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ISG Members

Investigator  Research Interests
Adam Adler photo Adam Adler

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Immunology, Cancer, Immunotherapy, T cells

T cells can eliminate tumors, yet are typically prevented from doing so because their activity is tempered by a variety of immunosuppressive mechanisms engaged by tumors. Various immune-based therapies that neutralize these immunosuppressive mechanisms can provide therapeutic benefit to cancer patients, and combining complimentary modalities can boost efficacy. In collaboration with Dr. Anthony Vella, we use transgenic mouse and tumor model systems to develop combination immunotherapy approaches that utilize agonists to the T cell costimulatory receptors CD134 plus CD137. This “dual costimulation” programs T cells to acquire several unusual but therapeutically useful functional attributes, which we analyze using a variety cellular, molecular and biochemical approaches.
Olga Anczukow portrait Olga Anczukow-Camrada

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Breast Cancer, Genetics and Genomics, Cancer, RNA biology, Gene Expression Regulation, Alternative Splicing

Alternative splicing is a key control point in gene expression, and its misregulation often leads to diseases; however, the role of alternative-splicing misregulation remains an underexplored area in cancer research. Our goal is to understand how splicing misregulation plays a role in breast and ovarian cancer, to identify what triggers splicing alterations in tumors, and ultimately to develop novel personalized cancer therapies. Our research is focused on bridging the gap between the fields of RNA biology and cancer research, by combining the use of large clinical datasets, disease relevant 3D organotypic cell culture and patient-derived animal models, with a range of cutting-edge techniques such as RNA-sequencing, splicing-modulation using an antisense oligonucleotide technology, high-throughput imaging and functional genomics.

antic Srdjan Antic

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Excitability of neurons, Dendritic Integration, Synaptic Integration, Genes in differentiating neurons, Gene regulation by electrical activity, Dopaminergic neuromodulation

Our laboratory is interested in the interaction between genes and physiology in post mitotic human neurons.  More specifically, we are interested in how electrical activity regulates the expression of human genes implicated in schizophrenia and autism.  In a separate project, our laboratory is using voltage imaging and calcium imaging in thin dendrites of the central nervous system neurons to study integration of electrical and calcium signals, as well as how dopamine affects these signals.
IMG_1148 Andrew Arnold

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Molecular Oncology, Cancer Genetics, Endocrine tumors, Cell cycle, Cyclin D1, Cyclin-dependent kinases, Parathyroid neoplasia, Breast cancer

Dr. Arnold is a physician-scientist who is a recognized leader in the molecular genetics of endocrine neoplasia.  Dr. Arnold’s research accomplishments in cancer genetics include discovery of the cyclin D1 oncogene and identifying the central molecular cause of parathyroid cancer.  His laboratory continues to gain insight into the genetics and mechanisms underlying parathyroid gland tumorigenesis, and has an initiative in the role of cyclin D1 in breast cancer.

 

Portrait of Preeti Bais against a white background. Preeti Bais

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Metabolomics, Machine Learning, Systems Biology, Computational Biology

My research focus is in the application of statistical methodologies and machine learning to the area of systems biology, specifically metabolomics for hypothesis generation and validation.
Formal portrait of Jacques Banchereau against a white background. Jacques Banchereau

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Aging, Cancer, Genetics and Genomics, Immune Disorders

The human immune system is a double-edged sword: essential for maintaining health yet often itself the cause of disease. Understanding how this delicate balance is maintained requires a thorough understanding of its components and its responses to environmental factors. My laboratory is leveraging modern genomic tools including epigenetics and isoform repertoire analysis to characterize the human immune system in both healthy and disease states. How the immune system deteriorates as part of aging and how the immune system reacts to vaccination represent areas of investigation. Our approach includes the development of humanized mouse models of human diseases. Our goal is to enable the future development of novel therapies for a range of serious illnesses.
Bansal Mukul Bansal

University of Connecticut

Computational Molecular Evolution, Computational Phylogenetics, Algorithms, Microbial Evolution

Dr. Bansal develops new computational methods, efficient algorithms, and powerful software tools to help answer fundamental biological questions. He is especially interested in problems related to understanding the evolution of genes, genomes, and species. Some specific research projects include: (1) Inferring the evolution of microbial genomes and gene families to understand how microbes evolve and adapt, (2) reconstructing highly accurate gene trees and whole-genome species trees for improving the accuracy of downstream comparative and functional genomic analyses, and (3) understanding evolution at the sub-gene/domain level.
Kyle Baumbauer on Feb. 19, 2015. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo) Kyle Baumbauer

University of Connecticut

Pain, Neuroscience, Inflammation, Spinal Cord Injury, Sensory Function

The lab uses different models to examine pain processing: inflammation, nerve injury, and spinal cord injury. Primary afferents are studied using ex vivo preparations that allow for comprehensive phenotyping of individual nerve fibers and determine how injury changes physiological properties of these neurons. Physiological characterizations of neurons are also coupled with gene expression profiling of individual afferents to examine shifts in expression patterns following injury. Genetic expression of channelrhoodopsin is also utilized to target specific populations of afferents to examine relative contributions to sensory processing. It is our hope that our results will lead to advances that aid in the treatment of pathological pain.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Dashzeveg Bayarsaihan

University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine

Transcriptional Regulation, Epigenomics, Haploinsufficiency in human disease

The role of TFII-I transcription factors during embryonic development to understand the mechanisms associated with chromatin structural changes.  The role of epigenetic alterations in human disease processes, particularly in relation to the copy number variations of the human genome.
my self image Robert Bird

University of Connecticut

Legal, ethical, and social issues related to scientific societal and organizational challenges

Professor Bird conducts research in the legal, ethical, and social contexts of organizations and society.  This includes business ethics, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and human rights.  The impact of regulation on commercialization is also of interest.

 

 

Professor Judy Blake, SSP student '15 Danielle Perry, and Harold Darbkin in Judy's office. Judith Blake

The Jackson Laboratory

Comparative Genetics and Genomics, Biomedical Ontologies, Knowledge Representation, Computational Biology

My research program focuses on functional and comparative genomics particularly in regards to approaches for integrating experimental data with existing knowledge to advance biomedical research.  This research involves extensive development and application of semantic strategies for computational data integration including the development of ontologies, i.e., formal structures that describe the state of knowledge in a computable form that is consistent under rigorous logical validation.  A major accomplishment of my research program is the design and development of the Gene Ontology (GO), one of the cornerstones of modern computational biology. I am one of the founders and Principal Investigators of the GO.  As well, I am one of the Principal Investigators of the Mouse Genome Informatics Consortium, a comprehensive knowledgebase of genetic, genomic, and biological data that powers the translation of mouse experimental data to models for understanding human biology and disease.
2016-07-28 11.54.21 Michael Blinov

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Computational Biology, Systems Biology, Mathematical Modeling, Bioinformatics

Develop new methods, algorithms and software for computational modeling of biological systems, concentrating on detailed mechanistic models of signal transduction. We apply these tools to various systems, ranging from receptor signaling to RNA granules assembly. My lab is interested in using experimental datasets for modeling, as well as  approaches for models and data storage and visualization.
nab 2015 Nichole Broderick

University of Connecticut

Host-Microbe Interactions, Microbiome, Innate Immunity, Gut Immunity

The goal of the Broderick laboratory is to address fundamental questions related to animal biology by understanding the mechanisms that underlie animal-microbiome interactions.  We us Drosophila melanogaster and its associated microbiota to study the impacts of beneficial and pathogenic bacteria on host development, physiology, and health using a variety of molecular, genetic, and genomic approaches.
judybrown Judy Brown

University of Connecticut

Cytogenetics, Chromosome Biology, Genome Instability, Clinical Genetics

Judy Brown, Associate Professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences, is Director of the UCONN Chromosome Core, a division of the UCONN-Wesleyan Stem Cell Core.  Dr. Brown is an ASCP certified clinical laboratory specialist in cytogenetics and molecular biology and Director of the Diagnostic Genetic Sciences Program and the Health Care Genetics Professional Science Master Degree Program.  Dr. Brown works collaboratively to develop new models for studying the interplay between chromosome instability and human disease.  Judy provides training and expertise on diverse projects to expand grant-funded efforts in the growing field of chromosome biology and to examine the genome integrity of human induced pluripotent stem cells created to mimic diseases such as autism, Prader-Willi, and Angelman syndrome.
KevinBrown_Headshot_2012.06.07_crop Kevin Brown

University of Connecticut

Complex Systems, Computational Biology, Systems Biology, Systems Neuroscience

I am a theoretical and computational systems biologist and systems neuroscientist.  I study complex biological systems, employing methodology from dynamical systems, Bayesian and nonparametric statistics, computational biology, and statistical signal processing.  My work has focused heavily on inverse problems; inferring network and model structures from cellular time series measurements, protein sequences, and high-dimensional brain data.  My work is strongly connected to experimental data, and I continue to have many productive collaborations with experimentalists.
Campellone Headshot Kenneth Campellone

University of Connecticut

Cytoskeleton, Autophagy, Membrane Trafficking, Genetics, Cell Biology, Aging, Inherited Disease, Infectious Disease, Host-Pathogen Interactions

Human cells rely on the cytoskeleton to properly organize shape, and move their membrane-bound organelles.  Our work focuses on determining how actin and microtubules drive membrane remodeling, and how these cytoskeletal functions are altered during aging and disease.  We use genetically-engineered cell lines, patient samples, bacterial pathogens, and biochemical approaches to address these questions.
carter Greg Carter

The Jackson Laboratory

Computational Biology, Genetics, Genomics

 

 

The overall goal of our laboratory is to develop novel computational strategies that integrate biological data to understand complex genetic systems. These methods aim to map complex genetic architecture and infer models that involve multiple genetic and environmental factors. We derive network models of interacting genes, integrate disparate phenotypic and molecular data types, critically evaluate models with experimental tests, and seek to understand how biological information is encoded in genetic networks and genomic data.
 1532 Stormy Chamberlain

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Human induced pluripotent stem cells, Neurodevelopment, CRISPR/Cas9, RNA-seq, 4C, Genomic imprinting, Angelman Syndrome, Non-coding RNAs

The Chamberlain lab uses human induced pluripotent stem cells to model and study two neurodevelopmental disorders, Angelman and Dup15q syndromes. The lab has two major foci: 1) to understand the mechanisms underlying regulation of UBE3A imprinted expression and 2) to develop therapeutic strategies for these neurodevelopmental disorders, including strategies for modulating gene expression in stem cell-derived neurons. We use genomic approaches, CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, and antisense oligonucleotides in these studies
ARC photo without glasses Audrey Chapman

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Ethics and regulation of stem cell research and applications: I am evaluating the feasibility and ethical issues related to the development of human gametes from pluripotent stem cells and their use for reproductive purposes.  First in human trials with stem cell based therapies: am currently assessing ethical and regulatory issues related to early human clinical trials with cell based therapies and I am evaluating the new International Society for Stem Cell Research guidelines for early clinical trials.   Translational ethics and policy related to cell based applications: I am evaluating the policies and outcomes of the state stem cell research funding programs in New York, California, and Maryland. Reproductive issues related to genetic developments: I am continuing research related to the ethical and policy issues  related to developments with  non-invasive prenatal genetic testing.
Yongku Yongku Cho

University of Connecticut

Protein Engineering, Antibody Engineering, Neurobiology

My research group engineers proteins to create tools for controlling and observing biological processes. Currently research topics include: engineering high affinity and specificity antibodies that target protein post-translational modifications, engineering intracellular antibodies for protein detection and modulation, and developing approaches to quantify and control protein turnover.
Formal portrait of Jeffrey (Jeff) Chuang of The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine (JAX GM), located in Farmington, Connecticut (CT), against a white background.

 

Jeffrey Chuang

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Computational Biology, Cancer, Genetics and Genomics, Neurodegenerative and Neuromuscular Diseases, Complex Traits, Bioinformatics, Diabetes and Obesity, Developmental Disorders

Large-scale DNA sequencing has ushered in a new era in biology, making it possible to analyze species at their most atomistic genetic level and paving the way for a new era in medicine. At the same time, massive functional assays that provide data regarding protein-DNA interactions, protein-RNA interactions, gene expression, metabolomic profiling and more have become increasingly available. My lab is interested in computational and mathematical approaches to analyzing such large data sources in order to understand how genomes function and make these findings clinically relevant. We develop and use techniques from a variety of disciplines, including statistical inference, molecular evolution and biophysical modeling. Our areas of interest include evolutionary processes in cancer, patient-derived xenografts, regulatory sequences within RNA and DNA, and regulation of protein translation.
Claffey reduced Kevin Claffey

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Cancer Biology, Cardiovascular, Metabolism, Cancer Immunology

Metabolic-proliferative axis regulated by AMPK in human breast and bladder cancers.  Contribution of hyperactive vascular signaling driving pathological vascular permeability through phospholipase C-bate isoforms. Patient-derived anti-cancer antibodies derived from reactive breast cancer sentinel lymph nodes.
970985_557097111018128_936658514_n Xiaomei Cong

University of Connecticut

Gut microbiome of preterm infants, genomics and early life stress/pain and neurobehavioral outcomes, genomics and neonatal abstinence syndrome, genomics and self-management of irritable bowel syndrome.

Dr. Cong investigates the regulation of early life stress by the brain-gut-microbiota axis and the prediction of neurodevelopment outcomes in preterm infants.  Her longstanding interest is in the mechanisms of painful/stressful early life experiences associated with health outcomes in vulnerable high-risk infants.
CORE_L Leighton Core

University of Connecticut

Functional Genomics, RNA Transcription, Nascent Transcription, Transcription Regulation, Non-coding RNAs

My lab is interested in how changes in RNA transcription and processing drive changes or maintenance of cellular states during cellular responses such as development or disease progression.  Towards this goal, we primarily apply genomic techniques and bioinformatics to reveal the full transcriptional ‘signatures’ of various cell types as well as uncover the fundamental mechanisms of transcriptions that underly them.
cotney Justin Cotney

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Functional Genomics, Epigenetics, Developmental Biology, Disease Genetics, Chromatin, Evolution, Neurodevelopmental Disorders

The Cotney Lab is interested in determining how gene regulatory elements, namely enhancers, control gene expression during mammalian development. We aim to understand how new gene regulatory functions evolve, to identify mechanisms of enhancer function over large genomic distances, and globally identify variants of enhancer sequences that are associated with human disease.
jonathan_covault Jonathan Covault

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Human Clinical Genetics, Pharmacogenetics, Alcohol Use Disorders, iPSC as Model Systems, Epigenetics

Dr. Covault is a physician scientist and psychiatrist with experience directing clinical pharmacotherapy trials for alcoholism, human laboratory alcohol challenge studies, examination of genotype / phenotype associations including gene x environment interactions related to alcohol use disorders, pharmacogenetics, and use of human neural cells culture models. Current research projects include i) two separate pharmacologic clinical trials to reduce heavy drinking, one examining a modulator of neuroactive steroid biosynthesis, dutasteride, and the second an anticonvulsant, zonisamide; ii) in vitro studies using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology to examine molecular biological effects of alcohol dependence associated genetic polymorphisms in GABRA2 and GRIK1 genes in human neural cell cultures, and iii) on going collaborations with Dr. Tennen examining gene x life stress interaction effects on heavy drinking among college students.
tjl-0299 Greg Cox

The Jackson Laboratory

Genetics, Mouse models, Neuromuscular disease, Neurodegeneration

Dr. Gregory Cox is seeking the molecular pathways that underlie degenerative neuromuscular diseases in humans, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress (SMARD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. There are currently no cures for these disorders and they are characterized by weakness and progressive wasting of muscles, eventually leading to paralysis and death. We have chosen to focus on the resources available at The Jackson Laboratory in the form of spontaneous and induced models of neuromuscular disease as our starting point for gene discovery and functional analysis. This approach ensures that the mutant genes we identify are critical for the normal development and/or maintenance of motor neurons and skeletal muscles.
anne-delany-09-09-2014-high-res Anne Delany

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

microRNA, gene expression, mouse models, SNPs, Bone

My research program is focused on characterizing the mechanisms regulating gene expression in bone cells, with a focus on mRNA isoforms, microRNAs and regulatory networks. We are currently investigating the mechanisms by which the miR-29 family of miRNAs regulates the differentiation and function of bone-resorbing osteoclasts. In addition, we are studying how miR-433 regulates lineage commitment towards bone-forming osteoblasts and cartilage-forming chondrocytes. We use in vitro cell models as well as transgenic mouse models for our studies. This basic research will from a firm foundation for the design of novel therapeutic strategies for increasing bone mass and for enhancing fracture repair.
duff_isg_photo Michael Duff

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Computational Genomics, Bioinformatics, Genome-Wide Association Studies, Machine Learning for Genomics, Computational Statistics, Probabilistic Modeling

My research efforts are directed toward bringing computational approaches, statistical modeling methods, and bioinformatics tools to bear upon problems posed by the analysis of Next-Generation-Sequencing data, including the standard repertoire of techniques drawn from computational genomics: genome assembly, sequence alignment, gene-expression analysis, motif finding, SNP and structural-variant detection, RNA editing analysis, RNA localization analysis, and identification of regulatory sequences and networks‹as well as the development of special-purpose ad-hoc computational tools for particular applications and novel techniques for data visualization.
tfisher-vertical Timothy Fisher

University of Connecticut School of Law

Timothy Fisher is dean of the UConn School of Law.  Throughout his career he donated his time to work on pro bono cases relating to prison conditions, speedy criminal appeals, marriage equality and exonerating wrongfully convicted prisoners. He founded the Connecticut Innocence Fund, a first-in-the-nation program that helps exonerees to re-enter society. Fisher currently chairs the state Commission on Judicial Compensation and was recently President of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, the primary funder of legal aid in Connecticut.

Fitch R. Holly Fitch

University of Connecticut

Developmental Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental Disabilities

Dr. Fitch’s lab studies developmental influences including genetic variants and mutations, hormones, and injury that may influence behavioral and cognitive outcomes in rodent models.  Our genetic work focuses on mouse models with KO, KI or conditional KO of genes implicated in cognition and cognitive disorders (e.g., Dyx1c1, Dcdc2, Kiaa0319, Cntnap2 and others).  Our rat work focuses on modeling early injuries typical of term or term both brain injuries.  We work to associate these factors with specific behavioral outcomes, as well as underlying neural circuitry subserving the observed variation.
Gan-Guojun Guojun Gan

University of Connecticut

Data Mining, Actuarial Science

At a broad level, my research interests lie in data mining and actuarial science. In the area of data mining, I am especially interested in developing efficient algorithms for data clustering, which is the most basic form of unsupervised learning that aims to divide a collection of data items into groups or clusters, such that items within a cluster are more similar to each other than they are to items in other clusters. I am also  interested in applying data clustering and other data mining techniques to solve problems in other areas such as bioinformatics, actuarial science, computational finance, and social network analysis. In the area of actuarial science, I am especially interested in developing efficient algorithms and models to solve the problems related to variable annuity.
geary Steven Geary

University of Connecticut

Bacterial mechanisms of pathogenesis, Comparative & functional genomics, Vaccines, Biological signatures, Bioweapons

Dr. Geary’s research is focused on:

  • Comparative genomic and transcriptomic analyses of pathogenic Mycoplasmas.
  • Investigations into: mycoplasma cytadherence molecules, host cell receptors, and variably expressed surface lipoproteins.
  • Vaccine development and immunologic and genetic means of detection (DIVA tests) of these pathogens.
  • Investigations into host cell signatures associated with, Vaccinia virus (as a model for Variola, smallpox), and how they may be useful for attribution purposes in the event of a release of smallpox as a bioweapon.
j-gibson_headshot-copy Jason Gibson

University of Connecticut

Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Directed Differentiation, Single Cell Biology, Somatic Cell Reprogramming, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Characterization, Mammalian Tissue Culture, Quantitative Gene Expression Analyses, Mammalian Embryology, Developmental Biology

The goals of my research are focused toward defining the genetic regulatory pathways and transcriptional signatures which govern cell lineage commitment. The knowledge obtained in my research of developing systems is applicable toward improving directed stem cell differentiation strategies for advancing cell-based therapeutics and increasing our understanding of disease mechanisms.
Gogarten_UConn Today a023_lg J. Peter Gogarten

University of Connecticut

Molecular Evolution, Microbiology, Computational Biology, Comparative Genomics, Horizontal Gene Transfer, Selfish Genetic Elements, Microbial Populations, Metagenome Analysis

Gogarten is best known for rooting of the tree of life, and for his recognition of horizontal gene transfer as an important force in microbial evolution. His current research is on comparative genomics, the interconnection between gene and organismal level selection, and the emergence of a division of labor in microbial populations.  An ongoing project studies the life-cycle of inteins, a type of molecular parasite that similar to introns invades host genes, but removal of the inserted sequence through self-splicing only occurs at the protein level following translation. Inteins provide an illustration for the types of symbiotic relations between genes occurring within a genome, and their distribution provides a measure for gene transfer occurring in nature.
IMG_6612 Joerg Graf

University of Connecticut

Microbiome, Symbiosis, Pathogenesis, Genomics, 16S rRNA, Antibiotics, Microbiology, Genetics

Dr. Graf’s research team studies the role of the microbiome in the health of animals, virulence and colonization factors of Aeromonas, the evolution of microbe-host associations and the spread of antibiotic resistance.  We use a range of techniques including genetics, microscopy, 16S rRNA gene surveys, metagenomics, transcriptomics and comparative genomics to address these topics.
Version 2 Brenton Graveley

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Genomics, RNA, Alternative Splicing, ENCODE, CRISPR

My laboratory uses genomic approaches to study all aspects of RNA biology. My lab has played a key role in the modENCODE and ENCODE projects to functionally annotate the Drosophila and human genomes, with an emphasis on characterizing the transcribed RNAs, how they are processed, and the proteins that bind to them. We also study several unusual aspects of RNA processing in Drosophila including trans-splicing, recursive splicing, and alternative splicing of the Dscam1 gene, which can encode over 38,000 different isoforms. Finally, we have been collaborating with the laboratory of Michael Terns to study the biogenesis and function of CRISPR RNAs and how adaptation via the CRISPR system occurs when an organism encounters foreign DNA. We study these processes using a variety of genomic and computational approaches including cutting edge sequencing methods such as nanopore and single-cell RNA sequencing.
gunzl Arthur Gunzl

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Transcription, RNA splicing, Kinases (CDKs)/phosphatases/cell signaling, Molecular Parasitology, Microbiology, ChIP-seq

We work on deviant gene expression mechanisms in the lethal protistan parasite Trypanosoma brucei which is also a model organism for related parasites such as Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania spp. Hallmarks of the trypanosome gene expression system are polycistronic transcription of large tandem gene arrays, a unique multifunctional RNA polymerase I that facilitates antigenic variation of the parasite, and processing of all nuclear pre-mRNA by spliced leader trans splicing. A current focus in the laboratory is the cyclin-dependent kinase CRK9 which forms an unusual tripartite enzyme complex, is essential for trans splicing and trypanosome viability, and appears to coordinate transcription and RNA splicing.
Hao, Bing Bing Hao

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Structural Biology

The research of my group focuses on understanding the physical and chemical principles that govern the structure/function relationships in biomedical important proteins, including the ubiquitin ligases that mediate the ubiquitination and subsequent degradation of key cell-cycle regulatory proteins. Our primary tools are atomic-resolution protein structure determination and complementary biophysical and biochemical studies.  Our long-term objective is to use SCF ubiquitin ligases as a model system to elucidate the structural and mechanistic basis of substrate recognition, lysine specificity and ubiquitin transfer, and to use this knowledge to understand how defects of the ubiquitin system can lead to cancer and other human diseases.
HAYNES PHOTO Laura Haynes

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Aging, Infectious Disease, Immune Responses

My laboratory investigates how aging impacts the response to influenza infection.  We focus on systems approaches including examination of the immune response, the skeletal muscle response, the lung response, the metabolic response and the microbiome response in our murine models.  We also examine how aging impacts the protective capacity of influenza vaccines in both murine and human models.
PostDoc_JGelineau7846s Christopher Heinen

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Cancer, Stem Cells, Organoids, Aging, Hereditary Disease

The Heinen laboratory studies the function of the DNA mismatch repair pathway and how defects in this pathway lead to colorectal cancer development.  We use a variety of approaches to understand this pathway including human intestinal organoids derived from both adult intestinal tissue as well as human embryonic stem cells.  In particular, we are interested in understanding the role of the mismatch repair pathway in the cellular response to DNA damage and whether this function plays a role in protecting intestinal stem cells from becoming tumorigenic.
hesselbrock Victor Hesselbrock

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Genetics, Addiction, Developmental Trajectories, Developmental Psychopathology

Dr. Hesselbrock’s research is focused on identifying genetic factors that increase an individual’s vulnerability for alcohol dependence and related conditions.  Using an extended family study design, his work seeks to identify susceptibility genes and  gene – environment interactions as possible predictors of development al trajectories of substance use and problems among adolescents and young adults.  He is also involved in the use of multivariate methods to develop novel phenotypes of alcohol and substance use among adolescents and adults, including propensity scores.
Hurley,Marja Marja Hurley

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis,Genetic Disorders of Phosphate Wasting, Sickle Cell Bone Disease, Microbiome and Bone, Epigenetics

Marja M. Hurley, M.D., is a Professor of Medicine and Orthopedics at UConn Health School of Medicine, and a member of the Institute for Systems Genomics.  Her research studies the molecular mechanism(s) by which Fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) isoforms differentially modulates bone and phosphate homeostasis.  Dr. Hurley’s research also involves delineating the epigenetic mechanism by which the nuclear localized high molecular weight isoforms of FGF2 mediate growth-plate abnormalities and osteoarthropathy.  A second area of current research involves elucidating the role of the microbiome in sickle cell bone disease.
Rahul_Kanadia Rahul Kanadia

University of Connecticut

Neurodevelopment, Neurodegeneration, Genetics, RNA processing, Minor spliceosome, Alternative splicing

We are interested in understanding how RNA processing, including minor splicing and alternative splicing, regulates gene expression in mammalian development and disease.  We employ mouse genetics to perturb the splicing process in the developing cortex to model microcephaly observed in diseases such as microcephalic osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism type 1.  We have recently begun to explore the role of minor spliceosome in the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Picture 003 Stephen King

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Cilia, Dyneins, Cytoskeleton, Molecular Motors, Microtubules, Genetics, Biochemistry, Structural Biology, Cell Biology

Cilia are essential for development and organismal homeostasis.  Indeed, in humans more than 5% of all genes (>700 different proteins) are involved in the assembly and/or function of these organelles.   Defects in these structures lead to a broad array of phenotypes (including infertility, obesity, neurological disorders, polycystic kidneys, retinal degeneration, skeletal abnormalities etc) that are collectively known as ciliopathies. We study cilia assembly and motility using the green alga Chlamydomonas and the planarian Schmidtea as genetically tractable model systems.  We have been especially interested in understanding the structure, function and regulation of the highly complex dynein microtubule motors that are needed for both the motility of these structures and that also participate in their assembly.
32 color George Kuchel

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

GWAS, Gene Expression, RNA splicing, Epigenetics, Personalized Medicine

Dr. Kuchel is a geriatrician and gerontologist with decades of translational research experience focused on efforts to improve health and function in older adults with an emphasis on key determinants of independence in late life – mobility, cognition, voiding and host defense.  Recent technological advances now allow for genome-wide studies of gene expression and epigenomics using very limited sample. Leveraging these important developments and in collaboration with investigators at UConn Health, the University of Connecticut, Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine and Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, these efforts are beginning to offer new and much more individualized perspectives into health, frailty and resilience with aging, offering novel opportunities for the design and testing of innovative and more precise interventions.
kuo Chia-Ling Kuo

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Statistical Genetics, Bioinformatics, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Survey Statistics

I collaborate and provide consulting service and conduct methodology projects based on real statistical questions.  In statistical genetics, I develop statistical methods for gene mapping and analyze a variety of genetic data.
lalande Marc Lalande

University of Connecticut

The Lalande laboratory studies Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), a disorder caused by the absence of a normal paternal contribution to chromosome 15q11-q13, most commonly due to large deletion (LD) of the ~5,000kb imprinted region or to maternal uniparental disomy (mUPD). PWS is characterized by neonatal hypotonia and, subsequently, by hyperphagia and consequent obesity as well behavioral problems. A long non-coding RNA (PWS lncRNA) initiates upstream of the PWS-Imprinting Center (PWS-IC), a region of differential CpG methylation that is the germline 15q11-q13 imprinting mark, and extends >600kb distally. The PWS lncRNA also serves as host to several box C/D class small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs), including the SNORD116 and SNORD115 clusters. We have established induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines from PWS 15q11-q13 LD and mUPD cases and optimized protocols for neuronal differentiation. Our PWS stem cell models have led us to discover a chromatin repressive complex that is tethered to the silent maternal SNORD116 cluster by zinc finger protein 274 (ZNF274). We have used CRISPRs to generate ZNF274 knock out (ZNF274KO) derivatives of the PWS LD and mUPD iPSC lines. Upon neuronal differentiation of the ZNF274KO PWS iPSCs maternal PWS lncRNA transcript levels, including SNORD116 cluster, increase dramatically and attain those of the normal paternal PWS lncRNA transcripts. Our findings that ZNF274KO efficiently rescues the maternal copy of the PWS lncRNA in neurons presents a potential opportunity for therapeutic intervention in PWS. Our current focus is on developing novel epigenetic editing strategies to block ZNF274 binding and activate the maternal PWS lncRNA.
Portrait Reinhard Laubenbacher

University of Connecticut School of Medicine, and The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Systems Biology, Bioinformatics, Mathematical Biology

Projects in the Laubenbacher research group include the development of modeling and simulation tools for systems biology and bioinformatics, cancer systems biology, in particular the role of iron in breast and ovarian cancers, and systems biology approaches to infectious disease processes.
CharlesLee

 

Charles Lee

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Genetics and Genomics, Computational Biology, Aging, Behavioral Disorders, Cancer, Developmental Disorders, Reproductive Disorders, Neurodegenerative and Neuromuscular Disorders

The research laboratory of Dr. Charles Lee at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine uses state-of-the-art technologies to study structural genomic variation in human biology, evolution and disease.

 

 

 

 

 Lee-Elaine Elaine Lee

University of Connecticut

Stress physiology, Dehydration, Osmotic stress, Infection/inflammation, Exertional Heat illness, Exercise, Diet, Biomarkers, Transcriptomics

Our lab studies stress resistance and aging-related adaptations to stress in C. elegans and humans. We use a variety of cellular, molecular, and genomic approaches to study how organisms adapt and become more resilient to dehydration, heat, and oxidative stress and exercise training and diet-related stress.
IMG_20160802_104400_copy_(1) Ji-Young Lee

University of Connecticut

Nutrigenomics, Epigenetics, Metabolic diseases

My research focuses on the identification of molecular mediators that are involved in lipid metabolism and inflammatory signaling pathways, and on the elucidation of molecular mechanisms by which dietary factors play regulatory roles in the integration of lipid metabolism and inflammation. In particular, how dietary factors regulate histone deacetylases as an epigenetic mode of action for the regulation of gene transcription in metabolic, inflammatory, and fibrogenic pathways are primary research interests.
IMG_4285 James Li

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Genetics and genomics, Developmental biology, Neuroscience

My research goal is to elucidate how neural stem cells self-renew and generate different neurons and glial cells in the mammalian central nervous system.  These questions are fundamentally important to understand brain development and neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, autism, schizophrenia.  We combine several molecular and cellular approached, including mouse genetics, high-throughput technology, developmental neuroanatomy, and embryonic stem cells in our studies.
Liang_Bruce_JGelineau1339 Bruce Liang

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Cardiovascular Diseases, Biobank, Functional Genomics

Our group is interested in identifying novel genetic and epigenetic variants for vascular and cardiac diseases.  As these diseases overlap with those in neurobiology and aging, we have established a UConn Biobank of de-identified records for phenotyping and that of DNA and RNA for genotyping.  Sequencing and informatics should shed light on the disease implications of variants and their influences on expression.
Leslie Loew, director of the Richard D. Berlin Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling at the UConn Health Center on February 27, 2008. (Lanny Nagler for UConn Health Center) Leslie Loew

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Systems Biology, Computational Modeling, Dendritic spines, Fluorescence Microscope Imaging, Fluroescent probes

Dr. Loew’s research focuses on the chemical and physical mechanisms underlying cell biological processes.  He develops new quantitative microscope imaging and new computational modeling approaches to address this general area.  He has been interested in synaptic signaling and plasticity, particularly in relation to the synaptic basis for some forms of autism, and has combined experimental and modeling approaches to explore this area.  He also leads the Virtual Cell Project, a general computational system for modeling and simulating complex biological processes.
img_1005 Joseph LoTurco

University of Connecticut

Neurodevelopment, Somatic Mutations, CRISPR/Cas9, Epilepsy, Cellular Neurophysiology

The lab is engaged in multidisciplinary research seeking to discover mechanisms of cell diversity during the generation of developmental malformations and brain tumors, pathophysiology of somatic mutations in neurons and glia, and mechanisms of epileptogenesis following focal lesions in cerebral cortical development.  We develop and use a variety of methodologies including somatic cell genetic engineering by CRISPR/Cas9 in developing brain in vivo, electrophysiology, and live imaging.
MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Michael Lynes

University of Connecticut

Stress, Immunogenetics, Immunotoxicology, Metallothionein, Surface Plasmon Resonance, Inflammation, Autoimmunity

Dr. Lynes’ research group is engaged in research to define the molecular mechanisms that mediate stress-induced immunomodulation.  Their principle focus is on the role played by the stress response protein, metallothionein.  In the course of this work, they have recently discovered that an anti-MT monoclonal antibody has therapeutic benefit in inflammatory bowel diseases.  Additionally, the research group is engaged in work to develop enabling technologies based on grating coupled surface plasmon resonance microarrays.
Mains, Dick #53 Richard Mains

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Neuronal development, Synapse formation, Psychiatric disease, Substance abuse, Cocaine, RNA sequencing

The Neuropeptide Lab studies the synthesis, storage and secretion of biologically active peptides, as well as structurally fascinating multifunctional scaffolding-enzymes.  We have focused on pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), peptidylglycine alpha-amidating monooxygenase (PAM), Kalirin and Trio. We use POMC and PAM to answer questions about peptide biosynthesis and secretion from endocrine cells and neurons, while Kalirin and Trio are examined for their roles in neuronal development and synapse formation.  All these molecules are implicated in a number of psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder, as well as playing potentially crucial roles in substance abuse.
Malone_JH John Malone

University of Connecticut

Gene dosage, Gene Expression, Gene Networks, Sex Chromosomes, Polyploidy, Development

The Malone Laboratory studies how different copies of genes influence evolution. The long-term goal in my laboratory is to understand the mechanisms that allow some gene dose changes to be tolerated while other dose changes are detrimental. Using genomic, bioinformatic, and evolutionary approaches, our studies are providing new understanding for how copy number influences gene expression and evolution.
mandoiu Ion Mandoiu

University of Connecticut

Bioinformatics, Computational Genomics, Computational Molecular Epidemiology, Immunoinformatics, Metagenomics, Next-Generation Sequencing Data Analysis

I conduct research in applied algorithms, with a particular focus on the design, analysis, and implementation of heuristics and approximation algorithms for NP-hard optimization problems that arise in bioinformatics and computational genomics.  Current research is on scalable algorithms for high-throughput sequencing data analysis.
IMG_1491 (2) edit Barbara Mellone

University of Connecticut

Epigenetics, Chromatin, Chromosome Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Cell Division

My lab studies how genomes are partitioned and inherited accurately during cell division.  We are particularly focused on the centromere, an essential genomic locus present in all eukaryotes that is epigenetically defined.  We use a variety of approaches to elucidate the mechanisms of centromere specification, centromere evolution, and the link between centromere dysfunction and genome instability.
Antoine Menoret - 8-25-2016 Antoine Menoret

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Immunology, Inflammation, Proteomics, T cells

I am an instructor in the laboratory of Dr. Anthony Vella, Department of Immunology.  I have firsthand experience in classical immunology, biochemistry, molecular biology and proteomics.  I have studied different aspects of the immune system such as tumor immunology, antigen presentation, vaccine strategies, response to toxins, and inflammation in mouse and human. I have a particular interest in proteomic approaches, including (i) the analysis of protein post-translational modifications and the utilization of the Proteolab PF 2D proteomics platform for comprehensive analysis of complex samples, (ii) the purification of endogenous proteins using liquid chromatography (iii) the development of bioassays bridging bioactivity to protein identity, (iv) flow cytometry and single-cell mass cytometry (CyTOF) to identify and functionally characterize immune cells.
DSCN3860 4 Karen Menuz

University of Connecticut

Neuroscience, Functional Genomics

Karen Menuz focuses on the molecular mechanisms underlying odor responses in the Drosophila olfactory system. An ultimate goal of her research is to identify targets for developing new insect control agents active against insect vectors of disease, many of which detect their human hosts through olfactory cues. In particular, she is examining how the cellular environment surrounding individual olfactory neurons contributes to odor encoding and behavior. Towards this goal, she has begun to explore the impact of transporters and putative Odorant Degrading Enzymes on odor signaling using a combination of genetic, electrophysiology, microscopy, and behavioral techniques.
moraru Ion Moraru

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Computational biology, Signal transduction, Systems biology, Cancer, Software development

I am a cell biologist working on experimental analysis and computational modeling of signal transduction and cell regulatory networks.  Examples are the formation and regulation of multi-molecular assemblies and the identification pathway elements responsible for specific phenotype differences between cell populations.  I am also developing new computational tools and techniques bridging bioinformatics with dynamic models and simulation, recently focusing on methods to predict combinatorial drug interventions, and I direct the UConn Health High Performance Computing facility.
nabavi Sheida Nabavi

University of Connecticut

Computational Genomics, Translational Bioinformatics, Genomic Variation Detection, Integrative Analysis, Statistical Machine Learning, Biomedical Image/Signal Processing

Sheida Nabavi’s research is on development of novel computational methods, based on statistical machine learning and signal/image processing techniques, to detect and integrate genomic, transcriptomic, and epigenetic features especially in cancer studies.
Suresh_0816Suit_Gd Suresh Nair

University of Connecticut

Business Analytics, Healthcare Management, Financial Services, Management Consulting, Optimization, Operations Management, Simulation, Supply Chain Management, Service Operations, Stochastic Modeling

Dr. Nair’s research interests are in applying optimization techniques to problems in Services, Healthcare Management, Manufacturing, Marketing, and Finance.  He has worked on topics that have similarities to personalized medicine, particularly hi work related to analytical modeling for customer acquisitions, customer lifetime value and risk management in credit cars and other financial services.  He is currently exploring the cost-effectiveness of newer anti-diabetic agents.
craig-nelson-_head_shot Craig Nelson

University of Connecticut

Genomics, Systems Biology, Developmental Biology, Embryology, Stem Cells, Gene Regulatory Networks

We utilize a collection of single cell analysis to build high-resolution maps of complex developmental processes including stem cell reprogramming and embryonic development. The goal of this work is to discover new cell types, and the gene regulatory networks governing cell fate decisions.
nishiyama photo for CURE 2016 Akiko Nishiyama

University of Connecticut

Neuroscience, Brain Development, Glial Biology, Stem Cell Biology, Neuron-Glial Interaction, Epigenetic and Transcriptional Regulation of Glial Cell Lineage

My research focuses on the lineage and function of glial progenitor cells in the mammalian central nervous system known as NG2 cells or oligodendrocyte precursor cells.  We are applying systems genomics approaches combined with mouse genetic and cell-based experiments to understand how the fate and proliferation of NG2 cells are regulated under physiological and pathological conditions.  We are studying the consequences of manipulating these cells to explore their function in the neural network.
img_6800 Michael O’Neill

University of Connecticut

Genetics, Epigenetics, Genomics, Developmental Biology, Autism, Mouse

Our research is primarily focussed on the molecular mechanisms that regulate allele-specific transcription of X-linked imprinted genes, and the function of this small collection of genes in neurodevelopment. We are particularly interested in exploring whether dysfunction of X-linked imprinted genes or other epigenetic defects of the X chromosome may contribute to the as yet unexplained 4:1 male bias in the occurrence of Autism Spectrum Disorders. We utilize a variety of genomics tools, such as next-generation sequencing technologies, and basic molecular genetics approaches to study these questions in naturally occurring mutant and engineered laboratory mouse models as well as mouse and human tissue culture models.
Rachel photo Rachel O’Neill

University of Connecticut

Centromere, Repetitive DNA, Cytogenetics, RNA-protein interactions, Genetic conflict, Genome Assembly, Functional and population genomics

Repetitive DNA elements comprise over 50% of the typical eukaryotic genome. Decades of research suggest that repetitive elements profoundly impact genome stability during dynamic processes such as cell division, viral invasion, tumorigenesis, and development. My research program employs molecular genetics, genomics and computational approaches to study the mechanisms that maintain, and disrupt, genome stability with a particular focus on repetitive elements. Projects include the study of: retroelement transcription and centromere function; novel small RNA biogenesis pathways; and global chromosome and genome changes accompanying destabilizing events (such as carcinogenesis, hybrid dysgenesis and environmental stress). In addition, we are expanding the scope of diverse next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies by using novel library preparation and computational methodologies for drafting and characterizing whole genome sequences. These innovative approaches to NGS promise to expand the number and diversity of eukaryotic species used as models for studying genome biology. Recently, we have applied these techniques to both established models and non-model species to understand the dynamic response of genomes to global warming.
julia-oh Julia Oh

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Microbiome, Genomics, Infectious Disease, Cancer

The unifying theme of the lab is to understand how our body’s microbiota interact with their host to cause disease. We seek to integrate diverse technologies like (meta)genomics, synthetic biology, and genome engineering to target and manipulate the microbiota for therapeutic purposes. We have diverse projects in infectious disease, immune system interactions, cancer, microbiome engineering and computational and experimental innovations in microbial community analysis.
zhengqing-ouyang Zhengqing Ouyang

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, Genomics, Epigenomics, Transcriptomics

The Ouyang lab is focused on how the whole set of nucleome components work in living cells.  We have developed statistical and computational methodologies to elucidate the architectures of the genome (Genome Biology 2016), the transcriptome (Genome Research 2013, Nucleic Acids Research 2015), and the regulome (PNAS 2009).  We have applied these methods to unveil genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of human development and diseases.
jpachter_pic Joel Pachter

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Blood-brain barrier, Neuroinflammation

The focus of our laboratory is the microvasculature of the central nervous system (CNS), and the role it plays in neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative disease of CNS.  To this end, our group employs high-resolution 3D fluorescence imaging to provide qualitative and quantitative detail of leukocyte extravasation into the CNS and the vascular changes that accompany this process. Additionally, we have developed methods to couple laser capture microdissection (LCM) to several downstream profiling platforms in order to gauge gene and protein expression in situ. The LCM Core facility is under the directorship of Dr. Pachter, and is located adjacent to his laboratory for use by all UConn personnel.
kp-photo Karolina Palucka

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Cancer Immunology, Genomics, Human Immunology, Myeloid Cells, Vaccines

Dr. Palucka’s research is focused on:

  • Understanding how vaccines work and defining the immune mechanisms underpinning successful vaccination.
  • Developing strategies for neutralizing tumor-promoting inflammation, broadening T cell repertoires (via vaccination), and elucidating the mechanisms by which immune cells organize tumor micro-environments to regulate T cell activity.
  • Identifying new targets for combination therapies in cancer that overcome resistance to current treatments and promote long-term cancer control.
Version 2 Linda Pescatello

University of Connecticut

Blood Pressure, Cardiometabolic Health, Cardiovascular Disease, Exercise, Hypertension, Obesity, Physical Activity

A focus of Dr. Pescatello’s research has been on exercise prescriptions to optimize health benefits, particularly among adults with hypertension.  In an effort to find the most effective exercise prescription for hypertension and other related chronic diseases and health conditions, Dr. Pescatello’s research group has identified clinical and genetic determinants of the blood pressure response to acute and chronic endurance and resistance exercise interventions among adults in the early stages of hypertension that hold promise for further exploration and confirmation.  She was site-PI at UConn on the largest resistance exercise genomics study conducted to date, Functional Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms Associated with Human Muscle Size and Strength (or FAMuSS), and PI on one of the largest acute endurance exercise studies examining the influence of genetic variants on postexercise hypotension among adults with high blood pressure.
pinter Stefan Pinter

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Epigenetics, Genome Architecture, non-coding RNA, Gene Regulation, Epigenomics, Pluripotency, XCI and X-linked Disorders 

Our research interests center on how chromosome topology, non-coding (nc) RNAs and chromatin modifiers orchestrate gene expression in mammals.  To this end, we are developing scalable genomic methodology to learn how DNA is concurrently transcribed, replicated and packaged inside the nucleus.  The process of mammalian sex chromosome dosage compensation, namely X chromosome inactivation (XCI) serves as a particularly informative model for these questions: XCI is driven by the long ncRNA Xist, and combines changes in nuclear architecture, chromosome topology, chromatin compaction and nucleosome-and nucleotide-level epigenetic cues.  In this context, we would like to understand the molecular mechanisms that allow a select group of X-linked genes to escape XCI, and continue expression from the otherwise inactive X chromosome.  This effort is relevant to etiology of Turner Syndrome (karyotype 45, X or XO), and builds on our computational approaches to resolving parental alleles in high-throughput sequencing data.
tr Theodore Rasmussen

University of Connecticut

Epigenetics, Chromatin, Histones, IncRNA, X chromosome inactivation

My research interests are focused on epigenetics, a research theme that explores mechanisms that regulate gene expression beyond the level of simple DNA sequence.  Specifically, we are interested in the composition of specialized chromatin as it is modulated by long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), histone modifications, and DNA methylation, and the involvement of these mechanisms upon gene expression.  Together, these epigenetic mechanisms which are rooted in chromatin structure and dynamics,and have important impacts on the behavior and differentiation of stem cells, X chromosome inactivation, developmental biology, and human disease processes.  My lab is also interested in teratology and ways to manipulate epigenetic states in cells through the use of novel pharmacological agents.
Reichenberger Portrait OK small 2010 Ernst Reichenberger

University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine

Genetics, Bone Disorders, Wound Healing, Keloids, Mutation Analysis, Skeletal Biology, Exome Sequencing, Molecular Genetics

We study human genetic disorders in which dermal wound healing and bone remodeling are disrupted. We study the genetic origin and take multidisciplinary approaches to identify mechanisms that lead to those disorders. Disorders of interest include for example keloid formation, craniometaphyseal dysplasia, aplasia cutis congenita and cherubism.
peter-robinson Peter Robinson

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, Genome Sequencing, Genomics, Medical Genetics

Peter Robinson studied Mathematics and Computer Science at Columbia University and Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He completed training as a Pediatrician at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany.  His group developed the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO), which is now an international standard for computation over human disease that is used by the Sanger Institute, several NIH-funded groups including the Undiagnosed Diseases Program, Genome Canada, the rare diseases section of the UK’s 100,000 Genomes Project, and many others. The group develops algorithms and software for the analysis of exome and genome sequences and has used whole-exome sequencing and other methods to identify a number of novel disease genes, including CA8, PIGV, PIGO, PGAP3, IL-21R, PIGT, and PGAP2.
Portrait of Paul Robson against a white background. Paul Robson

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Single Cell Technologies, Reproductive Biology, Cancer, Stem Cell Biology

My lab develops and implements single cell technologies to enable the measurement of biological systems at their elemental unit, the individual cell. I am broadly interested in the evolution, development, and homeostasis of cellular phenotypes in normal and diseased states. A disease of particular focus is cancer where cellular dis-regulation is the norm, and thus the application of single cell technologies may have a profound impact on our understanding of this disease. In normal systems, I have a particular interest in understanding the evolution and development of the human embryo, maternal-embryo interactions, and how pluripotent stem cell models can be harnessed to study this area of reproductive biology.
jbcavnrz1f Yu-Hui Rogers

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

I currently serve as the Site Director at the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine. Prior to joining the Jackson Laboratory (JAX) in July of 2012, I was the Vice President of Core Technology Development and Services at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). I have been working in the field of Genomics for the past 14 years. My technical areas of expertise include development, implementation, and management of large scale Genomics facilities and nucleic acid technology development. At JCVI, I played a key role in the management and execution of large scale genomics and metagenomic sequencing projects and programs, including the Human genome sequencing project, NIAID funded Genomic Sequencing Centers for Infectious Diseases program, Global Ocean Sampling (GOS) project and the NIH Roadmap Human Microbiome Project (HMP). Before joining the Venter Institute, I was the Manager of Sequencing Research and Development at Celera Genomics. I was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Celera high-throughput sequencing pipeline that allowed the human genome sequence to be completed in 14 months.
3468 Blanka Rogina

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Aging, Longevity, Drosophila melanogaster, Indy, rpd3

My laboratory has been performing aging studies by using Drosophila as a model system. I have been actively involved in identification and determination of the role of several genes in Drosophila health and longevity, including Indy, rpd3 and dSir2.  Reduction of the Indy gene activity in flies extends health and life span by altering energy metabolism in a manner similar to CR. Indy reduction protects against negative effects of age and high calorie diet (HCD) on metabolism and insulin resistance. The current goal of my research is to identify and characterize molecular mechanisms that underline beneficial effects of INDY reduction.
IMG_2238 Daniel Rosenberg

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Cancer chemoprevention, bioactive lipid signaling, inflammation cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreas cancer, mouse genetic models, epigenetics, lipid signaling, microbiome, targeted transcriptomics, nutritional epidemiology

My laboratory has a longstanding interest in the molecular events that accompany early gastrointestinal neoplasia. We apply powerful and exquisitely sensitive cutting-edge technologies to understand the earliest cellular changes that precede cancer, including NextGen sequencing, computational biology, analysis of the microbiome, proteomics and cell biology. We are also actively developing mouse genetic models to recapitulate human neoplasia, with a focus on colorectal and pancreatic cancers. A major effort of our laboratory is to develop natural products that may be used to interrupt the processes of cancer initiation and progression.
Formal portrait of Yijun Ruan of The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine (JAX GM):: located in Farmington:: Connecticut (CT):: against a white background. Yijun Ruan

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

My primary research interest is to elucidate the dynamic interactions of all structural and functional elements involved in transcription regulation in human and mouse genomes. My strategy is to develop innovative DNA sequencing technologies and computational methodologies, and to use integrated approaches to interrogate the genetics and genomics of i) biologically relevant human cell types, including hematopoietic stem and differentiated immune cells, and ii) complex disorders such as cancer, autoimmune and metabolic diseases. My laboratory pioneered the paired-end-tag (PET) sequencing strategy for high-throughput, unbiased and quantitative genomic analysis. We developed ChIP-PET for genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation and protein-binding analysis, which led to the development of the widely used ChIP-Seq method. We also developed RNA-PET for full-length transcriptome analysis and DNA-PET using long paired-end tags for identifying genome structural variations. Our most notable achievement is the development of ChIA-PET, which identifies long-range chromatin interactions and maps three-dimensional (3D) genome organization. Recently, we created a new approach to study interactions between non-coding RNA and chromatin called RICh-PET, and we are further streamlining this method and its application to study diseases with funding from NCI. Our pioneering efforts in technology development necessitated the co-creation of computational tools to process and analyze the unique types of (epi)genomic data that our technologies make available. In addition to our continue efforts in the development and refinement of technologies, we have been pushing the application of ChIA-PET and related technologies for mechanistic understanding of transcriptions regulation in the context of 3D genome organization, and the dynamic changes in normal and disease states.
admin-ajax.php Dong-Guk Shin

University of Connecticut

Gene Regulatory Pathway Analysis, DNA Sequence Analysis, Cancer Genomics Data Analysis, Biological Databases, Knowledge-Based System, Visual User Interface

Dr. Shin’s research area includes analyzing high-throughput assay data at genome-wide by combining what is known about biological entities (prior knowledge) and what is newly obtained from the high-throughput experiments.  Specifically, he has been developing a novel gene regulatory pathway analysis system which is capable of checking consistencies between experimental data and known gene/protein interaction networks.  This system is not only useful in identify biological signatures in terms of numerically quantifiable measures but also in terms of visually depicted abstract/detailed pathway diagrams intuitively presented to the bench scientists.  He employs advanced data mining techniques for generating signature measures as well as abstract data visualization.
IMG_2866 Yong-Jun Shin

University of Connecticut

Systems Biology and Medicine

I’m interested in using web service/digital signaling processing and control algorithms from engineering to analyze, design, and control complex biological systems.
smith Phillip Smith

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Smith is actively engaged in research regarding lower urinary tract physiology and dysfunction, especially in the context of aging. His research interests include brain regulation of genitourinary biomechanics, lower urinary tract neurophysiology, and urodynamics. Dr. Smith is active in national and international scientific organizations in his field, including the Society for Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine and Urogenital Reconstruction, the International Continence Society, the Society for Pelvic Research, and the International Consultation on Incontinence Research Society.
rs2 Ranjan Srivastava

University of Connecticut

Systems Biology, Metabolic Engineering, Machine Learning, Computational Biology, Modeling, Optimization, Simulation

The Srivastava Lab works at the intersection of systems biology, metabolic engineering, and applied machine learning.  Our group leverages transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic data to understand and manipulate complex biological systems.  Applications span the biomedical, biotechnological, and environmental arenas.
Angela Starkweather on Aug. 13, 2015. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo) Angela Starkweather

University of Connecticut

Pain, Symptoms, Self-Management, Cancer, Nursing, Clinical Trials

The primary focus of my program of research is to identify genomic and environmental interactions that contribute to persistent pain and other symptoms as well as development of symptom self-management strategies to improve quality of life. Experience leading clinical trials involving psychosocial, behavioral, pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for the management of pain and other symptom phenotypes.
Portrait of Michael Stitzel against a white background.

 

Michael Stitzel

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Diabetes & Obesity, Genetics, Genomics, Epigenomics, non-coding variation, single cell transcriptomics, Aging, CRISPR/Cas9 (epi)genome editing

Type 2 diabetes is a disease of genes and environment. My laboratory studies the epigenome of human pancreatic islets and their developmental precursor cells. One aim is to use the epigenome as a read-out of effects of type 2 diabetes genetic variants on islet gene expression programs and function. Emerging evidence suggests that normal or disease-predisposing conditions can actually alter a cell’s epigenome and lead to abnormal cellular functions. To this end, my lab is investigating how the islet epigenome is altered under different stimulatory and stress conditions. Finally, we are pursuing targeted modification of cells (epi)genomes to facilitate production of bona fide pancreatic islet cells from pluripotent stem cells or other terminally differentiated cells.
Linda 3 Linda Strausbaugh

University of Connecticut

Mycobiome, Fungal Nomenclature, DNA based identification

Linda Strausbaugh’s broad research interests currently focus on the commensal and pathogenic fungi in the human oral cavity and other biocompartments.  Areas of concentration include identification of taxa by metagenomic methods, nomenclature, and inferences of functional roles.   She also participates in national initiatives to build a STEM workforce at the graduate level.
Jianjun picture Jianjun Sun

University of Connecticut

Ovulation, Ovarian Cancer, Reproductive Glands, Genetics

Sun lab is interested in reproductive organ formation, physiological function, and gynacological diseases. Using the genetic model organism Drosophila melanogaster, we are investigating the fundamental mechanism of ovulation. We hope to identify novel therapeutic targets for ovulation-related diseases and to develop novel contraceptive medicines.

 

Me Steven Szczepanek

University of Connecticut

Vaccines, Immunology, Infectious Diseases

The research in the Szczepanek lab is focused on understanding dysfunctional immunity in Sickle Cell Disease (SCD).  More specifically, we use genomics techniques to better understand pathways that are impaired in B-cells from those with SCD in response to vaccination.
img_1600 Young Tang

University of Connecticut

Stem cells, iPSCs, Agriculture, Livestock, PRRS, Akt, T2DM, Cancer

We are actively conducting research on generation of bona fide induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from livestock animals such as bovine, pigs, and sheep.  We are also studying signaling pathway regulation in macrophages to develop drugs against infectious animal diseases like porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome (PRRS).  The other research direction includes Akt signaling mechanistic research in Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) and cancer cells.
 ucar Duygu Ucar

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Computational Biology (or Bioinformatics), Genomics, Epigenomics, Aging

Epigenomic mechanisms vary between cell types, individuals and organisms and function across short, such as cell differentiation, and long, such as human aging, timescales. The diversity in biological response that results from epigenomic variation provides a wide range of opportunities for knowledge discovery and applications in genomic medicine. With these objectives in mind, I launched my laboratory at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine (JAX-GM) in August 2013. My lab aims to advance our understanding of the dynamics of epigenetic marks, the implications of these marks on gene regulation and their influence in human aging and diseases. We approach this problem through conducting comparative computational analyses of high-throughput biological datasets and by developing novel computational approaches and solutions for mining these complex datasets.
Version 2 Paola Vera-Licona

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Computational Systems Biology, Computational Systems Medicine, Mathematical Biology

I am an interdisciplinary scientist, with a background in mathematics and computational systems biology. I specialize in the design, implementation and application of algorithms for the modeling analysis, simulation and control of biological systems.  Biological systems of my interest include gene regulatory, protein-protein interaction and intracellular signaling networks.
_mda6179 Roel Verhaak

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Brain tumors, Sequencing, Computational biology

We are a computational cancer biology lab with a research focus on the analysis of cancer genomics data to improve our understanding of cancer biology.  We have a specialized research interest in understanding disease progression of brain tumors, particularly glioblastoma and glioma.  We mostly use high throughput sequencing and computational analysis in our research.
smwang Huanzhong Wang

University of Connecticut

Plant Stem Cells, Cell Differentiation, Transcriptome Analysis, Gene Regulation

The main purposes of research in the Wang Lab are to understand (pro-)cambium development and vascular tissues differentiation, to elucidate cell wall formation and to use basic research findings to develop novel feedstock crops for biofuel production.  Genetics, biochemistry, genomics and molecular biological approaches are utilized to decipher the mechanisms of vascular development and secondary cell wall biosynthesis.
li-photo2 Li Wang

University of Connecticut

Nuclear receptor, non-coding RNA, Liver disease

My lab is interested in understanding the molecular basis driving the development of chronic liver diseases, ranging from fatty liver and liver fibrosis to liver cancer.  We focus on both transcriptional and translation control of novel modulators including non-coding RNAs.
Jill_profile Jill Wegrzyn

University of Connecticut

Genome Biology, Population Genomics, Transcriptomics, Plant Genomics, Computational Biology, Software Development

Our research focuses on the computational analysis of genomic and transcriptomic sequences from non-model plant species.  We develop approaches to examine gene finding, gene expression, gene annotation, and conserved element identification, through machine learning and computational statistics.  We use these novel methods to address questions related to genome biology and population genomics.  We also develop web-based applications to integrate data across domains and facilitate the researchers ability to analyze, share, and visualize genotype, phenotype, and environmental data.
Wei Chia-Lin Wei

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Transcription regulation, Epigenetics, Genome Technology and Chromatin Organization

Wei’s primary research focus is to develop genomic and sequencing technologies; apply them to interrogate genomic and epigenomic elements pertinent to genome function and biology. The goal is to uncover system biology networks in lineage specification processes and organism responses to stress and environment. We are interested to decipher regulatory networks of key functional modulators and their interactions with “non-coding functional elements” in mammalian cell genomes and their dynamics in developmental process. We believe that such knowledge will provide fundamental understanding in the role of genome organization in transcription regulation, differentiation and disease mechanisms.
Portrait of George Weinstock against a white background. George Weinstock

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Microbiome, Infectious Disease, Cancer, Genetics, Genomics, Immune Disorders, Aging, Diabetes and Obesity, Complex Traits, Bioinformatics, Computational Biology

Dr. George Weinstock is a Professor and Director of Microbial Genomics at the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine where he established a group devoted to genomic studies of infectious diseases and the human microbiome.  The goal of the metagenomics projects is to determine the role of the microbiome in health and infectious disease with the aim of providing new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.  Dr. Weinstock’s group has played a leading role in the NIH Human Microbiome Project including both basic science and clinical studies.

 

weller head shot copy Sandra Weller

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Protein Biochemistry, Drug Discovery, DNA Replication, DNA Recombination and Repair, Protein Homeostasis

My laboratory works on Herpes Simplex Virus, a ubiquitous human pathogen found in over two thirds of the world population.  We use viral genetics, cell biology, biochemistry as well as molecular and structural approaches to elucidate aspects of the Herpes Simplex Virus life cycle.  One of our goals is to identify antiviral targets which can be exploited to develop strategies for controlling viral infections.  We primarily focus of two questions: 1) How does the virus interact with its host and overcome a hostile environment? And 2) How does it replicate its genetic material.
Wiemer Andrew Wiemer

University of Connecticut

Chemical Biology, Molecular Biology, Pharmacology, Immunology, Cancer, Drug Discovery

A major goal of our research is to discover and investigate novel cancer therapeutics. We are especially interested in directing  immune cells to fight cancer. Our research also addresses fundamental scientific questions of how cells interact with other cells and how cells metabolize phospholipids. We believe that altering our model systems with experimental small molecules will lead to an enhanced understanding of cellular functions as well as the discovery of novel drugs and drug targets. As part of the UConn ISG, we are interested in using genomic techniques to understand the individualized immune response to cancer and how it may be affected by chemotherapy.
Portrait of Adam Williams against a white background. Adam Williams

The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Asthma, Genetics and Genomics, LncRNA, Immunology

My laboratory seeks to bridge immunology, genomic research and bioinformatics to develop a deeper understanding of asthma pathogenesis. Our specific focus is on the function of long non-coding RNAs expressed in specific cell types that control immune responses to allergens, including immune cells known as T helper cells and the epithelial cells that line the airway, allowing accurate and early diagnosis of the disease as well as the identification of novel targets for therapeutic intervention.
yufeng-mug-small-e1401389064858 Yufeng Wu

University of Connecticut

Bioinformatics, Genomics, Population Genetics

My laboratory studies algorithms in bioinformatics and computational biology.  We mainly focus on computational problems in population genetics and evolution, and we analyze high-throughput sequencing data.
XYdept Xudong Yao

University of Connecticut

Mass Spectrometry, Quantitative Proteomics, Analytical Chemistry, Biomarkers and Precision Medicine, Membrane Proteinshttp://events.uconn.edu/event/49734/2016-09-23

Biological mass spectrometry and bio-analytical  chemistry for accurately and precisely measuring proteome expression and activity.  Mass spectrometry to validate and quantify biomarkers.  Targeted proteomics to investigate expression, turnover, and structure of membrane proteins, in particular cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator.  Mass spectrometry of lipids and lipopeptides.
young Erin Young

University of Connecticut

Genetics of Pain, Inflammation, Gene X Environment Interactions

My research program focuses on identifying the genetic and environmental factors that convey risk for developing chronic pain using animal models as well as clinical pain populations.  The candidate genes identified in preclinical (animal) models can then be examined in clinical populations to determine whether polymorphisms within these genes contribute to pain susceptibility in the clinic.  The goal is to further understand the mechanisms underlying persistent pain and to use this knowledge to identify novel therapeutic targets to reduce pain and suffering in clinical populations.
Yuan Yaowu Yuan

University of Connecticut

Genetics, Development, and Evolution of Flower Diversity; Genetic and Genomic Bases of Adaptation and Speciation; Transposable Elements

We are interested in how and why organisms evolve so many beautiful colors and forms in nature and we study flower diversification as a representation of the general problem of phenotypic evolution. We have developed many genetic and genomic resources and functional tools in a classical ecological and evolutionary model system, monkeyflowers (Mimulus), so that we can integrate hard-core genetics and genomics, developmental biology, and evolutionary ecology to address this problem. The specific questions we ask include: What are the genes underlying the dazzling variation of flower color and shape; how do these gene products regulate the production, transportation, modification, and degradation of pigments to generate floral color patterns; how do they regulate the division, elongation, and polarization of cells to make flower shapes; how does evolution tinker with these genes to generate different phenotypes among species; what is the adaptive significance of the diverse flower colors and shapes in their ecological environments?
 yupingzhang1 Yuping Zhang

University of Connecticut

Research interests lie in development and application of statistical and computational methods to address scientific problems in genomics, systems biology, and complex diseases. Current methodology research topics include statistical learning and inference, high-dimensional correlated data analysis, graphical models, and network analysis.
Zhou Beiyan Zhou

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Obesity, Hematipoiesis, Stem cells, microRNAs, Inflammation

Our research program focuses on understanding the link between immunes and adipose tissue in normal and obese conditions.  Incorporating animal models with OMICs-technologies, my laboratory is devoted to understand the mechanisms underlying epigenetic factors, including histone modification and non-coding RNAs, in controlling immune cell functions.  We have developed various transgenic models and ex vivo characterization systems to critically assess the crosstalk between immune and metabolic compartment in the adipose niche and bone marrow in normal and disease (excess nutrient) states.