CBAN Research Collage

Members of the department of Cell Biology and Immunology engage in a variety of research areas including vision research, HIV/AIDS, cancer biology, ocular immunology, basic cell and molecular biology phenomena such as apoptosis (cell death), cell differentiation, gene expression and structural anatomy. Research is conducted in a highly interactive and collegial environment. The department has outstanding professional staff that provide high quality histology / microscopy support for both members of Cell Biology and Immunology faculty and other faculty as well.

Rance Berg, Ph.D.

My laboratory has a long-standing interest in understanding the cellular and molecular aspects of immune responses against pathogenic microorganisms. Specifically, the gram-positive bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes, is utilized to dissect the roles of T cells, NK cells, NK-T cells, dendritic cells, monocytes, neutrophils, and macrophages during the innate and adaptive immune responses to this pathogen. Elucidating the proliferative capacity, cytokine/chemokine secreting potential, localization, and ultimate fate of these and other immune effector cells allows us to understand how the immune system coordinately responds to, and controls, pathogens. We are also actively studying how cytokine/chemokine networks, oxidative stress, and enzymes that regulate the production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species modulate immune responses and clearance of pathogens.

Julian Borejdo, Ph.D.

Borejdo’s lab studies the question of whether the muscles of the two heart ventricles are functionally similar. The force exerted by right ventricle to pump blood into the pulmonary circulation is smaller than the force exerted by left ventricle tto pump blood by into the systemic circulation. The ventricles are also morphologically very different: they differ in the basic fiber structures, orientations of muscle fibers and molecular crowding. To eliminate these complications Borejdo’s lab carry out experiments on small portion of an I-band of isolated working ex-vivo myofibrils from human ventricles. Probing by a confocal microscope visualizes only a few actin and myosin molecules. They measure spatial distribution of individual actin and myosin molecules and kinetics of their conformational change using novel biophysical techniques. Distribution and kinetics are fundamental properties of muscle, because they reflect interaction of actin with myosin cross-bridges on a molecular level.

Anuja Ghorpade, Ph.D.
Professor & Chair

Ours is the Laboratory of Cellular Neuroimmunology. The long-standing interest of our research program focuses on the role of glial inflammation in neurodegeneration, particularly in the context of HIV/AIDS and other dementias. The burden of HIV infection on the world population is astounding. Despite effective antiretroviral therapy, approximately 50% of HIV+ patients have some sort of neurological manifestation. In the post-antiretroviral therapy era, patients with HIV-1 infection are living longer and have an increased risk for developing neurocognitive decline. The evidence for astrocytes playing an important role in neural health and disease conditions continues to grow. Our laboratory investigates two main themes that pertain to glial responses in disease. One line of investigation is focused on the alterations in protective functions of astrocytes while the other investigates activation of pathways deleterious to neural health. We currently have several individual projects related to these themes. These pertain to regulation of matrix metalloproteinases and their tissue inhibitors, CXCL8 regulation in neuro-AIDS, combined injury of methamphetamine and HIV-1, glutamate imbalance in the AIDS brain tissues and function of astrocyte elevated gene-1 in reactive astrogliosis and inflammation.

Ignacy Gryczynski, Ph.D.

Fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy progressed recently towards a nanotechnology. The technological advances in optics, computers, surface science and engineering made possible single molecule detection and overcome the diffraction limit. Dr. Gryczynski´s research focuses on fluorescence enhancements near metallic surfaces and particles. The enhanced fluorescence is being applied to sensing devices and bioassays. He also has a joint appointment in the Department of Molecular Biology and Immunology, where he co-manages the time-resolved fluorescence laboratory. This laboratory carries basic spectroscopy research and is open to the needs of researchers from both departments.

In-Woo Park, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Dr. Park’s research focuses on two main topics. The first is HIV-1-mediated aggravation of liver disease in HCV virus co-infectees. While this basic phenomenon is well documented, the laboratory now wishes to unravel the specific mechanisms by which HIV-1 augments HCV replication in accelerating hepatic malady. The second topic, which is critical to AIDS pathobiology, is the HIV-1-triggered virus/cell protein degradation that occurs at all phases, from virus entry to progeny virion release. The laboratory is currently applying a range of molecular studies to identify and evaluate the coordinate viral/host determinants that orchestrate protein fates.

Dong-Ming Su, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Research focus in Dr. Su’s Lab is to provide mechanistic insights into regulation of T-lymphocyte microenvironment, mainly inside the thymus gland. There are two active projects in the Lab. One is to understand mechanism underlying balance of thymocyte negative selection versus regulatory T cell generation in the aged thymic microenvironment. Once this balance is broken, the age-related autoimmune predisposition-associated diseases will occur. The other is to determine how the thymus plays a role as a reservoir (shelter) for tumor cell resistance of radio/chemotherapy, and mechanisms responsible for tumor dormancy and metastatic relapse associated with changes in immune system microenvironment. The thymus, under radio/chemotherapy, will form an inflammatory microenvironment, which is a hospitable microenvironment to induce tumor dormancy for subsequent metastatic relapse. The two projects have the same goal, which is to develop effective approaches to restore thymic abnormalities in order to attenuate inflammatory microenvironment in the elderly and the tumor patients under radio/chemotherapy.

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This page was last modified on June 2, 2016