmentation, and synaptic depression; these phenomena are regulated by C2-domain proteins in the syt and Doc2 protein families. Numerous aspects of plasticity appear to involve activity-dependent changes in synaptic vesicle docking. As a result, we are extending our imaging efforts to include ‘zap-and-freeze’ electron microscopy, to obtain snapshots of the synaptic vesicle cycle with msec time resolution. Finally, we are developing optical approaches to address the idea of ‘sub-quantal’ neurotransmitter release via ‘kiss-and-run’ exocytosis; this is a controversial topic that has important ramifications concerning how the post-synapse responds to neurotransmitters.

Key Words:

Membrane fusion, synaptic vesicle, fusion pore, neuronal cell biology, synaptic transmission, synaptic plasticity

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience Training Program (NTP), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Biophysics, Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), MD/PhD-MSTP

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Jackie Chen

Email: jchen859@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Biochemistry – University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
Raman Lab

Monica Cho

Email: mcho54@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Bioengineering – University of Pennsylvania
Capitini Lab

Dominic Chomchai

Email: chomchai@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology – University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Bement Lab

Scott Coyle

Email: smcoyle@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.coylelab.org/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Cells are the greatest known molecular engineers, able to build extraordinary microscale mechanical devices and information processing systems that greatly surpass our own capabilities and know-how. How complex cellular behaviors and functions emerge from the organization and control of the cell’s macromolecular hardware is a fundamental question that lies at the interface between systems biology, cell biology and biochemistry. My group is taking a reverse-engineering approach in which we treat cell behavior as the output a microscopic robot driven by patterns of activity acting on different configurations of a common set of molecular components. We apply this approach to chart the systems biology that governs cell behavior in a range of diverse systems, ranging from migration and adhesion in metazoan cells to elaborate animal-like behaviors of complex single-celled protozoans. Long term, we aim to apply this knowledge to explore new frontiers in synthetic biology that rewire cell motility and behavior and to engineer in vitro biochemical systems that emulate the extraordinary capabilities of living cells.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB); Biophysics Graduate Degree Program

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Vincent Cryns

Email: vlcryns@medicine.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://www.medicine.wisc.edu/endocrinology/crynslab

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My laboratory focuses on understanding how tumors adapt to and survive metabolic stress caused by their rapid growth. Our group is widely recognized for identifying the molecular chaperone αB-crystallin as a novel anti-apoptotic protein that inhibits caspase-3 activation and for linking αB-crystallin to triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). We have also developed unique mouse models of metastatic TNBC and demonstrated that αB-crystallin plays a key role in brain metastasis, a devastating complication with few treatment options. Much of our current work focuses on delineating the molecular mechanism by which αB-crystallin promotes metastasis. More recently, we have developed a novel therapeutic paradigm to metabolically prime TNBC to proapoptotic therapy using dietary methionine restriction (MR). My lab demonstrated that dietary MR enhances the antitumor activity of proapoptotic TRAIL receptor agonists by increasing the cell surface expression of TRAIL receptor-2 in TNBC. These preclinical findings were published and highlighted in Clinical Cancer Research and have led to funding for two clinical trials in patients with TNBC. We are currently studying how MR engages the integrated stress response and modifies the epigenome to mediate its antitumor effects.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cancer Biology, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Molecular Environmental Toxicology (MET)

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Nick Cwidak

Class of 2022
BS, Biomedical Science – Indiana University-South Bend

Eli Cytrynbaum

Email: cwidak@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Mathematics – Williams College

Cynthia Czajkowski

Email: cmczajko@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://neuro.wisc.edu/staff/czajkowski-cynthia/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Signaling in the brain and periphery relies on opening and closing of pentameric ligand-gated ion channels (pLGICs). Defects in pLGICs lead to a variety of human diseases. Therapeutic drugs, including muscle relaxants, sedative-hypnotics, anti-convulsants, anxiolytics and anesthetics target pLGICs. Although we know a fair amount about the structure of these proteins, how agonist binding promotes channel opening and drug binding modulates channel function remain unknown. We are using three powerful approaches: luminescence resonance energy transfer, double electron electron resonance spectroscopy and molecular dynamic simulations of fully atomistic models in conjunction with mutagenic and electrophysiological approaches to identify ligand-induced motions that underlie pLGIC function. This knowledge will improve our ability to predict the actions of drugs and ligands that act on these channels, design safer and more effective drugs, and understand how disease-causing mutations effect pLGIC function. In addition, we are working on identifying a peptide in the brain believed to be the ‘brain’s valium’. We hypothesize that the brain can enhance or inhibit GABA-A receptor mediated neuronal inhibition regionally by controlling the processing of this peptide and its cleavage products.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience Training Program (NTP), MSTP, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Biophysics

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Yuling Dai

Email: dai59@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Biology – Wuhan University (China)
Smith Lab

Dawn Davis

Email: dbd@medicine.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.medicine.wisc.edu/endocrinology/davis-lab

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The Davis lab is focused on pancreatic islet biology.  We study adaptive and stress response pathways in the islet, with particular focus on the insulin-producing beta cells. Our goal is to identify novel pathways that promote beta cell growth, survival, and function.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERP), NutriSci/MANTP, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), MSTP

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Debayan De Bakshi

Email: debakshi@wisc.edu

Class of 2016
BS, Biotechnology – Vellore Institute of Technology (India)
Miyamoto Lab

Nina Denne

Email: ndenne@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BA, Biology – Carleton College
Saha Lab

Erik Dent

Email: ewdent@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://dent.neuro.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The goal of my research is to understand the mechanisms of central nervous system development, plasticity and degeneration by focusing on the cytoskeleton. Both nervous system structure and function are highly dependent on the cytoskeleton. The cytoskeleton in neurons is composed of three polymer systems: actin filaments (f-actin), microtubules (MTs) and neurofilaments. Our main focus is understanding how MTs and f-actin interact in space and time during key events in neuronal maturation. Our working hypothesis is that many of the same cytoskeletal dynamics that are vital for neurite formation and axon guidance are recapitulated at later times in development, such as during dendritic spine plasticity and can go awry in adulthood, resulting in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

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John Denu

Email: jmdenu@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://denulab.discovery.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Chromatin remodeling enzymes rely on co-enzymes derived from metabolic pathways, suggesting coordination between nuclear events and metabolic networks. Investigations are underway to understand the link between metabolism and the regulation of epigenetic mechanisms. We are testing the hypothesis that certain chromatin modifying complexes have evolved to exquisitely ‘sense’ metabolite levels and respond accordingly, modifying specific chromatin loci for altered gene expression. We are particularly interested in the aging process and how metabolism and the structure of chromatin affect the gene expression programming of the genome in age-dependent manner. In addition, we are exploring the role of the microbiome in mediating phenotypes associated with dysregulation of the epigenome, and those conditions linked to human disease. The group uses genetic, proteomic and metabolomic tools to address these questions.

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Beatrice Diep

Email: bdiep@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Biochemistry – University of California, Riverside

Huy Dinh

Email: huy.dinh@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

dinhlab.oncology.wisc.edu

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Immunology; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We are motivated by the question of how the tumor microenvironment changes upon cancer progression, before and after treatment, and if we can predict treatment responses based on blood immune cell signatures.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cancer Biology Graduate Program

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Truman Do

Email: tdo4@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Biochemistry – University of California-Los Angeles
Lewis Lab

Hannah Doll

Email: hmdoll@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Biology – Haveford College

Timothy Donohue

Email: tdonohue@bact.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://bact.wisc.edu/people_profile.php?t=rf&p=tdonohue

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our laboratory analyzes pathways and networks that microbes use to grow, generate biomass, or produce alternative fuels from sunlight or other renewable sources of energy. To dissect this fundamentally important problem, we are studying metabolic and regulatory pathways of the photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides. By taking advantage of the R. sphaeroides genome sequence, microarrays, proteomics and molecular techniques we are defining how the energy in sunlight or renewable nutrients is partitioned into processes like cell growth or formation of biofuels. The metabolic pathways, global signal transduction networks, alternative sigma factors, and signals that control expression of well-studied components of the respiratory and photosynthetic electron transport chains are being defined or modelled using mutants, in vitro systems and computational techniques. The long range goals are to identify metabolic and regulatory activities that are critical to bioenergy formation, to obtain a thorough understanding of energy-conserving pathways of agricultural, environmental and medical importance, and to use computational models to help design microbial machines with increased capacity to utilize solar energy, generate renewable sources of energy, remove toxic compounds, or synthesize biodegradable polymers.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics, Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP)

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Katie Drerup

Email: drerup@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://dreruplab.com/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The formation and maintenance of neural circuits relies on the active movement of structural and functional components throughout developing and mature neurons. This is a particularly important and challenging process in neurons with long axonal projections which can extend long distances from the cell body. Neurons rely on molecular motors to be the main driver of organelle and protein localization into axons. These motors use microtubules as tracks and are guided by microtubule polarity. The superfamily of Kinesin motor proteins (~45 in humans) is responsible for anterograde axonal transport towards microtubule plus ends oriented towards axon terminals. Conversely, a single molecular motor, Cytoplasmic dynein, is the primary motor proteins complex responsible for microtubule minus end (cell body) directed transport of cargos. How unique cargos attach to the single retrograde motor for transport to new locations is largely unknown but likely relies on adaptor proteins that link them conditionally to this motor for transport. Our lab uses genetics, live imaging of cargo transport, and biochemistry in zebrafish embryos and larvae to identify novel regulators of retrograde cargo transport in axons.

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Daniela Drummond Barbosa

Email: ddbarbosa@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE

FACULTY WEBSITE

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism, Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine, Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Stem cells maintain the function of many of organs and are also highly influenced by metabolism and physiology. My lab focuses on identifying the metabolic and physiological mechanisms that link the behavior of stem cells and their descendants to diet, stress, and other systemic inputs. To investigate these broadly relevant questions, we take advantage of a powerful genetic model organism, the fruit fly. Fruit flies have well characterized and readily identifiable stem cells, fascinating and complex physiology, and highly evolutionarily conserved biological processes. Our research generates fundamental knowledge about the integration between metabolism and physiology in the control of stem cell lineages in vivo, with potential insights into how deregulation of these processes is tied to stem cell-related diseases.

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Genetics 

Dylan Duerre

Email: dduerre@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Genetics, Cell Biology and Development –University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Galmozzi Lab

David Ehrlich

Email: dehrlich@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

www.neuro.fish

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Neurons orchestrate an incredible array of actions by coordinating movements across the body. Using coordination we make music, play sports, communicate, and move about the world. Even an act as routine as walking requires moving our legs, arms, trunks, and heads in conjunction, and we do it all without a conscious thought. Research in my lab addresses how neurons transform movement goals into patterns of activity that coordinate muscles across the body, and how their synapses encode learning about coordination – particularly as developing animals discover new and better ways to move. We research this problem in zebrafish as they first learn to swim, when their movements are rudimentary because their bodies are simple. Still, by combining these rudimentary movements zebrafish can make elegant actions like hunting prey, evading predators, and navigating flows. Zebrafish possess miniature versions of key neural structures and cell types we use to coordinate our bodies, and because they are transparent, zebrafish offer unrivaled access to these cells. We use electrodes to reveal the operations of individual cells and synapses, and we image activity across cell populations spanning the brain. Our approach affords a unique opportunity to explain not only how neural circuits pattern movements across the body, but also how synapses let neurons cooperate within those circuits. These precise recordings are essential for understanding where and how learning remodels the brain.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Neuroscience Training Program (NTP)

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Richard Eisenstein

Email: eisenste@nutrisci.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://nutrisci.wisc.edu/richard-s-eisenstein-ph-d/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; RNA Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We study the regulation of mammalian iron metabolism by iron regulatory proteins (IRP). IRP1 and IRP2 sense changes in cellular iron status and determine the fate of 9 mRNA encoding proteins the control the uptake and metabolic fate of iron. Recent work from my lab and others has shown that IRP1 also has a major impact coordinating iron metabolism and red blood cell formation, the largest use of iron in the body. IRP1 does this by controlling the translation of HIF-2 mRNA which encodes a transcription factor essential for the adaptive responses to iron deficiency and hypoxia (e.g. anemia). HIF-2 protein controls transcription of the erythropoietin (Epo) gene and Epo is the primary driver of new red blood cell formation. IRP1 is a repressor of HIF-2 mRNA and mice lacking IRP1 overproduce HIF-2 and Epo. IRP1 deficient mice develop polycythemia because the increased Epo drives new red cell formation. Humans with mutations in HIF-2 that stabilize it or those that hyperactivate Epo signal transduction mechanisms develop polycythemia. Our mouse studies provide a model for understanding this human disease but also for the normal developmental regulation of Epo as the consequences of IRP1 deficiency are strongest during postnatal development. Our future studies in mice will also focus on the rare Epo producing cells in the kidney which are crucial for linking iron and oxygen status to Epo production. We are currently developing genetic models in mice to allow us to manipulate gene expression in Epo producing cells and develop means for isolating these cells for further study.

We also study the mechanisms through which IRP1 and IRP2 selectively control the fate of the 9 mRNA they target. Interesting deficiency of IRP1, but not IRP2, dysregulates HIF-2 mRNA translation. In contrast, the other 5 mRNA whose translation is controlled by IRP respond to deficiency of IRP2 but not IRP1. We focus how difference in structure of the so-called iron responsive element (IRE) to which IRP bind may dictate hierarchical changes in translatability of the mRNA. We also study the role of associate translational control elements found in the 5’ UTR of HIF-2 mRNA to understand how these elements “interact with” the IRE to influence mRNA translation rate and sense different physiological signals.

We also study how cells control the biogenesis of Fe-S proteins because RNA binding by IRP1 is controlled by insertion or loss of an Fe-S cluster in the protein. Recent work from our lab showed the existence of a regulatory network between IRPs, the cytosolic Fe-S machinery and FBXL5, a ubiquitin ligase that controls the stability of IRP proteins.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS), Environmental Toxicology

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Christian Elliehausen

Email: elliehausen@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Exercise Science – University of St. Thomas
MS, Kinesiology – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Konopka Lab

Feyza Engin

Email: fengin@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://bmolchem.wisc.edu/staff/engin-feyza/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Transcriptional Mechanisms; Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) results from the destruction of the insulin-secreting b-cells. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, caused by protein misfolding, chronic inflammation and environmental factors, is emerging as a novel concept for diabetes pathogenesis. To cope with ER stress, the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR), a signaling cascade mediated by ER membrane-localized sensors ATF6, IRE1 and PERK, is triggered to re-establish cellular homeostasis. ER stress and aberrant UPR have been shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory and including type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis. However, the role of ER stress and the UPR in pathophysiology of T1D remains incompletely defined. Our lab is interested in understanding the role of organelle dysfunction and cellular stress responses in pancreatic beta cell pathophysiology and diabetes. We have developed unique tissue specific transgenic mouse models to identify the previously unknown functions of endoplasmic reticulum stress and unfolded protein response in type 1 diabetes Our ultimate goal is by using these unique tools and cutting edge methods to prevent and ultimately cure metabolic and autoimmune disorders.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS), Molecular Biosciences (MBTG), Genetics, Endocrinology & Reproductive Physiology (ERP), Physiology, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), Microbiology Doctoral Training (MDTP)

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Jose Ezekiel Espina

Email: jespina@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BS, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology – University of the Philippines
MS, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology – University of the Philippines
Roopra Lab

Sergio Estrada

Email: sestrada6@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Genetics, Cellular & Molecular Biology – Texas A&M University

David Evans

Email: dtevans2@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://pathology.wisc.edu/staff/evans-david/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Virology; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My research program is directed towards understanding host-pathogen interactions for human and simian immunodeficiency viruses. Current areas of investigation include mechanisms of lentiviral resistance to tetherin/BST-2, the role of killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) and MHC class I interactions in regulating natural killer (NK) cell responses, and antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) as a mechanism of protective immunity. Recent studies from my lab have contributed to our understanding of the role of antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) in immunodeficiency virus infection. We developed an assay for measuring the ability of antibodies to direct the killing of HIV-1- and SIV-infected cells expressing native conformations of the viral envelope glycoprotein (Alpert et al. J. Virol. 2012). For its physiological relevance, sensitivity, broad dynamic range, and reproducibility, this assay was selected as one of six primary variables for the immune correlates analysis of the RV144 (or “Thai trial”) vaccine trial (Haynes et al. N. Engl. J. Med. 2012). Using this assay, we found also that the time-dependent maturation of complete protection in macaques immunized with nef-deleted, live-attenuated SIV is associated with progressive increases in ADCC activity against the challenge virus (Alpert et al. PLoS Pathog. 2012). More recently, we reported a general correlation between ADCC and virus neutralization by HIV-1 Env-specific monoclonal antibodies (von Bredow et al. J. Virol. 2016), which indicates, perhaps not surprisingly, that most antibodies that are able to bind to functional Env trimers on virions to block infectivity are also able to bind to Env on the surface of virus-infected cells to direct their elimination by ADCC; however, this correlation was imperfect revealing specific differences in Env epitopes exposed on the surface of infected cells and virions.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP), Cancer Biology, Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP)

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Jing Fan

Email: jfan4@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://morgridge.org/profile/jing-fan/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The overarching goal of my research is to understand how mammalian cellular metabolism is reprogrammed in response to changes in the environment and cellular state, and how activities in key metabolic pathways can in turn affect cell function. To study this, we combine systems biology approaches, especially fluxomics and metabolomics, with computational modeling and biochemical and genetic techniques. Particularly, our current works focus on (1) understanding the metabolic adaptations in cancer cells in acidic tumor microenvironment, and (2) investigating the metabolic regulation during macrophage polarization.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Nutritional Science (IGPNS), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP)

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Alexandra Fister

Email: afister@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Biology – Purdue University
Huttenlocher Lab

Amy Fowler

Email: afowler@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.radiology.wisc.edu/research/research-labs-and-groups/fowler-research-group/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Physiology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My lab is focused on using molecular imaging to better understand the biology of breast cancer including its response to targeted drug therapies and the development of drug resistance. Specifically, we are interested in quantitative imaging of steroid hormone receptors (estrogen and progesterone receptor) since these are well-established prognostic and predictive biomarkers for breast cancer patients. Noninvasive measurements of these biomarkers at baseline and early after initiation of therapy (either alone or in combination with novel targeted drug therapies) is important since this knowledge may help clinicians choose the best drug tailored to each patient based on their specific tumor signaling characteristics and ultimately improve survival.

Currently, our focus is on using 18F-labeled radiopharmaceuticals and imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) combined with computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We are also interested in correlating genomic and clinical outcome information to explore whether quantitative imaging data can yield insight into tumor heterogeneity which is an important factor in disease progression and drug resistance. We also are studying how patient and biologic factors, such as tumor genomic mutations, influence uptake of 18F-labeled steroid hormone radiopharmaceuticals used for molecular imaging.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:  Radiological Sciences T32, ICTR Graduate Program in Clinical Investigation, Cancer Biology

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Catherine Fox

Email: cfox@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://bmolchem.wisc.edu/staff/fox-catherine/

FOCUS GROUP:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The lab examines processes that occur in the nucleus, the “command center” of the eukaryotic cell. A focus is on mechanisms that regulate chromosome replication and genome stability, as well as how these processes are coordinated with chromatin structural changes to allow cells to grow and divide normally. These are fundamental questions in chromosome biology with high relevance to human development and disease. We use Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast) as a model because while the basic mechanisms we study are conserved in all eukaryotic cells, yeast let us apply a vast array of experimental approaches including molecular biology, classical and reverse genetics, genomics, cell biology and biochemistry to address our questions.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), Genetics

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Matthew Freeman

Email: mjfreeman2@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Microbiology – University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Sauer Lab

Max Frenkel

Email: mfrenkel@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Chemistry and Biology – Harvey Mudd College
Raman Lab

Thomas Friedrich

Email: thomasf@primate.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://friedrichlab.vetmed.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Virology; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Where do pandemic viruses come from? How do they evolve to infect humans and overcome our immune defenses? These questions guide research in my laboratory. We seek to understand how emerging and re-emerging viruses evolve to “jump” from other species and become transmissible in humans. Building on a foundation of examining viral evolution under immune selective pressure, we now investigate a range of questions about viral transmission and pathogenesis from an evolutionary perspective. Our work focuses on animal models of viral infection and transmission, but we also study viral infection and immunity in human subjects in order to ensure that our studies are relevant to human disease. Through our discoveries, we hope to contribute to the global campaigns against pandemic influenza, Zika virus, HIV/AIDS, and other emerging and re-emerging viruses.

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Paul Friesen

Email: pfriesen@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://biochem.wisc.edu/faculty/friesen

FOCUS GROUPS:

Virology; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My laboratory investigates the molecular interactions between viruses and their host cell. In particular, we are defining the mechanisms by which the DNA baculoviruses and RNA nodaviruses inactivate host cell defenses and commandeer the host cell biosynthetic machinery for replication. We study the molecular mechanisms by which viruses regulate transcription and how these novel viruses induce and/or suppress apoptosis. Apoptosis (or programmed cell death) contributes to viral pathogenesis, but is also important for maintaining cell numbers during normal development and homeostasis in an organism. Thus, misregulation of apoptosis can lead to cancer or contribute to premature cell death such as that involved in several neurodegenerative disorders. We study a variety of virus-encoded apoptotic regulators that have provided important insight into the function and regulation of cellular components of the apoptotic pathway. Our studies have defined important mechanisms of viral pathogenesis.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), Cancer Biology, Microbiology

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Andrea Galmozzi

Email: agalmozzi@medicine.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.medicine.wisc.edu/people-search/people/staff/7334/Galmozzi_Andrea

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Physiology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My group is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms that control metabolic adaptation in response to environmental stimuli and in pathophysiological conditions. We are specifically focused on obesity and the role of adipose tissue dysfunction during the progression of obesity and insulin resistance. Adipocyte dysfunction is central to the onset of obesity-associated type 2 diabetes and agents that can restore proper adipocyte function have often shown therapeutic effects in vivo. By integrating chemical proteomics, cellular and biochemical assays, and in-depth mouse phenotyping, we intend to identify novel functional pathways in adipocytes amenable to pharmacological modulation that can provide new avenues to treat obesity and obesity-linked metabolic disorders. 

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David Gamm

Email: dgamm@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.waisman.wisc.edu/staff/gamm-david/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Inherited and acquired eye diseases that culminate in the degeneration of photoreceptors and retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) (e.g., retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration) are a significant cause of visual morbidity. Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) provide a novel and promising source of biological material for modeling retinal development and devising cell-based treatments for these debilitating diseases. The aims of my laboratory are as follows: (1) to investigate cellular and molecular events that occur during human retinal differentiation and (2) to generate cells for use in in vitro retinal disease modeling and the development of cell-based therapies for retinal degenerative disorders. A critical component of our effort is the development of better strategies to support the production, maturation, and function of hPSC-derived retinal cells. We developed the first 3D culture method to generate retinal cells from human ES and iPS cells (hESCs and hiPSCs), which has since yielded key insights into mechanisms of early human retinogenesis and probed the authenticity of hPSC-derived retinal progeny, including photoreceptor cells (rods and cones), retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) cells, and neural retinal tissue. In addition, we pioneered the use of patient-specific and gene-modified iPS cells to model retinal disorders and test therapeutic strategies and have advanced efforts to adapt this technology for human use. 

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Audrey Gasch

Email: agasch@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://gasch.genetics.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Systems Biology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The Gasch lab combines functional and comparative genomics with computational and molecular biology, for a systems-wide view of eukaryotic stress defense and signaling. We are interested in how cells sense their environment, detect when there is a problem, and then mount a multi-faceted response to protect themselves against stress.  We study these topics in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model for basic biology.  Because defects in sensing and responding to cellular stress are linked to many human diseases, and because much of yeast physiology is similar to human cells, our research is generating important insights into how normal cells function and when problems cause disease.   In addition to addressing fundamental questions about basic biology, we also apply this information to producing sustainable and economical biofuels from cellulosic materials, through research in the GLBRC.  Because yeast stress is a critical bottleneck in generating economical fuels from available biomass, our research is advancing this area by using our knowledge to engineer yeast for industrial use.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics, Microbiology (MDTP), Medical Scientsit Training Program (MSTP), Genomic Science Training program (GSTP), Computation and Informatics in Biology and Medicine (CIBM), Aging

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Marissa Gaskill

Email: mgaskill@wisc.edu

Class of 2016
BS, Biological Sciences and MS, Biotechnology and Business – University of Notre Dame
Harrison Lab

Ying Ge

Email: ge2@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://ge.crb.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Physiology; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My career goal is to redefine molecular mechanisms in heart failure and cardiac regeneration through systems biology approaches and translate the bench discoveries to the clinic. My research is highly interdisciplinary at the interface of chemistry, biology and medicine. I have developed a keen interest in myocardial biology/heart failure and established a vibrant and externally funded research program in cardiovascular proteomics and systems biology. By creatively integrating my expertise in chemistry/proteomics with cardiac biology/medicine, I aim to develop fundamental principles that can provide transformative insights into the understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms in cardiac diseases and regeneration, to identify new molecular targets for diagnosis, and ultimately provide novel treatments for heart failure. It is my belief that in order to make significant impact in molecular medicine, we need to combine technological advances with molecular and cellular biology and bridge the silos between basic and translational/clinical research.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Chemistry, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Chemical-biology Interface Training Program, Cardiovascular Training Program

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Stephanie Geller

Email: sgeller2@wisc.edu

Class of 2017
BS, Biology – University of Minnesota-Duluth
McClean Lab

Tyler Gibson

Email: tjgibson2@wisc.edu

Class of 2017
BA, Biology – Earlham College
Harrison Lab

Morgan Giese

Email: magiese@wisc.edu

Class of 2017
BS, Molecular and Cellular Biology – University of Puget Sound
Huttenlocher Lab

Simon Gilroy

Email: sgilroy@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://gilroylab.botany.wisc.edu/Welcome.html

FOCUS GROUPS:

Plant Biology; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We are interested in how plants sense and respond to their environment and how these signals regulate plant development. The research emphasis of the lab is to try and understand these processes at the cellular and molecular level. The specific biological questions we are addressing at the moment include: How do roots and shoots sense and respond to pathogen, wounding and touch stimuli and how does spaceflight alter regulatory networks in biological systems? We approach these questions by combining microscopy-based assays, such as confocal microscopy with the development and application of novel fluorescent probes/imaging techniques to monitor signaling components such as Ca2+, ROS and cGMP. These imaging techniques are coupled to analysis of responses in mutant lines or those engineered to over- or under-express a gene of interest. We also apply a wide range of transcriptomic and bioinformatics-based analyses to try and define response network architectures.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Botany

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Alexey Glukhov

Email: aglukhov@medicine.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

Glukhov Lab

FOCUS GROUPS:

  • Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine
  • Membrane Biology and Protein Trafficking
  • Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our laboratory is a part of the Cellular and Molecular Arrhythmia Research Program (CMARP) involving multiple investigators working on a wide range of research projects exploring the molecular function of ion channels in human physiology, pharmacology, and disease. Our research interests are focused on studying cellular and molecular mechanisms of cardiac excitability and contractility, neurohormonal regulation of cardiac physiology, and mechanisms of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). We use electrophysiology, cell biology, molecular biology techniques, and various state-of-the art imaging modalities to identify triggers and treatments of cardiac disease. The primary goal of our research is to improve the health of people with cardiac arrhythmias, including the most common abnormal heart rhythm, atrial fibrillation, affecting about 2% to 3% of the Western population. To accomplish this, we aim to identify novel diagnostic tools and therapeutic targets through investigation of mechanisms of cardiac remodeling and arrhythmogenesis.

Our group has a multidisciplinary background that includes expertise in physiology, cell biology, biomedical engineering, biophysics, and confocal microscopy. We employ several state-of-the-art techniques, including high-resolution fluorescent optical mapping and scanning ion conductance microscopy (SICM) equipped with “smart” patch-clamp. This unique set of skills and experimental techniques allow us to investigate mechanisms of arrhythmias across multiple scales from protein expression, localization and function, to electrical and mechanical activity of an intact heart. Our research is specifically focused on elucidating the functionality of subcellular nanodomains and their role in regulation of proteins responsible for normal and pathophysiological electro-mechanical activity of the heart. We pursue two main directions: (1) determining the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying normal electrical activity and dysfunction of the sinoatrial node, the heart’s natural pacemaker, and (2) discovering novel strategies for atrial fibrillation treatment and risk stratification.

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COMPLETE LIST OF PUBLICATIONS:

Timothy Gomez

Email: tmgomez@facstaff.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://neuro.wisc.edu/staff/gomez-timothy/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The long-term objective of our research is to better understand the intracellular signaling cascades and effector mechanisms responsible for axon outgrowth and pathfinding in the developing central and peripheral nervous systems. For this we must understand how nerve growth cones detect, integrate and respond to soluble and substratum-associated guidance molecules. Mutations in genes involved in the detection and transduction of axon guidance information into directed neurite outgrowth are responsible for many deficits in cognitive function, including autisms, dyslexias and other learning disabilities. By studying the cellular, physiological and molecular mechanisms that govern normal axon outgrowth and guidance, we hope to identify potential sites of therapeutic intervention.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience Training Program (NTP)

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Anne Griep

Email: aegriep@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://crb.wisc.edu/staff/griep-anne/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The focus of the work in the Griep lab is on determining how certain tumor suppressors regulate epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation in vivo and the mechanisms through which disease occurs when these factors are rendered nonfunctional. The specific tumor suppressors of interest to us have included the product of the retinoblastoma susceptibility gene and two PDZ domain containing proteins, Discs-large 1 (Dlg-1) and Scribble (Scrib). We use a variety of genetic, molecular, cell biological and embryological techniques, including transgenic and knockout mice and related tissue culture systems to study this issue, primarily in the mouse eye as our model system.

Studies many years ago showed that functional pRb is essential for normal cell cycle regulation and lens differentiation, at least in part through its ability to repress the activities of the E2F-1 transcription factor. Other studies showed that pRb along with its family members are required to maintain normal cell cycle regulation in the progenitor cells in the lens epithelium.

The current work in the Griep lab is to elucidate the mechanisms through which epithelial cell shape, adhesion and polarity (both apical-basal and planar cell) influence cell growth and differentiation. These studies are focused on understanding the roles of two PDZ domain containing proteins, Dlg-1 and Scrib in mouse development. In Drosophila their homologs are known to be neoplastic tumor suppressors that regulate adhesion, cell polarity and proliferation. However, very little is known of the role of Dlg-1 and Scrib in mammalian species. Our recent findings suggest that Dlg-1 and Scrib fulfill similar roles in the lens. In addition, we discovered that Dlg-1 is a regulator of developmental processes in the mouse that are associated with planar cell polarity (or sometimes referred to as tissue polarity) genes. It has recently been discovered by colleagues in the field that the lens is subject to regulation by the Wnt/planar cell polarity pathway. We have discovered that Scrib and Dlg-1 interact with a core PCP protein, Vangl2 and that at the genetic level, these genes interact to regulate the shape of the differentiated cells of the lens, and hence their organization into the overall tissue. Unexpectedly, Dlg-1 and Scrib appear to have opposing activities on cell shape and the activation of Wnt/PCP, suggesting that they act on different factors in a common pathway. Scrib also is required very early in lens development as a suppressor of epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Future work will be aimed at elucidating further the molecular pathways that are regulated by Dlg-1 and Scrib and how they coordinate tissue polarity, cell shape and adhesion with cell proliferation and differentiation.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cancer Biology, Genetics, Molecular and Environmental Toxicology

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Yevgenya Grinblat

Email: ygrinblat@facstaff.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://grinblat.neuro.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUP:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We investigate conserved genetic mechanisms that control vertebrate embryogenesis by focusing on a conserved family of zinc-finger transcription factor genes, the Zinc-Finger-in-the-Cerebellum (Zic) family. Zics are essential for normal brain morphogenesis in mammals; in humans, mutations in Zic1 are associated with cerebellar malformations, and mutations in Zic2 are associated with holoprosencephaly, the most prevalent congenital malformation of the cerebral cortex. We use an experimentally accessible model organism, the zebrafish (Danio rerio), to elucidate the mechanisms of Zic function in the developing embryo. By leveraging the unique strengths of zebrafish, i.e. the ease of direct observation and genetic manipulation, we have identified novel roles for Zic2 in two essential signaling pathways widely used during development, the Wnt and Hedgehog pathways. We have identified key roles for Zic2 during brain morphogenesis as well as the formation of the neural retina/brain interface and of the adjacent craniofacial cartilages that form frontonasal and jaw structures.   With robust mutant-based models in hand, we are working to gain an in-depth understanding of the important, yet poorly understood mechanisms that underlie conserved requirements for Zic function during vertebrate embryogenesis.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics, Zoology

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Guy Groblewski

Email: groby@nutrisci.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://nutrisci.wisc.edu/guy-e-groblewski/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My research is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate protein secretion from digestive epithelia. Most of our work is conducted using pancreatic acini, as these cells provide a highly differentiated and polarized cell model with intact constitutive and Ca2+-regulated secretory pathways. Studies directed to understanding membrane trafficking in acinar cells are of particular importance as the major pancreatic diseases, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, appear to arise from pathophysiological alterations in this process.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Nutritional Science IGPNS

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Wei Guo

Email: wguo2@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://andysci.wisc.edu/directory/wei-guo/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; RNA Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

For genes to produce their final functional products (proteins or non-coding RNAs), the RNA transcripts need to be extensively processed after transcription, including splicing, modification, transportation, translation and eventual degradation. RNA binding proteins (RBPs) are important regulators in each step of the complex processes of RNA metabolism and are increasingly recognized as critical regulators in myogenesis, muscle hypertrophy and disease. Hence, the research program in Guo lab is focused on understanding the role of RBPs in RNA metabolism in myogenesis, muscle growth and disease. The long-term goal in Guo lab is to develop RNA-based approaches to improve human health and animal production efficiency through biomolecules and animal biologics identified from animal co-products.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Molecular and Environmental Toxicology (MET)

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Luis Haddock-Soto

Email: haddocksoto@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Cell and Molecular Biology – University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
MS, Molecular Microbiology in Bioinformatics – Interamerican University of Puerto Rico-Metropolitan
Friedrich Lab

Mary Halloran

Email: mchalloran@facstaff.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://integrativebiology.wisc.edu/staff/halloran-mary/

FOCUS GROUP:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our research is aims at understanding how axons are guided to their targets during development of the nervous system. Several families of molecules have been identified that can act as axon guidance cues by either attracting or repelling the motile growth cone at the tip of the growing axon. There is still relatively little known about how axonal growth cones are guided in the complex in vivo environment, where they must integrate multiple cues. We are investigating the function of guidance molecules in vivo using the zebrafish embryo as a model system. The zebrafish is a simple vertebrate with rapidly developing, optically transparent embryos ideal for visualizing developing axons. We use genetic and molecular manipulation of potential guidance cues combined with live imaging of growing axons to determine how guidance cues function in vivo to control the formation of neural connections.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience Training Program (NTP)Genetics

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Jessica Han

Email: jhhan3@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Biochemistry – Arizona State University
PSM, Nanoscience – Arizona State University
MS, Biomedical Informatics – Research Affiliate-Mayo Clinic
Denu Lab/Rey Lab

Jeffrey Hardin

Email: jdhardin@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://worms.zoology.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our laboratory studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms of cell adhesion and cell movements during embryonic development, using C. elegans as a model organism. We are interested in (1) the cellular and molecular mechanisms of cell rearrangement; (2) the cellular and molecular mechanisms of epithelial sheet sealing; and (3) the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying cadherin-based adhesion during morphogenesis. We use genetics, high resolution 4d imaging of tagged proteins in living embryos, biochemistry, and embryology to study these processes.

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Zack Harmer

Email: zharmer@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Biology –University of Utah
McClean Lab

Melissa Harrison

Email: mharrison3@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://harrisonlab.bmolchem.wisc.edu

FOCUS GROUPS:

Transcriptional Mechanisms; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Research in the Harrison lab is focused on understanding how the genomic code is interpreted over the course of development and how mutations in this code can lead to disease. Because all cells of an organism contain essentially the same DNA genome, it is how this genome is read out over development that can give rise to the diversity of cell types found in the adult. Using the many tools available for studies in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, we are working to understand how cell fate is regulated by gene expression and how specific proteins can control what regions of the genome are being actively transcribed. Work in the lab currently focuses on a number of conserved developmental transitions including (1) how the embryonic genome is initially activated after fertilization, (2) how neural stem cell number is precisely controlled to inhibit tumor formation, and (3) how epithelial cell fate is regulated.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), Genetics, MSTP

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Peiman Hematti

Email: pxh@medicine.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://stemcells.wisc.edu/staff/hematti-peiman/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Peiman Hematti, MD is Professor of Medicine in section of Hematology/Oncology, UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, with joint appointments in departments of pediatrics, surgery and biomedical engineering. He is director of Clinical Hematopoietic Cell Processing Laboratory, and medical director of Apheresis and Hematopoietic Cell Collection facility at University of Wisconsin-Madison, overseeing bone marrow and stem cell collections, and clinical processing procedures for hematopoietic cell transplantation or other cellular therapy applications at UW-Madison Hospital and Clinics. In addition to participating in clinical care of bone marrow stem cell transplant patients Dr. Hematti is a co-investigator on many novel cellular therapy clinical trials. His clinical research interest is in the prevention and treatment of graft versus host disease and other post-transplant immunological complications, novel cellular therapies for cancer treatment, and use of bone marrow stem cells in regenerative medicine. Dr. Hematti’s laboratory research focuses on immunobiology of stem cell transplantation with a special focus on investigating the immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties of macrophages. Dr. Hematti is collaborating with many investigators on the UW-campus studying the potential of cellular therapy in many different pre-clinical models with the goal of translating those discoveries into early phase clinical trials.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Biomedical Engineering

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Gaelen Hess

Email: ghess3@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://bmolchem.wisc.edu/staff/hess-gaelen

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Systems Biology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We use high-throughput screening platforms and next-generation sequencing to perform functional genomics in mammalian cells. We use these technologies to explore how genotypes are related to human health, including disease state and treatment response. These tools are broadly applicable, but our lab uses them to explore mammalian DNA repair and transcriptional regulation, common targets for therapeutic intervention in cancer. In addition to identifying new machinery, we investigate how host and pathogenic factors perturb these processes and alter the response to therapeutic strategies. 

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB)Genetics Graduate Program

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Chris Hittinger

Email: cthittinger@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://hittinger.genetics.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Hemiascomycete yeasts related to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida albicans, and Pichia stipitis encompass hundreds of described species that adopt a variety of strategies for consuming and processing the energy stored in a variety of carbon compounds. Like most living organisms, many of these yeasts adopt the ancestral and energy-efficient carbon utilization strategy of respiring when oxygen is present. Howerver, S. cerevisiae and its relatives ignore the presence of oxygen and ferment simple sugars when they are abundant. Much of this evolutionarily derived response is due to differences in the transcriptional regulatory networks, and we seek to discover which regulatory changes have occurred, determine when they occurred (through comparative methods and ancestral state inference), and understand the molecular mechanisms by which these changes were accomplished. Yeasts also vary greatly in terms of which carbon sources can be utilized for energy, and recent studies show that such variation can evolve rapidly and can even be maintained within individual species. Such variation is often encoded in modular gene networks, such as the galactose (GAL) utilization network that we have developed as a model for evolutionary systems biology and molecular evolution. We seek to understand how this variation is encoded in the genome and how its functions are executed at a molecular level.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics, Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP), Botany, Zoology/iBio

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Lila Hoachlander-Hobby

Email: hoachlanderh@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BS, Biology – University of Massachusetts Amherst
Bement Lab

Mrinalini Hoon

Email: mhoon@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The Hoon Lab is interested in identifying the cellular, molecular and environmental factors that regulate the formation of stereotypic connectivity between diverse retinal nerve cells during development and that degrade retinal connectivity during disease. Combining multi-transgenic approaches in the mouse retina together with high-resolution light and electron microscopy, single cell profiling and electrophysiological approaches our lab aims to identify both activity-dependent and independent mechanisms that regulate circuit formation and function in the mammalian retina. Knowledge about connectivity disruptions during diseased and degenerating conditions can fuel generation of novel therapeutic tools for mitigating the pathology of blinding diseases.

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Troy Hornberger

Email: troy.hornberger@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/lab/hornberger/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

It is well recognized that mechanical stimuli play a major role in the regulation of skeletal muscle mass, and that the maintenance of muscle mass contributes significantly to disease prevention and the quality of life. Although the link between mechanical signals and the regulation of muscle mass has been recognized for decades, the molecular mechanisms that drive this process remain poorly defined. Hence, the long-term goal of our research is to determine how skeletal muscles sense mechanical information and convert this stimulus into the molecular events that regulates changes in muscle mass (i.e., mechanotransduction).

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), Kinesiology, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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Andrew Hryckowian

Email: Hryckowian@medicine.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://hrycklab.medicine.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our goal is to understand the molecular and genetic underpinnings of gut microbiome community dynamics. This work is necessary in order to build the concepts and approaches needed to cope with “problematic” microbial communities, such as those that predispose and perpetuate gastrointestinal infectious diseases. We employ in vitro and in vivo approaches (including gnotobiotic and conventional mouse models) and a variety of molecular and genetic techniques. We will also work with collaborators at UW Hospitals and Clinics to reciprocally inform our work and to translate our findings into clinical practice.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP)

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Shih-Ming (Annie) Huang

Email: shuang454@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BS, Biology – Brandeis University
MS, Biology – Brandeis University
Merrins Lab

Zhen Huang

Email: z.huang@neurology.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.neurology.wisc.edu/huang-lab

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Transcriptional Mechanisms; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We are interested in how brain neural and vascular development is regulated by radial glial neural progenitor cell signaling. For brain vascular development, we are studying the molecular signaling mechanisms by which radial glia regulate nascent vessel stabilization. For brain neural development, we are studying how intracellular signaling and transcriptional regulation in radial glia control the timing of brain astroglial development and prevents neuronal migration disorder.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience Training Program (NTP), Genetics

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Christina Hull

Email: cmhull@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

The Hull Lab

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The incidence of disease caused by fungi has risen sharply over the last two decades, and severe fungal diseases are often life threatening and difficult to treat. As a group, the human pathogenic fungi have been difficult to study, but the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans has been useful in both molecular and genetic analyses, making it an excellent system for studying human fungal pathogens. Using biochemical, genetic, molecular, bioinformatic, and cell biological approaches we are elucidating the basic processes and molecular mechanisms important for C. neoformans to undergo sexual development (gene regulation, protein-DNA interactions, transcriptional networks), determining the resistance, growth, and surface properties of spores (cell differentiation, developmental biology), and investigating how spores interact with the host immune system in mice (immunology, virulence).

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP), Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), and Genetics

PUBMED PUBLICATIONS

Anna Huttenlocher

Email: huttenlocher@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://huttenlocher.labs.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The focus of my research is on understanding the basic molecular mechanisms that regulate cell migration and how they are altered in disease. We use zebrafish to image cell migration in vivo using real time imaging, optogenetic tools and models of human disease and host pathogen interactions.

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Tu-Anh Huynh

Email: thuynh6@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://sites.google.com/view/huynhlab/home?authuser=1

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Immunology: Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My research program investigates signaling mechanisms that mediate bacterial pathogenesis and adaptation. We currently focus on c-di-AMP, which is required for bacterial growth and infection. Within bacteria, c-di-AMP also regulates many cellular processes, such as central metabolism, turgor pressure maintenance, DNA damage repair, and biofilm formation. C-di-AMP is absent in eukaryotes, and bacteria-derived c-di-AMP triggers robust immune responses during infection of the host. Additionally, the accumulation of c-di-AMP is also toxic to bacterial virulence. Employing the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes as a model, we’re pursuing the following aspects of c-di-AMP signaling: i) What are the biological functions of c-di-AMP binding proteins in bacteria and infected host cells? ii) What are the mechanisms by which c-di-AMP regulates its protein targets? iii) High-throughput screens for inhibitors of c-di-AMP hydrolysis for use as antibiotics or antibiotic adjuvants. We’re also beginning to investigate the essential roles of c-di-AMP in Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, a human commensal bacterium.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), Food Science

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Rodrigo Ibarra

Email: ribarra@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Biotechnology Engineering
MS, Biotechnology

Meyer Jackson

Email: mbjackso@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://ntp.neuroscience.wisc.edu/staff/jackson-meyer-b/

FOCUS GROUP:

Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our research focuses broadly on the function of nerve terminals, both how their neurotransmitter-filled vesicles fuse with the plasma membrane and how their excitability regulates the entry of Ca2+ to trigger membrane fusion. Our investigations of presynaptic mechanisms often take us into detailed studies at the molecular level, but we also venture in the opposite direction into questions about neural circuitry. To address these questions we employ the electrophysiological methods of patch clamping and amperometry, as well as a variety of forms of microscopy to image voltage and Ca2+.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biophysics, Neuroscience Training Program (NTP), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Biomedical Engineering, Genomic Science

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Justin Jagodinsky

Email: jagodinsky@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Biology – Coe College
Morris Lab

Megan Jandy

Email: jandy@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Biology – University of Central Florida

Zena Jensvold

Email: jensvold@wisc.edu

Class of 2017
BS, Biology – University of Oregon
Lewis Lab

Keer Jiang

Email: kjiang35@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Biology – University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jorgensen Lab

Zhongmou Jin

Email: zjin59@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Cell Biology & Biochemistry – University of California, San Diego

Eric Johannsen

Email: ejohannsen@medicine.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://www.medicine.wisc.edu/people-search/people/staff/1118/Johannsen_Eric

FOCUS GROUPS:

Virology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

I study the role of EBV nuclear proteins in B lymphocyte transformation and EBV biology. Much of my work has been focused on understanding the complex interactions between these proteins and the cell transcription factor RBP-Jk. Remarkably 4 of the 6 EBV nuclear antigens (EBNAs) expressed during latent infection of B cells interact with this DNA binding protein in the Notch signalling pathway. EBNA2 acts much like a ligand indepent Notch protein, activating viral and cell gene expression by targeting RBP-Jk bound to promoters.   The other three proteins (EBNA3A, EBNA3B, and EBNA3C) are more subtle in their effects and may destabilize RBP-Jk binding to DNA. For a long time it was unclear if the EBNA3-RBP-Jk interactions were important at all. Our recent genetic evidence has shown that EBNA3A and EBNA3C must each interact with RBP-Jk binding for B lymphocyte transformation to occur. However, it remains unclear what molecular events are downstream of EBNA3 binding to RBP-Jk. In particular, are these complexes associated with promoters and why are both EBNA3A and EBNA3C required for growth transformation while EBNA3B is not?

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Steven John

Email: svjohn@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Biology – The College of New Jersey
Fan Lab

Jeffrey Johnson

Email: jeffrey.johnson@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://apps.pharmacy.wisc.edu/sopdir/jeffrey_johnson/

FOCUS GROUP:

Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The goals of my research are to determine the potential for Nrf2 to be a viable therapeutic target in the treatment of neurodegenerative disease. We have ongoing studies using mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), Huntington’s disease (HD), nerve degeneration/regeneration, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We use multiple transgenic mouse models of neurodegenerative as well as cell-specific transgenics overexpressing Nrf2 to study the effects of Nrf2 on neurodegeneration. In addition, we are actively attempting to identify novel Nrf2 activating molecules that cross the blood-brain-barrier and attenuate the development and/or progression of neurodegenerative disease. Identification of multiple new classes of molecules (either synthetic or natural products) that activate the Nrf2 pathway have the potential to impact a wide range of neurological diseases where the Nrf2 pathway has been implicated in slowing disease progression. These include not only AD, PD, ALS and HD but also multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury.

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Joan Jorgensen

Email: joan.jorgensen@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/people/jsjorgensen/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Physiology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We use genetic and molecular approaches to understand developmental processes required for fetal gonadogenesis. Specific investigations focus on cell-cell interactions that promote follicle formation and oocyte survival and the onset and maintenance of steroidogenesis in developing female and male gonads respectively. New knowledge gained from developmental studies is extended to sex specific adult diseases, in particular, premature ovarian failure in females and the onset of steroidogenesis in aggressive castration resistant prostate cancer in males.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Comparative and Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERP), Molecular and Environmental Toxicology (METC), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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Soyoung Jung

Email: jung84@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Horticultural Science – National Seoul University
MS, Horticultural Science – National Seoul University
Maeda Lab

Mehdi Kabbage

Email: kabbage@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://plantpath.wisc.edu/assistant-professor-mehdi-kabbage/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Plant Biology; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

As a mycologist, with an interest in plant fungal interactions, my overall research goal is to generate a complete description of necrotrophic fungal pathogenesis. Plant associated fungi and oomycetes have adopted different lifestyles and strategies to achieve pathogenic success. Necrotrophic pathogens, by definition, require dead host cells for nutrient acquisition. I am interested in understanding how cell death pathways are modulated in response to the fungal necrotroph Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, a highly successful pathogen on many dicot plants, as well as identifying effectors associated with its pathogenesis. Because the control of cell death is crucial to the outcome of many plant-­‐fungal interactions, I am also interested in identifying the mechanistic details of plant programmed cell death in the context of stress tolerance and disease resistance.

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Betul Kacar

Email: bkacar@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.ancientbiology.org

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; RNA Biology; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our research focuses on reconstructing molecular time machines to explore and attempt to rebuild lost histories. We use tools drawn from synthetic biology, molecular biology and evolutionary biology to tackle challenging questions in life sciences that will allow us to understand life’s fundamental innovations. We hope to reveal underlying molecular mechanisms that are directly and indirectly responsible for maintaining conditions of habitability on our planet’s surface.

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Lindsay Kalan

Email: lkalan@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://kalanlab.mmi.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Living in us and on us are trillions of microorganisms; bacteria, fungi, and viruses assemble into complex communities to form the microbiome. Across the biogeography of the human body exists distinct microbial signatures differentiating the gut, oral, airway, and skin microbiomes. My research is focused on the body’s primary environmental barrier: the skin. Briefly, I am interested in understanding how microbial communities assemble and interact with each other and their host across the different microenvironments of the skin. A healthy skin microbiome is important to maintain tissue homeostasis and educate the immune system. However, microbial imbalances are also associated with skin disorders and chronic cutaneous infection. My lab uses a highly inter-disciplinary approach that combines high- throughput technologies such as deep sequencing and untargeted metabolomics, with bioinformatics, and wet-lab experimental systems, to elucidate how this balance between beneficial and foreign microbes is maintained at the skin surface and in the context of non-healing chronic wounds. This research is poised to influence standards of care for patients suffering chronic wounds, but also may lead to the development of novel therapeutics.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP)

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Rob Kalejta

Email: rfkalejta@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://kalejta.virology.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Virology; Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We study human cytomegalovirus. Projects include the investigation of molecular mechanisms through which the virus expresses its genome, and through which the cell silences viral gene expression. Also, viral modulation of the host cell cycle is studied. Furthermore, we are exploring ubiquitin-independent protein degradation induced by an HCMV protein. Finally, we are deciphering the role of HCMV in human cancers such as glioblastoma multiforme brain tumors.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP), Medical  Sciences Training program (MSTP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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Timothy Kamp

Email: tjk@medicine.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.medicine.wisc.edu/people-search/people/staff/138/KAMP_TIMOTHY_J

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The laboratory focuses on cardiovascular research in three main areas.   First, the cardiac L-type Ca2+ channel function, structure and regulation are investigated using a variety of molecular biology, cellular electrophysiology, biochemical, and pharmacological approaches. Second, studies of the molecular basis for abnormal excitation-contraction coupling in heart failure are evaluating changes in critical proteins and cellular organization. Third, studies are underway is to optimize the differentiation of human ES cells into cardiomyocytes and to characterize the resulting cardiomyocytes and their potential for cell-based therapies.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Aging

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Junsu Kang

Email: junsu.kang@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://crb.wisc.edu/staff/kang-junsu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The capacity for complex tissue regeneration is unevenly distributed among vertebrate tissues and species. Zebrafish possess a remarkable potential to regenerate tissues such as amputated appendages and damaged heart muscles. My overarching research goal is to understand how genetic and epigenetic factors control tissue regeneration at cellular and molecular levels. Specifically, my laboratory uses adult zebrafish to investigate roles of crucial regeneration genes, regulatory mechanisms underlying their regeneration-specific expression, and functions of key chromatin modifiers during tissue regeneration. Using cutting edge techniques and high-throughput screening assays, I will define gene regulatory networks of tissue regeneration. Additionally, I plan to use my research experience to elucidate molecular mechanisms of unexplored regeneration genes that I identified by forward genetic screening. Long-term goals of my research are to translate knowledge obtained from my basic research to advance therapeutic strategies of tissue repair in humans.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology (CMP), Physiology

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Charlotte Kanzler

Email: kanzler@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BA, Biology – Grinnell College
Sheets Lab

Yoshihiro Kawaoka

Email: kawaokay@svm.vetmed.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/people/kawaokay/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Virology; Systems Biology; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My research goals include understanding the molecular basis for the pathogenicity of highly pathogenic negative-strand RNA viruses including avian influenza, 1918 influenza and ebola virus, evaluating the role of host factors in response to infection by these viruses, and assessing the ability of avian influenza viruses to adapt to mammals. To conduct our studies, we use reverse genetics systems to generate mutant viruses to evaluate specific changes.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Molecular Biosciences Training Grant Program (MBTG), VTG, Microbes in Health and Disease (MHD), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS)

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James Keck

Email: jlkeck@facstaff.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://bmolchem.wisc.edu/staff/keck-james/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We study the structural and cellular mechanisms of DNA replication, recombination, and repair. Our approaches include X-ray crystallographic studies of key proteins involved in these processes along with biochemical and chemical biological experiments that establish the mechanisms by which genome maintenance is catalyzed and regulated.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP), and Biophysics

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Marie Keith

Email: makeith@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Cell and Molecular Biology – University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Masson Lab

Nancy Keller

Email: npkeller@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mmi.wisc.edu/staff/keller-nancy/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our laboratory works on identifying cellular and genetic regulation of secondary metabolite gene clusters in Aspergillus spp. These clusters may be important in virulence such as with the plant pathogen A. flavus or human pathogen A. fumigatus. We identify when the metabolites are produced, where in the fungal thallus they are produced and their impact on host and/or possible use as drug therapies. We are also interested in identifying new metabolites for antibiotic use and develop novel molecular techniques to heterologously express fungal natural products in host fungi.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Molecular and Environmental Toxicology (METC), Microbiology (MDTP), Genetics, Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS)

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Shannon Kenney

Email: skenney@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mcardle.wisc.edu/faculty-draft-jenny/shannon-kenney/

FOCUS GROUP:

Virology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Dr. Kenney’s research effort has been focused upon understanding the molecular regulation and pathogenesis of the human herpesvirus, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Her work in EBV spans a broad range of topics, including viral gene regulation, the effects of the virus on the host immune response, and the development of novel, EBV-targeted therapies for EBV-positive tumors. She has extensively studied the mechanisms by which both EBV immediate-early proteins, BZLF1 and BRLF1, activate the lytic form of viral infection. Dr. Kenney is now translating the results of these basic molecular studies into the development of new, EBV-targeted therapies for EBV-positive tumors. Her group is also developing a new humanized mouse model to study EBV pathogenesis and tumor formation in vivo.

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Caroline Kerr

Email: cpkerr@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Chemistry –University of Virginia
Morris/Weichert Lab

Jacob Khoussine

Email: jkhoussine@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Chemical Bioscience – University of Oklahoma
Hoon Lab

Patricia Kiley

Email: pjkiley@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://bmolchem.wisc.edu/staff/kiley-tricia/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We are interested in the signaling pathways and gene expression programs organisms use to respond to changes in the levels of oxygen (O2) in the environment. O2 is essential for life of aerobic organisms but can also act as a poison by causing oxidative damage to proteins, lipids and DNA. Therefore, an organism’s ability to respond efficiently and precisely to O2 is critical to its survival. Our approach is to focus on the mechanisms of key transcription factors in Escherichia coli that regulate this single-celled microbe’s lifestyle in different oxygen environments. E. coli is an excellent model organism to investigate because of the rich history of study in this area, and because of the facile genomic, molecular genetic, biochemical, physiological and genome scale approaches that can be exploited in this bacterium. Our findings also impact on understanding the integration of global regulatory networks with signal specific regulators to efficiently control gene expression in response to various inputs.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), and Microbiology (MDTP)

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Songeun Kim

Email: skim943@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – Dickinson College
Bement Lab

Judith Kimble

Email: jekimble@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://biochem.wisc.edu/faculty/kimble

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; RNA Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My research focuses on molecular controls of animal development. Two major problems have spanned my career: how are germline stem cells regulated to self-renew or differentiate and how are germ cells controlled to differentiate as sperm or oocytes. We have found that Notch signaling controls an RNA regulatory network to maintain germline stem cells; a key effector is FBF, a broad spectrum repressor of differentiation. We have also found that two RNA regulatory proteins control the sperm/oocyte decision. In addition, we have made forays into controls of asymmetric cell divisions, Wnt signaling, MAPK signaling, cell cycle control, metalloproteases and organogenesis, each time making major contributions. My lab is currently focusing on Notch signaling with new reagents, downstream effectors of Notch signaling (two new key genes), effects of nutrition on germline stem cell maintenance and molecular mechanisms of sperm/oocyte regulation.

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Michelle Kimple

Email: mkimple@medicine.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://www.medicine.wisc.edu/endocrinology/kimplelab

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My research interests lay in the role(s) that inhibitory guanine nucleotide binding proteins (G proteins) play in pancreatic β-cell biology. The current focus of my research is a unique Gα subunit called Gαz, which acts as a tonic inhibitor of adenylate cyclase and, therefore, cyclic AMP signaling processes in the β-cell. Cyclic AMP is a potentiator of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, and has also been shown to stimulate processes that relate to the maintenance and augmentation of β-cell mass, such as β-cell proliferation, neogenesis, and survival. I have shown that mice that lack Gαz are protected from developing glucose intolerance when subjected to a high-fat diet-induced model of insulin resistance and β-cell stress. Gαz-null mice fed a high-fat diet have a significant increase in β-cell proliferation and β-cell mass as compared to wild-type mice, even in a strain that is relatively protected from developing frank diabetes due to a significant β-cell compensatory response. Furthermore, I have recently shown that the EP3 isoform of the prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) receptor is specifically coupled to Gαz, and not other inhibitory G proteins, in the mouse β-cell, and that PGE2 signaling appears to be dysfunctionally up-regulated in the β-cells of diabetic mice.

Moving forward, I will continue to pursue the role of Gαz in the β-cell using three different approaches: (1) Determining whether the β-cell proliferation phenotype of the Gαz-null mouse can prevent, delay, or reverse the loss of β-cell mass observed in of type 1 and late-stage type 2 diabetes; (2) Characterizing the pharmacology of the EP3 receptor in the normal and diabetic β-cell, and (3) Translating our findings from mouse models into the human disease by determining whether the levels of circulating PGE2 metabolites predict the responsiveness of human diabetic patients to GLP-1 therapeutics and human pancreatic islets to an EP3 antagonist. Overall, I have a variety of active and exciting research projects that CMB graduate researchers could take on and drive forward.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS), Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)

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Randall Kimple

Email: rkimple@humonc.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.humonc.wisc.edu/team_member/randall-kimple/#research

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Virology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We utilize cellular systems that include cell lines and unique early passage cell strains of both HPV-positive and HPV-negative head and neck cancer. We use these cellular systems to investigate how the HPV-oncoproteins work to modulate the response to radiation and/or chemotherapy. In particular, we focus our efforts on modulation of cellular signaling pathways such as EGFR, MEK/ERK/PI3K/Akt by the HPV proteins E5 and E6 and on DNA damage repair by the HPV protein E7.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Cancer Biology, Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS)

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Melissa Kinney

Email: melissa.kinney@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Immunology; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

As an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I have merged my experiences across engineering and biology to establish the Stem Cell Systems Biology Laboratory. Integrating my training in tissue engineering, stem cell biology, hematology and systems biology, my lab is studying stem cell organoid development through a quantitative lens, with an initial focus on hematopoietic lineages (e.g. HSCs, RBCs, T cells). Broadly, my vision is to train the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists to draw inspiration from their diverse backgrounds and expertise to tackle the collective goal of empowering stem cell research through quantitative biology. An important key in this goal is the recruitment of trainees across fields, particularly those from Cell and Molecular Biology. I envision that trainees will operate at the interface of biology and engineering research and move freely across the computationalexperimental space. I anticipate that this innovative strategy, in combination with resources garnered through UW-Madison’s position as a world-renowned pioneer in stem cell research, will uniquely enable me to build functional biological models that will serve as novel stem cell-based tissue platforms for disease modeling, drug testing and cell therapy.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biomedical Engineering

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Robert Kirchdoerfer

Email: rnkirchdoerf@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://biochem.wisc.edu/faculty/Kirchdoerfer

FOCUS GROUPS:

Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Virology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My research uses structural biology to examine coronavirus and coronavirus-host protein-protein interactions. In particular, I use single-particle cryo-electron microscopy to determine highresolution structures of viral proteins. My research is focused on viral entry by the viral spike protein which binds host receptors and facilitates the fusion of virus and host membranes during viral entry. I also study the assembly and activity of the coronavirus RNA synthesis complex, a multi-subunit complex responsible for RNA synthesis, RNA capping, mismatch repair and viral transcription. In addition to structural biology, these studies are complemented by examination of protein-protein interactions in vitro and ex vivo using techniques such as isothermal titration calorimetry as well as cell-based reporter assays.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB)Biophysics

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Bruce Klein

Email: bsklein@pediatrics.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.pediatrics.wisc.edu/research/research-groups/klein/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Immunology; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We investigate the pathogenesis and immunology of infectious diseases due to pathogenic fungi: dimorphic fungi such as Blastomyces dermatitidis and Histoplasma capsulatum and filamentous fungi such as Aspergillus. Phase transition from nonpathogenic mold to invasive yeast form is crucial in acquisition of pathogenicity in the systemic dimorphic fungi. To identify the mechanisms by which pathogenic fungi regulate the phase transition and express their virulence factors in the yeast form, we employ molecular genetic and functional genomic approaches and test the role of genes in vivo in animal models of disease. Host cellular immunity controls these infections and contains them in a latent form. Thus, we also study the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind innate and adaptive host defenses.

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Laura Knoll

Email: ljknoll@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mmi.wisc.edu/staff/knoll-laura/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our research uses molecular genetics to understand the host/pathogen interactions of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. We generate and characterize T. gondii mutants to learn what parasites genes are important for host colonization. We also use these mutants to study how the parasite affects the host. We have recently found that chronic infection with T. gondii protects animals against other pathogens, and that infection with one mutant will cause mice to become obese.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology (MDTP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences, Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS)

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Rachel Kocik

Email: rkocik@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Molecular Biology –University of Pittsburgh
Gasch Lab

Adam Konopka

Email: akonopka@medicine.wisc.edu

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our laboratory uses a unique, translational research approach to understand the mechanisms that promote aging and age-related musculoskeletal diseases. We test hypotheses in tissue culture and rodent models and apply our findings to non-human primates and human clinical trials. We are currently interested in understanding how the mTOR signaling pathway is involved in the initiation and treatment of osteoarthritis. Additionally, we are investigating how skeletal muscle mitochondrial metabolism and remodeling are regulated with aging, exercise and medications.

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Adenine Si Hui Koo

Email: skoo8@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BS, Genetic and Molecular Biology – University of Malaya
Tibbetts Lab

Kourtney Kostecki

Email: kkostecki@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Chemical Engineering and Genetics – Iowa State University
Wheeler Lab

Sam Krabbenhoft

Email: skrabbenhoft@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Evolutionary Biology – University of Wisconsin-Madison
Harrison Lab

Pamela Kreeger

Email: kreeger@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://www.kreegerlab.org

FOCUS GROUPS:

Systems Biology; Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My lab utilizes systems biology and tissue engineering to analyze how cells make decisions in a variety of biological contexts. We utilize an iterative approach, where we develop model culture systems that allow us to study these diseases in a controlled environment, use a variety of high-throughput experimental methods to gather information about the cellular signaling network, and employ computational models to interpret the data. Ultimately, our models will be utilized to identify new drug targets, match patients to the most effective drugs, and identify methods to direct cellular behavior in tissue engineering. Currently, we are especially interested in ovarian cancer, normal and pathological angiogenesis, and wound healing.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biomedical Engineering, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERP), Cancer Biology

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Patrick Krysan

Email: pjkrysan@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://cmb.wisc.edu/staff/krysan-patrick/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Plant Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The Krysan lab uses a functional genomics approach to study signal transduction in the plant model system Arabidopsis thaliana. We divide our time between projects aimed at developing novel genomic technologies and projects that make use of those new technologies to study signaling. We are currently focused on MAP Kinase signaling in Arabidopsis and the development of methods for performing large-scale genetic interaction analysis.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics, Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics, Horticulture, Freshwater and Marine Science

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Di "Silas" Kuang

Email: dkuang5@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Molecular Biology – Washington University
MS, Molecular Biology – Johns Hopkins University

Joseph Lalli

Email: lalli@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Biology/Political Science – Macalester College
Werling Lab

Paul Lambert

Email: lambert@oncology.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mcardle.wisc.edu/faculty-draft-jenny/paul-lambert/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Virology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our laboratory pursues research on the life cycle of human papillomaviruses (HPVs) and their role in human cancer. HPVs are very common human pathogens. Depending upon the genotype, HPVs infect cutaneous or mucosal epithelium causing formation of papillomas or other benign lesions. The mucosotropic HPVs are the most common sexually transmitted human pathogens, and a subset of these cause approximately 5% of all human cancers, including anogenital cancers including cervical cancer, as well as a growing percentage of head and neck cancers. Our lab has developed genetically engineered mouse models for several of these HPV-associated cancers (cervix, anal, head/neck) and use these models to determine the mechanisms of action of HPV oncogenes in carcinogenesis, define the contribution of cellular factors and pathways in these cancers, and test new approaches for treating or preventing these cancers. In addition we have developed valuable tissue culture models for studying the viral life cycle, which is intricately tied to the differentiation program of the host epithelium. Using these tissue culture models, we are studying various steps in the infectious life cycle from initial steps in entry to production of progeny virus.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cancer Biology

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Dudley Lamming

Email: lamming@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.medicine.wisc.edu/endocrinology/lamminglab

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Cancer Biology; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My laboratory is interested in understanding how nutrient signaling pathways, such as the insulin/IGF-1/mTOR signaling pathway, regulates metabolism and aging. My laboratory has recently focused on understanding how mTOR complex 2 may regulate metabolism in the liver through the use of molecular biology in liver-derived cell lines and primary hepatocyte culture.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERP), Genetics, Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Molecular & Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program, Aging

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Robert Landick

Email: landick@bact.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://landick.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our research focuses on RNA polymerase, the central enzyme of gene expression in all free-living organisms. Our goal is to understand how RNA polymerase is regulated during the process of transcription (RNA synthesis). In organisms from bacteria to humans, the cell’s ability to make long RNA chains, which include most mRNAs and some structural RNAs (e.g., rRNA), requires that extrinsic elongation regulators interact with RNA polymerase to suppress its innate tendency to fall into inactive off-line states that include long pauses, arrest, or termination. We seek to understand the fundamental properties of RNA polymerase that make it susceptible to pausing, arrest, or termination and how elongation regulators alter these properties. We study RNA polymerases from both bacterial and human cells and use a variety of approaches, from genetics to biophysics to structural biology, to study this fundamental paradigm of gene regulation. Lab members are engaged in experiments ranging from detailed biochemical characterization of protein-nucleic acid interactions, to the study of transcription regulators in cells using genome-scale methods (ChIPseq & RNAseq), to collaborative projects with other labs to study transcription by single molecules of RNA polymerase and to obtain crystallographic sturctures of RNA polymerase and transcription regulators. Our work has practical applications in drug discovery by identification on novel RNA polymerase inhibitors and in controlling transcriptional programs for synthetic microbiology.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biochemistry (IPiB), Genetics, Biophysics, Microbiology (MDTP)

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Jessica Lang

Email: jessica.lang@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://jessicalanglab.github.io/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My scientific mission is to leverage genomics and epigenetics in ovarian cancer (OvCa) models to produce translational and impactful science building on my research in somatic mutations in chromatin remodeling factors and epigenetic dysfunction through the following research goals: 1) Understand dynamics of epigenetic features following chemotherapy treatment and resistance; 2) Identify potential therapies for treatment that exploit epigenomic features; 3) Integrate epigenomic features with somatic cancer mutations towards a more comprehensive OvCa picture. I will approach these research goals using human cell lines and tumor tissue to identify shared and necessary OvCa enhancers, validated by innovative functional epigenomics approaches and preclinical models. I will also continue my history of scientific collaborations and clinical partnerships to support my research and ensure clinical translation of findings.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP) Graduate Training Program, Cancer Biology Graduate Program

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Clairine Larsen

Email: cilarsen@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BS, Biology -Denison University
Majumder Lab

Jeong Hyo Lee

Email: jlee2259@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BS, Microbiology and Chemistry – Changwon National University
MS, Agriculture – Seoul National University
Cryns/Anderson Lab

Youngsook Lee

Email: youngsooklee@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://crb.wisc.edu/staff/lee-youngsook/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Physiology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Congenital heart defects are the most common form of human birth defects and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality. The long-term goal of my laboratory is to determine molecular and cellular mechanisms that control cardiovascular development and disease. We take genome-wide approaches to identify novel factors that are critical for cardiac development and function and investigate their molecular functions using in vivo and in vitro strategies.

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Cassandra Leech

Email: cmleech@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Chemistry –Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
Denu Lab

Sydney Lesko

Email: slesko@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Biology –Wright State University
Sherer Lab

Peter Lewis

Email: peter.lewis@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE

FOCUS GROUPS:

Transcriptional Mechanisms; Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our research seeks to define the biochemical mechanisms involved in the establishment and maintenance of silent chromatin, also known as heterochromatin. Our experimental approaches span the spectrum from highly purified biochemical assays to proteomic and genomic analyses, and genetic screens.

Covalent modifications to DNA and histone proteins allows chromatin to act as a dynamic information hub that integrates diverse biochemical stimuli to regulate genomic DNA access for transcription. To preserve cell identity, lineage-specific gene expression must be maintained, and failure to silence genes from other lineages has the potential to cause developmental defects or promote tumorigenesis.

The Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) is one component of the two main Polycomb group protein complexes that function in a collaborative crosstalk with K27 methylation on histone H3 (H3K27me3) to initiate and maintain transcriptional silencing. Misregulation of PRC2 and H3K27me3 can cause developmental defects and specific types of cancer. We seek to define the factors that impact PRC2 recruitment and activity by using a combination of biochemical and genomic approaches.

Heterochromatin containing H3K9me3 and 5-methylcytosine plays an important role in maintaining genome integrity by silencing transposable elements.  We found that H3K9me3, the histone variant H3.3 and its deposition factor ATRX-DAXX, and the Human Silencing Hub (HuSH) complex function together to silence retrotransposable elements in mammals. Our research seeks to define the pathways and factors involved in establishing heterochromatin at transposons and other highly repetitive genomic sequences.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biochemistry (IPiB), Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Cancer Biology, Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Molecular and Environmental Toxicology (METC)

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Wan-Ju Li

Email: li@ortho.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mbrm.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

I am interested in the research of musculoskeletal tissue regeneration using stem cell-based tissue engineering and cell therapy approaches. Stem cells are a cell source with great potential to function as a therapeutic agent for treatments of degenerative musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoarthritis. Stem cell-based tissue regeneration is to grow harvested stem cells in a three-dimensional, highly porous, biomimetic scaffold within a biologically favored environment in which needed biochemical and biomechanical signals are provided for stem cell proliferation and differentiation, extracellular matrix production, and tissue maturation. My research goals are 1) to maintain stem cell properties in vitro before differentiation induction, 2) to effectively differentiate stem cells into desired connective tissue lineages, 3) to promote stem cell-laden constructs to develop into functional tissues including bone, cartilage, and tendon/ligament. To achieve these goals, my group has developed and utilized unique polymeric nanofibers to imitate extracellular matrix to culture stem cells. The nanofibers function as the physical environment of a stem cell niche to maintain biological properties of stem cells. With the cues from growth factors and/or other induction molecules, stem cells cultured in nanofibers are capable of differentiating and producing tissue-specific extracellular matrix to generate musculoskeletal tissues.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), Biology of Aging T32 Training Program, TL1 Predoctoral Training Program, Comparative Biomedical Sciences Program

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Yun Liang

Email: liang95@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://lianglab.mmi.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Immunology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My research is focused on understanding the molecular basis for sex differences in human physiology and pathology. Many autoimmune diseases feature increased prevalence in females (~78% female overall and up to ~ 95% female for specific diseases). In contrast, infectious diseases and cancer affect more men than women. The molecular mechanisms underlying these observed sex differences are unclear. To fill this knowledge gap, we seek to define immune- and cancer-associated pathways that are differentially regulated between the two sexes using a combination of molecular, cell-based and animal-based approaches. We hope our research will shed light on the biological significance of sexual dimorphism, and provide novel ways to combat autoimmunity, infections and cancer.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology (MDTP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Molecular and Environmental Toxicology (METC), Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS)

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Jorgo Lika

Email: lika@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Biochemistry – University of Wisconsin, Madison
Fan Lab

Robert Lipinski

Email: rjlipinski@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/lab/lipinski

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The focus of our research is to understand how genetic and environmental factors influence development of the brain and face. We are particularly interested in craniofacial birth defects like cleft lip and palate and holoprosencephaly because of their prevalence and serious consequences for affected individuals and their families.  We use in vitro and in vivo animal model systems that recapitulate normal and abnormal development to identify genetic and environmental factors and to understand how they interact and contribute to causing these birth defects.  The long term goal of our research is to identify markers of high-risk populations and to develop birth defects prevention strategies based upon defined windows of exposure to culpable environmental agents.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Molecular and Environmental Toxicology (MET), Neuroscience Training Program (NTP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS)

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Bo Liu

Email: liub@surgery.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.surgery.wisc.edu/staff/bo-liu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Physiology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The primary focus of my research is investigation of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying vascular diseases (restenosis and abdominal aortic aneurysm). Functions of vascular endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells as well as extracellular matrix proteins are essential to the health and disease of blood vessels. My laboratory combines in vitro molecular and biochemical approaches with transgenic, gene knockout, adenoviral and surgical technologies to unravel the molecular pathways that control cellular functions including proliferation, adhesion, migration, and cell death (apoptosis and necroptosis). We are also interested in cell-cell communication. For example, we study how cell death of smooth muscle cells influences other processes such as recruitment of endothelial progenitors or inflammatory cells into injured or disease arteries. Such studies have led to identification of new players in the signaling networks that balance cell survival, apoptosis and necroptosis. Another research area is the role of extracellular matrix in aging and disease. This project is based on a hypothesis that stiffened matrix in aged arteries creates a microenvironment promoting M1 macrophage polarization.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERB)

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Valentina Lo Sardo

Email: losardo@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://crb.wisc.edu/staff/lo-sardo-valentina/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Physiology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Research in my lab combines pluripotent stem cell potential and functional genomics to understand how common genetic variants among individuals, including those in non-coding portions of the genome, contribute to altering cell physiology, cell state, and fate commitment. Emphasis is posed on understanding non-coding risk factors, cell-type vulnerability, and ethnicity-based susceptibility to human diseases. Using multidisciplinary approaches, including pluripotent stem cell (PSC) differentiation, genome editing, transcriptomics, imaging, and proteomics, my lab aims to identify new molecular mechanisms triggering cardiovascular disease and cancer.

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Dan Loeb

Email: loeb@oncology.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mcardle.wisc.edu/faculty-draft-jenny/dan-loeb/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Virology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Are interested in understanding: (1) how hepatitis B viruses (HBV) use to the host cell to carry out replication; and (2) the relationship between genome synthesis, capsid maturation, and virus envelopment. To better understand how HBV uses the host cell for replication I have used imaging techniques to visualize HBV replication in the cytoplasm. We made the unexpected observation that the majority of the HBV Pol is localizes to the mitochondria. We will attempt to elucidate the role of HBV Pol at the mitochondria. To better the relationship between genome synthesis, capsid maturation, and virus envelopment, I have been collaborating with Dr. Adam Zlotnick at Indiana University, an expert on the structure and biophysics of HBV capsids. We will attempt to visualize the sites of capsid assembly, pgRNA encapsidation, DNA and capsid maturation, and virus envelopment.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cancer Biology, Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Microbiology (MDTP)

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Justin Mabin

Email: mabin@wisc.edu

Class of 2017
BS, Biochemistry/Molecular Biology – University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Lewis Lab

Hiroshi Maeda

Email: maeda2@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://botany.wisc.edu/staff/maeda-hiroshi-a/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Physiology; Plant Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Amino acids are central to plant metabolism and building blocks of proteins that directly support plant growth and development. In plants, amino acids are also used to make plant hormones and diverse natural products. While most plant enzymes involved in amino acid biosynthesis have been characterized, very little is known about how plants sense and respond to amino acid imbalance and how plants coordinately regulate amino acid homeostasis and overall plant physiology. Over the past 8 years, we studied biochemical, molecular, and genetic mechanisms underlying amino acid biosynthesis and its regulation in plants. Throughout this study we have also generated various mutants and transgenic lines with altered amino acid biosynthesis and metabolism, which can now be utilized to study amino acid homeostasis mechanisms that are tightly linked to plant growth and development.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics, Botany

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Ahmed Mahmoud

Email: aimahmoud@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://molpharm.wisc.edu/staff/mahmoud-phd-ahmed/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our goals are to identify the transcriptional and epigenetic networks that govern cardiomyocyte dedifferentiation and proliferation during regeneration. These studies could aid in converting adult cardiomyocytes to a more proliferative and regenerative state. In addition, we aim to identify the microenvironment signals that regulate mammalian heart regeneration by studying the interplay of nerves as well as extracellular factors during mammalian heart regeneration. We use multidisciplinary approaches including genomics, proteomics, and mouse genetics in addition to molecular and cellular technologies to address these questions.

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Kinjal Majumder

Email: kmajumder@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://majumderlab.oncology.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Transcriptional Mechanisms; Virology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Parvovirinae are small DNA viruses that are pathogenic in most animals, made up of small linear single-stranded DNA genome, and rely extensively on host nuclear factors, particularly the DNA Damage Response (DDR) machinery that usually protects us from cancer. Upon infection, the parvovirus minute virus of mice (MVM) localizes to cellular sites of DDR to jumpstart its replication in host cells. As it replicates in the host cell nucleus, it continues to induce additional DNA damage through various means, which also serve as sites of viral replication, thereby enabling the virus to amplify in the host nuclear environment. We seek to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which MVM localizes to cellular DDR sites, induce additional DNA damage and generate chromosomal aberrations. We have developed systems to study where viral genomes localize using genomics and single-cell imaging, inducible DNA damage systems to investigate the cause-effect relationship between the virus and cellular DDR, and have optimized methods to study how viral infection causes chromosomal aberrations. The findings from our work are applicable to understand the biology of small DNA viruses such as HPV and HBV, which are oncogenic, and for gene therapy applications which use modified AAV parvoviruses. 

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP); Cancer Biology Graduate Program

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Mark Mandel

Email: mmandel@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mandellab.org/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The goal of my research is to understand the molecular basis by which animals and their natural microbiota form specific, reproducible interactions. Microbial symbioses are prevalent in animal biology, and often, as in the case of humans, the animal host is born devoid of its natural symbionts and must acquire microbial partners from the environment. Pathogenic and beneficial bacteria share common mechanisms by which they colonize animal tissue. In spite of these parallels, relatively little work has been accorded to the beneficial associations, which are widespread, and critical to the lifecycles of both the bacterial and animal partners. I am studying the natural association between Vibrio fischeri and the Hawaiian bobtail squid to understand the processes that underlie host colonization in animal-associated bacteria. The system is particularly amenable to studying microbe-host interactions because V. fischeri is the only bacterial resident of the squid’s light organ, and we seek to understand how V. fischeri specifically colonizes the host to the exclusion of other species. Each generation, the squid hatch without their microbial partners and must selectively recruit V. fischeri from the ocean. We use a combination of bacterial genetics, cellular approaches, and imaging to identify how the animal and bacteria communicate to reproducibly establish this productive relationship.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology (MDTP)

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Sarika Marathe

Email: smarathe2@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Botany, Microbiology, & Chemistry – Bangalore University
MS, Biotechnology & Plant Science – Bangalore University

Bailey Marshall

Email: bamarshall2@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Microbiology – University of Washington
Landick Lab

Thomas Martin

Email: tfmartin@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://biochem.wisc.edu/faculty/martin

FOCUS GROUPS:

Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The overall goal of research in the Martin lab is to obtain a molecular description of regulated vesicle exocytosis in neuroendocrine and mast cells. The multi-step process of vesicle exocytosis is regulated by a large number of proteins that are either intrinsic or peripheral membrane proteins. Our early discoveries identified soluble proteins essential for exocytosis that are lipid-dependent for function. Current studies focus on the mechanism of action of members of the CAPS/Munc13 protein family, and the role of the lipids (PIP2 & DAG) with which they interact using a constellation of biochemical and cell biological approaches. Each distinct family member is multidomain and functions via simultaneous interactions with membrane lipids and with the core SNARE protein machinery for membrane fusion.   Recent high throughput siRNA screening has confirmed the importance of the CAPS/Munc13 proteins as well as identified many novel protein constituents that represent a focus for future studies.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biochemistry (IPiB), Neuroscience (NTP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP)

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Jose Martinez

Email: jlmartinez4@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – University of California-Santa Cruz
Bhattacharyya Lab

Patrick Masson

Email: phmasson@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://genetics.wisc.edu/staff/masson-patrick/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Plant Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system and techniques derived from molecular genetics, genomics, proteomics, cell biology, physiology and biochemistry, we investigate the molecular mechanisms that govern root growth behavior in response to mechanical stimuli including gravity and touch.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics, CMB, Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics

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Kristyn Masters

Email: kmasters@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

masterslab.engr.wisc.edu

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My lab employs techniques from biomaterials, tissue engineering, bioconjugate chemistry, gene editing, and microfabrication, to create in vitro environments that model disease progression. We then apply molecular and cellular biology and computational tools to examine cell/tissue outcomes in these biomimetic culture platforms. Through this approach, we seek to: 1) understand how cells integrate multiple cues to make ‘decisions’ about their fate, and 2) decipher disease pathogenesis and elucidate the key stimuli involved, with the intent of using this knowledge to inform the design of clinical therapies.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science Program, Biotechnology (BTP), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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Daniel Matson

Email: drmatson@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://matson.pathology.wisc.edu

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The research in my lab focuses on understanding how factors interface with chromatin to promote efficient and timely hematopoiesis. While the hematopoiesis field has classically focused largely on a relatively small number of bona fide transcription factors, the true number and scope of the proteins that work on chromatin to promote critical transcriptional programs is not known. My lab utilizes approaches ranging from in vitro biochemistry to whole animal studies to uncover these factors and then rigorously investigate the mechanisms by which they regulate diverse cellular processes. A core purpose of my laboratory also includes working to translate laboratory findings into the clinic, and as a practicing hematopathologist I maintain a strong connection to both benign and malignant patient tissue repositories. Our overarching goal is to discover new biology that improves our understanding of hematopoiesis and informs the development of future clinical diagnostics and patient therapies.

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Megan McClean

Email: mmcclean@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://mccleanlab.bme.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Systems Biology; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Research in the McClean Lab is focused on understanding how cells sense and process diverse stimuli in order to survive and thrive. We focus on understanding (1) signaling specificity, (2) transcription factor regulation and (3) controllability of biological signaling as well as developing better optogenetic and microfluidic tools for answering these questions. My research program currently uses Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or budding yeast, as a model organism for addressing these questions. Budding yeast exists as a unicellular microbe and therefore must be exquisitely aware of its environment in order to survive and compete with neighboring cells. Thus, there are many interesting signaling pathways in which to address questions about biological signal processing. In particular, my experimental research has focused on understanding signaling specificity and kinetics in the mitogen-activated kinase (MAPK) pathways as well as transcription factor regulation in response to environmental stress. We also focus intensively on building better tools for interrogating and probing biological networks. We have developed a microfluidic platform for precise stimulation of budding yeast signaling pathways. Additionally, we have developed an optogenetic system that in combination with a culturing platform allows us to control protein concentration in real-time in cultures of microbes.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Biomedical Engineering, Biophysics Graduate Program, Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP)

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Colleen McDowell

Email: cmmcdowell@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mcdowell.ophth.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Immunology; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My research is dedicated to the development of novel approaches for preventing, diagnosing, and treating glaucoma. More specifically, my goal is to further understand the molecular pathways associated with the development and progression of glaucoma. My research aims to determine the molecular pathway involved in the development of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). Elevated IOP is one of the primary risk factors in the development of glaucoma. The TM is a critical tissue involved in the outflow of aqueous humor and regulation of IOP. Changes in the ECM environment in the TM can alter the ability of aqueous humor to properly drain from the anterior chamber. The involvement of TGFβ2 signaling pathways in the regulation of the ECM in the TM has been extensively studied. Recent evidence has implicated toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in the regulation of ECM and fibrogenesis in other tissues such as liver, kidney, lung and skin, by inhibition of BMP and the activin membrane-bound inhibitor (BAMBI). I propose that the TLR4 signaling pathway is also involved in the regulation of the ECM in the TM. Our hypothesis is endogenous TLR4 ligands, also known as DAMPs (damage associated molecular patterns), activate TLR4 and augment TGFβ2 signaling sensitivity by downregulation of BAMBI, leading to increased ECM production in the TM and increased IOP. We are addressing this hypothesis with in vitro cell culture, in vivo mouse model methodologies, and ex vivo perfusion organ culture of human donor eyes.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Comparative Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience Training Program (NTP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP)

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Leah McKinney

Email: lkmckinney@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Biology – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Wang Lab

Douglas McNeel

Email: dm3@medicine.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.mcneellab.com/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Immunology; Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We are interested in DNA vaccines, and strategies to increase the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines by encoding mutations to increase MHC class I binding of antigen-specific epitopes, increase antigen processing/presentation, and in heterologous prime-boost strategies.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology (MDTP), Cancer Biology, Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP)

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Bridget Mehall

Email: bmehall@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BS, Psychological Sciences – Marquette University
Wheeler Lab

Andrew Mehle

Email: amehle@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mehlelab.com

FOCUS GROUPS:

Virology; RNA Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

During viral infection, a struggle exists between cells, which contain anti-viral factors that selectively target and inhibit viral proteins and nucleic acids, and viruses, which neutralize these inhibitors and co-opt other cellular factors important for replication. My research is focused on the influenza virus polymerase. The polymerase is a major determinant of the pathogenic potential of emerging influenza viruses and plays a key role in regulating cross-species transmission as viruses transfer from birds into humans. We have demonstrated that a potent and selective inhibitor in humans disables the polymerase from avian influenza isolates. Using this framework we then identified the unprecedented adaptive strategy used by 2009 H1N1 viruses. Work in my lab will continue to use a combination of genetic, molecular and biochemical approaches to identify host factors that restrict and regulate the influenza polymerase, characterize their mode of action and identify their role in viral transmission and pathogenesis. Thus, my lab aims to understand the influenza polymerase from the atomic function up to the level of an infected animal.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology (MDTP), Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)

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Cameron Meikle

Email: cmeikle@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Biology – Carleton College

Rosa Mejia Sanchez

Email: mejiasanchez@wisc.edu

Class of 2016
BA, Biology – Hunter College of CUNY
Newmark Lab

Matthew Merrins

Email: merrins@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://bmolchem.wisc.edu/staff/merrins-matthew/

https://www.merrinslab.org/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Research in the Merrins laboratory centers on the control of insulin release from the endocrine pancreatic islets of Langerhans, and how this is disrupted in diabetes. Our main interests lie in two features of nutrient metabolism in islet beta cells, (1) the ability to trigger pulses of insulin release, and (2) the ability to trigger cell proliferation, when the demand for insulin increases (e.g. during aging and obesity). These adaptive responses to environmental stress ultimately fail in diabetes.

To understand how this occurs, we utilize rodent models of obesity and aging in combination with biochemistry, patch clamp electrophysiology, and quantitative imaging. A central focus of the lab is the use of fluorescence microscopy (FRET, optogenetics, super-resolution and FLIM/2-photon) to monitor biochemical reactions as they occur in living cells. Our recent work is focused on the design and utilization of biosensors useful for real-time measurements of glycolysis, as well as the development of NAD(P)H FLIM as a non-invasive optical approach to study the TCA cycle and electron transport chain. Using these tools, we have been able to monitor metabolite production and second messenger signaling in a variety of pathways.

ACTIVE PROJECTS:

Regulation of insulin and glucagon secretion by pyruvate kinase 

There are three isoforms of PK expressed in the pancreatic islets cells – constitutively active PKM1, and the dynamically regulated isoforms PKM2 and PKLR.  We are working to understand how these crucial glycolytic enzymes control metabolic and electrical activity in alpha and beta cells.

Impacts of age and obesity on islet function 

Currently we are studying the effects of two cyclin-dependent kinases, CDK1 and CDK2, on beta cell mitochondrial metabolism and electrical activity. These kinases are responsive to age and obesity, two major risk factors for diabetes.

Nutrient regulation of islet cell-cell communication: 3D lightsheet imaging and optogenetics  

To understand precisely how nutrients control hormone secretion, the goals of this project are: 1) measure the activity of every islet cell, 2) manipulate the activity of every cell, and 3) computationally analyze/model these circuits and their failure in diabetes. We’ve constructed a 3D lightsheet microscope capable of recording biosensors in  intact islets at speeds up to 10 Hz, while stimulating or repressing islet cell activity using optogenetics.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biochemistry (IPiB), Biophysics, Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERP), Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS)

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Ani Michaud

Email: avarjabedian@wisc.edu

Class of 2016
BS, Zoology – University of Maine-Orono
Bement Lab

Silas Miller

Email: stmiller2@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BA, Biophysics and Molecular Biology – Whitman College
Raman Lab

Dennis Minton

Email: dmminton@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS and MS, Kinesiology – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Konopka Lab

Shigeki Miyamoto

Email: smiyamot@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mcardle.wisc.edu/faculty-draft-jenny/shigeki-miyamoto/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Immunology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We study regulation of the nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kB) family of transcription factors by extracellular stimuli. In particular we study the roles and activation mechanisms of NF-kB by genotoxic stress agents using cultured cell systems and in vivo genetically modified mouse models. We also study the role and regulation of NF-kB in B cell development and B cell malignancies, in particular multiple myeloma. We use biochemical, molecular and cellular approaches as well as knockout and knockin mouse models to study these processes.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cancer Biology, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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Rodsy Modhurima

Email: modhurima@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BA, Biology – Williams College
Bresnick Lab

Emma Mohr

Email: emohr2@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mohrlab.pediatrics.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Immunology; Virology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The mission of our research is to improve the prevention, diagnosis and management of birth defects and deficits associated with congenital infections. Our research focuses on defining immune correlates of protection in congenital Zika virus infection and the identification of early neural predictors of neurodevelopmental deficits. We utilize a nonhuman primate model of Zika virus question and assessments translated from the human clinical setting to answer these questions.

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Darcie Moore

Email: darcie.moore@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://dlmoorelab.com/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Cell Adhesion and Cytoskeleton; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The aim of the research in my new lab is to identify the mechanisms stem cells use to create the asymmetric segregation of cargoes, to identify what components are segregated, and to use this knowledge to rejuvenate stem cell function in aged stem cell compartments.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience (NTP), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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Zachary Morris

Email: zmorris@humonc.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://www.humonc.wisc.edu/index.php/Morris_Lab

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The efforts of my translational research laboratory focus on examining the mechanisms and pre- clinical testing of treatment strategies that combine radiation and molecular-targeted therapeutics to drive anti-tumor immune responses. Our experimental approach is founded on robust in vivostudies in murine tumor models and is augmented by ex vivo and in vitro approaches that include immuno-histopathology, cellular immune function assays, radio-sensitivity assays, flow cytometry, as well as molecular and cellular biology techniques.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Cancer Biology

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Zachary Morrow

Email: ztmorrow@wisc.edu

Class of 2017
BA, Molecular Biology – Kenyon College
Sauer Lab

Freya Mowat

Email: mowat@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mowat.ophth.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The main focus in our new lab is to advance understanding of age-related changes in outer retinal metabolism and to define mechanisms of age-related outer retinal functional impairment and neuron loss. These mechanisms are relevant to the pathophysiology of human age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and our ultimate goal is to characterize pathways amenable to therapeutic intervention for AMD. We use multiple molecular techniques and tissue pathology to define pathways relevant to healthy (and unhealthy) retinal metabolism and aging. Our current focus is to define the importance of the transcriptional regulator, PGC-1alpha on mitochondrial structure and function in the aging retina.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS) 

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Katherine Mueller

Email: kmueller22@wisc.edu

Class of 2016
BS, Biology and Biochemistry – Lawrence University
Saha Lab

Muhammed Murtaza

Email: murtaza@surgery.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

www.murtazalab.org

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Advances in sequencing and genomics technologies have enabled new opportunities to address gaps in cancer diagnostics. Our lab is focused on novel molecular and computational genomics approaches to improve early detection and disease monitoring for patients with cancer, particularly by analyzing nucleic acids in body fluids like plasma and urine. We and others have shown that these “liquid biopsies” carry variable fractions of tumor-derived and tumor-associated nucleic acids across cancer stages. Our research program is developing new blood and urine tests that can enable precise and individualized treatment strategies.

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Donna Neumann

Email: dneumann3@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.ophth.wisc.edu/blog/people/donna-m-neumann/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Transcriptional Mechanisms; Virology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Viruses are disease-causing obligate intracellular parasites. Upon infection, they hijack cellular pathways to ensure their own survival and spread. Viruses with DNA genomes adopt a genomic structure similar to the chromatin that protects and regulates host cellular chromosomes. Chromatin is comprised of DNA wrapped around histone proteins marked by specific epigenetic post-translational modifications (e.g. phosphorylation, acetylation and methylation) that regulate gene transcription and repression. Chromatin can also regulate transcription through the formation of higher order structures known as threedimensional loops created and controlled by the interaction of chromatin bound proteins that can be separated by large linear distances. Our laboratory studies how the chromatin structure of viral genomes is established and how it regulates viral infections in hopes of using that knowledge to cure or treat viral infections. The major focus of my laboratory is understanding how the three dimensional structure of the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) genome controls its transcription.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology (MDTP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS)

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Phillip Newmark

Email: pnewmark@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://morgridge.org/research/regenerative-biology/newmark-lab/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Current research in my laboratory is directed at understanding the mechanisms by which the planarian somatic stem cells produce the germ cells and various differentiated cell lineages in the animal. These studies address fundamental questions pertaining to the establishment, maintenance, and loss of pluripotency, the specification of cell fates during development and homeostasis, the remodeling of differentiated tissues, and how these developmental processes are regulated systemically. More recently, we have been applying our knowledge of planarians to use them as models to understand the biology of parasitic flatworms, with the goal of identifying flatworm-specific molecules or processes that may be targeted to compromise parasite viability or fecundity.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics, Biotechnology Training Program, Parasitology and Vector Biology

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Grant Nickles

Email: gnickles@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Genetics – Iowa State University
Keller Lab

Sutichot (Dex) Nimkulrat

Email: nimkulrat@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BA, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology – University of Colorado-Boulder
MS, Bioinformatics –Indiana University Bloomington
Blum Lab

David O'Connor

Email: dhoconno@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE

FOCUS GROUPS:

Immunology; Virology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My lab is interested in RNA virus pathogenesis and immunity, with an emphasis on HIV.     We are particularly interested in understanding how HIV and RNA viruses evolve to avoid recognition by the immune system and how the genetics of the immune system leads to differences in immune responses to viruses. We probe these interactions between viruses and the immune system in vitro, in non-human primates, and in people in collaboration with infectious disease clinicians.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), Microbiology (MDTP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR)

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Shelby O'Connor

Email: slfeinberg@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE

FOCUS GROUPS:

Immunology; Virology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We study host immune responses to SIV in nonhuman primates. We are specifically interested in determining which epitopes in SIV elicit effective T cell responses in the host, with an emphasis on understanding the immunogenicity of epitopes in highly conserved regions of the viral genome. This research requires that we construct mutant strains of SIV, assess their replication in vivo, and determine the specificity and function of the T cells that develop in the host. Ultimately, we hope that our research will help inform the development of vaccine immunogens designed to elicit effective T cell immunity to HIV.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Microbiology (MDTP)

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Jon Odorico

Email: jon@surgery.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.surgery.wisc.edu/staff/jon-odorico/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My laboratory team studies pancreatic lineage differentiation, including the differentiation of insulin-producing islet endocrine cells, from embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The work is designed to address two critical needs. First is the need to generate an unlimited supply of functional insulin-secreting beta cells to be used to replace damaged beta cells in patients with diabetes. Second is the need for a cell culture model to study, specifically, human pancreas and islet development, given known differences between humans and lower organisms and the inability to study human organ development in vivo. We work at the interface of stem cell biology, transplantation, islet biology, immunologic rejection, and developmental mechanisms.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERP), Endocrinology (iPEND)

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Angela Olvera

Email: aolvera@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Engineering – University of Iowa
Davis Lab

Marisa Otegui

Email: otegui@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://otegui.molbio.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Plant Biology; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My research focuses on the mechanisms that regulate membrane and protein trafficking and degradation in plants and how they control plant development. We have combined multiple approaches to understand the regulation of endosomal trafficking and degradation of membrane proteins, and the delivery of proteins and membranes to vacuoles. We are also developing tools to analyze the synthesis sites and transport of metabolites in plant cells. My research program relies heavily on cell imaging. We use both fluorescence–based imaging and transmission electron microscopy and electron tomography of high-pressure frozen cells.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Botany, Genetics

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Xuan Pan

Email: xpan24@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/people/xpan24/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

It is well known that Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) are undifferentiated, self-renewing, pluripotent cells that have the capacity to differentiate into all mature lineage-specific cells in adult blood. In adult humans, bone marrow produces more than one million mature blood cells per second. If the correct balance between HSC self-renewal and differentiation is not maintained, hematopoietic cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma can develop. Further, HSCs can be a powerful therapeutic tool. Approximately 20,000 patients receive HSC transplants per year in the U.S.; however, the efficacy of HSC transplantation, as well as other clinical applications for HSCs, are limited due to challenges in maintaining and/or expanding HSC cultures ex vivo. As the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that regulate proliferation, differentiation and self-renewal in HSCs are incompletely defined, my laboratory is currently investing significant effort to address questions and knowledge gaps in this important research area.

The balance between HSC self-renewal and differentiation is maintained by a number of mechanisms, including crosstalk between gene transactivation/repression and extrinsic cell signaling. Based on prior discoveries in my laboratory, we have focused on Yin Yang 1 (YY1), and its important biological function as a regulator of HSC self-renewal and quiescence. YY1 is a ubiquitous transcription factor and mammalian Polycomb Group Protein (PcG) with important roles in embryonic development, lineage differentiation and cell proliferation. YY1 mediates stable PcG-dependent transcriptional repression via recruitment of PcG proteins that catalyze histone modifications. Many questions remain unanswered regarding how PcG proteins achieve cellspecificity. Our work demonstrated that a conditional knockout of Yy1 in HSCs decreased HSC long-term repopulating activity, while ectopic expression of YY1 expanded HSCs. Although the YY1 PcG domain is required for Igk chain rearrangement in B cells, the YY1 mutant lacking the PcG domain retained the capacity to stimulate HSC self-renewal. YY1 deficiency deregulated the genetic network governing HSC cell proliferation, impaired stem cell factor/c-Kit signaling, and disrupted mechanisms that confer HSC quiescence. These results reveal how YY1, a ubiquitouslyexpressed transcriptional repressor, mediates lineage-specific functions to control adult hematopoiesis. 

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Brian Parks

Email: brian.w.parks@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://parkslab.nutrisci.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Physiology; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The Parks Lab is focused on identifying causal genes of common metabolic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease that connect genetic variation to disease susceptibility in humans. Using human genetics and systems genetics based approaches; we have developed methods to pinpoint new genes that are involved in human metabolic diseases. Through detailed cellular and biochemical studies, we aim to understand how these undescribed genes contribute to disease. Our current work has focused on lipid metabolism where we have uncovered and biochemically characterized new biological pathways that regulate how cholesterol is sensed and regulated in the body.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS), Genetics Training Program

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Francisco Pelegri

Email: fjpelegri@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://genetics.wisc.edu/staff/pelegri-francisco/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; RNA Biology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The goal of our research program is to understand at the cellular and molecular level processes involved in early vertebrate development, specifically but not exclusively the functional diversification of cell types. We use the zebrafish, Danio rerio, as a model system because it allows combining genetic, embryological and molecular approaches. In the zebrafish, as in many other animal species, all developmental processes that occur prior to the activation of the zygotic genome at the mid-blastula transition, as well as some processes that occur after this transition, are driven by maternal factors stored in the egg during oogenesis. We focus on the analysis of genes that produce such maternal factors and which are involved in cell fate decisions such as the determination of the germ line, the dorsal axis, and the embryonic germ layers. Because in the zebrafish the segregation of germ cell fate determinants is intimately linked to the process of cellular division, we also focus on the analysis of genes and subcellular events required for cytokinesis.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics, Endocrinology & Reproductive Biology (ERP)

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Bo Peng

Email: bpeng26@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Biology – Duke University
Moore Lab

Donna Peters

Email: dmpeter2@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://pathology.wisc.edu/staff/peters-donna/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My laboratory is interested in understanding what types of cell-matrix interactions occur in the anterior chamber of the human eye and the types of signaling events they control. Recent studies in my laboratory have shown that interactions with the extracellular matrix protein called fibronectin help modulate the levels of intraocular pressure in the human eye and the movement of fluid through the anterior chamber. We have identified the domain in fibronectin that regulates intraocular pressure and at least two signaling molecules whose function is controlled by this domain. We are currently looking for the receptor that interacts with this domain and are characterizing the components of the signaling pathways as well as the biological processes governed by these signaling events. Our long-term goal is to identify potential extracellular and intracellular targets that can be used to control glaucoma via genetic approaches such as gene therapy.

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Stefan Pietrzak

Email: spietrzak@wisc.edu

Class of 2017
BS, BioMolecular Engineering – Milwaukee School of Engineering
Sridharan Lab

Luigi Puglielli

Email: lp1@medicine.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.waisman.wisc.edu/staff/puglielli-luigi/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We study molecular mechanisms involved with the post-translational regulation, sorting, trafficking, and disposal of newly synthesized proteins in the secretory pathway as well as the impact of the above events in neurodegenerative diseases.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience (NTP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)

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Aicha Quamine

Email: quamine@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Pharmaceutical Sciences – Cleveland State University
Capitini Lab

Aurelie Rakotondrafara

Email: rakotondrafa@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://labs.russell.wisc.edu/rakotondrafaralab/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Virology; RNA Biology; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The broad objective of my research program delves into the mechanistic details of viral translation control, which will be integrated into the larger context of viral replication and plant viral resistance. Of particular interest is the Potyviridae family, which encompasses about 30% of the most damaging crop viruses. These RNA viruses pose a curious conundrum on how they are translated. Unlike cellular mRNAs which utilize a 5’ m7(G)ppp(G) cap structure and a 3’ poly(A) tail, some Potyviridae rather contain an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) elements, which recruit the ribosomes at internal positions at close proximity of the initiation AUG rather than entering or scanning from the 5’ end. However, to date, little is known on the efficiency of potyviral IRES-­‐mediated translation, while accumulating evidence link host initiation factors to plant viral recessive resistance.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Plant Pathology

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Srivatsan Raman

Email: sraman4@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://www.ramanlaboratory.org/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our laboratory takes a systems approach to designing new proteins, understanding mechanism of protein function, studying evolution of proteins and applying designer proteins to solve synthetic biology challenges. We combine state-of-the-art protein modeling tools (Rosetta) with high-throughput experimental phenotyping methods to addresses these questions. In particular, our lab focuses on allosteric transcription factors because they are small-molecule sensors that function as biological switches. These small molecule sensors are widely needed in synthetic biology for construction of biosynthetic pathways, regulation of endogenous or synthetic gene circuits, environmental sensing and real-time monitoring of in-situ metabolite concentration. With allosteric TF as a model system, we are interested in studying how allostery works at molecular resolution. Our current understanding of allostery is largely limited to biophysical models that explain conformational transitions between allosteric states, without knowledge of the amino acid network that communicates the allosteric signal. Our objective is to understand the general principle of protein structure that underlies the process of allosteric communication at molecular resolution. We will use high-throughput, protein-wide mutational screens coupled with next generation sequencing to functionally characterize millions of mutants of a candidate protein. We will combine mutational data with computational stability calculations and biophysical measurements to elucidate the allosteric network.

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Mitchell Ramuta

Email: ramuta2@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Poultry Science –University of Wisconsin-Madison
O’Connor Lab

Tyler Reich

Email: tjreich@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Biology – University of Pennsylvania
Lewis Lab

Federico Rey

Email: ferey@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://bact.wisc.edu/people_profile.php?t=rf&p=ferey

FOCUS GROUPS:

Immunology; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Humans studies have revealed consistent alterations in the gut microbiomes of patients with cardiometabolic and aging-associated diseases. A major focus of my group is to understand how variations in the gut microbiome modulate the effects of diet and host’s susceptibility to cardiometabolic disease. To address these questions we use a combination of hypothesis-generating, sequencing-centered analyses of microbiomes from humans and mice, followed by mechanistic studies in gnotobiotic mouse models of disease and classic bacteriology experiments.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology Doctorate Training Program (MDTP); Cellular & Molecular Pathology Graduate Program (CMP); Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS)

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Claire Richardson

Email: Claire.richardson@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://genetics.wisc.edu/staff/richardson-claire/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Neurons live as long as the animal in which they reside. For humans, this means that a neuron can live for 100 years or more. Over the decades of our lives, we show signs of aging – our skin becomes wrinkled, our hair turns gray. Our neurons likewise show signs of aging, including morphological abnormalities, synapse loss, glucose hypometabolism, and mitochondrial dysfunction. This is problematic because aging is by far the primary risk factor for neurodegenerative disease. The Richardson Lab use the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuron homeostasis and aging. We are particularly interested in the homeostatic regulation of the endomembrane system of neurons. Aberrant endosome morphology and function is associated with neurodegenerative diseases. We hypothesize that there is a conserved role for the endocytic pathway in promoting the pathologies associated with neuronal aging. Synaptic vesicles are a highly specialized type of endosome used for the rapid communication of firing activity between connected neurons in a circuit. We are interested in the regulation of synaptic vesicle homeostasis in development versus adulthood, and what causes synaptic vesicle homeostasis to decline in aging.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Neuroscience Training Program (NTP), Genetics Training Program

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Gail Robertson

Email: garobert@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://neuro.wisc.edu/staff/robertson-gail/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Physiology; RNA Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The electrical signals responsible for neuronal communication and cardiac rhythmicity depend on potassium channels, proteins that regulate the movement of potassium ions across cell membranes. The disruption of these channels by inherited diseases or drugs can lead to neurological defects or catastrophic cardiac arrhythmias. We use a range of electrophysiological, biochemical and cell biological techniques to study the function of ion channels and the specializations that enable them to fulfill their physiological roles. A major focus of the lab is on hERG channels, a target of inherited and acquired long QT syndrome. We study the biophysical activity of these channels and how perturbations of channel structure and function cause disease using both heterologous expression systems and cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC’s). Another project focuses on the EAG channel, a brain-specific channel that is aberrantly upregulated in various cancers. In this project we are interested in how ancient, highly conserved cytosolic domains allosterically regulate channel activity in normal function and disease.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience (NTP), Biophysics, Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), Training Program in Translational Cardiovascular Science, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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Philip Romero

Email: promero2@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://www.romerolab.org/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Systems Biology; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Current research projects in my lab that fit under CMB include studying allosteric regulation in caspases, developing cancer diagnostics., and engineering natural product biosynthesis enzymes.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biochemistry (IPiB), Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE), Biomedical Engineering (BME), Biophysics, Chemistry

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Avtar Roopra

Email: asroopra@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://neuro.wisc.edu/staff/roopra-avtar/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Transcriptional Mechanisms; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The lab aims to understand the epigenetic mechanisms behind transcriptional regulation and chromatin structure in mammals. A major focus is the study of mechanisms that regulate the expression of neuronal target genes. We have shown that the transcription factor NRSF recruits a number of chromatin modifying complexes that include histone deacetylases and methylases. Also, we have found that NRSF uses a metabolism-sensing co-repressor to repress expression of genes involved in nervous system function as well as tumor metastasis.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience (NTP), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP) 

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Holly Rucker

Email: hrucker@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Biology – James Madison University
MS, Marine & Atmospheric Science – SUNY at Stony Brook

Lixin Rui

Email: lrui@medicine.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://www.medicine.wisc.edu/people-search/people/staff/4456/Rui_Lixin

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Immunology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My long-term goal is to train graduate students and fellows on performing cutting-edge lymphoma research by using new technologies such as RNA interference, DNA microarray and next-generation sequencing. The research will focus on functional genomics analyses and translational research to identify or define molecular targets for therapeutic development of human lymphoma. I am particularly interested in investigation of epigenetic mechanisms of JAK signaling in the pathogenesis of lymphoma. I hope that prospective graduate students and fellows who are trained in my laboratory will gain cutting-edge knowledge and the right skills for their career endeavors.

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Aindrila Saha

Email: asaha23@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS and MS, Biological Sciences – National Institute of Science Education & Research (India)
Sinha Lab

Krishanu Saha

Email: ksaha@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://sahalab.bme.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Immunology; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We utilize quantitative and bioengineering methods to advance the next generation of cell and gene therapies.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience (NTP), Biomedical Engineering (BME), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Biophysics, Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), Biotechnology (BTP)

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Sayandeep Saha

Email: ssaha36@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Biotechnology – KIIT University
MS, Biotechnology – KIIT University

Wilmara Salgado-Pabon

Email: wsalgado@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/people/wsalgado/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The vascular endothelium is recognized as the target of pathological inflammation as well as the cause of vascular pathologies. Infective endocarditis is, by definition, an infection of the heart endothelium. Endothelial cell responses critically contribute to early innate immune system activation. This is central to both immune protective and pathological responses that play a role in the pathogenesis of various cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis. In pathological responses, the endothelium becomes dysfunctional through multiple mechanisms including reduced nitric oxide bioavailability, increased activation, impaired barrier function, or impaired vascular remodeling/angiogenesis. The physiologic impact of enterotoxins on the vascular endothelium and on S. aureus endocarditis causation is largely unknown. Hence, we are currently addressing whether enterotoxins target the endothelium and impair critical cellular functions as a mechanism to advance endocarditis development. We have evidence that Staph enterotoxins/superantigens directly impair wound healing and inhibit important angiogenic factors in human endothelial cells. In experimental endocarditis in rabbits, enterotoxin C deletion results in tiny vegetations that are completely endothelialized, suggesting that enterotoxins may target vascular remodeling to promote disease. We are currently investigating the underlying molecular mechanisms associated with wound healing/angiogenesis defects and the biological functions of enterotoxins directly driving those processes.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology (MDTP)

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Daniel Sam

Email: dksam@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Medical Laboratory Technology – Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana)
MS, Biological Sciences – South Dakota State University
Weaver Lab

Jayshree Samanta

Email: jsamanta@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://samantalab.vetmed.wisc.edu/ 

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The myelin sheath is a specialized cellular process of an oligodendrocyte, which spirally wraps around the axons of neurons in the vertebrate brain. In demyelinating diseases, disruption of myelin results in severe neurological defects due to conduction block ultimately leading to the loss of axons. Demyelination is a common feature in many neurological diseases including Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and Schizophrenia. 

The Samanta lab focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of regeneration of myelin from neural stem cells in the adult brain i.e. remyelination. Our primary goal is to understand the disease process and identify factors that can help neural stem cells repair the brain in demyelinating disorders, using in vivo disease models and in vitro cultures of adult neural stem cells. 

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP)

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John-Demian (JD) Sauer

Email: sauer3@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mmi.wisc.edu/staff/sauer-john-demian-jd/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My lab is actively involved in understanding the complex interactions between bacterial pathogens and their hosts during infection. We predominantly use Listeria monocytogenes and less frequently Staphylococcus aureus in murine, zebrafish and tissue culture infection models to identify novel virulence determinants. From the host perspective we also study the mechanisms by which bacterial infections are recognized by the innate immune system and how innate recognition drives adaptive immunity. To perform these studies we use a variety of genetic tools in both the pathogen and the host(s) to take both unbiased, genetic screen approaches, as well as more traditional reverse genetics approaches to understanding host-pathogen interactions. From a translational perspective, we are applying what we learn from basic pathogenesis and immunity studies to develop novel antibiotics and advance L. monocytogenes as an immunotherapeutic platform, respectively.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology (MDTP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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Grace Schaack

Email: gschaack@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Biochemistry and Microbiology – University of Texas at Austin
Mehle Lab

Jonathan Schmitz

Email: jschmitz8@wisc.edu

Class of 2016
BS, Biology – James Madison University
Hittinger Lab

David Schwartz

Email: dcschwartz@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.chem.wisc.edu/users/schwartz

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our laboratory’s investigations of single molecule phenomena fuel creation of new systems for discovery in the biological sciences. Our discoveries, using these systems, inform human biology, cancer genomics, plant biology, microbial biology, polymer science and bioinformatics.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Chemistry, Genetics, Biophysics, Microbiology (MDTP)

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Ashley Scott

Email: ajscott6@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Biological Sciences – University of Maryland-Baltimore
Masters Lab

Vijay Setaluri

Email: vsetaluri@dermatology.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://dermatology.wisc.edu/staff/setaluri-vijayasaradhi/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My ongoing research is focused on understanding a) functions of BRAF signaling beyond its role in driving cellular proliferation. We are investigating the cross-talk between BRAF and Notch signaling in affecting tumor cell differentiation and regulating cellular autophagy via the mTOR signaling pathway, b) calcium homeostasis in normal melanocytes and melanoma cells and the role of tissue-specific calcium channels of the transient receptor potential family proteins in melanoma tumor progression and c) potential and limitations of reprogrammed adult fibroblasts to generate structurally and functionally intact skin.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), Molecular & Environmental Toxicology

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Cyrus Sethna

Email: csethna@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BS, Biochemistry – University of Wisconsin-Madison
MS, Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology – University of Edinburgh
Blum Lab

Prashant Sharma

Email: psharma37@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://www.sharmalabuw.org/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My current research program aims to investigate the genetic basis for the parallel evolution of aerial respiration in arthropods. Arthropods constitute an excellent system to investigate the parallel evolution of aerial respiration, a critical prerequisite for life on land, as unrelated groups of arthropods have colonized land no less than seven times. However, the genetic basis for the parallel evolution of aerial respiration is poorly understood. Some developmental data suggest that insect and arachnid respiratory systems are directly homologous to the gills of a putative ancestral arthropod, whereas a separate set of data suggests that respiratory organs of arachnids arose independently from highly modified walking legs.

To resolve the evolutionary origins of arachnid respiratory organs, my lab is conducting misexpression experiments to de-repress legs on posterior segments of two arachnids, with the prediction that respiratory organs will be homeotically transformed to legs if they constitute derived walking appendages. To determine whether parallel evolution of aerial respiratory systems results from repeated cooption of the same gene regulatory network (GRN), gene expression assays will be performed in eight arthropod exemplars to compare spatial distributions of nine candidate genes known to be required for establishment of the Drosophila tracheal tubule system. To assess functional correspondence between GRNs, misexpression experiments will be conducted in two arachnid and three pancrustacean exemplars for each of five genes critical to the Drosophila tracheal specification GRN. To investigate the patterning of the arachnid book lung, comparative transcriptomic data will be generated from book lung primordial of spiders and scorpions, toward identifying a set of shared candidate genes involved in book lung morphogenesis for further functional screening.

This approach will address whether parallel evolution of aerial respiratory systems (a) required repeated cooption of the same gene network, or (b) was achieved by de novo recruitment of genes to assemble networks unique to each terrestrial lineage. The resulting data set will thus provide a robust framework for understanding the combined effects of phylogenetic distance and morphological convergence on the integrity of gene regulatory networks over time.

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Nathaniel Sharp

Email: nathaniel.sharp@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://sharp.genetics.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Mutation occurs in all organisms and is a major cause of disease, but we are coming to recognize that this fundamental process can be highly variable. I study how the risk of mutation varies across genomic and environmental contexts, recognizing that “mutation” includes a spectrum of single-nucleotide changes, indels and larger chromosomal alterations. For example, I discovered that flies carrying any harmful allele are more likely to use error-prone DSB repair pathways, leading to an increased indel mutation rate. The spatial distribution of mutations throughout the genome is also informative: in yeast I found that haploid cells, but not diploids, are susceptible to mutations in late-replicating DNA, such that ploidy levels will differ in both the location and types of mutations incurred. Going forward, a major focus of my lab will be on characterizing how natural genetic variation influences the spontaneous mutation spectrum, from single-nucleotide changes to aneuploidy, which will lead to new insight into DNA repair processes.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics, Zoology

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Michael Sheets

Email: mdsheets@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://bmolchem.wisc.edu/staff/sheets-michael-d/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; RNA Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The highly regulated and selective translation of maternal mRNAs drives key cell-fate decisions during the earliest stages of animal development. Accumulating evidence reveals the importance of translational regulation to the formation and maintenance of internal organ systems during later development and in adults as well. While the importance of this regulation is incontrovertible, little work has focused on the underlying mechanisms that control the expression of mRNAs that encode key cell-fate regulators. Our recent findings in the model organism Xenopus laevis place us in a uniquely strong position to make advances in this research area particularly relevant to vertebrate organisms, including humans. We have shown that the developmental regulatory RNA binding protein Bicaudal-C (Bic-C) functions in the cell-type translational repression of maternal mRNAs that encode proteins that control vertebrate embryogenesis. For one of these targets, the Cripto-1 mRNA that encodes a co-receptor required for Nodal signaling, we have defined the Bic-C binding site, the first defined binding site for any Bic-C ortholog. We have also and shown that this site is functionally relevant to Bic-C-mediated cell-type specific translation repression. Currently we are combining RNA and protein biochemistry with unique embryological assays for translation regulation developed in my lab to address the molecular basis of Bic-C functions in vertebrate embryogenesis. In addition, recent evidence from a variety of vertebrate organisms, including humans, reveals a strong link between Bic-C and normal organogenesis and organ function. Thus our research addresses a key regulatory RNA binding protein Bic-C and its role in translational regulation during vertebrate development and in human disease.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biochemistry (IPiB)

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Nader Sheibani

Email: nsheibanikar@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.ophth.wisc.edu/blog/people/nader-sheibani-phd/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPT:

We study the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate angiogenesis using both in vivo mouse models and in vitro cultures of vascular cells.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Molecular and Environmental Toxicology, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology

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Miriam Shelef

Email: mshelef@medicine.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://www.medicine.wisc.edu/rheumatology/shelef-lab

FOCUS GROUPS:

Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The  work  in  my  lab  focuses  on  basic  immunology,  inflammation,  and  autoimmunity,  which  enhances the immunology focus group, especially since the majority of members study immunology  related  to  microbiology  or  cancer.  We  also  study  how  the  citrullinating  enzymes  PAD2 and PAD4 impact immune cells and inflammation. Since these enzymes are also involved with transcriptional regulation, our work has a secondary focus in molecular biology.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP)

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Zhouyuan Shen

Email: zshen75@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Bioscience – Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Burkard Lab

Nathan Sherer

Email: nsherer@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mcardle.wisc.edu/who-we-are/mcardle-faculty/nathan-m-sherer-phd

FOCUS GROUPS:

Virology; Cancer Biology; RNA Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We are interested in the interplay between retroviruses and their cellular hosts during the course of viral replication. Our current focus is on the cell biology of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) that causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). All viruses are obligate intracellular organism. Because retroviruses encode a DNA intermediate that must be inserted into the host cell’s genome and maintained (sometimes for years and years), HIV-1 and other retroviruses are remarkably adept at exploiting host cellular enzymes and trafficking machineries to assist with their replication. We have two core projects, both of which study cellular and molecular aspects of HIV-1 replication. In the first, we are studying species-specific molecular blocks affecting HIV-1 virus assembly. For example, we recently uncovered a block to HIV-1 mRNA nuclear export in cells derived from mice and attributable to a polymorphism in the murine ortholog of the cellular CRM1 (mCRM1) nuclear export receptor. We are currently trying to understand why mCRM1 blocks HIV-1 trafficking, and these studies have recently led us to exciting new questions pertaining to viral and cellular regulatory aspects of subnuclear and nucleus-to-cytoplasm mRNA trafficking. In the second project, we are studying how retroviruses exploit virus-induced cell-cell adhesion zones known as virological synapses (VS) to promote their efficient transmission. We have found that viral Envelope glycoproteins mediate the formation of the VS and subsequently signal virion assembly at these sites of cell-cell contact. The spread of infection is regulated by a cell-mediated actin-driven flow of virus particles from cell-to-cell. These studies have relevance to plasma membrane organization, cell-cell signaling, cytoskeletal trafficking and microbial pathogenesis.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology (MDTP), Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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Nikita Shiliaev

Email: shiliaev@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BS, Biology – St. Petersburg State University
MS, Biology – St. Petersburg State University
Richardson Lab

Kwangdeok Shin

Email: kshin26@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BS, Biological Sciences – Pusan National University
MS, Integrated Biological Science – Pusan National University
Kang Lab

Judith Simcox

Email: jsimcox@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://biochem.wisc.edu/faculty/simcox

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Physiology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Heat production in response to cold exposure is an energetically demanding process. To fuel thermogenesis during cold exposure, brown adipocytes increases both glucose and lipid uptake. As a postdoctoral fellow, I discovered that acylcarnitines, a circulating lipid species, are necessary for maintaining body temperature during cold exposure. Cold exposure triggers the release of free fatty acids from white adipocytes, which then go to the liver to where they are substrates for acylcarnitine production and secretion into circulation. These excess acylcarnitines are then taken up by the brown adipose tissue and used to fuel thermogenesis. Our research focuses on the interaction between adipose tissue and liver during cold exposure, addressing two unanswered questions: 1) How are liver-produced acylcarnitines taken up and metabolized in brown adipocytes? 2) How is hepatic lipid processing regulated in cold exposure?

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:  Biochemistry (IPiB), Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Nutritional Science (IGPNS)

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Ajay Singh

Email: asingh226@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BA, Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology – Harvard University
Yu Lab

Raunak Sinha

Email: raunak.sinha@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://sinha.neuro.wisc.edu

FOCUS GROUPS:

Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our lab studies how cellular, synaptic and circuit mechanisms shape neural signaling in the retina. We study early visual processing in the retina at different stages. For instance, we study cellular mechanism such as phototransduction by measuring light-evoked electrical responses from photoreceptors and relate that to the underlying molecular and biochemical mechanisms of the G- protein signaling cascade. We are interested in how visual signals are parsed into parallel neural circuits and how each one of them is specialized for encoding a distinct aspect of a natural scene.
We correlate neuronal function with detailed anatomy/wiring and gene expression to build a comprehensive map for neural circuits where we can link mechanisms all the way to circuit function and ultimately perception. Our lab is interested in using this knowledge of basic retinal structure and function in an intact tissue as a baseline testing neuronal function in human stem cell-derived retina.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience (NTP), Biophysics, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERP)

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Natthaphat Siri-Angkul

Email: siriangkul@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) – Chiang Mai University
Kamp Lab

Melissa Skala

Email: mcskala@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://morgridge.org/research/medical-engineering/multiscale-imaging/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My lab develops quantitative microscopy tools to non‐invasively image dynamic cell behavior. Metabolic imaging is achieved using auto‐fluorescence from the metabolic co‐factors NADH and FAD. These tools are used in primary human tumor specimens grown in 3D (“tumor organoids”). Metabolic microscopy and tumor organoids are combined to develop high‐throughput personalized drug screens for cancer patients, and to identify promising therapies for clinical trials. Mouse models are used for in vivo imaging of tumor cells interacting with supporting cells in the microenvironment (immune cells, blood vessels, fibroblasts, collagen, etc.).

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biophysics, Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), Biomedical Engineering, Medical Physics

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Ahna Skop

Email: skop@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

http://skoplab.weebly.com/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; RNA Biology

RESEARCH DESTION:

My research program examines the mechanisms that regulate asymmetric cell division. My ultimate goal is to understand how membrane trafficking events contribute to cell asymmetry and cytokinesis. The work in my lab integrates several approaches from genetics, cell biology, genomics and proteomics accompanied with high resolution in vivo microscopy to accomplish these goals. I use a combination of C. elegans and Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells to dissect the mechanisms that regulate asymmetric cell division during embryonic development. During the last 8 years, my research group examined (i) the role of membrane trafficking in maintaining anterior PAR polarity, (ii) the role of RACK-1 in cytokinesis and polarity, and (iii) sequenced the proteome of the mammalian (CHO cell) metaphase spindle. Our findings suggest that membrane trafficking and remodeling is tightly coordinated and maintained throughout the cell cycle to ensure proper cell asymmetry and division during embryonic development. Our immediate future goals are to gain an understanding of the molecular pathways that regulate membrane trafficking during cell asymmetry and cytokinesis. Currently, my lab is interested in the role the midbody mRNAs play in pluripotency and cell differentiation.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics, Life Sciences Communication, Division of the Arts

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Igor Slukvin

Email: islukvin@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.pathology.wisc.edu/profile/igor-slukvin

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My laboratory is using pluripotent stem cell technologies to model blood diseases and to develop novel sources of hematopoietic cells for transplantation, blood transfusion, and cancer immunotherapy.

We defined the major cellular pathways leading to formation of blood and vascular progenitors, including several novel hematoendothelial and mesenchymal progenitors. Through comparative analysis of transcriptome and engraftment properties of these novel progenitors and fetal primitive blood cells as well as employing loss-of- and gain-on-function and lineage-tracing experiments, we expect to gain fundamental insights into molecular mechanisms leading to blood cell development.

These studies could ultimately revolutionize cellular therapies for blood cancer and hereditary blood disease, and can be exploited for discovery of new drugs regulating hematopoietic stem cells, as well. In addition we use reprogramming technology for modeling leukemia stem cell development and identification of novel drug targets for primitive leukemia cells.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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Judith Smith

Email: jsmith27@pediatrics.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.pediatrics.wisc.edu/research/research-groups/smith/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

There are three ongoing projects in the lab: 1) Dissecting the mechanisms by which the endoplasmic reticulum stress response the “Unfolded Protein Response” (UPR) support intracellular infection by Brucella melitensis. A related study is ongoing to understand defective generation of immunologic memory. 2) Analysis of genetics and related functional alterations in inflammatory cytokine production by macrophages from spondyloarthritis patients. 3) Determining the role of the asthma risk gene ORMDL3 in shaping UPR and altered immune responses.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cellular and Molecular Pathology, Microbiology (MDTP)

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Lloyd Smith

Email: smith@chem.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.chem.wisc.edu/users/smith

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; RNA Biology; Virology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The Smith group is an interdisciplinary group of researchers working on the development of novel methods and approaches for the analysis and manipulation of biomolecules. Major interest areas include biological mass spectrometry, surface chemistry, surface detection methods (fluorescence, surface plasmon resonance), and the analysis of genetic variations.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Chemistry, Biophysics

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Paul Sondel

Email: pmsondel@humonc.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.pediatrics.wisc.edu/research/research-groups/sondel

FOCUS GROUPS:

Immunology; Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Maximizing interactions between cells of the innate immune system and cancer cells, in vitro and in vivo, using antibodies and related molecules to provide cancer selective recognition to the immune interaction. Research involves in vitro and in vivo studies in murine models and involves in vitro studies of human tissues as well as human clinical trials. A more recent focus involves genotyping for polymorphisms that influence NK function and correlating with clinical outcome in patients receiving immunotherapy.

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Andre Sousa

Email: andre.sousa@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://neuro.wisc.edu/staff/sousa-andre-m-m/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our lab aims to identify and characterize the molecular and cellular mechanisms that govern human brain development and evolution, and to apply that knowledge towards understanding neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. To achieve this goal, we apply a multifaceted approach that combines: 1) functional genomic studies to identify genes that are critical for proper neurodevelopment and have conserved or human specific expression profiles; 2) developmental neurobiology studies that combine induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, mouse genetic models, and postmortem human and NHP brains to characterize the functions of those candidate genes in the development of the brain; 3) molecular and cellular biology studies that inform the biological processes that are disrupted by alterations in those genes, particularly the ones that are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Edgar Spalding

Email: spalding@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://botany.wisc.edu/staff/spalding-edgar-p/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Plant Biology; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

I have been conducting research on the physiology, molecular biology, and genetics of seedling development for many years, primarily in the model plant Arabidopsis but increasingly in corn and other crop plants. Transport of the hormone auxin by ATP-binding cassette transporters, and Ca2+ ion transport by amino acid-gated ion channels are long-standing topics of research in my group. The function of blue light receptors is another area of specialty. Connecting all these projects is our use of custom-developed computer vision techniques to study mutant phenotypes in seedlings as they develop. This computational approach to phenotype quantification has grown to be a major focus of the lab, which contains engineers and computer scientists as well as biologists. We are applying these image-analysis approaches in large-scale studies of population genetics to map quantitative trait loci, and perform genome-wide association studies.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Botany, Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics

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Rupa Sridharan

Email: rsridharan2@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://wid.wisc.edu/people/rupa-sridharan/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Transcriptional Mechanisms; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

It is known that the chromatin structure of pluripotent cells differs from that of differentiated cells. I am particularly interested in how the reprogramming factors induce this chromatin change and whether they occur in a hierarchical manner globally and at specific loci. I have employed proteomic techniques to determine global changes in histone posttranslational modifications that occur in somatic, partially reprogrammed ( pre-iPS) and iPS cells. We are employing genomic techniques to locate where these modifications are enriched in the genome, and also test the functional consequence of perturbing the levels of these histone modifications by assessing their effect on somatic cell reprogramming efficiency, which is known to be poor. We have also combined a chromatin modifioer and a signaling inhibitor to convert pre-iPSCs to iPSCs at very high efficiency- and by using next gen sequencing methods, derived a regulatory network for the gain of pluripotency. We are in the process of testing the function of key nodes in the network with loss and gain of function assays. Ultimately these studies will lead to an understanding of how cell fate is maintained.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics, Cell and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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Owen Sullivan

Email: omsullivan@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Biology – McNeese State University
MS, Biology – Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem
Mehle Lab

Andrew Sung

Email: andrew.sung@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry – Yale University
Keck Lab

Marulasiddappa Suresh

Email: sureshm@svm.vetmed.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/people/sureshm/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Immunology; Virology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Induction of immunological memory is the basis of vaccinations but the molecular mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of memory T cells is not well understood. Our research is focused on understanding how signaling pathways and transcriptional factors control the effector T cell fate: terminal differentiation and apoptosis versus survival and differentiation into long-lived memory T cells. We are particularly interested in understanding the PI3K/FoxO/mTOR axis in the differentiation of memory CD8 T cells.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS), Microbiology (MDTP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Clinical Investigation

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Shraddha Suryavanshi

Email: ssuryavanshi@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Bioanalytical Sciences
MS, Biology

Michael Sussman

Email: msussman@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://biochem.wisc.edu/faculty/sussman

FOCUS GROUPS:

Systems Biology; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Plant Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My main research interest is in studying the molecular mechanism of action of plasma membrane receptor proteins and transporters and other components of the signaling pathways that connect the plasma membrane and nucleus, in higher plants. We use Arabidopsis thaliana as a genetic model to study these proteins. My laboratory also develops and applies new genomic technologies to study the role of these proteins, including isotope-assisted mass spectrometric-based methods for quantifying hormone induced changes in the phosphoproteome and metabolome.

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Aussie Suzuki

Email: aussie.suzuki@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://aussiesuzuki.oncology.wisc.edu

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

One of main projects in my laboratory is exploring the kinetochore functions in faithful chromosome segregation with a focus on biophysical and mechanobiological properties at kinetochore-microtubule interface. The kinetochore is a macro-molecular structure, which assembles on centromeric chromatin. It serves as a platform for microtubule assembly. Important kinetochore functions are 1) microtubule assembly, 2) to establish bi-orientation, 3) to produce and transmit force, 4) mitotic check point control, and 5) error correction. However, molecular mechanisms underlying those kinetochore functions are largely unsolved. My laboratory understands those mechanisms by using high spatiotemporal imaging, super-resolution microscopy, immuno-EM, ExM (expansion microscopy), and tension biosensors.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cancer Biology, Biophysics, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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John Svaren

Email: jpsvaren@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www2.waisman.wisc.edu/svarenlab//index.html

FOCUS GROUPS:

Transcriptional Mechanisms; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our laboratory is focused on the transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of myelination. Myelin is a vital constituent of the nervous system that increases the speed of action potentials, and also provides trophic support for the long axons that project from neurons. Our studies are centered on the myelin-producing cells of the peripheral nervous system, and the picture below shows a Schwann cell that has synthesized a myelin sheath around the axon to the left. We have focused on elucidating gene regulation of individual myelin genes by two major regulators of Schwann cell function: Egr2 and Sox10. Sox10 is required at virtually all phases of Schwann cell development and Egr2 is required for initation of myelination. For example, we have recently characterized enhancers within the Pmp22 gene, which is duplicated in the most common form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, classified as CMT1A. These studies are also developing novel screening assays to identify drugs that could be used for this very common peripheral neuropathy.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS)

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Kevin Swift

Email: kaswift2@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Biology – University of Oregon
Audhya Lab

Owen Tamplin

Email: tamplin@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://crb.wisc.edu

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We use multiple approaches and model organisms to understand the fundamental biology that regulates hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in their niche. Harnessing the strength of each model, we are building a dynamic view of stem cell behavior in relation to multiple niche cell types. HSCs are concurrently regulated by many different cell types, including endothelial and mesenchymal stromal cells, as well as other hematopoietic cells. The hematopoietic system is very highly conserved so data from mouse and zebrafish often translates to humans.

We use zebrafish because they are a well-characterized functional genetic model with endogenous labels that allow direct live imaging of the endogenous niche. This allows us to test novel hypotheses that could not be performed in any other model system. The high efficiency of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in zebrafish now allows the rapid generation of mutant models. Together with transgenic fluorescent reporters of hematopoietic stem cells and many niche cell types, we can track live cellular interactions in wild-type and mutant genetic backgrounds. We are using correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) to look at the ultrastructure of endogenous HSCs in their niche.

We use mouse as an established HSC transplant model with an extensive panel of markers that can be used to dissect in fine detail changes within the hematopoietic system. We are currently focused on neurotransmitters that are found in the bone marrow niche, and neuroreceptors that are expressed on HSCs themselves. We are finding fascinating novel regulatory mechanisms that have the potential to improve clinical HSC transplantations.

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Sharon Tang

Email: sstang2@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BA, Studio Art and Russian Studies
MS, Speech-Language Pathology
Salgado-Pabon Lab

Zoe Tesone

Email: ztesone@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BS, Biology – Ursinus College
Hardin Lab

Randal Tibbetts

Email: rstibbetts@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.humonc.wisc.edu/team_member/randal-tibbetts-phd/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Research in my lab follows three main themes: (i) Phosphoregulation by CREB/ATF transcription factors and its contributions to gene expression, genotoxic stress response, and cell growth regulation; (ii) mechanisms of RIF1 (Rap1-interacting factor) alternative splicing and its implications for genome protection; and (iii) genetic models of UBQLN2-associated ALS. In the first project we have outlined a novel mechanism of phosphorylation-dependent CREB autoinhibition and are using mouse models to ascertain how defects in autoinhibition contribute to growth deregulation of cancer cells. In the second project we are investigating how alternative splicing of RIF1 influences its participation in DSB repair and replication timing regulation. As part of this project we have generated RIF1-isoform mutant mice that may serve as novel models for genome instability. RIF1 and CREB-related projects both rely on CRISPR/CAS9-based approaches to generated novel functional alleles. Finally, our third area of study is centered on the ubiquitin chaperone protein, UBQLN2, which is mutated in familial forms of ALS. In addition to studying biochemical impacts of UBQLN2 mutations we have generated Drosophila models to identify intramolecular determinants of UBQLN2 toxicity and identify disease-relevant modifier pathways.

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José Torres Ayende

Email: torresayende@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Microbiology – University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo

Daniel Tremmel

Email: tremmel@wisc.edu

Class of 2015
BS, Biochemistry, Genetics, Chemistry – University of Wisconsin-Madison
Odorico Lab

Ena Tully

Email: etully@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BS, Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology – Purdue University
Kirchdoerfer Lab

Marcelo Vargas

Email: mvargas@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; RNA Biology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The long-term goal of my research program is to develop new therapeutic strategies using mechanistic insights drawn from understanding astrocyte-motor neuron interaction in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). While the degeneration of motor neurons is the characteristic feature of ALS, astrocytes play a key role determining motor neuron fate in the course of the disease. Astrocytes from diverse ALS models induce motor neuron death in co-culture models and several strategies aimed at reverting astrocyte-mediated toxicity increase motor neuron survival and improve motor performance in ALS mouse models. Our goal is to better understand astrocyte cellular and molecular biology and define the therapeutic value of modulating mitochondrial function, antioxidant defenses and astrocyte-neuron metabolic coupling in the context of ALS.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Neuroscience Training Program (NTP)

Bibliography

Ophelia Venturelli

Email: venturelli@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://biochem.wisc.edu/faculty/venturelli

FOCUS GROUPS:

Systems Biology; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My research program focuses on elucidating evolutionary design principles that underlie the dynamic responses of molecular networks and synthetic ecologies in response to complex environmental inputs using a combination of experiment, computation and theory. The Venturelli lab will harness biological and engineering principles to design molecular networks that implement novel functionalities at the cellular or ecosystem level. We are interested in unraveling the ecological design principles of synthetic consortia from the human gut microbiome and engineering genetic circuits embedded in probiotic microbes that record or perform computation on environmental inputs and produce specific outputs to manipulate the behavior of microbial consortia.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biochemistry (IPiB), Microbiology (MDTP), Biophysics

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Chad Vezina

Email: cmvezina@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/people/cmvezina/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The focus of my laboratory’s research is urogenital development and lower urinary tract function. We are examining molecular mechanisms of urogenital development including mechanisms responsible for patterning nerves and blood vessels, proliferative cell growth, and morphogenesis of kidney, prostate, urethra, bladder and cloaca. We are investigating how male hormones initiate and maintain male accessory sex organ development and how endocrine disruptors impair these processes. We are also investigating the role of developmentally regulated signaling pathways in the pathophysiology of benign prostatic hyperplasia / lower urinary tract symptoms.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Molecular and Environmental Toxicology, Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Comparative Biosciences

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Monnette Villarreal

Email: mfvillarreal@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Biochemistry – Texas State University, San Marcos

Helaina (Lainy) Von Bank

Email: hcvonbank@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Molecular Biology – University of Wisconsin-Madison
Simcox Lab

Ellen Wagner

Email: erwagner2@wisc.edu

Class of 2017
BS, Biology – Ball State University
Gasch Lab

Ryan Walter

Email: rmwalter@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Biology – University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kalejta Lab

Han Wang

Email: han.wang@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.hanwanglab.com/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Physiology; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My lab is interested in studying how the brain controls behaviors. Our current focus is to understand sleep. Despite being an evolutionarily conserved behavior, sleep remains one of the most intriguing mysteries in biology. We use C. elegans as a model system and exploit its advantages (powerful genetics, optical transparency, and a small nervous system with well defined anatomical connectivity) to understand the molecular, cellular, and circuit mechanisms underlying sleep. We take an integrative approach by combining classic molecular and genetic tools with state-of-the-art techniques, such as optogenetics, in vivo live imaging, genome editing, and next generation sequencing. In parallel, we also develop novel molecular and genetic tools to precisely control transgene expression and manipulate gene activity.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience (NTP), Genetics, Zoology

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Jade Wang

Email: wang@bact.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://bact.wisc.edu/people_profile.php?t=rf&p=jdwang2

FOCUS GROUPS:

Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Systems Biology; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My research group utilizes cell and molecular biology methods to investigate how bacterial cells duplicate their chromosome, express information, deal with stress and interact with hosts. We are proficient in fluorescence microscopy, whole genome sequencing, ChIP-­‐seq.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Microbiology (MDTP), Genetics, Biophysics, Biotechnology (BTP)

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David Wassarman

Email: dawassarman@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://genetics.wisc.edu/staff/wassarman-david/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Transcriptional Mechanisms; Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We are using fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) to understand human neuronal disorders. Currently, we are focusing on Ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), both of which are characterized by neuronal degeneration (neurodegeneration) in the central nervous system. We are using genetic and molecular biology approaches to determine the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie neurodegeneration. The long-term goal of this research is to identify gene targets for diagnostic and therapeutic intervention in A-T and TBI.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Genetics

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Jyoti Watters

Email: jjwatters@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/people/jjwatters/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Immunology; Physiology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The overall goal of my research program is to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating changes in microglial phenotype and function as they contribute to CNS pathology and recovery in chronic neuroinflammatory disorders. To study microglial plasticity, we use a highly clinically relevant rodent model of neuroinflammation, induced by chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH). Our laboratory has characterized microglial gene expression over the course of CIH-induced neuroinflammation and identified for the first time, critical transitional periods that occur between inflammatory and reparative/neurotrophic phenotypes over the course of chronic disease. The specific timing of these effects and the elaborate shifts in classes of genes expressed at these times suggest that microglia utilize tightly regulated mechanisms to control their activities during CNS adaptation to chronic injury. Our recent evidence implicates a critical role for epigenetic processes (e.g. histone demethylation and microRNAs) in the mechanisms employed by microglia to initiate transitions between inflammatory and neurotrophic phenotypes.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience (NTP), Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERP), Comparative Biosciences (CBMS), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Molecular and Environmental Toxicology (MET)

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Beth Weaver

Email: baweaver@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://weaver.crb.wisc.edu

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Chromosome segregation during mitosis is a highly regulated process. My laboratory studies the molecules required for accurate chromosome segregation and the consequences on tumor initiation, progression, and response to chemotherapy when chromosome segregation goes awry.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:  Genetics, Cancer Biology, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology

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Deneen Wellik

Email: wellik@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://stemcells.wisc.edu/staff/wellik-deneen-m/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My laboratory focuses on the role of Hox genes in development, disease, repair and regeneration using mouse as a model organism. The expression and function of Hox genes have been highly conserved throughout evolution where these genes play critical roles in many aspects of developmental patterning and organogenesis. In addition to roles in embryonic development, more recent work in my laboratory reveals that Hox-expressing cells are retained in many tissues and organs through postnatal and adult life as mesenchymal stem/precursor cells that remain important for maintenance and repair of organs and tissues. Utilizing mainly mouse developmental genetics, my laboratory explores the function of these genes in development, regeneration and repair, and in response to disease. We are currently actively exploring the musculoskeletal system and the lung as model organ systems for Hox function. Our longterm goal is to understand mechanisms by which Hox genes to direct development, repair and regeneration in mammals and to elucidate how this information can be used to improve potential regenerative therapies.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Genetics

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Tianmu Wen

Email: twen4@wisc.edu

Class of 2017
BS, Biological Science – Peking University
Anderson Lab

Donna Werling

Email: dwerling@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://werling.genetics.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Protein Trafficking; RNA Biology; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The Werling Lab is interested in investigating the key neurobiological mechanisms involved in the etiology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neuropsychiatric disorders, including the dimensions of genetic variation, development, and sex-differential biology, and interactions between them. We apply genome-wide genetics, functional genomics, and bioinformatics approaches (e.g. RNA-seq, single cell analyses, eQTLs) in human tissue and model systems to identify and characterize the mechanisms involved in sex-differential and disorder-associated neurobiology. The long-term goal of our research program is to uncover fundamental causal pathways in both sexes that will facilitate treatment development and benefit affected individuals and their families. 

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)Neuroscience Training Program (NTP), Genetics Training Program, Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)

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Emily Wessel

Email: ewessel@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Biochemistry – Kansas State University
Drummond-Barbosa Lab

Nicole West

Email: nrwest@wisc.edu

Class of 2020
BS, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – College of Wooster
Bhattacharyya Lab

Deric Wheeler

Email: dlwheeler@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.humonc.wisc.edu/team_member/wheeler/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The focus of my laboratory centers around the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) which is ubiquitously expressed receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK). Upon ligand binding, the EGFR initiates a spectrum of signaling pathways that promote cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, motility, and cellular adhesion. The EGFR is recognized as a key mediator of proliferation and progression in many human tumors and strategies to inhibit EGFR signaling have emerged as highly promising cancer therapy approaches. Following more than 20 years of preclinical development, five EGFR inhibitors, two monoclonal antibodies and three small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), have recently gained FDA approval in oncology (cetuximab, panitumumab, erlotinib, gefitinib and lapatinib). Both strategies of EGFR inhibition have demonstrated major tumor regressions in approximately 10-20% of advanced cancer patients. However, many tumors do not show response to EGFR inhibition and some of the responders eventually manifest resistance to treatment. The underlying mechanisms of intrinsic and acquired resistance to EGFR inhibitors remain largely unexplored. In an effort to examine mechanisms of acquired resistance to EGFR inhibition we have developed a series of cetuximab-resistant cancer cell lines (H&NSCC1 and NCI-H226) models to elucidate molecular pathways leading to resistance to targeted therapies. The overall goal is to elucidate pathways that resistant cells have activated and aim at blocking these pathways and restoring sensitivity to the original target agents.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Oncology

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Marvin Wickens

Email: wickens@biochem.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://biochem.wisc.edu/faculty/wickens

FOCUS GROUPS:

RNA Biology; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We are interested in how RNAs are controlled in eukaryotic cells. We want to understand the mechanisms that underlie control of their translation, decay, and movements. In parallel, we concentrate on their biological roles and the evolution of RNA regulatory networks. To do so, we concentrate on families of regulatory proteins that activate and repress batteries of mRNAs. We exploit a range of organisms, including yeast, worms and frog oocytes, with a special interest in regulation during development. Our approaches combine molecular genetics, biochemistry, structural biology and genomics.

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Casey Wong

Email: wong56@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Microbiology & Infection – University of Alberta

Nicole Woodhead

Email: nmwoodhead@wisc.edu

Class of 2021
BA, Biochemistry and Biology – Albion College
Tamplin Lab

Elizabeth Wright

Email: erwright2@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://biochem.wisc.edu/faculty/wright

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Virology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My laboratory uses cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and molecular biology approaches to explore the three-dimensional structure and function of viruses, bacteria, and mammalian cells in order to develop targeted therapeutic agents. Independent projects focus on bacteria and bacteriophage interactions, the structure and function of bacterial appendages, HIV-1 maturation, paramyxovirus and pneumovirus assembly and glycoprotein architecture, and mammalian host cell structure. My laboratory also develops and uses novel cryo-EM and correlative light and electron microscopy technologies to further improve our capacity to address specific questions in cell biology and infectious disease research.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biochemistry (IPiB), Biophysics, Virology, and Biotechnology (BTP)

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Yongna Xing

Email: xing@oncology.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mcardle.wisc.edu/who-we-are/mcardle-faculty/yongna-xing-phd

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The Xing lab is interested in elucidating the molecular, structural and biochemical basis of diverse cell signaling pathways and regulations related to cancer, neurological disorder and toxicity, such as phosphatase regulation and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) signaling. We utilize diverse multi-disciplinary biophysical, biochemical, bioinformatics, and cell biology approaches, including x-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, computational structural biology, enzymology, the state-of-the-art proteomics, bioinformatics and time-lapse fluorescent imaging, to gain deep mechanistic understanding and facilitate identification of novel therapeutic targets and strategies.

Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is one of the most important and abundant Ser/Thr phosphatases in all eukaryotic cells with complex regulation and compositions. It plays a critical role in many essential aspects of cellular function, and deregulation of its function has been linked to many types of cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, and heart failure. PP2A participates in diverse cellular processes via formation of ~100 heterotrimeric holoenzymes. We made critical contributions to the understanding of the broad structural basis of PP2A core enzyme, holoenzymes and regulation complexes, and developed a plethora of research tools that allow us to reconstitute and dissect the biochemical processes involved in diverse aspects of PP2A regulation and substrate recognition. Our ongoing research involves a highly dynamic aspect of PP2A regulation that is crucial for tight control of PP2A holoenzyme biogenesis, disassembly, and activity. We also have critical efforts toward identifying interaction motifs for diverse PP2A holoenzymes and characterizing biochemical codes for PP2A holoenzyme-substrate interactions that can be described in computer language for bioinformatic search. Built on a highly multidisciplinary research with broad research strategies, including biochemistry, cell biology, system biology, cryo-EM, x-ray crystallography and cancer bioinformatics, we aim to rapidly predict and test phosphatase action in diverse signaling networks and disease mutations that alter phosphatase function in multiple types of cancer, neurological disorders and rare genetic diseases.

Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a PAS family transcription factor that mediates cellular responses to diverse environmental chemicals and endogenous metabolites. It plays an important role in toxicity response, and normal immune and cardiovascular functions, with important implication for cancer and autoimmune diseases. Our ongoing research is built on our recent breakthroughs on the crystal structure of AHR signaling complex and AHR ligand chemistry in which we identified trace derivatives from cellular metabolite, kynurenine, as potent AHR ligands, which we named TEACOPs (trace elongated aromatic condensation products of kynurenine). Our research aim to decipher how kynurenine/TEACOPs and environmental compounds differentially activate AHR signaling and differentially modulate the functions of diverse immune cells to provide insights for diverse inflammatory diseases and cancer. We also aim to elucidate the structural basis underlying the dichotomy of AHR signaling using single particle cryo-EM.

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Wei Xu

Email: wxu@oncology.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mcardle.wisc.edu/who-we-are/mcardle-faculty/wei-xu-phd

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Dr. Xu’s laboratory explores the protective roles of environmental and nutritional estrogenic compounds in mammals for breast cancer prevention and treatment. Estrogen receptors (ERs) exist in two forms, ERa and ERb, which have opposing roles in cell proliferation. Estrogenic compounds can control balance between mammary cell proliferation and differentiation via stimulating the formation of different forms of ER dimers. Xu lab has developed the Bioluminescent Resonance Energy Transfer (BRET) assays for detecting in vivo homodimerization and heterodimerization of ERa and ERb induced by estrogenic compounds. Biological functions of these estrogenic compounds are currently being investigated in cell-based and breast cancer mouse models. Dr. Xu’s laboratory has also employed biochemical and functional genomic approaches, as well as mouse genetics to decipher the contribution of histone arginine methylation to the epigenetic control of cancer cells. The major focus of Xu lab is on a protein arginine (R) methyltransferase CARM1/PRMT4, a nuclear hormone receptor co-activator. Dr. Xu has identified a number of non-histone substrates for CARM1 and is in the progress of elucidating the functions of protein arginine methylation in breast cancer initiation and progression.

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Zhiyan Xu

Email: zxu457@wisc.edu

Class of 2022
BS, Pharmacy – Nanjing Medical University
MS, Neuropharmacology – Nantong University

Ravi Chandra Yada

Email: ryada@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Bioengineering – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Beebe Lab

Eric Yen

Email: eric.yen@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://nutrisci.wisc.edu/c-l-eric-yen/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Physiology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Triacylglycerol (TAG) serves as reserves of substrates for making cell membranes and generating metabolic energy, and its synthesis intermediates may serve as signaling molecules. TAG is essential for many biological processes; however, excessive accumulation of TAG leads to obesity, diabetes, and related metabolic diseases. Our lab examines the physiological functions of enzymes involved in the synthesis of TAG, focusing on acyl:CoA monoacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 and 2 (MGAT1 and MGAT2). We demonstrated that intestinal MGAT2 regulates food intake and, unexpectedly, energy expenditure. We are now using research approaches from classic biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, and systems biology to understand how intestinal lipid metabolism regulates systemic energy balance. Our on-going research has expanded into other functions of MGATs and additional genetic and dietary factors modulating energy balance in the broad context of understanding the mechanisms by which nutrition impacts health and disease.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS), Physiology

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Jerry Yin

Email: jcyin@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://genetics.wisc.edu/staff/yin-jerry/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Transcriptional Mechanisms; RNA Biology; Systems Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We use molecular, genetic and cellular approaches to answer questions on neuronal function and dysfunction. We are focused on how memories are formed and persist in the brain. Circadian and sleep-related processes are part of this process. Most of our work centers around the cAMP/PKA/CREB signaling pathway. In fly models of disease, sleep and cAMP signaling are prodromal endophenotypes that are causally involved in disease progression. We are interested in why they are dysfunctional, and how to overcome their problems.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:  Neuroscience (NTP), Genetics, Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)

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John Yin

Email: john.yin@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://yin.discovery.wisc.edu/john-yin/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Virology; Systems Biology; Immunology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

We aim to advance a quantitative and integrated understanding how viruses grow and their infections spread. We are developing experimental systems and computational simulations for three single-stranded RNA viruses: vesicular stomatitis virus, a negative-sense RNA virus; and human rhinovirus (HRV) and Zika (ZIKV) virus, both positive-sense RNA viruses. Quantitative experiments are enabling the development of predictive models of growth and spread. Our recent studies entail high-throughput measures of single-cell infections, dual-color virus and host-cell reporters of virus-host interactions, single-cell measures of virus-DIP(defective interfering particle) interaction. Overall, our approaches are directed toward a deeper ‘systems level’ understanding of how viruses grow and cause disease, and we aim to exploit such understanding to develop novel anti-viral strategies that resist escape.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biophysics, Computation and Informatics in Biology and Medicine (CIBM), Genomic Sciences Training Program (GSTP)

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Megan Young

Email: myoung26@wisc.edu

Class of 2018
BS, Biochemistry – Beloit College
Wang Lab

John-Paul (JP) Yu

Email: jpyu@uwhealth.org

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.radiology.wisc.edu/profile/john-paul-yu-1327/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Systems Biology; Immunology; Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Dr. Yu’s laboratory is currently aligned along two major thematic areas of interest: (1) examining the impact of genes, the environment, and gene-environmental interactions on quantitative neuroimaging measures of neural microstructure in psychiatric illness and (2) development of MR and PET neuroimaging methods for the sensitive characterization and detection of microglial-driven neuroinflammation.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience (NTP), Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)

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Jing Zhang

Email: zhang@oncology.wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://mcardle.wisc.edu/faculty-draft-jenny/jing-zhang/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Cancer Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

My lab focuses on identification of novel genetic driver mutations in promoting chronic leukemia formation and its malignant transformation to an acute phase using whole exome sequencing. These candidate mutations will subsequently be cloned and validated in leukemia cell lines in vitro and genetically engineered mouse models in vivo.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Cancer Biology, Genetics, Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP)

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Ziheng Zhang

Email: zzhang576@wisc.edu

Class of 2019
BS, Biology – University of Wisconsin-Madison
Audhya Lab

Fei Zhao

Email: fei.zhao@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://zhaolab.vetmed.wisc.edu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Physiology; Transcriptional Mechanisms

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Our lab aims to understand cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying sexual differentiation of reproductive tracts. Before sexual differentiation, both primitive male and female reproductive tracts co-exist in an embryo. During sexual differentiation, the embryo eliminates one of the two primitive reproductive tracts and maintains exclusively the one corresponding to its sex. The retained sex-specific tract eventually differentiates into a functional reproductive organ. Sexual differentiation and function of reproductive tracts are regulated/influenced by actions of sex hormones. Therefore, during differentiation, the male and female reproductive tract must acquire/develop proper responsiveness to sex hormones; environmental chemicals mimicking sex hormones can have adverse effects on reproductive tract differentiation. We are particularly interested in and focus on understanding mechanisms underlying the above phenomena: (1) How are sexspecific fates of two primitive reproductive tracts regulated? (2) How does the male and female reproductive tract acquire/develop proper responsiveness to male and female sex hormones, respectively? (3) How do environmental chemicals that interfere with sex hormone signaling affect reproductive tract differentiation? We address these questions by utilizing transgenic and conditional knockout mouse models, ex vivo organ culture, gene/protein expression analyses, genomic and single-cell technologies. Disruptions in reproductive tract differentiation can lead to disorders of sex development and jeopardize an individual’s future reproductive potential. Our research will provide fundamental knowledge for the development of better strategies for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of related disorders of sex development and reproductive diseases.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

Molecular & Environmental Toxicology (MET), Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS) Graduate Program, Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERP) Graduate Training Program

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Xinyu Zhao

Email: xinyu.zhao@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://www.waisman.wisc.edu/staff/zhao-xinyu/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Transcriptional Mechanisms; RNA Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

The research in our laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate neuronal development. We are particularly interested in two aspects of gene expression regulation: epigenetic mechanisms through chromatin remodeling and noncoding RNAs and post-transcriptional regulation through RNA binding proteins. We use mouse genetics, primary neural stem cells (NSC), and human pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC, hESC), as well as CRISPR gene editing-created genetic mutant and gene-corrected mouse lines and human cells as model systems in our research. We employ a combination of genetic, genomic, proteomic, imaging, and behavioral methods to interrogate the fundamental relationships among gene, brain, and behaviors in neuronal development and their implications in human neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Fragile X Syndrome, Autism, and Rett syndrome.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Neuroscience (NTP), Genetics, Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP)

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Xuehua Zhong

Email: xzhong28@wisc.edu

LAB WEBSITE:

https://wid.wisc.edu/people/xuehua-zhong/

FOCUS GROUPS:

Transcriptional Mechanisms; Plant Biology

RESEARCH DESCRIPTION:

Epigenetic regulation of gene expression plays crucial in many aspects of biology, ranging from genome integrity, imprinting, cellular differentiation, normal growth and development, disease formation, to potential biotechnological applications. Our research goal is to understand the fundamental mechanisms of chromatin-based gene regulation. Specifically, we study how various chromatin factors are recruited to chromatin to “read” and ‘translate” epigenetic information into differential gene expression patterns under normal growth and development as well as stress conditions.

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You can find information on students who have graduated in the Alumni Directory.