The research in our graduate program aims to investigate molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie human disease, with the ultimate goal of identifying therapeutic targets and developing new drugs that improve human health. Our program is well-aligned with the mission of the Department, which aims to leverage analyses of basic cellular mechanisms and model organisms to identify molecular targets that will help guide translational interventions. The educational and research opportunities, as well as the environment of our graduate program, encompass several aspects of biomedical research related to this mission, and are envisioned as a central hub to link basic research findings with the clinical enterprise. Our faculty have expertise in systems biology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacogenomics, genomics, epigenetics and metabolism.
Basic Cellular Mechanisms
The Chavez Lab develops genomic technologies to address unmet needs in the area of neurodegeneration and infectious disease.
The Cornish Lab studies the translation of synthetic biology and chemical biology to human health.
The Shah Lab investigates the interaction specificities and regulatory mechanisms of phosphotyrosine signaling proteins, using a combination of synthetic chemistry, high-throughput biochemistry, biophysics, and cell biology.
The Sims Lab develops single-cell genomics technology with applications in cancer, immunology, and neuroscience.
The Sternberg Lab studies the vast diversity of bacterial CRISPR-Cas systems and transposable elements, and apply our findings to develop next-generation genome engineering tools.
The Stockwell Lab explores links between ferroptosis, metabolism and disease using small molecule probes and mass spectrometry tools.
The Zhang Lab focuses on understanding mechanisms and functions of neuronal RNA regulation which can ultimately translate into treatments of neurological disorders.
The Baer Lab aims to elucidate the biological functions of the BRCA1/BARD1 pathway, particularly in the maintenance of genome stability, and how loss of these functions promotes breast and ovarian cancer.
The Bass Lab studies the intersection of genomic aberrations in gastric and esophageal cancer with development of robust in vivo and in vitro models and then exploring therapeutic vulnerabilities with the use of functional genomics and pharmacologic tools linked to deep studies of pharmacodynamic effects with multi-omic tools.
The Califano Lab uses systems biology principles to understand cancer tumorigenesis, drug resistance and cellular heterogeneity, and identify effective strategies for disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
The Chio Lab applies chemical proteomic and metabolomic approaches on ex vivo organoid models to study redox-dependent metabolic circuits in pancreatic cancer.
The Ciccia Lab studies the mechanisms by which DNA repair proteins promote genome stability using innovative genome editing technologies.
The Ferrando Lab seeks to gain mechanistic fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of transformation and therapy resistance for the development of novel targeted therapies.
The Gautier Lab studies the mechanisms responsible for the maintenance of genome integrity and how these mechanisms are altered in cancer.
The Izar Lab develops and implements single-cell genomics and genome-editing tools in patient tissues and patient-derived models to dissect niche-specific mechanisms of metastasis, chromosomal instability and resistance to immunotherapies.
The Lu Lab employs high-throughput genetic and epigenomic technologies to understand the mechanisms by which misregulation of chromatin modifications drive tumor development and to develop novel precision epigenetic therapy for cancer.
The Olive Lab takes a multi-disciplinary approach to translational research on pancreatic cancer, including efforts in systems biology/precision medicine, metabolism, paracrine intercellular communication within the tumor microenvironment, and preclinical therapeutics studies.
The Viny Lab aims to understand how 3D chromatin structure regulates hematopoietic stem cell fate decisions in normal and malignant contexts.
The Zha Lab investigates the mechanism of DNA repair and DNA damage responses in the context of cancer therapy and immune therapy.
The Zhang Lab is interested in determining how epigenetic states are inherited during S phase of cell cycle and how epigenetic alterations contribute to tumorigenesis and the development of drug resistance.
Pharmacology of Human Disease
The Diano Lab focuses on intracellular nutrient sensing mechanisms in brain cells regulating energy and glucose metabolism, and how their derangement promotes development of metabolic disorders.
The Kass Lab focuses on ion channels in the cardiovascular system and on the physiological and pharmacological consequences of inherited disease-causing mutations in ion channel genes.
The Kellendonk Lab studies neuronal mechanisms underlying cognitive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia.
The Prince Lab studies the immunometabolic interactions of host and bacterial pathogens in the airway.
The Sharma Lab studies the structure and function of peripheral sensory neurons.
The Sulzer Lab works on the normal function of brain synapses and synaptic diseases including autism, Parkinson’s and addiction.
The Troy Lab studies the regulation of the neurovascular unit in development and disease.
The Yan Lab focuses on investigating cellular and molecular mechanisms and therapeutic mitochondrial target of mitochondrial and synaptic degeneration relevant to aging, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
The Yazawa Lab uses interdisciplinary approaches including stem cell, bioengineering and imaging to uncover the molecular mechanism underlying cardiac diseases, identify new targets and to develop new drugs.
The Zeltser Lab explores how developmental influences on neural circuits exert lasting impacts on energy balance and body weight regulation.