Faculty in the Program in Molecular Medicine participate in a number of interdisciplinary teaching and research activities. These activities promote scientific interactions among the faculty of the basic and clinical departments in the Medical School. Among the programs in which the faculty participate and direct are:
NIH Program Project in Diabetes Research
Dr. Aldo Rossini's laboratory in Molecular Medicine has developed a novel two element procedure for transplantation tolerance induction that does not require immunosuppression. With it, they have achieved permanent survival of fully allogenic islet grafts, and prolonged survival of islet xenografts in rodents. This five year $3.9 million NIH program project seeks to use this new information as a point of departure for making islet transplantation without immunosuppression a viable therapeutic option for persons with diabetes mellitus. An understanding of this process at the molecular, biochemical, and cellular levels will reveal general principles of tolerance induction that can then be developed into a clinically applicable transplantation procedure. Dr. Aldo Rossini, MD, is program director of the program project study combining the investigative efforts of three academic departments represented by Michael P. Czech, PhD, Dale L. Greiner, PhD, John P. Mordes, MD, and Ken Rock, MD. For more information on the Diabetes research, please visit the Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center website
NIH Diabetes-Endocrinology Research Center (DERC)
The DERC supports institutional core facilities such as the transgenic animal core, and tissue culture and monoclonal antibody production and provides funding for pilot projects by faculty who wish to pursue diabetes-related research. The DERC sponsors a seminar series and promotes scientific interaction among faculty involved in diabetes-related research through the Medical School. Aldo Rossini, MD, of the Department of Medicine, directs the DERC which is funded through a five-year NIH Diabetes-Endocrinology Research Center grant.
NIH Endocrinology Training Grant
The NIH Endocrinology Training Grang provides support for postdoctoral fellows working in the laboratories of member faculty and sponsors a biweekly seminar series. This is a five-year funded program, which is directed by Aldo Rossini, M.D., Diabetes Division.
NIH Cell Biology of Development Training Grant
The Cell Biology of Development Training Grant supports postdoctoral scientists in member laboratories. The Training Grant seeks to support fellows working in any area of contemporary developmental biology. Joel D. Richter, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Medicine is Program Director.
Center For AIDS Research (CFAR)
The University of Massachusetts Center for AIDS Research is a five year $3.5 million NIH-funded program which supports AIDS-related research activities at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Major goals of the CFAR are to strengthen and promote AIDS-research missions at the institution by increasing collaboration between basic, clinical and industrial researchers. AIDS-related research at the institution is enhanced through the coordinated development of CFAR-supported cores. These cores include a Developmental Core which supports investigator-initiated research in AIDS-related areas at the institution; a Clinical Core which provides access to clinical material and expertise; a Molecular Virology Core which provides facilities for working with pathogenic lentiviruses, a Molecular Biology Core which provides access to assays and reagents for AIDS research, and a Animal Models Core which will allow investigators to utilize monkey models of primate lentiviral pathogenicity. The UMass CFAR also supports a seminar series which brings internationally-recognized experts in the field to present recent advances in their areas of research. Dr. Mario Stevenson is Program Director and Dr. John Sullivan of the Department of Pediatrics is Co-Director. For more information on the CFAR program at UMass: www.umassmed.edu/cfar
Structural Biology and Biomedical Imaging Groups
A number of scientists at the Medical School are involved in training young scientists in biophysical methodology. The structural biology group, consisting of faculty from the Program in Molecular Medicine and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, trains graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, and molecular modeling. The structural biology faculty teach advanced courses in the analysis of three dimensional macromolecular structure, enzyme mechanisms, and molecular design. The biomedical imaging group offers training in the use of contemporary digital imaging techniques to visualize intracellular structures and molecular concentration gradients within living cells. The scientists in these two interdisciplinary groups interact constantly, sharing interests and computer expertise, and sponsor several seminar series. The members of each group also collaborate with a variety of other scientists, both at the Medical School and at other institutions. For additional information on these groups: http://invitro.umassmed.edu/
The University of Massachusetts Medical School has established a cancer center which includes clinical and basic research activities as well as state-of-the-art patient care services. This Center is rapidly expanding under the leadership of Dr. Dario Altieri and includes faculty members from both clinical and basic science departments. Dr. Altieri's laboratory group, as well as several other faculty members in the cancer center, are located in the new Aaron Lazare Research Building close to the research laboratories of the Program in Molecular Medicine. The Cancer Center and the Program in Molecular Medicine have also collaborated in faculty recruitment and other areas of mutual scientific interest including the Program's Basic/Clinical Science Collaborative Research Program.
The Program in Molecular Medicine collaborates with representatives of over a dozen biotechnology companies in the Worcester/Boston area, and interested faculty and representatives from the Medical Center and Clark University. These connections foster scientific interaction between the biotechnology industry and these academic communities by identifying areas of collaboration, sponsoring the establishment of core facilities, and holding symposia. The leadership of the Program in Molecular Medicine has played an important role in enhancing the availability of expertise and resources to the entire Worcester scientific community.
Program in Immunology and Virology
The Program in Immunology and Virology involves an interdisciplinary group of scientists with diverse research interests related to the immune system. This field spans the whole range of biomedical sciences from molecular medicine to clinical trials. The Program sponsors course work and a seminar program in immunology and virology. The directors of the Program are Trudy Morrison, Ph.D. and Janet Stavnezer, Ph.D., Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. www.umassmed.edu/ivp/